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                                   APRIL NEWSLETTER 2024
 

MARK WRITES
 
MAY THE BEAUTY OF JESUS FILL MY LIFE
Just what constitutes beauty in the life of the church?
Reflecting on this question Brian Zahnd writes: “In whatever way we define beauty it has something to do with form and shape… And what is the form of Christian beauty? The answer should be obvious – the cruciform. Christ upon the cross, arms outstretched in proffered embrace, forgiving the world, this is the heart of Christian aesthetics… the beauty of Christ that Christians are called to emulate.”
In other words, when we truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) it will inevitably lead us to live cruciform lives that reflect the beauty of Christ; “not with the clenched fist of anger, not the pointing finger of accusation but with arms outstretched in imitation of our Lord.
So, in the coming weeks I will be encouraging us to pray the following prayer, penned by Charles Henry Brent, Bishop of the Philippines, and of Western New York, first thing in the morning, even as we brush our teeth; that we, all of us, might carry the cruciform beauty of Christ into the world we inhabit:
Lord, Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: so clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you, for the honour of your name. Amen.
And so beloved of St Michael and All Angels and Holy Trinity, may this blessing be yours this Holy Week:
You are the body of Christ: know that God has washed you in the river, anointed you with Spirit, crowned you as a kingdom of priests, clothed you with power from in high. Wash one another’s feet, be the servant and slave of all, make every act of your life a sacrament of love to others and praise to God: for your existence is a miracle and your redemption amazing grace. And never cease from singing. So may the blessing of God Almighty, Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you always. Amen.[ii]
Brian Zahnd, The Wood Between the Worlds: A Poetic Theology of the Cross (Downers Grove: IVP), 71-72.
[1] Adapted from Sam Wells, Incarnational Ministry: Being with the Church (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2017), 57-58.
 
PRAYER HARMONY
 
‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here.
He has risen!  Luke 24:5
He is risen! He has risen indeed, Alleluia. We give thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ, for His faithfulness and dedication to His people and the world. We pray for all who have not yet realised the magnitude of His death and Resurrection, that they may come to faith in our risen Lord.
We pray for the initiative of Leading your church into growth, that we may show our love to those around us, express our faith clearly, and welcome all, not just those who believe.  We pray that all who do believe, will deepen that faith and come closer to God, allowing Him to permeate their whole lives.
This coming school term will see many of our young people taking GCSE exams, knowing that the results will shape the next stage of their futures.  They are anxious, naturally, so we pray that they will be surrounded by God’s peace, and know, for sure, that the outcome of these exams will not affect His and our love for them.  We pray for quality sleep and calm starts to the days, and the willingness to voice their concerns to their families.
St George’s Day reminds us of our nation, with its problems and difficulties.  We pray for all who are so desperate that they will do anything to reach our shores.  We pray for all who cannot earn enough to feed their families. We pray for the government, that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit in all their decisions and policies, that they will show love and compassion before expediency and status.
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that He had said these things to her.  John 20:18
 
Eco Corner.
Transform your garden into a buzz of activity this year and be part of creating the largest nature reserve in Britain – our gardens. If you do not have a garden, use windowsills and hanging baskets.

  • Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers (rich in nectar) many garden centres label plants with the ‘perfect for pollinators’ logo or there are lots of websites which list suitable plants for example https://www.bbka.org.uk/gardening-for-bees

  • Provide a source of shallow water in your greenspace (a shallow bowlful is fine!).

  • Create suitable habitats through suitable mowing and cutting regimes and allow some area of grass to grow taller.

  • Avoid using pesticides whenever possible, and check chemicals to see if they contain neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam).

  • Use peat-free compost.

For information to encourage butterflies try https://butterfly-conservation.org/how-you-can-help/get-involved/gardening/gardening-for-butterflies
 

EVENTS COMING UP IN APRIL

Saturday 13th April Fell walking Club to Castleton

‘The Loft’, Men’s Event 9.30 am – 11.00 am.
Meeting Every Friday morning in the Church Foyer. Except first Friday of the month will be in The Lifeboat Pub.  All men welcome
 
Prayer Club meeting Thursday 7.00 pm -8.00 pm
In the Prayer Room. Please text Sylvia 07872314103 
Absolutely everyone is welcome.
 
Pizza Eaters Next Meeting is -Wednesday 17th April 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm
Held in the Church Foyer.
All young people from year 6 and above are very welcome.
We have pizza (obviously), fun friendship, talking about faith in our lives, supporting each other.
Please ring Sylvia on 07872314103 if you are interested to know more.
 
Formby Pantry Team – Unity Award
Congratulations to Formby Pantry Team who won the 2023 Unity Award.
The award is given for:
Recognising someone who brings people from different back grounds together, showing that the strength of a team is far greater than the sum of its parts.
 
Thank you to everyone who donates to the food bank in Church. This is a very important need in the community.
 
ADVANCE NOTICE
St Michael & All Angels Altcar Sunday 5th May
2.00 pm Tea followed by evensong at 4 pm
 
Sweet Friday is on 17TH May 8.00 pm – 9.30 pm in the Jubilee Hall
Tea and coffee will be served along with some tasty, sweet treats.
All ladies are welcome to come along and join in the fun. Free Entry.
 
 
 
 

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