Pray Without Ceasing
May 12th 2013
As we approach Pentecost, please remember:
- to give thanks that God welcomes each of us whoever we are, with open arms and healing love (Luke 15), and pray that we may truly be a welcoming church, each of us looking out for those returning, visiting or just “dropping in” and offering a genuine caring welcome (see www.methodist.org/mission/welcome-and-invitation )
- to praise God that HMP Northumberland (Acklington) has agreed to invite Prison Fellowship to start the Sycamore Tree programme and to pray for local volunteers coming forward to deliver it
- our friends in Uganda, especially at Kamuzinda Church and schools and our partners locally and in Uganda supporting the Molly and Paul Foundation Schools, giving thanks also for Alice of Mustard Tree Trust preparing to visit them next month
- the Summer Club starting again tomorrow, giving thanks for the friendships nurtured and newcomers welcomed
- several members and friends of the church who are ill or are grieving; please pray for them and their loved ones and all who serve them in the ministries of healing, comforting and companionship.
- with thanksgiving the warm fellowship of all who joined the annual Methodist District Walk to Bothal and back last Monday and the privilege of welcoming them to our church
A Prayer for Christian Aid Week
we are so grateful that you show us the meaning of abundant life, where everyone eats and has enough, where a sharing community is the measure of success and where generosity of heart is true wealth.
We pray for all who during this week will collect house to house for Christian Aid, for courage and cheerfulness in the face if the inevitable setbacks and refusals, for all who will be holding fund-raising events,
and for this opportunity to show love in action. Amen.
May 5th 2013
This Ascension week, please remember:
- with thanksgiving the liveliness of Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB - formerly Women’s Network) encouraging women’s groups in the church to make prayerful active bridges between the Church at home and overseas (see Methodist Recorder 03.05.2013)
- as we mourn the dead and injured in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to pray for justice for sweat-shop workers in many countries - including Britain - exploited and endangered by employers, traders and customers careless of their right to a decent wage and health and safety in their work-places
- our sister churches at Annitsford, Elsdon Lane (Seaton Delaval) and Seghill, their ministers - Revds Malcolm Sellars and Yvonne Tracey, local preachers and stewards
- to praise God for the profound ecumenical cooperation among Syrian Christian traditions in Aleppo, praying for their safety as they walk with God in the cauldron of war
- our elderly friends residing at Riverside House, Foxton Court, Northlands and Harwood Court and all who care for them
- to give thanks and pray for the work of those committed to understanding and reconciliation of conflicts within Israel and Palestine (see Notice of ASHRAY Concert in St George’s URC next Saturday)
- Ascension Day Prayer:
Everliving God, your eternal Christ once dwelt on earth confined by time and space.
Give us faith to discern here and now, in every time and place, the presence among us of Him who is head over all things and fills all, even Jesus Christ our ascended Lord. Amen. [United Methodist Hymnal]
April 28th 2013
This Easter season, please remember:
- with thanksgiving, the members of our Church Council, Leadership Team, Stewards and Office-Holders, praying that they may be filled with the Spirit of grace, wisdom and discernment as they guide the mission of our church
- to give thanks for our partnership with Kamuzinda Victory Church, praising God for their commitment to spreading the good news of His Kingdom and building up His Church in Uganda [see www.morpethmeth.org/files/kVCC Presentation.PDF ]
- dear friends who are unwell, praying that God’s peace may surround and strengthen them and their families
- to give thanks for the work and witness of our sister churches at Blyth URC, Blyth Central and Cowpen, and for opportunities to share in worship with all our Area churches [Area Service today at Doxford Place, Cramlington, at 4 pm]
- with thanksgiving the privilege of fellowship with visitors to our church and Services, praying for them and the churches they come from and that they may they always find a warm welcome among us
- to pray for an end to the savage civil war in Syria, for terrified, abused people on both sides and the 1000s who have fled for refuge in neighbouring countries
- to pray that at home the politics of privilege and envy may give way to those of justice and compassion, building a big-hearted society where all are valued, all can serve the common good and none need be in want
April 21st 2013
This Easter season, please remember:
- ECG Northumberland at KEVI School on 4th and 5th May, praising God for key-note speaker Elaine Storkey and all who will be Encouraged in their Christian life and Growth to reach out to others whose life experiences and cultures may be quite different or disabling
- as we prepare for our church Annual Meeting next Sunday, 28th, to ask the Lord “What would You have me offer in service to our Church and neighbourhood?”: knowing that what we may feel we lack he will supply to prosper his work among and through us* giving thanks for our sister churches at Alnmouth, Amble, Hauxley and North Broomhill, to pray for Revd Lynda ministering to them and us in leadership and pastoral care
- those who will endure unexpected and unjust hardships resulting from changes being brought about in the Welfare State; praying for neighbours in need of our support and encouragement
- that “church is not a building but a place where people gather to help each other learn more about living their lives like Jesus - praying, worshipping, sharing, caring and encouraging one another in their outward mission” [Steve Lindridge, Fresh Expressions enabler for the Methodist Church]
- victims and communities who have suffered terrorist attacks in recent days - in Boston and Baghdad; and in Syria where lives, livelihoods and homes are under brutal attack by “security forces” and extremists alike: pray for perseverance and patience for peacemakers fearlessly confronting the forces of evil that prolong the conflict and suffering
- Out of the darkness the voices are crying,
Terror and fear screaming loud in the night;
God of the hurting, of innocence dying,
fire us with anger to struggle for right. [Jan Berry in StF 625]
April 14th 2013
This Easter season, please remember:
- the special role of women whose love of Jesus - Son of Mary, Son of God - is poured out in faithful, selfless, loving service of others: especially we give thanks for our Women’s Fellowship and for its many years of ministry, pastoral care and support of the wider work of the Methodist Church in Britain and across the world
- with thanksgiving the life-changing work of the Prison Fellowship in prisons across our country including in HMP Northumberland at Acklington: praying for its support of chaplains and Christian volunteers who, through programmes of victim awareness and restorative justice, help prisoners to take responsibility for their actions and who share with them the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation (see www.prisonfellowship.org.uk )
- with love and thankfulness our sister churches at Widdrington (URC and Methodist) and Bedlington (Trinity and Colliery), all much involved in the communities around them and growing disciples to share the love of Jesus
- our annual Church Meeting (Sunday 28th April), giving thanks for each member’s commitment to the Way of Jesus, praying that it may be expressed in glad offering of our talents and time in the service of the church and the world
- friends and families beset by serious illness, long-term disability or infirmity (among them Seana, Genevieve, Colin, Emily and others) and for all who care for them: may the Spirit of courage and compassion enable us to support and strengthen them in their need
- to give thanks for healing ministries promoting wholeness of body, mind and spirit within our Health Services and in community and family relationships, praying God’s blessing upon the new Morpeth NHS Centre soon to be opening with a range of diagnostic, outpatient and primary care services.
April 7th 2013
This Easter season, please remember:
- with thanksgiving the deeply moving, inspiring events of our Holy Week and Easter worship and witness, praying that we may be filled with joy and confidence in our risen Lord and receive his Holy Spirit
- as Revd Lucy Winkett (Rector of St James, Piccadilly) said of J. S. Bach’s music, this Easter “we can catch a vision of life lived together, generously and in peace” [R4 Thought for the Day - 4/4/2013]
- the Revd Paul and his family as he seeks rest, refreshment and renewal in his sabbatical period
- we give thanks for the ministries of all who lead us in worship, Sunday by Sunday, Tuesday by Tuesday, rejoicing in their gifts of prayer, preaching and pastoral care
- nations ruled by paranoid tyrants, especially giving thanks for those of their citizens who long for and dare to stand up for what is right and good and true: we pray for the people of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan….and also other nations emerging from oppression
- those people who are failing to find employment and for whom day-to-day living is a challenge, especially with increases in the price of basic commodities
- “Loving God, often I realise how great is the gap between me and many of my neighbours; people who live in poverty; people who are rejected because of their colour, gender or sexual orientation; people who suffer from abuse and violence. In your mercy, forgive my easy acceptance of all the privileges I enjoy and help me more faithfully to follow Jesus, who gave up all that he had and took the form of a servant.” [Revd John Hellyer, Chairman South East District]
Prayers for Holy Week
These are two pieces of creative writing which I am offering as part of the fruits of my sabbatical, in this case a retreat over the weekend at St. Antony's Priory in Durham. The retreat was called 'Imagining the Passion' and I offer these for use in personal devotions during Holy Week.
Every Blessing, Paul C-T.
We Keep Silence…
We meet together at the foot of the cross
And we grieve for the loss of love in the world.
We meet together at the foot of the cross
And we seek to understand the cruelty inflicted upon you.
We meet here because we want to be with you
Alongside you on the cross.
In our meeting, we keep silence…
We keep silence because words seem inadequate.
We keep silence as you kept silent in the face of your accusers.
And we keep silence with all who are crucified today,
With those who live in despair, in pain,
And with those who have been wronged against.
We meet together at the foot of the cross…
We keep silence…and, in the silence,
God speaks the language of love.
“Mary of Magdala was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.”
We were there....
The men had all deserted him, even Simon Peter.
But we had stayed…we had followed him out of the city,
We had seen a man, another Simon, help him to carry his cross,
And then we had watched him hang on that gruesome cross.
We didn’t leave him, even after he had breathed his last…
Joseph took his body and gave him a proper burial in accordance
with our customs – and we followed to this family tomb;
And now we have time to sit and to remember…
All those special times in Galilee, when he called us by name,
When we believed that God was with him in a special way,
So that even when others ceased to follow him,
We continued to believe that he had the words of eternal life.
But now…what is going to happen now?
He told us that we would see him again,
Where and when will that be?
And he promised us eternal life…
But it is hard for us to picture what that will be like.
And so we sit,
Watching, waiting, remembering, hoping…
Pray Without Ceasing
March 24th 2013
Please remember as we enter Holy Week , to pray :
- Living Lord, your power surrounds us as we face the way Christ trod;
challenge us to fresh commitment to the purposes of God;
called to share the new creation; called to preach a living word,
promised all the joys of heaven through the grace of Christ our Lord..
(from a Liturgy for Holy Communion during Lent)
- two years on from the catastrophic earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, to pray for their governments and people grappling with the continuing task of rebuilding their cities and the common life of stricken communities
- to give thanks for the hard work of teachers in our schools and colleges, of students and their parents, praying that all may be refreshed by the Easter vacation and be eager for the challenges that lie ahead
- giving thanks that the elections in Kenya and the constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe passed off peacefully, we pray for those nations that they may be governed in righteousness and justice, ensuring peace and prosperity for all their peoples
- with thanksgiving our friends recovering from illness and surgery (Seana and Mike and Mary) and pray for others among us in frail health
- how we are challenged by The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty (new report published by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church), “to create a new story; one grounded in truth, compassion and hope” about the real causes of poverty in our country, and not repeat the Press and politicians’ calumny that blames the poor for their poverty and humiliates honest families “scrimping and saving to make it to the end of the week”. [ www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/truthandliesaboutpoverty ]
March 17th 2013
This fifth week of Lent please remember:
- with thanksgiving we continue to pray for Christians from all Morpeth churches meeting for Lent studies on Wednesday evenings discovering more of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and His claim upon all our lives
- our ministers in our Area and town, especially Revd Paul seeking refreshment and renewal through his sabbatical, and Revd Lynda extending her pastoral role with grace and wisdom in his absence
- to give thanks for continuing research into various forms of dementia and their treatment; for both medical and social care that “adds life to their years” for older people especially through skilled, compassionate ministries of healing at home and in every care home and hospital, including our Methodist Homes (MHA) and Westerley Care Homes (LWPT)
- to give thanks for all who bless us with their friendship and support in times of trouble, sickness or loss; and for the privilege of being such a “friend in need”
- we celebrate our partnership in the Gospel with the Christian Victory Church in Kamuzinda, Uganda, the blessings we received through the visits of the Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir, and pray for these children, many of them orphans, in the Molly and Paul Foundation Schools and Villages
- to give thanks for our links with the many users of our Church Centre; and to pray for Christ-like grace and wisdom in building upon these contacts and in every opportunity of making his love and friendship known
- how the Gospels show us the healing power of Jesus flowed from his personal compassion for the sick and sorrowful, and to pray that that same spirit may imbue all engaged in our health and social services, especially at this time of devolution of responsibility for their provision to the new NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups of GPs.
March 10th 2013
This fourth week of Lent please remember:
- these prayers for Mothering Sunday:
for those who have recently become parents, that their homes may be places of love, joy and respect where children and adults grow together in wisdom and understanding
for those watching their children suffer, that they may find help, comfort and support in the knowledge of God’s parental love for them;
for those dependent on their children and for children who have to take care of their parents, that God will give both carer and cared for the love, strength and patience they need
- the Christian churches of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially our brothers and sisters in Haiti, Montserrat and Bahamas making slow recoveries from the natural disasters that devastated their lands - in Haiti with great loss of life; and pray for our Newcastle District’s partnership with the Methodist Church in Cuba
- we give thanks for Parents &Toddlers, the creating friendships and enriching families in our neighbourhood; and pray for Messy Church (Storey Park 23rd March) gathering many families to hear and share the story of God’s love for all offered in Jesus his dear Son
- our Methodist neighbours in Darlington District and our shared concern for the future work of the Wesley Study Centre, Durham, giving thanks for this source of spiritual growth and theological nourishment vital for the making of our own ministers and preachers
- God our mother, you hold our life within you,
nourish us at your breast and teach us to walk alone.
Help us so to receive your tenderness and respond to your challenge
that others may draw life from us, in your name. Amen [Janet Morley in All Desires Known]
March 3rd 2013
This third week of Lent please remember:
- with our Anglican friends we give thanks for the appointment of Revd Simon White as the new Rector of the Parish of Morpeth and pray God’s blessing on Simon and Jane and family as they move to Morpeth.
- the people of south Sudan where the Khartoum government is killing or driving out the Nubian tribes, destroying their villages, crops and livestock; pray that UN and all nations may sever all ties with and bring to justice President Omar Al-Bashir already indicted for crimes against humanity in Darfur, and take steps to save the Nubian people from genocide
- we rejoice in the reopening of the refurbished Church of St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth: may God bless its people as they rededicate this ancient church to God’s glory on Mothering Sunday
- Messy Church meeting at Storey Park on 23rd March and praise God for increasing interest and numbers of families attending and for the ecumenical team of leaders
- giving thanks for their Christian witness and long service in our community, we pray for Douglas and Ruth MacFarlane as they seek a successor owner for their Christian LifeStyle Books and Music shop
- our Church Council meeting on Tuesday 5th that God may guide their discussions and decisions on our behalf.
- “Our world is so divided, Lord,
divided by faiths, divided by nations,
divided by wealth and divided by opportunities.
Even our churches are divided,
with such different views, ideas and dreams.
You draw all to yourself, Lord,
that all your children might be one.
Help us to follow Jesus in crossing the chasm,
uniting a divided world until, with you,
we find we are one once more. Amen.”
[Revd John Howard, EAPPI human rights observer in the Occupied West Bank, Palestine: see METHODIST RECORDER 01/03/2013]