It was fantastic to see so many people back again after our long summer break. This term we will be looking at God (obviously!) – more specifically, aspects of his character:
On 13Th September we looked at – God of compassion
On 27th September we looked at – God of promises (Harvest)
and coming up ... 11th October - God of inspiration
25th October – God of justice
8th November – God of peace (Remembrance Sunday)
22nd November – God of power
13th December – God of love (Advent)
Following on from the questionnaire that many filled in earlier in the year, we would like to involve and include as many people as possible in the services. Drama is always a good way to do this and we have some excellent acting skills across all ages. Reading the Bible passage or preparing and/or reading prayers is another good way to get involved.
Vicky Jones wrote the prayers for ‘God of compassion’ and they were beautiful and fitted perfectly with the theme. It would be great if individuals or families would like to offer this.
We plan to get the Young Band playing again in services, so if you are Grade 1 or above, play any instrument and would like to get involved, please let me know.
As we say thank you and farewell to TJ (off to London University), it was brilliant to welcome Max Lewis on alto sax into the main 0930live! band. It’s a great way to encourage our teenagers. Again, if there are others out there who would like to join, please contact me.
We are going to have an easy to learn song that we will sing for several services. Our song of the moment is ‘Great big God’ – a good action song! So hopefully there is something for everyone at 0930live! and we look forward to welcoming you there.
Community and Schools Worker
Recently I went to a "We are Family" conference based on a report, commissioned by the Methodist Church, which can be found here.
Below are some thoughts expressed during the day:
More and more people advocate the idea that generations should do faith together - learning from each other.
Faithinhomes.org.uk is a good website for practical advice about living faith in family situations at home.
Tips about faith at home:
Be flexible with your approach - no right or wrong way. Build God into the everyday, build faith into existing faith patterns.
Get started - it’s never too late. Learn together. You don’t need all the answers!
Meeting to talk - that’s where God is.
The face of families has changed over the last ten years or more.
Trust God, pray, walk alongside people.
Young Families Worker
We have discussed a different book each month, with our discussions often ranging far wider than the book itself!
We watched the film of The Book Thief by Marcus Suzak, having already read the book last year. We had wondered how this book could be interpreted in film but we were very impressed.
Our next novel was Love, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Éclair. None of us had read any of her writing before, and most of us agreed that it was an enjoyable experience.
In March we had a meal out while we discussed Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville. This novel is set in Australia, and continues the tale of early English settlers from her previous novel The Secret River.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is set in Russia and has recently been released as a film, with many twists and turns to the plot.
When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman was our May read, followed by Longbourne by Jo Baker, a historical novel, a rewriting of Pride and Prejudice, from the view point of the servants.
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale led us into the world of Art, and was also discussed over a meal!
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford was our classic novel which split the group into those that loved it and those that really didn’t like it at all, so it led to a good discussion.
We are all completely besides ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler kept us gripped during September and surprised us with the ending!
We will be discussing Americanah by Chimanda Ngazi Adiche on October 21st and Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant on November 18th.
If anyone is interested in joining the group then you would be very welcome. We meet at 7.30 in the Quiet Room on the third Wednesday of the month.
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference are elected at Conference, and take up their year of office 12 months later. This ensures a degree of continuity with the previous year’s officers. The President is always a presbyter (ordained minister) and the Vice President is always either a lay person or a deacon (who is also an ordained minister….but let’s not complicate things!).
This year’s President, Rev'd. Steve Wild, became a Christian at the age of 14 during a Cliff College Mission – later in life he worked at Cliff for four years as a tutor and director of evangelism. He has worked in circuit ministry, held posts as an evangelism enabler, and worked part-time for Westcountry TV, presenting programmes about Christianity. In 2008 he became Chair of the Cornwall District – you may have seen him in an episode of the BBC’s “An Island Parish”.
Steve has a real heart for bringing people to know Jesus Christ for themselves. In his inaugural speech to Conference, he urged every Methodist church to “ ... take God seriously ... to put mission on the agenda ... to make one new member this year.” (A speaker at our District Synod in September described that as a ‘very modest aim’ – what are we going to do about it?!)
Dr Jill Barber, the Vice President, is the wife of our own District Chair, Rev Peter Barber. She grew up in Kent and studied English and Librarianship at Aberystwyth University, where she met Peter. She has worked as a children’s librarian, a history teacher and an archivist. Since 2011 she has been Project Director at Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodism, near Crewe (only small, but well worth a visit if you haven’t been). Her professional experience has shown her the importance of ‘telling our stories’ as a way of connecting with those outside the church.
Speaking to Conference, Jill suggested that we need to re-discover as a Church what she called the ‘four Ps’ – Prophecy, Prayer, Passion and Protest - so that we can use our voice to speak out and make a difference. Certainly Jill’s passion for issues of justice shines out through her lively, bubbly personality. She was the lead signatory in a statement from the non-Conformist Churches in August about the refugee situation in Calais.
Jill will be the guest preacher at a Chester and Delamere Forest Circuit service at Rowton on Sunday October 18th at 6.30pm. Why not join friends from across the Circuit on this occasion – Jill is well worth hearing.
Like many children, I was taught to say my prayers at a very early age – and it was the typical childhood prayer, “God bless mummy, God bless Daddy … God bless the cat and dog …God bless Aunty Flo …and, oh yes, please make Bernard a good boy”. I continued praying in this way until my teens, partly because I felt I aught, and partly because I had the idea that something bad might happen if I stopped! Gradually the long list of prayers every night became a chore, so I came up with a very clever ruse: Sunday night I would pray through the whole list. Then on Monday I would pray “God bless the people I prayed for last night”, and jump into bed. I would then quite happily stretch this out to last for a week, or even a fortnight, before praying through the list again.
I can’t remember when I learnt the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6: 9) but that was reserved for Sunday School and church on Sundays. It was when Jesus became real to me that the Lord’s Prayer became precious, and prayer itself took on a whole new dimension.
Just as Jesus is the touchstone in understanding the Bible so he is the touchstone in understanding prayer. We pray IN THE NAME OF JESUS (John14:18) and so the Spirit of Jesus must be the guiding hand in how we pray and what we pray for.
Life becomes a prayer (1Thess 5:17) – prayerfulness is how we live. It is not just praying through a list of names, prayerfulness is an attitude of life towards God and others: it is a thankfulness of spirit, a yearning of the heart, an anxiousness for people and for the world, a regret for stupidities and a trust in God’s grace and mercy. I also discovered that in prayer a whole new world opens up. In prayer I can soar into outer space, I can encircle planet earth, I can draw close to any situation or any person in any part of the world.
I discovered that prayer is not just praying to God, but actually becoming a co-worker WITH God for His good purposes (2 Cor 6:1; Heb 3:14). In prayer I am not battling with reluctant God, I am actually striving ALONGSIDE God for his good purposes and crying from my heart THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE.
A useful mnemonic came my way to help me embrace the whole range of prayer – A.C.T.S.
A - ADORATION
The view from Frodsham Hill – awesome.
The airwaves that give instant communication around the globe – awesome. The birth of a baby – awesome.
“Hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered” – awesome.
When we are overwhelmed by a glimpse of the love and creative words of God, we fall silent and adore – this is prayer.
C – CONFESSION
The Bible is brutally honest, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) – including me and you. None of us is as good as we should be, or could be. But the nail marked hands of Jesus help us to glimpse the agony in the heart of God, and gives us the assurance that “if we confess our sins … he may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us” (1 John 1:9).
Difficult to grasp but it is true, we are forgiven – there still may be consequences to face, but we are forgiven – this too is prayer.
C also stands for COMPANIONSHIP, and this we enjoy with Jesus, for He is our friend (John 15:14), and has promised to walk alongside to the end of time (Matt 28:20) – this is prayer.
T - THANKSGIVING
We are all pleased to receive gifts, but often slow to say “thank you”. How we have struggled with our children over thank you letters! But what joy a simple thank you can give; what joy in the heart of God when we say thank you in our prayers (Eph 5: v20). There are so many hard experiences in life it is sometimes hard to find something to be thankful for – but that old song has a lot to commend it – “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done” (Eph 5:20; 1Thess 5:18) and it is amazing how our spirit can be lifted as we learn to say THANK YOU – this too is prayer.
S – SUPPLICATION
Here we can have the list of names and causes for which we want to pray. (Phil 1:4). It is helpful to have a notebook and spread our list over a few days – some we pray for everyday, some every week, some every month, some every birthday. Prayer is never wasted. Just as we tap the airwaves when, with our mobiles we speak to our loved ones in Australia, so in prayer we set off vibes which can reach to anyone, near or far. We are co-workers with God and are striving with Him for the blessing of those we love and for all creation – this too is prayer.
To “pray without ceasing” is not spending 24 hours a day on our knees. It is being consistent in joining with God in seeking to clothe needy and wayward humanity in the streams of goodwill that flow from the heart of God – this is prayer (1Thess 5:17).
But what about unanswered prayer? I have no ready answer. But if it is true that in prayer we become co-operators WITH God, then our prayers become part of God’s striving and yearning to draw all creation unto Himself (Col 1:20) so no prayer is wasted and no prayer is unanswered.
So, hand in hand with our Bible Reading Notes, and the Methodist Prayer Handbook, take your time to explore the wonderful world of prayer. Let Jesus lead you step by step, as you pray in His name and for His sake (Acts 2:42).
THE METHODIST PRAYER HANDBOOK helps us to pray for the world wide church month by month throughout the year; if you would like a copy for 2015/2016 please add your name to the list in the church foyer.
Our own INTERCESSORY PRAYER GROUP meets every Monday morning at 9.30am in either the foyer or the Quiet Room. Contact: Marion Greer
Rev'd. Bernard Dodd
On Saturday, 5th September, a group of 15 – 70 year olds left church to do a two hour walk in Frodsham. We were led by two highly experienced Sherpas, Ros and Jim Caldwell, who also carried out their vigorous checks and risk assessments!
We walked down Bradley Lane, past Watery Lane, and took the first footpath, and after that Kevin and I didn’t have a clue where we were, having never been in that direction before, despite living in Frodsham for 18 years! We walked through fields and over a couple of stiles until we eventually reached our summit near Kingsley. Jim, who loves nature, also did some pruning on the way! One puzzle though, half way round a taxi turned up and no-one admitted to ordering it. However, the scenery was amazing.
At the same time, Andrea Ellams led a shorter work of an hour for adults and children. Our reward for all of us was tea/coffee and cake back at church. It is a wonderful activity walking and chatting with different people and having lots of laughs. We are extremely lucky to be living in Frodsham and to have all these wonderful walks.
Alan Gerrard will be leading the next walk on Saturday, 24th October, leaving the Church car park at 2pm, so why don’t you come with us and even if you don’t walk you’ll still get coffee and cake, so it’s a win-win for everyone!
Sue & Kevin Fairbanks
I hope you agree that all the celebrations we had for our Harvest Weekend were truly magnificent! The amount of special memorabilia that folk routed out of their lofts and from the back of cupboards etc, and brought along for the displays was great - and provoked much discussion and fond memories. It was lovely to see how many people pitched in and cheerfully helped throughout the weekend, and so many thanks to everyone who helped - I won't name you all as I am bound to miss someone out, but these events can only happen with this input from all our church family.
We were delighted to have the WW1 display, and also a display by the Snow Angels social enterprise. In the church, which had been dressed beautifully, the evocative images of historic pictures projected onto the wall was a perfect backdrop to the choirs who entertained us during the day. Many thanks to Frodsham Townswoman's Guild choir, and also to Frodsham Sings, the Frodsham Community choir. (Both choirs have promised to return at some point ...!)
The three Sunday services were all very well attended, and the Bring and Share Lunch provided a chance for us to sit and relax with some lovely food and good conversation.
Finally, Monday afternoon's Harvest Praise service rounded off the weekend, when we welcomed many of our older friends to join us for a short service led by Edgar Gregory, followed by tea and cake in the Hall.
Although the weekend was not about fund-raising, we did manage to make a profit of £250 from the sales of food, and this will be divided between our two church charities, Salvation Army International and the International Justice Mission.
Below is a Pastoral Letter regarding the current refugee and migrant situation in Europe from The European Methodist Council.
We have met, as the European Methodist Council, in recent days in Bulgaria near the crossing-point with Romania. As Methodist representatives from all over Europe, much of our time has been spent in conversation on migration in light of the reality of hundreds of thousands of desperate people crossing the borders of Europe, fleeing conflict and persecution and seeking the possibility of a future for themselves and their children. We have prayed together and been strengthened in our fellowship in the Methodist family. We have drawn hope and inspiration from stories of Methodists working in many places to assist migrants and refugees. Often these are small groups of our sisters and brothers tirelessly fulfilling our common commitment to Christian hospitality and care. We give thanks to God for their vision, courage and continuing service in the name of Christ. May we all draw inspiration from their example.
In renewing our fellowship, we have recognised our differences and drawn strength from the knowledge that our primary identity comes through our union with Christ which transcends ethnicity and nationality and is always open to receive those who differ or disagree. We have been reminded, through study of the Scriptures,that the people of God have often been on a journey and frequently known what it is to be outsiders and even refugees. We have been challenged to recognise the neighbour rather than fear the stranger. However, the experiences we have shared show our tendency to forget the commandment to love when God unexpectedly gives us new neighbours.
We know that migration raises a complex set of issues that cannot be solved with simplistic solutions. We struggle together as Churches whose members continue to hold a variety of political and theological views. We seek to move beyond a sterile discussion about the rightness of migration to engaging with the many complicated issues involved in the crisis affecting our continent. In all this, we are aware of our own limitations and the need of the help of others.
The following general principles are offered as a basis for further conversation and action as Churches seek to formulate a co-ordinated response from their members. We are called to:
• renew our understanding and practice of the obligation to radical Christian hospitality to all, recognising the practical implications for congregations and individuals
• acknowledge that migration has and always will be a part of the human story
• recognise that we experience and interpret the reality of migration to and within Europe in different ways, depending on our context
• resist false narratives, generalizations and negative stereotyping and challenge those who would play on people’s fears
• reaffirm our Christian commitment to honour Christ in the face of the stranger regardless of religious background or the prevailing political situation
• encourage and support those who dare to open their doors and offer hospitality to those in need
• pledge both our continuing solidarity with those parts of world from which migrants and refugees come and our active engagement to achieve a just and peaceful world.
God calls us to continue our journey together. We believe that God also calls us to welcome those who arrive as our fellow pilgrims. We commit ourselves to immediate actions and the long-term perspectives that the issues raised by migration require. With a united voice, the European Methodist Council calls on our fellow citizens across the continent to join us in reflection and action.
May Christ bless us all, as we seek to faithfully express and reflect his love and mercy in our lives and ministry.
Don Kerr and Christian Alsted
Co-chairs of the European Methodist Council
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.