Church Weekend Away

Many of us from DBC spent last weekend at Thornleigh Hotel in Grange over Sands where we held a very enjoyable Church Weekend Away. The venue was excellent. About forty five of us went and, as far as I am aware, everyone had a great time. We had opportunity to worship, learn and pray together and time to socialize and just be together. The photo below shows most of the group though one of our number missed the photo op. and one was serving as photographer. Other than that, most of the groups is pictured below. Other photos will follow (if you have any send them to me and I’ll include them).

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The Lenten Journey

At Didsbury Baptist Church we are participating in the Lenten Ecumenical Bible reading programme put together by Churches Working Together in Didsbury. Members of our church have contributed articles to the accompanying booklet of daily readings. They appear under the headings for the next seven days starting today. Nicky Jackson’s article is the first and it is published online today on the CWTiD web site.

Supporting Lifeshare at Christmas

At our Christmas Festival Service next Sunday (20 Dec) we will sing some carols, watch the children’s nativity and take up an offering of goods for Lifeshare.

Lifeshare is an excellent, non-religious, voluntary organisation established to help meet the needs of the homeless and disadvantaged in Manchester and Salford. They provide a first point of contact with people on the streets, offering practical assistance, support and information. From this point they offer continued assistance to enable people to secure suitable accommodation, to be supported to maintain their tenancies, and helped to access initiatives to carry their lives forward.

Lifeshare runs a special programme over Christmas. When homeless and disadvantaged people need comfort and support more than any other time, everything closes. In response, the Lifeshare Christmas Project offers a refuge from the exaggerated isolation. It provides food and shelter, social activities, a medical centre, welfare and housing advice, entertainment and a festive air.

Our offering on Sunday can include donations of money if you like but we are really asking for goods such as tinned food, blankets, pans, cutlery and toiletries. If you want to give a small present specifically for the Christmas project, e.g. hat, scarf, gloves or something else, you might like to wrap one but there needs to be some indication on it if it’s gender specific. If you can join us on Sunday, please remember Manchester’s homeless and the work of Lifeshare, and participate in our offering of goods.

Harvest / Sukkot

harvest09_01

mobile-phone photo, Anna Wright

Last Sunday we held an all-age harvest celebration for morning worship. Truth is, harvest festivals are not what they used to be and in urban environments they can be distinctly out of place. Still, with issues of food production and food security high on the agenda these days, harvest provides all kinds of possibilities for worship and reflection.

On Sunday, I combined Christian harvest themes with some of those of the Jewish (and biblical) festival of Sukkot. The date of our harvest celebrations does not always coincide with the Jewish holiday but this year it did. Our Jewish neighbours are celebrating Sukkot right now, so I drew on some of the themes that form the basis of both celebrations.

We built a (very non-kosher) sukkah inside the sanctuary. (I know, the whole point is to build sukkot outside but this was the only way I could introduce the theme to a Christian group meeting indoors.) Then we brought our harvest gifts and displayed them in the sukkah.  The gifts, of course, are then donated to local charities. We also took up our offering for the Seeds of Hope harvest appeal for the work of BMS World Mission.

Christians recount that it was during the Festival of Sukkot that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8.12).

If you would like to learn more about Sukkot there is plenty of information on the net. You might try Hebrew for Christians, Judaism 101 or, a favourite of mine, Rachel Barenblat’s blog — the Velveteen Rabbi.

The close of Didsbury Arts Festival

Didsbury Arts festival logo (ben)The Arts Festival is now over but what a great week it was! Three musical performances were held at Didsbury Baptist Church. All three were excellent events: Dunyana on Monday night, SMAOS on Wednesday, and the Cavendish Singers and Cymbalon Quintet on Friday. All played to packed houses and were enthusiastically received.

For the churches, the Arts Festival closed last night with an International Songs of Praise at Christ Church, West Didsbury organized by Churches Working Together in Didsbury. We anticipated the forthcoming One World Week and worshiped together as churches and people from many nations and backgrounds. It was a great event that reflected the sheer joy of belonging to a people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Marion Scott Playgroup Outdoor Play Area

playareawork01lrAfter years of hoping and months of planning the builders are on site and so far are doing a fantastic job. With a new doorway children will be able to move freely from inside to outside. It should all be done in another week.

International Day of Prayer for Peace

Haiti, 2004. Photo: Paul Jeffrey / ACT

Haiti, 2004. Photo: Paul Jeffrey / ACT

Today (21 September) is the World Council of Churches’ International Day of Prayer for Peace. It coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.

Yesterday, Didsbury Baptist Church, along with many others, observed Peacemaking Sunday and made use of the resources provided by the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches Working Together.

The following prayer of intercession is taken from the booklet “Imagine peace“, a collection of Bible meditations and other texts on biblical aspects of peace and overcoming violence.

Lord, we pray for
Peace for those who weep in silence
Peace for those who cannot speak
Peace when all hope seems to disappear.

In the midst of rage, of violence and disappointment,
In the midst of wars and destruction of the earth,
Lord, show us your light in the darkness.

Lord, we pray for
Peace for those who raise their voices to demand it,
Peace when there are many who do not wish to hear of it,
Peace as we find the way to justice.

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