Pastoral Letter: w/e 13th March 2021

Dear Friend from Bridport United Church, Uploders Methodist Church or Hope and Radipole United Reformed Churches 

Well I am back at the desk after a couple of weeks off - the first another strange but still restful week of leave and the second incorporating a little bit of hand surgery to sort (hopefully!) out my carpal tunnel issues.  The latter had its funny side as I chose to join a Methodist Ministers’ virtual gathering on Zoom (since I had nothing else to do obviously!) and had to brief the hosts that my hand was being held up to elevate and not to draw attention so that I could make a contribution to the discussion.

To make matters worse, John Yarrien suggested that I looked like I was raising my arms in praise to the Lord for the whole day!  

Mind you I don't suppose that's a bad way to spend a day?

Anyway, as is always the case, the first thing I had to do when entering my study was to delve into the backlog of emails, a bit of a trial.  In the event, though, my eyes fell on an email that was right at the top of the list that cheered me up immensely.  It referred to a former member of Bridport United Church who had left before I arrived but was well known by our folks and I copy extracts of the email below:

I would be very grateful if you could thank Thelma's friends in your congregation who sent greetings on her 100th birthday. I gather it is many years since Mrs Jackson and her late husband worshipped at Bridport United Church, but it was obvious from the greetings cards that their time there was still recalled with fondness and thankfulness on her birthday. We celebrated this exciting occasion here at Hall Grange, (a Methodist Home for the Aged,) on 20th February. 

I am a fellow-resident and my room is just opposite Thelma's room, so each morning I am greeted with a smile like the one I tried to capture in a series of photographs I took specially for her birthday. It is an inspiring thought that Thelma's journey through life has been sustained by Methodist tradition, and the fellowship of congregations in Ashford, Clapham and of course, Bridport. She and her late husband Dick must have contributed so much to the life of each church in turn. (Two people, "Whose praise in the Gospel is throughout all the churches") Now, though sadly without Dick, Thelma continues to be part of the fellowship here in Shirley. 

I realise that those in Bridport who kindly remembered Thelma on her birthday are probably themselves, "Of Riper Years." For younger Church members, it will be impossible to visualise her as someone who was once as active in the life of the church as they are now. But, old or young, I hope everyone will join me in giving thanks for Thelma's journey of faith. I attach a copy of the Royal greetings card, but marvellous as this was, the many cards she received from family and friends were the ones to treasure. 

I must mention that Thelma's daughter, Nicola, who lives in Australia, organised a 100th birthday party in her mother's honour and this included a special Hummingbird cake. The youngest of Thelma's great-grand-children, Aiden, (whose birthday is five days' before hers,) cut the cake on her behalf. How amazing that thanks to Facebook, many people in Woy Woy, New South Wales, who were celebrating the 100th birthday by proxy, were able to send their congratulations from ten-thousand miles away! 

In the above paragraphs I have been celebrating one-hundred remarkable years, but we should think of the staff at Hall Grange who look after us, day and night. Please remember the community in your  prayers. 

Yours in faith and fellowship of the Gospel,

Adrian Falks, a fellow resident. 


So - your Sunday Service Options this week:

1)  With this current Lockdown gradually being relaxed we are working towards agreement when communal in-person worship will be commenced so watch this space and I will let you know as soon as a decision is made?


2) This week’s Video Service on YouTube is led by the Rev'd John  Yarrien and the video will be on YouTube from 5pm Saturday via the following Link (or via the Circuit Facebook Group):


3) The Audio Service  from the United Reformed Church will this week from the Daily Devotions Team is being led by Rev'd Clare Downing, currently serving as Moderator of both the Wessex Synod and of the General Assembly, sharing the role with Mr Peter Pay (who is incidentally leading worship next week!).  This week we look at John's gospel, at one of possibly the most well-remembered passages of the gospel. Songs include the traditional Zimbabwean Shona song Uyai Mose (translated as "Come all you people"), Bernadette Farrell's Christ Be Our Light, Shout for joy the Lord has let us feast and Praise, I will praise you Lord.

The penultimate hymn may have given you the clue. We will be sharing in the Lord's Supper during worship. If you wish to join us, please have some bread and wine/juice with you when worship begins.

4) And your bonus this week is an apology from me!  I told you last week that the Soul Space Video on the topic of Being Perfect was the last in the current series of Impossible Commands in the Bible.  How ironic that I demonstrated my own personal imperfection … since there is one more in the series before our Easter Celebration follows it.  How perfectly appropriate that the command in question will be ‘Be Completely Humble’?  Something to look forward to next week!
Every blessing from your Minister,

Rev'd Peter Clark