St Ursula's Church
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Lent - the bad news, the good news
Lent will be upon us soon. Although we are still celebrating the forty days of Christmas, which last until Candlemas, the feast commemorating Mary's offering of a pair of doves in the Temple and her return to regular life, Ash Wednesday is not far away. On 14 February we shall be having our customary service, with ashes to remind us of this season of penitence. We hope our friends in the Swedish Lutheran church will be able to join us, as in past years.
People think of Lent too often as a miserble time - no alcohol, no chocolates, suffering hardship and deprivation in unison with Jesus' pain on the Cross. But Lent means spring, and spring is a time of growth, and the idea is that we should grow in faith and commitment. By concentrating on things that are important, we bring ourselves closer to God and to what should be our real priorities in life - kindness to others, increasing our own faith (and others' faith too), doing good and chasing away evil.
Easter is on 1 April - All Fool's Day. (If you think this is inappropriate, read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31!)
A Lenten Study
As in past years, we shall be having a regular study in Lent. Stephen and a small team are still looking at which of several very good studies to use. Watch this space.
Shrove Tuesday on 13 February means pancakes. Pancakes for all. Sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes, pancakes with chili con carne, pancakes with lemon, plain pancakes. Come and enjoy, from 1800 onwards!
And no obligation to suffer the impossible Pancake Quiz. This year's questions will be even harder (we've run out of all the easy ones!). To limber up, here are the quizzes from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017!
The Abandoned Bride
A couple of years back, Jana in the office had an enquiry from two American sisters. Did we have marriage registers for 1921? Yes, we did, but they did not show what the sisters hoped to find - the marriage of their grandfather to a young Austrian waitress.
One of the sisters is a film maker, and they have produced a documentary telling the story behind this post-wartime relationship between an American conscript and his "abandoned bride". The film is being shown at several film festivals, and on their way through Europe, the sisters will be showing it at St Ursula's on 3 March at 6.30 pm (with an apé:ro before at 5.30). All are welcome (though you are even more welcome if you come to our Book and Food Sale, which is on the same day from 1000 to 1400!).
You can read part of the story on pages 10-12 of our June-July 2016 magazine.
So you think you know about Switzerland? We are delighted that Diccon Bewes will be coming to St Ursula's on 9 March to give a talk and set a quiz about Switzerland and the Swiss. All are welcome to take part in this event. There will be refreshments, and admission will be free - though we shall have baskets for your contribution to our expenses and for any further gift to our buildings and energy fund!
Diccon is an entertaining speaker, and his website lists the several lively books he has written about Switzerland and the Swiss. It should be a very popular evening!
Back in Church!
Our builders have spent the second half of 2017 on an ambitious energy project. Now it is nearly complete.
We also carried out renovation and remodelling work on the chaplain's house and renewed the church's sound and video system, dovetailing this with the energy work.
We have replaced the old oil tank and boiler with a gas-based system, for ease of maintenance. The new boiler is much smaller, since a more efficient heating system and more effective insulation mean that we need fewer kilowatts of heat from it. The former tank room is now the house cellar, and the former Schutzraum (bomb shelter) is accessible from the lower church hall.
With the agreement of the conservation authorities (Denkmalschutz), we have a new form of heating in the church. This relies on efficient radiators in the walls (a technique used in several churches). The panelling has been replaced with a facing of similar appearance to the old panels. On 5 November, we held a service of dedication in the newly finished church.
We have reglazed the hall, and are introducing a system controlled by the computerized church calendar (used for booking administration) to ensure that it is heated only when it is needed. The last phase of the project involved insulation work on the church house. For reports on the various stages of progress, click here. There are pictures too.
Bible Study Courses
Stephen led a bible study course on Fridays in November and December, looking at the readings for the following Sunday. (You can find these in the magazine or on the rotas page. The readings sheet is also normally available on the web on the Friday itself.) We hope to run a similar course in the new year.
Creation and SACEP - Advance Notice
On 28 April, the Swiss Archdeaconry's Christian (or is it Continuing?) Education Programme is holding a conference on care for the creation at St Ursula's. Speakers from A Rocha will give information on practical issues, ranging from living lightly, consumerism, ethical questions to encouraging children (and adults) to see the wonder of God's creation around them. And a speaker from the 'Green Christian' Organisation will introduce us to the 'Joy in Enough' campaign which challenges Christians to play their part in creating a fair and sustainable economy.
Religious Extremism - Four Talks
Violence, terrorism and oppression in the name of religion are seldom out of the headlines these days. We are fortunate in having Canon Douglas Pratt as a regular member of our congregation when he is in Berne as Visiting Professor in the University's Department of Old Catholic Theology. Inter-relgious issues are his field of specialization.
In November, he gave four talks on Wednesday evenings. Copies of the slides for them can be found here:
Thanks to Henry Hope, we have been holding Morning and Evening Prayer for some time now, following the order in Common Worship. We now hold Morning Prayer on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0800, and Evening Prayer at 1800 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Everyone is welcome to these quiet, reflective times of prayer.
On Thursday mornings at 10.30 there is a chance to follow fellowship at the Eucharist with cake and conversation. Several people like this format, and we hope it will continue.
And on alternating Thursday evenings, there is always the chance of joining church members in the Thun area for their evening session of eucharist, reflection and fellowship. Their meeting place, the Chapelle Romande, is only a five-minute walk from the station there, so why not join them too?
Water, water, Uganda
We and our Junior Church have been taking a keen interest in a project to bring clean water to villages in the Kigezi diocese in Uganda. Some of our church members have been to the area and helped with the work, and he have dedicated our Harvest and Christmas collections to the plan, which is also supported by Tear Fund Schweiz.
We have held services in Thun for many years. They have always been on Thursday evenings, and for a long time were in rather a remote part of Thun.
At the beginning of 2017 we moved to the French Chapel at Frutigenstrasse 22, less than five minutes' walk from the station. You can see some pictures of our first service in the Chapelle Romande here. There is a flyer here - print one out for a friend! Click here for details of the next few services. Details of how to find us can be found here.
New Things in Biel/Bienne
Mark Pogson is establishing a pattern of English services in Biel/Bienne. Services are held at 1700 on the first and third Sundays in the month, thanks to the hospitality of the Old Catholic community there, who have placed the Epiphany Church at Quellgasse/rue de la Source 27 at the disposal of the Anglican congregation.
The church has its own website, biel-english-church.ch, which gives more information.
Money, money, money
Many of our members pledge to give a regular sum to support the church. We receive no state support, and have to finance the ministry here ourselves. Our pledge appeal was sent out in October, but there is still time to add to the growing number of people who pledge to the church. You may fill in a form (there are several in the church hall) and give or send it to the Treasurer, or pledge online.
Our Chaplaincy Survey
As part of our preparation for a new chaplain, we conducted a short survey to get solid facts about our congregation - they are not all over 70, they are not all women, they are not all cradle Anglicans, they are not all English (or even British). We also asked what the church meant to them, and how they saw its future.
Isabelle Wienand, did the hard work of sifting through the answers and preparing a report for Council (to help us draw up the profile) and for the congregation. You can find a copy of it by clicking on this link.
As an English-speaking church in a German-speaking land, we have few direct contacts with the flood of refugees who come from the Middle East. We donate money to our sister congregation in Athens, who are directly involved in the hardships there. We give to specific projects run by Refuge Egypt, Tear Fund and Partner Sein, and other charities which are directly involved in this problem.
In addition, we are supporting an Afghan family locally, whose status is still in the balance. We would value your prayers for them.
Books for our Book Sales
Our book sale team have produced some notes on how you can help them by bringing the right kind of book, and not bringing the wrong kind of book. You can read their notes here.
Many of our members have responded to our appeal, which we have tried to keep simple and direct. Trying to move with the times, we are introducing the possibility of pledging "on-line" - the pledge page on our website has details. We hope that paying on line will come later. In any case, every rappen is appreciated!
We have started a series of reviews to bring interesting books to people's attention. These consist of short talks in church, or articles in the magazine. We hope this leads to wider use of the library.
Our librarians have been very busy over the past few months drawing up a catalogue of books available in our library (although we haven't catalogued the abundant children's books (yet)). You can see their catalogue here. The library is open most Sundays after church during coffee time, and everyone is welcome then to browse or to borrow.
Breakfast at Church
Since May 2014, we have enjoyed a church breakfast on the first Sunday of the month. We provide the food (cereals, fruit, juice, yoghurt, croissants, bread, tea, coffee), you provide the company.
Some 20 people have turned up for these regular breakfasts, which have been greatly appreciated. There are some pictures on our Picasa site.
Our next breakfast at church is on Sunday, 7 January. See you there?
There's up-to-the-minute news as well on the church's Facebook site. Take a look!
Dates for your Diary
|Fri||19 January 2018||1900-2100||Raclette Evening with the Lutherans and the Old Catholics at Kramgasse 10 (flyer)|
|Sat||13 February 2018||1800-2000||Pancake Evening|
|Sat||3 March 2018||1000-1400||Spring Book Sale|
|Sat||3 March 2018||1730-1940||Film: The Abandoned Bride (flyer here)|
|Fri||9 March 2018||t.b.a.||An Evening with Diccon Bewes|
|Sat||24 March 2018||1000-1200||Children's Toy and Equipment Sale|
|Sat||28 April 2018||1000-1600||SACEP Creation Care Conference at St Ursula's|
|Sat||16 June 2018||1000-1500||Summer Fête|
|Sat||1 September 2018||1000-1400||Autumn Book Sale|
|Sat||27 October 2018||1000-1200||Children's Toy and Equipment Sale|
|23-24 November 2018||1700-1930|
|2018 Christmas Bazaar|
|Every Monday||0800||Morning Prayer|
|Every Tuesday||0800||Morning Prayer|
|Every Wednesday||0800||Morning Prayer|
|0915||Parents and Tots|
|Every Thursday||1030||Eucharist, Cake and Fellowship|
|Every Friday||0800||Morning Prayer|
|Every Saturday||0930||Choir Practice|
What's Happened Recently?
Our chaplain, the Reverend Prebendary Stephen Stuckes has been with us since 1 May 2017. Stephen was previously Vicar of Alcombe, near Minehead in Somerset, Rural Dean of Exmoor and a Prebendary Canon of Wells Cathedral. He is in his fifties, and before he was ordained was in the Somerset police. His wife Jane currently teaches at a school near Taunton.
Energy and Sustainability
Over the past three years, a team headed by Hans Goepfert has studied and analyzed the church's energy use. We have also taken expert advice, and where possible have made use of the cantonal energy programme.
The 2016 energy report is available here along with Annexes I, II, III, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX. The aim (in no particular order!) is to have a warmer church, to make major savings in our heating and energy costs and at the same time to benefit the environment. This will cost money - more than we have!
The work is now over, but we are still happy for gifts of money. An anonymous donor gave us the Fr250,000 which was the original target suggested by the GEAK report. Alleluia!. You can help consolidate our Building Fund by sending a donation to Postfinance account 60-666488-7 (IBAN: CH61 0900 0000 6066 6488 7), St Ursula's Charitable Association. Donations are tax deductible.
Do you know that we regularly put pictures of church events on our Google website? They are worth taking a look at to see if there are faces you recognize, or memories you recall. Take a look!
We also want to keep our address lists up to date, so that we can contact you if the need arises. There are cards in the porch and in the hall for newcomers to give us their details. If you have not yet filled one of these cards in, please help us by doing so and leaving it in the box in the porch, or giving it to the sidesperson. And if you change your address, please let us know!
We want you to make the most of the information we have on the web. Have you looked at our sitemap to see just what there is you can find out about? Have you tried clicking on some of the links on our pages to find out more?
In addition to photographs on this website (see the magazine index page for a list), the church has a Picasa site, with pictures of church events, new and old, and many of the sermons in St Ursula's in recent years have been recorded for you to listen to.
If you have ideas for improving the information we can give, or if you have pictures of the church or our activities that you would be willing to share on this site, do please contact us.
The church magazine appears every two months, in paper format and on the web. If you are interested in saving paper and reading the magazine on line, please use this link to ask us to provide you with details.
Shrinking the Footprint
We are committed to the Church of England's environmental campaign, Shrinking the Footprint, which aims to make church members more aware of their place in the world around us. It also aims to reduce the church's consumption of non-renewable resources, and specifically to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.
Walter Bisig is our chaplaincy's environmental officer, working on making our activities greener.
A team of church members is helping with measurement, evaluation and proposals, drawing up an energy audit of the church's premises, which should lead to a long-term strategy for reducing our consumption. See the item above for details of what they have achieved.
HD - Page last modified 13 January 2018