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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. Janet Jackson is the minister for Longbenton and Rev. Gavin Hume is the minister for the other two churches.

Here are some items from the April 2019 issue, beginning with letters from Janet and Gavin.

Dear friends

You are all invited to come and share again in the Easter story.

The Easter season begins on the high of Palm Sunday with shouts of exaltation and the waving of palms. We are always eager to join with our friends in celebration, living for the moment. How many of us think beyond that? Jesus did. As he travelled to Jerusalem he knew what would greet him there. It would be hard, but he set his mind resolutely on the future.

    Sometimes it’s hard being a Christian. At times our friends or members of our family don’t seem to understand us. Sometimes we even doubt ourselves. Can we really do what God wants? Can we fulfil the calling we hear? It may amaze you to realise that Jesus felt like this too. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus went to Gethsemane with his disciples and went off to a quiet place to converse with God. Jesus prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

    Jesus trusted in his Father. He knew his Father’s love for him would bring him through the trials that were to follow. We too have to trust in God’s love for us. When times are difficult and we lose hope or faith let us remember the Easter story. The pain of Good Friday gave way to the joy of Easter Day.

    Fred Pratt Green puts it like this:

Then put your trust in Christ, in waking and in sleeping.

His grace on earth sufficed; he’ll never quit his keeping:

Come, share our Easter joy that death could not imprison,

nor any power destroy, our Christ, who is arisen!

 

With blessings for an eventful and moving Easter as we share together,      

Janet                 

Dear friends,

Some of the favourite novels I have read are those with a twist at the end. A surprise in the plotline that I just didn’t see coming. A shocking end to the story that sets me thinking back to all that has happened before that point, and gives a different perspective on everything. I then wonder why I missed the subtle clues that were there all along.

Perhaps there are aspects of the gospel story that are similar. At least if we try and read them from the point of view of the people who were there, and who didn’t yet know what lay ahead.

But the twist in the plotline of the gospel, that we prepare to celebrate at Easter, is not just something that happened, but the pattern of how God works his purposes out. The story of death and resurrection.

And sometimes, in the story of our lives, and the story of our world, it may feel like Friday ... but Sunday’s coming!

 

War-makers have their heyday on Friday

Peaceful voices crying ‘Mayday’ on Friday

Fear is everywhere, hope is dying

Bombs are ready while the planes are flying

Sunday’s coming.

Open up your Sunday eyes

Look with wonder and surprise

You’ll see the truth, you’ll see the lies

Sunday’s coming.

The wheel of fortune turns and the rich get their favours

The poor and hungry go on looking for a saviour

Prophet calls for justice, he ends up dying

But you can’t silence truth ’cos it will keep on crying

“Sunday’s coming.”   

from the song “Sunday’s Coming” by Keith Medema

 

This Easter season, may the Lord open up our “Sunday eyes”!

With every blessing,

Gavin

 

(Not only Women's) World day of Prayer – Fri. March 1

The World Day of Prayer is a worldwide, ecumenical, women-led movement. Each year we admire the strength of the communities who participate, empathise with their concerns, and are encouraged by their faith. Our vision is of a world in which all women can make decisions about their own lives. As we move forward we look for signs of encouragement and solidarity.

Our offering in the service is one of those signs as it is used to strengthen communities throughout the world by supporting programmes which enable women and children to have a better quality of life.

 Our service for 2019, written by women from Slovenia, held in St. Bartholomew’s Church and led by members of churches in Longbenton, Benton, West Moor and Killingworth, inspired us to love our neighbour as ourselves and to pray and work for the growth of God’s kingdom.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been asked to write the World Day of Prayer service for 2022. The theme will be “I know the plans I have for you.” The Bible text is Jeremiah 29:11.                                                   Ed.

 

A personal reflection by Cilla Colquhoun:

When a company or organisation changes its name, it is difficult at first to remember and use its new name. This seems to have happened with the “Women’s World Day of Prayer”, which is now the “World Day of Prayer”. The old title looked as if it was prayers just for women. It simply meant that women were writing these prayers for everyone – including men – to pray.

The prayers for 2019 were planned by the Christian women of Slovenia, one of the smallest countries in Europe. Their prayers were formed into a prayer service. Each year copies of the prepared service are sent out around the world to a committee in each country, which produces a translated text including hymns in its own language. When copies of the order of service reach our local committee, a local service in a local church is arranged. (We choose a different church each year.) The committee for our area has representatives of about eight churches, of various denominations.

Each church is asked to provide a reader for the service. This year West Moor’s reader was Rita Stage, who took the part of “Marjeta”. Marjeta learned her faith and her prayers from her mother and grandmother, but Slovenia had come under a socialist communist rule and Christians were second class citizens. Marjeta, barred from higher education, had to leave the country to find work. The country became independent and free from communist rule in 1991, and Marjeta and her husband, after they retired, were able to come home. We heard experiences of other women from Slovenia, and it all blended into a lovely and thoughtful hour of music, hymns and worship – with no men!

Please, when next year’s service is announced (the first Friday in March 2020) make sure you join us – you are welcome!

 "First Saturday" Coffee Morning   10 - 11.30 a.m. April 6

Although I wasn’t able to be at the March coffee morning I am assured that a good time was had by all, and I would like to thank Noreen Henderson and Glynis Ward for stepping in to take care of the cake stall. The amount raised was £274.10 (which includes £31.40 for cakes and marmalade sold in February). £250 was sent to the Christian Blind Mission. At the beginning of April the charity to benefit will be “Heel and Toe”, a north eastern charity which helps children with physical disabilities. Do join us in the Liddell Hall for coffee and a chat, and maybe purchase some of the goods we have for sale.                                                                    Jean Green

Thanks from the Christian Blind Mission

The kindness shown by your congregation will have double the impact in the world’s poorest places. Your support will help even more children like Allen and Charlotte, living in Uganda and Rwanda, “see the way” to a brighter future. By your choosing to be part of our See the Way appeal, the £250 you raised will be doubled by the UK government and help us to deliver twice as much sight-saving surgery, glasses and support that will enable children to attend school, read and write, get around safely and build a future where they can support themselves. Together we are strengthening eye health systems and working to build communities where no one is needlessly blind.                                                     Jacqueline Atkinson