Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Sunday 1 March - 1st Sunday in Lent
|10.30 am||Holy Communion||Revd Catherine Bowstead|
|6.00 pm||Bible Study||Revd Catherine Bowstead|
Saturday 28 March
Concert: British Airways Band
Pastoral Letter - March 2020
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
It seems to have been a long, dull, winter this year. If you are anything like me, you are craving for some sunshine, some light and warmth to cheer us. We’re longing for the signs of new life that remind us that spring is coming. But the signs of spring can be seen around us - bulbs planted deep in the earth are beginning to sprout leaves and soon the spring flowers in their bold, bright colours will fill our gardens and the road verges throughout the town. Trees that now look bare and dead will soon be showing signs of life as new leaves begin to appear. It won’t be long until the days are longer than the nights again, the winter will have passed and spring with all its promise of new life will be here.
The new life of spring reminds us of the cycle of the seasons; of the continual cycle of new life, fruitfulness, decay and death which nurtures and nourishes the life of the next season. This predictable pattern gives a sense of order to our lives as well as a hope for the future.
Our Lent Book for this year is “Live Lent: Care for God’s Creation” and will help broaden our view of Christ’s redeeming mission. With weekly themes and prayers shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. For each day of Lent, it offers a Bible reading, a short reflection and an action to help us live in greater harmony with God, neighbour and nature.
What we see in nature is also seen in the life of the Gospel. During the dark days of Lent, we remember the suffering and death of Jesus and then we celebrate his glorious resurrection on Easter morning. Fasting and austerity during Lent are replaced with feasting and celebration on Easter Day. And so, we remind ourselves of the truth of the Gospel – that death always leads to resurrection that dying always leads to new life.
We can be mindful of this in our personal lives when we see that new life and opportunities can come out of despair and difficulties. In our church life too sometimes things need to be laid aside in order that something new might come, for living things are constantly changing and if a church community is alive it will be changing too.
So, let’s welcome the New Life that Easter brings and let’s embrace the changes that God intends for each of us and for our church community.
With every blessing,
Pastoral Letter - February 2020
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
One of the things that I enjoy in the lead-up to Christmas is receiving Christmas cards and especially if they contain a letter with family news. I know that some people mock these “round robin” Christmas newsletters, but I love receiving them and learning the news from friends who we’ve probably not seen for a while.
In our Advent Book “Lighted Windows”, Margaret Silf writes of her “childlike delight” in waiting for the post to arrive.
“Many a morning I listen for the sound of the postman’s footsteps crunching down the path, the clatter of the letter box and the plop of the mail on to the hall floor. Then comes the ritual of discovery. The size and colour of the envelope, the postmark, the handwriting all add their own clues about the nature of what has been sent to me. Sometimes the crop yields nothing but bills and circulars, and I retreat to my desk, vaguely disappointed. On other mornings there is real writing on the envelopes, and I know that I have been sent a personal communication. I make myself a coffee and sit down to savour the contents.”
Margaret Silf links this with St Paul’s description of our lives as being like a “letter from Christ”:
You are a letter of Christ … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
She ponders what sort of letter we might be each day. Will our presence in other people lives be irksome, like a bill, or irritating like a circular, will it be demanding, like a tax return – will the recipient feel diminished and sad by our “letter” to them? Or will our arrival in someone else’s life be enlightening and encouraging, telling them some good news or something that they are longing to hear. Will it bring them joy and be life affirming?
February can seem to be a very dreary month and the days can seem long and dark. But think about how you can be “Letter from Christ” by the way that you interact with others with joy and kindness. Perhaps you could write a letter of encouragement to someone or even a card to cheer up their day.
With every blessing,