The Reverend Ulrike Bell has received a call to serve a Lutheran church in her native Germany.
The churches of the Forest Group were very sad at her leaving and celebrated her six years of ministry with us at a farewell service on 18 July.
At the service, tributes were paid to her special gifts in music, as well as her warm personality and leadership in worship, and her contributions to many other aspects of church life.
Any matters relating to any of the three churches in the Group should be referred to the relevant church secretaries.
Today's worship is a service to aid recovery from the last devastating year of pandemic. It's a remembrance of losses we've had, a reflection on the lessons learned and encouragement for whatever the future may hold.
Worship on the theme of doubt and faith, a prayer using our hands and writing of a letter to God.
On Good Friday, we meditated on the Stations of the Cross, with pictures by the artist Virginia Maksymowicz (2005).
Meditations based on Walking the Way of the Cross, Stephen Cottrell, Paula Gooder and Philip North (2019), adapted for today.
All read and sung by members of the congregation.
In today’s worship, Ulrike focuses on the role of the cross in the life of the church, and why it’s so important even though uncomfortable to consider. How can the bottom of the cross ever be a place of hope?
Today Ulrike reflects on how the season of Lent can be helpful to us spiritually, by contemplating the part we play in the sin of humans on this planet (climate change and what we can do about it) and by thinking of the damaging 'devil's' voice in our own heads which wants to tempt us into unhelpful thinking. With meditations and songs.
This year, Valentine’s Day coincides with Racial Justice Sunday - so the focus today is on God’s love to each human being, no matter what ethnicity or gender, skin colour or sexuality, social class or educational background.
The murder of George Floyd on 20 May last year showed that also in British society and in our churches there is still a mountain to climb, and we are called to do so today, intentionally, living out a quest for justice and love.
In today’s worship, Ulrike explores how we need to live out the special gifts and talents God gave to each one of us, and how in the church we need to encourage each other to do so as well. With breaking of bread and lovely hymn meditations.
This service, marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrates the diversity within the unity of Christ. Ulrike takes the image of the vine, which Jesus used to explain how his church was never meant to be one monolithic bloc, but diverse. We may be gay or straight or other, black, white or mixed, children, women, men, Protestants or Catholics, Anglicans or Methodists or Pentecostals – all fruits on the vine which is Jesus Christ. With lovely hymns from around the globe and prayers written by the sisters of the ecumenical community in Grandchamps, Switzerland.
Today’s worship explores our own prejudices, even about religion, and how thinking that you know everything and having your mind made up actually prevents us from discovering a whole world. With reflective meditation.