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Pastoral letter from Rev James Tebbutt

THE CUMBRIA DISTRICT OF THE METHODIST CHURCH

Chair of District: The Revd Dr James N Tebbutt MA MPhil
Telephone: 01768 866342; Email: james.tebbutt@methodist.org.uk

Holy Week and Easter 2020
Dear Friends,
The long journey through Lent and Holy Week to Easter has this year been overshadowed, devasted, by the Coronavirus pandemic. Not since 1918-19, when Spanish Flu wrought havoc in a war-weakened world to claim 40 million lives, have we experienced something like the present pandemic in such a widespread way. The precariousness of life has suddenly been made very real, and our assumptions about ‘normal’ and about what we take for granted every day have been revealed for their fragility. Initial grudging adjustments to social distancing have given way to a fearful steering clear on pavements and in shopping aisles, in case it is we who catch it next. From the wider fears that Covid 19 will decimate the poorer, displaced and overcrowded peoples of the world, to the loss of immediate loved ones in our families, congregations and neighbourhoods, the disease hovers over us all. Where you have lost a loved one, our hearts go out to you, and we hold you in our prayers.
Into this world came Jesus of Nazareth, faithfully journeying to Jerusalem and the Cross, standing then as now with all who are fearful, oppressed and suffering; absorbing all the evil that ever there was, our own, and that which has worked its way into corruption and disease; to be the means whereby every tear, one day, shall be wiped away, that all may know the freedom, life and grace that God longs to share. Through the Holy Spirit, God in Christ walks close with us now, connecting us between the gaps and distances, inspiring us to seek the good, inspiring those who care for others, risking their lives for those who struggle to breathe.
In Christ’s anguish and betrayal, and suffering and dying; in Christ’s deadness and waiting; in Christ’s rising and empowering, God is with us all, and for all.
Whether you are struggling to make sense of this strange time, working surprisingly hard as work invades the boundaries of home without the variation and relief that you might usually expect; or whether you are laid aside, or isolated and alone, longing for company and stimulus; or whether you are out there, doing your best as a key worker, or keeping home and family together, or worrying beside or for a sick loved one; may God be with you, encouraging you in your endeavours, inspiring your gratitude for people and things of goodness, bringing you hope and peace even in the deepest distress; for these are the things of God, and God’s love endures.
God loves through the smile of the otherwise avoiding stranger; or through the old ‘friends’ of memory and pastime and comfort; or in the beauty of warm spring days; or through the kindness of others and the consistency of family and friends; or through the rhythm of faith and the pages of the bible, or through reflection and worship in new ways; and sometimes too through shared deprivation and sacrifice. Through all these ways, God loves, for God loves through the one who poured out his life for us, whose Resurrection even the stones would shout out aloud, and, which, in the end, we can and will celebrate again.

God bless you, and may God bless all,

The Revd Dr James Tebbutt

2020.04 District Chair’s Pastoral Letter

Latest advice about Corona Virus

Please click on this link to get the latest advice from the Methodist Church.  It includes lots of practical ideas for supporting others, staying safe and worshipping at home.

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.

We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.

Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.

Amen

Rev. Melanie Greenall

The Kendal Methodist Circuit has been involved in the Stationing
Process from Sept 2019, so we are delighted to announce that the Rev
Melanie Greenall will be joining us as Superintendent of the Circuit and
Presbyter to Fellside, Sandylands and Stricklandgate in Sept 2020.

Melanie is currently a Circuit Minister in the Lincoln Methodist District;
and early in her ministry was acting Superintendent in the Lincoln South
Circuit. Previously she has worked as an NHS pharmacist in Preston,
Manchester and Kirkham for 26 years. Born in Yorkshire she attended
her local Methodist church for most of her life, becoming a local
preacher and also acting as senior church steward in her home church.
After receiving a call to ordained ministry Melanie trained at the Wesley
Study Centre, Durham, graduating in 2014. She was ordained at the
Methodist Conference in London in July 2016.

Please pray for Melanie and her churches, as she prepares to join our
Circuit.

Thanks go to the Circuit Invitations Committee for the work undertaken
and commitment to this process. Also thanks too to all the Circuit Churches                                             for their support, patience, prayer and grace.

Amanda Deaville, Grace Whitaker and Alastair McNeill                                                                             Circuit Stewards

 

Becoming a Circuit Steward

Are you looking for a way to serve the Church?  The Circuit is currently looking for someone to explore becoming a Circuit Steward – and you can ‘try before you buy!’  If this is something you are interested in the Leadership Team are suggesting a three month’s trial period so that you can get a taste of what’s involved.  Interested? Then check out the role description here and speak to your Minister or one of the Circuit Stewards.  Their names can be found on the ‘About’ page of this website.

Poetry Evenings at M:HUB

A new group is starting at M:HUB on Tuesday 14 January at 7.30pm and then on the second Tuesday of each month.

Come along and explore the ways in which contemporary poets have written about God – and drink coffee at the same time! No experience or expertise necessary. Everyone is very welcome.

A £2.00 donation towards cost of coffee and room hire is requested.

Circuit Prayers

Philippians – a letter of hope, filled with prayer.

We had to put out more chairs – always a good start – for our Circuit prayers on Monday evening!    Circuit Prayers for Stationing process 11 19          Around 40 people gathered at Stricklandgate to pray for the Connexional Stationing Matching Group meetings.  With singing, Biblical reflection, colouring and buzz groups, together we explored in prayer our worries and concerns and our hopes and dreams for our churches.  Listening to the entire letter to the church at Phillippi being read out gave a whole new perspective to our understanding and was such an encouragement.

Circuit Prayers for Stationing process 3

Circuit Welcome Service

Yesterday saw the Circuit welcoming the ministry team for 2019/2020 at a special Circuit Service at Stricklandgate.  Rev Tricia Rogers will be ministering in the Kendal Churches, supported by Rev Jeff Thomas; and Peter McCabe who will be lay pastor at Storth & Levens, supporting Rev David Stretton.  They join our existing team of Rev David Stretton, Superintendent;  Rev Wendy Thornton and Chris Palmer, circuit administrator.

Rev Tricia is an Anglican colleague who is joining us for a year to work alongside the three Kendal Churches encouraging the congregations in their walk with Jesus; their ministry to the communities in which the churches as based; and to grow existing ecumenical links.  In this she will be ably supported by Rev Jeff Thomas, one of our Supernumerary Ministers who has graciously agreed to come out of retirement and work part time in the Circuit for this time.

Peter McCabe will be working part time in the Kent Estuary section, and particularly with the churches in Levens and Storth.

Rev James Tebbutt Circuit Welcome Service 2019

Our new District Chair, Rev Dr James Tebbutt preached from texts from Isaiah 42 and John 13 on the nature of servanthood and encouraged the whole congregation to engage with the communities in which we are placed, sharing and showing the love of God.

 

Joining the congregation were colleagues from many of the churches [Anglican, Catholic, URC and non-conformist]  situated within the area the Circuit covers, as well as the Bishop of Penrith, The Revd Dr Emma Ineson.  We were also honoured that the Deputy Mayor of Kendal, Cllr Doug Rathbone and the SLDC Leader Giles Archibald, agreed to attend.

What a lot of dog collars ...

What a lot of dog collars …

With hymns chosen by members of the Ministry Team this was a meaningful service at the start of the new Methodist year.

Photos courtesy of Bob Pritchard.