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Circuit News

ISSUE 36:  JUNE – AUGUST 2022

MESSAGE FROM OUR SUPERINTENDENT MINISTER:

Dear friends,

It has been a busy time in the life of the circuit, and I was particularly pleased to have the privilege of participating in our circuit confirmation service on Easter Day when we welcomed 6 young people into membership.  We wish Zachery, Grace, Eunice, Rhoda, Joseph and Norris every blessing as they continue their journey as full members of the Methodist Church.

We have, as a circuit also had sad news to contend with.  In March we learned of the death of our dear colleague the Rev’d Hewie Andrew.  Hewie passed away on the island of Dominica after a time of declining health.  We give thanks for his ministry, and we remember his daughter Laura and all his family and friends.

We are also still coming to terms with the sudden news that the Rev’d Dr Eleanor Jackson will be leaving us this August having been asked by the Methodist Conference to take up the post of Superintendent Minister of the Romford Circuit.  You may know that the Methodist Church is very short of ministers, and it is becoming more common for the Conference to station ministers at short notice to take up critical unfilled stations.  We will be very sorry to lose Eleanor and Roy but know that their gifts and talents will be of huge benefit to others.  We will be holding a circuit farewell service on the evening of 17th July so I hope you can join us as we wish them God’s blessing on the next stage of their journey.

All this means that the circuit has had to think hard about how we meet the needs of our churches and their pastoral care.  We had already decided that at some point in the future we would need to reduce the number of ministers, but this situation is now upon us sooner than we had planned.  After much prayer and honest conversation by the circuit stewards and staff we agreed that the following arrangements will be in place from September…

The Rev’d Andrew Dart will have oversight of Clapham

The Rev’d Lena Ali will have oversight of Railton Road and Mostyn Road

The Rev’d Rita King will have oversight of Springfield and Stockwell

The Rev’d Dr Andy Lyons will have oversight of Lambeth Mission St Mary’s and Streatham

The Rev’d Kristin Markay will have oversight of Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill

These new arrangements will mean that some deep and long-lasting relationships will change as several of our churches will have a change of minister.  I will be very sad to leave churches I have worked closely with for nearly 10 years, but our new circumstances mean that we all have to work together for the good of all and for the flourishing of our circuit. Some may argue that change can be a good thing, but it can be hard to accept that when you are in the midst of it!  So, we go forwards in faith and in the sure hope that God’s Spirit is with us, and that God will continue to equip us and strengthen us.

I pray that as we approach the summer you will find time for some refreshment and relaxation and perhaps the opportunity to travel again to see friends and relatives.  May we all know the love of God leading us on as we journey as disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

With my love and prayers, 
Andy

 

Message from Rev. Lena Ali

At a time when we are confronted with spiritual warfare, international conflict and growing economic pressure, we need each other like never before.  God created us to live in fellowship with one another and I am sure that sometime in our lives, we have asked ourselves the question; "Why am I here?  What is the purpose of this life?"  Someone said that the purpose of life is to be happy, but this is so simplistic and superficial because happiness eludes many people like the people in Ukraine, those suffering from homelessness, abuse, natural disasters, wars, refugees and economic pressures to name but a few.

The Philosopher Ralph waldo Emerson disagreed and wrote: "The purpose in life is to be useful, to be honourable, compassionate and make a difference not only that you lived but that you lived your life well.  John Wesley said. "Let me not live to be useless!"

Over the Lenten Season, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we have had so many opportunities to look to Jesus in amazement as the One who lived His life for others, in serving and saving mankind, the sufferings He endured, the betrayal He experienced when Peter denied Him and the other disciple turned their backs on Him and despite all that, He sacrificed His life for us.  We remember how on Easter Sunday, Jesus resurrected from the dead to set us free from slavery of sin and to share in an eternity of joy.

This Easter was very special for us at Railton Road.  For the first time in three years the Church was full, with some of the congregation sitting in the small hall.  We had a Baptism on Easter Sunday and so many friends and family attended.  It was a joyful and spiritually uplifting time for us all.

We are looking forward to the celebrations which follow Easter: The Feast of the Ascension, Trinity Sunday and Pentecost.

As Methodists, prayers are an essential part of our heritage and for Roman Catholics, they pray the Novena.  The word novena is taken from “novem,” the Latin word for nine.  A novena is made up of nine days of prayer and meditation usually to ask God for special prayer requests or petitions.  Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles.  Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His Ascension into heaven, so they went to an upper room along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Acts 1:14) and joined constantly in prayer for nine days.  These nine days of constant prayer by the Apostles at the direction of Jesus led up to Pentecost.  This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:1-4).  This pattern of 9 days of prayer is the basis the novenas which are prayed today.  Thus, the novena is an imitation of the Lord’s command to the Apostles when they prayed for 9 days in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus reminds us in the Gospel to be persistent in prayer and a novena is a great aid in doing just that!

Wishing you all God's blessings. 
Stay safe and well and make the most of the summer.
Lena


 

Message from Rev. Kristin Markay

On Tuesday of Holy Week, the 12th of April, a group of us from the Lambeth Circuit had a tour of Wesley’s Chapel and museum, led by our own Rev. Gordan Ashworth.  This tour was planned as a part of the confirmation class, to learn more about our Methodist history.   Much of the beginnings of this heritage is here in London- right on our doorstep!   So, we decided to have a tour in a place where Methodists from all over the world stop to visit.  This point was brought home to us when right before our tour began, I ran into two friends from the Methodist Church in Milan, Italy, where my husband David and I served for 7 years.  They happened to be visiting the Chapel on this same day at this same time!   Our group adopted them, and they ended up taking the tour with us. 

We first visited the museum where we watched an introductory video, and then we were escorted upstairs to the chapel, to learn more about this place of worship built in John Wesley’s time in the spot that had been a foundry.   We went outdoors to visit Wesley’s grave, and then, in groups, we visited John Wesley’s house, where he spent the last 12 years of his life.   We all were amazed at the number of stairs that he had to navigate in his later years!   A moving and inspiring spot for us was Wesley’s prayer room, off-of his bedroom, where we were told he would rise and pray from 4:00 to 5:00 every morning.   We learned that this is a favourite spot for Methodists who visit, and they often will kneel in prayer there as well, to blend their prayers with all of those said in this space before. 

                 

We walked in Wesley’s footsteps on this day - pausing by an organ owned by his brother Charles, walking past furniture that would have been in John’s home, seeing one of his robes, his eyeglasses, his chairs, his size 4.5 shoes…

      

We were blessed by the history and the fellowship of the day.  Wesley looked upon all of the world as his parish, and we’re glad to be a part of it.
 

Here are two comments from members of  the group:

Comment 1:"I am very pleased I attended the trip because I made new friends and learned about the life and death of the father of Methodism John Wesley and other Christians.  The trip was educational, interesting, fun, exciting and interactive”.  

Comment 2:“As a Methodist, it is nice to know the History.  The short video of the life of John Wesley was very informative.  The Chapel is a beautiful and holy place to be.  While I was at the John Wesley's House, I felt connected with lots of interesting old-time culture and religion preserved”.

 

The Confirmation Class sang the song below as a part of the Easter Confirmation Worship

When John Wesley Came to Town: 
words by:  Jack Slater

A son of the manse and a man of the cloth
and raised in the English ways,
John Wesley preached the word of God
which gave him a lot to say.
All the loving words of Jesus,
he spread them round and round.
And that’s what people came to hear
when John Wesley came to town.

One day when he was feeling low
he heard a sermon read
on how God works through faith in Christ,
“It warmed my heart,” he said.
Salvation lies in Christ alone
was truth that Wesley found.
And that he spoke to all who’d hear
when John Wesley came to town.


Some churches would not let him in
Oh, no! They barred the door.
Still, Wesley gave the sermons that
the crowds were waiting for.
On steps or tombstones, he would stand
to let his words, resound.
No other pulpit would he need
when John Wesley came to town.


And now, the world around has heard
his name and all he taught.
Grace, free in all and free for all
so long as Christ is sought.
With Jesus taken to one’s heart
the world is holy ground.
And that’s the message that he brought
When John Wesley came to town.

 

EXCERPT FROM THE CIRCUIT NEWS:
 

CHILDREN & YOUTH
On behalf of the Lambeth Circuit Children & Youth group, we welcome Tarna-Renae Morris, our new 60/40 Project Youth Worker.  We are looking forward to working with Tarna-Renae and praying that God will continue to bless her Ministry with our children and young people. 

Below is a short introduction from her...

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”- Jeremiah 29:11

I am Tarna-Renae, the newly appointed youth worker for The Lambeth Methodist Circuit.

The future is the youth and I believe that God has called me to help to facilitate avenues to help equip and release ordinary young people to do extraordinary things and live extraordinary lives in Christ.

Last month, we had the privilege of taking the youth to Go Ape for the day.  They had a fun-tastic time, bonding, building new relationships, overcoming fears, and supporting one another through each obstacle.  We will be planning many more activities such as this and hope to see some new faces join us.

Our future is bright, we have exciting events that will be taking place over the next few months in and around our Kings Acre Hub. Activities will include Parliament Debates, Career Pathways, Christmas Talent Shows and Awards Nights.  We are raising up the next entrepreneurs, lawyers, psychologists, doctors, ministers and so much more.

I look forward to meeting more of you.  We meet every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  If a young person, parent/guardian would like to get in contact with me, please contact me on the following…

Email:  t.morris@ascensiontrust.org.uk
Contact No:  020 8329 9643

 

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