Christchurch Methodist Church

Springfield Road, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex TN40 2BX

Christchurch Methodist Church

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Minister's Letter

From the Minister - April 2018 
Dear Friends 
Over the years many people have tried to catch one another out with foolish tricks on April Fool’s Day. Newspapers, magazines and television programmes also get in on the act and report fake stories which are usually explained the next day. It is embarrassing to be caught out and become an April Fool. But the apostle Paul says that God chose to look foolish. To many people, the whole idea of Jesus, God’s Son, ending up on a cross just made God look silly. (1 Corinthians 1.18-25) Yet it is by the cross that we are set free. 
At first sight the events of Holy Week seem to be simply self-destructive and the end of everything. As Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his suffering and death they failed to understand why it was necessary for the Messiah, God’s chosen one, to suffer and die. Yet through the ages Christians have looked to the events of Holy Week and found in them comfort in their sufferings, an example of self-giving love and the assurance of knowing that they are loved and valued. 
The disciples had not imagined the resurrection. It is no wonder that they disbelieved the women who told them about the empty tomb and the angel who had declared ‘He is not here – he has been raised.’ When Jesus defeated death it was the earthly powers who had put him to death on the cross who were made to look foolish. In his rising to new life, Jesus invites people to share his foolish way and so find the life that is let loose by his triumph over death. 
April Fool’s Day may have its origins in the change to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. Before the change New Year was celebrated at the end of March, with festivities ending on 1st April. With communications not as good as they are now, not everybody got the message about the change of the calendar or refused to accept it. Those who continued to celebrate the “old” new year on 1st April became known as “April Fools”. 
As God’s ‘foolishness’ is recalled in the celebrations of Easter there are still many people, inside and outside our churches, who don’t get the message. They will continue to live, sensible and reasonable lives. 
But we remember Holy Week and Easter so as to be inspired again to embrace God’s foolish and unconventional way. Paul teaches us that for the Christian the weak and foolish things of this world have become a source of strength and wisdom. For through them God has made himself known as Lord and Saviour. 
As we journey through Holy Week may we gain a new understanding of God’s foolishness and be inspired to greater loving and an Easter full of joy and life.     

Focus for Prayer – April 2018 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you. 
(1 Peter 1:3-4) 
· Pray that Church may be renewed with the joy and gladness of the presence of the risen Christ and be a sign of the light and life that Christ gives to people everywhere. 
· Give thanks for springtime and new life bursting out all around us. Praise God for the glory of sunrise and sunset and the beauty of the world that He has made. 
· Pray that God may bless our homes and families, our places of work and leisure, with new life and the hope of new possibilities touching the ordinary with beauty and joy. 
· Pray for all who are going through a time of difficulty, loss or sadness; may the joy of Easter fill their hearts with new hope and the presence of the risen Christ give them comfort and strength. 
· Pray for the South East District synod that will be meeting at Kent College, Pembury on 21 April. As representatives from each Circuit meet to receive reports and share news pray that may they be encouraged by all that God is doing in the South East area. 
· Another Safeguarding Training session will be held on 11 April at St Leonards. Pray for Circuit and Church Safeguarding Officers as they offer guidance to enable us to make our churches safe places for everyone. 
· Pray for the world we live in and all who lead and take important decisions; may they be guided into the ways of peace and justice. 
If you have any particular requests for next month’s Prayer Focus, please contact Revd. Tricia Williams
Thy Kingdom Come 10th - 20th May 
Thy Kingdom Come is a global, ecumenical call to prayer between Ascension and Pentecost (10-20 May). The initiative began as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England in 2016. 
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury writes: 
“In praying “Thy Kingdom Come” we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.” 
Methodists are already involved in Thy Kingdom Come in a number of ways but the Methodist Church has now become a formal partner in the initiative. Thy Kingdom Come encourages us to commit to prayer together for 10 days along with people in 85 countries around the world. 
The Circuit will be offering several opportunities to engage with Thy Kingdom Come during the ten day period. Further details will follow but here is an outline of what has been planned so far: 
Sunday 6 May: Everyone in every church in the Circuit will receive a ‘prayer pack’ including a candle, bookmark and ideas to focus prayers. 
Thursday 10 May: Ascension Day Ian will lead an Ascension Day service at 7.30pm at The Emmanuel Centre in Battle and launch ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’ 
Saturday 12 May: Tricia will lead a creative prayer session at Christchurch from 10.00-12.00 
Tuesday 15 May: Peggy will focus on The Lord’s Prayer at St Leonard’s-on-Sea from 10.00-12.00 fitting in with the regular Tuesday morning Coffee Shop and prayer gathering. 
Wednesday 16 May: Tricia will lead the ‘Three Churches in Little Common’ monthly ecumenical gathering using The Lord’s Prayer as a focus for worship and prayer. 
Thursday 17 May: Ian will lead a session on silent prayer at Pett from 7.30pm 
It is also hoped that one or more volunteers at each church will create a prayer space that can be available throughout the 10 day period for individuals to use as they choose. 
On Pentecost Sunday a candle will begin to make its way around the Circuit including John Wesley’s Chapel in Winchelsea, Staplecross School, Lauriston and Richmond. It is hoped that the candle will be delivered from one location to the next by someone who will worship with the receiving congregation. 
After the candle has gone round the Circuit there will be another Circuit prayer day at the beginning of the new Connexional Year on 5 September. 
This prayer has been written for ‘Thy Kingdom Come’: 
Almighty God, your ascended Son has sent us into the world to preach the good news of your kingdom: inspire us with your Spirit and fill our hearts with the fire of your love, that all who hear your Word may be drawn to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

© Copyright 2017 Christchurch Methodist Church
Hastings Bexhill & Rye Methodist Circuit - Charity number 1134757