Moderator's Snapshots

Lent Passion Art

As an encouragement to people more widely to celebrate and reflect on the festival of Lent PassionArt: Be Still is a series of art pieces spread across six of Manchester’s most iconic venues. The contemporary installations, paintings, sculpture and live performances by internationally renowned and local artists uncover moments where the sacred inhabits the ordinary. My snapshot this week was inside Manchester Cathedral and shows a small part (dotted around the cathedral) of the works displayed by a UK potter Julian Stair under the title “Quietus Revisited”. Other venues include St Ann’s Church, the John Rylands Library, The Hidden Gem, and the Manchester Art Gallery. It is possible to seek silence and stillness even in a busy city and the art trail offers visitors to the city the opportunity to use the trail as a pilgrimage through a day, or perhaps to use a venue during a lunch hour to help engage spiritually and practically “with stillness, prayer and mindfulness”. If you are around Manchester during Lent then this is worth a visit. Further information can be found at www.passionart.guide

As we all journey through Lent and into Holy Week and Easter let us pray for our sister congregations as they seek to bear witness to Jesus Christ in fresh ways within their communities. Please also pray for the Bolton churches as they continue to prepare for their Passion Play performance at 12noon outside the Town Hall on Easter Saturday when up to 5,000 visitors are expected.

032 09 Mar 2016 2

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Cumbrian Ministers' Meeting

This week the Cumbria ministers met together for 24 hours at the Windermere Centre. The wet weather made us appreciative of the warmth of the Centre. The gathering included one of the Methodist ministers which was helpful in discussions about ministry exercised across the Cumbria ecumenical county. There was good input and facilitation for several sessions by Richard Passmore exploring issues to do with our understanding of how the church expresses itself in new forms, with a particular eye towards the focus in Cumbria on Mission Communities. Please pray for our Cumbrian churches as they engage with the county-wide God for All initiative, the many discussions to be held across the county in looking to form Mission Communities with new patterns of ministry and leadership, and the future of the key role that the Revd Sarah Moore has been playing in the Anglican/Methodist/URC/Salvation Army partnership for the county.

031 02 Mar 2016

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Cleveleys URC

It was a great pleasure when I was leading worship at Cleveleys URC this week, with a small Brownie parade for the first time in a couple of years, to be able to present a certificate for long service to one of their members. In the centre of the picture is Cynthia Longden who is an Assembly Accredited Lay Preacher being presented with flowers and a decorated cake after the service. We thought Cynthia had been a lay preacher for 60 years. In fact it turns out to be 64 years! We expressed our gratefulness to Cynthia for responding to God’s call in her life to preach and for her faithfulness in serving God in this way through those 64 years. We wish Cynthia every blessing as she continues to walk closely with her Lord.
Please pray:

  • for all who are called to serve in leading worship and preaching
  • for us as a Synod as we look to support those called to this form of ministry & as we explore ways of encouraging a new generation of those called to lead worship
  • for the work across our 135 churches in the Synod with children and young people, for their leaders, and for the sharing of the Christian faith with them through our Church communities.

030 24 Feb 2016

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Oasis Academy/Media City

Last Friday I had the privilege to attend an event which both launched a project and a book. Oasis Academy/Media City (Salford), where our SCM Stuart Nixon is involved in a new growing church community connected to the academy, hosted an event to which many leaders from the surrounding community were invited. The Revd Steve Chalke (standing, together with a panel of community leaders and 2 pupils from the Academy – Stuart Nixon on the right), who founded the global work of Oasis, launched his new book “Radical” which explores the way in which we need radically new solutions to forge pathways of peace in the world today. Alongside this was the launch of a new initiative “1000 days of peace”, offering creative peace-making initiatives over the next 1,000 days culminating at the point where we mark the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018. As part of that initiative there is a developing school’s programme which may at some stage result in a GCSE in peace-making studies. Please pray for this initiative – and so many initiatives that our congregations are involved in which seek to bring the message of Christ’s Peace into communities across the Synod.

029 17 Feb 2016

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Liz Cam's Induction at Levenshulme Church-in-Community

Unfortunately I was so carried away with the celebrations at Levenshulme Inspire Church-in-Community and Liz Kam’s induction on Saturday (Liz is hiding in the middle at the back) that I forgot to take the picture when we finished the service. The Saturday afternoon was a lively one with Liz and her family, and friends gathering with the Church and community to mark this new ministry of Liz as a CRCW minister in Levenshulme. The church is vibrant and located in an amazing place to engage with the community. A wonderful tribute was brought from the Noor Mosque immediately opposite, by Mustafa and his 10 month old son, and the mosque provided the curry for the refreshments afterwards – from enormous cooking pots, with one pot holding rice cooked for the 80+ people present – amazing. Please pray for Liz, the Church and the work within the community in Levenshulme – as well as for our 2 other CRCW Ministers Mal Breeze and Alison Talbot in their ministries, and the rich resource we have in our CRCW Ministers (there are only 20 in the whole country – so we are truly blessed in North Western to have 3).

028 10 Feb 2016

 

Additional photo of the service taken from the Facebook Group CRCWs

028 10 Feb 2016 2

 

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Ministers' and Lay Preachers’ Winter School

Last weekend it was a pleasure to be involved with the Ministers and Lay Preachers’ Winter School with a good mix of people attending. We met at the Windermere Centre and on the Saturday were able to use Carver Church with its wonderful open space for seating around tables. We had a range of sessions which seemed to dovetail beautifully (although none of us had collaborated). Ann Morisey led 2 sessions on Growing Older Disciples (picture); Lawrence Moore led a Bible study on the texts of Simeon and Anna, and also Good Friday; while I led a couple of sessions on Art and Worship (focus on Lent and Good Friday), and a Communion Service on Friday evening which enabled us to reflectively journey through the whole of Holy Week [as I write this it is one week now until Ash Wednesday]. In addition a whole range of art materials, including clay, were available during Saturday for engaging in some reflection and the creation of art picking up on a focus of “hands”. The fellowship during the weekend was good with plenty of time to eat and talk together. A couple of those present offered to take the lead in organising next year’s Winter School – so do watch out for notice of the dates!

027 03 Feb 2016

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Media Training

Last week I spent a day in London with the two Moderators-elect for General Assembly (Revd Kevin Watson & Mr Alan Yates), the Deputy General Secretary for Discipleship (Richard Church) and another new Moderator (Rev Steve Faber, West Midlands) engaged in media training. It was an intensive day of preparing ourselves for producing a “Thought for the Day” at short notice, a live radio interview (the mics are so large you can hardly see the interviewer across the table), a live TV interview in the studio and then an outside broadcast interview. The day was superbly facilitated by Ali Hutchinson who is an experienced journalist and trainer. Each of these recordings was then played back to the group – with a chance to first offer our own view of how we performed, before peer criticism contributed to our understanding. I discovered (to the mirth of my peers) that when the countdown is given “3 – 2- 1-live” and the interviewer utters the first three syllables of her question that it is best not to collapse sideways and almost fall off the chair! In spite of such things we were all declared fit to be interviewed and would give a good account of the URC in the event.

026 27 Jan 2016

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