Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Most pages of this website have been updated with information from the 2020 annual reports.
We regret that the following are currently suspended/closed until further notice:
Alzheimer's Café and Carers Group
Café Mosaic and Little Fishes
Craft @ 4 and Creative Spirit
Prayer and House Groups
Parent & Toddler Group
Railway & Transport Club
Sunday Services (but a recorded service is available each week)
We regret that our Sunday Worship is currently suspended and is replaced by a shortened recorded service for each week. This is available on the recorded services page. We are planning to restart Sunday morning services in the church on Sunday 6th September.
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 7 August 2020
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
It’s been a significant week for us as we’ve opened our café again as the first step of opening up our buildings. The buildings have been thoroughly cleaned and aired, and the necessary health and safety checks have taken place. So it’s been really good to welcome people back and see some familiar faces. But I’ve noticed that to comply with current regulations and guidance for our own safety requires quite a shift in our behaviour. The rule of no more than two households to a table, and the need to clean everything that we touch, means that it’s no longer possible for us to wander from table to table to chat to all the people that we know. It seems rude not to allow a third single person to join a table and instead make them sit on their own, but this is what we have to do. So I encourage you to follow the directions of the café staff in order that we can enjoy each other’s company in a Covid-secure way. Huge thanks to Claire, Tina, Nancy and Emily who have worked so hard this week to make our re-opening such a success.
The encouragement to get back to normal, to boost the economy while the dangers of Covid are still very real has led to rising anxiety levels for some. So I have found great comfort and encouragement in preparing for our worship this Sunday. The Bible passages for this week are 1 Kings 19: 9-18 and Matthew 14: 22-33. The Old Testament passage is about Elijah fleeing from his enemies and close to giving up. God promises to speak to him, and we’ll hear how Elijah witnesses earthquake, wind and fire, but God is not in any of these, and instead Elijah encounters God in a “silent whisper” or the “still small voice of calm”. In the Gospel passage we’ll hear how the disciples are trapped in a boat in a storm. Jesus goes to join them by walking on the water, and Peter learns that if he wants to walk on water too, he needs to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus. We will be thinking about how knowing that God is with us is enough for us as we face life’s storms, and we’ll be singing John Greenleaf Whittier’s well-loved hymn too. The service will be on our website by Sunday morning.
I look forward to seeing you soon,
With every blessing,
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 31 July 2020
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
It’s an exciting week for us! Our buildings have been cleaned and prepared for re-opening, and from next Tuesday our Café Mosaic will be open for a few hours each week. It will inevitably feel very different from what we are used to, but the good coffee, tasty snacks and warm welcome will be the same as before. I am incredibly grateful to Claire, Tina, Nancy and the small team of volunteers who are working very hard to make this happen and to keep everyone as safe as possible – we had a little practice run on Thursday to see how everything will work. Please read the attached letter about how the café will operate and the changes that we have had to make.
Jane and Sandra have been hard at work making face masks in a variety of colours and designs. These are available for a donation to church funds (£5 seems like a reasonable amount). You can pick one up if you come into the café, or alternatively you can contact Jane directly or via the Church Office to arrange a collection or delivery.
Meanwhile, our stewards are working with me on plans to re-open our buildings for worship each Sunday. Responses to our questionnaire suggest that quite a number of our congregation are waiting a while before they return, so ideas for continuing our on-line services are included in our plans. We need too, to think about how we continue to nurture our sense of a caring community when it is not possible to meet physically.
As our premises begin to be used again, may I emphasise that from now on it is important that we know exactly who has been in the building and when, so it is essential no-one should enter the building when the café is closed without the knowledge and consent of our Property Steward Ian Cole or Café Manager Tina – this is for the safety of everyone who uses our building.
For so long, much of the mission and outreach of our church has been dependent on our buildings, but the past few months have taught us that there are other ways of being church too. Phone conversations, Zoom meetings, e-mails and socially distanced chats are some of the ways in which we’ve managed to stay in contact with each other. Our worship has been freely accessible to anyone with access to the internet, with numbers bigger than our usual congregation listening each week. As we move forward, we need to think of new ways in which we can fulfil our vision of our church to be the place “where Christian love meets community need”, remembering that we do not need to be dependent on our buildings to do this.
In our worship over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at some of the well-known parables of Jesus and exploring how the kingdom of Heaven is like a sower, weeds in the field, a mustard seed, yeast, a pearl of great price, treasure in a field and a huge catch of fish. Each of these images gives a different slant on what God’s kingdom is like, and together they describe something that is difficult to pin down and define. Our Gospel reading this week is Matthew’s account of the feeding of the 5,000. As we explore this miracle together, we shall be thinking about the reckless generosity of God and how Jesus used very little to provide for a huge crowd. I encourage you to think about what you can offer to God and how he might use it to extend his kingdom.
We are entering a new stage in the life of our church community with the inevitable challenges and opportunities that a new stage will bring. I would urge you to continue to pray for our church community, and ask God to be at work in your life as you discover more about what it means to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven.
I hope you have a good week,
With every blessing,