News and Coming Up

August is the month when A level and GCSE results are announced and there are 3 young people in our congregation who are affected. Please hold them in your prayers,

We have still not found someone to replace Val Jeanes as Pastoral Visitors Secretary, a very important position. Please pray about this and if anyone would like to know more, contact P. J.

Bob Helson now has the weekly giving envelopes for the new church year. However, for obvious reasons, nothing is going to be done about giving them out until we start having services again.

The Circuit Preaching Plan for September, October and November is currently being drawn up. As soon as we have it, services for KMC will be announced

KMC Lockdown Quiz. Only 4 people submitted answer sheets and they were Janet Woodward, who scored 95, Mollie & Brenda (91), Sue Parker (74) and Pat Scrase (62): well done Janet. I suspect that there were a number of you who were like Helen, Steffie and I who did it each week but never got around to writing the answers down. Many thanks to Sue Blower for organising it and helping to beat the monotony of the lockdown.

If you have listened to the news in the last few days, I suspect that, like me, you will have been horrified by the reports of the devastating explosion that occurred at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut, Lebanon. It caused widespread casualties and catastrophic damage to homes, hospitals, and other buildings throughout the area. Initial reports indicate more than 135 people were killed, and an additional 5,000 people were injured. Action is now being taken to find many more, who remain missing. It is estimated by the Lebanese Government that the explosion has left more than 300,000 people homeless. Hospitals have struggled to cope with the number of casualties, with many intensive care units already near capacity as the country struggles to deal with the impact of Coronavirus. The Methodist charity ‘All We Can’ is working with a local partner in Lebanon to help provide the support needed to those in greatest need. If you able to make a donation it will be much appreciated. It can be done via www.allwecan.org.uk/give/current-appeals/beirut/ or by sending Peter a cheque for him to pass it on.

Lectionary for 9th to 15th August. Kings 19.9-18; Psalm 85.8-13; Romans 10.5-15; Matthew 14.22 - Testing the water. Jesus reveals a little more of his identity in dramatic fashion by walking on the water to where the twelve are battling a storm. Peter thinks he can do it too; but he needs to be rescued and learns a crucial lesson in trust. Think about grappling with faith and doubt; taking the risk.

I have received an email from The Bristol Methodist Centre thanking us for our support for them during the current crisis. Some members of our congregation have been giving financial donations to help them.

Some very advance news:

  • It is intended to hold a Circuit Service on the Circuit YouTube channel at 4pm on Education Sunday which is 13th September
  • There is a desire to hold a service on Wednesday 30th September on Hanham Mount to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of George Whitefield

All We Can (formerly Methodist Relief and Development Fund) were due to lead worship at Pilning on 26th July. They have kindly produced a service on YouTube for the Circuit to use. See. http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wngDSKoSrrE

The Methodist Conference Office has published the 2020 Conference Business Digest which contains the main points and decisions made at this year’s Conference. https://mcusercontent.com/bcf1bde8bc4a29dae7362b02a/files/00a79dfc-9afe-4f4f-9d5e-fcce66dba09d/Conference_2020_Business_Digest.pdf

Seen in Church Newsletters/ on Church Noticeboards.

  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation
  • Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help
  • Ladies don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a chance to get rid of those things around the house that are not worth keeping. Bring your husbands,
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What is Hell’. Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Zoom worship on Sunday will be at the usual time of 10:30am. The code to use is If you are using the visual zoom the code is 820 7268 5897. If you want to listen in via your telephone the numbers to dial are 131 460 1196 or 203 051 2874.

Another impact of Covid 19 is that we will not be able to hold a panto in January 21. Even if the 2 metre rule is no longer in force at that time, current restrictions mean we cannot meet to rehearse. The cast are keen to continue so we are looking at holding one in December 21.

 The Bristol Methodist Centre has recently issued one of its periodic newsletters. Normally we would leave this at the back of the church for you to read but, to state the obvious, that is not going to happen. Consequently, here are some small extracts from it.

“The pandemic has dealt a huge blow to our guests. The homeless are the most vulnerable in these circumstances ………… . What are we doing? We have been running relief days for our guests. We are open on Mondays and Tuesdays providing our guests a door service. They can come and collect freshly prepared food and other essential items. We are serving between 60 and 80 people a day.’ Understandably they, like the Foodbank, need support and have requested items such as tinned meat, sugar, crisps, chocolate bars and soft drinks. Other items needed are shampoo, shower gel, shaving foam and deodorant.

The New Room is currently open from Tuesday to Saturday ,11am - 3pm.  The café is open for socially distanced table service, offering drinks, cakes and light lunches.  You will need a face covering, The chapel and Broadmead courtyard are also open for private prayer and reflection. The toilets are open but restricted to patrons only. The  Museum and Shop are to re-open on Tuesday 11th August. That same day, at 1pm, they ​will also be hosting the first of their planned weekly Emmaus Services (a reflective spoken word only service) in the chapel to which all are welcome. This is an alternative to the weekly Friday lunchtime communion service which remains postponed.

Val Jeanes has moved house and I am happy to report the move went well. We wish her happiness in her new home in Bridport.

The Leadership Team, together with Chris Knight (Property Secretary), met on Tuesday 14th July to discuss the re-opening of the Church. It was agreed to aim to hold our first worship service on Sunday 6th September. Much has to be done before then and the final part of the process will be getting the approval to open from the Circuit Superintendent. The team also provisionally planned services for 20th September (possibly Harvest), 4th & 18th October, 8th (Remembrance) & 22nd November and 6th & 20th (possibly a carol service) December. However, since then we have learnt that the Circuit will allocate us (and all other churches) only 1 preacher a month so watch this space. Irrespective of how many services we will have, they will all be worship only, regulations will not permit us to have Junior Church, creche or post service refreshments. Regulations also mean that we cannot have more than 30 people present at any one service which is why we have not allocated a date for the Rededication Service. It could be, though, that once we have placed the chairs out to meet social distancing rules, we cannot even fit 30 people in. More information on what people who come to church must, or must not, do will be made known nearer the time of our first service.

Each church has to appointment a ‘Responsible Person’ to oversee the work to reopen and that the rules are complied with once open. Our Responsible Person is our senior steward, Helen Shears.

In the meantime, the instruction that no one may enter the premises without the prior permission of our Minister, P. J., remains in force.

Another reminder. Fund raising. Do you shop on line? Do you book travel on line? If so, if you do it via the web site easyfundraising,org.uk/panel you can raise funds for the church at no cost whatsoever to yourself. The retailer you purchase from – and there are something like 3,700 of them - will make a donation to the church.

In other news. Young people are being encouraged to experience what it would be like to be part of a secret church and have to hide their faith. The Christian freedom charity Open Doors have created activities for youth groups for 'The Secret Church Experience' to help people identify with those who could be locked up for being a Christian.  The activities include creating a trail to a secret meeting place for youth group, hiding everything that indicates you may be a Christian, reading a story about Jesus without mentioning him and writing Bible verses on toilet paper and flushing them away when you've learnt them. The toilet paper exercise is based on the experience of a man from Eritrea

Screen free Wednesdays – resources can be found here https://www.bsgc.org.uk/resources.htm

Food for thought. Many of us feel tired, worn down, fed up and hopeless.  Is there really a future for the church? Can it be resurrected? Can these dry bones live? Our numbers decline, our age increases. The level of apathy towards organised religion increases. Maybe we should all give up, let this towards version of the church die off so that something new can arise from the ashes? Or should we do something?

Methodist Conference is now over.  The Reverend Richard Teal and Carolyn Lawrence were inducted as President and Vice-president for the year 20/21. In his address, the President looked ahead at how the world can adapt to the impact of the pandemic. He said “Not a return to the same old same old but a church which has the reputation for transformation, for recreation and for empowerment of what we are living through in the present in response to a faithful God who redeems history and promises the brightest of futures.” The President chose the final words of John Wesley as his theme for this year, ’The best of all is, God is with us”.

One of the actions of Conference was to vote overwhelmingly to implement a new Church-wide strategy for Evangelism and Growth. The God for All strategy commits the Church theologically, culturally, and financially to deepen its mission to be a growing, evangelistic, justice-seeking, and inclusive Church. In the context of declining Methodist Church membership numbers, God for All prioritises helping new people become disciples of Jesus, starting hundreds of new churches, and raising up new lay and ordained leaders to join God in engaging diverse rural, urban, estate, and suburban communities across Britain. The strategy also focuses significant energy and resources on developing the role of young evangelists, serving communities experiencing marginalisation, expanding the Church’s digital presence, and helping Methodists live out their faith in everyday life. God for All will launch in September with a focused Year of Prayer that will offer the Church’s work to God.

Conference also carried a motion to monitor, collect and analyse statistics on the diversity of the church to improve representation and, in the light of the death of George Floyd, to acknowledge that "racism is a denial of the gospel.’

Conference elected the Revd Sonia Hicks to serve as President and Barbara Easton to serve as Vice-President, starting their year of office when the Representative Session of the Methodist Conference opens in Birmingham in June 2021. Sonia has served as a Circuit Superintedent in three connexions: Britain, the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas and the Methodist Church in Ireland (MCI), said: “As a Black person born in the UK, it is a great privilege to serve the church family I love in this new way. I will do all I can to honour this choice of the Methodist Conference and enable British Methodism to celebrate our God-given diversity’.

By the time we do re-open, Val Jeanes will have moved house. To wish her well and say thank you for all her work in the church, Helen visited her recently to give her the card we all signed some time ago and a willow tree figurine, potted house plant, a WH Smith gift voucher and a handmade wooden bowl carved by Lynda. She has asked me to tell you that she was overwhelmed with the gifts and wishes to thank everyone who contributed. She will be missing all of us and thinking about us as we try to sort out how to re-open the church.

The Methodist Church has recently published a set of good practice guidelines to raise awareness of sexual harassment, support victims and bring about a change in culture to ensure all churches are caring communities, where people safely meet for worship, sharing and learning. To learn more, go to https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/methodist-

The Bristol Methodist Centre: ‘You Are Not Alone - an anthology of hope and isolation.’ A book of 44 stories to help support work amongst the homeless, including The Methodist Centre. More information, including how to order, is in one of the other attachments to this Newsletter email.

Did you know, that in addition to their day service at The Methodist Centre, the Circuit is working with other homeless charities to provide hot meals in Champion Square every night of the week during the Coronavirus pandemic? Each meal costs £3.30 to prepare, deliver and serve – not much but it all adds up! Could you help pay for the food that is served? To donate please visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/bsgcbuymedinner

Pray As You Go are producing a daily retreat for people socially isolating: 

www.pray-as-you-go.org/retreat/pray-as-you-stay 

Other Sunday Worship services: Methodist Central Hall Westminster at 11am - www.youtube.com/mchwevents  and, at the same time Wesley's Chapel London will live-stream from the chapel (the Minister lives on the premises) - www.youtube.com/channel/UCUAUqhmhevz5sqhh72LIMxA 

The Circuit web site has a number of coronavirus worship resources on it. These include a daily prayer to share for 10 mins at midday each day - https://www.bsgc.org.uk/coronavirusworshipresources.htm

The Methodist Church has introduced 2 free phone lines, 1 for prayers and 1 for news from the Methodist Church. To listen to a prayer, call 0808 281 2514 and to listen to news call 0808 281 2478. The content is updated every Thursday afternoon.

KMCs 2 main sources of income are collections and Pre School rent. With the Pre-school being closed there is no income from that source. And with no services there is little income from collections, only that from 6 people who pay by monthly direct debit. That means the church is facing a cash flow problem. We could dip into our investments but that would mean reducing our income from interest. So, can you help? There are 2 ways in which you possibly could. Firstly, you could make a one-off donation in lieu of the collections that you would have put in the plate had you been at church each Sunday. If you have internet banking you could make a transfer to the church account – Peter can provide the necessary details. Or you could send him a cheque made payable to Kingswood Methodist Church (KMC is not acceptable for banking purposes). Second you could set up a monthly direct debit and again Peter can provide details.

 A Virtual Church Choir. The National Methodist Choir want to provide all singers from all denominations, and all corners of the globe, an opportunity to come together and worship God with our voices. See www.nmcgb.org/ for details of how to get involved

New sales figures indicate that the Bible has experienced a dramatic surge in sales as readers search for hope amid the current coronavirus pandemic. Book sales data provider Nielsen BookScan said that Biblical and liturgical texts had been rapidly climbing the charts in recent weeks, noting that the clear uptick in purchases was an "unusual pattern in comparison to the same period in recent years."  Nielsen added that the closure of churches is likely to be a factor, before adding that "perhaps people are turning to scripture for comfort in these abnormal and melancholy times...or perhaps people are curious as to whether Coronavirus is prophesied in Revelations”.

Thank you everyone who has provided feedback on the daily KMC Emails.. What has been What is in them has not been all my own work, some thanks must go to  Cora and Steve. If you have anything you would like to share with everyone else, please let me have it.

As I expect you all know, whilst funerals and cremations can still take place during the crisis, attendance at them is very limited. Consequently, the Methodist Church has produced ‘A time of reflection when you can’t attend a funeral’.  This is a short period of worship to help you say your goodbyes to someone whilst remaining in your own home. A copy is available on the Methodist Church web site.

If, during this crisis, anyone finds themselves with financial problems and are struggling to buy food, toiletries etc. please contact Peter. He will arrange a Foodbank parcel and it will all be in the strictest confidence.

Are you someone who worships at KMC but has never become a full member? Would you like to become a member? Would you like to find out what membership involves? If so, please have a word with P. J..

 

The purpose of Kingswood Methodist Church is to respond to God's Love in Christ and to live out that love in God's world.