Messages at Baddeley Edge

Baddeley Edge may only be a small Church, but as friends and members were asked to brighten up the cross for those walking by they did so.

We may be closed for services, but the love is still there for all to see and more will be added as they are received

Responding to our current situation a letter from our Superintendent

27th April, 2020

Superintendents 3rd letter

Many years ago I bought a book written by Rowan Williams (long before he became Archbishop of Canterbury). I read it, didn’t understand it and so sent it to the second hand bookshop. It was called ‘Resurrection’. A few months ago I came across it again, second hand and thought I would try again. I understand more of it now.

Williams begins by making the point that the first experience of the disciples on Easter day is one of absence. The women go to the tomb and are met with the words ‘He is not here. He has risen.’ They probably only heard the first half of that, whereas we are more likely only to hear the second. Part of the reason for that is that in our culture absence, like silence is seen as wrong in some way, and part is that we tend to rush to the end of the story because we know the outcome.

Then the pandemic arrived and I realised for many people absence will be the hallmark of this Easter. Absence of the person close to them who has died, or absence of the people they would wish to share time with or a whole host of other absences which will be felt and cannot be overcome by technology no matter how much we try. Most, if not all of us will know how that feels.

Our initial experience of absence is that it is about something missing, it causes us to look back. But when we have looked back, and in a sense come to terms with that, then absence becomes a way of looking forward, indeed becomes essential to our finding a new future. The women leaving the tomb encounter the risen Christ and are prohibited from touching him and holding onto him. To hold on is part of the looking back, but their calling, and ours, as part of the church is to look forward and live forward, into the new life Christ brings.

Resurrection changes absolutely everything, not just what happens when we die. Too often we rush to the end of the story and so miss all that God intends to do here and now for us, and through us for others.

If I look back over my experience as a follower of Jesus there are times when it seems God is absent. Sometimes that is inconvenient, sometimes it feels like the end of the world. But as I am able to reflect upon it as experience, I realise that it does not mean God has gone, but that the absence invites me to take a step, to move into something new. Absence creates the space for growth. If you can picture a toddler learning to walk, you see them taking faltering, nervous steps towards the parent who is in front of them. Look carefully and you see the parent stepping back, requiring the toddler to walk further, to grow in confidence.

As we live through the pandemic and its effects, we will find in the midst of it all opportunities for growth and as Church a challenge to rethink the way we work.

Whatever our experience of this absence, let us be clear we are not abandoned. God is bigger than this situation and will use it in ways we can’t imagine. If Good Friday shows us how God comes into the very sharpness of our experience, then Resurrection is inviting us into all the fullness of God’s eternity.

Faith may feel like faltering steps at the moment, but it is still faith in the God who comes to us in Jesus.

We continue to pray at 11am each day, and would ask that you keep in touch with people and let us know if anyone needs help or support.

God bless

Chris

 

THANK YOU FROM BADDELEY EDGE METHODIST

Many of us have used the NHS in one way or another over the last few months – Thank You

We have all used local shops – Thank You

We have all had need to deal with Key Workers – some more obvious than others – lets remember to say Thank You to them all too many to mention in full but including – Care Workers in Homes, Support Workers, Post Office Workers, Funeral Directors any any others you may want to say thank you to

THANK YOU

Responding to Coronavirus Situation

6th April, 2020

Dear all,

I am hoping this will arrive before or close to Easter. It will be a very unusual Easter with none of the shared events that we associate with celebration. However, God remains God and the message of Easter remains the message even if the forms we use to celebrate are not available to us.

We continue to pray ‘together’ in time if not in space, and as we do so we seek to praise God in all circumstances. Praise may be an act of the will, a decision to do something we do not feel like doing, but which it is right to do nonetheless. Our prayer will be for people in need, for people in both frontline and essential but hidden roles in making life possible at the moment, and for ourselves and people we know personally who have particular needs at the moment. I have found myself praying for mercy for us and the world, and you may have found your prayers focussed by the Holy Spirit in directions you did not choose. But prayer is about the Spirit leading that prayer and so we accept and follow that lead.

As church we are playing a role in the life of the nation now in various ways. Do you recall the phrase in our covenant service about being ‘laid aside’? For many of us being ‘laid aside’ is our part in this and that can feel difficult when we are used to being up and doing. However, at present doing nothing, or being limited is not passive acceptance, but rather a deliberate act of help and solidarity. In a practical active sense the church is still serving through Foodbank and the provision of care for people who are isolating while observing all the social distancing rules that apply.

As the focus of Easter is about Resurrection and new life perhaps it is appropriate for us to look not just to the big picture of that in the Kingdom of God, but also to the more immediate new life that will come when the pandemic restrictions are lifted. It is clear that when this is over the normal life that resumes will be different from the normal life we were used to. Exactly how remains to be seen, but is known to God and part of our prayer can be for us, and for people in authority that we are able to respond to the new situations.

You may know the story that in 1941 at the lowest point of World War 2 for this country, Churchill set up a new cabinet committee. It was called the ‘Committee for the reconstruction of Germany’. To set up such a body was either hubris or hope, but it pointed to a positive outcome and to a need to rebuild for all. I am not proposing another committee but the intention to be thinking, and among us praying about that new future. I am sure it was right then and is right now.

If that is the big picture for us now, there is also a more immediate picture of supporting each other. That may be phone calls or clever things over the internet, if you are able to do that please do so we keep in touch. If as you pray you find a concern for someone who you cannot contact please pass that concern to the minister of the church so we can follow that up. Sometimes that sense is right for reasons we do not know.

I wish you a blessed if unusual Easter.

God bless

Chris

Websites: Methodist.org.uk will take you to Methodist resources

Swanbank.org.uk will take you to Swanbank and they have online worship each week

 

23rd March 2020

Obviously, this is a rapidly changing situation with new guidance coming from government and the national church frequently. As a staff we wondered how to respond now, and we will be updating and changing this as necessary.

At the moment (5pm 19th March 2020) we are not able to meet for worship, Fellowship or any other activity so our buildings are effectively out of use. There is no indication of how long this situation will continue.

So, we offer these suggestions.

Prayer

We may not be able to pray in the same building, but we can pray at the same time. So, I invite you to join us in prayer at 11am for 15 minutes (longer if you wish) each day, and to pray knowing that others round the circuit are doing the same thing.

On Sundays the staff will pray alone in a church building, working their way round the buildings week by week. This will keep the prayer in those spaces and mean we have a further check on the fabric.

I am sure you will know who and where to focus your prayers, but could I ask that you add our new super Jenny Dyer to your list as she is presently stuck in India trying to find a flight home.

You may already have a pattern of prayer and bible reading that you follow, but if you need an extra focus you could try reading a gospel right through. If so, try starting with Mark. Other things to read could be a Psalm or a hymn from the hymn book. There are various worship resources available on the internet and new things are being created which we may send out as they become available.

 

Caring for each other

This is more difficult as our natural inclination is to come together and we cannot do that. As a staff we will be keeping in touch with people by phone and there is no reason that we cannot do that for each other so that we keep our links and have people to share with as we deal with this strange time.

If you find yourself, or know of someone else in particular need please speak to your own minister and we will try to help in every way we can. Could you also try and identify people on the edge of your congregation or people with no family locally who might need some support?

In the wider setting Foodbank is intending to keep providing its service while being mindful of the demands of social distancing.

The circuit office is continuing to function for its usual hours at present. Please phone or email don’t visit.

 

Background issues

Finance – at present we are ok financially and have reserves we can use across the circuit while no-one has any income because things are closed. I would ask that you put your weekly offering to one side so when things resume and we are able to share worship again we can catch up financially.

We are taking steps to look after the property sensibly through this time.

 

As things change we will try to update what we are doing and how it will work.

For the moment the key thing is we support and care for each other in the ways that we can.

 

Thank you for all that you have and are doing.

 

Remember we are still the people of God and God in Jesus works through us.

God bless

 

Chris, Joyce, Kim and Paul

Latest News & Cancellations

LATEST NEWS 

Due to the current Coronavirus situation as from 3.00pm yesterday The Methodist Church has suspended  all services, meetings and planned events until further notice.

Should you need assistance or advice please contact your church minister in the first instance.

The Circuit Office will continue to function as far as possible during normal office hours. 

 

CANCELLATIONS

Wednesday 18th March 2020:

TUNSTALL METHODIST CHURCH – until further notice the following regular meetings  have been cancelled:

TOMS together on Mondays, 2.00 pm.

Goldenfriendship, Wednesdays 10 – 2.00 pm.

Oatcakes & Coffee – every first Tuesday of the month.

 

WERRINGTON METHODIST CHURCH – Have cancelled:

“Dougie Mac” Choir – 28th March.

Quiz Night with Pea & Pie Supper – 4th April.

Palm Sunday Evening Service.

 

Monday 16th March 2020:

MHA GROUPS – Cancelled – for 2 weeks, this week and next, update next week or soon as available.

CIRCUIT QUIET DAY – Sat. 21st March @ Milton – Cancelled