Shoe Boxes - Operation Christmas Child.
This Sunday we finished packing 11 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Along with wooly hats and gloves there were:
practical gifts such as tooth brushes and soap,
fun gifts such as toys, crayons, paper and pens,
and cuddly toys for hugs and comfort.
Samaritan's Purse - the organising charity will be distributing boxes to disadvantaged children the world over in time for Christmas.
Goodbye to Mervyn:
We were all deeply saddened to hear that Mervyn - our own inimitable organist - has passed away.
He was much loved member of our community. He was generous with his time, talents and resources and was commited to serving the chapel at Upton Cheyney as well as supporting other churches. Mervyn was always ready with a welcome and he has been a friendly face to many casual visitors to the chapel. His welcome often included baking! We have never really learned his secret of how to make such an impressive sponge! In the winter he prided himself on providing a warm welcome with a real coal fire in the school room. There is so much more we could say about Mervyn - he had such a practical faith and a lovable character. We will really miss him.
On Monday (24th April) we had our third Quiet Morning in the series of Encounters with God. It was a time of guided meditation and personal reflection finishing with lunch at the Manor Farm Shop. A big thank you to Claire for leading us and David and Kathy for feeding us. We were encouraged to pray with hope and not to expect disappointment. Further Quiet Mornings are to be held- please enquire with Meryl.
Same Sex Marriage:
The chapel is now reistered for Same Sex Marriage. This vote was made possible after a resolution was passed at the United Reformed Church General Assembly (the denomination’s highest policy-making body) in July 2016, allowing local United Reformed churches to register for weddings of same-sex couples.
Having been empowered by the URC at national level, the Church Meeting of members at Upton Cheyney Church voted by a large majority to register the building for same-sex weddings.
Upton Cheyney Church Minister, the Revd Meryl White, expressed her personal willingness to conduct weddings for same-sex couples at the church. She said: “All those wishing to be united in marriage with God's blessing and in God's love are welcome”
Stuart Turner, Church Meeting Chair said: "We have always promoted Upton Cheyney United Reformed Church as a place of worship and welcome to all. We are delighted to announce that we have recently been authorised for the conduct of same sex marriage. Not everyone will be comfortable with this. However, just as Jesus never judged or turned anyone away, so our church wishes to be inclusive, positive and welcoming to all."
Anyone interested should contact Revd Meryl White at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quiet Garden:The chapel is now affiliated with the Quiet Gardens scheme ( http://quietgarden.org/ ). We want the chapel to be a community space and a place of spiritual encounter. We pray that this step will be a way in which we can serve the wider community. We are now busy renovating parts of the garden.
Joy was so inspired by a talk she heard about the work of Embrace in Palestine (http://www.embraceme.org/about-us), that she asked if we would sponsor an olive tree. Well - she so inspired us that we have now be able to sponsor 10. You have heard about mighty oaks from acorns and now we have olive groves from Joy! We have now planted and olive tree in our quiet garden in solidarity.