The Herald

August 2020

Church Re-opening

Any decision on re-opening has to be taken by the Church Council with the decision ratified by the Circuit Superintendent Minister.   It was decided to have a zoom meeting for both the Annual Church Meeting which was postponed and a Church Council meeting to run one after the other. A provisional date of Wednesday August 25th has been made and this will be ratified by Rev. Debbie Borda.  The ACM will run from 7.00pm to 7.30pm and everyone is welcome. The Church Council meeting will follow straight afterwards.   Zoom meetings can be accessed by phone as well as on the computer.  To avoid excessive phone bills, you may want to ring off at the end of the ACM and dial in again for the Church Council meeting.  All Church Council members are encouraged to take part if at all possible to ensure that the right decision on re-opening for St John’s is made.  Details of how to join the zoom for non-church council members can be obtained from Ruth by email or phone one week before the meeting.

A prayer for guidance – taken from the Prayer Handbook

Lord, our church wants to follow your calling but we don't always hear your voice or understand what you want us to do.

Help us to respond to your call and bless us with unity, energy and resources to implement your vision for the community.

Give us the faith and courage to step out and follow your call.

ln Jesus’ name, Amen.

Melissa Kane, worship leader, Kilsyth Methodist Church, Strathclyde Circuit

 Finance

In the last Herald Paul gave advice on continuing to give our offertory over this period of lockdown.

In order to help the stewards and Paul, if you use the envelope scheme, or if you usually give cash, could you consider paying by cheque [to avoid the need to handle cash]. It could of course be several cheques if easier to keep track of the weeks.  Paul is happy to receive cheques “sooner rather than later”.   If you are using the envelope system, could you add a note saying which weeks the cheque covers and what your envelope number is so that the records can be accurately maintained.  To be doubly certain, could you put your envelope number on the reverse of the cheque?  All cheques should be sent to Paul at “Inglebrook”, Borley, SUDBURY, CO10 7AE.

Many thanks

The stewards

 

Garden Party

Unfortunately the garden party has had to be cancelled.  This will mean a considerable loss of income.  Paul will be glad to receive donations to help compensate if anyone would like to make them [see arrangements for giving money above].

 

 

The Book of Ruth

I had a Commission to produce a piece of art for midwife, Jo Elgar, Australian by birth, who married Geoff 30 years ago , and  to use a reading from their wedding - the Old Testament book of Ruth  Ch1 v16/17 .  I read the whole story and was struck by the many blessings which came after loyal Ruth separated herself from all that was  familiar to her. 

 This echoed the work of a midwife, a baby must leave the mother‘s body in order to begin a new life.  

 During my own trip to Australia several years ago I had been enthralled by the beauty of Eucalyptus flowers. The flower forms in a cup and cone which must separate to allow blooming, and the cup becomes the seedpod for the next generation.   The tree is in my picture as a symbol of blessing and maturity and the background is based on an aboriginal pattern.  

 Ruth was not pregnant at this point in the story, but she later became the mother of the ancestors of King David, a lineage which continued to Christ himself. I have depicted her as pregnant with her promise.

 The image therefore relates to mid-wife in both senses of the word.

Midwife

·         A person who is trained to assist women in childbirth.

·         One who assists in or takes a part in bringing about a result.

Stella Davis

 

Reflections on the Book of Ruth

 On re-reading the story of Ruth during the pandemic, I could identify with Naomi in knowing the loving care of a daughter-in-law.  Alison has been doing my supermarket shopping since the beginning of lockdown and I have realised that however independent we like to feel, there are times when we are vulnerable and grateful for a helping hand.

 The story also made me think again how fortunate we, of my generation are, in this country, to have seen our children grow up into adulthood (yes – and middle-age!) inoculated against the many diseases which carried off the children of our parents and grandparents; and untouched by the wars which robbed them of their sons. 

 I feel so sorry for Naomi who was bereaved of her sons and I am so grateful for the love and comfort of mine.  I am so glad that Naomi lived to know the joy of being a grandmother.

 The words of the hymn “For the beauty of the earth” spring to mind, especially the verse:


“For the joy of human love

Brother, sister, parent, child

Friends on earth and friends above

Pleasures pure and undefiled,

Gracious God to you we raise

This our sacrifice of praise”

 Our prayers, of course, are for all those who have lost loved ones to the Corona 19 virus against which, as yet, there is no vaccine; and we pray that one may soon be available.

 Norma

 Harvest Festival

We had hoped to hold a harvest festival service and a provisional date of  September 20th had been agreed.  Unfortunately government and Methodist guidelines mean that it is very unlikely that we can hold this service.  We had planned to donate gifts to Storehouse who are still providing support to many needy people. Their list of suggested items is “attached”.  Please consider giving your harvest gifts at the supermarket as you shop.  Tesco and Waitrose and some Co-ops have collection points.

 Gill

      

Some good news -

 Ann and John Boardman have a new grandson.  Thomas George arrived in the early hours of 26th June weighing in at 5lbs 10 ozs. Everyone is doing well and Sophie is thrilled with her baby brother. They are now at home.

 

KitKat – and – Is Fairtrade Finished ?

It was 'profoundly disappointing' to read in the news last week that KitKat will no longer be Fairtrade:

 

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said its cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast were “devastated” by the news. “It would never be good news, but to face this when the country is looking at one of the worst health crises imaginable makes things particularly difficult,” he said.  “Nestle’s relationship with farmers in Ivory Coast has been able to make a huge difference to village communities, helping them to receive electricity and water pumps. The decision is a huge blow.”

Investigating this further, I came across a very interesting article from July 2019 in The Guardian by Samanth Subramanian, entitled: “Fairtrade changed the way we shop. But major companies have started to abandon it and set up their own in-house imitations – threatening the very idea of fair trade.”

It wasn’t very long ago that a banana was just a banana – just a curved, yellow fruit. All you knew, if you bought a bunch in 1986, was that they cost around 97p per kilo. You weren’t told if they were organic or pesticide-free. You didn’t know if they came from Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic. And you certainly weren’t invited to worry about the farmers who grew them – or if their children went to school, or whether their villages had clinics. You just picked up your bananas and walked to the next aisle for your coffee or tea or chocolate, none the wiser about where they came from either, or about the people who farmed them.

Back then, the countries that grew these commodities and many others were still known as the Third World, and the habit of not caring about their farming conditions was a legacy of their colonial past. For centuries, trade propelled the colonial project, and exploitation was its very purpose. The farmers of Asia, Africa and South America were forced to raise the crops that the empire’s companies wanted, to work the crops in abject conditions, and to part with them at ruinously low prices. In the last century, the empires melted away but the trade remained lopsided – with the imbalance now rationalised by the market, which deemed it “efficient” to pay farmers as little as possible. In the 1970s, a Ghanaian cocoa farmer often received less than 10 cents out of every dollar his beans earned on the commodities market; as a proportion of the retail price of a chocolate bar, his take was smaller still. Child labour was common. The chocolate companies prospered and their customers shopped well; the farmers stayed poor.

Then, in the late 1980s, you began to hear more about these farmers. Environmental awareness was on the rise. The prices of some commodities were crashing, placing agricultural incomes in even more acute peril than usual.  By the early 1990s, these disparate initiatives began to coalesce into a larger international struggle to radically reform our relationship with what we bought. Trade had long been unfair by design, but now there was a growing movement to make consumers care about that unfairness, and even to help rectify it.

The crown jewel of this movement was Fairtrade International, an umbrella body formed in 1997. Fairtrade was founded on the conviction that consumers could make the marketplace more moral. The spine of Fairtrade’s philosophy has always been price: simple, clean, the kind of measure that economists like to deal with. If companies pay farmers equitably, Fairtrade believes, other benefits cascade out as well. Farmers can hire adult workers, rather than employing children; they can send their kids to school, and buy medicines; they can improve the yields of their farms by using better fertilisers. Producers must meet a number of standards to qualify for Fairtrade: rules about labour conditions, for instance, or waste disposal.

The Fairtrade certification mark has become widely familiar: a green-blue-black logo, resembling a yin-and-yang with a tear in its middle. Roughly $9bn worth of Fairtrade products were sold in 2017, their raw material sourced from 1.66 million farmers. 93% of British shoppers now recognise its mark. However, the world’s giant food multinationals are now taking matters into their own hands – setting up their own in-house certification programmes, appraising their own ethics to their own satisfaction.

What we’re looking at, in short, is something like a corporate capture of fair trade – and it comes at a time when agriculture is already in crisis. The world’s population expanded from about 4.4 billion in 1980 to more than 7 billion by 2011, but the proportion of people employed in agriculture shrank by 12%Globally, the average age of a coffee farmer is 55. No one from a younger generation seems to want to grow crops any more. The work is difficult and, in the developing world, nearly always unrewarding. And the coming decades, with all the challenges of a changing climate – waves of heat, virulent pests, droughts and floods – appear grimmer still. The lives of farmers are already poised to get worse. A move towards unfairer trade will only push them back towards the exploited miseries of the past.

The single most damaging blow to Fairtrade came two summers ago, and it was delivered by Sainsbury’s, which once proudly boasted that it was the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade products. In May 2017, without any warning, Sainsbury’s broke the news that its own-brand teas would no longer be certified by Fairtrade.

Why ? Sainsbury’s had no real answers but it seemed to be doubting that Fairtrade was working as promised. One Sainsbury’s executive singled out one of the central principles of Fairtrade’s model: the so-called “premium” above the minimum price that companies must pay, and which cooperatives must use to build schools, or run clinics, or improve their communities in other ways. Sainsbury’s was concerned that the premium was being poorly used, and that it was money wasted.  Fairtrade wants these premiums to benefit the community and insists that producers make these investment decisions democratically, which means that farmers have to organise into collectives. Fairtrade wants farmers to spend their premiums the way they wish, setting their own goals and monitoring their own progress.

The departure of Sainsbury’s wasn’t a one-off. Around the world, the largest agribusiness companies are quitting independent certification, either because they think they can do sustainability better in-house, or because they see an opportunity to craft standards that fit their own purposes. Soon after Sainsbury’s, the global confectionary giant Mondelēz – whose vast holdings include Cadbury and Toblerone – pulled several of its chocolate bars, including Dairy Milk, away from Fairtrade and into an in-house certification scheme called “Cocoa Life”. Nestlé had launched a similar programme, “Cocoa Plan”, back in 2013; between them, Nestlé and Mondelez control roughly 40% of the British chocolate market. Starbucks has “CAFE Practices”; Barry Callebaut, the Swiss cocoa producer, has “Cocoa Horizons”; US giant Cargill has “Cocoa Promise”; McDonald’s has its own “McCafé Sustainability Improvement Platform”.

A more dramatic sign of Fairtrade’s struggles is that it can’t sell, on its terms, all the volumes of commodities it certifies. In 2016, of all the coffee grown as Fairtrade, only 34% of it could be sold at the minimum price. There were no takers for the rest; farmers had to unload the surplus into the standard “unfair” market, at the lower prices that the market determined. For cocoa, the rate is a bit better, 47%. For tea, it’s much worse, only 4.7 %. There are tonnes of harvest for which Fairtrade fails to find any fair-minded buyers at all.

If the animating principle of Fairtrade is “price,” that of most corporate in-house programmes is “yield”. Some pay their farmers Fairtrade-like minimum prices; others do not. But they are united by their unwavering focus on yield – on squeezing more produce out of a hectare of land. They consider it the best way to protect and grow their supplies of coffee or tea or cocoa, and thus the best way to save agriculture. In conversations with Starbucks and Mondelēz, farmer welfare rarely came up. The tacit assumption seemed to be that if the companies help farmers improve their productivity, their lives will improve in tandem.

Fairtrade is half-owned by its producer cooperatives, so its standards and metrics are decided in large part by the representatives of farmers. The standards of Cocoa Life, CAFE Practices and other schemes aren’t like that; they are written by the companies themselves, in the companies’ own best interests. No independent third party certifies their success or failure in meeting these standards and publishes those results. Companies reporting on their own sustainability frequently fail “to prioritise planet over profit”.

What companies really want, though, is control: control over how commodities are priced, how to select or discard producers, how farmers farm, even how they live. This may look, for firms and even for consumers, like efficiency, but the effects can be dysfunctional. When four firms – Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus – control between 70% and 90% of the global grain trade, they can bulldoze governments into clearing forested land for crops, crowd out smallholder farmers and push more and more processed grains into our diets. Many of the failings of global agriculture are not the result of multinational companies having too little control; they are the result of companies having too much.

We hope this does not mean the end of Fairtrade……..

 

'Profoundly disappointing': KitKat cuts ties with Fairtrade

Article in The Guardian by P.A. Wire on 23.06.2020

“Fairtrade changed the way we shop. But major companies have started to abandon it and set up their own in-house imitations – threatening the very idea of fair trade.”
Article in The Guardian by 
Samanth Subramanian, 23 Jul 2019, last modified on 24 Jul 2019

 

Summary provided by Clare Mortimer

                    

JOHN WESLEY’S DIRECTIONS FOR  SINGING

 1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others, afterwards learn as many as you please.

 2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all ; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

 3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

 4. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead or half asleep ; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more ashamed of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

 5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony ; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

 6. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it ; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can ; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy, and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing our songs just as quick as we did at first.

 7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually, so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he come through in the clouds of heaven.

 Rev. John Wesley wrote these directions in 1761 . I have copied his grammar and punctuation faithfully and I am gratified to see that he used the Oxford comma as I was taught.

 Maureen Hearn.

 A song from Richard

 When I was younger so much younger than today, we were trying to start a folk club in Braintree - always difficult.  Our guest artist for the evening was Sandy Denny, we had not seen her perform before but were told she was destined for big things which much later turned out to be true.  She was late so yours truly got sent on to fill in. I think we were still in the teenage bracket and a bit green with not many songs to call on and there I was struggling to remember a half learnt song when an audible whisper went round “She’s here”.  At that point I totally blanked and like a lemon could not remember a word, so two choruses and she said “I should give that a rest mate” which I did and introduced our guest for the evening. We were hoping for someone lively but we found her very melancholic.  Just a week ago they were interviewing someone on the radio who had been through Covid and he said the song that kept running round his head as he was coming out of his coma was Sandy Denny singing “Who knows where the time goes”.  I looked it up and I thought I remember her singing that and yes it is very fitting. So I set to and with a little bit of poetic licence I penned this.

          Across the purple sky, all the birds are leaving

          How can they know, we’re locked down here below

          So many on their own, can we all be dreaming

          We’ve lost all sense of time

 

Chorus—Who knows where the time goes,

                Who knows where the time goes.

 

          Sad deserted shores, no crowds of squealing children

          Now they all know it’s not safe for them to go

          The shore will still be there, it has no thought of leaving

          It does not count the time.

 

Chorus---

 

           We are not alone, the whole wide world is fearing

           I know it will be so, until the virus goes

           Come the storms of winter, or maybe in the spring again

            We dare not count the time.

 

Chorus—

 

Richard

 

 

 Exchange Book Club

The Exchange Book Club will be reading “Seriously Funny” by Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas ready for a discussion around 23rd September.  How this is to take place will be decided nearer the time depending on what restrictions on using the church are still in place

Anyone is most welcome to join us.  Let me know if you wish to be added to the “mailing list”

 

Gill

 

 

 

A visit to Noah's Ark

We have been fortunate to have been 'visited' by Noah's Ark at the end of last year when it was moored on Orwell Quay in Ipswich. It is a floating exhibition of Bible stories and it is enormous! Well it would have to be, to have taken all the animals on board for so long wouldn't it? The dimensions are said to be 2,000 square metres; it is 70 metres long, 9 metres wide and 13 metres high and it has 4 decks. Apparently, it is only half the size of Noah's original ark. If you're wondering how does anyone know that, well look up the dimensions in the bible...it's all there! You don't really appreciate just how big it must have been from the description in the bible; well I certainly never did.

It is called a museum ship. Aad Peters, who created Noah's Ark, describes it as being “an emotional and cultural experience”. The Ark has carved, lifelike figures of characters from the Bible and, of course, the animals that Noah took on board. The giraffes are life sized to illustrate what the true dimensions of the boat would have been.

We are led, beginning on the fourth deck, through Bible stories. The stories are throughout the boat, along with a 12 foot tall “tree of life”. Adam and Eve are there, along with Moses, David and Goliath. You can have a go at 'bonking' Goliath on the head! Very popular this is with the children (and some of us grown ups too!). But that's another story............... Moses in a basket on the river is there; the creativity to imagine all this and bring it into being in such a way is marvellous.

The Nativity story is there of course, and there is a beautiful sculpture of the Archangel Michael defeating the devil. Growing through the centre of the Ark is the 12 metre high tree of life.

It is a wonderful experience. I had lunch with a friend, Sue Ayres when we went to see it and our waitress had also made a visit. She testified to the effect on visitors: “Whether you have faith, a different faith or none at all, you will take away something from it that will stay with you.” Coffee afterwards at a cafe opposite the Ark, and our waiter there asked us about it. Sue and I showed him the pictures we had taken. He thought he might just go over to have a look.

I don't know where Noah's Ark is now or when you could visit in the present health crisis, but if ever you have a chance to see it, then go. It is a unique experience and a wonderful afternoon was spent well.

 

Jane Brooker

 

"Jane’s  special sales" 

A thought from a previous member of St John’s.  Jane M tells me that a previous member of St. John’s called Arthur Hearst used to have ‘Arthur’s  special sales’ in the Herald each month as a bit of a fundraiser.  She suggests perhaps we could resurrect that idea.   It could be useful items, excess produce, plants etc.  Jane is prepared to oversee it so rather than send offers direct to me for the Herald, would you pass them to Jane who will let me know what to advertise.  The first items to be offered are:

·         a little used safety step ladder

·         a sun lounger which someone might like before ‘summer’ ends

Please contact Jane [ 01787 311805] if you are interested 

Watch this space for further fundraising ideas.

 The Herald – by Philip Lockley

 Many of you will remember Philip and Mary Lockley at St John’s. Philip was in the choir and he and Mary were regular worshippers. He wrote a book of verse called ‘Odd Odes’ which was sold to raise some funds. Here is one of those comical poems written about this very publication!

 

You may read the Mail or Mirror,

O’er their politics may dither,

Or take magazines on antiques or bygones.

You may be the avid reader

Of the “Pig and Poultry Breeder”

But you mustn’t miss the Herald of St John’s.

 

For the Editor’s design meant

We’ve a paper of refinement

With a very fine tradition to uphold.

They glean all the information

Of the Church’s situation,

And the news is never more than one month old.

 

If you’re ill there’ll be a letter

Saying ‘Hope you’ll soon be better’

And cheering you when ere you feel forlorn;

When you’re christened it’s recorded,

If you marry you’re applauded,

And you even get a mention when you’re born.

 

It gives notices and warnings

Of events like Coffee Mornings

And those numerous church meetings you so like.

Unlike other publications

With their union disputations

The production staff is never out on strike.

 

There’s no Stock Exchange quotations,

And no fashion’s new creations,

While to beauty hints it never gives a thought;

Takes no heed of farming prices

Or a politician’s crises,

While it’s absolutely ignorant on sport.

 

It has no advertising section,

Though it moved in that direction

The production of the hymn book to relate.

But it did not say it can no

Longer stand on the piano,

And that only healthy men can bear its weight.

 

It makes no demands upon us

To peruse the Birthday Honours

With long lists of those who breathe a nobler air.

But there’s warm appreciation

For the splendid dedication

Of the faithful souls who run the Family Fayre.

 

There’s no letter from ‘Disgusted’

Saying ‘ -- --‘ can’t be trusted

Nor a protest from ‘Retired of Tunbridge Wells’

There’s no tantalising crossword,

Cryptic, straight or plainly absurd,

And no photographs of pretty bathing belles.

 

It’s so cheap you won’t believe it

But the Editors achieve it

And to pay a price of fivepence isn’t hard.

To meet literary cravings

Without dipping in your savings,

Use American Express or Barclaycard.

 

Every three months there’s a bonus

When the members have the onus

Of delivering your copy, to be sure

That you’re happy, well and healthy

And still solvent if not wealthy

If by chance you’re out , they push it through the door.

 

If the Guardian gives no pleasure

Or the Mail you do not treasure

And you never read the Telegraph in bed;

If you feel you can’t afford a

Weekly Methodist Recorder

Then just read The Herald every month instead!

 

Provided by Julie Rix


 Prayers taken from the Circuit Service held on 12th July

The Central American Lord’s Prayer.

 

Our Father, who is in us here on earth,

holy is your name in the hungry, who share their bread and their song.

Your Kingdom come, which is a generous land, which flows with milk and honey.

Let us do your will, standing up when all are sitting down, and raising our voice when all are silent. 

You are giving us our daily bread in the song of the bird and the miracle of the corn.

Forgive us for keeping silent in the face of injustice, and for burying our dreams, for not sharing bread and wine, love and the land, among us, now.

Don’t let us fall into temptation of shutting the door through fear; of resigning ourselves to hunger and injustice; of taking up the same arms as the enemy.

But deliver us from evil.

Give us the perseverance and the solidarity to look for love, even if the path has not yet been trodden, even if we fall; so we shall have known your kingdom which is being built for ever and ever. Amen.

 


May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.

May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.

May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.

May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

 

Thoughts on John 7:53–8:11

How does forgiveness work when people don't even recognise they have sinned?

 

Jesus talks a lot about the importance of forgiveness but he never mentions the person apologizing or making recompense to us before we forgive them. Why is that? Because that’s not the way forgiveness works. “I’ll forgive you, if you say you’re sorry” isn’t true forgiveness. Forgiveness, by its very nature, can’t be conditional, because, like love, it is a state of heart and mind. Forgiveness is the way we feel about the other person; it isn’t just a matter of words or of actions.

True forgiveness is a change of attitude within us, a healing of the resentment (which can take a long time, if we have been badly hurt; because wounds need time to heal). It’s changing the way we feel about the other person. We can forgive people even if we never have the chance to tell them, even if they are already dead, even if they don’t acknowledge they’ve done anything wrong. True forgiveness isn’t dependent on the response of the other person. It’s a matter of us rising above what has happened and not allowing what has been done to us to hold us back spiritually.

Reconciliation moves beyond forgiveness. The restoration of right relationships between people necessarily involves the responses of both sides. Although forgiveness had taken place long before the prodigal even realises he has done anything wrong, reconciliation could not take place until the boy was ready to be restored to his place in the family. Similarly, forgiveness is already there for us, but we have to recognise our need of it and to accept it, so that we can be restored into a proper relationship with God.

Pavel – from A Word in Time

Methodist Prayer Handbook

This year the Methodist Prayer Handbook will cost £4.50 each.  The theme this year is “The earth is the Lord’s”.  Please order your own copy if required.  Publication will be at the end of August but you may pre-order now from:-

Norwich Books and Music

13a Hellesdon Park Road

Norwich, Norfolk

NR6 5DR

 

If you phone 01603 785925 you can place your order and pay by card over the phone.

 

If you prefer to order and pay online they suggest you go to methodistpublishing.org.uk

 

                              ANNOUNCEMENT!

The amazing Mr Stanford in order to respond to the desperate appeal from CHRISTIAN AID for more funds will set forth to the sea using a boat of his own making, using only his superb fitness to paddle along local waters. Any funds gratefully received will be forwarded to CHRISTIAN AID.

For details phone 01787 882181

New President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference elected and inducted online

The Revd Richard Teal has been elected and inducted as the new President of the Methodist Conference, taking over from the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson. The induction took place on Saturday 27 June at Cliff College in Derbyshire, as part of the Methodist Conference which is, for the first time, taking place online.

During his lifetime John Wesley chaired the Methodist Conference but after his death the Conference determined to elect a President annually.

Richard Teal comes from a farming background, having grown up in the Yorkshire Dales. He has spent the majority of his ministry in rural areas, including 11 years as Chair of the Cumbria District. He is now Superintendent of the Driffield Hornsea Circuit in East Yorkshire.

In his Conference address Richard Teal focused on how the last few months of coronavirus and lockdown had affected the Church:

“Who would ever have thought a few months ago we would have had to close our doors and lock them, even at Easter! Many of our congregations are feeling totally disorientated, fearful and cut off from the fellowship we enjoy with each other.”

Looking ahead at how the world can adapt to the impact of the pandemic, the President said:

“Not a return to the same old same old but a church which has the reputation for transformation, for recreation and for empowerment of what we are living through in the present in response to a faithful God who redeems history and promises the brightest of futures.”

The President chose the final words of John Wesley as his theme for this year, ’The best of all is, God is with us’.

The Vice-President, Carolyn Lawrence, was also elected and inducted this afternoon. A teacher by training, Carolyn was an educational mission partner in Guyana and has worked in a voluntary capacity within the Methodist Church as a preacher and leader. More recently she has worked with the Global Relationships team of the Methodist Church helping to engage people with our worldwide network of Partner Churches. She is also part of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women. 

Carolyn spoke of her passion for the world church in her address to the Conference:

“One thing that I find awe inspiring about the church is that you can be anywhere in the country or the world and know that you can find family.”

“I have had the experience of worshipping with Christians in lots of different places in the world, most recently on my visit to the Methodist Church in Brazil.  Here the church is growing at an amazing rate and I was blown away by their passion for God’s word, their commitment to prayer, their systematic and strategic approach to evangelism, theological training and pastoral care and the exuberance and joy of their worship.  During the year to come I hope to share some of the key principles of church growth that I have learned from the church in Brazil as I believe they can also be applied to our church here in Britain.

Some News from Foxearth

 Worship under an open sky at Foxearth Meadows Nature Reserve.

An open invitation to a service for 'Creationtide':
Sunday, 13 September 2020 at 3.00 pm. 

All welcome.

For comfort, please bring a chair or rug. Feel free to enjoy the reserve afterwards (while following appropriate social distancing practice!) The eco-toilet will be open and supervised for hygiene.

 

Andy writes:


During lockdown I found myself with fewer events to attend or organise in my volunteer role as Community Engagement Officer for the reserve, but with more practical work to do, while Mark was furloughed and volunteer work parties were shut down. I missed the fellowship of the work parties but enjoyed the occasional conversations (socially distanced) with visitors to the reserve and the opportunity to work outdoors in some glorious weather.

I also got asked to do a bit of writing for A Rocha UK, e.g. for eNews and the 'Wild Christian' postings. Here are a few snapshots capturing some moments from the spring and summer on the reserve, and some personal thoughts. First, a couple of reflections written in early and late May: "
Making space to see" and "A given moment" And a couple of more recent pieces from late June and early July:  "Reed warblers breeding at Foxearth Meadowsand "Intruders."

 

Bonus photo gallery: https://arocha.org.uk/foxearth-meadows-gallery/ 

For details of a time of open air drawing, painting or creativity on the reserve on Saturday September 16th, 

contact Stella Davis artwisestella@gmail.com 

or Andy Jowitt  jowitts@btinternet.com

PRAYER POINTERS

 For those who pray, here are some suggestions for your prayers.

We give thanks for:

  • The many people who have found their way to the reserve for the first time and found it a place of peace and beauty.
  • The abundance of flora and fauna on the reserve enjoyed by experts and non-experts alike.

Please pray for:

  • Mark as he manages the many conservation tasks ahead, and for the volunteer work parties soon to re-start on Fridays. There's a lot to do!

Safety and health for our volunteers and for all those visiting the reserve, and for wise actions in the current situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 REFLECTION

“Not one of you will lose your life; only the ship will be lost.”
(Acts 27:22b, GNT; formerly GNB)

At the beginning of the year – before all of our lives were dominated by the coronavirus – I was reflecting on some of the challenges facing our circuit. These included: A number of our churches being over reliant on one or two people; the number of post-holders who had done well over their six-year stint (especially church treasurers) with no obvious replacements available; the challenges of making the circuit plan without giving a church more than one Local Arrangement service per month, and the fact that some churches were struggling to pay their assessment as our numbers slowly but surely declined.

It was around that time that I read again the story of St Paul’s shipwreck experience as recorded in Acts 27:13 – 28:10. As a defender of Paul, even I would have to admit that his opening words do not particularly cover him in glory. After the crew had been battling the elements for many days, Paul jumps in with both feet and in effect says: “I told you so.”

“You should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete; then we would have avoided all this damage and loss.” (Acts 27:21, GNT).

Hardly the words you want to hear when you were perhaps both physically and mentally exhausted, having risked your life to save the vessel you were sailing!

Hope

However, in his very next sentence, Paul redeems himself with a message of hope that was not just applicable for those he sailed with, but surely encourages us all as it echoes down the ages into the lives of Christians today: “But now I beg you, take courage! Not one of you will lose your life, only the ship will be lost.”
(Acts 27:22, GNT)

For me as I reflected on the life of our circuit, this was a wonderful image of the love of God. A confirmation that none of us who are following Christ will ever be lost from God’s eternal love or eternal presence. But some of the many vessels we are sailing in – some or our church buildings – may not survive the journey.

As I read again the story before us, I began to wonder how much the sailors heard of Paul’s message – or how much they wanted to hear. Throughout the story, (despite Paul’s assertion that the ship will be lost) the sailors try everything they possibly can to prevent that from happening. They fasten ropes around the ship, they throw cargo overboard and they lower the anchors.  They try everything in their power to save the ship – it means a lot to them. Perhaps they have sailed many journeys on it. Perhaps they have an emotional attachment to it. They didn’t want to believe it could or would be lost.

The word that God speaks

Aren’t we so often like those sailors? When it comes to the ships (churches) that we are travelling in, do we not also strain every sinew, strive in every way we can and do everything in our power to keep the vessel afloat? We can become so emotionally attached to our buildings and so tied up with time-consuming events shoring up one hole before another appears, that like those who sailed with Paul we can miss the word that God is speaking to us when it is right in our midst. Or perhaps we simply don’t want to hear that our vessel may not survive.

Since that time, we have all had to ‘abandon ship’ as the effects of the coronavirus are felt in all walks of life. All of the vessels in the Methodist fleet currently stand empty. Many of us are probably wondering what our vessels will look like when we eventually return to them. Will it be worth setting sail in all of them again – or will this be the time when we recognise that some of our ships will be lost?

However long it may be before we can once again board our vessels and physically, fully meet in fellowship together, let us cling to the anchor of our faith – Jesus Christ – and may the knowledge that not one of us will ever be lost to him sustain us all now and always.

May you know God’s blessing.

 

 The Revd Peter Barnett from the connexion,the free magazine of the Methodist Church, www.methodist.org.uk

To receive a free copy, visit www.bit.ly/the-connexion

 

  

The deadline for the September Herald is Sunday 23rd August 2020 

Any articles for the Herald would be most welcome

Please email any contribution to either Tricia Campbell  - triciacampbell@lycos.com or Gill Phillips - gillian.phillips@gmx.co.uk 

 

 

Church Contacts:-

Minister                       Rev Ruth Ridge                07447091182

Senior Steward           Sue Rampling                   01787 377441

Lettings Secretary       Andrew Clare                    01787 372705

Church Office                                                       01787 373185

 

Church website: www.stjohns-sudbury.co.uk

Church email address:  admin@stjohns-sudbury.co.uk