Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 7 May 2021
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
I wonder what you’ve been up to this week. It’s been a bit too cold for socialising outside, so it’s good that it won’t be too long before we can meet inside once more. Whilst it’s good to celebrate the easing of lockdown and the roll out of the vaccine programme, I’m sure that like me, you were concerned by the distressing news of how the Coronavirus Pandemic is affecting the people of India. Please remember to pray for their situation and maybe you’d also like to donate to an agency such as All We Can or Christian Aid who are seeking to bring relief and help.
This Sunday marks the beginning of Christian Aid Week. Do look at their website www.christianaid.org.uk for information about the projects that are highlighted this year and information for making a donation. You might like to read the stories of Rose and Florence and the challenges that they face as a result of climate change. In last week’s notices, Judy shared with us the plans for marking Christian Aid week locally this year, including the delivery of collection envelopes and the Quiztain Aid Quiz. We will be using some of the Christian Aid resources in our worship this week and I would encourage you to support the work of Christian Aid, by praying for their work and making a donation.
I am leading our worship on Sunday with the assistance of Malcom Souter. If you want to take a look at the Bible readings we are using, they are 1 John 5: 1-6 and John 15: 9-17. We will be thinking about what it means to be “Friends of God” and the implications of this for our relationships with others both near and far. Jesus’ command to love each other seems so simple, and yet we know that it is not always easy to work it out in practice. Do we love one another because we like each other or is it because we genuinely want the very best for others? And how do we love people when we find them difficult or if they don’t seem to like us? These Bible passages give us reassurance about realising God’s love for ourselves and guidance for showing God’s love to others.
Sharing God’s love with the people in our local community is a top priority for our church, so it’s good news that our Café Mosaic has plans to re-open on Tuesday 18th May. This will be in the Rose Room initially until the vaccine programme is complete. As the café plays such a key role in our outreach work, it will be good to be able to offer hospitality and friendship once more. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until the café is back to its usual place and times and that some of our other regular activities can also resume.
I hope that you have a good week and I look forward to seeing you soon,
With every blessing
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 30 April 2021
A reflection from Rosi MorganBarry
Does this story have something to say to us at this particular time?
God said: I'm sorry humankind was ever brought into being … (Genesis 6:6)
The Rabbi settled in his teaching chair. A circle of small and interested faces ranged round him, bright and expectant.
"Noah, my children," he began, "was a good man. Not that good, but good enough."
The children wriggled delightedly: this was a story they knew well, and loved.
"Good enough for God to have a look at him and think that when all other folk were failing dismally, Noah at least was clinging to the raft of righteousness. That is, he acknowledged God, and was trying to live a goodly life. With a good wife. And three sons, who were just about as good as their good father. His three sons' wives get a mention too, so they must have come up to scratch as well.
So there was God, looking at this lovely blue-green planet, with trees and plants and flowers - all beautiful, different and wonderful - and instead of seeing that all was very good, as in the beginning, God saw that the wickedness of humankind was great throughout the earth.
Now whatever it was that human folk were doing, it didn't please the Lord at all.
It can't have been they didn't know right from wrong (although at this point in the Bible, they hadn't been given the Ten Commandments). The God they understood in those far-off days might have been stern, but was never unfair. He wouldn't have inflicted punishment on folk who really didn't know that what they did was wrong.
But in the Good Book it says: 'Their hearts were turned to evil, continuously'.
So God was sorry. And perhaps, was rather cross as well. In fact so cross He wished he hadn't made mankind at all! And then He thought He ought to rub them out. Or rather wash them out, so that the earth would be all nice and clean again.
So do you know what happened next?"
Small hands shot up and wiggled in the air.
"God had a washing day!"
"Don't be silly! He sent The Flood. And everyone was drowned. Excepting Noah!"
"And Noah's wife and sons!"
"And the creatures. Two of every kind!"
"And don't forget the wives of Noah's sons, they were rescued too!"
Excited answers poured into the Rabbi's ears. But one small girl was rather quiet, and when the class was over, she stayed behind.
"What troubles you my child?"
"Nothing Rabbi, Except - well, do you think that if God sent the Flood again, we would be good enough to go in Noah's Ark?"
"Only God knows, my daughter, and only God can tell what thoughts are in our hearts. But we know this: 'That while the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease'.
And neither should our prayers, and thanks and praise."
Many thanks to those in our congregation who shared their Easter Gardens with us.