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.

 

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

Let’s Go Green in 2017

Great Barrier Reef at 'terminal stage': scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data.   The Guardian

When I read that headline, I feel panic and sadness rising deep with me.  How can we have let things get so desperate?  Why has it not stopped?  Why have we not woken up earlier to what is happening?  I feel called to help, and at the very least to look at my impact on the world, and my complicity in its destruction.

Reduce – Reuse – Recycle, of course they all go hand in hand, by reusing and recycling we are reducing.  Still my first inclination is to reduce my impact on the environment, reduce my global footprint and to do it by reducing what I consume.  How much of a thoughtless consumer am I?  Am I caring enough to find out what it is that I am consuming, and at what cost?  Where does it come from and how is it grown?  What impact does it have on this unique, precious earth of ours? We need to be more intentionally aware of the global industries that we support through what we buy and their impact on our environment.

So what can we easily reduce?  I think like me, you will find these changes are not that difficult to make – small changes that have a potentially big impact.

  • Buy products with less packaging, e.g. loose fruit and veg, bulk buying or concentrated products
  • Reduce your use of plastic shopping bags
  • Walking, riding a bike or using public transport is better than a car
  • Reduce paper mail received.  Most companies will be happy to contact you via e-mail.
  • Reduce food waste.  Plan what your family will eat and be creative with leftovers.
  • Reduce the use of imported goods.  Try to use LOAF(local, organic, animal friendly and Fairtrade).
  • Evaluate the energy that you use.  Does your supplier use renewable resources?  To switch to a green supplier try http://www.greenelectricity.org/ or a similar site to compare green energy suppliers.

It seems like such an inadequate list when confronted with the problems we face: air pollution, climate change, deforestation, species mass extinction, over population, but there are many more ways which will further reduce your global footprint.

We need to be consistently reminded of our role in looking after the earth. It should be part of our prayer and our Christian spirituality or we will become so familiar, even immunised, to the challenges we face that we will not take them seriously.  Have we become so nonchalant about the ringing fire alarm that we are surprised that the house is burning down?  Let’s do what we can, while we can.  Everything we do does make a difference one way or the other and it is up to each of us to choose the way that we act. 

I find some comfort and strength in the words John Donne wrote so long ago, perhaps we can take them to heart and find the relevance in them for today…

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Stephanie Roux