Rev Helen’s blog – November 2019

I am writing this the day before I attend the Methodist Evangelism Conference when 250 Methodist folk will begin to look at strategies for growing our church or at least that is what I think will be happening. Maybe God has other ideas. I want to take this opportunity to reflect again on the story of the woman at the well. This story for me holds many thoughts and challenges.

Firstly that we all need to visit the well and sit with Jesus, but how difficult that often is. The Samaritan woman faced the prejudices of the folk around her and those she lived with. Her past experiences caused her to hide away and isolate her from community. She would have struggled in the heat of the day, but also with her inner feelings. We do know that she needed physical water but we also learn that she need much more. How good are we at expressing our needs to Jesus? And how often do we cause distractions in order to avoid the questions? The woman tried to distract Jesus from highlighting the truth of her life by asking where she would be best worshipping!

There are so many things that distract us, getting in the way of a deeper relationship with Jesus, but she did glimpse the opportunity and went away changed – leaving her old life, represented by the water jar she left behind. The challenge then to us is dare we risk it? Look what happened as she was used by God to begin the ripple effect of telling the whole town the good news. Could it be that he wants to use you? You too are invited to sit at a well.

Where do people go to find their wells? Where do they gather?

Should we be seeking these wells out and sitting by them in order to speak the gospel to those who come looking for something but then may find they go away having found a missing piece from their jigsaw of life?

I am also struck by the notion that the one who did the evangelism was the one who dared to step out. How can we help and encourage people who come to the wells for the practical things to go away with the spiritual which they then use to tell the world what god has done for them?

May we be ones who find the wells where we can share Jesus

Blessings

Helen

Rev Helen’s blog – September 2019

Dear Friends

August has seen us reflecting on what it means to follow the Christian journey of life. We have looked at the account in Philippians chapter 3 on running the race.

I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that. That is the reason Christ made me his. 13 Brothers, I know that I have not yet reached that goal. But there is one thing I always do: I forget the things that are past. I try as hard as I can to reach the goal that is before me. 14 I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize. That prize is mine because God called me through Christ to the life above.

We have also reflected on how we pass on the faith to others and the legacy that generations of followers have left.

We know that in this life we will never reach perfection and yet society often seems to expect perfection in such things as unrealistic targets, workloads, the top exam grades, the perfect home, a perfect family life. I could go on! It seems to me we are always in the fast lane and life goes by so fast that we often fail to appreciate the things we should and give ourselves permission to enjoy what we should.

We must learn to accept that life in all its richness can never be perfect. We can experience those moments but sooner or later there will be struggle, heartache and the rest.

The one thing that we should be trying to attain is I think what Jesus speaks of in his prayer that encompasses all and that is at onement with ourselves and with each other. Confidence in our identity and our purpose in life. Knowing who we are in Jesus and knowing Jesus is surely the most important thing of all. May we concentrate on that being our goal as we journey in faith.

As Church we must concentrate on this together as faith communities for this is what sets us apart and this is the thing that makes a difference that others can see.

Rev Helen’s blog – July 2019

Dear friends

Summer is here! Well that is what our calendar tells us. Our word for this month is GROW and the gardens are full of growth and life. The weeds are prolific too. I have been struck by some powerful words from local preacher Stephen Ashworth regarding the fact that he sees God as a mathematician. He said” Our God is a God of numbers”. It was pointed out that he is a catalyst for multiplication whether it be going out as the 72 two by two or the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.

If church and faith are to grow it involves nurture, food and the right conditions.

When Jesus broke the bread he began a chain reaction. It all began with a group of tired hungry men who were incredulous that they had been asked to feed the crowd when all they really wanted to do was walk away. Yet they became the miracle makers. They became the ones who instigated growth from what they had. This of course was the little boy’s lunch. Is this not enough to convince us to give the little we have in the knowledge that Jesus then begins the miracle in us.

Let’s pray that this growth begins from now.

Let’s ask God to use what we have and truth be known and told we do have so much.

This calls us to greater things than we can ever imagine.

Let’s believe it and then we will see it for that is God’s promise as we see time and time again in the Bible story.

Enjoy the summer days and watch and wait for spiritual growth in you and the church as a body of people called and named as people of God.

Every Blessing

Helen

Rev Helen’s blog – June 2019

The Methodist Church Website says this:-

“We are at the beginning of a dynamic new Church-wide focus on evangelism as a crucial dimension of our mission and ministry in 21st century Britain.

“Evangelism” comes from a biblical Greek word that literally means “good news”.

We believe that God has called all of us to speak, live, and listen for the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world.”

At our recent Synod the connexional evangelism officer Trey Hall encouraged everyone to rather than use the scary word of evangelism but instead to consider simply telling our real and earthy stories. He explained that we need to share our everyday life stories and how our faith impacts on the real situations of life. In this one to one sharing there is a great opportunity to touch God. This is true authentic evangelism and is less fearful that thinking we should all be evangelists.

So my challenge over the next month is for you to practise telling your faith story.

Our theme for the month of June is “Go!!”  wouldn’t it be fab if your story telling began a chain reaction.

If we are loving, faithful, and authentic in sharing our experience of Jesus in our lives then the story of the miraculous catch of fish when Jesus appeared to his disciples will become alive to us as we will find that Jesus provides the catch.

This is the potential for the church to grow as it did on the first Pentecost when we share good news.

Happy Birthday, Church!! May the Holy Spirit be with you.

Blessings

Helen

Rev Helen’s blog – May 2019

Dear Friends

I hope that Easter has been a time of renewal for you all and you have been able to enjoy the glorious weather. Easter is for me, as you all know, very busy and holds a certain poignancy as we travel from death into life. The sunrise on Easter Sunday was I am told the best yet and we watched the sun glinting on the horizon then rise majestically into the sky heralding the new day and time to celebrate the risen Jesus. There are lots of stories to tell and reminders of the message of Easter all around but for me this year what stuck in my mind was the question of a small child. He asked his mum “Can we go and find Jesus and be where he is?”

I find myself asking “what if” questions.

What if as we know the challenges, we all were as eager to seek Jesus? What if we could make the most of every opportunity to share the stories of where we find Jesus? What if each church member could bring along just one person who is ready to ask the question? Where might I find him?

Our Circuit vision statement of ‘Pray, Love, Learn, Go, Grow’ encapsulates everything. Jesus taught his disciples to pray as he did in the garden of Gethsemane. He taught them what love is by his servant ministry at the last supper and by dying on the cross

He had spent his ministry teaching them, and then after the resurrection they were commissioned to go and grow the church. This is the cycle and maxim that we are commissioned for in order to move forward and make disciples.

The next 40 days are preparation time for us to be released, and at Pentecost to go into the world. People like the little boy mentioned above are seeking, and the news stories are not exactly good news are they?

We must be ready to sow the seeds whenever and wherever we go and water them, we are told God the gardener will do the rest. The question is are we ready and willing to listen to where we should go, and dare we go to places where we have never been before?

I am excited by where God will lead us, I hope you are too.

Every blessing

Helen

Rev Helen’s blog – March 2019

Lent is fast approaching and this is the time when we examine our hearts and minds and maybe make changes. Traditionally it is about fasting but a new approach is to take something up. We are also blessed with forty day challenges to make a difference. Each of us will discover our own way and what works for us because we are all different however I challenge you to making something different in your life during Lent and be open to be surprised by God. Just as the fishermen who witnessed the miraculous catch when they thought things were impossible, when they were downhearted and discouraged may you be opened to the wonder of Jesus in the everydayness of your life.

As a Methodist Circuit we have been given the words to guide us. These are;
Pray …..Love …..Learn …..Go …..Grow

Everything should begin with prayer. We are called to love God with all our hearts and minds and everything in us and love our neighbours as we want to be loved. We are called to listen and learn what God is asking us to do and to learn from mistakes we make and have our minds renewed. We are called to grow in holiness or more simply become more like God intended us to be and to deepen our understanding of the world and build relationships. We are called to go and make disciples, or simply put encourage others to become friends and followers of Jesus. We will only have the courage to do this if we have walked the road and followed the path and have stories to tell.

So may you in your seeking and following and journeying through Lent be drawn closer to the one who loves you and who gave his life on the cross.

May your lives be centered on praying, loving, learning, growing and going, then the world will experience abundant life and love that encompasses everything.

Every Blessing

Helen