Methodists Urged to ‘reclaim evangelism’

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

July 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Life & Learning @ Ludlow – 2014-15 Programme

Life & Learning @ Ludlow is the name given to an adult education programme which seeks to broaden understanding and initiate debate on theology, social issues and the arts. Arranged by the Parish Church of St Laurence, Ludlow, (a member of Churches Together Around Ludlow) the events are open to all people from the town and beyond, regardless of religious affiliation.
 
The programme offers a range of opportunities for study and learning. It is intended to stimulate the interest of people of faith who want to reflect deeply on how their faith impacts on their engagement with the world around them, and also appeal to those with no strong faith commitment who are interested in exploring the Christian perspective on contemporary issues.
 
In October, the third year of the programme begins and attached is the prospectus for October 2014 – March 2015. They are fortunate in being able to attract a number of significant speakers including this year the Revd Lord (Leslie) Griffiths, Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, London.
 
Full details are available of St Laurence’s website at: www.stlaurences.org.uk/lifeandlearning and you can download a copy of the programme here Life & Learning at Ludlow 2014-2015 Programme
July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Voice Activated – Making Change Happen

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

July 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Bishop Samuel Brings Heartfelt Thanks From Rwanda

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.”

July 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Methodists to Take Stand Over Israeli – Palestine Conflict

The Methodist church’s stance on the Israeli – Palestine conflict was addressed once again at this year’s Conference. Deliberating the conflict, particularly in expressing sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, opens the church to accusations of anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, the church plans to call on members to take a stand.

Speaking after the Conference, District Chair John Howard, who has travelled to the West Bank, said “The Israeli-Palestine issue is a difficult one to raise because lots of people characterise you as having anti-Jewish feelings. Anti-Semitism quickly gets raised when the church begins to take a stance for justice for the Palestinians. We do find ourselves being characterised in ways which are negative but you have to have the integrity to face that kind of criticism.”

According to John Howard the Methodist church has led the other churches in raising the issue of the conflict.The continuing debate at Conference was a result of a motion passed last year. Previously, in 2010 a report called Justice for Israel and Palestine proposed a series of recommendations one of which is to galvanise support for Jewish and Palestinian peace groups through a range of methods, enabling church members, Methodists in particular to get to know more about what is happening and be better educated about the conflict. It was suggested that where possible, church members travel to Israel and Palestine and meet with those caught up in the struggles. Another recommendation was that church members boycott products of the illegal Israel settlements in the West Bank. “Last year a notice of motion was approved by Conference that we should take that forward into the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and over the last year a report has been written by our consultation team which has presented the arguments for and against a boycott of all Israeli companies and products, similar to the boycott campaign against South Africa.” John Howard explained, adding “What Conference has agreed is to send that document to all of our churches for discussion in our churches so that’s a document that’s available.” Read more

July 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

All We Can Harvest Appeal Resourse Packs Now Available

allwecanlogoALL WE CAN, (formerly Methodist Relief and Development) help people in some of the world’s poorest communities become ALL THEY CAN.

For a Harvest resource pack which includes: Inspirational worship resources, notes for sermons and talks for all ages, prayers, PowerPoint slides, a short film, ideas for school assembly and collective worship, song suggestions and more, visit www.allwecan.org.uk/harvest. Or telephone 0207 467 5132.

July 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Latest Circuit Newsletter for July – August now available

The first issue of our brand new 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!

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, Wolverhampton need your votes please for a new kitchen!

Chance to help secure a new kitchen at Darlington Street – we need your vote!

With a few clicks you could help us win a brand new kitchen and appliances!

The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd are open 7 days a week to support all those in need, supplying food, showers, advice and basic provisions.  As well as making sandwiches for distribution on five days, twice a week we operate a dining room service for our clients to have a freshly prepared hot meal.

Last year we catered for and supported over 87,000 clients; so, as you can imagine, a chance to replace the very well used kitchen facilities at Darlington Street would be extremely welcome!

The opportunity has now arisen!  We have been chosen by Period Living magazine as one of 7 nominated ‘good causes’ in their Good-Will Award scheme.

We now need as many votes as we can to go forward to the next round.

You can help and support the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd by voting for us at;  www.periodliving.co.uk/goodwill-award

Our kitchen is a very busy place, where sandwiches are prepared and meals cooked for our clients; so it would be wonderful for us to have the opportunity to win this competition and improve the facilities and equipment we use.

Public voting closes on 30TH MAY 2014 and we really need your vote!

Thank you for your support.

May 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

All We Can – Methodist Relief and Development (MRDF)

“Do all the good you can….” said John Wesley.  As you may have heard, earlier this month MRDF changed its name to All We Can, the Methodist relief and development partner.  Our new name reflects the renewal of our commitment to do all we can to help those who need us most.  With the continued generosity and prayerful support of Methodist churches and individuals, we want to have a greater impact on people in the world’s poorest communities in the future.

This harvest, will you help All We Can to nurture potential in some of the world’s poorest communities?

How will your church be celebrating Harvest this year?  Harvest provides a great opportunity to celebrate the earth that God created and the produce it brings.  It is also a time when we can think about people in the world whose situations are different from our own, and how we might be able to help them to have better harvests.

At All We Can – we see God-given potential in everyone.  By supporting our Harvest Appeal, your church can help us to nurture that potential in places where the need is greatest – by investing in partnerships that improve quality of life and create positive, long-term change.

Our free harvest resources for churches, groups and schools will help make your harvest celebrations both memorable and meaningful.  This year, they focus on communities in Burundi, East Africa, where people are rebuilding their lives after a damaging civil war.  All We Can’s local partners are providing people with tools to farm their land, and fertiliser and seeds to make their harvests fruitful.  The resources feature inspiring stories of improvement and hope, and offer the opportunity to respond practically through giving to All We Can’s Harvest Appeal.

Gifts given to All We Can this harvest will mean that some of the world’s poorest people have enough food, not just this year, but for years to come.

The All We Can website – www.allwecan.org.uk – will tell you more about the harvest resources available, and how to order them.  They include prayers, sermon notes, a talk for all ages, interactive activities, a short film, ideas for school assemblies, campaign action cards and more.

I hope you will do all you can to help us to make a difference in some of the world’s poorest communities this harvest time.

Maurice Adams – Chief Executive of All We Can

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
 

Pre-1900 Shropshire Methodist Registers now available online

Shropshire Archives have informed us that the pre-1900 Shropshire Methodist Registers are now available online via the Find Your Past website at http://www.findmypast.co.uk.

Free access is available at Shropshire Archives (Castle Gates, Shrewsbury) and at all Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin libraries.

April 30, 2014 by · 1 Comment
 

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  • Welcome

    The Shropshire & Marches Methodist Circuit came into being on the 1st September, 2010. It was formed from the amalgamation of eight smaller circuits, two from the Birmingham District (Cwm and Kingstone and Leominster, Presteigne and Kington) and six from the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District (Wem and Prees Green; Oswestry, Ellesmere and Chirk; Llanymynech; Shrewsbury; The Marches, and Shropshire South).

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    • Secretary of the Conference
      The Methodist Church is seeking to appoint its next Secretary of the Conference, who will succeed The Revd Dr Martyn Atkins on 1 September 2015.
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      The situation in Gaza continues to capture our attention and prompt our compassion. It is time now to pray.
    • Methodist Church welcomes 'yes' vote on women bishops
      The President of the Methodist Conference has welcomed the news that the Church of England's General Synod has today voted in favour of allowing women to become bishops.
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      Sign the No More Page 3 petition here The Methodist Conference has today pledged its support for the No More Page 3 campaign, and is asking all of its members to sign the campaign's petition.
    • Church marks 20 years since genocide in Rwanda
      Nearly one million Rwandans were slaughtered during 100 days of genocidal killing twenty years ago. Today, representatives of the Methodist Conference meeting in Birmingham prayed for lasting peace during a commemorative service led by Bishop Samuel Kayinamura, the leader of the Methodist Church in Rwanda.