Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Sunday 7 March Lent 3
Recorded Service - Revd Catherine Bowstead
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 26 February 2021
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
I hope that you’re having a good week and that you’re enjoying the warmer, brighter weather. The “Road Map” out of lockdown published by the Government this week gives us hope that life will start returning to some sort of normality soon. Of course, we will have to be patient for a while yet, and whilst it will still be some time until our Café Mosaic can reopen, we are making plans to worship in our building again before too long. In the meantime, we continue to be grateful to Roger for preparing our recorded service each week and to Michael who prepares the order of service for the website and puts the recorded service there in good time each Sunday.
Our service this week is led by David Morgan with the assistance of Angela and John Burrell. As we continue through Lent, David will be using the lectionary readings from Mark 8: 27-38 and James 3: 1-12. He will be focussing on the power of words – to tell the truth, to open the eyes, and sometimes even to hurt – but reflecting that being a Christian is not just about the words but about who we are and what we do.
It is fabulous that our church building is continuing to be used as a Vaccination Centre, and I was delighted to be able to go there last week to receive my first vaccine. As I sat in our café area and waited for my 15 minutes to pass, I reflected on how very good it is that our building is being used for such a positive purpose, and prayed that the people who share this positive experience might come back and visit our church again, maybe to enjoy a snack in the café or to join in our Sunday worship.
I hope that you are enjoying using our Lent book and have been reflecting on Jesus’s parables and the power of story this week. In Tuesday’s reflection I was struck by the role of the servant in the parable of the banquet, for the servant had a vital task in inviting people and the writer asserted that “This sharing of God’s invitation is what the church calls “evangelism”. Who can you invite to be a part of God’s story?
At Zoom Craft@4 this month, we were reflecting on the importance of self-care and showing love and kindness towards ourselves. So instead of giving something up for Lent, I have decided to take a simple positive action each day during Lent. So far this has involved things like noticing emerging spring flowers when I’m out for a walk, simple crafts, and smiling at people I meet. I wonder what you are doing to observe Lent this year?
Spring is on its way; the days are getting warmer and brighter and there is the prospect of better times ahead. We remember the promise from Isaiah on our membership cards:
“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43: 18-19)
With every blessing,
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 19 February 2021
From Christine Morgan, Senior Steward
Readers of John Bunyan will remember the progress of his pilgrim through the Slough of Despond. That name provoked many jokes when we lived in the Maidenhead/Slough area. But this week it was the Slough of Hope as we took our first drive out of Wokingham in 2021 in order to receive our Covid vaccination in Slough. For the first time we are boasting about our age as we join the 15.9 million who have received the vaccine.
Coinciding with the end of the cold spell, the lengthening days, increasing bird activity and catkins I am filled with hope that it won’t be long till we can meet family and friends. How I long to hug my grandchildren again!
In his forward to Hannah Steele’s Lent Book ‘Living His Story’, Justin Welby writes about this pandemic year:
‘God continues to work even when our normal systems are disrupted. We have learnt just how dependent we are on God’s grace and hope, rather than relying on our own cleverness’.
This is a valuable lesson for us all and as we begin our journey through Lent, we can take time to reflect on how this knowledge and reassurance will energise our witness as gradually we can to return to our activities with others.
In our worship on Sunday, Catherine will be using Psalm 25: 1-10 and Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism and temptation in Mark 1: 9-15 to help us think about how the knowledge that we are loved by God helps us through times of testing and temptation.
The Archbishop concludes: ‘It is my prayer this Lent that this extended period of wilderness during the coronavirus might give us an opportunity to reach out and understand others in their own wilderness, and offer them welcome and acceptance in God’s family. I pray that God will fill us with the Spirit to give us new ways of telling his wonderful story to new audiences, so that together we might reveal God’s love to others as it has been revealed to us.’
I hope you find the Lent guides we have distributed helpful in encouraging us to share God’s story and our own. And if you would like to join a small group to chat on Zoom about the themes in the guide contact Catherine or myself.