Mark, our new minister, will be inducted on the 31st August at 4pm. If you are around you would be more than welcome. Do come along. I know Mark would love to meet you.
Also please feel free to stay for something to eat and fellowship afterward.
We’ve been exploring the Acts of the Apostles and learning more about the early church, which was formed over many decades. The church wasn’t created instantly but gradually evolved, in doing so it embraced more and more people. The early Christians realised that Christ’s good news was not just for people from a Jewish background, but for everyone from every faith background. The early Christians also emphasised that God is everyone, not confined to a particular ‘holy’ place such as a temple or a ‘holy’ city. As we heard from Stephen in Acts Chapter 7, as he defended his faith, God has always been beyond the temple, beyond one country, because God has always met with people in different places. Just think of all the different locations mentioned in the Scriptures! Our awesome God continues to meet with us in church and in community, in workplace and leisure centre, in school and college. We often need to remind ourselves that the church is called to be light and salt in the community, we need reminding to go and be where God is at work day by day, week by week. Let us see ‘the Christ in others’ as we proclaim the goodness of God, through our words and our actions.
May God bless you this summer as we welcome our new Minister, Mark and his wife Sheila.
This month we celebrate Pentecost, remembering that amazing moment when the Holy Spirit came like the sound of rushing wind and like flames hovering over the people. It was a day that moved thousands of people to follow in the way of Jesus. Two thousand years later, we celebrate that the Holy Spirit is still active in the world, bringing more people into a relationship with God. As we celebrate Pentecost, may our ears and eyes be open to all that God is doing in our community and beyond. We are the messengers of God, we are people who can encourage and help people open up their Bibles, but ultimately it is God moving within a person’s life that brings them to the point of belief.
Within our fellowship there are great signs of God at work and as we explore the book of Acts together in our worship, we will be reminded again and again of the ordinary people that God used to plant the church – in Jerusalem, in Corinth, in Galatia, in Philip-pi and so on. God has always worked though ordinary people who can see the extraordinary things that God is doing. May we be open to God moving in our lives, just like those early followers.
Rob Weston Interim Minister
***Please save the date! Saturday 31st August is the date for the service of induction of Revd Mark Woodhouse at Derriford URC. Further details and timings will be announced next month.***
What an exciting time for our fellowship at Derriford URC! Last month we heard that we have a Minister exploring the call to Derriford and now we have met with him and his wife. By the time you read this we may have voted at our extraordinary Church Meeting on whether to issue a call. We can see that God has been preparing the ground over the past few months and this is an ideal time for us to be reviewing our vision for Derriford URC. You will be aware of the words of wisdom in the Proverbs (29:18) ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’ – so the main focus of our Church Meeting on Sunday 19th May will be to share our ideas about the future and the doors that God is opening for our future mission in this place.
The Elders have also spent much time in prayer and in sharing together, out of that process we identified the need to hear from every member of our church community and find ways to hear from those in our community – so that any new vision incorporates all that God is saying to us.
For we are a people who believe in the ‘priesthood of all believers’ – we know that we have direct access to God and God is able to speak through each one of us. May God bless us, as we discern the way of Christ together!
Rob Weston Interim Minister
The Elders are delighted to report that they have met with a potential Minister for Derriford URC, who is coming to preach with a view on the weekend of 27/28th April. Further details of the opportunities to meet the candidate will be issued soon. Please continue to hold this important weekend in your prayers, asking that God’s blessing will be upon all the proceedings. Rob Weston will continue as the Interim Minister until any new Minister arrives.
Growing the Church…
In 2014 the Church Growth Research Programme published a report, having studied churches across the United Kingdom that are growing. The research had been thoroughly carried out and the findings analysed – some of the findings may come as no surprise to you, others may be a complete surprise. They concluded that, while there is no single recipe, there are common ingredients strongly associated with growth in churches of any size, place or context:
- Good leadership
- A clear mission and purpose
- A willingness to self-reflect, to change and adapt according to
- Involvement of all church members
- Being intentional in prioritising growth
- Being intentional in
chosenstyle of worship
- Being intentional in nurturing disciples
As I look through this list, I am encouraged that many of these ingredients are evident at Derriford United Reformed Church. When I preached in February I was delighted to be inundated by ideas on how the church might reach out to the community and engage in new mission opportunities. I believe you are a people of faith, with great ideas; and as we discern the way forward, I pray that we will see the church grow in holiness, unity, effectiveness and numbers.
You may like to use this prayer for growth that we have used in our worship recently:
God our Creator and Redeemer,
help your church to grow in holiness,
unity, effectiveness and numbers.
Draw us closer to you
and those around us.
Give us enthusiasm in our faith,
and wisdom in sharing it
with young and old.
Open our eyes to new opportunities,
our lips to speak of you,
and our hearts to welcome
Grow your kingdom in us
and in the world,
in the name of Jesus and
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Having agreed at our January Church Meeting to register with the Eco Church scheme, I thought it would be useful for me to explain how it works and what it means for the life of the church. Now that we have registered we can go online to complete the Eco Survey about how we are caring for God’s earth in different areas of our life and work. The answers we provide will collect points towards an Eco Church Award – the more we do, the more points we get!
If our score doesn’t gain an Eco Church Award straight away don’t worry – the idea is that we complete further actions in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. For example, we already have a new efficient gas boiler, but we might be able to add more insulation in the roof or replace old windows with double glazed windows.
The survey cover five key areas of church life:
- Worship and teaching
- Management of church buildings
- Management of church land
- Community and global engagement
- Lifestyle of church members
The online survey means we can save our survey responses at any point and return to update them as we complete additional actions.
There are free, Eco Church resources on the A Rocha Eco Church website (https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/) which offer support and advice about how to make the changes our church needs, to become an Eco Church. There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. In order to qualify for an Award you must attain the required standard in each of the five areas covered by the Eco Survey. We will keep everyone informed of progress over the coming weeks and months, and everyone can make a difference – whether it is through prayer, preaching, recycling, reducing waste or reusing. May God bless us and guide us as we walk the way of Christ and care for all of creation.
Here is a link to find out what is happening across Plymouth with regards latest environmental action:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
In the past towns were built at the top of a hill so that they could be seen and could see who was approaching. Derriford URC is on a hill, on a clear day there is an amazing view and I am told that because we face west, it is ideal for catching the most incredible sunsets. As a church in 2019 we are focussing on this verse Matthew 5:14, which is most appropriate, as it serves as a reminder that we are a light shining in the darkness and that everyone can see whether we meet the high expectations that we set for ourselves. Together we must work for the good of all people, not just those in our fellowship, not just those in our circle of friends. Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbours, that means everyone. We are here to share the love of Jesus, with our neighbours, in whatever way we can. In 2019 we will have a focus on prayer for our community, postcards will be available for people to submit prayer requests, this is just one small way that we can be a blessing to our neighbours. Please do share your ideas on how we can be ‘the light of the world’ for our community, with me or any of the elders, for we know that God speaks through each and every one of us.
Every blessing for 2019,