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Focus for Prayer – June 2017

When the Holy Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears, and will tell you of things to come.”(John 16:13)

  • As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost give thanks to God for gift of the Holy Spirit who guides us and equips us with a variety of gifts so that together we may build up the body of Christ.
  • Pray for all the Methodist Churches in our town – Christchurch, Sackville Road and Little Common as we continue the process of review of Methodism in Bexhill. May we be open to hear what God is calling us to be and do and discover a renewed sense of purpose as together we serve our community.
  • Give thanks for the expression of Christian unity that we see in our town through the activities of Churches Together in Bexhill. Pray that as we meet together for prayer and worship during the week 5-11 that together we may advance the Kingdom of God in our town.
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance as we consider our votes in the General Election on 8th June. Pray that those who seek to represent us as Members of Parliament may be guided by wisdom, vision and compassion as they consider their policies and aims.
  • It’s MHA Sunday on 11 June. Give thanks for the work of Methodist Homes for the Aged and all who offer care and support for older people. Pray for older members of our congregation and local community that despite its restrictions old age may be a time of blessing, a time of feeling valued and loved.
  • Fathers Day will be celebrated on 18 June. Praise God for his fatherly love to us all and for being as constant in his love as the best of parents can be. Pray for fathers struggling with their role and for those who are separated from their children.
  • As we enjoy and share in various musical events as part of Bexhill Festival of Music, give thanks for the gift of music touching our hearts with joy. Pray for the music makers - singers, musicians conductors and bands – may they find enjoyment in what they do. Pray that the Holy Spirit may help us to perform our Christian living in harmony with the music of the gospel.

If you have any particular requests for next month's Prayer Focus please contact Revd. Tricia Williams.

A letter from Abbey Stewart, Toybox Supporter Relations

toybox logo

Dear Christchurch,

Thank you.

Two small words which seem so inadequate considering what you have helped us to achieve this year.

You regular support as a Toybox Best Friend has allowed us to step into the lives of so many street children and help them move forward. I have just come back form Guatemala City, where I visited a project based in one of the city's cemeteries. This is an area where many street children work, eat and sleep. Seeing young children go about their daily lives, cleaning graves to earn a living and taking shelter inside the tombs was both surreal and saddening. But, I left the project with a real sense of hope for the amazing outreach work that is now underway and the young lives it will positively impact, thanks to your support. Our outreach workers meet street children regularly and depending on the needs of each individual child, provide food and drink, emergency medical care and a listening ear to those who have been abused, ignored and threatened. These amazing people are working tirelessly to build relationships and guide these children on their own personal journeys to leave the streets.

Linda was one of the remarkable young girls I had the joy of meeting. Linda ran away from home when she was just 8 years old because she was being beaten and hurt on a daily basis. She ended up on the streets of Guatemala City where, sadly, her situation became even more horrendous as she fell into the hands of a notoriously violent gang that brutally terrorise and control communities across the city.

Today, because of you, project workers are able to work alongside Linda, offering her the help and guidance she so desperately needs, With their support Linda has started to take steps to turn her life around. She is now working as a cleaner and has dreams to fully leave the streets.

Thank you again.

Stewards Scribblings

Following the recent Annual Church Meeting we were delighted to appoint five new Church Stewards, bringing the total number up to seven. This will enable us once again to have two stewards on duty for the Sunday morning service, one to look after the preacher and the other in the vestibule for meeting and greeting worshippers and in particular offering a welcome to any newcomers. First impressions really do count!

Once a month at Christchurch we celebrate Holy Communion during our morning service and we have a full team of four Communion Stewards, namely Sarah and Janet with Joan and Pam. Each pair of stewards is involved every other month in preparing the sacrament. I should like to take this opportunity to record our grateful thanks to Olwyn, who continues with her usual efficiency to have responsibility for the monthly evening Communion Service.

Our treasurer Barry Turnwell has informed us that all is not well with the Christchurch finances. The weekly/monthly income from church members is declining and is now only covering about half of our share of the Circuit Assessment, which mainly pays for our three Ministers and the manses. If we cannot afford them we shall lose them!!

Whilst our church has reserves in the form of legacy monies, these were intended to be used for capital expenditure projects and not to subsidise the day to day running expenses of the church. To put our church finances onto a sound footing once again we really do need all members to review and increase their financial contribution to Christchurch as soon as possible. Try comparing what you give to your church by standing order, envelope or cash with other items of your household expenditure and you might be surprised!

It was good to see so many of our members interested enough to attend the meeting held at Christchurch in May entitled “Review of Methodism in Bexhill”. However, the content of the meeting was not as anticipated and the discussion only centred on our own church, based on answers to four scripted questions. Hopefully, when a further meeting is arranged, it will focus solely on the important issue of the future of Methodism in our town.

Finally, a book review!

Our good friend Richard Dengate from Peasmarsh preaches at Christchurch from time to time and he has published a book entitled “Miscellaneous Musings around life, faith and philosophy”. Do not be put off by the title! The book comprises a very large number of sermons Richard preached at local Anglican and Methodist churches between 1998 and 2013. Far from being dry and dusty, I found these sermons to be written in a way that is easy to understand and always relevant to the times we live in now. The author worked on his family farm before becoming an ordained minister and his life experiences show through all the sermons. Each of them is a modest length and equivalent to short chapters. An amazing book and we have copies you can borrow from the church library that is run by Jill Read.

Peter Watson

Anniversary Lunch

By Claire Conely

On 19th March we celebrated our 110th Anniversary, and were fortunate to have our superintendent Minister Ian Pruden taking the service that day. George, Chris and Barry did a small sketch based on John 4: 5-42 The woman at the Well, and Ian followed on with his theme 'Talking to everybody' - how do we talk to strangers, why do we talk with people, do we judge. Ian involved some other members of the congregation for further example of how we form opinion of people or situations we really know little about.

We had a lovely lunch after the service provided by Oh Crumbs, which is Steve Roberts’s catering company. He provided a wonderful spread and everyone really enjoyed it, Tricia and Dave came after attending a service elsewhere and we were also pleased to welcome Ian’s new wife Lis.

Once everyone had eaten, Chris provided entertainment in the form of a quiz all about 110. We also had to come up with a Limerick starting with the words ‘There was a church building near Sidley’ - I have put some of them at the end of this article.

The stewards would like to thank everyone involved in making the Anniversary lunch a success. From compliments received, we feel a good time was enjoyed by all, here’s to the next 110 years! The winning limerick was from Ernie’s team:

There was a church building near Sidley,
And the Members there were not tiddly,
All they could see,
Was a cold cup of tea,
For the handles were small and quite fiddly.

Worship Leader's Thoughts For June

Firstly, Thank you – a BIG thank you to everyone who helped with the Flower Festival. However you helped it was appreciated – so thank you. Wendy Gorham

Appreciation

I have just finished reading the book “I am Malala” about the girl ( Malala Yousafzai) from Pakistan who stood up for Education and was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012.

It has been an interesting, thought provoking read and really does make you think how grateful we should be that all our children can go to school, have an education and in particular how we can go about our daily lives in a “normal” peaceful manner.

There was one paragraph which I found very inspiring, Malala writes: ”We human beings don't realise how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colours and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no-one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.”

We sometimes moan about our bodies but they are miraculous things and it is often only when a part of it does not work to its full potential that we notice how wonderful that part is – there are many within our society who suffer with parts which don't work fully but still lead a fulfilling life. Perhaps on occasions we can be more sensitive to those who may not have every organ functioning at 100%.

So maybe as can take time this month to appreciate all the parts of our bodies and the wonderful gift that they are. It is often only when we lose something that we appreciate it the most.

God bless.

Wendy

( if you would like to borrow the book let me know!)

Barry's Babblings

This issue will be available around the time of the 29th annual Festival of Flowers. It is hoped that we will receive many visitors and it will also allow us to show the award that the church received earlier in the year when we won the Best Community Event class that was sponsored by the Observer and Hastings Direct. The annual Festival started in 1989 when the theme was ‘Occasions’. Do you remember it?!

In May about 30 people gathered for an open evening to start to consider the future of Methodism in Bexhill. Little Common and Sackville Road churches held similar meetings. We look forward to seeing what the next step will be when the Circuit Leadership Team have considered all the feedback. Possibly the next occasion will be a united meeting led by a neutral chairman. All are welcome so, when the date is known, please try to come - your view is important.

June is General Election month and on Thursday 8th our hall will be used as a Polling Station for the two wards. It is encouraging as many of our neighbours will come onto our premises and, although we cannot be there, we try to make sure that all looks neat and tidy and plenty of notices and leaflets are available. I hope that you have seen the newly decorated main hall, toilets and hall porch – we are looking really smart. All the ‘bucket’ chairs have had to be ‘re footed’ and our thanks to Gordon and David for doing all the work. Out of interest, the little plastic feet when I first enquired were around £1 each, but we did get the cost down to 40p each – so to do one chair costs £1.60 and we have 75 chairs – but no labour charge!

June 16th is Sussex Day, our own Paul Lendon is Bexhill’s Sussex Day Champion. The Christchurch Singers are picking up this theme at their concert on Saturday June 17th at 7pm. I am sure you have this date in mind, we hope for another excellent evening (apart from the MC!). The charity to benefit will be the British Heart Foundation so please be as generous as possible. Many thanks to all who take part and help with the arrangements. Sunday 18th June will be a great day with Father’s Day plus the Junior Church Anniversary led by the Rev Nathan Falla. Nathan has visited us before and we know that we will have a wonderful time of worship. We are grateful to the Junior Church teachers. It is so encouraging to see increasing numbers of young people coming along. The ‘Messy Church’ gatherings have also helped in this direction.

Within Methodism, June is Bible Month when we are invited to particularly look at the book of James, a small letter tucked away near the end of the New Testament. It is an excellent book about practical Christianity and well worth a read and study. Only 5 chapters so it won’t take long! There is also an article in the new ‘Spotlight’ and a quiz as well!

I’ll end with a well known but very profound slogan – ‘Man’s way leads to a hopeless end – but God’s way leads to an endless hope!’ Keep smiling if you can – you use a lot less energy than you do if you frown!

Barry Turnwell, Church Treasurer and a Property Steward

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.

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