A letter of introduction …

From the Rev Melanie Greenall who is to be stationed in the circuit as our Superintendent minister from September.

Greetings from Lincolnshire, in these unprecedented times, when we’ve had to learn new ways of being church or maybe rediscover who we were called to be. I’m looking forward to being part of that ongoing exploration: as I write, restrictions have been eased so hopefully I will be with you as planned in September.
In my home church of Freckleton there’s a beautiful piece of wood carved by one of life’s saints which says “there are no strangers here, only friends we haven’t met yet.” With that in mind I offer a few words of introduction.
Born a Tyke, I’ve spent most of my life in ‘missionary duty’ on the Lancashire coast, though I found a faith of my own training to be a pharmacist in my home city of Bradford. Many an adventure followed (ask me about barges some time!), not least Easter mission weeks.
Christened Congregational, in many ways I was born to be a Methodist as music is often how God speaks to me. Don’t ask me my favourite song though – you might be there all night! I also love films/theatre, nature and history and Dr Who /Star Trek and in time hope to get a dog as a companion.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting Tamil Nadu seminary in India and studying at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, both of which challenged my faith, but that’s no bad thing, for as Jacob, wrestling with God, and Thomas, voicing doubts, found it can lead to intimate moments of divine presence.
On the road to Emmaus 2 travelers found Christ alongside. While we may not understand his words, if we’re prepared to continue the journey we’ll have our ‘breaking bread moment,’ an insight shared with me by a ministerial friend before I candidated.
For me worship is about creating that sacred space where the divine can be encountered and faith strengthened as we share stories of God’s grace in us.
Four years after being ordained, one of the best days of my life so far, I anticipate a new chapter with the usual mix of apprehension and excitement.May the Spirit continue to encourage and strengthen us all along our long and winding roads.
Grace and peace to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev Melanie Greenall

A copy of this letter can be downloaded here

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