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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 September 2019 issue, beginning with letters from Janet and Gavin.

Dear Friends,

Over 3 years ago I was “packing my bags” in readiness for our move to the North East, and I now have the privilege of working in Longbenton. Sixteen years ago I “came into circuit” in the Ulverston circuit, but, more importantly for myself and for the Church, two years later, I was received into Full Connexion and ordained at Teignmouth Methodist Church, near Torquay. These acts were the conclusion of seven years’ training and confirmation that I have been given by God as a minister for the church. It also confirms for me that God has used and will use the gifts and graces I possess and develop them further for his work. I am wanted for God’s purposes! Even me!

        During these years Hymn 705 in Hymns and Psalms (566 in Singing the Faith) has had a special meaning for me. Read the hymn but put yourself into it.

Take my life, and let it be                                Take my silver and my gold,

consecrated, Lord, to thee;                              not a mite would I withhold;

take my moments and my days,                       take my intellect, and use

let them flow in ceaseless praise.                     every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my hands, and let them move                 Take my will, and make it thine;

at the impulse of thy love;                                it shall be no longer mine;

take my feet, and let them be                           take my heart – it is thine own;

swift and beautiful for thee.                             It shall be thy royal throne.

Take my voice, and let me sing                       Take my love; my Lord, I pour

always, only, for my King;                              at thy feet its treasure-store;

take my lips, and let them be                           take myself, and I will be

filled with messages from thee.                        Ever, only, all for thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-79)

The hymn has enabled me to continue in my calling by realising that if I give of myself God will use me.

But it is not only ministers who are called to work for God. Each one of you is called into his service. When you give of yourself God uses what you offer. He needs you. Let him use you.

Every blessing in Christ,

Janet

Dear Friends

You may be aware that young people around the world are taking the lead in challenging the rest of the population to take more seriously the climate emergency. They have been encouraging adults to join them in a Global Strike for the Climate on September 20 and 27.

Are these young people the prophetic voices for change that our generation needs to hear?

These strikes are being supported by lots of church groups including Christian Aid and JPIT (the Joint Public Issues Team of the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches and the Church of Scotland), who say:

“For many of the children out on strike, they are too young to vote and so they do not have a say in who forms their governments. Yet it is children and teenagers who are realising the gravity and urgency of tackling climate breakdown in ways our political leaders have so far failed to grasp. Along with poor communities around the world already suffering from the lack of political action, young people will bear the brunt of our failure to act. The saying ‘Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom’ has its roots in the eighth psalm. It feels like an appropriate summary for these youth-led global strikes.”

While many of us have made changes to our lifestyles to “do our bit” for the climate (though I know I need to do more), the evidence shows that such major changes are needed that only big shifts in government policy can address them. The strikes by the young people are happening because those in power don’t seem

prepared to make these changes. Today I came across this quote by Martin Luther King, which seems appropriate to this situation:

“Cowardice asks the question: ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks, ‘Is it politic?’  Vanity asks, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but because it is right.”

In what ways are we being called to join our voices with the young people in our communities, to urge those in power to do the right thing, to make those vital changes that will be unpopular with those who have so many vested interests? As Christians, is this becoming an ever more important part of our discipleship, as stewards of God’s creation, and partners with God in the work of making all things new?

May the Lord give us wisdom to know what part we can play.

With every blessing,

Gavin

Light party for Halloween  – 4 - 5.30 p.m. Thursday October 31

Our October Messy Church session will take the form of a Light Party. With games, craft activities and worship (and refreshments) we’ll be celebrating Jesus, the Light of the World. People of all ages are welcome – children must be accompanied by an adult.

 

A NEW FELLOWSHIP GROUP AT LUNCH TIME

You are invited to make yourself a sandwich for lunch

and bring it with you to a new fellowship group

which I started in July and meets monthly.

Cups of tea and coffee will be provided.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday October 1st

from 11.30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

at St. Andrew’s.

Please will you think about it and join me then.

Betty Fellows

First Saturday Coffee Morning  10 - 11.30 a.m. October 5

In spite of the fact that some of our usual customers were not at the September coffee morning, the amount of £206.45 was raised and thanks are due to everyone concerned. £200 has been sent to Josie’s Dragonfly Trust in Hexham and we have sufficient in our “Rainy Day Fund” to respond to any disaster appeal in the future. Do try to join us in the Liddell Hall on Saturday, October 5, when we hope to raise funds for Christians Against Poverty.                                                                                                                                                                                        Jean Green

Network

“To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

                    Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Authorised version)

The Rev. Gavin Hume kindly conducted our very last meeting on September 10 and we looked back at highlights

over the years and shared memories of members no longer with us. We had an amount of £400 left in the bank and decided to send £100 each to Christian Aid, Newcastle Women’s Aid, Tynesight and SIFT, the charity for which Margaret Storey works in Nicaragua.                     Jean Green

Gavin encouraged us by pointing out that God works with his people through death and resurrection. After our Wednesday coffee morning closed, Girls Allowed began. As Network closes, the lunchtime fellowship group has begun to meet. What next?                                                                   Ed.

 

Girls Allowed Group  (G.A.G.)

2 p.m. Thursday September 26th

Our contact: tel. 266 4737 or 266 8403.   

                                            Pauline Oliver, Margaret Wall

News from our Methodist Circuit

1.Achieving our full potential

The Rev. Paul Cleever-Thorpe wrote this at the end of August.

It is good to be able to share these thoughts with you, even though you will not be reading this magazine until after our September Circuit Meeting, my first as Superintendent. I am personally grateful to Peter Holwell for the leadership which he has given, along with our Circuit Stewards, over the past two years. I have chosen, as our theme for our Circuit meeting: “Achieving our full potential”. Perhaps we ought to add… “by the grace of God”.

Since 2016 we have been encouraged to hold Education Sunday on the second Sunday in September, I assume to coincide with the start of the new academic year. As our new Prime Minister promises plentiful spending in areas like education, I suppose the question which many will ask is: “In which area(s) will the money be spent?” This morning’s headline suggests one area of particular need:

“Progress to close the achievement gap for poorer pupils in England's secondary schools is almost at a standstill,” say researchers.

The Education Policy Institute says disadvantaged pupils are on average 18 months behind the rest of the class in academic achievement by the age of 16.

When I was in the Sunderland Circuit our Eden Team leader committed three hours per week to supporting students and staff on an Exclusion Unit attached to a local secondary school. James’ presence and his ability to build trust, with the boys especially, paved the way for some of them to engage with the local church to which the Eden Team was attached. It was wonderful to see these lads begin to flourish and to engage with the Christian faith!

This year’s theme for Education Sunday is

“Form & Flourish – to Re-form.”

Perhaps the Bible verse which springs to mind here is John 10:10, where Jesus clearly sees in every human being the capacity for them to achieve their full potential, to flourish and to live life in all its fullness. I hope that, as churches, we create spaces in which those who join us can be accepted, valued, nurtured where that may be needed, and given every opportunity to meet with Jesus and discover the joy of knowing him…and so be “formed” and “flourish” in him.

There can be many barriers to education and learning, not least at the present time for the 1 in 10 children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 16 who have mental health challenges. Justin Welby mentions this statistic in his own reflections on Education Sunday this year. He also draws our attention to the spoiled vessel in the prophet Jeremiah and how we can all be “re-formed” by God’s grace. We believe, do we not, in the God of new beginnings?

So, please pray, for those known to us (my own wife included) who work in the education sector – for all who teach, all who study, and all who work in schools, colleges and universities, including our Chaplains, our “Stand by Me” Chinese student worker and our Churches Together teams who run “Open the Book” – that, again in the words of Justin Welby, “they may flourish and be open to knowing God’s love as they are formed and re-formed.”

                                       Blessings and prayers for you all,                                        Paul

2. Circuit Service – September 3

This was a challenging and joyful occasion. We were welcomed to Trinity, Gosforth, by its minister, Peter Holwell, but many other ministers and preachers also took part, and our hearty singing was led in turn by Trinity’s worship band and by Peter Waugh on the organ.

Stephen Lindridge, the Chair of our District, opened our minds to deeper meaning in Jesus’ familiar words to his first disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people,” by presenting the more accurate translation, “Follow me, and I shall be making you to be becoming fishers of people.” The process Jesus begins in each of us immediately we decide to follow him will continue to make us more effective “fishers” as we grow in faith and in insight into other people’s culture and ways of thinking – and the challenge is to every one of us, not just to the gifted or ordained.

Stephen thanked the outgoing circuit superintendent, Peter Holwell, and gave the charge to Paul Cleever-Thorpe, his successor, who told us that as he had worked under eleven superintendents he hoped he had learned something about the task before him! Stephen also introduced to us Adele Moorhouse, who has been serving at St. John’s, Kingston Park, for some months now. He then welcomed and gave the charge to Deacon Andrew Carter, who is to preach in the circuit and work with the Gosforth team.

His final task was to present David Thornton with a certificate to celebrate his fifty years of preaching. David gave a powerful account of how he had become a preacher, and Gavin Hume, before he led us in prayer, remarked that David had been preaching longer than he, Gavin, had been alive!

A light-hearted tone ran through the whole service. Stephen had forgotten his reading glasses, so whenever he needed to read something Peter Holwell lent him his pair. Just one illustration of the advantages of Methodists working together “in connexion”!                                                        Margaret Burchell

3. Circuit Meetings

At the circuit meeting on June 11, Mark Burdon, of Trinity, Wallsend, said he felt called to candidate for the diaconal ministry. After hearing his testimony, the meeting voted in favour. If he passes the selection process, Deacon Andrew Carter is to mentor him.

The next circuit meeting on September 11 invited Deacon Gail Morgan to stay for another five years from 2020. Michael Ball is to be recognised as a local preacher. Allen Memorial church building has been sold to the Life Vineyard Church, to open for worship there from September 15. Action for Children is to open four small care homes (each for about four children) in our area. Pilgrims’ Court seeks Christian befrienders for lonely residents. All churches should look again at their growth plans. The February circuit meeting will be on 27.2.20 at St. Andrew’s.

Safeguarding Courses in 2020: – January 11 (a.m.) and June 2 (evening)

If you need to take this church-specific course for the first time, or if it is four years since your last course and you need a “refresher”, please book these dates now.