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      Frederick Street URC Newsletter  
  December 2020    
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Journeys or lockdown this Christmas?

Christmas is a busy time for travel, as many of us venture long distances to see family or friends again. But this year coronavirus has brought great uncertainty. Seeing all our loved ones this Christmas may be difficult, if not impossible and we may not be travelling anywhere very much at all.

Have you noticed that the Christmas story is about journeys? It begins with Mary and Joseph travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Then, some shepherds receive news from an angel about a special birth. They travel through the night, across dark fields and down unlit streets to search for the baby Jesus.

After this, in an eastern country some wise men see a new star, one that heralds a new king. They leave home and set out with only the star to guide them, and their faith to reassure them that Someone special is waiting at the end of their journey.

All these travellers must have wondered what really lay ahead. Nothing was fully understood, carefully planned for, or safe. They all travelled with questions and uncertainties. But God had come unexpectedly into their lives, and suddenly they were given new roles to serve Him. Despite worldly circumstances that could have crushed them, they stood firm and trusted God all the way.

These travellers’ tales tell us that God may suddenly enter into our familiar, or this year, unfamiliar circumstances. He may come in surprising ways, to prompt us into new avenues of service. At first His call on us may be uncomfortable and challenging.

If our response is anything like Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and wise men – to be obedient to His call in serving, witnessing and worshipping, we shall be greatly blessed and rewarded.

We are all on life’s journey. If we travel with God, He will be faithful and lead us to His heavenly Home.

Leaders of Worship: December

6th Dec.                   10.30amThe Rev. Mike Playdon, retired United Reformed Church Minister and member of our Worship Team
13th Dec.     10.30amDaphne Beale, retired United Reformed Church Church Related Community Worker and member of the Worship Team
20th Dec.     10.30am   4.00pmThe Rev. Margaret Taylor, retired United Reformed Church Minister and member of our Worship Team Mrs. Eleri Bristow, Local Preacher from Trinity Methodist Church (united service via Zoom)
25th Dec. Christmas Day     10.00amThe Rev. Andrew Lomax, Minister of Trinity Methodist Church (united service via Facebook)
27th Dec.10.30amThe Rev. Mike Playdon

Advent Bible Studies 2020

There will be 4 sessions on Mondays starting 30 November at 10.30am. The sessions will follow the theme of hope.

30 NovemberThe promise of a baby brings hope         The Old Testament looks at the future hope.
7 DecemberThe promise of a king brings hope Matthew’s Gospel sees hope in a new king.
14 DecemberThe promise of a saviour brings hope In Luke’s Gospel the angels tell the shepherds of a saviour.
21 DecemberWhat brings you hope this Advent?

The sessions will be on line. Watch out for the Zoom details nearer the time. Hope to ‘see’ you there.

News from the Elders

All the Elders were present when they Zoomed for their monthly meeting on Monday 2nd November. The meeting was chaired by Tony.

With lockdown again imminent and Church meetings no longer allowed, it was recommended that we will continue our Zoom Sunday service at 4.00.p.m. for the time being.

Aline reported that the suggestion of uniting 3Cs meetings with the Monday Afternoon Tea meetings had been well received and members are looking forward to the time when it will be safe to meet again.

Peter reported that the application to the URC Mission Fund was progressing well. Hopefully we should receive 50% of the cost of employing our Centre Manager, Linda Foukes, for 3 years. Linda is settling in well and is a great asset to our community outreach.

The final total raised as part of our Harvest Festival celebrations for Charnwood Food Poverty Group is £450.00.

In preparation for the Church Meeting on November 18th, the counting of the votes for the election of Elders took place.

Tony is in contact with the Music Leaders of Loughborough Baptist and Trinity Methodist Churches to work on a combined Zoom service on Sunday 20th December at 4.00.p.m. Further details of this and other Christmas services will follow when firm arrangements have been made.

Church Meeting Report

Peter chaired the November Church meeting and welcomed 33 members via Zoom link. During his introduction he recalled the changes which the United Reformed Church has undergone since the days when it was first established at Ashby Square. Not unlike the changes which we are now making to ensure that we are able to continue to worship together – no matter where we are, with our firm foundations, these continue to help us make changes along the way.

The secretary thanked Aline, Alan and Raied for all their hard work whilst serving as Elders and wished Aline well in her new home. Geetha, Dilys and Una were announced as the newly elected Elders/Trustees to serve from January 2021 for a period of 3 years. Peter was formerly elected as the Church Treasurer and the Elders had agreed to co-opt Hilary as the Church Secretary. 

The Elders reported to the meeting that they had updated the Church Pastorate Profile and submitted this to Synod with a request for more support and feedback. This was backed up by a letter to the Moderator, both from ourselves, and Melton URC. Hilary was pleased to tell the members that Synod had agreed to a Zoom meeting with the Moderator, 2 members of the Synod Pastoral team, Melton and LURC very soon.

Linda Foukes had been appointed Church Community Centre Manager and had been in post for a month. This was releasing Peter from all the work involved in the Lettings and the Church cleaning.

A healthy treasurer’s report was given by Peter. Funding had been granted by Synod Mission Fund for 50% of the Church Community Centre Manager’s wages for 3 years after Peter had submitted a grant application and along with Hilary had presented to the Mission Fund committee for approval.

Many thanks to your generosity, a donation in lieu of Harvest goods was sent to Charnwood Food Poverty Group for £535.00.

Due to the rapid changes in the way we now deliver our services, via Zoom and using the projection screen, a small team of Peter, Geetha, Raid and Alan, have looked at improving our Sound and Visual system which will hopefully be started very soon.

This was a very good meeting with lots of positive action and decisions made. Several items of interesting news from the Elders/Worship Team who are busy working on plans for the future of LURC despite being in lockdown once again.

Advent Bible Study:

Starting on 30th November – 21st December every Monday 10.30am

Christmas Services:

20th December 10.30am Margaret Taylor Christmas music and reflections

20th December   4.00pm 3 Churches service with joint choirs via Zoom

25th December 10.00am 3 Churches United service via Facebook

27th December 10.30am Mike Playdon via Zoom

Dates for your diaries:

Sunday 17th January 2021 Rev. Andrew Lomax, Loughborough Trinity Methodist

Wednesday 20th January 2021 Church Meeting 7pm

Sunday 14th February, 2021 Induction of Elders to be led by Rev. Geoffrey Clarke (the Moderator of the East Midlands Synod) with communion.

Sunday 22nd February 2021 Poverty Sunday – Margaret Taylor.

Church Christmas Appeal:

The chosen charity for Christmas giving is SHARP – Shelter Housing Aid and Research Project in conjunction with Churches Together in Leicestershire.

More information can be found www.leicestershireshelter.org.uk

Please give generously to help with crisis support to those in immediate need and who are about to become homeless especially at this difficult time. Donations can be posted to LURC, put into the Church letterbox or through the bank. Please mark bank giving – DONATION. Any cheques must be made out to LURC. Thank you.

Update from Synod. (20th November)

Thursday 3rd December 7pm Meeting arranged via zoom with The Moderator, Synod Pastoral representatives, Melton Elders and our Elders.

Please pray that this meeting has a positive outcome and 2021 brings some success with the Ministerial vacancy both at Loughborough and Melton.

 

 Hope amid uncertainty

‘Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14)

This promise to King Ahaz is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus at the first Christmas: ‘God with Us’ (Matthew 1:23). Ahaz faced the military threat of Syria invading Israel, but Isaiah tells him not to panic. He can trust God, who is in control of the nation.

For us, Coronavirus brings deep uncertainty as we come to another New Year. We live with the threat from the virus, economic uncertainty, separation from family and friends, the loss of loved ones and the anxiety that isolation brings. Yet the message of Immanuel brings hope, as it did for Ahaz. Christmas changes everything forever! God has declared in Christ that He is with us and for us, not absent from or against us. His love is larger than our sin, fears or guilt: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).

As we prepare for the most unusual Christmas ever, let’s not forget:

God with us means that He is on my side and by my side. In the uncertainties of life I am never alone.

God with us means that everything will work out according to His plan. My life isn’t just a series of meaningless occasions or mistakes.

God with us means that even when others show they are not there for me, God is.

God with us means when circumstances change, He will give me the strength I need. God is with me: He isn’t far away, but has made the journey into my world. Here is the promise of hope for the future

Christmas Thoughts and Supporting the Work of Christian Aid

2020 is certainly a year that stands out.  We know only too well how corona-virus has impacted on our lives and, this Christmas, Christian Aid asks us to think about how the virus has impacted on the communities they work with.  In particular they highlight Imote Ioryue, 21, who lives in Nigeria and sadly lost both of his parents at a young age and has been left to care for his nine siblings, alone.

The family has a small farm. They have been able get money from selling their oranges and working for neighbours but the coronavirus pandemic means that the family has been unable to work, go to school or sell the produce from their farm. This has left Imote unable to buy food or basic household supplies.  Christian Aid, as well as providing hand sanitiser and clean water, has distri-buted small amounts of cash so that Imote can continue to support his young family.

For Christian Aid to support more families like Imote’s they need your help this Christmas. Donations can be given in many ways.  Direct to Christian Aid
on https://www.christianaid.org.uk/ or using a local e-offering page at https://rb.gy/kmchz3 (where the full gift goes straight to Christian Aid and the giving is anonymous), or via the local treasurer Martyn Speight who is contactable via martyn.speight@ntlworld.com or on 01509 213137.

Dilys

December Calendar

If we are able we shall resume Sunday morning services at 10.30 in church on Dec. 6th. If we are not permitted services in church, we shall continue with Zoomed services at
4 p.m, with the rota of worship leaders transferred from the morning to the afternoon.

Sunday 20th 4.00pm. A united service (Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church) with contributions from the joint choirs, conducted by Eleri Bristow, Local Preacher from Trinity Methodist Church. This service will be “Zoomed”, and the link will be circulated by Hilary Roythorne in advance.

Christmas Day 10.00am. A united service in which the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches will be participating, conducted by the Rev. Andrew Lomas, Minister of Trinity Methodist Church. The service is at 10.00am and will be live from 9:50. People can just search for Trinity Methodist Church Centre on Facebook and they will find it. You do not have to have an account with Facebook, to view it. When you are asked to create one, you just say No, and you can access the page. The link to the Facebook page will be circulated in advance.

The information published here may need to be amended in the light of government regulations, so please keep an eye open for the latest news sent to you directly by the Church Secretary.

Thu. 3rd7.00pm  Book Club – Zoom meeting
Sun. 6th10.30amMorning Worship – Rev. Mike Playdon
Mon. 7th10.30am 2.30pmAdvent Bible Study – Zoom meeting Elders’ Meeting– Zoom meeting
Sun. 13th10.30amMorning Worship with Holy Communion – 
Daphne Beale
Mon. 14th10.30amAdvent Bible Study – Zoom meeting
Sun. 20th10.30am    4.00pmChristmas music, readings and reflections –
Rev. Margaret Taylor 3 Churches Service with joint choirs via Zoom
–  Mrs. Eleri Bristow
Mon. 21st10.30amAdvent Bible Study – Zoom meeting
Fri. 25th Christmas Day10.00am3 Churches United Service via Facebook –
The Rev. Andrew Lomax
Sun. 27th10.30amMorning Worship – Rev. Mike Playdon via Zoom

Flower rotaSun. 6th Dec.  Lesley and HelenSun. 13th Dec.  Pat Stenhouse
 Sun. 3rd Jan.   Helen Playdon