St John’s Un it ed R eforme d Church 1 Cowper Street, Ipswich IP4 5JD Web Address: www.stjohnsu rcipswich.org.uk



NEWSLETTER FROM ST JOHN’S URC Ministers: Rev Adam Earle and Re v David Rees O ffi ce:
E-mail: Web:
Tel:01473 724961 (Curr ently not available) secr  etary@stjohnsurcipswich.org.uk www.stjohnsu rcipswich.org.uk
Story Tel li ng I wonder if you have lined up a Summer read ing list? Books that you ho pe to h ave time to indulge in whe n o n ho liday o r sat o n a s un lounger i n the garden. Gillian (my wife) and I have a friend who, before t he advent o f t he Kindle o r iPad which enabled her t o ca rry hundreds of books in one little slip- o n cas e, would stock up o n paperba cks, t he tr as hier the better, to keep herself occupied as she sa t by the pool soaking up the r ays. I don’t know about you but I love a s to ry. From my earliest days I remem ber being s ea ted on one or other of m y parent s’ laps enjoying the delights of “Sam Pig”, “My Naughty Little Sister”, “Milly-Molly-Mandy” or, my particular favour ite , “The Three Billy-goats Gru ff ”. Inte gr al to muc h of my early life was the telling o f Bibl e Stories , my mother was in fac t m y fi r st Sunday school teac her a t the st ar t o f m y fait h journe y. I particularly enjoyed he ar ing about the feeding of the fi ve thousa nd, t he t urning o f wa te r into wine, and the miraculou s ca tch of fi s h - t her e may be a food theme developing t her e. Stories play a n important, even fundamenta l par t of hum an life and much of our conversation involves s torie s of o ne sort or another. As we gr ow and cha nge and our circumstances shift our live s are like a n unfolding story which, unlike that pa per back, and probably for the best, we can not take a sn eak previe w o f the fi nal c hapt er or pa ge t o fi nd out exactly how things will turn o ut. Although, as we walk life’s journey with Christ, the Holy Spirit at work in us, we do have the assurance o f whic h Billy G ra ham spoke wh en he said, “I've read the last pa ge o f the Bible , it's all going to turn out all r ight.” We have a pla ce in God’s eter nal kingdom.
We are called and privileged t o be part o f God’s story. This does not always, a t least from our perception i n the moment, seem to be suc h a good thing. When the pl ot twis ts and turns and the resolutions t o the pr oble ms seem ever further away, we might doubt o r struggle t o see how God is working thro ugh all things fo r the good o f those who l ove him (Romans 8:28), or indeed that God knows the plans he ha s for us, “plans to prosper and not to ha rm you, plan s t o give you a hope and a fut ure.” (Je re miah 29:11). The thing t o hold on to even i n the most troubled chapters of our lives is that God love s us and that w e remain part of God’s story just as God remains pa rt of ours even in t he darknes s of troubles when we fi nd it hard to perceive that re ality. We are also ca lled to live and sha re t he Good News, the Gospel story and how God’s s to ry, intermingled with our own, tra nsforms our stories for good. We sometimes str uggle t o think o f what t o say or how t o share fait h wit h others, but perhaps a s a starting point we might think how when we engage i n the natural activity of chatting stories, we might include ho w Go d is part of our narrat ive and how we ar e pa rt of God’s. There is not a formulaic answer to how t o share the Gospel, a one size fi ts all model but a s stories are part of our da y-to-day expe rienc e, let’s share our s a nd listen to thos e of ot her s in the light of God’s love and grac e. Revd Adam Earle
HARVEST We are coming t o the time whe n Harv es t is very much i n our minds a s we journey around. The golden wheat swelling rea dy for the combine to cut and bring in for the c omin g ye ar. T he ba rley ripening and swelling to ma ke into fl o ur and source other food. What kind of seed are yo u? Are you the seed that falls o n the pat h or ro c ky ground or does your seed blossom and fl o urish
and grow? What does i t say to u s as Christia ns? Do we he ar God’s word but do not respond to it, ignore o r even think we can’t do anything? Are we willing t o bear fruit and work to further God’s kingdom? Harvest is not only that o f vegetables, fr uit, but of God’s word and miss ion in church and in the neighbourhood around. What we need to be able to do this i s for all o f yo u, however unsur e, t o contr ibute a nd s how your faith to the churc h a nd to people around. Our church has been facing repairs in the last month which ha s h ad an e ff ect on our fi nances. Therefore t he Gift Da y will be very important t o keep the activities and facilities running a t the church. P lease give generously! Also your weekly giving - has this been enhanced over the last ye ar o r do you still give what you gave a year ago? I hear you say, doesn’t she know about the cos t of living? Certainly I do, but maybe one c o ff ee less a week taken outs ide would i ncrease our fi nances. Pensioners have been fortunate in having a n increase in t heir pension t his year and most probably the same incre as e next year. The date for Harves t is Sunday 24th September - money can be given t o Sa ra for fl owers and food if it is easier fo r you. Decoration o f the churc h will be o n Friday September 22nd in the afte rnoon at 2.15pm. Help appreciated. Thank you for all your support a nd ma y God bless you and keep yo u in lo ve. Sara
Harvest Arrang ements It is o n Sun day 2 4th September . It would be appreciated if mem ber s o f th e congre gation would bring a jam jar fi lled with fl owers from the garden to put in the windows. Tinne d o r packet foods will be apprec iated and wi ll be going to FIND . The Service i s being taken by Re v. Adam Ea rle. It is GIFT DAY for the church a s well and it is very important this ye ar as t he church ha s had a variety of repairs this year which has taken a toll
on our financial situation. So your gift is r ea lly necessary to enable our churc h to be kept open. Quinquenni  al In  spection The elders have asked t he Building Gr oup t o organise this for the c hurc h s o t hat our building c an be inspected professiona lly t o asce rt ain what maintenance i s necessary t o ensure the fabric o f the building is maintained. It will cost us to enable this to happen but it may enable us t o approa ch Synod for fi nance to carry out their recommendations. Volunteer Needed: A volunteer is needed o n a Thursday from 4. 15 pm to 6 pm t o be on duty while Rainbows a re at t he church. Please volunteer as it is es sentia l as ou r current volunteer is o ff o n a cruise. Plea se see an elder i f you would like to help. Thank you. Sara
Some Dates for Your Diary Rev David Rees becomes a member of St Joh n’s on 03 Sept ember! Work Party and Coffee Morning 12 Augu st Elders Meetings: Thursday 31 Augu st, 12 October, 09 Nove mbe r, 4 Dec em ber. Church Meet ing 21 Sept ember TREASU RERS R EPORT You are t hanked for O ff e rings in J une o f £1,547.05 and donations i n July t o the Communion Fund of a furt he r £23 . This enabled us to send a t ot al donat ion of £65 to the Mission Aviation Fellowship. With regard t o our da maged gar den following the collision involving a n ambulance a nd a car , we c an advise we are in c ommunic ation with t he E ast of England Ambulance Insurers and c urr ent ly await in g their advice o n o ur claim. Our Annual Harves t Gif t D ay will be on 24t h September. Thanks for all your suppor t Mary A and Richard W FINANCE ! FINANCE ! FINANCE ! A boring subject for many, but one which a ff ects all of us, especially during the current co st o f living situation. It is also one which a ff ects YOUR CHURCH. Year on year , a nd c er tainly for the last few, our
“The Christian does not thi nk G od will lo ve us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He lov es us; just as the roof of a greenhouse d oes 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 Chri stianity To get in touch and send contributi ons to Adva nce please use the em ail: advanc e@stjohnsu rci pswich.org.uk Please note the deadline fo r the Se p te m be r Ad va nce is 2 5 th August
After Ser vic e Co ffee Ro ta
Expenditure has been in exc es s of our Inc ome, 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. In 2021 made a surplus of £7,746 due to the exceptional fi nancial circumstances arising out of the Covid pandemic t hat yea r. We rec eived £3,800 from our Insure rs for “loss of income”, activities and our Expenses of s ome £2,500 less a Council Grant o f £1,250 to a ssist restarting a s buildings wer e be ing used les s tha t year. Our only so urces of Incom e are from your generous giving via O ff erings, donations, Gift days, fund raising a nd let tings. On the Income side, direct giving has st eadily decreased from £33,00 0 in 2017 t o £30,400 la st year. On the Expenditure side, all costs, like everyo ne else’s, have incr eas ed. Ove r t he last fe w yea rs, we have incurred increasing costs r ela ting t o our building maintenanc e. For e xample in just t his year to date fi r e esc ape repair - £1,200 , replacement of cold water tank in loft - £1,400 and plumbing updates to toilets and radiators - £1,250. We have prepared a budge t for ec ast for this current yea r a nd o n the basis of known and likely costs, we are predicting a shortfall of ar ound £4,500 by end Decembe r 2023. We feel it is right that you should all be aware o f St John’s fi nancial situation. We are ve ry tha nkful for all your generous giving for the wo rk and missio n of the Church, but if you feel able t o gi ve even just a small increase , th is would be gra tefully appreciated. Ri chard and t he E lders
Services at St Jo hn’s UR C are at 10:45 n or mal ly Dat e Servi ce Le a der(s) 06 Aug Morning Worship and Co mmunion Rev A dam Earl e
13 Aug
Morning Worship Peter Dawso n
20 Aug
Morning Worship Hybri d Rev A dam Earl e
27 Aug
Morning Worship Liz Fox
03 Sept
Morning Worship and Commu nion Rev David Rees and R ev Jo h n Cook (with D avid r eceived i nto membership at St Jo hn’s)
Dat e C offee R ot a Names 06 Aug Mary A and P aul in e 13 Aug Sh eila an d Andr ew 20 Aug Moll ie and R ic har d 27 Aug Jill B and Jenny
03 Sept
Lesley and Br ian
The Churc h Directo ry, as at July 20 23, is currently being distributed. Sadly, however hard we try, s ome litt le gre mlin gets in the way! Top marks to J ulie tt e who aler ted m e o n t he duplication o f a telephone num ber. Please cha nge Andr ew a nd Ja ckie Walker's to 422119.
Val V
Our Website Info rmation Ever wonder how ma ny peo ple visit our websit e? Well at the moment it is 18 to 21people a day which compares to a bout 12 to t he urcsouthsuffolkap org.uk site, which I also look aft er. All sorts of devices (e.g chrom ebo ok, Mac, Windows and mobile phones) on differ ent browse rs a re used to access the sit e. Joh n B Edi to r
£5 pe r family
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