United Church Winchester

Welcome to the United Church Winchester.

 We invite all those who want to share in the exploration of what the Christian faith means to join us in worship and fellowship. We offer lively, relevant and interesting worship and assure you of a warm welcome.

As well as services on Sundays and Friday and groups who meet for fellowship, we have a Coffee Bar which is open to the public every week day morning from 10am - 2pm and on Saturdays from 10am - 12pm.  We also host various events open to one and all.

Please use the navigation list to explore what the church offers more.

 

The Minister’s Letter - June

Election Special

As a staunch non-conformist, I find myself in the interesting place of recommending contributions from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for the second month in a row! Yet good words they are, and as I often hear people lamenting the absence of input from senior Church leaders on political issues (rarely a fair assertion) I feel it is right to draw our attention to their wisdom. In this case, they have written a very thoughtful letter on how Christians might respond to the snap election on 8 June. It’s too long to include in its entirety so below are a few choice paragraphs that I hope will encourage us to look at the election through the lens of our shared beliefs and virtues. For those interested in reading the full article it can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/3977056/electionletter_text.pdf

They write:

In the midst of a frantic and sometimes fraught election campaign, our first obligation as Christians is to pray for those standing for office, and to continue to pray for those who are elected. We recognise the enormous responsibilities and the vast complexity of the issues that our political leaders face. We are constantly reminded of the personal costs and burdens carried by those in political life and by their families.

Our second obligation as Christians at these times is to set aside apathy and cynicism and to participate, and encourage others to do the same. At a practical level that could mean putting on a hustings event for candidates, volunteering for a candidate, or simply making sure to vote on Thursday 8 June. The Christian virtues of love, trust and hope should guide and judge our actions, as well as the actions and policies of all those who are seeking election to the House of Commons and to lead our country.

Religious belief is the well-spring for the virtues and practices that make for good individuals, strong relationships and flourishing communities. In Britain, these embedded virtues are not unique to Christians, but they have their roots in the Christian history of our four nations. If treated as partners in the project of serving the country, the churches – and other faiths – have much to contribute to a deep understanding and outworking of the common good.

These deep virtues and practices – love, trust and hope, cohesion, courage and stability - are not the preserve of any one political party or worldview, but go to the heart of who we are as a country in all of its diversity. An election campaign, a Parliament and a Government that hold to these virtues give us a firm foundation on which to live well together, for the common good.

We keep in our prayers all those who are standing in this election and are deeply grateful for their commitment to public service. All of us as Christians, in holding fast to the vision of abundant life, should be open to the call to renounce cynicism, to engage prayerfully with the candidates and issues in this election and by doing so to participate together fully in the life of our communities.

In the Name of our Risen Lord,

+Justin Cantuar: +Sentamu Eboracencis

I wholeheartedly echo their words: that we pray for those standing in this election, that we resist the pull of cynicism and apathy, and that we hold fast to a vision of abundant life for all.

Tim

Prayers from the 10.30 Service on 7 May

Gracious God, Lord of all,

we thank you that we can come to you in prayer,

that for all your greatness, and wonder, and holiness,

we can speak with you as to a friend.

We thank you that we can open our hearts to you,

that we can pour out our innermost souls

and share our deepest thoughts,

in the knowledge that you are there,

always ready to listen and understand.

So now once more we lay our lives before you,

open to your gaze –

the bad as well as the good,

the doubt as well as the faith,

the sorrow as well as the joy,

the despair as well as the hope.

We bring the anger as well as the peace,

the hatred as well as the love,

the confusion as well as the certainty,

the fear as well as the trust.

Gracious God,

we bring these,

not with pride or any sense of arrogance,

but honestly,

recognising that you know us through and through.

Help us to be truthful to ourselves and truthful to you,

and so may we discover the renewing love

which only you can offer –

a love that frees us to live as you would have us live,

and allows us to be the people you would have us be.

Gracious God,

at the start of a new week we ask your forgiveness.

For those things we should have done

but have left undone –

the acts of kindness we never found time for,

the thoughtful word never spoken,

the message of encouragement or concern never sent,

the helpful deed never attempted.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Forgive us for so often having time only for self –

for being self-centred,

self-important,

self-righteous,

self-interested,

self-indulgent,

self-opinionated.

Forgive us for forgetting each other here,

for forgetting those around us,

for forgetting you.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Gracious God,

help us to translate our thoughts into actions,

to put our preaching into practice,

to turn our good intentions into good deeds.

Help us to learn from Jesus

who laid down his life for others,

and, in growing closer to him,

may our lives speak not of ourselves,

but of you.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Adapted by Tim Searle from two prayers by Nick Fawcett in Prayers for all Seasons: ‘Honest to God’ (p.383f) & ‘Unfulfilled Intentions’ (p.447f)

 

Let’s Go Green in 2017

As I write this, it is Christian Aid Week, the theme of which is refugees. British churches founded Christian Aid in 1945 to support refugees who had lost their homes and possessions in the Second World War. Christian Aid tells us that today there are more than 65 million displaced people globally. That is the equivalent of the entire UK population having to move!

Five minutes ago I happened to spot this story: 'Our country will vanish': Pacific islanders bring desperate message to Australia (Guardian 16 May). The speaker, Erietera Aram, is from the archipelago of Kiribati – 33 tiny coral atolls spanning 3.5m square kilometres of ocean – the world’s lowest-lying country, with an average height above sea level of just two metres. The article says, ‘already, there is less and less of Kiribati for its inhabitants. The coastline is regularly being lost to king tides and to creeping sea levels, and in a very real sense, there is nowhere to go. The loss of land is causing conflict – Tarawa is growing ever more densely crowded, as families living on the coastline are forced inwards, infringing on another’s claim.’

The next round of multi-national climate talks in November (COP 23) will be chaired by Fiji, and is expected to swing the focus of the global climate debate to the Pacific, where comparatively minuscule amounts of carbon are produced, but the effects of climate change have been felt first, and most acutely. Kiribati, and other Islands like Vanuatu are having to make imminent plans to move their entire populations and become displaced people – climate refugees. We must listen. And we must take action.

Whether it is collecting in Christian Aid Week or choosing to eat food that is local instead of transported half way round the world; whether it is talking to a child about the beautiful trees now in leaf, or asking MPs in the election run-up what they will do to save the planet, we must take action! Christian Aid are part of a coalition for the Speak Up Week of Action 1–9 July 2017 to take action to protect the people and places you love from climate change. Look out for ways you can take part.

Jo Crocker

Winchester City Chaplaincy


 have volunteered as a Winchester City Chaplain since June 2016 and my role is to work alongside a team in Winchester Law Court.  There is a Lead Chaplain who will take over from Howard Rowe and her name is Debbie Veel.  The City Chaplains cover Retail, Council, Courts, Hospital, and many other areas of day-to-day life in Winchester.

This has been a huge learning curve for me.  I retired from Community Health, and as a member of Winchester United Church, I wanted to volunteer and help wherever I could when I saw the advertisement in the Church Magazine.

What is my role in the court?  How can I help?  The court is very busy with the friends and family of the Defendant as well as the Victim.  Witness Support are also on hand full time and volunteers to protect the Witnesses.  The Chaplains role is to be present, to support and talk to people and I usually say ‘Hello, my name is Chris and I am the Court Chaplain, I am here for you’.  People will either acknowledge me and welcome me and ask that I sit with them, or say that they are fine, thank you. 

Sometimes people will approach me.  I sit in the waiting areas and also in the Public Gallery.  If it is a particularly distressing case, I stay as long as the family may need me.  We have a support network in order for the Chaplains to talk about any difficult cases as it sometimes affects us.  I pray before, during and afterwards myself, and if someone wishes, I pray with them.

We do not judge. This is important, whatever we personally think, if someone needs to pray we are there.  It is hard when someone says they do not believe in God, how can there be a God when their loved one has been killed. Other times, people will say, it has been good to talk to someone because they were frightened or because they are there alone.

If anyone is interested in being a City Chaplain in any area please contact chaplain@winccc.org.uk.

Christine Trimmings

The Minister’s Letter - May

Thy Kingdom Come

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling Christians of every denomination to join in with Thy Kingdom Come, a prayer initiative between Ascension and Pentecost (25 May to 4 June), to pray for the nation to know Jesus Christ. It is a time to seek the empowering of the Holy Spirit that we, as churches, may be an effective witness to Jesus.

Praying for others to know Jesus is one of the most powerful things we can do. Persistent prayer for others brings transformation, not only to the lives of those we pray for, but to our own. As Paul writes: ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.’ (Colossians 4: 2–4).

As Paul says, consistent prayer for others involves discipline (‘be devoted’) and responding to what God is already doing in people’s lives (‘being watchful and thankful’). We can pray for ‘open doors’ to point people to Jesus and what he can mean in their lives. We all have opportunities to do this, no matter where we are or at what point in our lives we find ourselves.

Reaching back to my earliest memories, I remember my parents sitting at the end of my bed and guiding me to pray for family, friends and the less fortunate of our world. Yet I confess that in the busyness of adult life I’ve phased in and out of this discipline, often finding convenient excuses for my lapses. Yet when I have been more successful in keeping to a prayer pattern I know it has helped me to have a greater empathy for others and has given me well-needed perspective to ground the stresses and strains of ministry in God’s deep love for all.

So pray for one another throughout this season of resurrection and beyond. Be devoted, be watchful for the needs of others, and be thankful for the fact that, very likely, someone out there is also praying for you too!

Tim