Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Sunday 19 September - Harvest Festival
10.30am All Age Worship - Revd Catherine Bowstead
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 10 September 2021
From Siân Moore, Church Steward
As this is my first attempt at writing our pastoral letter, I do hope you’ll all excuse any rookie errors!
This time of year for me has always felt more like ‘New Year’ than the calendar one of January 1st. As a teacher of nearly 40 years it has been the ‘Back to School’ that brings a sense of a new start. Even as a child I remember the new shoes and uniform, the new pencil case and a mixture of excitement and trepidation at what a new school year would bring. Indeed, those mixed emotions are still with me and, oddly, I have had the same nightmarish dream of an unruly class every year since I started teaching in 1983. A young colleague asked me the other day if it was normal to have such a recurring dream and I was glad that I could reassure them.
It also feels a bit like a new year here for me at church as I really get into my new role as one of the stewards. My biography is on the website if you’d like to know a bit more about me. I’d like to think that I’m a practical person who enjoys helping others and so I’ve been happy to assist with providing information about how to help the Afghan Refugee families in our area. What a new year it must be for all of those families, the changes that they have to face and endure are so immense that I find them difficult to imagine.
It is, of course, the start to a new Methodist year and so we can all think about making resolutions connected with our faith. Catherine encouraged us all to take up the challenge of daily prayer or enhanced daily prayer if already in place. I’ve decided to use my daily commute to school to pray in my head, the children’s hymn ‘Thank you Lord for this fine day’ being my starting point. I wonder what you might be doing?
The readings this week are all about communicating, which as a languages teacher has always been important to me. If you would like to read them prior to the service they are Isaiah 50:4-9
I look forward to all the various challenges a new year brings and to working more closely with you all.
Weekly Pastoral Letter - 3 September 2021
A Reflection from John Williams
I found one of Deirdre’s notebooks in which she used to jot down odd quotations, sayings or poems. This is one that I liked. (I don’t think it was criticising preachers from a pulpit.)
I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.
I soon will learn to do it if you let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action for your tongue too fast may run,
and the service you deliver maybe very nice and true,
but I’d rather learn my lesson by observing what do you do.
I may not understand you and the high advice you give,
but there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
It reminded me of the teaching that St Francis of Assisi gave to his disciples: “Preach the Gospel; use words if necessary.” And of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: “. . . your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”
What a challenge for us as we go about our everyday lives!
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
Here we are at the beginning of a new academic year and the beginning of a new Methodist Year, and it is good that our various groups and activities are beginning to start up again. Hopefully things will continue to return to some sort of normality
Back in December, everyone received a copy of a “Methodist Way of Life” with their Christmas card. This card provides a set of commitments and practices which encourage and equip us to live better Christian lives. You will recall that it is based on the 4 aspects of “Our Calling” and poses a series of questions that we might ask ourselves about our effectiveness in each of the areas of worship, service, learning & caring and evangelism. It is not intended to highlight our failures but rather to encourage us to do even better. I hope that you have been using the card and its questions and found it to be a helpful part of your on-going discipleship. If you’ve forgotten all about the card, then perhaps now is a good time to dig it out and start using it afresh as we begin this new year. I have a few spare cards if anyone would like a replacement.
We’ll be using a Methodist Way of Life in our worship on Sunday. Using the Bible passages Proverbs 8: 32-36 and Luke 11:1-4, we’ll be thinking about how we respond to the challenge to “pray daily”. We also have available copies of a booklet entitled “A Brief Guide to A Methodist way of Life” with lots of helpful ideas and testimonies. We have enough copies for everyone to have one, you can pick up a copy on Sunday, ask someone to pick up a copy for you or let Will know if you would like one posted to you.
Creative Spirit began again this week, and we had a very enriching time thinking about harvest as we explored Psalm 65 in a variety of creative ways. Creative Spirit will meet on the first Wednesday morning of every month. Next Saturday morning (11th September) we start our new Breakfast church venture A Fresh Start. Claire wrote about this in last week’s Pastoral Letter, do come along to enjoy breakfast with the “Muffin of the Month” and join in with the worship activities. If you can’t come along perhaps you could pray for us as we start this fresh worship idea. Our theme for September will be “Creation”.
The themes of both Creative Spirit and Breakfast Church link in with our Harvest Festival on 19th September. As well as reflecting on Creation and Harvest, we will be supporting the work of All We Can and thinking about how we can be good stewards of creation in trying to ensure that everyone has a harvest to share.
There is plenty going on in the life of our Church Community. Our café is now open 5 mornings a week – Monday to Friday, with extended opening hours on Thursday and Friday for serving lunches; the menu and new price list are included with the notices.
I hope to see you soon,
With every blessing