THE GOOD NEWS LETTER
COULSDON METHODIST CHURCH
No.300 December 2018
From our minister
Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the coming of Jesus at Christmas…
As part of my preparation for Advent I will be forgoing my usual chocolate Advent calendar and having a reverse Advent calendar (see the article in this edition of GNL for more information, and join me in this endeavour). Advent, being a time in which we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus and look forward to his coming again, is a good time to ‘prepare the way’. I wonder what you will be doing to open yourself up to being transformed as you wait with anticipation for the coming of Jesus? Perhaps a Bible study, or a personal journal, or one of the many online devotional tools available. I will be following the JPIT ‘Prepare ye the way’ devotional materials as I seek to encounter Christ in a new way this Advent.
As Christmas approaches once again, we look forward to the retelling of that most beloved of stories, complete as it is with angels and stars, shepherds and magi and, of course, those pictures of a warm, glowing stable. All these things undoubtedly add to the symbolism and mystery of this wonder-full story.
It is, though, the darker side of the Christmas story that perhaps speaks most powerfully to our times, for this is a story that sees a young couple embarking upon the risky business of childbirth in temporary accommodation fit only for animals, and a story that sees a young family, in the face of real and great danger, fleeing across the border in a desperate bid to seek sanctuary in a foreign land.
JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church) has produced a contemporary nativity that follows a couple who are entering the UK fleeing violence in their own country, the magi are arrested at the border and the shepherds offer a community welcome, a different slant on the first nativity that brings it up to date.
Living and working so close to Croydon we cannot help but be aware of the crisis for many people that have brought them to seek sanctuary in this country and find themselves in Croydon to have their case heard. It is still a crisis for which the world’s and our own leaders are struggling to find a real answer.
Many of those families that are being cared for in our community, whether through food provision by the Purley Food Hub; clothing and support through the Refugee Centre; or a safe place to be through the Croydon Churches Floating Shelter; have such heart-wrenching stories of the journey they took to find safety here in the UK.
It’s in stories such as this that we encounter the Christmas story afresh - in the life of a young mother who is grateful for any kind of roof over her head, in the desperation of those mothers and fathers who are prepared to walk mile after mile after mile, cross borders and risk their lives to find a place that will be safe for them and their children to live in.
In such stories Christ is present.
May he find us welcoming.
Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas
As you know, Sue will be moving on to ministry in another church next August. The Circuit is pleased to announce that the Revd Stephen Mares has agreed to help the Circuit with pastoral care for Coulsdon and Whitethorn Avenue churches on a part-time basis for the coming year (September 2019/20). The Circuit is extremely grateful to Stephen for this.
Please continue to pray for the guests and volunteers at the Floating Shelter. The need for it becomes more pressing as the weather becomes colder and wetter. The churches of Coulsdon will continue to provide shelter as part of a weekly rota until Crisis take over for the Christmas period. Other Croydon churches will then take over in the New Year until the end of the winter.
A reverse Advent calendar
December has arrived and in homes across the country, cardboard doors will be opened in the traditional countdown to Christmas.
But just as some look to luxury, others are choosing to reverse things this Advent - with a calendar which gives back. The idea is simple - instead of opening the door to a chocolate or picture, you do the giving. People put aside a donation each day of Advent, so they have a collection of goods ready to drop off in time for Christmas.
I invite you to join me in having a reverse Advent calendar this year (you can still have a traditional one as well if you like!) and all the donations will go to the Purley food hub.
If you would like me to collect your box after Christmas and deliver it to Purley food hub let me know, otherwise just leave your box at the back of church and I will deliver them all together in the new year.
Have a blessed Christmas,
Methodist Prayer Handbook 2019/2020: Responding to the Gospel
Would you like to contribute a prayer to the Methodist Prayer Handbook? The theme for the next Methodist Prayer Handbook is inspired by ‘Our Calling’. It will explore how we are called to respond to the gospel by demonstrating God’s love, grace and generosity.
Our response should involve action as well as prayer and we are strengthened when we work in partnership with followers of Christ locally, nationally and internationally. The ‘gospel’ is understood in its broadest sense and includes the whole arc of the biblical narrative and beyond.
The Editor would also welcome prayers for the general pages at the front of the Handbook on the following themes:
* the integrity of creation
* the comforting presence of God
* adoration and thanksgiving
* times of life
* times of day
Prayers should not exceed 120 words and should be emailed to email@example.com by 11 January 2019.
Please do send any photos (your own copyright) to help bring your prayer to life or that capture the work of the Methodist Church, either in this country or around the world. Photos should be emailed to the above address and should be sent in their original size.
For full details please visit the Methodist Church website and search for ‘Methodist Prayer Handbook submission guidelines.
Responding to acts of violence in London
The Chairs of the London District have called on the Mayor of London, the government, civic bodies, churches and the Metropolitan Police to unite in condemning all acts of violence and to work together on finding ways to tackle "this murderous scourge that is threatening the peace and economic stability of our great city".
The Revds Nigel Cowgill, Michaela Youngson and Dr Jongi Zihle also offered this prayer:
O Lord of health and life,
come now in your grace and cover us with your love and protection;
Speak calmness into our fears and heal us from the scourge of pain and death.
Visit your kindness upon all affected by the murders in London and comfort them in their time of need; this we pray and ask,
in the healing name of our risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
Sun 2 Dec. 8.45am Advent Bible study and breakfast
10am Holy Communion (Rev. Stephen Mares)
Thu 6 Dec. 10.30am Open church
Sun 9 Dec. 10am Morning worship (Rev. Sue Shortman)
Thu 13 Dec. 10.30am Open church
Sat 15 Dec. 4-6pm Messy church
Sun 16 Dec. 10am Gift service (Rev. Kathy Flynn)
Mon 17 Dec. 11am Coulsdon craft club (Show & tell lunch)
Thu 20 Dec. 10.30am Open church
Sun 23 Dec. 10am Morning worship (own arrangements)
5pm Christmas tea
6.30pm Carol service (Rev. Sue Shortman)
Mon 24 Dec 11.30pm Midnight Communion (Whitethorn Ave.)
Tue 25 Dec 10am Christmas Day (Rev. Sue Shortman)
Sun 30 Dec. 10am Morning worship (Peace Furusa)
Thu 3 Jan. 10.30am Open church
Sun 6 Jan. 10am Covenant service (Rev. Sue Shortman)