January 2015

Come and Join Us at Fareham United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church, Osborn Road South, Fareham PO16 7DGThe United Reformed Church, Osborn Road South, Fareham PO16 7DG

We hope that you will find much to interest you here and will want to join with us as Christians in Fareham.

Our church mission statement is "Sharing Jesus' love with the world today". This means we, all ages, come together each week for Sunday worship to listen for God's word for us. The rest of the week we try our best to act on what we have heard both in church and through our own prayers.

We try to care for each other to the very best, and this love and care then flows out through all of us in our work, leisure and home lives.

Wherever you are as regards faith in God, come among us and help us together, to grow closer to him day by day.

    Daily Devotions

You may or may not be aware that there are now daily reflections, written by all kinds of contributors, made available by the United Reformed Church as emails.

You can subscribe here to receive them: http://devotions.urc.org.uk/

You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/URCDailyDevotions/.

A New Dawn..

As we open the New Year, we celebrate the culmination of the Christmas season with Epiphany - the manifestation, the showing forth, of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The sense of discovery of a new dawn is at the heart of the story of the "Wise Men from the East", whose gift-giving holds such significance - gold for a King, myrrh with Calvary and tomb overtones, and frankincense, an offering to one who is God.

When we make a discovery, we sometimes use Epiphany language. We say, "It dawned on us" or in current parlance we have had a "lightbulb moment".

In the 17th century, with science making great strides of progress, the "epiphany" phrase was coined to describe the time - "The Enlightenment". It was dawning on mortal men and women how brilliant, how ingenious their human brains could be. And there grew a pride, some might say an arrogance that moved reliance on God into the slow lane, while the scientists marched on.

We know that there was some catching up in the 18th century with the Evangelical Revival, led by the likes of George Whitfield and John and Charles Wesley.

Since those days religion and scientific rationalism, the sacred and the secular approach to understanding, have continued to jostle alongside one another. In this context I always listen carefully when I hear the Rev Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's theological college in the University of Durham, giving a talk or being interviewed. David is an experience astrophysicist and theologian, with a clear but undogmatic faith.

Some say that preaching ought to "comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable". Surely we should say the same of religion as a whole. For God is capable of bringing peace and wholeness as it is needed, but equally is able to "ginger us up" - to unsettle us and call us on to new phases of service, new depths of faith or spirituality as part of advancing his kingdom.

And this will go on 'till the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea' as we read in one of our Christmas lessons (Isaiah 11 v1-9).

It is always thrilling when someone comes to faith for the first time or makes a new discovery in their faith even though they may have believed since childhood.

As the New Year dawns let us live expectantly, hoping for epiphanies, 'lightbulb moments' through our worship, our private Bible reading and prayer, and through our attempting to be Christians 'on active service day by day.

And may the God of surprises walk with us.

Yours ever, in His service

Paul

Revd Paul Bedford (taken from the January issue of The Messenger, the church's magazine)