At last I have arrived in Frodsham after what seems like a long wait – since finding out last November that I was to be stationed here in the Chester and Delamere Forest Circuit.
So far life has been quite eventful – I moved some boxes on moving in day and have now got a prolapsed disc and a trapped sciatic nerve (see photo of a walk along the Whitegate Way with me on crutches!!). My Mum Janet (57) was also found in my first working week to have suffered a fairly major stroke about ten days earlier, which means she can no longer read or understand anything written, or even simple
In the midst of this, much building work has been carried out to the Manse to help Mum to be able to live on the ground floor – the builders and decorators have been at the Manse until well past the middle of September – and there is still some work to complete yet. I’ll be relieved when it’s all completed, but am very grateful for all the ways in which the Circuit and churches have helped and supported me through this transition from Bristol.
I am very excited to be here at last. I feel very strongly that God has called me to be in this place for this time – and I do trust that He will use me in the most effective ways for His purposes. That means I need to look to see what is happening in the churches (it will take me some time to get round to all the activities so I do beg your patience with me), and try to work out how best to support what is happening, and to help move us on together to continue to work for God into the future.
It will also be a challenge for me to find ways of using the particular gifts God has given me – including leading Quiet Days and Teaching/Reflective Weekends (particularly in the Ignatian Tradition) – to help hopefully to develop our spirituality together. So please feel free to ask me to help lead things like this, and together I pray we will grow in faith and confidence and love. I know one thing for certain as I begin…I cannot do it all, and I cannot do it alone. Will you join with me in reaching those who are searching and seeking in our midst, and in each of us taking seriously our discipleship and mission before God, and encouraging each other in it?
With Christian love and best wishes,
Reverend Denise Harding
We are pleased to report that this year’s Summer Fayre was a huge success! Our cake stall was VERY popular, with cakes and scones made and donated by our staff and volunteers. We also had tombola and raffle, a bookstall, nearly-new clothes and a bric-a-brac stand. Many items were kindly donated by staff, volunteers and the families of our residents. The event was so popular that we had to close an hour early, as we had sold out of many items. In two hours we raised nearly £400 for the resident’s fund. On behalf of everyone at Chapel
Fields, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone whosupported this event.
We are pleased to report that the renovation works within the home are progressing well. Although we did have to postpone the date of our Summer Fayre due to the works, it was certainly worth it. Our garden has now got a fully accessible path which makes it much easier for residents to enjoy time outside.
We now have nine volunteers at Chapel Fields. We are very grateful for all the hard work and dedication that they give to our residents. They are supporting us in different ways such as helping with gardening, befriending, music and activities. If you think that you could spare some time to help us in your church, circuit, community group or in the home, then we would love to hear from you! Contact Ella Turner on 01928 734743 to find out more.
The staff and residents here at Chapel Fields would like to thank the local churches for their continued input. Also, we would like to give a very warm welcome to Rev'd. Denise Harding to Frodsham Methodist Church. We hope she enjoys her time here in Frodsham and is successful in all that she sets out to achieve.
September has both welcomed back established friends and seen new faces in our children’s groups. The schools have warmly welcomed us back for assemblies and new ideas are being discussed for the coming year.
At Synod (The Methodist District Conference held in September) we were reminded that new ideas for mission need to be backed up with research and time needs to be taken to discover the needs of the people within the community that we serve, anchoring this in prayer and seeking God’s will. May God inspire each of us to show God’s love and grace to others in the things we do.
We welcome the new head at Weaver Vale Primary School. Her name is Sue Mills and she has invited Pippa Jacobson and myself to continue our work within the School. We are going in on a fortnightly basis to take the assembly and lunch time club. On the same morning we take the assembly at the Manor House School. What a busy morning that is!
Five of our young people joined fifty-nine people at the District Youth Event in September. They took to the water in canoes and did other outward bound activities before eating tea together at Holmes Chapel Methodist Church and attending a youth service. Watch out for the same event next year. Open for children in Year 6 and above.
After having a debate about what day we should hold Messy Church on, the conclusion was to continue Messy Church on a Friday Evening at 5.15pm until Easter, 2013. In the summer months we will organise outdoor events. There will be a meeting to discuss the running of Messy Church shortly. If you can offer help in any way to support this venture please come along or let me know. People are needed to bake puddings (all costs are reimbursed), prepare savoury food, help at the craft tables, wash up, clear away and lead worship.
On Saturday 22nd December we will be holding a Christmas Holiday Club from 12noon until 4pm. Please put this in your diary. Further details nearer the time.
As ever, if you have any queries or questions about our work with young people, please do get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Families Worker
Here is another story illustrating how the work of Emmaus can change people's lives. Michael lives in an Emmaus community and this is his story.
"My marriage lasted for twenty two years but the relationship broke up because I was never at home. I worked extremely long hours on the farm. Then my life became very stressful and I was in hospital with drink related illnesses.
I slept rough on and off for two years, mainly in the woods because
at least I wasn't out in the open. I mixed with people who were taking drugs and I didn't feel safe. My worst point was when I was sleeping rough on marshland and one night it was raining very hard. I woke up surrounded by water and I ended up in hospital again.
I wasn't sure about Emmaus at first but now I am relaxed and happier. It's peaceful and safe here. I have just done Level 2 in Health and Safety and I hope to do further training and education. When I get up in the morning I have something positive to do. It's important to me that this is a working community. It's only fair to do your share and not to expect things to be given to you in a plate."
Thank you for your support so far this year for this worthwhile Charity; it is very much appreciated. Like so many other charities, Emmaus would not exist without the generosity of the general public. Also please remember that if you have friends or family who live near an Emmaus Community and they are planning to dispose of quality furniture the Emmaus Community would be pleased to hear from them.
Charles Wesley’s hymn Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim, thankfully retained in the new Methodist hymnbook, Singing the Faith, was published in 1744, a time of great turmoil in Britain. With Britain at war with France, Roman Catholics were being persecuted in Britain, and along with them, the newly formed Methodist Societies were treated with great suspicion too—suspected of being Roman Catholics in disguise and accused of attempting to overthrow the Crown.
Both John and Charles Wesley made clear their unstinting support for the Monarchy, but they could not hide from the fact that what they wanted was a revolution of sorts: a revival to shake up the religious establishment. Hostility was widespread and in 1743 John had recorded in his diary the event where, after having preached in Wednesbury, he retired to the cottage of a local Methodist where:
Before five the mob surrounded the house again in greater numbers than ever. The cry of one and all was “Bring out the minister; we will have the minister.”
Through the words of his hymn, Charles Wesley offered hope and support to newly formed Methodist Societies. It is a hymn of great encouragement to all believers with the use of servants in the opening line referring to all Christians. It was published anonymously in a volume entitled Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution. The version sung today omits two stanzas to do with faithfulness in the midst of persecution, which I imagine would have been especially enthusiastically sung by the small bands of early Methodists:
The waves of the sea have lift up their voice,
Sore troubled that we in Jesus rejoice;
The floods they are roaring, but Jesus is here;
While we are adoring, He always is near.
When devils engage, the billows arise,
And horribly rage, and threaten the skies:
Their fury shall never our steadfastness shock,
The weakest believer is built on a rock.
Whether it be in the markedly different challenges faced by Christians in Syria recently forced to leave their homes by rebels or Christians in Britain finding ways to respond to increasing scepticism and marginalisation, such words are a great encouragement and comfort. They remind us that, however unlikely it sometimes feels, we have a God who is with us and not a God who is far off.
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.