Message from Chair of District
1st November 2022
To Members and Friends across Lancashire Methodist District,
May I take this opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ for all the goodwill expressed to myself and Maria, Jemma and Jonny as we moved and have settled into our new house in Ashton. It was so good to see so many from across the District at our Welcome Service, wonderfully hosted by West Pennine Moors Circuit, at Wesley Hall in Blackburn.
It was so good to visit five of our Circuits for Welcome Services at the end of August and early September. Congratulations to the new Blackpool and South Fylde Circuit on their inaugural service as we welcomed Rev’d Andy Halstead and Lay Worker Mandy Laird-Hall – I thoroughly enjoyed the two-stage service, beginning in South Fylde and then journeying by coach into Blackpool (singing all the way). It was good also to welcome Rev’d Gordon Gresswell as Superintendent in Chorley and Leyland, Rev’d Tony Graff, to the ministry team in Burnley and Pendle, Rev’d Matt Smith as our probationer minister in the West Pennine Moors Circuit and Rev’d Mark Jason to the Superintendency of our Great Harwood Circuit. Welcome to each of them, and to those family members who have moved with them. We do look forward to working with each of them, within the District.
At September’s Synod, at Christ Church, Nelson, we had a focus on our ‘Transforming Lives and Communities’ District mission / vision statement, and in particular ‘ENRICHING COMMUNITIES’. We reflected upon how we needed to know where we each go, and how we each experience the ‘enrichment’ God promises us, in order that we may be fully resourced by God to reach out and minister in our communities. With the huge need in many of our communities during this autumn and winter, it is vital that we access all the spiritual resources available to us. We had an excellent presentation and workshop on Eco-Church (thanks to Gillian Womersley and Hope Wild), challenging each Circuit to raise up at least one new Eco-Church this year, and to encourage us all to meet the Methodist Church’s commitment to become Net Zero Carbon by 2030, and as soon as possible.
We had close to 100 people from across the Lancashire District at this year’s Methodist Children and Youth Assembly at the NEC Birmingham. It was great to travel down in two coaches from the District, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time – a great mix of worship, activities (e.g. climbing walls, therapy dogs, creativity), talks and seminars – and so good to have young people from across the District getting to know one another.
Plans are already being prepared to take hopefully even more to 3 Generate 2023 (dates already announced : October 6th - 8th)
District Youth Event, Sunday 13th November, 4.30 – 7.00p.m. Poulton
following the success of an event in the summer in Leyland, we are inviting all young people, aged 8 – 16, and their leaders, from across the District, to Poulton Methodist Church, for an afternoon including games, quizzes, food and worship.
District Property Forum, including breakfast, Saturday 19th November, 9.30 – 11.30a.m. Ingol, Preston
a chance for any and all across the District involved in property matters in their Circuits and churches to gather together at our West Preston Methodist INGOL church, for bacon / sausage butties or pastries for breakfast, and time for sharing information and best practice, and also for exploring issues faced at this time, with our District Property Secretary, Stephanie.
District Synod, Regional Review Conversations, Wednesday 23rd November, 7.30p.m. Bamber Bridge
an evening set aside, at Bamber Bridge Methodist Church, for Synod members to more fully understand and talk through the Regional Review proposals before us, seeking to draw the Districts of Cumbria, Lancashire, Liverpool, Bolton and Rochdale, and Manchester and Stockport, with the Isle of Man, much closer together, to work effectively as one North West region. A proposal for big changes ahead and a desire to work more efficiently, effectively and professionally across the NW, releasing more energy and time for mission and new ways of working in Circuits and local churches.
It is hoped to make this evening’s meeting (the presentations, especially) accessible for those unable to be there, via Zoom (live) or recorded for watching at a later time
For further information about any of the above events, and to book places for the District Youth Event and District Property Forum (for planning and for catering purposes), please see the District Website or Facebook Page and contact Carole in the District Office (details below)
DISTRICT ZOOM SERVICE:
We are delighted to announce the return of a District Zoom Service on Sunday evenings, from 7.00p.m., to begin again on SUNDAY 20th NOVEMBER, and then right through Advent, Christmas and into the new year, 2023, beginning with renewing our Covenant relationship with God.
This will be a 30 – 40 minute time together on Zoom, led at times by different people across the District, with worship songs and hymns, readings and reflections, and time for sharing prayers (usually via the Zoom chat function).
If you would like to offer to be involved in some way, or would like the Zoom details, please do contact Carole in the District Office (details, below)
DISTRICT PRAYER via Zoom:
For a trial period (November and December) we’re opening up a midweek opportunity for people across the District to gather, on Zoom, for a time of shared prayer. We’re offering this on Wednesday mornings, from 8.00a.m. for up to a half hour (but for as long or short a time as you can manage within that).
Please join me, and others from across the Circuit, as and when you can on Wednesdays
9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th November, and 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th December.
Our own Deacon Sylvie Nicholls, Supernumerary within the Chorley and Leyland Circuit, has just authored and published a book, entitled ‘The Treasure on the Shore : living through and beyond the loss of a loved one’. Sylvie uses a wonderful blend of telling her own story, and sharing heart-felt poetry, to help navigate the waves and processes of grief and loss. I thoroughly recommend this helpful and hopeful book, which is available now in all the ways you might usually purchase your books.
November 2022 marks the 30th Anniversary of my own recognition as a fully accredited Local Preacher in the Methodist Church, and I’ve been seeking ways to acknowledge this landmark.
Throughout my ministry, when people have asked how they might pray for me, I’ve encouraged them to pray for WISDOM for me. I have never consciously focussed my attention on the wisdom contained in our Book of Proverbs in the Bible’s Old Testament. So, across the thirty days of November, I’m planning on pouring over Proverbs, reading and reflecting upon a chapter each day (there are 31 chapters).
I will post a daily 3 minute short reflection video (Facebook / YouTube Channel / Website), and am planning to use a couple of resources to help me with this focus on Wisdom:
Richard Rohr’s book : ‘The Wisdom Pattern : order, disorder, reorder’
Tim and Kathy Keller’s book : ‘The Way of Wisdom : daily devotions in the Book of Proverbs’
Feel free, if it helps you, to be ‘enriched’ by exploring WISDOM throughout November, to join with me in whatever way you can.
If you are interested in acquiring Richard Rohr’s ‘The Wisdom Pattern’ and sharing in reading it across the coming weeks, let me know. It may be possible to meet up periodically (in person or online) to review what we’ve been reading and contextualise it for our time and place.
Finally for now, I wish you a healthy and fruit-filled November.
May God enrich us in every way, so that we may enrich our communities (neighbours, society, schools, businesses, families and churches) wonderfully well over the coming days and weeks.