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Statement before the General Election

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have called for Christians to be guided by their faith in discerning what sort of society they wish the new government to create and have issued the following statement. 

As we prepare for the General Election, we recognise that Christians across our nations will prayerfully vote for a variety of parties and candidates in good conscience. We celebrate the fact that Christian people are inspired by their faith to debate passionately – and to disagree well - on how the United Kingdom should be governed at this present moment.

While much of the debate around the election is rightly focused on individual policies, it is also our duty to ask what sort of society we would wish our government to build. As Christians we have to embrace the reality that our vision will never be achieved by humankind alone, and to look beyond our human time-frames to the coming of the Kingdom of God. It is this future hope that gives meaning and direction to present struggles.     

Jesus offers us abundant life, life in all its fullness, and we are called to reflect this eternal promise on earth as it is in heaven. If we believe that all people are made in the image of God, we must surely pray, work and vote for a society in which all people are enabled to flourish and live life in all its fullness in the here and now too.

This is a society in which everyone has enough food, resources, shelter and opportunity to succeed, and where people are not left behind or damaged by poverty and inequality.

This is a society where our common humanity is valued and respected, where people can find refuge, and where everyone can contribute towards the common good.

This is a society that acts to protect God’s creation, and seeks to be a peaceful influence in the world, promoting human rights, religious freedom and economic justice for all.

So we invite you to pray for everyone standing for office and for all voters. We pray that Christians across our nations entering the polling booth on 8 June do so as followers of Jesus Christ, seeking to take part in creating a society which reflects God’s kingdom of goodness and of justice. A society that encourages life in all its fullness.

Signatories

Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain

Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Revd Dr Roger L Walton, President of the Methodist Conference

Ms Rachel Lampard MBE, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

Revd Kevin Watson, General Assembly Moderator of the United Reformed Church

For more information contact:

Michael Ivatt

Lead Media Officer

Methodist Church House

25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR

T 0207 467 5191

M 07881 783812

 E ivattm@methodistchurch.org.uk

Added on 01/06/2017.

More Information: Via Office

Statement and Prayer after the Manchester Attack

The Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference and Vice-President, Rachel Lampard, have responded to last night's attack in Manchester. Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Peter Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District, have written a prayer. Youth President, Tim Annan, has also released a statement.

 

From the Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference, and Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference:

      

We are appalled by the horrific bombing at the Manchester Arena. We pray for the families of those who have been killed or who are injured, and for those, many of whom will be young, who have been scarred and scared by what they have witnessed.

      

We give thanks for the emergency services and for the many ordinary people who demonstrated compassion in responding to those caught up in the tragedy. We ask the Methodist people to hold the people of Manchester and beyond in their prayers as we remember the words of Psalm 34, "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

      

From Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Paul Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District of the Methodist Church:

      

In the face of the violent and deadly attack at the Manchester Arena last night, the Methodist people in Manchester are united with many others in their sense of shock, and in their prayers for all those who have been bereaved, wounded, or traumatised.

      

As we seek to respond to this terrible event we are grateful for those who have affirmed that, so far as it is possible, we will not let this attack change our daily lives. Some people have been tweeting using the hashtag #WeAreNotAfraid - in this way those who are stronger support those who feel the weight of anxiety, pain and fear.

      

Among the stories beginning to emerge there are many about the ways people have sought to help others: providing safe places, or lifts home, or passing on messages to help those who were separated find each other. It is through such small acts that we reaffirm our commitment to one another. Every such act makes a stand against violence and fear.

      

In a diverse city one thing we can be sure of is that people in Manchester will not let this event divide us.

      

Manchester is the home of a movement called We Stand Together (#WeStandTogether), in which people of many different faiths and backgrounds recognise that we find strength in our common humanity.

      

We are deeply grateful for the many assurances of prayer which we have received from around the country.

      

God of compassion and mercy,

amidst the pain and trauma of this day we turn to you,

for through Christ crucified we know that you have taken to heart the suffering of our people.

      

In fear and anxiety, strengthen us.

In despair and pain, comfort us.

In incomprehension and anger, reassure us that your love and life are stronger than the hatred and violence which overshadows our city today.

 

Console those who carry a burden of loss, injury, or trauma and empower all who support them.

Strengthen all who seek to stand together in peace and unity.

      

We pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

      

From Tim Annan, Youth President of the Methodist Church:

      

It's hard to look at the images and stories coming out of Manchester today and not feel rage at this horrific act of violence against people; all of whom were just going to live life to its fullest.

      

Lives have been irreconcilably changed last night. An empty seat at the table. A smile and warm embrace; now missing. We stand with all those who grieve this morning, in our thoughts and prayers. Holding the pain with the anger.

      

Yet, in the face of the anger, confusion and grief, the response of the people of Manchester was love and compassion. From the emergency services responding quickly and effectively, to the many people who opened up their homes to those who needed a place to stay, to cab drivers transporting distraught people for free to a place to rest. Even at the darkest moment, humanity, compassion and hope shone through.

      

Beautiful and terrible things will happen, but don't give in to anger or fear. Know that you are surrounded by God's love.

Added on 25/05/2017.

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An Easter Message from the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Dr Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard MBE, speak about confidence, suffering and hope in this year's Easter Message. - Watch here:

http://methodist-news.org.uk/BVI-4VIMD-8959XPH079/cr.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Added on 13/04/2017.

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Ecumenical Lent Groups 2017

We are delighted to announce that, once again, the churches in Morpeth will be running various groups during Lent.

So far we have received details of three different courses.   All of them are open to everyone whether attendees of any church or none:

1)            Lent 2017 - Receiving Christ in 5 Different Ways
Groups will meet weekly for five weeks. So far two venues/days have been arranged. 
Tuesdays from 11.00am  - 12.15  at Morpeth Methodist Church from 7th March
Thursdays from 1.30pm - 3.30pm  at 10 Millside, Morpeth from 9th March
To order your copy your copy of the Course Booklet (price £5.00) please sign the sheet at Reception, Morpeth Methodist Church or phone 511078 (MMC) as soon as possible.

2)  I Daniel Blake (Guided Reflections on the recent film) Wednesdays 7.00pm-8.30, 15 Bankside from 8th March. Contact Jeremy Cooper  jeremylcooper@aol.com

3) The Gospels
Tuesday afternoons at 2pm, St Mary's Church Stannington from 7th March.
Wednesday evenings at 7pm, St Mary's Church Stannington. From 8th March.
Contact for both groups: Revd Richard Ferguson,  r.ferguson1@btinternet.com

Added on 17/02/2017.

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A Christmas Message from the President & Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Dr Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard MBE, speak about the Nativity, Syria and unpromising situations in this year's Christmas Message.
 
 
Full text below:

The shabby collection of rooms was perched on the edge of a steep hill above Amman in Jordan.  We were visiting a family of Syrian refugees who had just had a baby, and were being helped by funding provided by the Methodist charity, All We Can. 

A woman, who we assumed was the grandmother, answered the door and invited us in.  We sat on the floor, along with a local health worker.  The father appeared with the baby, Yosra, and three other small children.  It turned out that the woman was not the grandmother, but rather the mother of the family.  She was just in her 30s, prematurely aged by the privations and stresses of recent years.  They had left Syria four years ago, and now lived in a couple of basic rooms.  The three children were similar ages to my own, but were tiny.  As a refugee the father was banned from working and the family was reliant on support from a charity in order to be able to survive.

What an unpromising situation they were in.  The family were underfed, with very little prospect of being able to improve their circumstances.  They were desperate to go back to Syria, but recognised that this was unlikely any time soon.  And their tiny baby, who slept in my arms, faced growing into adulthood in a foreign country, in poverty.

And yet.  When we asked the father of the family what he wanted for the future, instead of talking about better housing, more food, or even a return to Syria, said "I want my children to be the best people that they can be".  It was breath-taking.  A family were facing immense poverty and dislocation, yet had the highest hopes for the character and contribution of their children.

A similarly unpromising set of circumstances surrounded another young family less than 50 miles away in Bethlehem two millennia ago.  A young girl had given birth to a baby, far from her home and her family, in an outhouse, shared with animals.  She had become pregnant outside marriage, and was only rescued from shame and rejection by her fiancé taking on a baby that wasn't his.  Ahead lay real danger, as the ruler of the area would soon order his soldiers to slaughter all the baby boys.  A dirty, shameful, dangerous situation.  An unpromising set of circumstances.  And yet. This is exactly the place the Messiah, the son of God, was born into.

But should we really be surprised?  This is a God who said that the kingdom of heaven belonged, not to the rich or powerful or religious, but to little children.  This is a God who chose women, tax collectors, fishermen to begin a worldwide movement for the salvation of all people.  Unpromising is not a word which seems to put God off; on the contrary the Bible seems to suggest that God seeks out the unpromising, the weak, the outcast in order to build his kingdom.  The apostle Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, said "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God." (1 Corinthians 27-19)

We are living in times which might be described as unpromising, or even "interesting" according to the old Chinese proverb.  We face great uncertainty in our politics, our economics, our relationships with one another.  Around the planet there is apparently relentless violence, and the poorest, as ever, bear the consequences of our inability to restrain our use of resources. Our own Methodist Church is seeing a continuing decline in members and a shortage of ministers for the churches we have.  The future is surely unpromising.

And yet. Our faith surely prompts us not to turn away purely because any situation looks unpromising.  This doesn't mean facing it with blind and passive optimism.  Instead we have a hope which is grounded in the foolishness of God, which is wiser and stronger than wisdom and strength of the world.  And God is at work in our world, and invites us to join in.  As the theologian Ken Leech said: "hope isn't a state of mind; it's a piece of work".  In the unpromising situations in our world, where is God inviting us to join in?  Where is God asking us to see the treasure that is hidden within the clay jars?  Where is God asking us, not to be optimistic, but rather to be hopeful?

We would like to suggest that you do three things over this "unpromising" Christmas season.

Firstly, the Methodist Church, together with the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union and the Church of Scotland, have produced a short film, "A Very British Nativity", which suggests how Mary and Joseph might have fared arriving in the UK as asylum seekers.  Why not watch it, share it and perhaps show it as part of your Christmas celebrations at church - and reflect on what this unpromising small family might mean for others, asylum seekers and refugees in particular, and how we can make their future more hopeful.

Secondly, we invite you to reflect on something that initially appeared unpromising.  This might be something in your own life, the life of your church, or in the wider society or world.  How was the potential or transformation within each situation revealed?  What was the treasure in the clay jars?

And thirdly ask yourself: what is unpromising in your life or church or community at the moment?  What might God be doing there already - or what might God do if only you would join in?   

In this season we pray that you will have a happy and peace-filled Christmas, and that you will know the love of God who acts through the most unpromising things and people to bring about his kingdom of holiness and justice.

The Revd Dr Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard MBE

Added on 23/12/2016.

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Joint Statement on Aleppo

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have released a statement calling upon the Syrian and Russian Governments and other forces to stop their bombardment of Aleppo.  
 
The humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo has become a tragedy. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has stated that in the two weeks following the collapse of the ceasefire, 376 people have been killed, one third of whom were children, and a further 1266 were wounded.  The international humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontieres‎ said recently that there have been 23 recorded attacks on Aleppo's eight hospitals since the end of July. Seeking medical care has become a danger in itself.

The statement below has been signed by leaders from the six churches representing more than one million people in the UK.

The destruction of Aleppo must stop.  

We are appalled by the attacks on civilians by the Syrian Government, Russian and other forces. Life is a gift of God. The targeting and killing of civilians can never be passed off merely as a consequence of war. Aerial strikes on homes, hospitals and aid convoys are never acceptable, under any circumstances.  
 
The responsibility for such attacks lies first and foremost with those who have carried them out. But the frequency of such attacks in Syria also underlines a failure on the part of the international community to uphold long-established principles concerning the immunity of civilians in conflict. Member states of the United Nations should seek to hold to account the parties responsible for indiscriminate attacks on men, women, children, hospitals, humanitarian and rescue workers, which could be construed as war crimes.

The world cries out for an end to the death and destruction in Syria that daily adds to the largest flight of refugees since the Second World War.  We join with our brothers and sisters of other churches and other faiths in praying for the people of Syria. We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality but offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by God and that the slaughter must end now.
                                   
The signatories to the statement are:

The General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain - the Revd Lynn Green.
The President of the Methodist Church - the Revd Dr Roger Walton.
The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church - the Revd John Proctor.
The Moderator for the Church of Scotland - the Right Revd Dr Russell Bar.
Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain - Paul Parker
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon - the Right Revd John Davies. (1)

Added on 20/10/2016.

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Events

Listed below are forthcoming events at the Morpeth Methodist Church or of interest to its members. Please check with the contact listed for each event to ensure that the details are accurate.

Lunchtime Organ Recital

Friday 7th July 2017 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm

The next recital in this year’s season will be given by Ian Pattison of Lancaster Priory. 

As usual, entrance is free and there will be refreshments to follow.

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Lunchtime Organ Recital

Friday 25th August 2017 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Daniel Cook, organist at Westminster Abbey, makes a very welcome return for the next recital in this year's season.

As usual, entrance is free and there will be refreshments to follow.

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Lunchtime Organ Recital

Friday 29th September 2017 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm

The next recital in this year’s season will be given by Cumbria's Ian Hare. 

As usual, entrance is free and there will be refreshments to follow.

More Information: Via Office

Lunchtime Organ Recital

Friday 20th October 2017 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm

The last of this season's recitals will be given by Jason Lowe - our second visitor this year from Durham Cathedral.

As usual, entrance is free and there will be refreshments to follow.

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Notices

Below is a selection of relevant notices which may be of interest to members. Not all notices from the regular Sunday notice sheet are included here, mainly for privacy reasons.

Common Ground

Thanks to all who made donations in April,  we will collect tinned fruit and vegetables in May. Other items are always welcome.

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Memory Cafe

For people with memory problems or dementia, and their family and friends. Come along for a chat, to pick up information and to enjoy some social time with others in a similar situation to your own. No need to book, please just drop in!

Refreshments will be available.

The café will run on the Thursdays shown below from 10.30 am to 12.00 noon in the Coffee Lounge at the Morpeth Methodist Centre, Howard Terrace, Morpeth. For further information please contact the church office on 01670 511078

or e-mail office@morpethmeth.org

Memory Café Dates - 2017

June 1st and 15th

July 6th and 20th

August 3rd and 17th

September 7th and 21st

October 5th and 19th

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