Weekly Update – 12th January 2014

PLEDGE APPEAL FOR 2014 – To date 70 responses have been received with total extra giving of £7,110 (including recovered tax) promised in a full year towards the £13,400 target. These include 4 new pledges and 38 increases.  Grateful thanks to all who have responded.  However, more money is needed to be sure we can continue to maintain the work and mission of the Church at existing levels. Consequently, if you have not done so please return your pledge form immediately.  Spare pledge forms are available at the back of the Church.  Alternatively, if you are unable to change your giving you can simply send an email to Judith Pitchforth at judith@harbottle.demon.co.uk to confirm. Thanks, David Ryder, Treasurer.

NEW EMAIL ADDRESS for Gary: ggriefy@mybroadbandmail.com.  The old one’s defunct!

MIKE KOK leaves us today to return to his native Canada – we offer him our hearty thanks and good wishes for the future.

ROBERT BEARD has now commenced as our new Worker with Students and Young Adults.  We look forward to supporting him in this important ministry.

DISCUSSION GROUP on Thursdays at 11.00am will be looking at The Last Week by Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan between now and Easter.   All welcome

HISTORY OF ST MARK’S AND ANNIVERSARY CDS are still available and would make excellent presents. If interested, please contact David Price and Briony Tayler.

AN ARTISTIC THANK YOU To aid our exploration of the Advent themes, we were joined by four statues of waiting – mounting their silent vigil, subtly, yet persistently, inviting us to do the same – orientating us towards faith’s horizon and hope’s realisation.  As well as this, we had the moveable Angel at the back of church.  As ever, thanks to Kay Aitch, our artist in residence, for creating them.

NEW CAR PARK BARRIER will be installed over the coming weeks.  All the numbered spaces are allocated for a fee. If you need to park in the church spaces during the week please apply to Anne and it may be possible to issue you with a permit for a particular day and time.  Please note that the church spaces are often in use in the daytime and must not be used without permission.  Thank you!

STATIONS OF LIFE – BIRTH The first station is in place on the north wall and will, in time, be joined by others, marking different transitions in life.  Please pay a visit and reflect on your experiences.  There is also a handout available explaining the purpose of the ‘Stations’ project.  If there is one you would like to be marked, please mention it to Ian, Sue or Liz Anson.

MARK’S MESSENGER: Contributions for February’s Messenger are invited. Articles or short pieces and photos about Christmas at St Mark’s and related activities would be especially welcome. The deadline is tight, so please let Carol know straightaway if you have a contribution before sending it to her at (carol@oaktreelane.fsworld.co.uk).

SUNDAY LUNCH FOR NEWCOMERS on Feb 16th. If you’ve joined St Mark’s in the last year or two this is an opportunity to get to know each other and find out a bit more about what goes on here.  All are welcome but it would help with catering if you could sign on the sheet to say you’re planning to attend.  For more info call Sue H on 327 6908.

FIRE TRAINING The last two sessions will be held TODAY at 11.30 am and 7.00 pm in the Upper Room.  This is a reminder for those signed up, but others still welcome.

CELEBRATION EVENT 19 January is the start of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And to show our support for ecumenism, there’ll be a shared lunch after our Sunday morning service at St Andrew’s URC (12.30 pm), followed by a brief service (2.00 pm). We’ve taken on responsibility for savoury offerings, so please sign up on the flip chart at the back if you are able to offer something. And please also come along to help eat it, as well as to the joint service straight afterwards.

FLOWER ROTA FOR 2014 If you gave money last year for the flowers in church for a particular Sunday, please let me know if you want to continue for this year or if you want to be taken off the list.  If you are new and would like to donate money for a certain Sunday in the year please let me know as I am doing the flower rota now. Thanks, Mary-Jane Ryder, tel: 230 3242 or mjryder.ivypark@btinternet.com or see me in church.

FRIENDSHIP CLUB Wednesdays in the church lounge, 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. 15 January: Steve Drinkall shows photos – “Nature’s Wonders on our Doorstep”. All welcome. Modest charge. Details: Rosalind 268 1426

ADRIAN THATCHER will lead our next CRC Conference, entitled ‘From Exclusion to Inclusion: Marriage for All,’ on Saturday 15 March, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.  Adrian, an Anglican theologian and Visiting Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Exeter University, is an internationally recognised authority in the sphere of human sexuality, gender identity and marriage. Tickets: £14 (non-members), £12 (members) & £5 (students/unwaged).

POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS WEEK begins on Sunday 26 January. Church Action on Poverty is holding a special ecumenical service at 2.30 pm at Holy Family RC Church 20 Eastern Drive, Arbourthorne, S2 3WP. All are welcome.

ORGAN APPEAL UPDATE Since Christmas the Appeal has been boosted by the receipt of grants totalling £6,400 moving our appeal total to £97,300, just £2,700 short of our target of £100,000.  This is an amazing result in such a short time.  If you can, please help to meet the relatively small shortfall and return your pledge form to our Treasurer, David Ryder, as soon as possible.  Spare Appeal leaflets and pledge forms are available at the back of church.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE – THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE If you’ve not already done so, please write to your MP this week.  There is a template letter in the green campaign leaflet which can be downloaded at www.hftf.org.uk. ALSO people have said they would like to enclose campaign leaflets with their Christmas cards.  There is now a religious and a non-religious version.  Please put your orders on the sheet at the back.  ALSO Michael Bayley is forming a small group to support the campaign. Interested in joining, not least to keep it in our prayers? Contact Michael on 2585248.

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