August 2021 Newsletter

Circuit Newsletter August

by Deacon Annette Sharp

Dear Friends,
A little while ago, at one of our staff meetings it was suggested that I might like to write the August newsletter before I disappear off on my sabbatical, and so here I am.

 After considering what I might reflect on with you in this letter, it seemed most natural to explore some thoughts about community. Although this might seem a natural theme for a Methodist Deacon, my interest in community in fact started long before my call to Ministry.

I’ve always had an interest in social history and how communities have come about, changed, and grown throughout their history. From early settlements finding their place in the landscape near to a water supply, a source of building materials, suitable grazing and farmland to those settlements looking for a place that could be easily defended and fortified. Some of our greatest cities have developed from nothing more than being a trading post at a point on a great river where there was an easy crossing.

Standing on the walls of some of our ancient cities such as York or small towns like Conwy it is fascinating to look across the landscape and see how the buildings soon outgrew the area of their defences. Even in our villages and towns today, the landscape keeps shifting. Huddersfield, with which I am familiar, has a market cross which at one time would mark the centre of trade in that place and today has been rather left on the side lines as the commercial centre has migrated.

It is good for us to recognise the changing landscape not only of the physical evidence of our communities, but also those less tangible qualities that form, divide and alter those groups of people which we also call community.

As a Circuit, we are undergoing a process of remodelling, having come together at a time just prior to the unprecedented events of the past 18 months or so. Not having been able to meet in ways that would normally have enabled us to get to know people in other church communities and grasp a clear sense of this larger group, we have perhaps been slower in feeling a part of what is developing. However, due to the blessing of technology, and the hard work of those that have produced material both to keep established groups together and to reach out beyond their usual boundaries, good progress has been made. New relationships are forming and developing – change is happening.

Change happens – and although it is a fact of life it can stir up all kinds of different emotions in us. Excitement, fear, sadness, a sense of loss or a sense of gain and freedom. Much of what we feel is down to timing, our individual personality, whether we see the change as a positive or a negative experience. 

I come across people who remember and mourn past times and events, putting so much effort into trying to recreate what has been, in the changed landscape of the present. They feel so defeated when they perceive their effort is not rewarded. Yet, there are others who remember the past with a sense of nostalgia and then are able to leave those cherished memories where they belong, turning with excitement and determination to a new beginning, surveying the new landscape to see what fits.

As the Methodist Church as a whole and as individual churches within our Circuit, we are living in unprecedented times and within a changing and challenging landscape. We are being asked to reassess how our buildings, our mission, our responses to social justice and care of our environment proclaim the truth of our faith in the generosity, goodness and love of God.

God calls us to change, to grow, to move in response to the needs of what is happening around us. This is nothing new. Throughout the ages, the worldwide community of believers, the Church, has needed to adapt and change to meet the needs and challenges of their time.
We remember too that it is when circumstances have seemed the most challenging, these are the points that the community has grown and faith strengthened.

I want to finish with some words given by God to the prophet Jeremiah to encourage a suffering community several thousand years ago, and yet they are words still so relevant to God’s people today.

‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 

Blessings,

Deacon Annette


Circuit Notices

Prayer vigil for India Update
£1,280 was sent over to India to support the Christian Service Agency. £640 was raised through the JustGiving page and the Circuit matched it. Thank you, everyone for your generous giving and prayers!


Worship
See your local church notices for details but for the time being we are continuing our Circuit wide Zoom service at 3pm on Sundays. Login details as usual as follows:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87212246881?pwd=VXpyMzRYV21UZ1ZoYlkvc2R4dmV1QT09
Meeting ID: 872 1224 6881    Password: 974333


Local Arrangement Training - 15th September at 7:30 pm on Zoom
You will be aware that on future Preaching Plans it is the intention to include at least one ‘Local Arrangement’ service for each church. As we are now working to a two month plan for the foreseeable future, this means one Local Arrangement (LA) service every two months. Many churches find that LAs are a great way to try out new things in worship, and to engage different people. There are many people who have discovered an interest in worship leading or preaching through taking part in leading LA services, although this is not their main purpose. However we recognise that it may not be an easy thing to consider, especially for those of you who have not been involved in LA services before. To that end, we will be holding a short training and familiarisation session to talk through what LA services are, and how you might go about organising them. There are lots of resources available and we will point you towards those. It will also be a chance for you to ask questions.
We hope as many of you as possible will come along to this session on Zoom which I anticipate will last no longer than one hour.

Hope to see you there. You can register by clicking here

Rev'd Cathy Bird


August’s Eco-Tips
Selecting from the 6 R's (Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Repair, Re-think, Recycle) we talked about in the Circuit Climate Day Service:
Reduce - Don't send a damaged inflatable, perhaps from your holidays, to landfill without checking whether it can be sent to Whyatt and Jack, based in the Isle of Wight, who will upcycle it into a huge range of beautiful bags. They'll even cover your postage costs. https://www.wyattandjack.com/pages/faqs
 Re-Use - Plastic fruit and vegetable containers make good seed trays and the brown mushroom trays are particularly good as bases the water won't drain through for plant pots in and outdoor.
 Recycle - Aluminium foil (including milk bottle tops from glass bottles, foil chocolate wrappers and medicine packaging made totally of aluminium) can be recycled in your brown bin - just wait till you have enough to squash into a tennis ball-sized lump.

You may wish to use the following prayer as you think about or carry out these activities:
"Creator God, help us to live gently upon the earth, nurturing each hectare wisely, cherishing each good gift gratefully, re-using, recycling and restoring faithfully. Amen"
From the Methodist Prayer Handbook, 2020/2021 - The Earth is the Lord's p10

From your Circuit Eco Task Group.
Please contact us if you would like to find out about what we do, join us or become your Church's eco-contact.
Rev Lindsay Kemp, Sue Beatty, Eddie Partington, Liz Delafield, Stewart Blackledge, Andrew Stunnell, Catriona Stoker. Our contact details are in the Circuit Directory.


Week Of Prayer for our Planet
Join in with the Week of Prayer for Our Planet from 26th September — 2nd October 2021, in person and online.
Visit — https://www.gmct.org.uk/wopfop for more information.
Seven ecumenical prayer services expressing our concerns and hopes at a time of climate and ecological crisis and in the lead up to the CoP 26 meeting in Glasgow.
From churches across Greater Manchester and streamed live.
Launched with an outdoor service from St Michael & All Angels, Bramhall at 3pm on Sunday, then each evening at 7:30pm.


Hong Kong BNO scheme
It's the latest information of the UK Government for the Hong Kong BNO scheme. Also, an initiative of how to be a Hong Kong ready church to welcome Hongkongers. Information for Hongkongers to look for a local church and community.
Hong Kong UK welcome programme – guidance for local authorities
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hong-kong-uk-welcome-programme-guidance-for-local-authorities
Hong Kong ready churches | Welcome Churches
https://welcomechurches.org/updates/hong-kong-ready-churches/
UKHK | EN | Home | Welcome to the UK  see: https://ukhk.org/


Presidential Visit 2021

The President and Vice-President of the Conference of 2021, Revd Sonia Hicks and Mrs Barbara Easton, will be visiting the District on
Saturday 2nd to Monday 4th October 2021.
Saturday 2nd             Resourcing event on theme of partnership.
Sunday 3rd                Preaching at two morning services.
                                  Afternoon: Black History Month Service, United Stockport Circuit.
                                  Evening: Conversation and dinner with women ministers.
Monday 4th               New Places for New People
                                  Exploring pioneer ministry in the District.


'Movement for Recovery'

This project is seeking to connect the work that churches and charities are doing locally across the region with possible sources of funding.
As part of the development process we have been asking churches to complete a short survey, giving some details of existing work that is taking place. It can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QZ2CMYP


Circuit Prayer

Let’s continue to say this prayer together when we can, at 11am on a Sunday morning. This way we stay connected in a very really and tangible way with all those who are not yet able to come back to church. You can also read more about each church on the Circuit Website www.stockportcircuit.org.uk

God of Love and Life, we pray to you this morning for the life the United Stockport Methodist Circuit, for our sisters and brothers who belong to:

 

Christ Church Methodist /URC (Reddish)

Dialstone Lane Methodist Church

Davenport Methodist Church

Edgeley Community Church

Hazel Grove Methodist Church

Heaton Mersey Methodist Church

Heaton Moor United Church

Jubilee Methodist Church,
(Marple Bridge)

Marple Methodist Church

The Ridge Methodist Church (Marple)

Romiley Methodist Church

St. Johns Methodist Church
(Cheadle Heath)

Tiviot Dale Methodist Church
(centre of Stockport)

Trinity Methodist Church,
(Bramhall Lane)

Windlehurst Methodist Church
(High Lane)

Woodley Methodist Church

          We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  We ask that this time of crisis might pass and that those who suffer might find comfort and strength within the knowledge of your grace, revealed through the kindness and compassion of the people of God. Eternal God, through the self-offering of your Son you have filled our lives with your presence.  Help us in our sufferings and trials. Fill us with hope and strengthen us in our weakness.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


 


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