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Our newsletter, Tidings, is published 10 times a year to be available at the beginning of each month but, to give the editor a break, there are no January or August editions.  It is circulated to members and friends of three churches, namely Longbenton Methodist Church, West Moor Methodist Church and St. Andrew's Church (Methodist and United Reformed) at a cost of 40 p a copy.  Rev. Alison Wilkinson is the minister for Longbenton and Rev. Gavin Hume is the minister for the other two churches.

Here are some items from the May 2018 issue, beginning with letters from Gavin Hume and Alison Wilkinson.

Dear Friends

When did you last change your mind about something?

Sometimes it can be a difficult thing to do, or a difficult thing to admit. Sometimes the culture around us seems to demand constancy and consistency, such that changing our mind is seen as a sign of weakness.

Politicians are lambasted for “making a U turn” when they change their minds about something, and others are lauded for having resolute, unwavering opinions.

However, in reality we change our minds all the time, but most readily on things that will benefit us. We tend to resist changes that may benefit others but feel like a threat to us. We may convince ourselves that this resistance is purely a matter of moral or Biblical principle, but sometimes it is more about something that takes us way beyond our comfort zone. (There are, of course, important principles to which we need to hold fast in the midst of changing times, but history is full of examples of when the Church has been sadly mistaken about what is really important!)

In the light of the season of Pentecost, as we read about the coming of the Spirit, and the work of the Spirit, in the book of Acts, I’m struck more and more by the way the Spirit leads to all kinds of changes that require people to change their minds. Uncomfortable changes, theological changes, controversial changes. Changes which lead to changed lives, and changed communities.

One central character of course is Paul the Apostle. His mind is dramatically changed, from seeing the early Christian Church as a threat that must be stamped out by any means necessary, to becoming an Apostle who would not only bring about huge growth in the Church, but also help to enable a huge theological shift to take place, a changing of many minds.

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

This change of mind does not happen once and for all when we decide to follow Christ, but is part of our lifelong journey of discipleship.

Has the Spirit been nudging you to change your mind about something, or someone? What changes are we resisting? Is it time to prayerfully discern if this resistance is what God really wants? It might be – but it might not!

Changing our minds can be a sign of maturity and strength, not weakness. So may God bless us in whatever U turns we need to make!

With love,

Gavin

 

Dear Friends,

Can I confess something to you all? I’m a bit of a royalist. As a 16-year-old I slept on the street before Prince Charles’ and Diana’s wedding! What were my parents thinking? A group of us from my youth club went up to London and I have to say we had a ball! I have photographic evidence of me in a policeman’s helmet, climbing on the lions in Trafalgar Square – and a few blurry shots of carriages passing by.

The day Prince William and Kate got married, I was supposed to be leading the Bible studies at ECG in Llandudno with my husband, David, and so thought I had no chance of going to London.

Then I had a great idea. Why didn’t we look at the Wedding at Cana that day for our Bible study? That would give me the opportunity to report live from the streets of London during the session! So that’s what we did. Westminster Central Hall is opposite Westminster Abbey and all the press and the cameras were up on the roof. I got to mingle with the official press and report using just my trusty iPhone. So much fun!

All weddings are fun, not just royal weddings. Friends and family celebrate the love of a couple and enjoy the good party. It’s no wonder Jesus used the picture of a wedding party as an illustration of heaven.

Joy unbounded. Love celebrated. Everyone invited. The last are first, the first last. God’s kingdom is being established fully.

So as I watch the royal wedding this time from the comfort of my sofa, I’ll remember the other great party I’m invited to, and be thankful that the invitation list includes all people.

I need to tell people so they don’t miss out!

With love,

 Alison

“FIRST SATURDAY” COFFEE MORNING – 10 - 11.30 a.m. June 2

Although I wasn’t at the May coffee morning I was told that there was plenty going on, and the amount of £227 raised was certainly worthwhile. This enabled £200 to be sent to Open Doors, a charity which supports persecuted Christians throughout the world.

In June we hope to support Youth for Christ and look forward to your company in the Liddell Hall between 10 and 11.30 a.m..

In addition we’ll be collecting tinned meat for The People’s Kitchen as their stocks run low at this time of the year.                                    Jean Green

 

NETWORK SUMMER COFFEE EVENINGS – three Tuesdays

So that members and friends can keep in touch over the summer, before our regular afternoon meetings start again on September 11, the following coffee evenings will be held on Tuesdays from 7.30 p.m.:

            June 26            with Sue Payne                                                           9 Harriot Drive

            July 24 with Margaret and Howard Burchell              4 The Oval

            August14        with Jean and Peter Green                              21 Elm Grove

Everyone (male or female, young or old) is welcome.

 

CAFÉ CHURCH WITH MESSY CHURCH – 10 a.m. Saturday June 23

Bring your family and friends for fun, food, making things and worship.

 

TRAIDCRAFT STALL – Sunday June 24

Buy your fairly traded goods from us.       The Traidcraft Team

 

G.A.G (Girls Allowed Group) – 2 p.m. Thursday June 28

        Come and let your tongue wag!           Pauline Oliver, Margaret Wall