February 2022

United Stockport Newsletter - February 2021

Editor's note - Before we start with our message from Rev'd Raj Patta I would like to thank all the churches for their great work over the last couple of months. We have a lot of notices this month and I would appreciate it if you could spend a bit of time at the end of Raj's message to read them. Don't forget that we love to hear about your church's good news. The due date for the March newsletter is 21 February (send to admin@stockportcircuit.org.uk).

The Circuit website will be unavailable from 21 February and will be back up with a new look on 25 February. 


Message from Rev'd Raj Patta

Let me wish you all a Happy New Year 2022. Some of you might be thinking it has already been a month in this year 2022, and why I am wishing you again? Well, the Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday the 1st of February 2022, and they say this year is the year of Tiger. According to the legend, the Tiger which was confident of its vigour and strength thought no one could compete with him in the celestial race; and to everyone’s surprise, the rat came first, followed by ox, leaving the king of jungle to settle for the third place. There is a sermon in this story that the new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar offers to us, which is not to be over-confident and arrogant boasting about one’s strengths, power and privilege, for there will be surprises, with the simple, meek and those on the margins can overtake in the race of life. We have a similar story in the Bible, the vision of Isaiah in chapter 11, where he envisions that “the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf, and the lion and the fatling together and the little child shall lead them…” (6v). My prayer and wish for this new year is that the ferocious and the feeble shall dwell together in peace and justice and we will be willing to listen to the voices of those on the margins and strive for a liberative and transformative church and society today.
 
Apart from the Chinese New Year, February is also marked with events like ‘candle mass’ which is observed on the 2nd of Feb, where people reflect on the presentation of Jesus Christ at the temple, inviting Christians to reflect on the gifts of life, light and love in the journey of our faith. February also marks the LGBT + History month, and this year 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the very first Pride march in the UK in 1972. This year’s they have chosen ‘politics in art’ as their theme to celebrate art with a tag line from ‘The Arc is long'. This tag line is taken from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice,” which again is an invitation for us as churches to make conscious efforts for inclusion, celebrating the gift of love, which is the catch word for the month of February. To mark the start of this month, Rev. Jill Marsh from the Methodist Church has shared this beautiful prayer, which you can listen to it on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnJCSKMr_J4
On the 13th of February, the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has invited churches across the four nations to observe it as Racial Justice Sunday with the theme, “What’s it to do with me?” CTBI is encouraging churches to focus on 3R’s which are:
Remembering the importance of racial justice
Reflecting on human diversity and thanking God for it
Responding by working to end injustice, racism and ignorance through prayer and action.
 
The resources for this Sunday are available on this link: https://ctbi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/RJS-2022-edit.pdf

Both LGBT + History Month and Racial Justice Sunday are opportunities for us as churches to demonstrate our public witness in ma(r)king the love of Jesus Christ relevant for our times in our public squares today. If you are passionate about mission and evangelism, and want our churches to be spaces of faith, hope and love, this is the month to start with, and these are the opportunities to demonstrate it. If we want our churches to be outward looking and forward thinking, let us commit ourselves to standing in solidarity with people who have been excluded and pushed outside into the margins, and let us strive towards inclusion, equality, love and justice without any boundaries. If we want our churches to ‘grow’ it is time we reflect and introspect our mission strategies, and should engage in reimagining the love of Jesus Christ relevant and understood by the people in the public sphere. Let us therefore prayerfully join, envision together, asking the spirit of God to help us in making our churches, spaces of love for all in our communities.
 
Let me also encourage you to join in observing the Church Action and Poverty Sunday, on the 27th of February and voice out for justice in addressing situations of poverty within the country and elsewhere. You can find the resources on this link: https://www.church-poverty.org.uk/sunday/  
 
On a final note, allow me to share with you the Join Public Issues Team’s Politics in the Pulpit podcast, which is a weekly lectionary resources and you can listen to it on this link: https://politicsinthepulpit.podbean.com/
 
May the love of God be with you all during this month and may we all continue to witness the gospel of Jesus Christ relevant for our public spheres today.
 Rev. Dr. Raj Bharat Patta 28th January 2022


Worship

Circuit Service 6th February at 4pm with Rev’d Adam Stevenson
PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE - now at Woodley Methodist Church, Chapel St, Woodley, Stockport, SK6 1NF

Midweek Tuesday Service at St Mary's

There is a weekly service on Tuesdays from 11:15 to 11:45 at St Mary's in Stockport. Come along and join us!
St Mary's in the Marketplace
Churchgate
Stockport
SK1 1YG

NEW - Reddish Worship

Christ Church in Reddish has unfortunately closed but we are determined to keep spreading the Good News in the area. Please join us on the first and third Thursday of every month at 10 am
Reddish Community Centre (next to the library)
Reddish, Stockport SK5 6UG

Lent Couse

This year the Circuit Lent course will be exploring the hymn "And Can It Be"
Please join us every Thursday evening at 7pm on Zoom from 10 March to 7 April. A study guide will be available in due course on the Circuit Website. Please feel free to use the material for your own church house groups. Your minister will have more information.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/99315022628?pwd=VEtRWkxpdjI2aFg1Ly9qa3hjR0EwZz09
Meeting ID: 993 1502 2628
Passcode: 428537

Palm Sunday

On 10th April we have booked St Petersgate square (SK1 1NZ) for our Palm Sunday Circuit service. We hope to spread the Good News throughout the town centre and adhere to our commitment of doing church differently to attract more disciples to our churches. Please join us for this exciting new venture. More details will follow but please put the date in your diaries! 


Notices

Yurt Project

From the 6th – 9th April United Stockport Circuit is running an exciting storytelling project in Stockport town centre. This project will centre a yurt – a flexible, mobile, intentional safe space for listening. The symbolism of the Yurt is powerful within a Christian context which is rooted in telling stories, crossing borders and healing.

Whilst the core of the project will be storytelling sessions– an opportunity for people to come and share their stories we will complement these sessions with other activities and workshops to suit all ages.
If you would like to be involved, we are looking for the following;

  • Volunteers to help set up and dismantle the Yurt
  • Volunteers throughout each day to talk to members of the public
  • Volunteers to run workshops that complement the storytelling sessions e.g. dance workshops, wellbeing sessions, art workshops, Godly play etc.

Alternatively, do you know of any groups or individuals who can run sessions?
To be involved in the project or for more information please contact JoAnne Roy on 07340269354 or community@heatonmoorunitedchurch.org.uk


Safeguarding

The Circuit safeguarding meeting is now taking place on 3rd March. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused. We ask Safeguarding officers to check their email or contact admin@stocportcircuit.org.uk for Zoom details. 

Safeguarding Training - Foundation Module

After a long hiatus, we now are able to hold in-person safeguarding training sessions. Please contact your church safeguarding officer to book you for one of the following sessions. 

Date

Venue

To book, contact:

Tuesday 22nd Feb
7pm – 9.30pm

Woodley Methodist Church

Elaine Cleary elaine.cleary@hotmail.co.uk

Monday 28th Feb
2pm – 4.30pm

Heaton Moor United Church

Viki Packman vap@btconnect.com

Saturday 12th March
10am – 12.30pm

Hazel Grove Methodist Church

Catriona Stoker cat.stoker@btinternet.com

Please book places by Monday 7th February.


Messy Church - Edgeley

May I ask if anyone would be interested to get involved with our Messy Church at Edgeley? It's on the second Saturday of each month 3-5pm, apart from August. Last week, we had 31 people attend. Before the pandemic, we used to have 50 people. We keep our contacts with the group, even during the time when we couldn't have the sessions inside the church building. We distributed craft bags, had picnics in the park, and activities outside the church car park. Last September, we started to have sessions back inside the building. It's great to see how our Messy Church congregation grows. We'd like to expand our team, from planning, preparation, setting up, facilitating, leading stories, songs and prayers, even serving refreshments are all welcome. Contact Mei Yuk Wong - meiyukchurch@gmail.com


 

Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB)

Davenport Methodist Church has the honour of hosting the Spring Gathering of MWiB this year. 
Saturday, 19th March 11.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m. (Coffee served from 10.30 a.m.)
Davenport Methodist Church Garners Lane, Stockport SK3 8QS (Contact chrisg7684@gmail.com for directions)
Speaker: Ruth Parrott (Connexional President of MWiB)
Please bring your own lunch – drinks provided


Governance Training

TCC is offering Governance training for all in church leadership roles; please book via Eventbrite at:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/195038845437 
Thurs, 3 Feb at 2pm


Northwest Preaching Conference

Friday 11 February 2022, 9:00-16:30 - Nazarene Theological College, Didsbury 
Run by Nazarene Theological College
Theme: The Present Preacher
Cost: £15 incl. lunch
To book tickets, click here.


Digital Webinars 

https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/digital-labs/digital-labs-webinars
In this series of webinars, we look at different ways your church can use digital communications to keep connected with those who attend your services and events, as well as reaching out and caring for those in the local community around you. Each topic offers a range of webinars covering different subjects. All the webinars are free to attend and new topics are updated monthly.


Good News from our churches

The Ridge Methodist Church held an outdoor Carol Service on Sunday 19th December at 3.00 p.m. The service took place in our Car Park with a bonfire in the centre which we all gathered around.
Lindsay Kemp took the service which consisted of the singing of carols, prayers and Christmas stories for all children and adults.  God provided us with the most beautiful day and we could watch the sun setting across the Cheshire Plain.  As the weather was so good we attracted about 40 people some were just walking past and stopped to join us, it was a really wonderful occasion. Finishing off with chocolates and mince pies.
Next year it will be tea and coffee as well- covid permitting also we will consult with Marple Methodist Church (just down the road) to make sure our services don't clash as they held their Christingle at 3.00 on the same day - I think more communication is needed!
Happy New Year to all. - Christine at The Ridge Methodist Church.

Heaton Moor United Church

Here at HMUC it has been an exciting time: our two lay employees have decided to embark on the journey to become Worship Leaders. JoAnne Roy and Sharon Heginbotham, decided to take this step after careful consideration and gentle persuasion from Raj!
We are looking forward to Easter, when hopefully we will get together after the services in lent to share soup and a roll and take part in the Circuit Lent study, whilst raising money for Christian Aid. Anyone is happy to join us, there is always plenty to go around.
To start Easter off, we will be sharing a meal on Maundy Thursday at 6.00 pm which will be following the Ash Wednesday service at 11.00 the day before.
To finish off Easter on Good Friday,  there will be a walk of witness with Heaton’s churches, starting at 10.00, St Thomas’s in Heaton Chapel finishing at 11.00 at St John's in Heaton Mersey.
God Bless from all at Heaton Moor United Church


Eco-Tips for February

Re-think:  Keep checking your tyre pressure on your cars and motorbikes to make sure you are driving/riding around on the correct pressure – this saves fuel.  And when you have to replace your tyres, get the best grade you can afford – that will last longer, save you money in the long run and create less waste.
Re-Use and Re-cycle Christmas cards – there are many people across the Circuit who love making cards.  Cut the picture side off, put the rest in the paper re-cycling, and offer the pictures to our creative card-makers.  (Maybe not just Christmas cards?)  Who knows, we may be able to buy them back in the autumn from stalls in our Christmas Fayres???
Or cut out the snowmen, Christmas trees, Father Christmases with pinking shears, punch a hole in the corner, thread with embroidery silks or string and you’ve got your gift tags all ready.
And that pesky brown paper packing that comes with all those online shopping. Iron it out, fold it up and use it as wrapping paper – decorated with stickers, pretty ribbon, or - as I do when I have time, painted. Who doesn’t like their presents wrapped in be-spoke paper??
Plant a tree or donate a tree.  Last week was the Jewish festival of New Trees, and now is a good time to plant bare-root trees and bushes, hedges etc.  Or you can join in the Queen’s Green Canopy Project by either planting a tree or donating a tree.  Check it out at the Queen’s Green Canopy Project website https://queensgreencanopy.org/


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