AINSDALE METHODIST CHURCH NOTICES

Sunday 12th July 2020

Action for Children Sunday

The Harvesters is an oil painting on wood completed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1565. It depicts the harvest time, in the months of July and August or late summer.  The painting has been at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City since 1919. The Metropolitan Museum of Art calls this painting a “watershed in the history of Western art” and the “first modern landscape”. A sense of distance is conveyed by the workers carrying sheaves of wheat through the clearing, the people bathing in the pond, the children playing and the ships far away.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask that you bring healing to any child or young person who has been the victim of abuse or neglect. They are your children and have been called into your wonderful light.

Show them that you see them and know what they are going through. Show them that you are right beside them. No matter how terrible the situation, we pray that they will know that they can lean on you.

Open our eyes, Lord, to see any potential signs of abuse and remove every form of ignorance from us.

Give these children and young people hope and provide healing in their body, soul and mind. Ease their suffering, Father, and cause a complete restoration in their lives. Amen.

Lectionary Readings – Sunday 12th July 2020

Isaiah 55.10-13; Psalm 65.(1-8),9-13; Romans 8.1-11; Matthew 13.1-9,18-23

GENERAL NOTICES

Coffee after Church

Join the congregations of Ainsdale & Liverpool Road Methodist Churches for a virtual coffee after the online service from 11.45 on Sunday 12th July at https://zoom.us/j/99269870450

Coffee Morning

Join the congregation of Ainsdale Methodist Church for a Coffee and Chat on Thursday 16th July at 10.30am.  You can join online at https://zoom.us/j/95104116987, or via the phone on 0203 481 5240, or 0203 901 7895, or 0208 080 6591.  It will ask you for the meeting ID which is “95104116987#”, and then for the passcode; there is no passcode so just enter “#” and wait to be connected.

Bible Study

We are following the the Lyfe material from The Bible Society each Tuesday at 10.30am on Zoom.  The material for this week is attached to these notices.  You can either join with us on line (details below), or you and a friend or a small group of you (socially distanced etc!), may want to use the material by yourselves.

You can either join via the internet at https://zoom.us/j/93783730691) or by phone on one of the following numbers (0203 481 5237, 0203 481 5240, 0208 080 6591, 0208 080 6592, 0330 088 5830, 0131 460 1196).  If phoning in it will ask for the Meeting ID – key in “93783730691#”, it will then ask for your participant number and there isn’t one so just press “#” again and wait a few moments to be admitted into the meeting.

Church Stewards and Property Stewards

By way of update, Ted Taylor has decided to retire as a Property Steward from the end of the year in order that he can focus on his other activities, especially as a Trustee of Ainsdale Lunch and Leisure.  We thank Ted for his fantastic contribution and commitment as a Property Steward.

Brian Davey has decided, with immediate effect, to step down as a Church Steward in order to become a Property Steward.  We thank Brian for his enthusiasm as a Church Steward which will be greatly missed, although we are delighted to welcoming him to the Property Stewards Team.  As a Property Steward, Brian will be the line manager of our Caretaker, Roger McDonald.

100 Days of Lockdown – A Reflection by Brian Davey

Following on from last weeks notices (Patrick’s (and Marie-Anne’s) Page), Brian offers a personal reflection towards the end of our notices.

Circuit Virtual Choir

Karen Bishop, Worship Leader at Victoria Methodist Church is hoping to pull together a Circuit Virtual Choir.  Karen writes…Hello there, I hope my email finds you all well in this unusual period where we cant always be together as much in our own church buildings and local communities.

It’s been great to see so many of the members of our congregations taking part in the Circuit services and with this in mind we would like to try to put together a virtual choir to sing a song together as part of a future service.

The song will be ‘In Christ Alone’ and David and Debs Attwater have already done a lot of groundwork on this and kindly laid the track musically and tested this out software wise. 

All that required is the ability to be able to receive the music by mobile or laptop and to be able to listen to this and film yourself singing along to the song. This will then be edited together so we can sync all our voices and screens together. It’s been already done very effectively – you might have seen this with some of the NHS workers charity fundraising.

Children and young people are also very welcome to take part (although there will safeguarding forms to be completed to enable them to join us online in the choir).  If anyone who would like to take part please can they reply to me by email, or mobile by 31st July we can then start the ball rolling and get organised.  Many thanks for taking the time to read this and keep safe out there in the coming weeks.

Best wishes, Karen Bishop, Victoria Methodist Church, Mobile: 07846 198217, Email: karenabishop@yahoo.co.uk

Samaritans Sponsored Walk – Paul Green

Many of you know Paul Green from Ainsdale, who on occasions worships with us.  Paul is doing a sponsored walk and shares the following…Hello everyone, some of you may be aware that last year, I did a 26.2 mile walk to raise money for Samaritans. This year I am taking on the same challenge to raise funds for the Southport branch.  I am a huge supporter of Samaritans, both as an active volunteer (nearly three years now) and in supporting its value in other ways.

The Samaritans is a huge part of society and in an age where mental health issues are ever on the rise, it is even more so. Throughout Covid, the Samaritans have ensured we remain open across the UK to continue our 24/7 support…at Southport branch alone, we have been considerably low on volunteers with isolation, lockdown and other reasons…yet we still managed to keep our branch open 80% of the time…which…considering we are all volunteers in uncertain times, is an amazing thing.  Therefore, I feel more passionate and empowered to push through this walk and raise money to keep our local branch going for as long as it is needed! 

So…here is what you can do to help?  I shall be doing the walk over a couple of days (17th and 18th July) and will be raising as much as I possibly can for the branch. If you are willing to donate to the cause, you can do so by clicking the link – https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1016321&stop_mobi=yes.  NB: When you donate, please can you ensure you put a reference P1000, this way we can keep tabs on what money is coming as sponsorship for the walk and what money is coming into the branch account for other reasons.  Also, please can you drop me a message to say you have donated and tell me how much so I can keep my own record of how much I am raising – PaulJGreen@live.com.  

Thanks in advance and I hope you are all well and keeping safe during these uncertain times, Paul Green.

Re-opening of Methodist Churches in the Liverpool District

Please see the statement from the Chair of District at the end of these notices.

Church Notices

I’m on leave for a few weeks from Saturday July 18th, so if you have any items you want including in the notices for the next few weeks let me know by Wednesday 15th July on 07813 211501 or patrick.evans@methodist.org.uk.

PATRICK’S PAGE

Dear Friends

This weeks lectionary reading focuses on the Kingdom of God, as Jesus shares the parable of the sower, depicting a farmer who went out to sow his seed.  The reading finishes

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The picture on the front of our notices shows a harvest of abundance, a crop that yields many times what was sown.  The picture takes me back to when we lived in Little Budworth in Cheshire.  A significantly important time in this rural community was harvest, and this gave me experience of hay bailing, with people of all ages, sexes, sizes and strengths, gathering after work for as long as the light held.  It was a time of enthusiasm and excitement, of sweat and blisters, of working together and sharing with each other.  I can relate to the people in the picture enjoying their well earned rest.  By harvest time it is easy to forget the months of labour, by human hands and mother nature, that has created the harvest.  The young children joined in the harvest although given their size and strength their contribution was in reality minimal; it was though part of their apprenticeship to belong and be a part of something bigger.  The strength of the older teenagers/young adults testified to this.  We are reminded of the African quote, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

This week is Action for Children Sunday (formerly Methodist Children’s Homes).  The charity supports children and families in the community, to become fulfilled citizens despite their start in life.  Whilst they cannot take children hay bailing, within the neighbourhoods in which they work, they seek to ensure that children do not wither in the rocky soil of this world, and that the thorns of life do not choke them.   By the lottery of birth I feel I was fortunate to land on good soil.  May we as villagers of the world, help those whose seed has fallen on rocky soil or amongst the thorns, so they can yield a good crop. 

You can find out more about Action for Children at https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/.  If you want to make a donation you can donate online at https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/donate/.  If you prefer to donate over the phone you can call Action for Children on 0300 123 2112.  If you wish to donate £5 instantly then text ‘CHILDREN’ to 70175 to donate £5 now (you will be charged £5 plus your standard network rate).

God bless

Patrick

WORSHIP

With Sunday approaching I am reminding us of the services available via the Methodist Church online, as well as some others on TV & Radio.  Please see below.

Online Circuit Service

Sunday 11.00am – Action for Children Sunday

This week’s service will be led by Rev Patrick Evans and our preacher is Jean McKenna, Local Preacher, Leyland Road Methodist Church.

The link to this service is http://southportmethodist.org.uk/sundayservice.

You can listen to a recording of our weekly online Circuit Service via your telephone by calling 01704 335755.  Calls will be charged as a local rate call via landlines, although costs will vary for mobile users.  Services are typically up to 50 minutes long.  You can still listen to the service from Sunday 28th June up until this coming Sunday, when from 11am you can listen to the service for Sunday 5th July, which will be available for a week.

On a general note you can link to the Circuit website at https://southportmethodist.org.uk/ and the Circuit Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZg2IIrYONyumWsHCbRcFaA.

How can I get involved?…If in future weeks you would be able to record yourself reading the bible, sharing some testimony, singing or playing music etc, or writing a prayer or sharing a photo, or have any other ideas, please let me know on 07813 211501 or at patrick.evans@methodist.org.uk.

Other worship resources and on line services from the Methodist Church can be found at https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

BBC Local Radio (incl Radio Merseyside)

At 8.00 am this Sunday, all 39 BBC local radio stations will be joining together for worship.

BBC Radio 4

Sunday 8.10am – Sunday Worship – Sowing in a time of uncertainty

The parable of the sower is one of Jesus’ best known stories – and one which speaks especially clearly to a time of uncertainty. Seeds are sown into an unknown future, and the conditions in which they will grow are something we can’t always predict. As the end of a most unusual term approaches this year students, pupils and teachers across the UK will be wondering just what kind of fruit may lie ahead.

Rev Dr Rosa Hunt, co-principal of the South Wales Baptist College reflects on the message Jesus parable offers today in a service led by Rev Dr Craig Gardiner and including contributions from staff and students at the College.

The music used in the service was recorded prior to lockdown or is commercially available and is as follows:

Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer (Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, BBC recording)
Unless A Grain of Wheat (Bernadette Farrell, OCP 10827 Tr 11)
Beneath The Tree Of Life (Marty Haugen, Gia CD 463 Tr 1)
Brother Sister Let Me Serve You (Welsh Chamber Singers, BBC recording)
Now The Green Blade Riseth (Liverpool Cathedral Choir, Priory PRCD1180 Tr 15)
It Is Well With My Soul (National Youth Choir of Wales, BBC recording)

BBC1 TV

Sunday 10.45am – Sunday Morning Live

Sean Fletcher and Sally Phillips take a look at the week’s talking points and explore the ethical and religious issues of the day. Alongside lively chat, the show also shines a light on inspiring, unique and occasionally unusual stories and people.

Sunday 1.15pm Songs of Praise – The UK’s Favourite Hymn

From Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, Aled Jones counts down the UK’s top ten favourite hymns as voted for by viewers. The ten hymns were recently chosen as the UK’s most popular by Songs of Praise viewers in an online vote and include three by living hymn-writers, each of whom takes part in the programme. But which one will be the UK’s favourite? A congregation of a thousand voices joins Aled, and there are special performances of hymns from all around the UK, including Katherine Jenkins and Wynne Evans singing in St. David’s Cathedral, Daniel O’ Donnell performing In Christ Alone on the coast of Northern Ireland, and Fairground Attraction’s Eddi Reader singing Amazing Grace on the coast of Scotland. The star of Hollywood blockbusters Black Panther and Venom, Sope Aluko, talks about her love of hymns and how much comfort she gains from them, and poet John Cooper Clarke and comedian Lloyd Griffith each talk about their own particular favourites.

100 days of Lockdown – A Reflection by Brian Davey

My experience of lockdown will probably be quite different to many people, as I have been heavily involved in the operations of the Foodbank, which has operated from Ainsdale Methodist Church two days per week throughout this testing time. This offered me a unique chance to observe the reaction of the community to the lockdown, which has been overwhelmingly positive in many different ways.

Due to many of the regular volunteers having to self-isolate, there was great concern that we would be unable to staff the Foodbank, especially with the additional requirements of opening two days a week. However, there was an amazing local response, an additional 9 temporary volunteers were recruited becoming a vital part of the team working under the guidance of the 4 regular volunteers.

In the difficult early weeks of lockdown, demand in the community for the Foodbank reached record levels at the Ainsdale Foodbank. For some who were shielding, the difficulty of not being able to meet others made the normally routine tasks of obtaining a Foodbank voucher or coming to the Foodbank difficult. Fortunately, there was much needed support for these families, provided through a new initiative ‘Boxes of Hope’ from the charity Transforming Lives for Good (TLG). Co-ordinated by Joan Green from the Village church ‘Bags of Hope’ have regularly been delivered to 12 families self-isolating or shielding. The bags contain essential items, toiletries and some lovely treats, made possible through a start-up grant from TLG and donations from the Foodbank. AMC’s hall being used as the Hub to make up and distribute the parcels.

To meet the increased demand, businesses and individuals from the local community have responded with great generosity with more than 3 tonnes of food and over £600 being donated at the Ainsdale Foodbank, many individuals making regular donations. On one occasion a contractor arrived in his van, on his way to a job to drop off a donation, saying “they just wanted to do their bit to help others”. The church and building was key in providing a rallying point for the community to come together to support to each other.

I have collected donations from the homes of those self-isolating, presenting opportunities to have socially distanced conversations about the activities of the church with people in the wider community I would otherwise not have met.

One of the strengths of the church has been that we have been there to help those in need at such a difficult and unprecedented time, demonstrating the love of God and that he cares for the community.

Whilst looking out from the lounge, I have watched with interest the many different ways people have been drawn to the church. Some have read the words of comfort and encouragement in the prayer on the notice board and then come to chat about the work of the Foodbank and its connection with the church.

Other members of the community have come to sit quietly on the benches at the front of the church, the church garden providing a peaceful space for reflection. For some being able to come to the memorial garden and place flowers on the resting place of loved ones was an important source of comfort.

A positive from the lockdown has been the on-line circuit Sunday service, which has been important to maintain a form of regular worship and the virtual coffee after the service has been important in relieving some of the feeling of isolation. Through these services, we have as a circuit come to know different members of churches from around the circuit and the range of talents they have.

However, on-line services do not always provide the connection and energy that being with people provides, and a recurring question recently, from members of the congregation I have met has been “when will the church open again?” An observation made relating to the on-line meetings and services was that “we are becoming a group of talking heads.”

Surveys suggest that the numbers engaging with church services on-line or on TV has substantially increased during lockdown which is really good news. However, they are only shown as a number of views, it is not known who or where they are or why they watched the service, there is no opportunity to meaningfully engage with them.

My hope  after lockdown, is that some of those who felt the need to come to the church, for whatever reason, the people I met in the wider community or anyone who has been drawn to engage with the on-line services would come to the church, not necessarily on a Sunday. For this to happen the doors need to be safely opened, not just on Sunday, an innovation discussed prior to lockdown.

Maybe rather than just listing the times of services on the notice board, a warm welcoming invitation is included. To develop the success of the on-line services perhaps a reading and a short current intercessory prayer could be posted on the church website and social media site with the same warm invitation to the church included.

For those not wishing to be part of formal organised services, Coffee and prayer during the week could be offered, with the doors from the lounge into the church open with a notice encouraging anyone to go into the church for quiet private prayer, before or after enjoying refreshments in the café.

The Anniversary Garden at the rear of the church now has a greenhouse, which in the future will encourage the local community to come and ‘Grow together’ in God’s creation, for some it could be a place just to sit and enjoy the quiet space to reflect.

Services could be held in the garden (weather permitting) as we have in the past on occasions, providing a more casual and informal setting for worship.

Church buildings being closed during lockdown may have provided some welcome relief for those who carry out the many tasks required on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. In contrast, for me the availability of the church in lockdown has been vital and has proved a definite asset, the church has become an integral part of the community, being a place of action, care, compassion and providing a tangible link to God’s wonderful love. Simply summed up in three letters ABC

Anchor – a rallying point for the community in a difficult time.

Beacon – A place of comfort and hope for those in need.

Connection – connecting the community with each other and the love of God.

The Liverpool District

 

Re-opening of Methodist Churches in the Liverpool District

Following the recent government announcement to allow churches to open for public worship from the 4th July, the Superintendents of the Circuits of the Liverpool District have again conferred together to review the situation. This note is produced to assist Managing Trustees who are now considering reopening church buildings for worship and church activities or services not permitted in church buildings under previous Government policies. 

Managing Trustees are required to follow the Methodist Church guidance which can be found here https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/17897/opening-churches-for-worship.pdf

There are two key principles to any planning work being undertaken locally:

  1. “The overriding priority remains to save lives” – This is a quote in the forward to HM Government’s Covid-19 strategic planning document ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’ (12th May 2020) – this must be at the heart of any planned use of church property.
  2. Communicate and Co-operate – The implementation of any local strategy will be based upon good communication between all parties and working together in partnership. This second principle will support the best outcomes for the first principle.

As previously stated

  1. To open buildings requires comprehensive risk assessments for churches. Without these, Managing Trustees might be held personally liable (that is, not covered by insurance) if there was a claim against them for negligence.
  2. There are procedures concerning cleaning and sanitising, distancing, and movement through the building, that need to be in place and enforced when we resume meeting together in the church building. 
  3. We need to ensure that people opening and managing our buildings, and these procedures, are not those in the ‘highest risk’ categories. We are concerned to protect not only those who are vulnerable but also those who live in households where someone is shielding. We need to act in the best interests of the wider community, which is a more complex matter than the opening up and managing of buildings.

The Revd Dr Sheryl Anderson, Chair of District, 3rd July 2020

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