Today is Good Friday. You could join Christians in Frodsham for a Walk of Witness through the town starting at Main Street Community Church at 9.45am. Or if you are in Chester, Chester Mystery Plays' Way of the Cross will pass through the streets leaving Eastgate Street clock at 10.30am (more details here).
If you cannot make it to either of these events, do take some time to read scripture (John 18.1 - 19.42) and to remember what happened that first Good Friday before we rush on to Easter Sunday.
“A few weeks ago I heard, through members of the circuit and through the Methodist website that, as part of one of its missions, the Methodist Church was putting together a Trip to Haiti. The Methodist church has worked in Haiti for a number of years and their work is currently headed by Dr John and Sharon Harbottle, Methodist Mission Partners, who are both doing incredible work. John is helping to update the 11 clinics which the church has, and is starting a community health programme. Sharon is working in Christian Education, helping to develop the teaching materials for Sunday School, Youth, Women's and Men's groups as well as updating training for 600 local Preachers.
As part of the description of what they were looking for in a person to go to Haiti, they stated they wanted someone to teach sport. This is what I decided to lead my application with as I teach sport in primary schools and I have lots of experience in this area. Over the last couple of years my relationship with God and Methodism has matured hugely, which is why I believed it was right for me to apply to go to Haiti. A few days after sending off my application, I received an email back to say that I had been accepted as one of the eight people that will be going to Haiti from the 24th July to 4th August. At first I couldn’t believe that I had been accepted to go to the other side of the world for a once in a lifetime opportunity! After reading my acceptance letter through a few times, I became hugely excited and grateful that God has given me this opportunity to learn more about our religion in the wider world. During my trip I will be working with the children and young people of Haiti.
I am having to fundraise to cover the cost of going on this trip. And so I am planning on doing a physical challenge which I will announce in the coming weeks. Any support or sponsorship for my trip will be hugely appreciated.”
The season of Lent is a time during which we are invited to reflect on our lives. It is a time of "giving up" in order to create the space in our lives for the renewing purposes of God. It's a time of repentance; of turning around.
The problem is as I write this letter sIx months into my time here in Frodsham, I want to celebrate! We have much to thank God and each other for in our fellowship at Frodsham Methodist Church. Through the enthusiasm and hard work of our members we have a wide programme of opportunities for fellowship and worship. We have six different forms of Sunday worship! Through these different forms of worship we celebrate that God meets us where we are. We see this in Jesus' own ministry. Philippians 2 celebrates with wonder that in Jesus, God has eschewed the throne of heaven to come alongside of us. Jesus ventures out to the workplace in order to call his disciples to him. He meets us where we are. However, the call to discipleship does not allow us to remain there. The turning point in Mark's account of the Gospel is the conversation at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asks those who have journeyed with him: "Who do you say I am?" (Mark 8:27).
From that point onwards, Jesus calls his disciples to take up the cross and follow him.
That's the challenge of this Lenten season. God has met us in our needs, in our preference for a particular style of worship, but now he asks us if it has made a difference. He has taken upon himself our form and image. Are we willing to be re-formed in his? Are we now willing to follow him on the road that he leads even if that road is contrary to our own preferences?
Are we willing to take up the cross in our lives and the life of our fellowship?
Some of us reading this magazine will not need reminding that we are called to carry a cross. For some of us it is daily, lived reality. As we follow Jesus, so we are able to know his presence alongside us.
The Good News of this season is that strangely, unexpectedly, wondrously, this road, this suffering, this ending - is actually the way to new life.
Grace and peace.
Written by the Minister & Members