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Weekly update for MCC Brighton
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Greetings Philip, welcome to this week's newsletter!

Face the pointy cushion!

A paraphrase from a Monty Python sketch about the Spanish Inquisition and a good lead into the subject for my musings this week. In the sketch the inquisitors shout at a little old lady to confess her sins or be prodded by the corner of a cushion (been there, sitting comfortably only to find the cushion has moved and it's corner is poking you in the back, very annoying). It got me thinking about cushions ... only kidding, the subject is confession.

This week the subject of confession has come up on several occasions. At Street Church, a lapsed Catholic spoke to me about the problems they had reconciling the need to confess to a priest in a dark cupboard, with the knowledge that God was everywhere and saw everything (right there with them on that one), also this week's topic for our weekly discussion group Bible Cafe was, all together now, CONFESSION.

It seems there is no escape from the subject so I guess I had better just say where I stand on it and have done.

Confession is always a tricky subject for people, as it is inevitably tied in with the subject of sin, whether there is original sin, so we all need to be baptised as babies, or whether we can be sinful then have it all sorted out on a Sunday by a quick chat and a penance, or whether the only true sins are things that take our focus away from God.

For me the subject is actually quite simple. I believe God is everywhere and knows what I have done, said and even thought. If those things have been less than positive in nature, then through prayer and reflection I will see that and try to do better next time. That realisation is the only confession I believe we need to do, confessing to ourselves that we have not been the person we were designed to be, that we haven't behaved in the manner we would hope to, or aspire to. The only penance we have to shoulder is to apologise to those we have impacted with our behaviour (if any) and intentionally work on not repeating it.

OK, not quite as simple as I first thought but still not overly complicated. If you have an on-going dialog with God, then CONFESSION is a natural part of the conversation, the sort of "I really wish I hadn't ......" or "I feel like I have ......" chats that we might have on other subjects with close friends. God already knows who we are, what we do, but also knows what we are capable of doing, achieving or being like and that is the penance we carry, knowing we have fallen short and having to work hard, to do things we might not want to, to address that shortfall and make steps towards the best that we can be, our true potential, our true selves.

So, is confession good for the soul or is it just a get out of guilt free card? That is a question we each must answer. For me confession is an internal check, leading to a deep conversation with God and hopefully some much needed direction to becoming closer to God and maybe just a little bit more like Jesus in my everyday life.

What is confession to you?

Have a truly blessed week

Andrew Ramage

Always Loved

This week, in the second of our 50th Anniversary services, Reverend Heather Leake-Date, from Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, spoke to us about Love, with a particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS and the associated stigma. To hear more, click here!

One of the things that some parts of the Christian church has forgotten is that Jesus was a radical, a revolutionary, and was known for doing things that the Jewish establishment frowned upon.

One of those was his tendency to spend time with people who were shunned by many Jews, eg lepers, Samaritans, alleged prostitutes, even tax-collectors!

Too many Christians sit in their comfortable church buildings, preaching to the converted, and forgetting all about the people who are on the outskirts of our community today. This still includes people with illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, it includes those from minority cultures, and it includes those who, often through no fault of their own, are homeless.

Jesus calls us to accept, and affirm, all of God's children, as our family. In the words of an unattributed quote that I shared on Facebook recently, "You will never look into the eyes of someone God does not love. Always be kind".

Will you share God's love this week, even with those who are different to you?

Blessings and love,
Philip

Loving God, we pray for all who have been damaged and harmed by stigma. We pray for all who have been rejected, even by some of your children. We ask that you would give us the strength to step outside of our comfort zones, to sit down alongside those who are different to us, those who feel unloved and unwanted.

Comfort those who live with the pain of rejection, use us to bring that comfort. May we be a light in the darkness for them. Give us wisdom to know how to help those people we meet in our every day lives. May we, your church, be a healing presence, and a safe community for everyone.

All this we pray through your mighty name.
Amen

THIS WEEK


50th Anniversary- Reverend Troy Perry founded the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches on 6th October 1968, by holding a small service in his living room. During October and into November, we will be celebrating this by joining with other MCCs in a 50th Anniversary Worship Series. Each week's service will be themed and will look at consecutive decades of UFMCC's history. Click here for the flyer.

SUNDAY 21st
Evening Worship- Brighthelm Gardens, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, 6pm.
We are continuing our 50th Anniversary sermon series and Andrew will be speaking to us about Justice.This week's celebration is based on MCC's work in the 90s. Click here for the flyer.

MONDAY 22nd
Pastoral Availability- 
Pastor Andrew is not available on Mondays until further notice.

WEDNESDAY 24th
The Hub- The Hub will not be meeting this week.
Street Church- Old Steine Gardens. 4pm until 5.30.
Informal worship & communion for everyone. Help with setup from 3.30 always appreciated.

THURSDAY 25th
Community Office Hours- Alcampo Lounge, London Road. 
Pastor Andrew is available from 12-6 for advice, chat, and prayer. Please contact him first as he does get busy!
Bible Cafe- Alcampo Lounge, 7-8.30pm.
Do join us for our informal & friendly Bible study. All are welcome.
We will be continuing our Vital Bible study this week. All are welcome.
Click here for the short video introduction to this week's study on Prayer.

SUNDAY 28th
Evening Worship- Brighthelm Gardens, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, 6pm.
We are continuing our 50th Anniversary sermon series and SJ will be speaking to us about Hope. This week's celebration is based on MCC's work in the early 2000s. Click here for the flyer.
 


IMPORTANT FUTURE DATES

MONDAY 22nd October
Special General Conference Business Forum- A webinar to discuss: the ballot option of ‘10% with deductions remaining’; the impact on UFMCC’s 2019 Budget; voting procedures; any questions arising. More details will be available closer to the time.


SUNDAY 28th October
CLOCKS CHANGE-
At 2am the clocks will go BACKWARDS, this means you get an extra hour in bed. It also means that you might turn up early for church...in which case you can help set up!

WEDNESDAY 7th November
Special General Conference- 
A virtual conference will be held to vote on the percentage chosen in the survey held in August. As Lay Delegate Philip will be casting the membership's vote. Andrew also has a separate vote as a Lay Pastor.

SATURDAY 10th November
Emergency First Aid At Work Training-
 we are holding a first aid training course at Brighthelm. Please contact Philip if you would like to take part.

Copyright © 2018 MCC Brighton, All rights reserved.


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