St John’sUnitedReformed Church1 Cowper Street, Ipswich IP4 5JD WebAddress: www.stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk
NEWSLETTER FROM ST JOHN’S URCMinisters: Rev Adam Earle and Rev David Rees Office:
Tel:01473 724961 (Currently not available) email@example.com
Story TellingI wonder if you have lined up a Summer reading list? Books that you hope to have time to indulgeinwhenonholidayorsatonasun loungerinthegarden.Gillian(mywife)andI haveafriendwho,beforetheadventofthe KindleoriPadwhichenabledhertocarry hundredsofbooksinonelittleslip-oncase, wouldstockuponpaperbacks,thetrashierthe better,tokeepherselfoccupiedasshesatby the pool soaking up the rays.Idon’tknowaboutyoubutIloveastory.From myearliestdaysIrememberbeingseatedon oneorotherofmyparents’lapsenjoyingthe delights of “Sam Pig”, “My Naughty Little Sister”, “Milly-Molly-Mandy”or,myparticularfavourite, “TheThreeBilly-goatsGruff”.Integraltomuch ofmyearlylifewasthetellingofBibleStories, mymotherwasinfactmyfirstSundayschool teacher at the start of my faith journey. I particularlyenjoyedhearingaboutthefeeding ofthefivethousand,theturningofwaterinto wine,andthemiraculouscatchoffish-there may be a food theme developing there.Storiesplayanimportant,evenfundamental partofhumanlifeandmuchofour conversationinvolvesstoriesofonesortor another. As we grow and change and our circumstancesshiftourlivesarelikean unfoldingstorywhich,unlikethatpaperback, andprobablyforthebest,wecannottakea sneakpreviewofthefinalchapterorpageto findoutexactlyhowthingswillturnout. Although,aswewalklife’sjourneywithChrist, theHolySpiritatworkinus,wedohavethe assuranceofwhichBillyGrahamspokewhen hesaid,“I'vereadthelastpageoftheBible,it's allgoingtoturnoutallright.”Wehaveaplace in God’s eternal kingdom.
WearecalledandprivilegedtobepartofGod’s story.Thisdoesnotalways,atleastfromour perceptioninthemoment,seemtobesucha goodthing.Whentheplottwistsandturnsand theresolutionstotheproblemsseemever furtheraway,wemightdoubtorstruggletosee howGodisworkingthroughallthingsforthe goodofthosewholovehim(Romans8:28),or indeedthatGodknowstheplanshehasforus, “planstoprosperandnottoharmyou,plansto giveyouahopeandafuture.”(Jeremiah29:11). Thethingtoholdontoeveninthemost troubledchaptersofourlivesisthatGodloves us and that we remain part of God’s story just as Godremainspartofourseveninthedarkness of troubles when we find it hard to perceive that reality.WearealsocalledtoliveandsharetheGood News,theGospelstoryandhowGod’sstory, intermingledwithourown,transformsour stories for good. We sometimes struggle to thinkofwhattosayorhowtosharefaithwith others, but perhaps as astarting point we might think how when we engage in the natural activity ofchattingstories,wemightincludehowGodis partofournarrativeandhowwearepartof God’s. There is not aformulaic answer tohow to share the Gospel,a one size fits all model but as storiesarepartofourday-to-dayexperience, let’sshareoursandlistentothoseofothersin the light of God’s love and grace.Revd Adam Earle
HARVESTWearecomingtothetimewhenHarvestisvery muchinourmindsaswejourneyaround.The goldenwheatswellingreadyforthecombineto cutandbringinforthecomingyear.Thebarley ripeningandswellingtomakeintoflourand sourceotherfood.Whatkindofseedareyou? Areyoutheseedthatfallsonthepathorrocky ground or does your seed blossom and flourish
andgrow?Whatdoesitsaytousas Christians?DowehearGod’swordbutdo notrespondtoit,ignoreoreventhinkwe can’t do anything? Are we willing to bear fruit and work to further God’s kingdom?Harvestisnotonlythatofvegetables,fruit, but of God’s word and mission in church and intheneighbourhoodaround.Whatwe needtobeabletodothisisforallofyou, howeverunsure,tocontributeandshow yourfaithtothechurchandtopeople around.Ourchurchhasbeenfacingrepairs inthelastmonthwhichhashadaneffecton ourfinances.ThereforetheGiftDaywillbe veryimportanttokeeptheactivitiesand facilitiesrunningatthechurch.Pleasegive generously! Also your weekly giving - has this beenenhancedoverthelastyearordoyou still give what you gave ayear ago? I hear you say,doesn’tsheknowaboutthecostof living?CertainlyIdo,butmaybeonecoffee less aweek taken outside would increase our finances.Pensionershavebeenfortunatein havinganincreaseintheirpensionthisyear andmostprobablythesameincreasenext year.ThedateforHarvestisSunday24th September-moneycanbegiventoSarafor flowersandfoodifitiseasierforyou. DecorationofthechurchwillbeonFriday September 22nd in the afternoon at 2.15pm. Help appreciated.Thank you for all your support and may God bless you and keep you in love.Sara
Harvest ArrangementsItisonSunday24thSeptember.Itwouldbe appreciatedifmembersofthecongregation would bring a jam jar filled with flowers from the gardentoputinthewindows.Tinnedorpacket foodswillbeappreciatedandwillbegoingto FIND.TheServiceisbeingtakenbyRev.AdamEarle.It is GIFT DAYfor the church as well and it is very importantthisyearasthechurchhashada variety of repairs this year which has taken atoll
on our financial situation. So your gift isreally necessary to enable our church to be kept open.Quinquennial InspectionTheeldershaveaskedtheBuildingGroupto organisethisforthechurchsothatourbuildingcan beinspectedprofessionallytoascertainwhat maintenance is necessary to ensure the fabric of the building is maintained. It will cost us to enable this to happenbutitmayenableustoapproachSynodfor finance to carry out their recommendations.Volunteer Needed:AvolunteerisneededonaThursdayfrom4.15pm to6pmtobeondutywhileRainbowsareatthe church. Please volunteer as it is essential as our currentvolunteerisoffonacruise.Pleaseseean elder if you would like to help. Thank you.Sara
Some Dates for Your DiaryRev David Rees becomes a member of St John’son 03 September!Work Party and Coffee Morning 12 August Elders Meetings: Thursday31 August,12 October, 09 November, 4 December. Church Meeting21 SeptemberTREASURERS REPORTYouarethankedforOfferingsinJuneof£1,547.05 anddonationsinJulytotheCommunionFundofa further £23.This enabled us to send a total donation of £65 to the Mission Aviation Fellowship.Withregardtoourdamagedgardenfollowingthe collisioninvolvinganambulanceandacar,wecan adviseweareincommunicationwiththeEastofEnglandAmbulanceInsurersandcurrentlyawaiting their advice on our claim.Our Annual Harvest Gift Daywill beon 24th September.Thanks for all your supportMary A and Richard WFINANCE ! FINANCE ! FINANCE !Aboringsubjectformany,butonewhichaffectsall ofus,especiallyduringthecurrentcostofliving situation. It is also one which affects YOUR CHURCH. Year on year, and certainly for the last few, our
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that Godwill make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhousedoes not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it."
Thought for the Day
C S Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity To get in touch and send contributions to Advance please use the email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease note the deadline for the September Advance is 25thAugust
After Service Coffee Rota
Expenditure has been in excess of our Income, which is certainly not sustainable as we look to the future. For example, the actual deficits have been:2017 - £4,658; 2018 - £1,154; 2019 - £1,679; 2020- £3221; 2022 - £2,146.In2021–madeasurplusof£7,746duetothe exceptionalfinancialcircumstancesarisingoutof the Covid pandemic that year.We received £3,800from our Insurersfor“lossof income”, activitiesand ourExpenses of some£2,500lessaCouncilGrantof£1,250toassist restartingasbuildingswerebeingusedlessthat year.OuronlysourcesofIncomearefromyour generous giving via Offerings, donations, Gift days, fund raising and lettings.OntheIncomeside,directgivinghassteadily decreasedfrom£33,000in2017to£30,400last year.OntheExpenditureside,allcosts,likeeveryone else’s,haveincreased.Overthelastfewyears,we have incurred increasing costs relating to our building maintenance. For example in just this year to date – fire escape repair - £1,200, replacement of cold water tank in loft - £1,400and plumbing updates to toilets and radiators - £1,250. We have prepared a budget forecast for this currentyearandonthebasisofknownandlikely costs,wearepredictingashortfallofaround £4,500 by end December 2023.We feel it is right that you should all be aware of St John’sfinancialsituation.Weareverythankfulfor allyourgenerousgivingfortheworkandmission of the Church, but if you feel able to give even just asmallincrease,thiswouldbegratefully appreciated.Richard and the Elders
Services at St John’s URC are at 10:45 normallyDateService Leader(s)06AugMorning Worship and Communion Rev Adam Earle
Morning Worship Peter Dawson
Morning Worship Hybrid Rev Adam Earle
Morning Worship Liz Fox
Morning Worship and CommunionRev David Rees and Rev John Cook(with David received into membership at St John’s)
DateCoffee Rota Names06AugMary A and Pauline13AugSheila and Andrew20AugMollie and Richard27AugJill B and Jenny
Lesley and Brian
TheChurchDirectory,as atJuly2023,iscurrently being distributed. Sadly, howeverhardwetry,some littlegremlingetsinthe way!TopmarkstoJuliette whoalertedmeonthe duplicationofatelephone number.PleasechangeAndrew and Jackie Walker's to 422119.
Our Website Information Ever wonder how many people visit our website? Well at the moment it is 18 to 21people aday which compares to about12 tothe urcsouthsuffolkap org.uksite, which I alsolook after. All sorts of devices (e.g chromebook, Mac, Windows and mobile phones) on differentbrowsersareused to access the site. John B Editor