Second Sunday

This Sunday (8 Sept) we begin a new format for our gathering that we expect to repeat every second Sunday of each month. We will start as usual at 10.30am when we will worship together with all ages for about 45 minutes before breaking for coffee. We will reconvene at 11.45 when adults and young people will learn together while the children gather in their groups. This will be followed by a bring and share lunch at about 12.30. The subject this Sunday will be Deepening Your Prayer Life.  If you are free to join us for any or all of these activities you would be most welcome.

An accessible sanctuary is taking shape

A major aim of our building project is to make our sanctuary more accessible for wheelchair users. In the past, the ground floor had a number of levels each accessed only by steps. When the project is finished the entire ground floor will consist of only one level. To accomplish this our contractors have begun by raising the floor level in the sanctuary. Now completed, this one improvement already dramatically improves the space. If you have never been in the building you might not appreciate how much better it looks even now.

We at DBC know that a church is not a building but a people. Still, we are looking forward to the new opportunities that will arise when we have a more adequate and accessible space for worship, ministry and mission.

 

Final Service in Current Sanctuary

Last Sunday (22 May) we held our final service in our current sanctuary. This was an all-age service in which we celebrated all that has happened in the church building and looked forward to all that will be possible when our building project is completed. As part of the service we showed slides featuring people and events associated with Didsbury  Baptist Church over the last 30 years or so. I will post the slides here later this week. Our sanctuary is now closed for refurbishment and will reopen later in the year. Until then, we will meet on Sundays at Beaver Road Primary School Hall. If you are near Didsbury any Sunday, you would be very welcome to join us there.

Exploring the Story

We continue with Exploring the Story (details below) this coming Saturday. About a dozen of us, from three south Manchester churches, are using the three-part course to help us explore the Bible. On Saturday we will be concentrating on the Prophets. There is still room to join us this week if you are interested. Just drop me a line at robert@didsburybaptist.org.uk.

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).

Christmas slide-show

A few photos have come in of this year’s Christmas services at Didsbury Baptist Church. I have put some of them together in the slide-show below. Many thanks to Anna and Steve for the photos.

Christmas all-age festival service

If you are not already worshiping elsewhere and you are near Didsbury tomorrow (Sunday), why not come and join us for our Christmas all-age festival service? We will light Advent candles, watch a children’s nativity play, sing some carols, take up an offering of goods for Lifeshare, listen to readings from the Bible and pray together. Come as you are and worship with us – all are welcome. The service begins at 10.30 a.m. and should last for about an hour. There will be tea and coffee afterwards.

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.

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