Harvest Thanksgiving Service – 22 September

Food Bank suggestions Sept 2019All are welcome to the Harvest Thanksgiving Service this Sunday 22 September at 11am, where we shall be following tradition and accepting non-perishable food and gifts which will then be distributed to those in need in the area.

If you are wondering what would be most useful to those in need locally, please see the box on the right which is the current list from the Lewisham Food Bank.

Please bring your gifts with you to the service, or if you would prefer to give a donation to All We Can, envelopes will be available.

harvest applesAny contributions of flowers or other suitable items for decorating the church for the Harvest service will be gratefully received on Friday 20 September (6.30 – 9.30pm) or Saturday 21 September (11.00am).

The service will be followed by a ‘Bring and Share’ lunch – everyone is invited to stay after the service for food and fellowship. Please bring your food to share along on Sunday 22 September – before the service please, so that the table can be prepared for afterwards. We look forward to seeing you!

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September 2019: God moves in mysterious ways

spiral

Can you understand the mysteries surrounding God All- Powerful?
Job 11: 7 (CEV)

Well, I should now be on Sabbatical enjoying that planned three month break from ministry to reflect and recharge my batteries, but instead I am preparing to start a new job as Spiritual Care Co-ordinator at St Christopher’s Hospice. Things can quickly change in life and we can sometimes be left wondering: why is this happening and what is God doing? Sometimes changes can seem very detrimental to us, like a sudden illness or accident or finding that your church has lost its minister, and leave us wondering how we will cope. No doubt the news of my departure is causing some unrest.

Our quote above is taken from the book of Job. He faced many upsets in life and was left reeling from their impact. But even positive changes can have a negative impact on us. I’m not good at change – I like things settled – so the upheaval of a new job, starting again, facing the unknown, different challenges, finding a new home and so on all make me feel uneasy and that it would have been a lot easier just to stay doing what I was doing. We remember too that lots of our young people at this time are facing new schools and courses and the stresses they entail. Please pray for them.

Job had to learn that although he did not understand what was happening or understand God fully, God was so much more than Job thought he was. Job had to learn that life is uncontrollable, we are not God, we cannot make sure nothing bad happens or stop things from changing. But equally we can trust in God whatever happens and know God is with us and will help us face whatever we have to. In fact, we often learn more about God and grow in faith through these times of mystery and change.

We all face uncertainty and change in our lives, not just personally or as a church, but also as a country. Things are not good politically as I write this but things do need to change so we have a more equal and just society – but who knows what will happen?

May we know God, as Job did, as All-Powerful at this time and trust him to help and strengthen us as we seek to keep following his ways in all that we face.

I end with the words of William Cowper, known as a hymn but written as a poem called ‘Light shining out of the darkness’ – written after his attempt to commit suicide, a reminder of how even in the darkest moments there is hope.

God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform;
he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill,
he treasures up his bright designs, and works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace;
behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.

William Cowper, 1773

May God be with you all and keep you in his all powerful love.

Rev Dee

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Dates for your diary

calendar

The Wesley Hall Sunday Service details for September to November 2019 – including Harvest Festival in September and our Church Anniversary in October – have now been added to the online calendar.

Take a look at the calendar and if there’s something you expect to see but don’t, or if there’s anything you’d like to find out more about, do leave a reply and we’ll get back to you.

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July / August 2019: Yesterday

Dandelion clockA thousand years to you are like one day;
they are like yesterday, already gone,
like a short hour in the night.
Psalm 90: 4

This summer sees the release of a new feel-good movie called ‘Yesterday’ which considers a world where the Beatles have been forgotten by everyone except one person and the rediscovery of their music causes a stir.

It’s hard to imagine a world where the Beatles will be forgotten.

I recently went back home to take the bicentenary service celebrating 200 years of Methodism in Meltham and I certainly was remembered as many turned up from various churches because I was taking the service. In some ways it was as if it was ‘yesterday’ and very little had changed. There were some very emotional people after the service as they not only remembered me, but my parents and husband who are no longer with us, but had been a big part of their lives. It reminded them of the good old days and how things have changed. And maybe it also reminded them of their own mortality and what the future might hold. It is said that one of the things that makes people afraid about dying is that they will be forgotten.

It’s hard to imagine a world without us here.

Yet I also was blessed by a few of the people who it appeared had not aged or changed over the last nine years and had that same spark as they had all those years ago. They definitely were like a feel-good movie and made me feel inspired about what is going on there, and encouraged for my own future.

Maybe the question for us all as we face our yesterdays and tomorrows is ‘Are we the type of person who does remember God and cause a stir as we share his love and justice in the world?’
Then we will be a gift to our world today, in the present, and make a difference.

And we can all be assured that whatever our yesterdays, what we have done in the past, or whatever we face in the future, God remembers us. We are not forgotten.

The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.
He knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.

Human life is like grass; we grow like a flower in the field.
After the wind blows, the flower is gone, and there is no sign of where it was.
But the Lord’s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren.

Psalm 103: 13-17

At the end of the service we thought about the reported last words of John Wesley and sang

Best of all is God is with us,
life goes on and needs are met,
God is strongest in our weakness.
Love renews, will not forget.
– Andrew Pratt (610 in Singing the Faith)

Blessings

Rev Dee

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Quiz Night!

Question markThe next Wesley Hall Quiz Evening is on Saturday 29 June – come along to exercise your brain, or just to have a laugh!

  • Time: 7.00 for a 7.30pm start
  • Teams: Maximum 6 people
  • Tickets: £7 per person
  • Supper, tea and coffee provided during the evening
  • Please bring your own nibbles
  • There will be a raffle
  • All proceeds go towards church funds

Contact us for more info and to book your team’s place. See you there!

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June 2019: Bootprints or footprints

 

Oh let me see thy footmarks
and in them plant mine own;
my hope to follow duly
is in thy strength alone.
– ‘O Jesus, I have promised‘ – John Bode

To mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and to remember those who gave their lives we have seen bootprints appear across our country. Make sure you look out for them or you can even buy a sticker bootprint online in order to support the veterans.

It’s interesting that the image we most relate to as Christians is often depicted as a bare footprint not a booted one. Of course, Jesus would not have worn boots, but he would have worn sandals, so why a bare footprint?

There is the understanding that to walk barefoot is to be grounded, to connect with the earth and ultimately with God. I do like to walk around barefoot at home and in the garden and I am often told I will hurt myself or pick up some infection. Wearing shoes or boots is about protecting our feet. I definitely get my feet very dirty. Maybe that is what the image of a bare footprint depicting following Christ is about, being vulnerable and willing to get dirty as we walk the path of Christ. But is that not also what the booted footprint is about? Depicting those who have been willing to fight against destruction and for their country and have brought the freedom we enjoy today?

We do seem to have lost our battle image of Christianity today, the idea of the Christian life being about fighting evil and the need to rally the troops and be prepared for war. When is the last time you heard or sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers?’

This is not necessarily a bad thing as lots of damage was done by Christianity in history through our crusades and domination of others. And in a world today of extreme religions it may not be helpful to be using fighting talk. Yet we do need to realise that following Christ does mean, like he did, challenging the injustices and things that are denying life in our world today.

We are in a battle with issues like poverty, racism, knife crime, homelessness, plastic pollution, loneliness, stress, inequality, disillusionment… the list is endless.

Maybe we need to have a boot on one foot and be barefoot on the other as we walk in this world and seek to touch God and others today. I like to depict my ministry as having one foot in the church and one in the real world and like the angel in Revelation 10:2 had one foot on the land and one in the sea (depicting God intervening in all places), we need to follow and be God’s presence and power in every place we find ourselves.

So, enjoy some barefoot time this month and feel the earth and God near, but also put on some heavy boots and let that remind you of the battles we still fight. May we know God’s protection and help as we continue our journey through this world.

The ‘footprints in the sand’ dream reminds us of God carrying us through difficult times in life, but a modern version of it goes on past the one set of footprints where God carries us, to a multitude of messy footprints all over the place. When asked what this meant, God said, “that’s when you walked with others and learned to carry each other”.

God Bless

Rev Dee

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Dates for your diary

The Wesley Hall Sunday Service details for June to August 2019 have now been added to the online calendar.

calendarThe calendar also includes other events, both for Wesley Hall and circuit-wide, such as the Summer Fair in June. Do come along to any and all events!

Take a look at the calendar and if there’s something you expect to see but don’t, or if there’s anything you’d like to find out more about, do leave a reply and we’ll get back to you.

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