Christchurch Methodist Church

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

Christchurch Methodist Church

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Methodist Church

Minister's Letter

October 2019

Dear Friends

Our harvest celebrations have reminded us that we live in a country of abundance - we are able to enjoy a wide variety of food and never really go hungry. We have rightly given thanks to God for the gifts of harvest and for all those who work to provide our food. Mindful of those who are not as fortunate, our harvest gifts have been given to the food bank and other local charities to help those in need as an expression of our calling to love our neighbour.

We live in a wonderful world and the harvest celebrations also remind us that God calls us to be good stewards of the earth and its resources. We have all become aware of the challenges facing our world and the struggles that many people face in farming their land and the increasing challenges as a result of climate change.

This has prompted me to think about St Francis whose feast day falls on 4th October when many churches will celebrate his life and ministry. Francis’ spirituality was rooted in the love of nature and he understood that salvation embraces all of creation and this underpinned his whole approach to mission. As one who had a living relationship with the earth, Francis would highlight the ecological crisis facing the world today and help us to discover how the redeeming love of Christ can bring healing to the earth.

Although born into a wealthy family, Francis renounced all material goods and family ties to embrace a life of poverty. In so doing he identified with the poor and the marginalised. Francis modelled his life on Christ who ‘rich as he was, made himself poor’. He was particularly challenged by hearing Christ’s instructions to the Apostles to travel light (Matthew 10:7-11) whilst attending Mass on the feast of St Matthias in 1209. Francis took Jesus literally and, in a typically impulsive act threw away his tunic, staff, belt and sandals and went about barefoot dressed only in a simple tunic tied at the waist. Although he adopted an austere lifestyle calling for peace and love of neighbour he was always full of joy because he discovered that his vocation was to be with the poor.

Francis was passionate about communicating the gospel and he did not wait for people to come to meet him but went out to where people were and was always looking for opportunities to share the gospel message. Although he was a gifted speaker and used songs, mime and story to present his message, he believed that the effectiveness of the gospel message lay in the actions and example of the speaker. He would seek to win people to Christ by living out the gospel message and encouraging others to do the same.

The Church is deeply indebted to St Francis, not least for the beautiful hymns ‘All creatures of our God and King’ and ‘Make me a channel of your peace’ which are attributed to his poetry.  So let us give thanks to God for the life and witness of St Francis and for all that we can learn from his spirituality and approach to mission.

Every blessing

Rev Tricia Williams

Superintendent Minister

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Hastings Bexhill & Rye Methodist Circuit - Charity number 1134757