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

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Methodist Church

Minister’s Message for July 2022

Dear Friends

The Methodist Church gives its ministers a gift of a three month sabbatical every seven years. This sabbatical was different for me because Catherine and I were able to spend the sabbatical space together. We were both looking at different aspects of ministry, Catherine was reflecting on the Psalms and I was looking at ways of exploring faith and spirituality for older people. We were able to attend three retreats during that time, one with John Bell from the Iona Community, one looking at the Psalms and one which was called ‘look at the birds’ where we were invited to stop and look at the birds of the air. Each of these retreats was a time of reflection which gave us new insights into our faith in different ways. I’m still writing up the notes of the books I read at Cliff College and at other times during the sabbatical and of course we are still looking through the photographs of the places where we went and the people that we met. We were able to join with our daughter in Scotland over Easter which we have not been able to do for many years and to join the family on the first day of sabbatical when we were given the sat nav reference for a mystery trip which turned out to be to the Ashdown Forest to walk the Winnie the Pooh trail together!

To be able to stop and to reflect is a gift in today’s world and which is something that we all seek to do. We were able to do so for those three months, to take time to stop and pray and discover new experiences and see old experiences in a new light. Coming back to the circuit meant the joy of meeting up with everybody again, sharing conversation, tea and cake, worship and singing.

During the retreat ‘look at the birds’ we caught the enthusiasm that the retreat leader Mark has for the great variety of birds that are around us. Catherine and I now look up and see what we didn’t see before as a bird soars on the thermal currents high above us and we stop at the sound of birdsong. Before I would not have noticed but now I do. Perhaps that what faith does for us as well, allowing us to stop and to look at the world in new ways, as we continue to explore the way of God in involved in the world. One of the things that I found when thinking about spirituality when we are older is that we continue to discover the way of God, no matter what our age and experience, as we share the adventure of faith and the way of our discipleship through our continuing story.

In July we say farewell to Rev Tricia and Dave. They have both shared much with us in the life of the Circuit and Tricia’s ministry has been blessed to us in many different ways. Tricia’s farewell service will be held at Little Common Methodist Church on July 24th at 4.00 pm. Please come along if you can as we celebrate Tricia’s ministry here.

As I’m sure you’re aware I will be handing on the baton at the beginning of September to Rev Crawford Logan who is coming to us from the Clacton-on-Sea section of the Tendring Circuit and we look forward to welcoming Crawford to the circuit on September 4th at 3.00 pm at St Leonards-on-Sea Methodist Church (SLMC). Interestingly I too was in part of the Tendring Circuit at Harwich for my second ministerial appointment back in the 1990’s so we know many of the same people over in Essex! While I will then no longer have direct pastoral charge at Christchurch I look forward to being able to meet with you all on many occasions in the future.

May God’s blessing and peace be with us all


Rev Philip Wagstaff

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Hastings Bexhill & Rye Methodist Circuit - Charity number 1134757