December 2013

Fair Trade - Changing People's Lives All Year Round

A big thank you to anybody who made a purchase at our regular Traidcraft stall at any time during this year. We have managed to raise more money this year for Christian Aid and so, at the December Church Meeting, it was agreed we should buy two of each of the following items from the Present Aid catalogue:

BAMBOO SHELTER - providing a displaced family a safe place to stay.

In the western border region of Myanmar, thousands of Burmese families are confined to refugee camps in the western border region of the country. It is a land in which they must struggle to survive in the hope that one day the problems that forced them to flee will be resolved and they can return home to Burma.

To keep hope alive, our partner provides refugees with bamboo so that they can build and maintain simple but sturdy shelters, giving them a roof over their heads and somewhere to call home.

HOUSEHOLD PUMPING WELL - Giving families the tools to store water and generate an income from growing crops.

Each year, when there is not enough water for crops, there is no harvest - no harvest means hunger and sickness. A basic household pumping well could help families like Sok Heng and Bo Ven to conserve water.

Through Christian Aid partner, Life with Dignity (LWD), the families got help with digging a well. Now they are able to grow beans, spices, herbs, corn, cucumber, lemons, limes and bananas. They eat some of their harvest and sell the rest to buy essentials like rice or medicine if they get sick.

For further details about Present Aid see http://www.presentaid.org/

The Traidcraft stall is open twice per month after morning worship - see upcoming services for details.

Bamboo ShelterBamboo ShelterHousehold Pumping WellHousehold Pumping Well

Advent Message 2013.........things are looking up

Advent 2013 - Light Shining Out of DarknessAdvent 2013 - Light Shining Out of Darkness

Dear Friends

There is talk of a recovery. Perhaps people will feel more confident about the future this Christmas than last.

Not, I suggest, if they are in shipbuilding in Portsmouth, or are among the long-term unemployed, or existing in the Philippines, or readying themselves for the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan, or trying to keep warm in a refugee camp in Jordan, or living in poverty in a former Soviet republic…

Not if they are holding down two or even three jobs, with a mixture of unsocial hours, in order to meet the family’s regular needs let alone Christmas, or if this year has seen the breakdown of a relationship or the death of a loved one crucial to the running of a family.

To these and to many for whom life is rocky, or stubbornly hard, or desperately dull, talk of things looking up may sound hollow.

But, in the midst of all their situations, whether they recognise them or not are the churches, bearing the seasonal and eternal message that things are looking up. For what is faith about if it is not about bringing the precious commodity of hope, along with shed-loads of love?

To illustrate this I have some pictures for your minds eyes…

- of Mary raising her obedient eyes and looking up at the angel and believing that with God nothing is impossible;
- of the shepherds, representing ordinary people in non-flashy jobs, looking up to the star and being so overwhelmed by a chorus of angels that they could do nothing other than go, and witness what the living God could do in their today and our tomorrow.
- of the wise men, representing those fortunate enough to have an education and those who have the task of leading communities and nations, looking up to the star and following it, with a sense of genuine enquiry, and on arriving bringing gifts which spoke of a King, and God, and sacrifice, in other words what Jesus forever would be.

With a living God to look up to, you and I, as individuals and as a church, can point to the hope that is at the heart of the Christian message, and prove to our neighbours through our love that “things are looking up” because our ever-loving God “will never leave us or forsake” us, but will be with us “till the end of the age”.

Help others look up and find the Lord this Advent.

Yours,

Paul

Revd Paul Bedford

Taken from the December 2013 edition of the church magazine 'Messenger'

Christmas is coming.......

Christmas Services 2013Christmas Services 2013

Come and join the celebrations at Fareham United Reformed Church...

Sunday 15th December 2013
3.00pm - Christingle Workshop and tea followed by Christingle Service at 4.00pm
6.30pm - A Feast of Carols - Some to listen to, some to sing, with refreshments after the service

Sunday 22nd December 2013
6.30pm - Carols by Candlelight - Classic Service of “Nine Lessons and Carols”, with mince pies to follow

Tuesday 24th December 2013 - Christmas Eve
4.00pm - Ready Dressed Nativity - A simple carol service to which we invite children of all ages to come dressed (but only if they wish) as one of the characters in the Bible story of Christmas. Multiple Marys and Josephs will be no problem!
11.30pm - Christmas Communion

Wednesday 25th December 2013 - Christmas Day
10.30am - Family Service - joint with Fareham Methodist Church

Tuesday 31 December 2013 - New Year's Eve
from 10.30pm - come and share some nibbles before we welcome in 2014, with a Watch Night Service