Saturday, 11 October, 2014, 10.00-16.00
A message from Andrew Roberts
Germinate is a significant national day conference on rural mission for lay, clergy and regional church leaders, supported by the main churches and organisations that resource rural churches.
The day will feature real case studies and practical workshops for rural contexts, with topics including children, youth, discipleship, evangelism, funding, building redevelopment, fresh expressions and shared leadership.
For more information or to book, please visit http://www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk/mission-and-ministry/germinate
For help with funding do ask the District Training Group and/or for ministers remember the annual CDIM funds.
The second issue of our Circuit Newsletter, ‘The Green Sock’, is now available.
We want to hear about events and happenings in all areas of the Circuit, so please contact the our Circuit Media Officer with your stories, testimonies, event, poems, prayers or anecdotes.
We want to hear from you!
Contents this month include:
North Areas News
- Heather Wilson Ordained
- Bomere Heath Hosts Motorbike Service
- District Craft Day at Church Stretton
Central Area News
- Snailbeach Sankey Hymn Sing
- Wattlesborough Garden Party
- Bishop’s Castle Holiday club
- Tea in the Garden
South Area News
- South Prayer group
- Clun Eco Weekend
- Melville Anniversary
- Storytelling Workshop
In this progamme of Radio 4′s series What’s the Point? Methodism, from it’s radical roots to present day, comes under scrutiny.
The programme blurb says:
They’ve lost a third of their members in the last decade – Quentin Letts asks whether the Methodists in Britain have a future. In the nineteenth century the Methodists were a religious and social force in the land; shaking up a complacent Church of England, preaching in the open air and singing from the rafters, organising the masses into trade unions and laying the foundations of the modern labour party. Today, if current trends are anything to go by, they are heading for extinction.
Why has this happened? Have the Methodists lost their radical edge, sold out by watering down their attitudes to alcohol? Are they victims of their own success – do we now all take for granted the values equality and social justice which they communicated? Is their singing not what it used to be? What’s the point of the Methodists?
Listen up – Radio 4.Tuesday 2nd September 2014 9am and 8.30pm
Don’t miss ‘What’s the Point of Methodism’ on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday at 9am and again at 8.30pm! If you do, don’t worry – the programme will be available on iPlayer later next week.
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ken Howcroft and Ms Gill Dascombe, are asking Methodists to ensure that they spend some special time in prayer for persecuted minorities during worship on 31 August.
They have written this special prayer for use by churches and groups (responses in bold):
God of love, guide us as we pray:
God of love, guide us as we pray.
God of all nations and peoples, hear our prayers for the people of Syria and Iraq, and for all whose lives are torn apart by hatred and violence, whose heartbreak is more than we can imagine:
God of compassion, guide us as we pray.
For leaders and politicians and those who seek to negotiate for peace, whose responsibility is more than we could bear:
God of wisdom, guide us as we pray.
For aid workers, medical staff, those who care for refugees, orphaned children and older people, whose daily workload is more than we could tolerate:
God of goodness, guide us as we pray.
For those who feel compelled to accomplish their justice through warfare or terrorism, whose motivation is more than we can comprehend:
God of justice, guide us as we pray.
For ourselves, who look on, devastated and helpless, praying to our God whose peace is beyond our understanding:
God of peace, guide us as we pray.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
“The situation in Iraq and Syria can only be described as a living nightmare,” said Mr Howcroft and Ms Dascombe, adding, “as Methodists we stand in solidarity alongside all those who are persecuted. As followers of Jesus who was crucified we stand with all those who find their religion twisted by others out of all recognition in order to justify horrific acts of violence. We stand in prayer, crying out together to a God of justice, peace and mercy. May God have mercy on us all.”
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Methodist Church in Britain, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church has produced a free resource on the ethics of organ donation ahead of a change in the law in Wales. The resource is designed to help people think through questions around “presumed consent”, which will become legal in Wales from December 2015.
The free guide is entitled “Sharing the gift of life?” and is available to download from the JPIT website. It includes arguments, concerns and issues around organ donation, the rights and concerns of patients, personal experiences as well as a discussion on whether there is a distinctly Christian way of seeing the body. People are invited to use it for personal reflection or to support a group discussion.
James North, policy officer for the Methodist Church in Britain, said: “Presumed consent raises many questions, both for Christians and wider society. What do we understand by donating our organs or those of people we love? Will presumed consent increase or decrease organs available for donation? Who has the greater moral say – the family of the organ donor or the person needing the organs? The resource has been prepared to help people think through some of these questions before presumed consent comes into effect in Wales in 2015 or is discussed more widely through the rest of the UK.”
In July 2013, the Welsh Assembly voted in favour of “presumed consent” for organ transplantation. Under this legislation, unless people explicitly opt out, they are regarded as having given consent to their organs being available for transplantation. This is a change from an opt-in to an opt-out system of organ donation. Northern Ireland has already held a consultation on presumed consent and Scotland is currently consulting on it. It is possible that similar proposals will be debated in England and that Bills to introduce presumed consent will be introduced in the rest of the UK , following Wales’ lead.
According to NHS Organ Donation statistics, from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, 1,160 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney or liver/pancreas transplant. The statistics also showed that 3,052 patients’ lives were improved by a kidney or pancreas transplant, and 3,697 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant. Around 1,000 people a year (almost three a day) will die waiting as there are not enough organs available.
James North added: “The Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches are strongly in favour of organ donation but don’t have a position on presumed consent. The debate in Wales has shown that many in our Churches find presumed consent an uneasy principle. Churches have an important role in supporting donors, recipients of organs, and their families, both pastorally and publically. “Sharing the gift of life” is intended to help Christians participate in the national discussion around presumed consent, so that the wonder of organ donation can be fulfilled in our society.”
The Vice-President of the Methodist Conference for 2014/2015 laid down four building blocks of faith for 21st-century Britain in her address to the Conference. Gill Dascombe suggested that Scripture, science, culture and community should be the blocks upon which Methodists build their faith.
“Methodism provides us with four building blocks of faith, derived from the writings of John Wesley,” Gill said. “These are Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. But Wesley too was a man of his time, and Britain is a very different place now from what it was in the 1700s.”
Gill went on to say that when Methodists affirm Scripture today, they make a claim, not of uniformity, but of the embracing of diversity. She explained that science was important because we no longer live in the age of reason but the age of science. “Religion and science have been in conflict for too long,” said Gill, a medical pharmacist. “It’s time to take the blinkers off.”
Her address also challenged Methodists to think about what is distinctive about Methodism in 2014: “How can we shape a spirituality that reflects our time, our place and our world view, within which we can address our fears, doubts and concerns, and, yes, our demons, real or perceived, and seek strength and hope and purpose for the future?”
Extract from The Methodist Church in Britain News and Events www.methodist.org.uk
The General Secretary of the Methodist Church is encouraging Methodists to rise to the challenge of falling membership figures. Presenting his report to the Methodist Conference, the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins highlighted the Church’s latest statistics, which indicate a significant drop in Church membership over the last ten years. “However the Statistics for Mission report is understood and interpreted it does not make for easy or comfortable reading,” said Dr Atkins. “If ever we needed any encouragement to continue to focus on those things that make for an ever better Church which is a discipleship movement shaped for mission today, then these statistics provide that.” In light of these figures, Dr Atkins urged Conference members to consider how the Church might best use its resources, especially its church buildings, saying, “There was – and remains still – a generally held view that we have too many church properties, not all in the best location or condition to enable us to engage as effectively in God’s mission as we desire. Although Methodist membership is in general decline, there are some areas of growth, particularly where churches are trying something new. Read more
The Methodist Children & Youth resource Voice Activated focused largely on encouraging local churches and projects to hear the voice of children and young people and to allow this voice to have an impact on decision making and planning.
This complementary resource moves us on a step further and explores ways in which the voice of children and young people can be heard beyond the Church in the wider world.
Once opinions have been gathered and the issues discussed, how do you help the groups and individuals you work with to influence change and make a real difference – on both a local, national and international scale, within the Church and in society?
How can we help children and young people channel their passions and interests in a way that will impact positively on their communities and help them to further their discipleship?
Voice Activated: Making Change Happen offers broad-ranging and comprehensive information and advice and will hopefully prove a useful tool for youth leaders and children’s workers – as well as for children and young people themselves.
For further information and resources go to childrenandyouth.org.uk/workers/resources
Few would have thought that during the genocide which claimed some 800,000 lives, Rwanda would be a setting in which Jesus’ command on forgiveness would become manifest. However twenty years on, such forgiveness is self-evident in Rwanda’s communities being rebuilt through healing and reconciliation. The role of the Methodist Church in this new Rwanda’s history is a significant one. Through links with the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District, teams have travelled to Rwanda almost every year to visit different churches, encourage the reconciliation and healing effort, work with youth groups and assist with ongoing pastoral training.
Head of the Methodist Church in Rwanda Bishop Samuel Kayinamura, spoke at a meeting in Birmingham during the Conference, commemorating the genocide. Following the meeting he expressed heartfelt thanks to the church for the difference it is making, notably in rural village communities. “They assisted our hospital (Kibogora) in the west of the country, they provide the goats in the communities for the Goat Project where they give goats to communities in the poorest villages where people don’t have much land. Goats mean they can have fertiliser and they can grow vegetables. And they have given people mattresses, in the rural villages they have small houses and don’t have mattresses. Their lives are improving.” he said.
After the genocide Rwanda also needed assistance in training new ministers and the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District came forward. Now, Samuel informs, Methodism in Rwanda is flourishing and eighty ministers have been trained as a result of the District’s training initiatives. “During the genocide some church leaders felt they didn’t know how to be, how to have this prophetic voice. Some of them went on the side of government so that now we have some ministers who are in the prisons but after genocide the churches contributed a lot. They went to the prisons to teach the prisoners and perpetrators how to repent and to accept what they did.”
Samuel, who was a primary school teacher when the genocide broke, out is heartened by relationships fostered by the children in schools in the District and in Rwandan schools and the interest of the children he visits here in their counterparts overseas. “At the schools they have many questions about what life in Rwanda is like and how the children live, how they go to school,” he said adding “we just want to thank you very much. Thank the Methodist Church in Britain who are helping especially the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District because they know very much our suffering and they come along with us to back us up, to tell people in Rwanda that they are with them in prayers and in action and we’re very happy to see them when they come to Rwanda.”