United Refo




1 Cowpe

r Street, Ipswich IP4 5JD






New surroundings


Ministers: Rev Adam Earle and Rev David Rees Oce:
E-mail: Web:
Tel:01473 724961 secretary@stjohnsurcipswich.org.u k www.stjohnsurcipswich.org.u k
Minister’s Letter Rev David R ees Refl ecting on the Holy Spirit It’s not lo ng till Pentecost Sunday, and I fi nd myself re fl ecting on the incredible power and presence of the Holy Spiri t in our lives. Pentecost is such a special time for us as Christians, one of the three great feasts in the Christian calendar. It’s a time to remember and celebrate t he outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the early disciples, as described in the book o f Acts. The Holy Spirit came like a rushing wind and tongues o f fi re, empowering the disciples to boldly proclaim the Gospel in languages they didn’t even know. Can you imagine witnessing such a miraculous event? But Pentecost isn't just a historical even t to commemorate; it’ s a reality we can experience today. The same Holy Spirit that fi lled the disciples almost 2000 years ago is alive and active in our lives right now. He is our Comforter, our Guide, our Advocate. He empowers us t o live out our faith boldly and to share the love of Christ with others. Sometimes, we migh t forget about the Holy Spirit or overlook her importance in our Christian lives. We get caught up in the busyness of life, relying on our own strength and wisdom to get through each day. But the truth is, we were never meant to do life on our o wn. We were meant to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling wit hin us. So as we approach Pentecost Sunday, let’s take some time to re fl ect on our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Are we allowing her to work in and through us? Are we open to her
leading in our lives? Ar e we seeking her guidance and wisdom in all that we do? And so, let’s pr ay for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our church and in our community and in ourselves . Let’s pray fo r hearts to be stirred, lives to be transformed, and souls to be saved. May we be a people who are continually fi lled with the Holy Spirit, shining the light of Christ wherever we go. As we celebrate Pente cost this year, let’s remember the incr edible gift we’ve been given in the Holy Spirit. Let’s lean into her presence and power, knowing that with her, all things are possible. Blessings, David
A note from Val It is with sadness we record the death of Rita Scopes, a long and faithful servant of St John’s. Way back in 1989, when our current buildings were open ed, Rita took on the task of ‘Bookings Secretary’ and, despite her ill health, cont inued until her death. Rita’s job was done very much behind the scenes, but it is a vital part of church life ensuring the worship area and acco mpanying rooms are booked for the various activities taking place during the week. Rita also liaised with the local council to ensure the building was available a s a Polling Sta tion for local elections. As well as ‘Bookings Secretary’, Rita was also the Funeral Steward a role carried out with great dignity and understanding of t he family’s needs. We will miss you Rit a, and our thoughts and prayers go to Raymond, Rosemary, Rachel and t heir families.
I would like t o acknowledge so meone else who quietly carries o ut an amazing job. Gwen was recently invited to an event in Bury St Edmunds where sh e received a Su ff olk Recognition Award for serv ices to Guiding, a journey she start ed around 58 years ago when she took leadership of the 23rd Ipswich Brownie Pack. Gwen has served as a Division Pack Holiday Adviser, is Treasurer for Hamilton Dis trict and continues as a Unit Helper of the 2nd Ipswich Rainbow s. Well done and congrat ulations, Gwen. As reported o n 18th April a t Church Meeting, Sara has resigned as Church Secretary. She will continue as an Elder but is currently taking time o ut from her church duties. Please keep Sara in your prayers and, if you are a letter/card writer, I’m sure she will be delighted to hear fro m you. Since the opening of the church, following the pandemic closure, Church fl owers have been provided by Mary A, Penn y C, Pauline G, and Sara P with occasional con tributions fro m a few others. I’m pleased to say Pauline and Gwen have o ff ered to reintroduce the Flower Rota so pleas e have a word with them if you would like to add your name. THANK YOU. Also at Church meeting, Richard W and Gwen G announced they will be stepping down from their Safeguarding supervisory roles at the end of 2024. Our thanks go to bot h of them for their leadership over the past 20 years. All Elders and leaders of organisa tions within the church are legally required to complete and update their Safeguarding knowledge and w e will need someone to take on the supervisory role. Please give this your consideration. CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING Saturday 11th May 10.30 am
Brian and Lesley’ s Community Co ff ee Morning is h eld each month, o n the 2nd Saturday. In May they have kindly agreed any
money donated w ill be given to CHRISTIAN AID. There will be a few extra stalls, i.e. cards, cakes and books/jig-saws. If you can contribute to any of the stalls, or help on the morning, please let V al know. Christian Aid envelo pes will be available for your donatio ns on Sunday 5th May and should be returned please by Sunday 19 th May. FELIXSTOWE WALK and TEA – Monday 3rd June at 2 pm In past years, we’ve enjoyed a short walk along the promenade, starting o ff from the pier and heading towards the Spa garde ns. Following our walk, w e’ve enjoyed a cup of tea and cake with o ur friends at Felixstowe URC. Please look out for the ‘sign up’ she et to be included in this event . Other Times and Dates to Note
Synod BIG DAY OUT Trinity Park 8 th June. South Su ff olk Area Partnership Gathering This is at Hadleigh URC Sunday 7 t h J ul y at 4.00 pm followed by a bring and share tea. Val V “Fruitfulness on the Frontline”.
The dates and times
Online via Castle Hill’s Zoom (ID: 889 953 6542) @ 19:00 PM
St John’s In Person @ 2:00 PM
Wed 08 th May Wed 22 nd May Wed 05 th June Wed 19 th June Wed 03 rd July
Thur 9 th May Thur 23 rd May Thur 6 th June Thur 20 th June Thur 4 th July
Reports from Church AGM
Treasurer’s Report You are thanked for O ff erings in March totalling £1,696 and for Communion Fund donations in April o f £55 . We were able to send a total donation of £105.50 to the R N L I. Our Church Accounts for 2023, having been approved by Elders, examined by our Independent Examiner, were duly adopted at our recent Annual G eneral Meeting. Should  anyone wish for a full detailed copy, we can send one to you by em ail or provide a hard copy - please ask Richard. A few facts for your in formation : Overall total income £58,728.30 (2022 £62,051). Overall total expenditure £58,895.46 (2022 £64,197). Net deficit over year £16 7.16 (2022 £2,146). Income from all sources of giving - direct, gift aid, gift day and donations £32,037 (2022 £35,872). Property lettings £13,699 (2022 £12,266). Community Coffee profit £401 Sunday am refreshments profit £382 Expenditure - Cost of Activities : Utilities, Insurance, Cleaning, Lif t, Maintenance, Administration, Licences, Organist, Pulpit supply and o ther costs - £18,930 (2022 £1 6,925). Ministerial Costs : £4,590 (2022 £3,814). Ministry & Mission Fund £19,080 (£19,080). We received donations totalling £375 in memory of Beryl Abram. We are having t o replace the dead hedging at the front of the C hurch - if a nyone would like to "donate a plant " - your monetary gift would be most welcome . As always, we are grateful for your generous financial support. Mary A & Richard W Church Secretary’s Annual Report April 2024 Last year was quite an active year for us. I thought I would divide the report into three sections Buildings , People and the Future. T o begin with, what a year it’s
been for B uildings! Firstly, an Ambulance ploughed into the front gardens. Fortunately there were some sturdy plants ov er 30 years old, that opposed the motion! Th is led to us arranging to hav e the garden cleared, re-planted and an area paved with a seat for thos e waiting for the bus or just needing a rest. A positive outcome. The n somebody decided to attempt to drive into the building via the Fire escape! T his dislodged the whole side of the building and destroyed the remaining section of garden. The remaining plants were removed and we are awaiting what amounts to major repairs. We had a tile replaced on the roof, toilet leaks and a water leak from the tank in the roof into the Playschool o ce. A team of volunteers has stripped and painted the fire escape. Well done to all involved. Thanks to Adam we n ow have some improved notice-boards in room 1. Then jus t at the ‘right time’ we had the quinquennial in spection to high-light the state of the buildings and suggest repair s and improvements needed and also to enable us to apply for grants for the repairs. Fortunately Blake has summarized the report and we now need to plan how we proceed. It was grea t to be able t o hi re t he building out to Framlingham Church for an away day. Considering People. We did well retaining our congregation after Covid, but th is year we have lost B eryl Abram, John Pulham and Rita Scope s all of whom played major roles in our church life. Beryl produced th e Advance for many years and helped with paper work for Rev Bob Woods; John w as an Elder, Church Treasurer, played the organ and helped organise the Bowls Club; and Rita was booking se cretary and pastoral visitor for many years. Al l gav e a l ot o f t heir tim e t o S t J ohn’ s f or which we are grateful. We welcomed our min ister David Rees into membership (in recognition of his overseeing St John’s and Castle Hill
door duty giving them a chance to meet parents and support leaders. Just being around means people can chat when they need to. Finally of course we all need to encourage our friends and family to join us …perhaps a ‘bring a friend’ Sunday?.. although that’s every Sunday reall y! Let’s  encourage each other and encourage others to join us .
Thanks Adrian Minister's Report to St John’s AGM, April 2024 Looking back at 2023, it see ms to me t hat it was a year of consolidation. We were fi nally out of the acut e issues that arose from Covid 19, a nd the general in fl ation brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. At least in the second half of last year, these cost increases began to subside,though many in society continue to struggle with the cost of living increases. Though the concern around t he Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel on the 7 th October and Israel's overwhelming military response to the people of Gaza, the vast majority have been innocent of any involvement, did result in many feeling unsettled and added further to the impression that life and society was not in a good place. The latest drone and missile attack by Iran recently has just added to the impression that the world is out of control. Though there are a few exceptions, those who feel able to return to church aft er Covid have done so and also we acknowledge those who have died, some of whom were gr eat servants of the church. Our ag e pro fi le is getting older, and some feel it is harder t o remain viable, and to do the 'extras'. However, we still undertake many activities that meet real needs and serve the people in the area aro und the church in various and caring ways. As we continue to prayerfully explore the Mission of th e church through the
initially) along with Jean Harvey and Roger Corall, eventually . It is always good to do things with our partner churches and we enjoyed singing our favourite hymns with Castle Hill and a joint c hoir. Our Lent studies went well and included members from Tacket St, with L eiston joining on line. (our se cond hymn sing was t o be o n April 20 th but now is to be r earra nged, we also have the church walk. and the Big Day out to come) We have also been very grateful for all the help we’ve received from the technical team at Castle Hill helping us to record our services and start usi ng OBS & YouTube. Rainbows and Brownies have be en doing well, reporting a hu ge range of activities to our Elders meeting. Unfortunately Rainbows will be looking for a new leader next year and als o the Playschool was rated unsatisfactory by OFSTED and are awaiting a rev iew of their programme and procedures. We must mention Gwen’s long service to Girl Guiding award (50+ years). Well done Gwen! We have 18 pe ople inv olved in door duty, an OBS team of 6, 19 people serving teas and coees, 16 readers, 7 serving Elders and about 9 visitors. This is good and on the surface seems a lot of involvement, but the re is a grou p of peo ple w ho are involved in most, if not all, of thes e. So  thinking of the Future, we need more volunteers to spread the work load, especially more Elders. Don’t underestimate your abilities! It’s a team eort, so we all can bring di erent strengths to the team! Similarly, just oering to program the heating, be on door duty, hoe the gardens, arrange the flowers, or serve the tea & co ee would mean that someone who does 3 jobs could just do 2. Ho w do we a ttr act m or e p eop le ? I haven’t got the answer but we must seriously think about this! The monthly Co ee Mornings are great at getting people in who may not come to c hurch. A big th ank you to Br ian & Lesl ey for the ir work on thi s. It is good to se e D avid attending important to see the minister! Indeed I think it is vital! Perhaps the minis ter could help o ut with
Mission Action Plan, we are awar e of ways that we can int entionally do more to engage in the circle of people who are in some way attached to the church and also to the wider community. The big questio n moving forward is how to resource the future o f the church. Though fi nance is an issue always, and especially aft er the quinquennial early this year highlighted numerous maintenance concerns, t he real concern is how do we enc ourage people to engage with the life and leadership of t his congregation. Rev Adam Earle and I continue to share ministerial responsibilit ies across the 5 churches of the Ipswich and East pastorate, and it was agreed that each of us would serve 'fo r a season' as the Primary Con tact Minister, the fi rst point of call in each church for ministerial input and concerns. I am presently t he PCM for St. John’s. I would like to acknowledge th e hard work and dedication by so many in making St John’s URC such a caring and hope- fi lled place. This includes, but is not limited to, the provision of online and frame service to tho se unable to attend. After the death of Moses, as a new ch apter started in the hist ory of t he people o f Israel, God called Joshua with these words, "I h ereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go ." (Joshu a 1:9) Perhaps we to o need to respond wit h courage and strength, acknowledging God's sure presence and support as we give thanks for 2023 and look forward to another year of worship, care and mission. Blessings David










the hedge plants which are :

Lonicera Nitida















cold spell!

Services at St John’s These are at 10:45 normally 5 May Sunday Worship and Communion Led by Peter Dawson 12 May Sunday Worship Led by Rev Adam Earle 19 May Sunday Worship Led by Rev David Rees 26 May Sunday Worship Led by Peter Dawson
2 June
Sunday Worship and Communion Led by Rev Adam Earle
After Service Coffee Rota Date Coffee Rota Names 05 May Greta a nd Hazel
12 May
Pauline and Jill L
19 May
Dorothy and Colin
26 May Mollie a nd Richard 02 June Mary A and Pauline
To get in touch and send contributions to Advance please use the email: advance@stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk Please note the deadline for the June 6 Advance is 22nd May
Pause for Thought

"We are all differ

ent p


It is up to us to make that d




ise everything fails."

John Tinniswood, the world's oldest living man, born 26 August, 1912.
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