Weekly Update – 8th January 2012

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed in any way to preparing St Mark’s for the festive season.

IAN, SUE AND SHAN appreciated all the cards, gifts and expressions of good will they received during the festive season – thank you!
ELECTRONIC VERSION of Sunday’s liturgy can be emailed to you in advance. Please contact Anne in the office.
VOLUNTARIES Today’s voluntaries are pieces based on chorales for Christmas and the New Year by the composer and former organist of Oslo Cathedral, Arild Sandvold.
WEEK OF PRAYER for Christian Unity falls between 18 and 25 January. There will be a special CTBB BRING AND SHARE LUNCH on Sunday 22 January at St Mark’s followed by a brief ecumenical service at 2.00 pm. It would be excellent to have a range of tasty morsels on offer, and people have been really generous in the past. So if you feel able, please sign up at the back of church. Many thanks.
THANK YOU from Renate and Ian Smith for remembering us in your prayers during our time in Uganda.   This support was a source of encouragement and comfort.  Ian is returning to Kampala until Easter while Renate is staying behind to await the arrival of their first grandchild!
PV PANELS are now in place, after much forward planning, hard work and committed giving. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, whether financially or in any other way.
BUDGET 2012 has been set at £220,650, a slightly lower figure than in 2011. Owing to reduced income this year, however, we will still need to raise an additional £9,500 in 2012 to balance the books.

PLEDGES 2012 Packs have now been sent out to those who already give regularly to St Mark’s and are available at the back of church for those who would like to start. So far we have received 56 pledges, representing an increase in giving of £2,372 – a good start, but well short of the target figure of £9,500!  If you have not yet returned your pledge response, please do so as soon as possible.  If you have never made a pledge or regular commitment before please do consider it so that we can keep supporting the ministry of this church in the community. If you now pay income tax or have ceased paying income tax please inform Judith Pitchforth so that she can make an accurate claim from HMRC  – 25p in every pound pledged through gift aid can be claimed from HMRC so it makes a significant difference to our income. Thank you.
STEWARDSHIP RESPONSE Please complete one!
FLOWER ROTA Please let me know if you would like to continue donating money for a particular Sunday or, if you are new to St. Mark’s, if you would like to give money for a particular Sunday maybe in memory of someone. If there is anyone who would like to join us in arranging flowers on a rota basis please let me know. Many thanks. Mary-Jane Ryder mjryder.ivypark@btinternet.com or Tel 2303242 or catch me on a Sunday – I sing in the choir.
CRC SPRING CONFERENCE This will be with Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, and is entitled Relating to the Other: A New Vision for Religious Pluralism. As always, it promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable day. Please note, due to international commitments, the date has now been changed to Saturday 19th May. There are details and forms at the back of church. All welcome.

THE HEART’S TIME – A BOOK FOR LENT The next library session, on Thursday 26th January, 6-9pm at St Marks, is ideally timed to support your new year’s resolution about reading, or your search for a fresh and thought-provoking Lent book for 2012. Janet Morley will give a talk and lead discussion about poetry and our spiritual journey, and will sell copies of her new SPCK book The Heart’s Time: a poem a day for Lent and Easter.  Light refreshments are served, and there is a chance to browse the riches of the library. All are welcome.
TURN CHRISTMAS CARDS INTO WOODLAND! For January 2012 there will be Christmas card recycling bins in over 300 M&S stores. M&S will plant one tree with the Woodland Trust for every 1,000 Christmas cards brought into store – with the aim of saving over 10 million cards from the rubbish bin this year, equating to 10,000 new native trees! Do take yours along – and tell a friend!
SOUP RUN is now in the cold months, when men’s gloves, socks and coats are particularly in demand. Also, we are in need of more tins of baked beans (preferably the ones with sausages in them), and soup – tomato, chicken, oxtail or vegetable. Any donations gratefully received. Thank you.
ST MARK’S WEEKEND 21-23 September 2012. Further details and application forms are now available! Please take them away with you and see the display at the back of church. This is definitely an event for ALL the church community – please book early!

AUCTION OF PROMISES To ensure that everyone who wishes to go on the Parish Weekend can do so, we are holding a special fund-raising event after the Pancake Party on Shrove Tuesday, 21 February.  See leaflet in your service sheet for more details.
VULNERABLE ADULTS If you have any concerns about adults associated with St Mark’s who you think may be in need of extra support, please feel free to talk to a member of the Clergy, or to Jane Padget, Vulnerable Adults Officer.
OCCASIONALLY someone comes to St Mark’s asking for money. Please be confident that there is a discretional fund in place. In the first instance, please refer the person to a member of the clergy or Jane Padget rather than giving money. This will help us to develop a more consistent and supportive response.
MORE CRÈCHE HELPERS WANTED! Would you like to spend the occasional Sunday sticking, drawing, reading stories and singing favourite childhood hymns? We are delighted that our crèche is expanding and we’d love to recruit some more helpers. Safeguarding procedures will be followed but no previous experience necessary Please see Philippa Legon or Sue for more info.
MARK’S MESSENGER Contributions are invited for the February issue. In particular, articles about any Christmas activities. Please send contributions by 16 January to Carol Rowe: carol@oaktreelane.fsworld.co.uk.

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