Morning Worship for Sunday 31st May, will be streamed online and lead by our Minister, the Reverend Andrew Emison.
The service will start at 10am.
It can be accessed here:
The year is 1904 and teenager Florrie Evans stood up in a youth meeting in Newquay, Cardiganshire and declared publicly that she loved the Lord Jesus with all her heart. As she spoke those words, the spirit of God seemed to visibly fall on the meeting and the excitement and enthusiasm for the Christian gospel spread life fire to other young people across Cardiganshire.
In September of the same year Evan Roberts, a faithful member of Moriah Calvanistic Methodist Church became a pupil of Newcastle Emlyn Grammar School, to prepare for Trefecca Theological College. After two weeks he had an experience of faith which sent him back to his own church at Moriah to share his own experience and encourage the people there to be open to God’s spirit.
Within two weeks the Welsh Revival was national news and before long Evan and his brother Dan and their best friend Sydney Evans were travelling the country conducting Revival Meetings and they were meetings with a difference, for they broke the conventional and bi-passed the traditional. So much so that ministers sat down, unable to preach or even understand what had hit their usually sedate Welsh temples.
This was a revival with youth on fire - young men and even, in this day and age, young women. A storm had hit the churches and it was a storm of love and power which completely transformed lives and continued in the same way from 1904 to 1906.
People were changed in so many ways. The crime rate dropped, drunkards were reformed, pubs reported losses in trade and many were forced to close. Bad language disappeared and in some areas never returned, it was reported that pit ponies failed to understand their born again colliers who seemed to speak a different language - without curse and blasphemy. We’re told by one writer that “even rugby became uninteresting in the light of new joy and direction of the converts.” Colliers and tin-men, the working classes, prayed out loud and in new, refreshing and original ways.
It was estimated at the time that there were 100,000 new converts and in the dying months of 1904 the movement spread across the world - to France, Turkey, the United States and even the Khasia Hills of India. It also led to a rush of church building and it was estimated that between 1904 and 1906 there was a new chapel in Wales every 8 days.
In the late 1990’s one elderly Revival convert was asked whether she felt the revival stopped in 1906, she answered, “No, it’s still burning within my heart now - it’s never been extinguished - it has burned in the same way for over 70 years.”
At Pentecost we again wait on that same spirit of God, that came like a rushing wind to the early followers of Christ, as well as to those who prayed for revival in the Welsh valleys, because as St Luke says to us in the Acts of the Apostles, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The arrival of God’s spirit brings with it the revival of God’s people.
A recording of “Here is Love, vast as the ocean”, a hymn of the Welsh Revival, sung first in Welsh and then in English:
For those who watch Frodsham Methodist Church's online worship each Sunday, these superb prayers of adoration were part of our service a fortnight ago. We praise and thank God for his greatness that is seen in all Creation.
Video by George
This evening, Thursday 28th May, will see the North Cheshire Circuit's streamed weeknight worship service.
Please come and join us from 7pm at:
Last week, many of us in Frodsham will have been saddened to hear of the sudden death of Joan Griffiths. Joan, her husband David and children Anne-Louise, Paul and Ian, came to Frodsham in the early 1980’s when David took up a new post as a bank manager in Helsby (yes there were banks in Helsby then!)
Joan and David worshipped at Trinity Methodist Church and brought with them vast experience of youth work, having led large successful MAYC Youth Clubs and Boys Brigade groups in Lancashire. Their evangelical spirit and commitment to bring young people to Christ was infectious and touched the lives of many in our church community and beyond.
Joan was an accomplished singer and musician and soon set about bringing together the Frodsham Methodist Singing Group. Singers from eight to eighty, drawn from across our churches, came together to perform musicals which included Greater than Gold, A Grain of Mustard Seed, From Pharaoh to Freedom, Jonah Man Jazz and Saints Alive to name but a few. Joan’s enthusiasm, energy and infectious smile inspired many and was instrumental in bringing people together with one common purpose, to sing praises to their God and to sing of a Christ who was in all and above all.
In chapter 5 of his gospel, the disciple Matthew says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Through music, song and showing the love of Christ to others Joan helped many to find Christ for themselves, as through her music she would just “tell the stories of Jesus”. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Listen to “Tell Me The Stories of Jesus”, written and arranged by Roger Jones in his musical Greater Than Gold:
In the days preceding lockdown, this “Where’s Wally?” puzzle appeared on social media.
In a poignant way it represents how we may all have felt at some point in recent weeks, going from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the business, the appointments, the leisure pursuits, to spending time with fewer people and, for some, not being able to meet those who we may long to see and share time with.
Of course, there are also times when we can feel alone in a crowd. St Luke tells the story of a woman who had suffered from a terrible bleeding for many years (Luke 8 verses 40-48). Her condition meant that she had become an outcast, unable to have contact with friends and family and left to suffer alone, having spent all that she had on doctors who had still been unable to offer her a cure. But as she touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak, she was immediately healed.
When Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” the woman came trembling, fell at his feet and told him the reason she had touched him and how she was immediately healed. Jesus said to the woman, “Daughter. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
At those times when we still feel alone, despite the presence of those around us in whatever way or form, we have that same assurance of Jesus, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Maybe not a sudden physical healing, but a sense of hope that despite what we may experience Jesus is there for each one of us, as we reach out even just to the hem of his cloak.
Listen to this performance of the Roger Jones arrangement of “Man of Sorrows”:
I have chosen this poem, A Holy Place, that I wrote in the year 2000 because it is about the spring, worship at home and about learning from people of faith--it seems so relevant to this season we find ourselves in now.
A HOLY PLACE
WHALLEY RANGE, MANCHESTER 2000
The first sign of summer in our road
was when granddad emerged.
In his white robes and dashing slippers
he would sniff the air suspiciously
doubtful that Manchester could ever be warm
enough to allow him out of hibernation.
One May day , he caught his breath
for a while lounging on the bench,
watching Iqbal feed pigeons and squirrels.
Then the flurry of wings enchanted
him as they flapped down
and picked away at the seed.
When all was quiet, Iqbal inside,
pigeons back on the tiles, squirrels
back up the giant willow which gave
unsought-for shade to the old man,
he reached down and lifted his prayer mat
and placed it reverentially on the lawn.
Kneeling down, his head almost touching
the grass, he prayed. Back and forth he moved,
brought himself into Allah’s presence.
For a moment the little urban space became
a holy place. Prayers over, Iqbal’s dad rose,
smiled at me. God was with us.
(This poem was first published in the Winter 2013 issue of Magnet)
Many Christians will have been through times when they doubted their faith, perhaps because of some tragedy or incident that happened in their lives, because faith or reading scripture simply does not interest them much, perhaps because they lack time to focus on the development of their faith. These times of Coronavirus have seen some people turn to faith and others turned off by it—how can such a terrible tragedy as this happen?
As times John Wesley also felt he did not have enough faith to continue preaching and that his faith gave him little comfort in his life. To Peter Böhler, a Moravian friend, he confessed his growing misery and decision to give up on ministry. Böhler advised him to “Preach faith till you have it, and then because you have it, you will preach faith”.
After this, John must have become even more frustrated. We read in his diary that on Sunday 7th May, 1738 that he preached at ‘St. Lawrence's in the morning, and afterward at St. Katherine Cree's Church’ and was told ‘that I was not to preach any more in either of those churches’. The same happened on future Sundays at St. Ann's, Aldersgate, St. John's, Wapping and St. Bennett's, Paul's Wharf. At these churches, likewise, he was ‘to preach no more’.
For the next three days, all Wesley records is this: ‘Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart’.
It was against this background that we read in Wesley’s diary that he opened his Bible at about five in the morning on Wednesday 24th May and read thes scripture readings:
‘Jesus gave his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants in the divine nature.’ (Mark 12: 28-34)
‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ (2 Peter 1: 4)
Later that same day, Wesley writes these now famous words, which Deacon John F. Clarke reminded us of on Saturday in these pages:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
But this is not the end of the story. The next passage is perhaps even more significant. Later that evening, Wesley records the following:
After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations, but I cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He "sent me help from his holy place." And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.
Yes, Wesley wrote his diary with the intent it would be published and would be read by others. So are these words a simple and accurate recording of the day’s events? We do not know.
But surely here, in these words, Wesley is telling us something that is so significant to our faith both as Christians and specifically as Methodists.
We find ourselves in a world where there is violence; there is unjust action, where we feel unable to do anything about it. We find ourselves tempted, thinking things we would rather not, doing things we wished we had not. We are greedy; we are rude; we get angry too quickly. We feel isolated and alone; stressed, that we cannot cope with the conditions and poverty we find ourselves in.
But Methodists have always been clear that no-one is beyond the reach of God's love. Salvation is there for everyone who turns to God, and not just for a chosen few. That night when John Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed, he felt a change in his heart. It did not mean that suddenly he did not sin or that bad things never happened to him, but he knew that his sins were taken away and he could conquer—rather than be conquered by—whatever happened to him.
Today we may find the Church (in the UK at least) in decline in terms of numbers. We may question if we or our church leaders and preachers have that same zeal as Wesley.
I recently came across these words written in 1961 in the Methodist Message, the magazine of the Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore (or Malaya as it was at that time):
We've had no end of instruction in methods, in education, in evangelism, and churchmanship; but these have not borne the expected results. What is needed is a new experience, the transforming power of Christ in the heart of the believer. This is something which, though earnestly sought, cannot be acquired without divine help. It is a gift of God. May the Holy Spirit be poured out upon the church, its pastors, and workers, upon every member in the pew. Then Aldersgate will be reclaimed, in South Eastern Asia and around the world.
So the day after Aldersgate Sunday 2020, let us remember that great summary of our Methodist teaching that: “All need to be saved. All may be saved. All may know themselves saved. All may be saved to the uttermost”, and may we have the faith to know it ourselves and to proclaim it to others. Amen!
We are truly part of a world church. Here is Charles Wesley's "Conversion Hymn" written around this same time 282 years ago, sung by the Korean Methodist Church (with English subtitles!):
Morning Worship for Sunday 24th May, will be streamed online and lead by our Minister, the Reverend Andrew Emison.
The service will start at 10am.
It can be accessed here:
Sunday May 24th is known by many Christians and churches world over as Aldersgate Sunday for it was at Aldersgate in the City of London on that particular date in 1738 that John Wesley, the co-founder of the Methodist Church, experienced what he called "his conversion".
It was on that evening he felt "my heart strangely warmed, that I did trust in Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given that He had taken away my sins, even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death."
That then is what John Wesley said about the effect of his conversion, but can we know about conversion itself?
To get towards an answer I offer the following tentative thoughts.
Conversion cannot be effected merely by words, in a gesture or a ceremony, but by a meeting far too private for anyone else to be involved other than yourself and your God.
A person may be able to remember the time and place when the liberties mentioned came, but to be sure that you are loved by and belong to God, to have your heart transformed, sin forgiven, become an adopted member of His family, this is the thing above all else.
If we ask ourselves the question, "What should be done when in this state?" the answer comes in God's consistant call to help Him in bringing about the better, healthier world He has for us. Which is something that Wesley tried to do in his time on earth.
John F. Clarke
To learn a bit more about Wesley and his life, and for activities about him for children, click here.
Check out our Calendar for a listing of all events.
Frodsham Methodist Church Sunday 10am Worship on YouTube.
North Cheshire Circuit Thursday 7pm Worship on YouTube.
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.