Pastoral Letters

16th April

Dear All, 

The current situation certainly makes us very grateful for the wide variety of modern technology available and the ease with which we can pass on information.  We are trying to make sure those without computers are kept in the loop too, sending out worship and newsletters by post.  However as we settle in for the long haul I wonder if there might be more that we could do to enrich our life of faith.  I have some bible study notes available which could be circulated either by post or email, if you would be interested in receiving these, please do let me know.

 For those who are technology minded, the staff and circuit leadership team have discovered Zoom - a way of meeting virtually online so that you can both see and speak to others.  To do this you need a phone, tablet or computer with a camera and microphone.  I was wondering whether we might hold a virtual  'coffee morning' for those who are interested to get together and chat.  If this is something that would appeal to you, please do let me know and if we have enough takers I'll set one up.

 Thankfully we need no equipment or modern technology to get in touch with God.  He is always available and always listens, any time, anywhere and he longs for us to talk to him and listen to him.  Whenever we are alone, uncertain, or if we simply want to share our joy, God is never socially distant, he is always there!

 

God bless.

 Ruth.



9th April

 

Dear Friends,

 

Alleluia, Jesus is risen!  He is risen indeed, alleluia!

 

One of the things I shall miss most about us not meeting on Easter Day is the opportunity to share that response with you face to face.  It is always a wonderful start to worship to hear everyone together join in that joyful cry.

 

And yet, on that first Easter day, the resurrection was not witnessed by a large and joyful crowd.  Instead there were a group of mourning women, some bewildered guards, confusion, weary travellers and a slow dawning that something strange and wonderful was afoot.  The response to the news that Jesus is alive strikes me as being a bit like time-lapse photography, you only get the full picture at the end of the sequence.  Those involved in the first Easter day were at first confused, then fearful, then disbelieving.  It was a while before joy set in.

 

So, perhaps this year we travel more faithfully with those first disciples who glimpsed the risen Christ first in ones and twos and then slowly began to share the news.  How will we share the Easter message this year?  Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has suggested that we may wish to sing a verse of 'Thine be the glory' from our doorsteps at 10am (9.30am in Sudbury to avoid the start of online services) to share the message with our neighbours.  Alternatively we may want to send Easter greetings by telephone or email or to post something on social media if we use it.  The Easter message of hope and new life has never been more apt in a world aching and fearful.  Let's not be scared to say "Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!"

 

God bless you all this Eastertide.

 

Ruth.

 

Please pray for Carol Smith and family as they continue to mourn Harry.  Harry's funeral will be on 17th April at 2.30pm. Please do hold them in prayer at this time.

We continue to hold Philip Richardson in our prayers as he recovers from his illness and we remember him and all the family as they grieve for Beverly.  Her funeral will be on 21st April at 11am.  An order of service for this will be available soon, please do join in the service at home if you are able.

Our prayers are with Mark Lewis (volunteer with the community team) at the death of his wife Sue.  We hold him and all Sue's family in prayer at this sad time. Sue's funeral is due to be on 22nd April at 10.30am.

 

2nd April 2020

Dear Friends,

Have you been spotting rainbows in the houses on your street or perhaps if you head out on your daily walk?  Many people have been putting rainbows in their windows as a sign of hope at this time and it strikes me as a wonderful symbol.  We remember the first rainbow, sent as a sign by God to Noah to promise that the world would never again be destroyed by flood.  However for there to be a rainbow, there also needs to be rain, often a storm.  The good shines out from a situation of turmoil.

The response to corona virus also seems to have brought out both storms and rainbows and several people have remarked that the situation has brought out both the best and worst in people.  On one side panic buying and refusal to abide by the rules that keep everyone safe and on the other people selflessly volunteering to help neighbours, applause for the NHS and the extra appreciation we have for contact with others.

As we journey into Holy Week it seems strange not to be meeting, but the extra time at home has given me the opportunity to reflect on the story from the point of view of the different characters involved and in different responses we again see the best and worst.  From the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter, to the empathy of the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet; from the cowardice of Pilate to the honesty of the penitent thief and the centurion at the foot of the cross, we see both the best and worst of human nature.  All of this is, of course held in the context of death and resurrection, Jesus undergoing every human suffering in order for death to be beaten for eternity.  Holy Week sees a storm, but the rainbow to end all rainbows as God destroys death by dying for us.

As we journey through this storm, with fear, frustration, grief and pain; I pray that we can look to the Easter story to remind us that there will be an end to this.  There will come a time when we too will rise again, we will leave our homes and comfort one another and restore the routines of our lives.  And when we do so, may we take with us the rainbows that have shone during the storm in the form of new communities that have been built, new skills that have been learnt and a richer appreciation of life’s everyday blessings.

Wishing you all every blessing for this Holy Week.

Ruth.

In addition to the Holy Week reflections that have been sent round by the circuit, I also hope to do a short online reflection each day at 6pm.  This will be available through the St John’s Community Team Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stjohnsmethodistchurchsudbury/

And a word from our superintendent!

Dear Friends,

I have decided to do something very different

– I am climbing Mount Everest!!!!!!!!!!!!

without oxygen and without Sherpas to support.

I am not just doing it by myself, but with residents of Well Street and obviously we will be roped up 2 metres apart.

We have decided to support St Nicholas Hospice by climbing our stairs.... (some of us have a lot of stairs...) Our hospice is concerned as a number of fundraiser events have had to be cancelled, and they are reliant on this as income. So, with no experience but lots of courage, we are in training, and determined to reach the peak at 8,848metres....whatever the weather..... in a week. (58,070 steps). We start on Monday 6th April.

If you would like to support the Hospice and us, we have set up a JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wellstbse. Or you could post a cheque to me made out to St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Any technical advice about carabiners and bivouacs etc. please let me know immediately!

Many thanks.  Debbie.