Pastoral Letter: w/e 20th March 2021

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

As you will see later on in the service options I was responsible this week for producing the video service to be posted on YouTube. 

In the middle of the reflection, I made an unscripted reference to a fabulous display Stephanie Jenner initiated at UCD in 2014 during Lent whereby we invited folk to bring crosses from home with a story behind them.

It seems like a good idea but boy once people started bringing in the crosses I realised it was a brilliant idea because it turned out that so many people had a massive variety of crosses and the stories behind them make them even more powerful. In fact it was so good that we repeated it the following year in both BUC and UCD and it was even more amazing.

Who would've thought that a simple, rough and cruel symbol of Roman oppression would be reinterpreted by humans so creatively and movingly?  Mind you, it was the creative mind of God that reinterpreted it in the first place into a sign of hope and new life as we will indeed no doubt explore soon.

In the meantime it occurred to me that the images (or at least some of them) would offer some focus for the prayers that they offered in the video service, which in the event completely replaced the originally planned prayers.  It is amazing that the power of the cross continues to inspire spontaneity!

On the other hand, I suppose the opposite of spontaneity (for perfectly understandable reasons) is the government's plan for gradually releasing us from this, our third lockdown.  

The Bridport United Church Council met this week and we have agreed to plan to re-open for an Easter Family Service on April 4th at 10:30am. 
We will then await the second stage of national unlocking before conducting further services. 
Thus there will be no service on 11th April......

BUT we will aim to reopen, hopefully permanently, on Sunday 18th April
By that time most of us who regularly worship together will have had at least one vaccination (plus time to enable our resistance to this pernicious bug!).  So although restrictions will no doubt continue for some months (mask-wearing, no singing etc.) the risks of gathering and sharing together will have diminished somewhat and we can advance towards the ‘New Normal’?

I’m also pleased to announce that Uploders Methodist Church will also be re-opening on Easter Sunday 4th April with a service led by Local Preacher in training Chris Smith

Conditions will essentially be as they were when we previously reopened i.e. hand sanitiser on entry, mask wearing throughout, keeping distance from each other during the service, no refreshments afterwards and, hardest of all for us, no Congregational hymns singing. We will also be strongly discouraged from mingling after the service although it will be possible to have a socially distanced chat outside. 

Certainly I think Easter Sunday is symbolically a good festival to recommence worship on, with its symbols of new life and new hope?

As before if you do not feel safe to come and join us you must not feel pressured to do so and the alternate service options will continue!

Every blessing from your Minister

Rev'd Peter Clark

URC Minister of the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate


So - your Sunday Service Options this week:


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


2) The Audio Service  from the United Reformed Church will this week from the Daily Devotions Team is being led by Peter Pay, who is a member of Salisbury URC and a Moderator of General Assembly, serving with Clare Downing, who you will have met at last Sunday's worship. I hope you've got your green fingers ready, Sunday's service is themed around seeds, bearing fruit and germination. It talks about more, too, but my gardening vocabulary ends there. Hymns include O Praise Ye the Lord, Now the green blade rises, Graham Kendrick's popular From heaven You came (The Servant King) and Arthur Campbell Ainger's God is working His purpose out. 

3) And your bonus this week is the Soul Space Video, which this time, really is the last in the current series of Impossible Commands in the Bible.   This week’s topic will be ‘Be Completely Humble’ with the reflection offered by Maggie SutcliffeSoul Space 21.03.2021