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Focus for Prayer – Summer 2017

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12: 9-12)

  • Give thanks for those who have shared the Good News with us and helped us to know God as Father and for all who continue to help us to learn and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • We think of the recent terror attacks and remember those who have died, those who were injured and those who mourn. We give thanks for the courage shown by members of the emergency services and members of the public who put their own lives at risk in the service of others.
  • We pray that love may overcome hate and for the healing of the many wounds of society. May God help us, as individuals or together, to work in love for justice and peace and never to lose heart.
  • Pray for all who are going through times or anxiety, hardship or uncertainty; may they find courage and strength for each day and at all times a quiet trust in the love and wisdom of God.
  • Give thanks for the work of Action for Children and the difference that its services and care have made to the lives of millions of children and young people in the UK and throughout the world. Pray for the work that continues day by day enabling families and children to have a better future.
  • Pray for all men and women who powerfully influence the life of society, remembering especially those who have been elected to serve as MP’s and those who hold leadership roles in business and industry. May they have wisdom and understanding and the courage to uphold what they believe to be right and may their service to others promote the welfare of all people.
  • Give thanks for those who offer leadership to the Methodist Church and pray for the members of the Connexional Team and the new President Revd. Loraine Mellor and Vice President Jill Baker as they take up their new responsibilities. May they inspire and challenge us with new ways ofserving God today.

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


Just as we are going to print for ‘The Messenger’ we heard the devastating news that our very good friend, Konrad, had been killed in a cycling accident. Konrad was on his way with friends for a cycling holiday in Belgium but, tragically, he was knocked off his bicycle in the Fairlight area and died at the scene.

We all have wonderful memories of Konrad and his family and it is so hard to take in that he is no longer with us. He was a wonderful Christian gentle man and loved by us all. His faith was vital to him and his love for his Lord was apparent in his daily life. He will be greatly missed.

We hold in our thoughts and prayers his wife Bridget, and daughters Martina and Maxine – they are a really lovely, close family. Much more will be said about Konrad and the family as the days unfold, but, at this stage, we know that our faith tells us that Konrad is now with his Lord and Saviour whom he loved and served so faithfully on earth. May he rest in peace.

Barry Turnwell

The Festival of Flowers

A Poem by Shirley Cowan

As everyone passed through ‘the rooms’ to see ‘what’s new’

This year, it’s ‘Rooms with Blooms’

In every design and colour, to add to the pleasure, too.

Bright carnations in red, mauve, lilac and white

All with roses, gypsophila and hellebores

And gleaming chrysanthemums, and alstromeria in yellow.

Gladioli standing tall

Beside a wall

Strains of soft music helped the way around,

Played on a guitar, or organ or piano.

Green foliage helped to set all the scenes;

During the day, light lunches were served for all

And cream teas during the early afternoon.

Everyone who came

Had a Ball
     And enjoyed it All

Flower Festival Feedback

Another great Flower Festival ran in May and we ask for feedback on the evaluation slips. We had people come from as far as Australia, Ireland and Bexhill !! I thought you may like to read some of the comments we received:

“flower displays absolutely beautiful – many thanks!
“Coffee and cake delicious – as always”
“ would not miss the flower festival”
“good choice of stalls – including books and plants”
The main reason someone put for coming was to “see the inspirational flower festival and “all the well thought out exhibits”
Loved “everything – so friendly people”
Most enjoyed “ everything plus the last supper arrangement”
The food was “very good and good value”
“the friendly people here – chatting to lovely people”
“amazing pianist in the church”
“Young Enterprise is an excellent charity”
“fabulous cake and served with a smile”
I came for “ fun, food and fellowship and to meet up with friends”
“the festival was very well organised. All of the volunteers were friendly, helpful and chatty. They contributed to the wonderful atmosphere present”
“super – keep the festivals coming!”

Christchurch Singers are all Heart

‘Sussex by the Sea’ was the title of the latest concert by the Christchurch Singers, and the people of Bexhill responded enthusiastically both with donations to the choir’s chosen charity, The British Heart Foundation, and in their enjoyment of the songs and music on offer.

The choir sang their way through the evening with songs including ‘Can you feel the Love Tonight’, ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’, ‘Be still my Soul’ (Finlandia) and ‘I’ll go in the strength of the Lord’. Guests, trumpeters Andy Gill, Evan Gill, and Russell Kemp, joined organist, Gerald Witts and pianist, Elizabeth Bush, in rousing versions of ‘Sussex by the Sea’ and ‘Jerusalem’, lyrics and music of which were composed in Sussex.

The audience needed no second bidding to join in heartily with both! MC, Barry Turnwell delighted the crowd with jokes delivered in his own inimitable style, before changing the mood with a meditation accompanied by beautiful and evocative pictures of Sussex scenes, the work of the late Alan Malpass. Sussex Day champion, Paul Lendon, resplendently dressed in Sussex Martlet waistcoat, offered two short Sussex poems.

Heart Foundation volunteer, Diane Blood, made a short but heartfelt appeal on behalf of the charity, and later, organisers were delighted to find that the evening had raised £1060 for the charity.

Pat Reigh, the choir’s leader, said he was delighted with the way the evening had gone, and congratulated the choir on yet another successful and busy year.

The choir will be having a summer break before resuming rehearsals on September 14th, when they would be pleased to welcome new singers. Contact secretary, Chris Cox, if you would like to know more.

Christchurch Methodist Pre School

We are able to share some very recent, and very disappointing news. The Pre School is to close at the end of this term – on the 14th July. There has been a slowdown of children attending the Pre School, and we want to particularly express our thanks to the Leader, Christine Harrington and colleagues Sarah and Carol. They have done all that they could to try to keep the School open but in the end this was, sadly, not viable.

The Pre School started over 30 years ago when Jill Read was the leader and Christine has led the group for over 20 years. Many people will be impacted by this understandable decision including, of course, the children, the staff, trustees, parents, church and the wider community. There is much to do to close down the School (that has always received very supportive assessments from OFSTED) and we very much have in mind the leaders who will also lose their employment. Please hold this sad news in your thoughts and prayers.


We are grateful to Jill Read and George Bunker who have very kindly brought our history up to date. The booklet has been reissued and now has a colour picture of the Christchurch family as well. Jill has had a good supply printed and they are now available at a suggested donation rate of £1 per copy. They are in the vestibule and there is a ‘piggy bank’ for the money.

If you are one of our many readers who do not live in Bexhill just give us a call and we will be pleased to send a copy to you. It makes excellent reading.

Barry Turnwell

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.


Churches Together in Bexhill

The recent AGM has passed so we look to the future and more details later. However. please remember the Open Air Hymn Singing on Sunday July 23rd at 8pm at the Colonnade (close to the De La Warr Pavilion). This sees the start of our Carnival week and the Court and members of the committee hope to be there.

Please try to come along and bring a chair with you. Last year we had an excellent crowd so let us try to beat the total this year!

Barry Turnwell.

Worship Leader's Thoughts For July

Do we know what happens behind the scenes?

I was thinking about the Flower Festival and how much goes on behind the scenes which people may not realise. The weekend is the culmination of a great deal of hard work but did you know that the planning starts a year in advance?

New ideas of possible themes are thought about almost immediately the flower festival is finished but the theme is not finalised until around Easter time. Props are made, borrowed or purchased and flowers decided upon - lots of doodles and sketches of the ideas are drawn. Many of the props are made by people in our Church family – we have many talented people!

Decisions are made on the charity to support, posters/signs are designed and printed, menus are chosen for the food, rotas are produced for the manning of the stalls, rotas for who is playing the music, who is bringing what food and lots more! Did you know even a trolley is sourced and lent to us by Tesco?

Publicity gets into full swing very early as deadlines from magazines, radio etc. are often weeks in advance – posters are given out and certain members of the Church family take posters to all sorts of towns, cafes, shops, villages and more! The coach company has to be informed so that the flower festival goes into their brochure.

Many people start cooking early so that they can freeze their bakes and jars of jam and marmalade are made – all for the lunches, cake teas and the cake stall.

The week of the Flower Festival the many volunteers are at Church from the Monday all through the week – building the staging, bringing up items from the sheds and cellar, ironing cloths, putting up hooks, etc. The float for the stalls has to be pre ordered and the shopping for the food has to be done in more than one store. The Church gardens are tended to make sure they are looking lovely for the festival.

The flowers get delivered mid-week and over 32 buckets are used to keep the flowers watered and fresh looking! Church members also kindly donate foliage from their gardens which various people go and collect.

Tables have to be borrowed and collected from other churches, stalls are erected, tables and chairs put out, food is delivered and the flower festival displays are completed before the clearing up of the church can be done.

On the Saturday morning the bunting is put out to welcome people, programmes are folded, a prayer is said in the hall with all those present and the doors are opened – and then, thankfully, people arrive to see the beautiful displays as well as see inside our Church and learn a little more about what we do here. Then the weekend progresses with our Festival services being a very important part of the weekend.

Even after we close the doors on the festival on the Monday night there is still much work to be done. The dismantling of the displays takes place on the Tuesday, flowers are delivered to many in need, prizes from the games are delivered, money is counted and paid in, trips to the tip happen, staging items get stored and a great deal of hoovering is undertaken!

There are also thank you notes to write, emails to send, articles to write and send to the papers and much more!

At all times God is at the centre of what we do. It is amazing that so many people are involved and the festival also gives us an opportunity to talk to people we may not usually talk to in the Church, catch up on what is happening in peoples lives, welcome people who may not often come into a Church building and show our faith in action.

It is amazing – I thought the behind the scenes at the flower festival is a little bit like our faith – not everything we do is obvious and there are many small moments happening where we share our faith with others which may not be seen by others –e.g. meeting someone for a coffee, sending them a thoughtful text, praying for them, sharing a verse from the Bible, and much more. Not everything we do for others is noticeable to all but we always know that God knows what we are doing and how we can help our fellow human being. What happens behind the scenes is as vital as what happens right in front of you – God sees it all but sometimes it is good for us to remember what is happening without us knowing in the background.

God bless and have a super summer. I hope everyone gets to have a rest and enjoy some sunshine!


Barry's Babblings

write my article following the excellent ‘Sussex by the Sea’ concert given by the Christchurch Singers – what a wonderful evening. If you missed it that was just as well as we would not have been able to find a seat for you!! The atmosphere was really good (although a little warm) and our guests were Andy, Evan and Russell on their trumpets – a fantastic sound!

We learnt a lot about Sussex (as Sussex Day was the previous day to the concert) with the Sussex flag in evidence and Paul Lendon reading some poems by Sussex authors. Jerusalem was sung with great feeling, and several hymns - even ‘I do like to be beside the seaside!’ Pat did an excellent job as the conductor. Elizabeth and Gerald accompanied the singing and there was plenty of audience participation! The concert raised an amazing £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation, and we all enjoyed light refreshments at the end.

The very next day was our Junior Church anniversary (109 years old!) led by the Rev Nathan Falla – an uplifting time of worship and celebration, and Michelle told us a little about the work of our Junior Church.

The recent Festival of Flowers, the Christchurch Singers concert and the Junior Church anniversary mean we have experienced a lovely time of celebration.

As treasurer, I am grateful that a number of folk have increased their giving, and if you are able to do this it will be much appreciated. We are not covering our costs at present and we still have bills to pay! If you can help in any way please do – and monetary donations linked to Gift Aid will allow the church to claim a further 25% without any cost or hassle.

May I remind you of the ‘Walking on Water’ art exhibition at Haywards Heath that continues until the 16th July. Full details will be found in the circuit magazine ‘Spotlight’ and I imagine that it will be well worth a visit. If you are into computers try and you will find out a lot more information.

By the way, how did you get on with the book of James during the June Bible month? Such an excellent book of practical Christianity speaking a lot about words and actions. There is still time as the Bible is there for all time. I saw Janet wearing a tee shirt recently with the words on the back ‘The Bible – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth’. Good advice. Another saying is ‘A person whose Bible is falling apart probably isn’t’.

There has not been any noticeable upturn in the number of folk who support the outreach to the Irvine Unit and to Orchard House. Dates are given in the weekly diary so please do try and give support – the old folk really do appreciate our hymn singing.

Well enough from me – enjoy the summer and the sunshine and remember that the new Methodist Year starts on 1st September so in case I forget ‘Happy New Year!’. (In this why we are called non-conformists?!)

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 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 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 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 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 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 - @MethodistMedia. For more information on all the above go to

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.


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:

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