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.

 

MINISTER'S LETTER - MAY

 

Learning to lay down

You will probably have heard by now that I am taking my first sabbatical later this year. My last Sunday will be on 1 July and I will return to work on Monday 1 October. In the United Reformed Church, Ministers are allowed to take a three-month sabbatical on completion of every 10-years of full-time service. As this summer marks the 10th anniversary of my ordination, having a sabbatical provides a poignant opportunity for me to reflect on ministry (and life) over the last decade.

The word sabbatical, as you’ve probably already gathered, derives from the Hebrew word shabbat or Sabbath, meaning ‘day of rest’. The Greek equivalent sabbatikos literally means ‘a ceasing’.  I find this latter verb, to cease, particularly pertinent, and in all honesty, a little scary!  How does one cease to be a Minister? Like many professions, particularly those that focus on caring for people and fostering relationships, it’s not something you can simply switch off (although the computer and mobile phone will certainly get that treatment!)  Being a Minister is part of who I am, so if the concept of a sabbatical implies a cessation of my ministry, then it also implies, to some degree, a laying down of self.

I think this idea of ‘laying down’ offers a helpful metaphor for how I might approach this gift of time. When we lay down to sleep at night, though our bodies and minds cease the normal activity of our waking lives, they are far from inactive. Thousands of biological processes take place as we sleep helping to rejuvenate our bodies. The mind can be at its busiest taking our nightly downtime as a cue to sift, sort and reprioritise our psyches ready for the next day. And through all of this, even the most bizarre of dreams, you don’t stop being you; you simply exist in a different way, observing different rules, being guided by a different clock, all to help us wake feeling restored and refreshed.

Maybe the trick for me is not to think I have to cease being a Minister, but to find a different way to exist as one, if only for a time. And when I wake from my ‘day’ of rest, may I feel rejuvenated, reinvigorated and ready to take on another decade of ministry!

In Christ,

Tim

Calling All Creative Types!

You may recall that we decided to have a rethink of how we decorate the church throughout Advent and Christmas 2018. The trees have done us proud and will no doubt make a comeback at some point, but it’s no bad thing to do something fresh from time-to-time.

If you’re a creative type and love designing or making things, I’d love to hear from you. I know Christmas is a way off, but if a group of us can start coming up with ideas soon then it should give us plenty of time to get everything ready.

If you have any ideas for how we can decorate the church, or even if you just love making things, please let me know who you are! Once I’ve got a group of people together I’ll be in touch with a date for us to meet and share ideas.

Every blessing, Tim

CHRISTIAN AID WEEK, 13-19 MAY 2018

As Christian Aid Week draws near again we are all aware of the huge problems which continue to face the developing world – both man-made and natural. And it is particularly heart-breaking when a country has barely recovered from one disaster when another strikes. Christian Aid, with our support, aims to be there to help. Christian Aid Week brings tens of thousands of Christians together to achieve incredible things with some of the poorest people in the world. 

This year we meet Marcelin and his three daughters, living in a two-metre-square windowless concrete block in Haiti. Also, Vilia and her family. Much of Haiti was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2010. Like so many thousands, Vilia lost her home. Christian Aid, working through its local partner KORAL, built her a new earthquake-resistant home – one of 700. In 2016 Hurricane Matthew again created massive devastation. Vilia’s house was the only one in the area sturdy enough to cope with the hurricane. Fifty-four neighbours flocked to her house and were given food and shelter. But many in Haiti are still living in tents (and concrete blocks like Marcelin), and good-quality house building remains critical. For £210 a local builder in Haiti could be trained to build earthquake-resistant houses. Money raised in Christian Aid Week will contribute to this and to other needs around the world.

Last year our churches and communities in Winchester and District raised nearly £30,000 towards the work of Christian Aid. Please help us to do the same or better this year! In many of our parishes house to house collections continue to be carried out, and this is one of the most effective ways of raising money. Please think of helping if this happens in your parish – and if it doesn’t, or you would like to help elsewhere, please contact Rosemary Dunhill as below. If you don’t do house to house, could your church arrange a collection within the church – or could you organise other money-raisers at church or at home[Note from the Editor: Helen McTiffin says she would be happy to welcome any new collectors for our Church ‘patch’ on Teg Down]

There will be a special service to mark the beginning of the Week on Sunday 13 May at 6.30 pm at The United Church, Jewry Street; do come if you can. We have also been given permission to hold a collection in the High Street on Thursday 17 May. If you could help for an hour or two this would again be much appreciated.

Rosemary Dunhill

Winchester and District Christian Aid Week co-ordinator

 

Hope for Planet Earth – Witness: Christine Cook

Profile

 Christine has been a member of The United Church for 30 years.  Among her many roles, she is an engineer, mother, scout leader, and our church treasurer.

 Evidence

Chat with Christine in April 2018

When were you first aware of environmental issues?

In the 1970s we became aware of the Ozone hole.  Because of action taken then, mainly changes in regulations, it has improved now - it showed you can do something with a big problem and make progress.  With wider climate issues, it has crept up and become more and more of a concern. 

Why do you think this issue is important?

I’m concerned about climate change, about the impact of climate change ecologically: species decline, patterns of weather, impact on future generations…and the fact you can see it happening, even in the UK, in my lifetime.  We used to go walking every New Year, usually in deep snow.  Now there isn’t any.  Increases in natural disasters ties in with global justice issues because it affects the most vulnerable worst.

 

What do you do in life because of your care for creation?

We have installed solar panels at home, and a heat exchange heating system because it is more efficient. We try to limit our use of water, electricity and fuel. We are looking into electric cars.  It is behind our thinking when we make decisions.  We have been part of Connecting Kings Worthy Project, a pilot scheme to see if community involvement and developing trust in a community can lead to reduced usage of power.  The community can work together to spread usage away from peak time (e.g. by using slow cookers) to avoid an energy company having to increase infrastructure.  In my work I encourage people to use energy efficient fittings. 

Inspiration

I have hope for the future because things are moving in the right direction.  The Paris Agreement was a strong move…and the fact that lots of American States are continuing their support of it despite Trump’s rejection of it is good.

 

China is investing dramatically in renewables to the extent that though Europe’s investment is reducing, the overall global trend in use of renewables is a steady rise. And this brings down costs, making it easier for others to join in. China is driving things forward. And the economics are changing.

I went to a talk by Tesla last week about batteries.  Use of batteries makes sense with renewables because it could smooth out supply when solar/wind supplies are unpredictable.  I am inspired reading about scientists investigating and highlighting the issues, and engineers developing solutions.  There has been much more general awareness of climate change issues in the last three years or so, and a move from people feeling overwhelmed to thinking ‘we can do stuff, let’s get on with it’.  

There is a lot that individuals can do, and as a Christian community, concerned about social justice, where we see the poorest people affected most by climate change, we should be caring for creation, rather than spoiling it, and leaving it in a better state for future generations.

Jo Crocker

Minister's letter - April

Expect the unexpected!

There’s no doubt about it; the death of Jesus was unexpected, and whilst he gave plenty of hints that it would happen, the disciples either didn’t believe him, or didn’t want to. And when it finally did happen, it left the disciples in a state of shock and dismay that they wouldn’t have recovered from had it not been for what happened next. For if Jesus’ death was unexpected, his resurrection was doubly so … or was it?

It seems to me as I read through some of Jesus’ most well-known miracles that resurrection followed him around. The raising of Lazarus and of Jairus’ daughter, the restoration of sight to the blind, of mobility to the paralysed, and the cleansing of diseases of both body and mind. Whether you believe these miracles were actual bodily restorations, or symbolic of the deeper wholeness we find in Christ, the point is that they were so much more than just random miracles by some mystic from Nazareth. Rather they were the unexpected moments of resurrection that invariably came when the afflicted chose to put their faith in Christ. If Jesus stood for anything in his life, it wasn’t for death, but the limitless possibilities of resurrection.

As we draw close to Easter it is natural for us to concentrate on Jesus’ death, the sacrifice he made and the mind-blowing grace of God. Yet we must also remember the resurrection, not just as a happy after thought to welcome in Easter Day safe in the knowledge that Jesus was ‘alright in the end’, but as a realisation that this was at the very heart of what Jesus was about. His death would have been empty without the resurrection, as empty as the disciples felt as they wandered aimlessly without their teacher, their friend. The whole point of Jesus’ ministry was not to die on the cross, but to be raised from it, however unexpectedly. We are not a people confined to death, but set free by the resurrection of Jesus. We need to live, not as a people still pinned to a cross, but as a people set free by the possibility of resurrection.

In Christ,

Tim