Church Link News: February 2014

Welcome to the February edition of the Church Link News. This addition to our monthly Alabaré Network News is written specifically to honour and thanks our church congregation supporters who share our dedication to our vision of “a society where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling life”. 

A Word from our Senior Chaplain, Jonathan Martin

February is a time when the world celebrates Love. It is also the beginning of that time in the Church’s year when we are called to reflect on how we will use our freedom, and how we will understand the call to Love in our lives.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:2-3).

This verse is an extract from a letter that Saint Paul wrote to the church in Galatia. After an audit and a list of their failings, he then redirects them back to God through the Hebrew scriptures  as Jesus did; inviting humankind to love God, love their neighbours and love themselves. The Galatian church had been self-centredly using God’s gift of freedom to fulfil their own desires.

Paul told them that God does not leave us on our own to become the people that he calls us to be. We are free to choose to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and be fruitful: to be people of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This opportunity is remarkably powerful, remarkably simple, but remarkably challenging. The temptation is to choose to buy into a gospel which emphasises rights rather than responsibilities.

The word for Love in the New Testament is Agape. It is used to express a concept of love that is perfectly demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and is used of a love that is self-sacrificial. It’s been defined very well as the act of making the health, happiness, and growth of another person as important to you as your own.

Now is a time to listen and change. As we consider what it might mean to be people who love wholeheartedly, we are beginning to respond to an invitation to change.

Jonathan

 

A Simple Prayer About Love

Dear God

May we grow up knowing how to love

And how to be loved.

Amen

Contributed by Geoffrey Willis, Alabaré's Campaign Director

 

Agape Test 

Always patient is that me?
Or, impatience do I see?
Does within me kindness grow
And from my heart to others flow?

Do I envy other's wealth
And wish possessions for myself?
Do I talk of what I've done
And never stop once I've begun?

Do I steer my well-shod feet
Away from beggars on the street?
Do I push to be the first
While angry words from my mouth burst?

Do I watch for number one?
From other's problems do I run?
Is my anger common fare
With tightened lips and icy glare?

Do I remember what was done
To me in nineteen sixty-one?
Does gossip make my eyes go wide
With whispered rumors on the side?

Do I stand up for what is right,
Rejoicing in the truth's pure light?
Do I protect the helpless one?
Do I stand by when others shun?

Do I know that I am blessed
And with my trust I can have rest?
Do I see a hope within
Expecting not to lose but win?

Do I persevere each day
Or vacillate each other way?
Do I give up when I fall?
Do I think I've lost it all?

Is my love AGAPE love
That comes from God in heav'n above
Epitomized in Christ the Son
Who gave his life for everyone?

Does my life that I now live
Portray the love Christ came to give?
God's Holy Spirit lives in me
But is it God that others see?

Lord, I ask, perfect my love
And make it more like yours above.
Give me strength to make the change
And my perspectives rearrange.

Let me then, in pain or song,Walk with you my whole life long. And everywhere that I am known

Let them say God's love was shown.

Copyright © 1987 by Judith E. Garling

 

Chaplaincy

With the first of our Wales Homes for Veterans due to open this Spring, we are looking to appoint a 'Head of Chaplaincy in Wales. Please click here for more information about this post.

 

Supporting Alabaré 

We are looking for supporters of Alabaré who can spare a short amount of time each week to help spread the word about our work. Would you be happy to share the Church Link News or our Network News with your parish, family or friends?

You could also download and print out one of our home collection boxes - if you're happy to fill it up with your spare change and return it to us as a donation we would really appreciate. Click here to download yours.

For more information about supporting Alabaré please email: r.lewis@alabare.co.uk.

 

Here are some March dates for your diary;
  • 1st March – St. David’s Day
  • 4th March – Shrove Tuesday
  • 5th March – Ash Wednesday
  • 9th March – 1st Sunday of Lent
  • 16th March – 2nd Sunday of Lent
  • 17th March – St. Patrick’s Day
  • 23rd March – 3rd Sunday of Lent
  • 30th March – 4th Sunday of Lent & Mothers’ Day

 

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