The power of prayer

A movie recommendation

Has anybody seen it?

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The gift of song

Isn’t music a wonderful thing? Music is something that all ages enjoy and which brings people together. This weekend St Ursula’s was proud to host the Swiss Archdeaconry Choir Festival, a joyous event where several Choirs from Churches in Switzerland and also singers from the UK came together to sing together under the directorship of Gordon Appleton, and with the accompaniment of organist Mark Jones.

Gordon retired recently after nearly twenty years as a staff member of The Royal School of Music. He has directed many RSCM courses for children and adults in the UK and other countries. He previously lived and taught in Jamaica where he was Organist and Choirmaster of Kingston College, and in Australia where he taught in schools and was for seven years Organist and Master of the Music at St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth.

Over the 2 day period the choirs performed together culminating in a magnificent Evensong on Saturday evening, and Eucharist this morning. The singing was beautiful, and Mark got more out of our organ than any of us had realised it was capable of. We all felt very privileged to have been a part of it, whether singing or listening.

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Ensuring our future – 2016 fundraising appeal

An earlier blog post mentioned that we were trying to raise money this year in order to do some urgent energy related repairs to our premises. We have been blessed to receive all the money from one anonymous doner. However, even though we have received the 250’000 CHF we initially wanted for our energy and sustainability measures, we are still focusing on fundraising this year. The reasons why:

We are solely self-financing and our income is falling every year.

At the current rate of gap between income and expenditure, we will have only 3 to 4 years left before we will have to make drastic cuts.

  • We need to raise at least an extra CHF 30 000 per year to stay where we are financially.
  • There are still a lot of projects we could be doing if we had more money including new audio visual equipment, or more ministry work with refugees, youth and the elderly.

We have had some great ideas that we really want to carry on with including an Ebook where all our members plus a few celebrities can contribute letters and stories. We have also received support from fellow churches and will be having fundraising dinners with a Swedish and a Danish theme, and maybe some African themed ones later.

our website will be updated with all the news on the fundraising ideas and how people can get involved in the near future. A link to our website you can find  under bookmarks on the right and direct to the appeal pages here

Our Church of the future will be warm and welcoming. Allelulia!

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Church of the future

Last Sunday was the Annual General Meeting at the Church. As the name indicates, we all get together once per year and have a meeting. We look at the state of the finances and choose the Church council for the next year. The Church finances generated much discussion, for they are not looking so great. That is why we need to carry on fundraising, just to survive.

Our congregation is getting older, and although our electoral roll had increased slightly if stands at only 116, of which perhaps 40 to 45 people had attended the meeting. Lucky we do not need a quorum to elect the Council.

So how should a Church look like in the modern times? Are we wasting our time and resources trying to maintain the buildings for fewer and fewer people. Actually Father Peter answered this question himself in his sermon this morning. He noted that although today many are turning away from the established Church, and prefer instead a “pick and mix” variation of religion, this is not what we are about. Jesus Christ called on the early disciples to form a Church in his name, to go out and make disciples of men. The early Church may have met in small rooms in people houses, but they still met. They had to come together to support and teach each other and to learn the word.

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And so, even in this modern age, where we can look up the Word on the Internet, along with many different interpretations of the word, Father Peter argues that we need to be a Church and come together, otherwise many will stray from the true path.

St Ursula’s is an Anglican Church in a foreign land; it will never draw a huge congregation. However, for many it is the only Church they can attend, due to a lack of suitable alternatives because of language or tradition. The future lies in attracting more young people, young families, and young professionals. That is the challenge for the new council.

Father Peter also announced his retirement this year. This came as a big surprise to many, but he will be 70 this year so maybe it should not have been. There will be a new Pastor coming to our Parish, or perhaps he or she is already within it. A new Pastor always brings new ways and changes, whether we like it or not. We will be praying for the right person to come and as well as Prayer we will be taking steps to raise the profile of giving, and to make our Church more relevant to young people.

An idea could be to appoint a Youth representative to the Council. This representative would come from the Youth of the Church, chosen by them to represent their voice on the Church council. For one can be sure that nothing will turn our youth off quicker than an adult presuming to know what they want.

what do you think? we would love to hear your views about the relevance of Church today and how to make it more appealing to people young and old.

Disclaimer: Although this blog is under the name of St Ursula’s Church, the contributions are from regular congregation members, with no religious training. The views expressed within each post are those of the respective author and do not necessarily represent the views of other members or of the leadership of St Ursula’s Church.