TORRIDGE METHODIST CIRCUIT MONTHLY NEWSLETTER November 2014 - Issue 39

TORRIDGE METHODIST CIRCUIT
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
November 2014 - Issue 39
Welcome to Edition Number 39
Contact e-mail address is [email protected]
This is the Newsletter of the whole Circuit, so please send details of future events, activities or
'anything', you wish to share with the Circuit to Dave Watson by e-mail; phone 01237 451437 or to
6 Greenings Road, Buckland Brewer, Bideford, EX39 5LU. Please send them before the 20th of
each month if possible.
This Circuit Newsletter is free & therefore could you please ‘dish them out’ to as many people as
possible, inside and outside of our buildings – be adventurous. If this means more are needed by
each church, then please let me know. Thanks - Dave Watson
From the Superintendent Minister – Rev Ken Morgan
Dear friends in Christ
I always think of November as a month for Remembrance, beginning with All Saints Day, we
remember all those who have helped to shape the Church into what it is today, from the earliest
disciples to those who have nurtured us directly in the faith. Giving thanks for past presbyters and
local preachers and Sunday School teachers. Then of course Remember, Remember the 5 th of
November and Armistice Day on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This year of course we
remember that it is 100 years since the beginning of the First World War.
One of most poignant poems reminds us of those who gave their lives.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row.
That mark our place and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now
We lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high
If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields
(John McCrae)
This poem manages to walk that fine line between patriotism and grief, mourning and resilience.
By the end of the poem the poppy and the dead are inextricably intertwined as if the flower makes
visible the absence of the fallen.
In the Church we are also called to remember that on the night before he died Jesus shared a
supper with his disciples, broke bread and shared the wine and called us to remember His body
and His blood which was given and shed for us all.
1
How will future generations remember if we choose not to?
From the pages of history to the present day we have held fast the faith and in faith we press on
into the future. Have we learned from the past? We still fail to see a wider perspective than our
own small corner. If only we would learn to see that the Power and the Glory are God’s alone.
Every blessing – Ken
As advent approaches, PJ has written some readings for each Sunday in Advent. These can be
read by members of the congregation across the circuit as each Advent candle is lit. If you would
like a copy to be used in your services please let PJ know and she will make sure that you have a
copy.
Pilgrimage to The Holy Land
Rev Ken Morgan will be leading a pilgrimage to the Holy land in February, The Golden Walls hotel
in Jerusalem and The Ron Beach hotel in Galilee will be where we will stay, the climate will be
perfect for the tour, there are five places available, but booking will close at the end of October. As
this is the last pilgrimage I will be leading I hope to make it a memorable time. The dates of the
pilgrimage are 10th -19th February 2015. Come and see the 5th Gospel for yourself.
Methodist Women in Britain Plymouth and Exeter District
The Methodist Women in Britain project has now changed on Monday 1st September and will be
the Devon and Somerset Freewheelers, which will last for 2 years.
Devon Freewheelers - “Riding for Life” - Emergency Riders Serving the Community.
The services of the Freewheelers are offered by volunteers who have received advanced training
and undergo regular reviews of their skills. They give up their time to serve the community and
save lives. They do this in the knowledge that they probably will never meet the beneficiary and
that the same person will probably never know of our services nor that we have played any part in
their recovery. There emergency response vehicles are fully kitted and adapted to carry the
Clinimed systems, which are NHS approved for maintaining the cool chain from collection to
delivery and their volunteers have even used their own bikes to transport non-urgent items that
have no control requirements. All of their personnel carry official identity cards which are worn at
all times when on duty.
Torridge Circuit Website
The Circuit Website is available on http://torridgecircuit.co.uk/
If you see any gaps or would like changes to any of the wording please contact Maureen Ellis on
[email protected], Tel: 01409 231309. Or if you have events you would like
advertised across the world! If you have photos that would add colour and interest please send in
jpeg format if possible.
Circuit Safeguarding – Jacqui Watson (Circuit Safeguarding Representative)
Please contact me if your church needs any Safeguarding Training for newly appointed people.
New appointments need to have done their training within 6 months of starting the appointment.
2
I also have a supply of what were known as CRB forms & the issue number for this batch is 406,
Disclosure & Baring Service, which replaces all others – please contact me if you think you require
a form.
From Peter and Ann Whatton - ‘Petra & Beyond’
Please contact Peter and Ann Whatton on 01237 421420 or [email protected] if you
are interested and would like to know if places are still available.
Circuit Dates
Circuit Prayer Meeting on Monday 9th February 2015
The Circuit Property Meeting will be held at Torrington Methodist Church on Thursday 20th
November at 7.30pm. This is for all Property Stewards and Secretaries but anyone interested in
Circuit Property work will be welcome.
Local Preachers
Local Preachers Meeting –Thursday 15th January 2015 at 7.30pm at Torrington Methodist Church.
This will be the Local Preachers Covenant Service.
Local Preachers Support Group Meeting on Tuesday 18 th November at 7.30pm at West House,
Torrington (home of Vivienne Sheriff)
Alwington Methodist Church
Thank you to everyone who attended the Newton St Petroc Choir Concert when the choir and
friends gave us a wonderful concert and evening’s entertainment. It was lovely to see the chapel
full and we raised £243 towards our church improvement fund.
Our next coffee morning will be held at Alwington Methodist Church on Tuesday 4 th November
between 10.30am and 12noon. There will be all the usual stalls and proceeds are for our church
funds.
The December coffee morning will be held on Tuesday 2nd December at Alwington Village Hall
and all money raised will be donated to Parkinson’s support and research.
The next ‘Take a Break Meeting’ is on Tuesday 18th November at Alwington Methodist Church
starting at 2.30pm when Rev. Peter Whatton will be speaking about his Pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
This will be followed by tea and biscuits.
We look forward to meeting you at all these events.
Northam Methodist Church
Thursday Fellowship Meetings at 2.15pm at Northam Methodist Church – cost £1 including a
draw, Tea & Biscuits. Details contact Maggie Smale on 01237 421956. This restarts again in
September.
Thursday 6th November – Andy Atherton – Mish Mash
Thursday 13th November – Steve Young on the History of the Cavaliers
3
Thursday 20th November – Celia Budge on Appledore Book Festival
Thursday 27th November – Ann Davies on Jigsaw Social Enterprise Projects
Thursday 4th December – Diane Gilchrist on Olde Thyme Music Hall
Making Waves
This is a Christian Drama Group, who go around to different groups & clubs acting out humorous,
thought provoking sketches. If you would like to book ‘Making Waves’ please contact Maggie
Smale on 01237 421956. A small charge of £10, to cover travelling expenses or new books, is all
we ask.
Alverdiscott Gardening Club – Next Meeting Monday 29th September at 2.30 pm. Please contact
Cynthia Courtney on 01271 858237for more details. The Meeting Fee is £1, which includes tea
and biscuits.
Alverdiscott Methodist Chapel
Our next Coffee Morning will be on Thursday 6th November. Come and enjoy good company,
good coffee and support a worthwhile cause.
We are experimenting with a new type of service on a Sunday Evening known as EXPLORE. We
begin with tea and biscuits (or coffee if you prefer). We explore some aspect of the Christian
Faith maybe a hymn or a bible reading or what is going on in the world and how we as Christians
should deal with it. Choosing our own hymns and praying together, you will be very welcome if
you would like to come even if it is just to see what is happening. The first Sunday of the month is
led by a Minister or Local preacher and the last Sunday by a member or members of the
Fellowship. (see Circuit Plan for details)
Crafty Move
The Art & Crafts Group meets at Alverdiscott Chapel on the second Tuesday of the month,
beginning at 10.30am, but people can arrive when they are ready.
Bring whatever craft you enjoy: knitting, crochet, rug-making, lace-making etc. Tea or coffee will
be provided. If you wish you can bring a picnic lunch and stay on till 2.00 or 2.30.
This is an opportunity to meet with friendly people and do something you enjoy – perhaps even
picking up a new skill from someone else. We agreed to pay £1 each to meet any expenses such
as heating when the weather gets chilly. The Chapel has ample car parking. For more information
contact Stuart Fuller on 01271 858258 or [email protected]
School Room Alverdiscott Chapel
Having recently had a new roof and been fully redecorated inside the old school room at
Alverdiscott Methodist Chapel is now available for use by the community.
Tea and coffee making facilities are available. The room would be very suitable for small groups,
e.g. committee meetings, book club and or other low impact activities.
Contact Philip Squire on 01237 473692 for more details
Torrington Methodist Church
The next ‘Ignite’ Service with be on Sunday 30th November at 10.30am at Torrington Methodist
Chapel. This is instead of the normal Ignite in the Evening. There is no Evening Service due to the
Circuit Weekend at Sidholme.
4
There will be a Sankey Service on Sunday 2nd November at 6.30pm with 30 minutes of
Community Singing followed by the Service at 7pm. This has been moved from Sunday 19th
October.
There will be a Concert on Friday 5th December by the Holsworthy & Bude Choir
The Big Sing is on Wednesday 10th December at 7pm at Torrington Pannier Market
Torrington Methodist Junior Church
Torrington Methodist Junior Church is held every Sunday Morning from 10.30 to 11.30am. We
organize a varied mix of stories, games, craft and most importantly FUN! We welcome any child
The Junior Church restarted on Sunday 7th September after the Summer break.
Dream Kidz Remember
The Dream Kidz of Torrington will be leading a concert of Remembrance on Friday 7th November
at 7pm at St. Michael's and All Angels church, Torrington. The concert will include music and poet
ry from the children and supporting choir as well as some audience participation!
This will be an opportunity for the whole community to come together and remember those who fo
ught for our country and loved ones we have lost. We would like to be able to read names of not
only those people who lost their lives in various conflicts but also those from Torrington and the
surrounding area who fought and returned.
To this end if there was anybody from your family who you would like remembered please call into
Torrington Jewellers and let us know. Teas will be served in the church after the concert and any
money raised will be split between The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.
Littleham Methodist Church
There is a Coffee Morning on Wednesday 12th November from 10-30 to 12 noon with a cost of
£1with a Bring and Buy Stall. There is a warm welcome to you all.
Our October coffee morning raised £115 towards our Church funds. A big thank you to all for your
support.
Milton Damerel Methodist Church
The Bible Study Group meets each Monday from 7.30-9pm and we have lively discussions.
Anyone is very welcome to come and join us!
Pilates is held every Monday morning from 11am to 12noon with tutor, Di Sluggett. She is a
member at Lake Methodist Chapel and is an excellent & qualified teacher. These are gentle
exercises which helps develop good posture and strengthens the body’s core. This is a growing
group and anyone wishing to join should contact Di on 01409 281637.
Our Baby & Toddler Group meets on Tuesday mornings from 10.30am to 12noon, although we
tend to run over! At present we have 9 children with 3 of them fairly new born babies, plus a
handful of Mums & Grans. This is a friendly group and we welcome other mums/dads or
grandparents with children to join us. It costs £1.50 per family per week and we are supported by
the Bluecoat, Torrington & Holsworthy Children’s Centres. We meet in the Lower Schoolroom
5
which is cosy and warm and where our good supply of toys are kept. There is ample parking. For
more details, please contact Sheila on 01409 261466.
Waveline Christian Dance Group
Please contact Sheila on 01805 601140, Maureen on 01409 231309 or Sheila on 01409 261466 if
you are interested in this group. We are also happy to take part in suitable events in the Circuit.
Parkham Methodist Church
Parkham Methodist Ladies Club Meets at 2.30pm monthly on Wednesdays in the Chapel Sunday
School Rooms
Wednesday 5th November – Mark Shepherd on ‘My life as a Vet’ with a Charity Stall for the
Chemotherapy Unit
Wednesday 3rd December – School Children entertain with Christmas Songs & Tea
Does the name A Rocha mean anything to you? I think I might have mentioned it in passing. I
have received their magazine & News & Prayer letters quite free for 2 or 3 years, having noticed
that one of the delegates at an event they organised, was the Minister who married Brian & I in
1971. This year I felt I should do the decent thing, join and pay up!
They are a Christian Environmental Group, which started in Portugal in 1984, trying to preserve
wetlands on the Algarve from encroaching development. The area is much favoured by migrating
water birds travelling in both directions, as an overnight stopover. It was rapidly being taken over
by Golfers with little or no consideration for the local wild life. They now have eco-preservation
schemes in many parts of the world, frequently working with people of other faiths or none.
Their guiding text is Psalm 24 v.1. "The Earth is the Lord's" and their motto or rallying cry is
"Living lightly on God's Earth". Their Founder, Peter Harris who has written several books on the
subject, tells how he had difficulty at first with people whose faith seemed to consist of "me & God,
personal salvation, and aiming for a distant heaven" so it didn't seem to matter very much what we
did with the Planet. This in spite of the clear teaching in Genesis, that we had been put here to
look after it. I must admit I have not come across them personally, but I found the semiautobiographical book by David Bookless "God doesn't do Waste" very interesting.
Many Christians who feel we are here to act as Stewards of the Earth, have not come across this
or other groups with a Christian outlook and have turned to secular organisations because they
feel the Church is just not interested. There has however in recent times, as Climate Change has
become more obvious, been a shift of opinion in many churches. People outside the church are
often very concerned about the future of life on Earth and worry about how their children &
grandchildren will fare.
Waiting for my flu jab in Bradworthy Surgery last week were three young adults all with children,
all saying it is now probably too late to save the planet and they were not joking. No, I didn't spark
the conversation, believe it or not, I was wondering what to have for tea. However I roused myself
to tell them it wasn't yet that bad and there were actions they could take. At that point I was called
in for my jab. All I could really do was to suggest they think carefully about how they voted, but at
least to use their democratic rights. These are worried people beginning to despair. They will take
notice of those who try to frighten them into "looking after No.1" and stop worrying about the most
underprivileged. Doesn't the Church have the answers? As we are often told when we purchase
something: For best results follow the Maker' Instructions.
6
For more information on A Rocha Phone 020 8674 5935 or go online arocha.org.uk
I have their last 2 magazines - beautifully produced if anyone wants them.
Next Month: "How Green is your Christmas Tree?"
Jean Wright.
Bideford (High Street) Methodist Church
A Christmas Craft Fair to be held at High Street, Bideford from 10am - 4pm on Saturday 22nd
November. Refreshments available and entry is free - stalls are still available for hire at £10
each.
This was very popular last year and if you would like to book a stall please contact Wendy Elliott
(01237 475597 or [email protected]) for a booking form.
On Saturday 29th November there is a Christmas Concert by the Appledore Singers at 7 pm with
Tickets available at £5. We shall be pleased to see you at these events and assure you of a warm
welcome.
Buckland Brewer Methodist Church
Buckland Community Shop from 7.30-6pm each day and 8am-1pm on Saturdays in the Old
Chapel Vestry – Come along and see what is happening!! There is now a Foodbank Collection
Point in the Shop.
Buckland Brewer Methodist Church now has a Facebook page – just log into Facebook & type
Buckland Brewer Methodist Church – Come and have a look. The Editor is exploring how to use
this way of communication. Hopefully we can reach out with The Good News of Jesus Christ to
All.
Bible Story Book
Rev David Gregory’s third book of Bible Stories, entitled ‘My Story’ and consists of 19 stories with
100 pages is still available to purchase, costing £5 with the proceeds going to North Devon
Hospice & Exeter Hospice. To date over £1500 has been donated so thanks to all who have
bought books 1 & 2.
Copies of the book are available from Sheila Babb at Torrington on 01805 622949 who will
continue selling them following the recent death of David.
Christians Together in Bideford & District
The Christian Aid Schools Carol Concert is on Tuesday 2nd December at 7pm at the Bideford
Methodist Church.
The Dates of the next Enabling Group Meetings are on Thursday 6th November at 2pm at St
Mary's House
The next CTBD FORUM Meeting will be on Wednesday 12th November at 7.30pm (tea/coffee
available from 7pm onwards) at Bideford Baptist Church.
7
Forum is a twice yearly meeting which is open to everyone - members of churches & the general
public. The focus of this Forum will be Poverty, Debt and the Churches response to it. Our main
speaker / discussion leader will be Jeremy Bishop from Holy Trinity Barnstaple.
Earlier this year six churches across North Devon spearheaded a new Christians Against Poverty
Centre which opened in Barnstaple. The churches joined forces to open the North Devon CAP
Centre at Holy Trinity Church office in Barnstaple, covering Barnstaple, Braunton and Bideford.
Jeremy Bishop is the CAP Centre manager.
Taw & Torridge DCF (Disabled Christian Fellowship)
This group is for adults with any disability, carers & friends who meet regularly on the 2nd Saturday
in the month at 2.30pm till 5pm with a speaker or activity and tea. A short time is given to Christian
teaching and worship. The Meetings are usually held at St John the Baptist Church, Newport,
Barnstaple. Some outings are arranged and a holiday every other year. New members are always
welcome as are new helpful friends.
For more information contact: Anita Southey on 01409 261763; Bridget Bridgman on 01409
Singing the Faith Organ edition
Following numerous requests from churches to publish a second print run of the organ edition,
Hymns Ancient & Modern have done just that. It’s back in stock priced £150 per set (no discounts
available). You can order it online at Methodist Publishing.
Dave Watson has purchased at Methodist Conference a copy of all the Singing the Faith
songs/hymns on 33 CD’s. It is recorded at Coventry Methodist Central Hall & is just the piano
playing the whole tune of each song/hymn. If any church/organist wants to hear what the
tune/hymn sounds like or the church would like to use it in worship please contact me on 01237
451437 or [email protected]
The Joseph Rank Trust and Methodism
The Board of Trustees met recently to consider grant applications from Circuits & individual
Churches in respect of property schemes and non-property applications (i.e. Church Outreach
worker). They awarded £157,500 to five applicants.
In addition to grants awarded at meetings earlier in the year the total grants awarded in 2014 are:
The Methodist Church of Great Britain: £581,546
The Methodist Church in Ireland: £199,100
TOTAL: £780,646
With regard to applications in 2015, the Trustees will be meeting in January, April, July and
October. There are no specific deadlines for each meeting as applications will be considered
upon receipt. If they are too late for a meeting they may be considered at the next.
Applications can be submitted from now.
In 2014 70% of applications were returned as they were incomplete. Please can you make sure
that applicants follow the guidance as expressed on this web page:
http://www.ranktrust.org/rank-trust-methodist-grants.htm
8
The Joint Property Strategy Group
I write to you on behalf of The Joint Property Strategy Group (JPSG) not only to re-introduce the
group to you but also to give you some information on the work we will be carrying out over
the coming months. You may be aware that the JPSG is a Methodist Church and United
Reformed Church partnership. The group were formed in 2011 as a result of the Methodist /
URC Church Buildings Think-Tank report and is appointed on a time limited basis of 3 years
from inception.
The group have identified the following four areas as the foundations of our work:
Possibilities: Creating communities of inspiration and learning and sharing good practices
People: Empowering people and providing training in property management for church leaders,
encouraging property stewardship and developing strategies for mission development
Partnership: Reviewing the Reciprocal Sharing Agreement between the two Churches and
presenting best practices for partnerships with church and non-church organisations
Procedures: Providing clarity on standing orders and legal requirements related to church
property [this is currently being worked on separately by the individual denominations]
The members of the group are: Revd Alistair Sharp (Chair), Revd Mark Dunn-Wilson,
Revd Kevin Johnson from the Methodist Church and Revd David Tatem, Revd Lucy Brierley,
Revd David Skipp and Mr Clifford Patten from the URC who all bring many years’ knowledge
and experience of managing building works in relation to furthering Mission within their
communities around the country.
Liberating People & Places for Mission Over the next 15 months we will be working on the
following:
Seven Road shows (in 2015)
These will be aimed at local church officers, Circuit/District property officers and those with an
interest in Mission within their communities. The road shows will be designed to:Enable the target audience to think creatively about using property to further mission within their
local churches
Motivate those already engaged or willing to engage in this work within the Circuits, Synods and
local churches
Show models for change that has been proved to work
Enable a wider discussion in terms of mission within the community
It is envisioned for these seven road shows to be held in church buildings that have been
renovated and/or designed with mission in mind. It is hoped this will provide maximum impact
not only in respect of presentation and discussion on all that can be achieved but provide a
visual example also. It will be a whole day event divided into four sections to include
presentations, discussions and space for a question and answer session. This is a particularly
exciting prospect which we are looking forward to delivering.
Strategic Training for those in leadership roles (within the coming months)
It is hoped the Training will be designed to give MC and URC strategic leaders courage and
confidence to fulfil their Mission Strategy role, particularly to equip leaders in:
Discovering and Believing in new Possibilities
Setting up Simple but Effective Processes
Finding and Keeping motivated - People
Making Creative and Ambitious Partnerships
Enabling our Mission to respond to the need not to the Pennies
9
The JPSG are currently working on ways in which to implement this and will provide updates as
soon as possible.
New web pages within the MC and URC websites (within the coming months)
These will include – Good news stories designed to highlight the missional work of churches and
communities through creative use of its buildings. Also Training, Road Show information,
Resources, Links, updates and contact information will be included in the new web pages.
The pages will be designed to provide support to the churches around the connexion and
synods.
If there are any good news stories you would like featured on the website, where properties
have been renovated/built to further missional work in the church and community, please
contact Kim Medford-Vassell, Executive Support Officer (Property), via [email protected] , who will be happy to work with you on presenting
this on the website.
The JPSG is committed to supporting and equipping churches to realise their vision for Mission,
in their churches and communities, through the effective use of church property. In so doing,
the JPSG remain committed to becoming a Discipleship Movement shaped for Mission.
Although this is a term used within Methodism, it is true of all Christian Discipleship: a church
that takes seriously the call to follow Jesus.
We will be providing more information on the Road Shows shortly, via the website, Property
Matters and email, so do remember to look out for this. They promise to be exciting events,
designed to enthuse and inspire all who work to forward mission within their communities; and
held within church buildings committed to doing just that.
Revd Alistair Sharp - Superintendent of the Rotherham & Dearne Valley Circuit and Chair of the
JPSG
Nomination for post of Secretary of the Methodist Conference
The Methodist Council, which met from 15 to 16 October at the High Leigh Conference Centre in
Hoddeston, has agreed to nominate to the Conference the Revd Gareth Powell to serve as the
Secretary of the Conference from 1 September 2015. The role is one of the most senior positions
of Church leadership in Methodism, alongside the roles of President and Vice-President of the
Conference.
Gareth will succeed the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, who remains in post until 31 August 2015. "I
congratulate Gareth in this nomination to be the next secretary of the Conference," said Martyn.
"He is a person of great gifts and I look forward to the next nine months when we shall work
together in a time of transition seeking the health, unity of benefit of the whole Methodist Church."
Gareth said: "Martyn has helped to create in the Church a fresh enthusiasm for God's calling on
Methodists to engage joyfully and seriously with mission and evangelism. My commitment to this
vision means that I want the church to pay careful and considered attention to its patterns of
oversight and pastoral care. In doing so, I hope we will be better resourced and enabled to
respond to the challenges of the Gospel and of contemporary society."
Gareth has been the Assistant Secretary of the Conference since 2011 and is currently Head of
Governance Support in the Connexional Team. He read theology at Westminster College, Oxford
and then undertook ministerial training at The Queen's College, Birmingham, obtaining an MA in
Pastoral Theology before spending time at the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies, the
University of Geneva. Having served in the Coventry Circuit, he was ordained in 1999, when he
10
was stationed to the Cardiff Circuit as a circuit minister and university chaplain. From 2002-2008
he was Methodist Chaplain and Chaplaincy Coordinator at Cardiff University.
In 2009 he was directly stationed to the Connexional Team to be based in the Governance
Support Cluster as the President's Assistant. Since 2010 Gareth has been a member of the
Council of Cardiff University. He has vast experience of ecumenical partnerships and is highly
respected in such circles. He is a member of the Council of Christian Unity of the Church of
England. He was a member of the Methodist/Roman Catholic Committee from 2001 to 2012 and
was The Ecumenical Officer of Y Gymanfa from 2005-7. He has served on a variety of
committees of the Methodist Church.
How good are you at watching & waiting?
In a 'want it all, want it now' culture, the art of watching and waiting can get lost in the melee of
consumerism and instant gratification. Yet Advent can also bring us closer to God, and to the
effects of God's justice and love in the world today.
Sometimes watching and waiting are forced upon us by others. Raheela and her husband Irfan
know what that means. They fled persecution in Pakistan with their family and were granted
asylum in the UK in May 2006. They were warmly welcomed by the Methodist Church and now
work in Wales with asylum seekers and refugees of different faiths, in a project supported by
the Mission in Britain Fund. Their story features in the free worship resources for this year's
Advent Offering.
Despite being forced to watch and wait, they found God and God's people with them, supporting
them. That experience led them to give themselves in the service of others, accompanying people
as they too watch and wait. The Advent Offering is a chance for Christians to worship God and
reflect on the transformational work of the Fund in communities across Britain.
"During Advent, Christians celebrate a distinct kind of waiting, when we look fear, desperation and
human need in the eye, but in the sure hope that God is coming in justice and love," said the
Revd Ken Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference. "But, if we're honest, Advent can too
easily become a time of frantic rushing around, getting ready for Christmas."
"We can get so caught up in the busyness that we forget about the plight of those around us who
need help and support," added Gill Dascombe, Vice-President of the Conference. "This year's
Advent Offering is great opportunity to make our watching and waiting more meaningful and a
timely reminder that Christ's love and our cash can combine to transform human lives."
'Love your neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote'
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church
and the United Reformed Church asked Christian young people about their attitudes to voting and
politics. The young people were clear - they cared about politics, their faith had a major impact on
how they voted - but they didn't think their voices were heard or have faith that politicians would
deliver positive change.
The online survey was conducted in preparation for the JPIT conference, 'Love Your Neighbour:
Think, Pray, Vote', where Archbishop Justin Welby will be the keynote speaker. The aim of the
conference is to enthuse and equip Christians to be active in the run up to the general election.
The Churches believe that the online survey shows that while many young people care deeply
there is a need to heed their concerns about the political process.
In the UK voter turnout amongst 18 to 23 year olds is extremely low. Research carried out by
11
YouGov in April this year indicated that of the 3.3 million young people entitled to vote for the first
time in next year's general election, 7 May 2015, more than 2 million of them will not be voting.
Andrew Weston, Fellowship of the United Reformed Youth Moderator Elect, said: "It is a great
shame that so many young people lack belief in the political system, fearing that their voices will
be ignored."
The young Christians asked by the Churches said they would be more likely to vote if politicians
engage directly with them. They also said that they are not given sufficient information with
regards to policies and key issues, and that one way of overcoming this could also be through
better political education in schools.
"It is vitally important that young people take the opportunity to have their say next May," Andrew
continued, adding: "I'm really looking forward to the upcoming JPIT conference 'Love Your
Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote'... To have a space for young Christians to engage with key issues,
including poverty, climate change and international affairs, in the context of their faith and the
upcoming General Election is so valuable."
Tickets are available for Under 25s to attend the 'Love your neighbour: Think, Pray,
Vote' conference, and workshops will cover issues that the survey revealed matter most to the
young people - including poverty and social justice.
Rachel Allison, who co-ordinated the survey and worked with JPIT to help the team improve how
churches talk about social justice to young people, said: "There are important questions to be
asked about how politicians can engage with a seemingly untapped generation who could have a
massive impact on the result of the election and the future of society."
Megan Thomas, Methodist Youth President, said: "There are many issues facing our country
today that specifically impact on children and young people. We live in a country where housing is
unaffordable, child poverty is on the increase and where there are constant financial challenges in
education."
"Young people are passionate about politics and care about the key issues in our country, but it is
important that we have all the facts. When voting we want to know that our voice will be heard and
that our vote can make a difference. If you want to find out ways in which you can speak to
politicians and how your vote can make a difference, don't miss the 'Love Your Neighbour: Think,
Pray, Vote' conference."
The 'Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote' conference takes place, Saturday 21 February
2015, Coventry Central Hall.
WORSHIP - Eisteddfod in Devon - Torridge Circuit, North Devon
On 18 June the Torridge Circuit in North Devon held an Eisteddfod (a Welsh festival of literature,
music and performance) inspired by superintendent minister, the Welsh-born Revd Ken Morgan.
It was held at the circuit's largest church in Great Torrington. Competitions included choir singing,
solos and duets. The festival also featured Bible reading, poetry and parable writing, artwork,
sketching, drama and liturgical dance.
Sheila Babb, Torridge circuit administrator and steward, said: "Competitions were held over 10
days culminating in a celebration of gifts and awards. This ceremony was followed, as usual, by a
traditional supper. The event was an excellent display of working together and a competitive spirit
was enjoyed. It's amazing how God gives us so many gifts which we can use for God's glory in
praise and worship. A happy time was had by all."
12
`