Following the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus once again finds himself in conflict with the religious authorities. Once again, the challenge concerns following the religious rules. But before long he meets a woman who dares to question his own understanding of who is “in” and who is “out”. Come along to find out more. 10am. Everybody’s welcome here – especially rule-breakers.

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Fair-trade Breakfast

On Sunday it’s all about breakfast! – a fair trade breakfast. We’re going to be joining literally thousands of other people up and down the country who will be sitting down to a fairly-traded to remind themselves that by buying fair trade produce we can support farmers in poor countries through them earning a proper wage and having good local schools, clinics etc. So, please come along and bring with you (if you feel you can) some fairly-traded breakfast things to share – perhaps some bananas, some Traidcraft cereals, peanut butter – we’ll provide fair-trade tea and coffee. If you’re not sure what to buy then here’s four things:

· Roz and others are holding a fair-trade sale at Inspire from 9-5 on Friday and there will be lots you can get there;

· You could ask in your local supermarket what fair-trade things they have (that will give them a nudge if they haven’t got much!!);

· Bring a kit-kat (they are fair trade now) and some non-fairtrade bread or other non-fairtrade breakfast stuff;

· JUST COME WHATEVER – if you forget, or can’t afford it, or struggle to get organised or whatever, it is far more important that you bring yourself than anything else … this is not meant to be a hurdle to coming to church!

We’re going to start a little earlier at 9.45am and have breakfast together for 45mins or so before then having a short time of worship and Bible reflection together at 10.30am. Do come along – it’s going to be fun, there will be food and we will be standing in solidarity with the many people who produce our food but don’t always get paid properly to do so. Precisely the people that Jesus keeps standing up for in Mark’s gospel!!

Also on Sunday evening, we’re resurrecting our Conspire gatherings. They will be a bit different from before. Every other Sunday we’ll gather from 7.30-9.00pm at Fred’s Ale House (just by the Albert Rd traffic lights). We’ll have a simple service focused mainly on discussing a Bible passage. Our first gathering will be THIS Sunday 6th March. Again, everybody’s welcome (but sadly it’s not for kids).

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Who touched me? /// Conspire

Anybody catching the train into town at rush hour will know by the time it gets to Levenshulme it’s normally rammed with people and you have to squeeze up against complete strangers to get through the doors. I imagine it was in just such a situation when a woman touched Jesus and something special happened. “Who touched me?” he asked. Come and find out more about this remarkable story on Sunday. 10am. Sunday. Everybody’s welcome to reach out and touch.

Advanced warning: we’re at the beginning of fair-trade fortnight and so next Sunday 6th March we’re going to share in a special fairtrade breakfast. Everybody who feels they can is encouraged to bring something fairly-traded to share and eat together. More next week.

We’re also resurrecting our Sunday evening Conspire gatherings. They will be a bit different from before. Every other Sunday we’ll gather from 7.30-9.00pm at Fred’s Ale House (just by the Albert Rd traffic lights). We’ll have a simple service focused mainly on discussing a Bible passage. Our first gathering will be on Sunday 6th March. Again, everybody’s welcome (but sadly it’s not for kids).

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Crossing to the other side

I’ve lost track on how many storms we’ve had this winter – are we on Hurricane Zebedee yet? This Sunday our journeying through Mark’s gospel takes a fresh turn, marked by the crossing in the Sea of Galilee and the time when Jesus calmed the storm. The story recalls that of our old friend Jonah who was himself caught up in a storm as he turned his back on the oppression of the imperial city-state Nineveh. Far from waking up Jesus, Jesus was waking up the disciples to their true missionary calling. Come and find out more on Sunday. 10am. Everybody’s welcome here. (And there’s normally cake).

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Do lent generously: 40 Acts

Hope you’ve enjoyed your pancakes this evening. And so lent begins. Some people give something up for lent but I’d like to encourage you to ‘do lent generously’ with the help of the 40 Acts website. If you sign up online then they will send you a daily challenge to do something generous each day – each challenge gives you a choice of something you can do in 5 minutes, something that takes a longer, or something that encourages you to go the whole hog. It’s your choice. Go on, give it a try!

Once again, Levenshulme Churches Together is organising its Wednesday Lent Series too. It kicks off on the 17th February with refreshments and fellowship at 7.30pm followed by a reflection at 8pm (9pm finish). Venues are as follows:

17 Feb – Methodist Church, Stockport Rd

24 Feb – St Peter’s Church, Stockport Rd

2 March – Inspire Church, Stockport Rd

9 March – Baptist Church, Elmsworth Rd

16 March – St Mark’s Church, Mount Rd

23 March – St Mary’s Church, Elbow St (7.15pm)

On Sunday we’ll be having a rather different service as we think about the parable of the sower. There will be different activities for children and adults and we’ll all share together in a communion ‘brunch’. 10am as normal. Everybody welcome. Do bring your friends.

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Big weekend!

Saturday marks a big day for Inspire Church with the commissioning service for Liz Kam, our church-related community work minister. Liz and her family have been church members for a little while but it is really important for us to mark her calling to this special ministry and to pray that the next 5 years will be a real blessing to her, to our church and to our community. I know it’s an unusual time to gather but do please make a special effort to come along as it will be a very special occasion.

There will be a special service at Inspire from 3-4pm and then this will be followed by a vegetarian curry provided by our friends at the Noor Mosque (and some obligatory cake too!). There will also be activities for kids during the service.

On Sunday we will have our normal Sunday service. We’ll be continuing to explore the stories of Jesus in Mark’s gospel – and this week out theme will be ‘binding the strong man’ – sound intriguing? Better come along. The service will also include our church meeting and the election of a new elder. 10am Sunday morning.

Also on Sunday, our good friend Mustafa Abdulhussein has asked me to let you know that on Sunday there will be a special ‘open day’ at the Noor Mosque where people can drop in from 11 until 3pm. There will be tour of the mosque, Q&A sessions and refreshments. Perhaps a few of us might like to go along after the service.

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Lessons in rule-breaking

I hate doing things by the book. Rules are there to be broken. No more so than in the church! I grew up in a church where everything and everyone knew their place and the service ticked like clockwork. What room for the unexpected – the God of surprises – I wondered? We learned last Sunday that many of Jesus’ miracles carried with them a challenging message about the purity rules that were used to exclude the vulnerable in society. This Sunday we will hear about how Jesus challenged another set of religious rules about the Sabbath. But Jesus didn’t break the rules for the sake of it: he was a rebel with a reason. Come along on Sunday to find out why. Everybody’s welcome here! 10am Sunday.

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Don’t tell anyone!

This Sunday, the drama of Mark’s gospel turns to a series of stories about healing. In each case, Jesus doesn’t only perform a miracle, he mysteriously commands those he heals to keep quiet about what he has done. Don’t tell anyone! This is a theme that recurs throughout the gospel and it’s the title of our whole series. But why? Surely the Son of God would want the world to know of his power and saving grace? So why the silence? Come along on Sunday to find out more. Also on Sunday we will be thinking more widely about healing – physical, spiritual, emotional – and we’ll be having a special time for healing prayers. 10am Everybody’s welcome here.

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Gone fishing

Fresh from his baptism and time in the wilderness, Jesus’ ministry starts by gathering a small band of followers. “Follow me” he says to some smelly fishermen. They needed no more invitation than that. They dropped their nets and became ‘fishers of men’. But why them? Why were they so quick to drop everything? And what did they think following Jesus would mean? Questions that we could perhaps ask of ourselves. Once again, the simplicity of Mark’s gospel reads us as we read it. Come along on Sunday to discover more. Everybody’s Welcome Here! 10am. Sunday.

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