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Focus for Prayer – September 2017

"Paul planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. (1 Cor. 3.9)"

  • As God’s co-workers let us pray that we may be faithful in planting the seeds of the gospel of God’s love and forgiveness and in helping to nurture and care for those who come to faith as a result of the seeds that others have planted. Give thanks that God gives the growth as people respond to his love.
  • As we continue with the Review of Methodism in Bexhill pray that through conversations, prayer and reflection we may be open to hear what God is saying to us as the Methodist people in Bexhill and to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray for ministers commencing new appointments this month and all who are taking on new responsibilities in the Methodist Church. May all ministers and leaders be given wisdom and vision as they lead the Church into another year of mission and service.
  • As we celebrate harvest, give thanks for all God’s good gifts to us and for all who work to grow and produce the food we eat. Pray for all who hunger and thirst and for organisations like ‘All We Can’ and ‘Christian Aid’ offering the practical help and support to enable people to become more self-sufficient.
  • As the doors of school and colleges open for the new term to welcome children and young people pray that the opening of the doors may also be the opening of their minds and lives to knowledge, understanding and growth. Pray for the youngest children going to school for the first time, those who face the challenge of a new school and all who teach and guide them.
  • Remember those in our own church family and local community who are unwell, undergoing medical treatment and all who have anxieties about what the future may bring.

If you have any particular concerns that you would like included in the next Prayer Focus please contact Tricia.

Hastings, Bexhill and Rye Circuit Prayer for 2017 / 2018

Transforming God, seen in Jesus, we pray for our Circuit as we worship and work together to build your Kingdom in our communities.

May we be faithful to your call on us.

Help us to give thanks for all your blessings on us and signs of growth around us.

Help us to read your word and reflect on it together.

Help us to take time to pray together.

Help us to keep silence, to listen for your guidance every day.

Help us to act where we can make a difference.

May we know Jesus better and enable others to know him too.

Amen.

Invitation to join a ‘Step Forward’ group

An opportunity to meet with others in a small group and take a step forward in our walk of discipleship.

What is it about? ‘Step Forward’ offers space to meet with others to worship God, explore the Bible together and encourage one another to put into practice what we have learnt together.

When is it happening? The group will be meeting for 4 sessions at 7.30pm on Wednesday evenings at The Manse during September. As Christians we are privileged to be able to share together in with fellow Christians in our walk of discipleship and work of mission and witness. Over the four weeks we will reflect on both the privilege and the challenge of what it means to be in fellowship.

Week 1: 6 September. Who we are. We share stories of what matters to us, celebrate our diversity and enjoy fellowship together

Week 2: 13 September. Being One in Christ. Exploring how our relationships with one another are grounded in Christ.

Week 3: 20 September. One body many parts Exploring our different abilities and gifts as we celebrate our oneness in Christ.

Week 4: 27 September. Being who I am for others Sharing our faith journey and learning to love and respect each other more.

How can I find out more? Please speak to Revd Tricia Williams if you would like to come along or have any questions.

Stewards Scribblings

By the time you read these notes the summer will be coming to an end and our thoughts will be turning towards Harvest Supper, Remembrance Day, Advent and Christmas services. How quickly the seasons move along throughout the year!

We hope you will have noticed the photographic display of our Minister, Church Stewards and Safeguarding Officer. This was in response to a request from the Church Council. Thank you Claire for taking the photos and using your craft skills to frame them.

On 9 September a further meeting is being held to Review the Future of Methodism in Bexhill. It was anticipated that this would be an open meeting for all interested church members but instead it has been decided to limit attendance to eight people from each of the three churches. The Christchurch representatives will endeavour to summarise and put forward the views of our congregation, which have been sent to me over the past few weeks.

You will all be aware that there are now some Sunday mornings when neither Hazel nor Janet are available to provide the music for our service and we have to rely on recorded sound. We are in touch with our Little Common Church who is using a proven system that has all the hymn tunes from H & P, MP and STF and can also provide music for the beginning and end of services. We will report further on this matter when we have more information.

We were all very sad to learn that our Pre-School closed in July after a 30 year association with Christchurch. However, as the saying goes “one door closes and another one opens” so we must regard this as an opportunity to use our premises on weekday mornings for other outreach purposes in our community. Suggestions and ideas to Tricia please.

Some very encouraging news is that our Minister has been able to establish good relations with the local Chantry Community Primary School in Barrack Road following the appointment of a new Head Teacher who is a Christian. Tricia has already taken an assembly and the school have asked if they can use our Church as a “place of safety” for pupils and staff in case of an emergency.

Recently we have been pleased to welcome several new people to our Sunday morning worship. When you are in church always look around for anyone you do not recognise and make yourself known to them. We only get one chance to make a good first impression!

Peter Watson

Developing links with Chantry School

One of the ways in which we can develop our mission in the community is by getting to know the staff and children of our local school, Chantry Community Primary School. The current Headteacher, Rebecca Read, took up her appointment after Easter and during the summer term I have made several visits to the school to meet her and some of the staff and children and I have been made very welcome. On one of my visits the Deputy Head, Mrs Jackson, asked if it would be possible for the school to use the church as a place of safety for the children should it ever be necessary to evacuate the school. This has been discussed with the Church Stewards and Barry Turnwell as Property Steward and arrangements are in hand for the church to be used in an emergency, although we hope that it will never be necessary to do so.

Some of my visits to Chantry have been to join them for assembly which has been a great privilege. As the children come into the hall for the assembly they sit in their places and listen to a piece of classical music while they wait for everyone to arrive. After the Headteacher has said ‘Good morning’ they greet one another and are introduced to any visitors who may be with them and then proceed to sing a song.

Each week a theme is chosen for the assemblies based on one of the core values of ‘Confident, Caring and Creative’ that underpin school life and this is explored in a different way each day so that by the end of the week the children have a good understanding of what each value means for them. At one assembly I was asked to explore the theme ‘Respectful: we care for and appreciate ourselves, others and the environment’ and I talked about the different jobs that people do and the importance of valuing and respecting everyone regardless of what work they do. Another time the theme was about being excited about our creativity, ‘Passionate: we look for what lights us up” and we thought about God our creator, our own God given creativity and the children shared what activities and interests they are passionate about. The assembly ends with time for reflection and a short prayer. After any notices or presentations the children join together in saying their school prayer:

This is our school. Let peace dwell here
Let the rooms be full of contentment.
Let love abide here:
Love of one another,
Love of life itself,
And love of God.
For as many hands build a home
So many hearts build our school. Amen.

I am looking forward to continuing my visits to the school and leading assembly during the coming year. Please remember the staff and children in your prayers as they return to school after the summer holidays.

Tricia Williams

Worship Leader's Thoughts For September

I was looking through my Facebook feed and I saw this poem – it is written by a 14 year old (I don’t know who they are but would thank them for it if I did). I thought it was worth sharing with you.

Young people have many talents and they all display them in different ways – this below shows a talent of a young person. We have many young people linked to our Church – they all have talents and we thank God for them.Many of them are about to start on a new chapter in their lives – jobs, colleges, school, new classes due to the start of a new academic year – we wish them well.

God bless.

Wendy

The Poem

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
Theres something good in every day
Because when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude>br> It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day

Now read the poem from the bottom to the top.

Barry's Babblings

Firstly, a very happy new year to all our Methodist folk – September 1st is the start of the Methodist year – we do things differently in Methodism and it’s called being a nonconformist!!

Hopefully you have all had a good summer and perhaps managed a holiday. We have delayed ours for a while but we are looking forward to a few days away. This includes a trip to Thursford (Norfolk) to visit the fairground museum and to see the special Christmas Show that is also included. Around 15 friends from the church will be away together so it could be rather like an adult Sunday School outing!

The 31st August sees the end of the financial year and will give us an opportunity to consider where we are with the church finances. The Church is very grateful that some folk have kindly reviewed their giving upwards and some have joined the direct credit or envelope scheme. If this can in turn be linked to the Gift Aid scheme then that enables the church to claim a further 25% from the Revenue (at no cost to the donor). Should you wish to know more please speak to myself or Steve Roberts. Thank you.

September also sees the continuance of the review of Methodism in Bexhill with two united planned meetings this month. Hopefully these will be positive and fruitful. If you are not sure what this entails and would like to know more please speak to the stewards – there is a freely available ‘Paper’ that is there for all to read that has been prepared by the Circuit Leadership Team.

The church will be celebrating the Harvest Festival on Sunday 17th September when the Rev Roger Leslie (one of our former ministers) will be leading our family service. The church is usually beautifully decorated and please do try to help with the supply of flowers, fruit and veg for the display. (Sadly, there will not be an evening service at Christchurch on that day as we are uniting at Sackville Road church for a ‘Songs of Praise’) The Harvest Supper will be the next evening and tickets will be available soon. I am sure that it will, once again, be an excellent spread!

Each quarter there is a meeting of our Worship Consultation Group to which all are most welcome. This gives us an opportunity to reflect upon our worship and to listen to ideas for the future. Our worship is at the heart of our faith and needs to be fulfilling and inspiring. Wendy Gorham (our Worship Leader) leads the meeting at which our Minister also attends, so do ask if you would like to know more. The next one is on Tuesday 19th September at 7.30pm in Centenary House. There are a number of us who would like to have an occasional worship band at church – do speak up if you could help.

These comments do give me an opportunity (on behalf of us all) to thank those who play at our services.

It is so sad that the Pre School had to close in July (see report in the July/August issue) and the hall looks rather different without all the name tabs, equipment etc and we continue to hold Christine and her colleagues in our thoughts and prayers as they deal with all the details to enable a smooth closure of the School. If you have any ideas for groups that could, perhaps, use the premises (internal or external) do please let us know.

It is lovely to see some new friends joining with us at worship and in the other church activities – you are all most welcome. Well, enough from me – those of us who are fortunate to be retired are very grateful, but we should also bear in mind that ‘God’s retirement plan is out of this world!’.

Happy New Year!

Barry Turnwell, Church Treasurer and a Property Steward

PowerPoint rota

We could really do with some more people to help prepare the PowerPoint for the Sunday morning services ( it is on a rota system) and I am hoping that you may read this and think “I could do that!”

If you are interested , even if just a tiny bit, and want to know more please do speak to me and I can tell you about it. If you can use Word on a computer then you can use PowerPoint! The hymn words are all typed up and ready in PowerPoint version which really helps!

A big thank you to Michelle Benge and Lisa Pestell who regularly prepare and operate the PowerPoint and also to Gabrielle Watson and Harvey Conely who often operate the PowerPoint – we are most grateful. So have a think and let me know if you are interested! ( if you think you would rather just operate it then prepare the slides this could also be arranged!!). Thanks.

Wendy

The Worship Cloud - sharing resources for the good of all

The Worship Cloud is a website (formerly The Seed), originally founded with support from the Methodist Church, which allows people who produce PowerPoints, mini-movies, music, written word and images to sell and share their work quickly and easily at no cost to themselves.

For a small fee, others will be able to download material for projection, magazines, posters etc, without having to worry about any copyright restrictions. The originator will earn royalties, and 10% of profits will go to charity.

There is a vast wealth of resources sitting on people's computers that could be of great value to the whole Church. The Seed aims to build a vast and accessible online library, improving the quality of resources for worship, event publicity, and otherwise spreading the message of God. So visit www.theworshipcloud.com and start sharing your work.

Christchurch Library

Did you know we have a church library? it was started a few years ago by our good friend Mrs Barbara Tustin, and has lived in the vestibule/the vestry and more recently in boxes at the back of the choir stalls.

It was felt that the Library should be revived and re-launched to see if there is a need for it still. The books have been dusted and weeded and will be available in the hall over coffee from January onwards. There are both adult and children's books on various subjects, but all well worth looking at.

A book for noting who has borrowed what will be supplied and we just ask that you note whatever you borrow and the date returned - no fines will be implemented!!

Happy Reading, Jill

Methodist Conference 2016

A summary of the proceedings entitled "Business Digest" can be found on the website http://methodist.org.uk/conference. Any members without computer access who would like a paper copy should contact Peter Watson.

Important Resolution from the 2016 Methodist Conference

The 2016 Annual Methodist Conference meeting in London passed a special resolution and Revd Gareth Powell, Secretary of the Conference has asked that it be read out in all churches and shared as widely as possible. The statement is also shared on the website www.methodist.org.uk/nationallife where it can be turned into an email which will be automatically sent to your local Member of Parliament. The Conference also encourages the Methodist people to send this letter to their MP.

The Conference also encouraged the Methodist people to join the campaign to wear an empty safety pin as a badge symbolising solidarity against racism (please see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36661097 for details).

The 2016 Annual Conference of the Methodist Church passed a resolution containing the following text:

The United Kingdom, as a result of the referendum on 23 June 2016, has voted to leave the European Union. In this time of very significant change and uncertainty there is a need for leadership which seeks the common good and encourages people to work together, to respect one another and to uphold the dignity of all.

The Methodist Conference believes that the British Isles are enriched by diversity and celebrates the contribution made by those who have come from other parts of the world.

The Christian tradition calls for respect, tolerance, love of neighbour and hospitality to the stranger. All bear the responsibility of speaking and acting for healing, reconciliation, and mutual respect.

The Methodist Conference abhors and deeply regrets those actions and words which incite hatred and lead to the victimisation of groups within society and notes with concern that such actions and words have been normalised in recent public discourse. Believing that racism is a denial of the gospel and that to stay silent when others are abused is to collude with those who seek to promote hatred and division, the Methodist Conference calls:

  • on the Methodist people to challenge racism and discrimination
  • for a political debate which neither demonises any nor leaves the vulnerable (the foreigner, the immigrant and refugee) in danger of victimisation.
  • on political leaders to work together for the good of the whole community putting the needs of the nation before party politics.
  • on all those in positions of power and authority to hear the voices of those who have been marginalised and alienated and to respond to them in ways which offer real hope for the future.

I recognise that you have many demands upon your time, but please do ensure that this important statement is shared as widely as possible. With gratitude for our continued partnership in the gospel,

The Reverend Gareth J Powell

Thinking about Church Membership?

Have you ever thought about becoming a member of our church if you are currently not?

If you worship with us regularly you may already feel that you are member of Christchurch. Becoming a full member of the Methodist Church must be a personal decision; it is not automatic like getting a vote at eighteen. In one sense we become a member at baptism, but in becoming full members we make a decision for ourselves. For those who were baptised as infants, Confirmation offers the opportunity to confirm the intention of those who presented us for baptism and the opportunity to accept that faith as our own.

After confirmation each member is given an annual membership Ticket. It you move to another area your membership is transferrable to another Methodist Church.

Church Membership is about commitment. Most people who have a hobby that they want to develop will join a club, to share with other likeminded people. But the Church is not a club, and membership is about making a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and wanting to learn more about God’s will and purpose for our lives. As Christians it is important that we all make a public declaration of our faith. The Confirmation (Church Membership Service) gives that opportunity. In being received into Membership, we mark the fact that we want to be seen as part of the Church in this place and we want to stand up and be counted.

If you have not already been baptised this is not a problem as this can take place as part of the Confirmation service. If you are already a member of another Methodist Church or are a confirmed member of a Church of a different denomination membership can be transferred into Christchurch.

Information about Bexhill Foodbank and our Contribution from Christchurch

We continue to collect tins and packets in the Church vestibule and make regular donations to the CTIB Foodbank at their premises at 19/20 Station Road, where they have been for over a year now. Thank you to the Christchurch congregation who regularly contribute and to George Bunker who has been transporting the donations to the Foodbank regularly. George is also taking over in May as the Christchurch point of contact for the Foodbank, which is open from 1:00 pm till 3:00 pm on Tuesday and from 10.00 a.m. till 12 noon on Thursday.

The Bexhill Foodbank have recently informed us that Christchurch has donated 209 kg of food, which is a substantial contribution. (Editor. For the ‘oldies’ like me that’s 460.77 lbs. Divide it by 14 and you will have it in stones and pounds!)

The current shopping list for the Bexhill Foodbank is as follows: Milk (powdered), sugar, orange or lemon squash, instant potato mash, pasta sauces, tinned sponge pudding, tinned tomatoes, breakfast cereals, tinned rice pudding, tinned custard, tea bags, jars of instant coffee, jars of jam, peanut butter, packets of biscuits, chocolate treats.

Please note that the Foodbank does not currently need baked beans, soup or tinned meat as they have a healthy stock of these.

Bexhill Foodbank helps feed people in crisis over the whole of Rother district by providing three days emergency food to a family. We are one of 400 Foodbanks nationwide and in 2013-14 over 900,000 people received emergency food from the network of Trussell Trust Foodbanks.

The Bexhill Foodbank (run by CTiB in partnership with the Trussell Trust) is always looking for volunteers to help in various ways, including fundraising and for collections of donations at Tesco's Ravenside. Information can be found online at bexhill.foodbank.org.uk or by telephoning 01424 736515/07866 570468.

George Bunker, Foodbank Representative for Christchurch

Flowers in Church

Looking at the Flower Rota, there are many gaps to fill. Please do consider providing flowers for the communion table – perhaps to celebrate a special occasion or anniversary.

Carol Johnson will be pleased to tell you more and there are three columns on the rota (in the Vestibule) – provide, arrange and distribute – you don’t have to do them all, but why not give at least one of them a try!

Please consider doing a week or two during the year – flowers are such an important central and focus point for our worship – as well as tokens taken after worship to people who would appreciate a visit and flowers. Thank you.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness!

Our appreciation is expressed to those who help clean the church and other facilities on a regular rota basis as we try to keep our premises as neat, clean and tidy as possible. However, there is a need for a few more people to volunteer – the work is usually done in teams of two people – the more who offer the less number of times when a team has to do the work!

Please will you consider offering to help, I will be delighted to give you full details – don’t rely on others if you feel that you could help. I look forward to your call! Mrs Joan Turnwell

Christchurch Timbrels

We like to play to all types of music. We are hoping to start a new season now for beginners.

All are very welcome to come and enjoy a happy evening and time together learning something new and to share the love of music with each other. It is a challenge, but very rewarding and gives a lot of pleasure when audiences can sing along with us.

There is no age limit, but children must be from 10 years upward. Attending our own church is not essential. Please ask your friends especially if they would like to come along with you. Tambourines are all provided, you just need to bring yourselves and have a go. If you feel you would like to see what it is all about Please let Ellie or Jill know if you would be interested.

At the back of the church are Timbrel letters (with our Timbrels Logo) You can return one of these with your name and phone number attached to it. Classes will be in the Church Junior Hall on Thursday evenings 5.00 pm. Beginners Generally Practice 6.00 pm -7.00 pm. Other times will be considered on request Please come and see what it is all about and try it out. God bless all. Ellie.

Methodist iPhone App

If you are on the internet or have an iPhone – the news below may be of interest to you. If you are unable to get out as much as you wish then you can keep up to date with what is happening with the Methodist Church in other ways – read on!

The Methodist Church in Britain has created a free app for the iPhone The app offers free daily prayers and Bible studies. The popular 'Word in Time' Bible study features a different author each week, every week of the year, with a short reflection on the day's passage and questions to consider for your own life. It's available to read every day, or you can listen to it as a podcast. And a brief but challenging prayer helps you to focus on God in the middle of your busy day.

The app also offers you the latest news, topical podcasts and tweets from the Methodist Church. The Bible readings are based on the Methodist lectionary but Christians from all backgrounds will find this app inspiring, informative and uplifting. We are currently working on making the app available on other smartphones.

Do you tweet?? You can now follow Methodist news releases on Twitter at twitter.com/methodistmedia - @MethodistMedia. For more information on all the above go to www.methodist.org.uk

Christchurch Singers Need New Members

Did you know that the Christchurch Singers would like some new members?

Here are some reasons you might give for not joining:

  1. I can't sing in tune. - Bet you can, you just think you can't.
  2. I can't reach the high notes. - Some of us mime (but don't tell the conductor!)
  3. I haven't got a particularly good voice. - You won't be singing a solo!
  4. I can't read music. - So? Neither can some of us!
  5. I don't know anybody in the choir. - You soon will.
  6. I'm too old or too young. - Rubbish
  7. I don't go to Christchurch. - Just under half the choir come from other churches or none
  8. I haven't got any more excuses. - Then come along on a Thursday night at 7.15 pm!

A Bit About Christchurch Junior Church...

What do we do? We learn about our Christian faith through:

Arts and crafts *** Stories *** Music *** Games *** Drama *** Bible reading *** Friendship and fun

When and Where?

Children from the age of 3 years and upwards are invited to attend. There are currently three groups: Primary, Junior and Senior. These groups run on Sundays from 10.30am to approx 11.30am.

All of the Junior Church groups are run by CRB checked Church Volunteers.

The children begin by joining the congregation in the church and then come out and use the rooms adjoining the church and in Centenary House. Once a month there is a Family Service in which Junior Church members participate, details of which can be found in the monthly Newsletter.

For more details please do contact us and we will be delighted to see you.

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Info For Teens from Network

As part of the new Methodist Children website, an exciting, new, free weekly texting service Mctxt4u was launched in October for the 9-13s and over fifteen hundred texts have been sent out including prayers, jokes, news and bible text challenges.

If you know of a young person who would enjoy this new way of keeping in touch let them know about this wonderful new development by Methodist children.

To join simply text to 07786205203 to receive weekly texts. Free promotional wallet cards are available from mph, tel. 01733 325002. Why not hand them out to your groups or pass them onto other groups in your area?

For all the latest information go to:
Mctxt4u

Can you help Christchurch?

Christchurch needs more stewards. The job isn't difficult or as time consuming as you might think. What do stewards do?

  • help to care for the Church family
  • prepare the Church for services
  • look after the Minister
  • read the notices
  • count the collection
  • attend a few, infrequent meetings

If you would like to know more, please have a word with one of the stewards or speak to Tricia, the Minister.

News from the Methodist Church