NewsletterMar2019

Faith and Fellowship

CIRCUIT NEWSLETTER
March 2019 - May 2019

 

       

Dear Friends

We have moved into a new year and it is good to think about how that year may look for us. What things do we look forward to? What events in our lives and the lives of our churches are we hoping for in this New Year?

Irchester Church is looking forward and planning carefully for the 150th Anniversary year of their church’s mission and witness in the village. There are events planned for each month and everyone is welcome. At every event we are planning to have a Christian message given to feed all who come with the love of Christ. Many events are free and we pray that the other circuit churches will hold their year of mission in prayer and support.

*In February we have a Gardeners Question Time on Feb 21st at 7.30pm.

*March will see us celebrate in worship with the President of the Conference preaching on March 17th at 6pm. This is preceded on the Saturday with a Quiz and Pudding evening. See posters for details. Please pray for the people of Irchester this year that we may tell God’s story and hearts may be moved and people may come to an understanding of God’s love for them.

The joy at Irchester is also reflected in Kingsway as the renovation of their building begins and the merging of the congregations of Great Park Street and Kingsway moves  a step nearer. It has been a time of joy and testing for both congregations and we ask you to pray for them and all they seek to achieve.

Hope Church amid the testing of fund raising have had the affirmation of Planning consent so that the work on the renovation of their church may now begin when the money is in place. This has been a very long journey of hope and disappointment, of dreams dreamt and hopes shattered but when I came here to join in with this work I said that if it was God’s will it would happen. Every step of the way in the last four years we have, in moments of doubt and anxiety found God ahead of us, delightful surprise in things we did not expect and the support we have received from the Circuit, District and the Community. As Hope’s congregation move forward this year please pray for the love of God to fill them and may they trust in him for all that is to come.

Already in our gardens we are seeing the beginnings of spring as the snowdrops are out and daffodils are growing well. The weather though is unpredictable and we have mild sunny days followed by biting cold, wind and rain or snow. As I look out this morning on a brief but delightfully mild day I recognised that all our lives follow this pattern. We have periods of joy, happiness and contentment and they are blown away in a wind of loneliness, anxiety, concern and unhappiness. The unpredictability of our lives can often be difficult to deal with as we try to sort out our feelings amid constant change, but nature reminds that God is in control and all will be well. It may not be how we want it to be, we may not have all we want but God is there, travelling beside us, guiding our path through the darkness into the light of his peace and presence. We see it in our walk with God if only we would pause to let him in and when trials overcome us we can fail to see or hear his presence.

May we pause each day to listen and talk with God.  May we come to realise that he has our best interests at heart and he gives us all we need for each day. It may not be what we want but it is what we need. He has a plan for each one of us and our work in the church and community but we need to trust in him more and on ourselves less and all will well. Whatever your year may bring may you know that love of God with you; may you learn to lean on him when the going gets tough and trust him for all that is to come and may His Peace and Blessing be with you all.      

In Love           Rev Margaret

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Holy Habits

This year during Lent the whole circuit will be looking at the Holy Habits. Holy Habits is about practising holy things until they become instinctive.   We find these habits in Acts 2: 42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

In the coming weeks we will explore the habit of the early Christians in which,  “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching”. After Jesus returned to heaven the disciples represented the continuation of ministry from Jesus through the apostles. Jesus’ ministry was rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures which we find in the Old Testament. James Dunn says, “The apostles were the medium and guarantors of the teaching focused on interpreting the scriptures and beginning to order the memories of Jesus teaching and ministry into forms suitable for instruction, worship and proclamation”.

This Lent we will be looking at the Holy Habit of Biblical Teaching, using the Hebrew scriptures which Jesus taught from,  Jesus’ own teaching which is recorded in the New Testament and in the letters and Revelation which were written after the events in Acts 2.  With this habit it is important to both explore it and live it. The words “they devoted themselves to” are important. In exploring the Holy Habit we hope to discover not just what the Bible says but to devote ourselves to applying Biblical Teaching so that we may grow in grace and holiness and we may  help transform the world to reflect the kingdom values we discover in the scriptures.

We can do this on our own but it is better if done together with others. We need to engage imaginatively, critically, prayerfully and contextually. As we engage with this Holy habit we will have the opportunity to engage with Biblical teaching in different ways which will enable us to live out the insights we gain. We will develop the habit by paying loving attention to the whole of the Bible, wrestling with parts we do not like or find difficult. We will listen, read, reflect and respond. We will pray and put it into action. We will practise doing all that until it becomes completely instinctive. We will look at how passages from the Bible can be interpreted and how to apply to our lives.

When we practise together, the Holy Habit of Biblical Teaching is perhaps best described as “the people of God, gathering around the word of God, sharing insights into the gospel in order to discover the Holy Spirit’s insights among the people” says the author of the course. As we learn more of what the Bible says and how it can guide our living we pray that we all may develop a passion for Biblical Teaching that will change our lives and the world through us.

The study of Biblical Teaching can be carried out in house groups and Bible study groups, on a Sunday with themed preaching and as a Circuit study on Wednesday afternoon in Irthlingborough after Lent Lunch or on Monday evening at 7.30pm at Hope Church. Please come along to either course.

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An Easter Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of power and love, we join with saints and angels to celebrate your mighty acts.

We thank you for your creation and for signs of of spring in the  world about us, reminding us of your renewing work.

We thank you for your mightiest act, in raising Jesus from the dead.

We thank you that he has overcome sin and death for us  and brought us life and hope.

We thank you for all your faithful people whose lives have revealed your transforming power.

We praise your holy name and rejoice in your wonderful deeds: through Jesus Christ our Lord.       Amen


An Easter prayer of Commitment

The stone was rolled away from the tomb and the disciples saw that Jesus had risen, freed from death to new life.

Risen Lord,

free us from all that holds us back from serving you,

from all that holds us back from loving you,

from all that stops us seeking your kingdom,

from all that hardens us from helping others,

from sharing your risen life.                  

Amen

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SOME THOUGHTS........

The Incarnation began when Mary said, 'Into thy hands I commend my body'; the Incarnation was 'finished' when her Son said, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.'       Warburton Lewis

The truth about Jesus Christ moves beyond simplicity; its mystery continues to humiliate us in our attempt to tie down this man, this God, in words which cannot stay uncorrupted by moth or rust.

It is true that the man from Nazareth who was the Christ is alive today, is our contemporary; he was God for us, he is God for us.

Yet he continues to challenge us to find him out, to rediscover him again and again in the complexities and simplicities of the life he calls us to live.                    John Beer                                  

Jesus is not dead. He is alive today – alive to the issues of the present situation, alive to the special human problems of this generation, alive to guide us, if we will allow him, through the moral mazes of our time by his own indwelling presence.                   Ian Macpherson

God is a busy worker but he loves help.               A Basque Proverb

Faith is very like breath, I've found. You can't take one long breath and make it last forever.

So with faith. It means coming face to face with God again and again, believing anew day after day, in every new experience.                         Tom Fleming

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EVANGELISM  AS  JOURNEYING ‘WITH’

(Article taken from “the connexion”entitled Journeying, Issue 13, Winter 2019, pages 6 and 7.)                The Revd  Stephen Lindridge, Chair of Newcastle Upon Tyne District, stresses the centrality of our prayer and day-to-day witness for evangelism.

It is November 2018 and young people at 3Generate, the Methodist Youth Gathering in Southport, receive hundreds of letters. Each letter passes on something of the writer’s journey in faith to every young person who receives it.

The journey that unites us 

The letters were all so different: some detailed what triggered the connection between the writer and God, others noted how they began to think about God, and many talked about what they overcame in their life and how Jesus brought freedom and transformation. There was, however, one significant, common element. That common element echoes through all the letters written to 3Generate and through every story of faith I have ever heard. It will come as no surprise that a sense of journey is something that unites us as followers of Jesus.

Not just the moment of decision

When we think of evangelism, we would be foolish to consider only the moment of decision. One of the contributing factors to anyone’s journey is undoubtedly the accompanying prayer, often offered by anonymous souls who dedicate themselves to pray for others, maybe for many years. This praying is an essential part of the journey travelled, and perhaps the transformation that occurs in an individual’s life is the result of this kind of persistent prayer.

Do we try to hurry God up on the journey? At times we may find it hard to trust God when we question why a journey to faith seems to take such an incredibly long time for some people. Yet allowing God to do what God does best in our lives, little by little, is too often taken for granted.

Intentional grace

'The gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness' John Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739), Preface, page viii

Holding intentional grace for someone’s life is the social holiness we long for. As unique individuals, we all experience God in unique ways, whether that be an encounter with Christ through cognitive belief, or the godly behaviour of a friend, or the spiritual experience of something we cannot explain. I guess many of us don’t think we are well skilled in evangelism but it is very often more straightforward than we imagine.

It is rarely a clever argument or an amazing bit of street preaching that makes someone sit up and take notice of Jesus. The Talking Jesus research (http://talkingjesus.org) tells us that most people say it’s you… an ordinary person, as family member or friend, journeying in life with them; the choices you make, the kindness you show, the prayers that you offer, the lived-out faith that you graciously display.

So many people today are more open for conversations on what you think and know about Jesus, than at any other time in recent history. If you are able to share with honesty and respect, many of our friends will want to know more. Who is this Jesus who loves you? Will he love me too? This is apt evangelism and this is an essential part of our own journey as we follow Christ. 

The road is long

If we perceive evangelism like a journey, as opposed to an event, then we can see that our opportunities to both share and demonstrate faith are present every day. It also reminds us that a person’s response one day is not necessarily a static response for all time. “If people were interested in faith then surely they would ask us,” you might think. This is a common, false presumption made by many Christians today. What if our friends are actually thinking the opposite? “If they wanted to tell us about their faith or invite us to church then surely they would have done so. Maybe they don’t want us to come along.”

People in our Western culture often find faith in Jesus through a Christian friend or family member who has journeyed with them for some time. To quote an old song from The Hollies, “The road is long with many a winding turn.” We rest in the assurance that the Spirit of God is our ever-present companion on that journey and we are confident of the final destination.
What conversations about Jesus might you now initiate?

Alleluia! Christ is risen ! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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NEWS FROM EARLS BARTON

The Action for Children concert held on December 8th was very well supported and a wonderful evening was enjoyed.  Our Circuit Choir along with The Cordwainers and the Earls Barton Primary School Choir helped to give us an evening to remember and the total raised was £730.50.

Following this event, the Carols on the Square on Christmas Eve was a great blessing for the  over 3,000 people who had gathered. A further £668 was raised from bucket collections (£2004 raised in total for Church charities). On Christmas morning our free will offering was £117 and therefore the final total for Action for Children was £1515.50. We are very grateful to all who gave so generously.

Prayer and Share is held every Tuesday from 10.30 am - 12 noon. An open invitation is extended to all.

On Saturday, March 2nd at 7 pm we invite you to join us for a Welsh Evening to help us celebrate St David's Day. This promises to be an evening of song, laughter and friendship. The evening is free as are the tea, coffee and biscuits. Any donations however, will go towards our 20/20 Project and will be gratefully received.

Good Plate is held on the last Saturday of the month.

Every blessing in the work and witness of the Church.

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NEWS FROM HOPE

Good News -  Planning permission has been granted to renovate the old building and build the extension on the back. More discussion and money needed but it is a good step forward.

Great Fun was had at our Beetle Drive recently and we continue to get new people through the door.

The newly formed Thursday Group, on the second Thursday of the month, at 2 0' clock is proving to be popular and we have had really interesting speakers with more to come.

Keep Fit on Wednesdays mornings has increased so have Friday lunches.

Girls Brigade is a wonderful place to be for the young ladies.

You are welcome to join us at Prayer Meetings at 8.45am Thursday mornings. We invite you to come and join us.

Future events:

Saturday 16th February - Quiz Evening 7pm with Jacket Potato Supper. Teams of 4 Tickets £6

Saturday 30th March - 10.00am Easter themed Coffee Morning.

Want to know more ring Chris on 01933 317719

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 NEWS FROM IRTHLINGBOROUGH

Although it seems quite a long time ago now, we must say a big thank you to all who came along and supported our extended Christmas Coffee Morning.  ( A big thank you to the kitchen staff for the hot turkey rolls!)

Our Sunday School children went ‘on the road’ with their Nativity Play and were warmly welcomed at a local care home.  Still on the Christmas theme, it was encouraging and heart warming on Christmas Morning to see 34 folk coming along to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.  (Especially as they had  to get up to come at an earlier time).

The Community Cinema is still proving to be a popular afternoon out.  66 folk came along to see The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.  As this is being written we are looking forward to Mamma Mia:  Here we go again in January and Swimming with Men in February.  Please see local press or our Facebook page for the titles of further screenings.

This year we are looking forward to a few members and friends having significant birthdays ending with a ‘0’.  (No names!) .  The most amazing of these though is the birthday of our oldest member Tom, who will be 100yrs old in May. (I see more food on the horizon!).

In September it will be 10 yrs since our Church was refurbished.  We are planning to celebrate this during the weekend 21 / 22 September.  More details in the next edition of Faith and Fellowship.

We warmly invite all to our monthly coffee mornings on the first Saturday of the month from 10am.  Also, you are invited to our monthly lunches on the third Wednesday of the month from 12noon.  (Also on Wednesdays at our church, Weekly, Churches Together, Lent Lunches,  from 12noon).

Lent Courses studying the topic Holy Habits following the Lent Lunches.

Circuit Service       April 19th  Good Friday    7.30pm.

For more information, or to view the Church  calendar which contains all events, Church or Community based, please visit our website, irthlingboroughmethodistchurch.co.uk.  Or, find us on our Facebook page.

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NEWS FROM RAUNDS

Thank you to every one who supported our Christmas tree festival. We had over 120 visitors throughout the weekend and congratulations to Raunds Park Infant School who won favourite tree. Also Thank you to Sylvia for her cakes and puddings and Santa serviettes which raised over £140 towards Rise up and Build.

We are currently waiting for planning permission before work can commence on grant applications and timescales established for various phases and jobs.  

We had a wonderful joint covenant service with friends from St Peter’s followed by church lunch.

Our weekly Bible study has moved to 2.30pm on a Tuesday in the lower vestry.

We look forward to welcoming friends from across the Circuit to the Ash Wednesday service.

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NEWS FROM WOLLASTON

Saturday, 16th February Coffee Morning for WWDoP
Friday, 1st March at 2pm WWDoP Service.
Saturday, 16th March Coffee Morning at 10.30 am.
Saturday, 11th  May Church Anniversary Gift Day and Tea. Details to be arranged.

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For your diary

CIRCUIT SERVICES:

10th February   END HUNGER Public Issues service at 6.00 pm at IRCHESTER

6th March        Ash Wednesday Service  at 7.30pm  at RAUNDS

18th April        Maundy Thursday Service at 7.30 pm at WOLLASTON

19th April        Good Friday Service at 7.30 pm at Irthlingborough

District Safeguarding Training at St. Andrews, Northampton 10am on 6th April

Circuit Meetings      8th March  7.30pm  Wollaston         20th May   7.30 pm  TBA                                       

Please note: The next Faith and Fellowship Newsletter will be due to be delivered to Churches mid-April / early May. Please email your contribution as attachment to your email ( A5 size please and no borders and simple format - No PDF format as editing may be required) to Rob Gould: robnenevalley@yahoo.co.uk by the end of March. Thank you.

surprisesurprisesurprisesurprisesurprisesurprise

 

 

 


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