Stockton Road Church News July 2021
5 Warnham Avenue, Grangetown,
Sunderland SR2 9PH
Tel 0191 549 9595
Between 1980 and 1983 I worked for the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board) at the Scientific Services Department at Gravesend in Kent. I had completed my research in Physical Chemistry at Imperial College, although I was still writing my PhD thesis, which I eventually completed in 1981. For the CEGB I was doing research in Air Pollution. It may surprise many of you that in the Act of Parliament that set up the Generating Board it was required to have a concern for the environment. Surprising perhaps because of the number of oil-fired and coal-fired power stations that existed at the time, and because when I was working for the CEGB, they were sending aircraft over the North Sea monitoring the plumes from the power stations because there was concern that acid rain was being produced in Scandinavia as a result of these coal fired stations in Britain and in Germany.
This was not my work; my own research was centred upon the Thames estuary. We had air pollution monitoring sites scattered around Kent and Essex and we were measuring sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, ozone, and particulates. We know that the release of carbon oxide into the atmosphere has had a part to play in global warming, but so too has the release of hydrocarbons. Sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and ozone all have their
own damaging effect on the atmosphere. Sulphur dioxide, for example, plays a part in the creation of acid rain. The oxides of nitrogen and lower atmospheric ozone have an influence on the overall size of global warming through their reactions in the atmosphere. Particulates can affect the atmosphere in a variety of ways because it both absorbs radiation from the sun and scatters it back into space.
You may wonder what this is all about and why I am writing this. We knew all about global warming in the early 1980s and before and yet we still do not seem to have learned very much, and the pressure is upon us to do what we can for the good of the environment. As I am writing this letter, the news indicated that the heatwave that has been taking place in the USA and Canada is the result of global warming.
Professor Simon Lewis writing in the Guardian (30th June 2021) argues that without an immediate global effort to combat the climate emergency, the earth’s uninhabitable regions will continue growing. He reminds us of the forthcoming Glasgow Cop26 climate conference (31st October – 12th November 2021) saying that it will need to put the spotlight on adaption planning and funding for vulnerable countries.
I have pointed out before in these letters that there is much in the bible and much in Christian theology that reminds us that, as churches, we have responsibility for caring for the environment. We think of this universe as being the creation of God, and humankind is given the task to be stewards and to care for the planet on which we live. In the Letter to Colossians we read how Christ was the firstborn of all creation and in him all things were created, but Christ was not only involved in creation, ‘through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself, all things, whether on earth or in heaven by making peace through the blood of his cross’ (Colossians 1:20).
There is a role for governments to act globally, but individuals like you and me also have a role as we seek to use what power we use in an energy efficient way and making creative use of the democratic process to get governments to deliver environmentally friendly policies.
Lectionary Readings July
4 – 10 July – God sufficient
Proper 9: Ezekiel 2.1-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12.2-10; Mark 6.1-13
11 – 17 July – The practice of power
Proper 10: Amos 7.7-15; Psalm 85.8-13; Ephesians 1.3-14; Mark 6.14-29
18 – 24 July – The rhythm of rushing and resting
Proper 11: Jeremiah 23.1-16; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2.11-22; Mark 6.30-34,53-56
25 – 31 July – A big lunch
Proper 12: 2 Kings 4.42-44; Psalm 145.10-18; Ephesians 3.14-21; John 6.1-21
I write this piece in quite an elated place because in the last month, almost a year since Dave and I moved here, I finally have met or phoned all of you, my Stockton Rd and St Bede United Reformed Church friends, and wherever there was a physical meeting I have given you a hand painted pebble to represent our ongoing journey together in these unusual times.
You may remember this pebble came from Whitburn Bay, the home of Finn’s Labyrinth, a place I visit each week to pray, to find solace and inspiration and have done so since the end of summer last year when I first found this beautiful, liminal place, this place to encounter and hear God.
Therefore, I believe, this means that I have now met most of you, although not all, as some of you have homes which are just too far afield because I do not and never have driven. As I said in last month’s article, it has been so lovely to meet people, to meet you, on doorsteps, in gardens, at church, in meetings depending on the stages of lockdown over the year. However, the physical encounters feel so much more than the encounters on Zoom, although they too have been very valuable in those periods of lockdown.
Now though, I find myself worrying there may be some friends who I have yet to encounter, yet to give this gift, this connection with me, because of these very strange times, and the restrictions which were in place at the time of my Induction to serve you the Sunderland and Boldon United Reformed Church Partnership.
If I have yet to encounter you, whether that is because another has given you a pebble, or somehow you have been missed, please feel free to phone me so we can chat a little and begin to get to know each other in some way, it would be so lovely to chat with you!
Alongside the elation mentioned above there is a real sense of sadness as I have been able to support and I hope to enable our friends from St Bede say goodbye to this very special building, their spiritual home for so many years.
I am so glad I have been able to see the building before its new owners are given the keys, to feel a sense of the history, the encounter and the nurture alongside the sharing of God’s love that has so obviously seeped into the very bricks, the fibre of this special building.
As someone who tries to be creative, who definitely loves messing about with paint, cloth, paper, wool etc to help her understanding of God, I love the banners and therefore the creativity and the service the people who have created them have offered to others in this place.
My thanks also need to go to Alan for these lovely pictures.
Finally a reading and prayer for the St Bede community at this time – Mark 16:15
‘ And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’
Lord, we ask you to bless this community as they leave this building, this home. Help them to continue to share your love through the fellowship they have found at Stockton Rd
United Reformed Church. Guide us in our future work and witness in our new home as we continue to serve you our Lord and Master. Amen
Please continue to take care, best wishes Alison.
Church Related Community Worker,
CHURCH SERVICES AT STOCKTON ROAD SUNDAYS 10.45AM
July 4th Zoom service 4pm
July 11th Revd Dr David Whiting
July 18th Barbara Ledger
July 25th Revd Dr David Whiting
FINN’S LABYRINTH AND NETWORKING EVENT
LED BY CLAIRE RITSON AND ALISON DALTON
Join us on the Bents for a joint networking picnic lunch (bring your own) and/or for a led walk to Finn’s Labyrinth, Whitburn Bay.
2nd of August 2021
Secondary date of the 4th if weather forecast suggests a need.
Meet at 10.00 am /2.00pm
The Car Park, Whitburn Bents Road
PLEASE CONTACT: CLAIRERITSONFIC@YAHOO.COM 07792238918
OR: CRCW.ALISON.DALTON@GMAIL.COM 07908110121
FreeWill Offertory and Church giving
I must begin this item by expressing my gratitude to everyone who continued their Offertory giving throughout the period when we were not physically meeting for services: to those who sent me cheques, to those who used Standing Orders, and to those who set up BACS payments online, I offer my very sincere thanks.
This continued income was essential because, of course, our income from use of halls has been nil since March 2020, and investment income from funds held at Synod also decreased significantly. However, because of the steady stream of FreeWill Offertory we were able to show only a very small deficit of £1587 for the year ended 31 December 2020, an exceptionally good result given the circumstances.
I am pleased to report that for the four months ended 30 April 2021 we have shown a small surplus, and as we look towards the return of halls users and the related income, we can be confident about our finances for the coming year.
I also wish to note my thanks to Northern Synod, who made Emergency Loans available to churches: we made use of that facility in the sum of £3000 to assist our cashflow, and I am delighted to report that we have been able to repay that loan in full during June.
All this, of course, was happening whilst the redevelopment works were being carried out and funded: in round terms the works cost £145,000 and were funded by Synod Grant (£63,500), use of West Park disposal proceeds (£54,500), the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (£24,000), and donations (£3,000), so there was no call upon our general funds.
With regard to FreeWill Offertory and other giving as we look ahead, for anyone who wishes to pay by Standing Order or by BACS our bank account details are:
Name of Account: Stockton Road URC, Sunderland
Sort Code: 55-61-11
Account Number: 07708599
With regard to Gift Aid, I will be preparing and issuing Gift Aid Declarations in the next few weeks, so if I haven’t caught you by the end of July, please chase me!
With thanks again for all your contributions to our mission and ministry.
Copy for August Newsletter by 25 July please to
Editor: Anne Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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