United Reformed



1 Cowper

Street, Ipswich IP4 5JD

Web Address:





Photo Veronica White


Ministers: Rev Adam Earle and Rev David Rees Office:
E-mail: Web:
Tel:01473 724961 secr etary@stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk www.stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk
Mini ster’s Letter The Jou rney Continue s This year March begins some way into t he season of Lent and concludes with the feast of Easter Day. L ent , from t he wor d “lengthen” re minds us of the ending of Winter and t he beginning of Spring. The journey of Lent im pact s on us i n var ious ways according t o our tr aditions and practices but it is for many a time for re fl ec tion and r ene wal in readiness for t he sorrows o f Ho ly Week and the joys of Resurrection Sunday. At a recent comm unity pr ayer mee ting in Leiston we were dire cted t o the wonderful passage o f Scripture fou nd in Colossia ns 3:12-17. T his sums up s o m uch o f what is important for the Christian faith journey and gives us s om e ve ry use ful pointers fo r our re fl ection during the Lente n per iod. Plea se join m e to dwell in this pass age for a few moments. 12 As God’s chosen o nes, h ol y and beloved, clothe yourselves wi t h compas s ion, kindn ess, humi li t y, meekness, and pat ien ce. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with l ove, which binds everyt hing t ogether in perfect harmo ny. Fasting, in times past, and s till in some traditions, was ofte n a cc om panied by a ch ange o f at tire. Clot hing bec ame an outward sign o f inner inte ntion a s in repentance humilit y folk donned the classic “sack-cloth and ashes” or, a t leas t, something a little m ore plain or so mbre. Paul invites us to consider our inner clo thing, the c har ac terist ics which ar e t hen revealed in our outward demeanour and
behaviour. The list he gives pa ints a clea r picture of a “Christ-like” individual, not weak but strong i n response to t he needs o f others and our service t owa rd God. T he characteristics may, t o some, a ppea r less than desirable t o the world ar e very mu ch the high fashion of the Ki ngdom o f G od. Lent can then be a time to refresh our “inner wardrobe” and maybe clear out some o f the garments like sel fi s hnes s or pride. 13 Bear with one another a nd , if a ny one has a co mpla int again st another, forgive each ot he r; ju st as the L ord ha s forgiven y ou, so you also mu st fo rgive. Forgiveness i s a t the heart of the Gos pel. Through God’s grace we are o ff ered forgiveness in Christ as we repent (turn right around) and come back to God. Forgiveness gets a mention i n the Lord’s Prayer and we ask that God will “forgive us our trespasses” but then cha lle nge ourselves t o be forgivi ng in a pro found wa y, “as we forgive those who trespass a ga inst us”. In other words, we pray for forgiveness in a s far as we are willing t o forgiv e both ourselves and ot her s. Tha t is quite a sobering thought, whic h, in Ma tt hew’s account, Jesus further em phas ises. Forgiveness is not just for when people sa y they are sorry to us . Neit her should it be confused with justice. Forgivene ss is letting go of the wrong do ne to us so that we can be free to move on. It does not mean t hat the person we forgive will not hav e t o de al with the consequence s of thei r actio ns or indeed that justice is not sec ured i n God’s greater plan. Unforgiveness can be a damaging and painful thing that can deform lives with bitterness. That’s why God t akes forgiveness so se rio usl y and so sho uld we another theme for Le nt.
15 And let the peace of Chris t rule in you r he arts , to which indeed you were called in the on e body. And be thankful. We often pray for peace as we look a t a world where s o many have no peace and wer e con fl ict s r age. T he peace of Chris t is more than just a n end to fi ghting, mor e tha n stillness o r silence, it is born of faith and hope in God. It acknowledges that whilst the world is troubled, and that our lives are far from still and restful, at heart we have the assurance of eternity with God through Christ , t hat i n his plan all things will be justly resolve d and that troubles will cease. This is, a s Paul r eminds us , more tha n a n a spira tion, it is a calling. Let’s pray for peace as Lent pro ceeds. 16 Let the word of Ch rist dwell in you ric hly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and wit h gratitud e in you r hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritua l songs to God. God’s word in Scripture and br ought t o lif e fully in Christ Jesus mus t a lways be at the heart o f our faith journey. These days we are drawn to sound bites and inspiring quotes but we are encour aged her e to allow the word t o dwell in us richly more t han jus t a little nibble o r visit to our favour ite texts but a regular a nd health y diet of scr ipture, through Bible reading, study and re fl ec tion. As Jesus stated whe n te mpted in the desert, “One doe s not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mou th of God.” T his is the nourishment that sus ta ins us in faith. Lent is a good time to establish, re-esta blish or increase the habit of e ngaging wit h God’s word day by da y. 17 And whatever y ou do, in word or de ed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God t he Fathe r th roug h him. Traditionally folk have given things up as part of their Lenten observance. Ma ny now re fl ect not on we don’t do but what we do. All our actions and living sho uld be in accordance with the will of God. It ’s a challenge, we are so good a t “wandering from the narrow way” and our need fo r constant redirect ion is re fl ec ted in our weekly confessi on i n worship – a re-t uning to G od’s
way. Lent is always a time for taking st ock and reviewing our motivat ion a nd act ions . Let’s love life wit h C hrist and continue to live Lent over the coming days. Revd Adam Earle From the Church Secr etary I’m sitting in my lounge, t he wind i s howling outside with the promise of rain la ter. While writing this I have t he heat ing on . T he snowdrops a nd a conites ar e beginning to appear and the da ff odils ar e appear ing in bud, suggesting that spring is not far away. Ha, I hear you maybe doubting this as snow, sleet and rain are all readily appearing during Februa ry a nd int o Ma rc h. But just remembering how fortunate we ar e, as I wa s reminded o f the eart hquake i n Southern Turkey a year ago. Yes a whole year! The Turkish Government promis ed 330,000 houses and only 50,000 have be en built. Ma ny people r emain i n t ent s and refugee camps, and some of the distant areas are still waiting for any suppor t! W hat can we do? We can pray for support f or them, fo r international agencies to work there tirelessly easing the burden of t his nat ion. We can donat e what we c an, a nd ho pe tha t the pa in, injuries and su ff ering is eased in the comin g days. As we journey through Marc h ourselves jus t call to mind the turmoil, the su ff eri ng and rejection that Jes us mus t h ave fe lt. The bet rayal by Pe ter and Juda s, the awful journey c arrying the cross a nd fi nally the Cruci fi xion. We all go through very di ffi cul t times mentally and physic ally, wondering how things will reco ver o r work out. As we explore further in our Len ten studies, let us remember what we individually, or as a community, can make happe n t o enha nce the message of love, commitment and peace not only locally but na tion ally and interna tionally. And the Peace of God which passeth a ll understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus C hrist Amen - Phili ppians C h4 v 7. Sara
"Have patience with all thin gs, but first of all with yourself." To get in to uch and send contr ibuti ons to Advance please use th e email: advance@stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk Please note the de adline for the April Advance is 24t h March
After Service Coffee Rota Date Coffee Ro ta Na mes
Thursday Forum at Christ Church Tacke t Stree t Refreshments 12 noon - 1.00 pm Talks  1:10 -1:50 Season 2023/2024 Mar 7 th Ship-building in Ipswich Chris Turland, local historian and artist Mar 14 th Re flecons on a Fireman’s Life in Suff olk Ken Se ager Mar 21 th Ipswic h R eggae Band Thursday Forum takes an Easter Break for two weeks
St. Franci s de Sales (1567 – 1622)
Important Dates Dat e
Plac e
Time 03 March St Andrew's, Rus hmere Monthly Service
18: 30 09 March Community Coffee Morning 10:30
Services at St Jo hn’s These are at 10:45 norma lly 03 Mar Sunday Worship and Communion Led by Ann Cook 10 Mar Su nday Worship Mothering Sunday Led by Peter Dawson
17 Ma r
Sunday Worship Led by Rev David Rees
24 Mar
Sunday Worship Led by Rev David Atkins
29 Mar Go od Friday
United Service at 10:30 Led By Rev David Rees with Mis si on Ipswich E as t
31 Mar Easter Day Service and C omm union Rev Adam Earl e 7 April Sunday Worship and Commun io n Allison Sm it h
03 March
Pauline and Jill L
10 March
Dorothy and Colin
17 March
Mollie and Richard
24 March
Jill B and Je nny
31 March
Mary A and Pauline
7 Apr il
Lesley and Bri an
Pause for Thought
LENT STUDY COURSE 2024 06 th MAR – Wk 3 Who can be saved? J ohn 4:7-10 13 th MAR – Wk 4 Wha t do we ha ve to do to be saved? John 9: 24-25, 32-33 20 th MAR – Wk 5 How are we sa ved? Joh n 11:21- 27
TREASU RERS REPORT You are thanked for O ff er ings in Janu ary o f £1,779 and donations t o the Com munion Fun d in Februa ry of £48. This e nabled us to send £60 t o Emmaus Su ff olk . We have received donations in memo ry of Beryl Abram totall ing £349.57. The Accounts for 2023 ha ve be en approved by Elders and are awaiting examination by our External Examiner. They will show a total Income of £58,728.30 and Expendi ture of £58,895.46 over the year, producing a net deficit of £167.16. Full copies of the Accoun ts will be prese nted at the AGM in April. As always, many thanks for your generous financial support throughout the yea r. Mary A & Richard W
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