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JairusHope Springs Eternal. Newsletter No 40 - July 2021

Jesus reaches across the barrier of prejudice. Jairus, a religious leader, asks Jesus to heal his daughter. While Jesus is on his way to his home, a woman, suffering with bleeding, dares to touch his cloak.

In ancient Jewish culture, bleeding made you unclean, so this woman would have been an outcast, somebody who would have experienced prejudice on a daily basis as she attempted to live her life. There would literally be a barrier between herself and the community which she was once part of. In her desperation, she reaches out in an attempt to cross that boundary to be healed (by touching Jesus’ robe) and Jesus also crosses that same boundary when he not only insists on finding out who she is, but also does not condemn her actions as he offers her healing.

I suppose barriers is a polite term, for what we are really talking about is prejudice that exists between people, and it manifests itself in many forms. The woman who suffered from bleeding would have experienced prejudice. Leprosy, a common ailment in Jesus’ time resulted in many people experiencing prejudiced against and because of their condition were exiled from society.

In reality, prejudice against those who are different from ourselves exists throughout life and affects each and every one of us. Can you recall a situation when you have experienced prejudice against yourself? Such prejudice may simply be because of our educational attainment, the job we do or where we live. When you add in factors such as race, colour, and religion there is the potential to build real and significant barriers between people.
Prejudice in our world and the problems it produces is nothing new. When Philip first meets Jesus, Philip excitedly went to tell his brother Nathanial that he had met the one prophesised by Moses. When Nathanial heard that Jesus came from Nazareth, his response was "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”. Probably a bit of banter between brothers but doubtless it had its undertones, in the same way that we would say can anything good come out of Widnes, St. Helens, or Wigan?

Jesus met prejudice against himself even in his own town of Nazareth, it is recorded in the Gospels that he was rejected when he spoke in the synagogue. Whilst they may have marvelled at his knowledge, they reminded themselves that he was just the son of Joseph the Carpenter.

Elsewhere in the Gospels we find evidence of prejudice. The parable of ‘ The Good Samaritan’ is a good example as it highlights barriers and prejudices in a number of ways, a Priest, a Levite and a Samaritan all had the opportunity to help the stricken traveller, but it was left to the poor despised Samaritan to demonstrate the love and kindness to those who are different from ourselves that Jesus requires of all his followers.

When we look at what Jesus demands of his followers in very stark terms as demonstrated both personally by his actions and through his teachings, we begin to realise the enormity of the transformation we must make to become his true followers. To take on his likeness.

Covid regulations
Covid Regulations.

There is much confusion on what we can do and what we can’t do during the current pandemic, and this extends to the use of our Church and Hall.

The recent Government announcement that pushed back the full relaxation of Covid rules until July 19th at the earliest means that we cannot change the current use of both Church and Hall. Church can only be used for Christian Worship, Weddings and Funerals and social distancing must be maintained. Activities in the hall are limited to six people or two households.

There are a few exemptions, but none can honestly be applied to our situation.

Church Services
Church Services for July

Sunday 4th July at 10.30 – Sue McArthur (Sacramental Service)
Sunday 11th July at 10.30 – Christine Ormerod
Sunday 18th July at 10.30 – Susan McArthur
Sunday 25th June at 10.30 – Frank Pemberton
Sunday 1st August at 10.30 – Rob Brooks (Sacramental Service)

Hybrid Worship
Hybrid Worship

Since our return to worship in church on Palm Sunday we have been able to introduce Hybrid Worship whereby members can either join us in church or participate via Zoom over the internet.

It is so simple to join by Zoom using the Zoom Meeting ID 874 0789 6194 and Password 427632. You don’t even need to be seen as you have the option to leave your camera off. Already, each week a handful of members are joining our morning worship through this method. Why not give it a try?

Bible Thoughts.
This month Roy takes us into the Old Testament and a reading from Nehemiah 1. 4-11.
God rejoices in our prayers. He loves us to talk to Him, share our lives with Him and draw close to Him. Shall we pray!

Birthdays and Anniversaries in July.
1st July - Ray Ursell, 2nd - Glenys Reynolds, Pat Weaver will celebrate her ninety-third birthday on 12th July. Ken and Betty Rowlands celebrate their Wedding Anniversary on the 15th July. 21st – Anne Pridden; 22nd July - John Sutton and Leslie Baguley; 24th July – Roger Hazeldine; 25th July -Sandra Mathias; 26th July - Allyson Ashcroft; 27th July – Bill Banks and Marion Roberts; 30th July – Joyce Meredith 91st birthday; 31st July – Ron Banks 96th birthday.

Refreshments after Morning Worship.

With the many uncertainties surrounding the use of the hall it has been suggested we should use the Church Garden for refreshments following Sunday Morning Worship. The one difficulty is the British weather which is a problem to forecast! So, we cannot say when we will be making refreshments available in advance and it will only be able to be announced at the Sunday Service on the day. The second Sunday in July is the first likely day when we shall be providing refreshments and as it is summer fruit cordial may replace tea and coffee.

Another suggestion is that we should hold a Coffee Afternoon during a weekday. Again, this is weather dependent and if we do decide that this is possible then we will contact everybody directly to advise.

Autumn Activities
There is still much doubt about when we will be able to use the hall again for normal activities. The Church Leaders have therefore begun to explore the type of weekday and evening activities that we may want to attempt to organise for the Autumn. These are activities that could be held on the Church premises or over ‘Zoom’. Cluster Group Leaders will be asked to contact members of their groups to see what level of interest there is in each of the activities listed below.

It is possible that we may choose one night in the week, say a Tuesday, and run a different activity on four Tuesdays of each month. For example, ‘Tuesday at 8’ may run on every second Tuesday and a Quiz Evening on every third Tuesday. Other events would possibly be held on the first and fourth Tuesdays. Possible events: - ‘Tuesday at 8’, A Quiz Night, A Book Club, A Prayer Meeting, A Bible Study Course (It has been suggested that we undertake the Bible Society’s, ‘The Bible Course’ lasting eight sessions. It is also hoped to resume ‘Coffee and Conversation’ and Choir. Perhaps a daytime ‘Short Walks’ group to explore nearby areas. Any other ideas? Let Kath, Anne or Rob know.

Thanks to all who have recently supported the Church financially, donated items for the ‘Foodbank’ and ‘White Elephant Sale’, all are much appreciated. If you require items to be collected for the ‘White Elephant Sale’ or ‘ Foodbank’ please contact Anne or Kath.