During the winter I sometimes reflect on the way in which some animals hibernate; I sometimes actually wish that was something that humans did. Imagine being able to snuggle up for the period of winter, the cold mornings, the dark nights, and wake up when the spring sunshine starts to peep out.
It’s good that the Christian Church celebrates the season of Epiphany during the winter months – the manifestation of the Light of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12). In the cold winter we need the glory of God’s gift to warm our spirits and provide hope during “the bleak midwinter”. Kind-heartedness and welcoming friendship are experienced in our coming together to worship God on Sunday mornings and is made known by genuine care for others throughout the week. This certainly helps us through the dreary winter period.
Well, as I write this, I think the animals that are hibernating will be poking their noses out and feeling the warmth of the sun and thinking it is time to wake up. The green shoots from planted bulbs are starting to appear out of the ground and soon there will be lovely spring flowers bursting out all over the place.
As we enter the month of March, the season of Lent begins following Shrove Tuesday and beginning on Ash Wednesday. And so we follow the excitement of the Christmas celebrations with a period of stillness and reflection. It is a season to reflect on the condition of our relationship with Jesus Christ, to set aside time each day to consider, as Wesley would say, ‘How is it with your soul?’ I wonder how you will be observing Lent this year - perhaps you will give up something to take an extra task on. Perhaps set aside some extra time with God each day or attend a retreat, attend a Lent Bible study (see details below of the Lent study based on the story of Barnum, as shown in this year’s film ‘The greatest showman’) or take up one of the suggestions from JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team - the conscience of the church) for a living Lent (see information later in the newsletter).
However you mark it, it is important to enter the period of Lent mindful of the reason for the season, a time to draw close to God, to look at ourselves as God sees us and make changes where necessary, taking time out from our usual routines to deepen our relationship with God and renew our commitment to discipleship.
As we move into spring and feel the blossoming of the season, I do pray that it may be a meaningful start to the season of Lent for us all.
With grace and peace until next time…
Seeking God’s will; following God’s way
There will be an open meeting after the morning service on Sunday 10 March, led by a small team from our Circuit to discuss ways of helping our church and the other churches of the Circuit to gain strength and vigour. The team hope that they will be able to offer some ideas or help in this.
We have already done a great deal of thinking around the problems facing us all, and hopefully much of that thinking will come out in the meeting. Before the meeting, it would be really helpful if you could have thought about:
· what kinds of things that our church does now seem to attract people in the community around us to come and get involved?
· what kinds of things do people around us need or want?
· can you see God at work in our locality? If so, where?
· where do you see our church being in 12 months’ time? In 24 months? Where would you like it to be?
· what would you like to do as a church that currently you are unable to do?
· what things are getting in the way of doing these things?
· what kind of help from the Circuit or other churches would improve matters?
The meeting will last no more than 1 hour and will follow immediately after the service
Please make every effort to attend this important meeting.
New website for our church
Many thanks to Rev. Stephen Mares for spending his valuable time building a brand new website for our church. The website address is www.coulsdonmethodistchurch.org . Please take a look at it and make a point of regularly checking in with it.
Living Lent is about recognising that changing our climate is not just an activity, but a lifestyle. That’s why, this Lent, you are invited to become part of a community who will respond to the call to climate action by making significant personal commitments to changing our lifestyles for the climate.
As the Living Lent community, we will share in this together, encouraging and challenging one another as we journey through Lent.
Could you give up single-use plastics, eating meat, driving the car, electricity for a day, produce from overseas, shopping for new clothes or household items for the period of Lent?
For more information go to www.livinglent.org
From the Superintendent Minister, Circuit Stewards and the Moderator of the Southern Synod of the United Reformed Church:
We are pleased to be able to announce that the minister for South Croydon United Church from September 2019 will be Revd. Martin Knight, a minister in the United Reformed Church. Martin is already the minister at St. Paul’s United Reformed Church, South Croydon, and he will have pastoral charge of both churches for the next five years. We look forward to welcoming Martin to Purley Circuit.
District of Sanctuary exploration day
Saturday 23rd March 10 am until 3 pm. Bridging the end of Moving Stories and the beginning of Our Calling as themes for the life of the District, the Social Responsibility Commission is organising a conference to explore becoming a District of Sanctuary. Such a move would see us allied with the Cities of Sanctuary movement started by former President of Conference Revd Dr Inderjit Boghal, and would build on work already being done across the District by individual churches, Circuits and London boroughs within which we serve.
City of Sanctuary UK holds the vision that our nation will be a welcoming place of safety for all. It aims to support the creation of a culture of welcome and inclusion across every sector and sphere of society. It seeks to promote the voices and celebrate the contributions of people seeking sanctuary and to increase understanding of such people and the difficulties they experience while living in the UK.
The SRC believes the churches and Circuits within the District are already engaging in this work and that by seeking to share our stories and looking towards developing and shaping our work towards becoming part of the City of Sanctuary UK movement, we might both affirm what is already being done and make a unified statement against the hostile climate.
The day will include some exciting speakers, including Ben Margolies, the City of Sanctuary UK coordinator for the South of England.
We look to meeting with you as we seek to build together a city where we can truly declare that “All are welcome in this place”.
To book your place, go to the link on the weekly District newsletter or search Eventbrite - District of Sanctuary event.
Ash Wednesday service
The Circuit service of Holy Communion, with imposition of ashes, will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 6 March, at Sanderstead Methodist Church, Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead CR2 9EF. The 403 bus from Croydon to Warlingham stops outside the church.
Sun 3 Mar. 8.45am Bible study and breakfast
10am Holy Communion (Rev. Sue Shortman)
Wed 6 Mar. 7pm Ash Wednesday service (see above)
Thu 7 Mar. 10.30am Open church
Sun 10 Mar. 10am Morning worship (Rev. Kathy Flynn)
11am Church meeting (see above)
Mon 11 Mar. 8pm Open to question (at Sanderstead M.C.)
Thu 14 Mar. 10.30am Open church
Sat 16 Mar. 4-6pm Messy church
Sun 17 Mar. 10am Morning worship (local arrangements)
6.30pm Holy Communion (Rev. Sue Shortman)
Mon 18 Mar. 10am Coulsdon craft club (Pot pourri hedgehog)
Thu 21 Mar. 10.30am Open church
Sun 24 Mar. 10am Morning worship (David Parr)
Wed 27 Mar. 2.30pm Time for tea
Thu 28 Mar. 10.30am Open church
Sun 31 Mar. 10am All-age worship (Rev. Sue Shortman)
I go forth today
in the might of heaven,
in the brightness of the sun,
in the whiteness of snow,
in the splendour of fire,
in the speed of lightning,
in the swiftness of the wind
in the firmness of the rock.
I go forth today in the hand of God.
(8th Century Irish traditional prayer)