Once again the Union Street Baptist Church Choir and friends started the New Year well. They sang a selection of works suitable for Epiphany beginning with Roger Jones’ lively piece “Make a Joyful Noise”. This was followed by “Stargazers”, a Roger Jones musical which tells the story of the Wise Men’s journey to find the baby Jesus. The music alternates with the story of the Wise Men read by Caroline Greatbanks. The music tells of the thoughts of the Wise Men as they set out on the journey following a star not knowing exactly where it would take them but convinced that this was the biggest and greatest adventure of their lives. Jane Kellet sang a solo. As they arrive at Bethlehem, searching for the new born baby, they ask where is he hidden and are we in the right place? Listening to the words read and sung we could say that many of the thoughts and ideas which troubled the Wise Men are still questions we might raise in prayer today. The music expands on ideas behind the words of the Bible readings, for instance recording in song Herod’s interview with the Wise Men when he asks them to help him find the baby and when they have found him to come back and tell him where he can find the baby Jesus. In another song the Wise Men ask if they will find love at the end of their journey. Later songs reflect the joy of the Wise Men as they finally find the baby Jesus and offer their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh as well as offering their hearts in praise to him.
This 1976 piece contrasted with a piece written by J H Maunder in 1910, entitled “Bethlehem”. The Choir sang a section of this work entitled “The King’s Gifts” with solos performed by Bill Kynaston, Arthur Blakemore and Eric Denyer as the Wise Men. Rev David Spence thanked the choir for their musical offerings and expressed appreciation for their versatility with the two contrasting pieces. The music concluded with the congregation joining the choir to sing “Look to the skies” and this was followed by tea and cake.
It was a special day for the church when Peter was inducted as an elder. The last time we had a new elder was ten years ago. Peter has resisted being an elder until November last year when he was appointed the church secretary. A church secretary has to be one of the elders.
It was a simple ceremony in which David read the statement concerning the nature, faith, and order of the United Reformed Church and we all responded. Then Peter affirmed his faith and we agreed to his induction.
Peter already does so much for the church that we are concerned about overloading him. We are also concerned for Elizabeth with whom he will spend even less time. Our promise to support and encourage him is therefore important to all of us.
The Easter Season was special for us this year. It was different because Elizabeth and Mim made a display representing the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Easter morning. You can see them in the photos above. It was clever and effective. Jen put some beautiful, large white lilies on the communion table which lasted for a long time. Peter put some bunting outside for it was a time of celebration.
Our services started well with David on Palm Sunday. We enjoyed the excitement of Jesus entering Jerusalem, especially in one of the hymns which David had written. Then he encouraged us to think about the joy of Easter but not to forget that between the two is Good Friday, a time which many people try to forget about.
Once again, Elizabeth reminded us of the Passion story through poetry, prose, meditation, prayer and singing. We do like being able to contribute to the services.
Our Easter service was led by Jennie Wakefield who took us from the darkness of the Crucifixion to the radiant light of the risen Lord. With much rejoicing and thanksgiving we shared in the disciples’ changes from fear to faith, from sorrow to joy.
We have been busy since February. When time allows there will be comments on the Easter season, the Anniversary and the Rural Sunday. Please be extra patient while they are developed.
Many of us know that God loves a cheerful giver. At our Harvest Service Rob Wyke showed us that the passage in 2 Corinthians 9 verses 2 to 9 means we should be willing to give and also to receive. In his friendly manner, he led us to worship joyfully and told us about the work of the Food Bank in Crewe. It was a surprise to learn that over 4000 people had benefitted from the Bank in just three years. That’s an average of about 3 people each day need the food that we give each week.
As usual it was great to welcome our friends again and treat them to a buffet tea. They generously gave to the Agricultural Chaplaincy through the collection and by buying the perishable produce. Thank you all and may God be praised.