NOV
25

ittle Fishes and TOTS toddler groups for 0-4 years old.

There are thriving groups for toddlers and their parents & carers at Alcombe, Minehead, Watchet and Williton.  Please click on the toddler group links in the appropriate church's column to the left for details. - See more at: http://westsomerset.2day.uk/?localBoard=2948&globalBoard=0#sthash.HRstq8iQ

Little Fishes and TOTS toddler groups for 0-4 years old.

There are thriving groups for toddlers and their parents & carers at Alcombe, Minehead, Watchet and Williton.  Please click on the toddler group links in the appropriate church's column to the left for details. - See more at: http://westsomerset.2day.uk/?localBoard=2948&globalBoard=0#sthash.HRstq8iQ.dpuf
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Latest Information:

On Thursday at 2.30 pm, we hold a zoom Circuit Meeting for all Circuit trustees who are able to join us. Then at 7 pm, everyone is invited to pray, either on zoom or quietly by yourself at home.    This will be followed at 7.30 pm by our weekly zoom reflective service which will be led by Rev Jane Sperring.
On Friday at 10.30 am, we hold our weekly zoom coffee morning, followed by a short Minehead Church Council meeting at 11.30 am.

Next Sunday is
Advent Sunday and we are holding an Advent Carol service on zoom at 10.30 am. Please let Nick know of any Advent carols you would like to sing at that service before Wednesday please.


Everyone who is able to join us at any of these events will be most welcome. 
If you have not used one of our Zoom services before but would like to join in please email the Circuit Administrator. 
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On Monday's at 11.30 am we will be holding a short Advent reflection each week on Zoom beginning on Mon 30 November, led by Rev Tim Woods and Rev Nick Lakin.  Please join us as we journey through Advent together.
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Our YouTube service 
for November is here!  Just click..

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Here are some
Circuit Devotions,
songs and dramas for us to read, to think about and to use as a basis for our prayers. Just click here.
 
 

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Click here for this week's
Sunday Service Sheet for Home Worship  from 
the Methodist Church
...
And this is a link to the Exmoor Youth Project 
Harvest Experience
-   +   -
Westerley Christian Care Home
are raising funds to support the residents' activities at Christmas.  For details 

please click here
*****

A FREE phone service to hear prayers and news from the Methodist Church has been launched:
Listen to a prayer: 
0808 281 2514
Listen to news: 
0808 281 2478
Content is updated weekly on Thursday evening

*   *   *
There are many opportunities to engage with Christian worship
on line, a few of which 
are listed below;

Just click on any in italics to be directed to that site:

9am Monday to Friday
Morning Prayers from Wesley House Cambridge

Prayers and Worship Services from Wesley's Chapel, London

Songs of Praise on Sunday afternoons on BBC 1

Premier Christian Radio via their website or on Freeview channel 725

Live worship at 11 am on a Sunday morning from Plymouth Central Hall search YouTube or Facebook for ‘Plymouth Central Hall’

Information about worshipping at home and live streaming of worship from the Singing the Faith plus website here…https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

Regular updates from the Methodist Church are available here…https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus-guidance/

 Should you need to make urgent contact, please contact the Superintendent Minister on 01643 705175 or email wsmc2425@gmail.com

We will continue to support the life and work of the West Somerset Circuit in other ways – please check this website for updates and 
Click here to read The Messenger which we will continue to publish during this closure period

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Feeling Isolated or worried?
 

Citizens Advice
West Somerset can be contacted anytime 24/7—Phone 0800 801 1808
leave a message if the phone is not answered. 
For further information,
visit the website: www.westsomersetadvice.org.uk

To contact us at this website with any comments or questions please use the  Contact Us button at the bottom of this page

[You can hear Nick reading these by clicking on the link below]

A Methodist Way of Life

As we noted previously, in the year 2000, as part of the celebration of the millennium, the Methodist Church produce the Our Calling document. The Methodist Church has recently reaffirmed the Our Calling document, expanded it and asked the people called Methodists to look at it afresh. The Our Calling document is a summary of what the Methodist Church believes and affirms about the faith we share as Methodists. It begins like this:

The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission.

Our Calling identifies four key aspects of our life as Methodists. These four aspects are Worship, Learning & Caring, Service and Evangelism. This is the fourth in a series of four devotions that we will share.

So, to explore the fourth and final area of Our Calling – Evangelism

The Our Calling document states that as far as we are able, as people called Methodists, and with God’s help, we will speak of the love of God; we will live in a way that draws others to Jesus; we will share our faith with others. Evangelism is about the ways in which we engage with other people. Let us think about each of these aspects of our faith in turn.

We will speak of the love of God. The apostle John tells us that ‘God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.’ (1 John 4:16) God’s love for each one of us and all the world is perfect. God’s love for us never fails. When the apostle Paul wrote about God’s love in 1 Corinthians 13, he was making clear to us that God’s love for us is awesome. It is the most wonderful love, the most completely altruistic love, the most absolutely unconditional love that any of us will ever know. On God’s love we can depend. When was the last time you were able to talk about the love of God to someone else?

We will live in a way that draws others to Jesus. The bible tells us that every person is made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) It is when we show God’s image in us to the people around us, that those people will be drawn to the Christian faith. Of course, God’s image in us has nothing to do with what we look like but, rather, the ways in which we speak and act. Our inspiration for displaying God’s image in us is when we are aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When our words and our actions are inspired by the Holy Spirit living within us, we will display these characteristics. As we display these characteristics, so God’s image in us will be seen by others. In this way, what God is like will be seen in the way we live. The fruit of the Holy Spirit are characteristics that are attractive to other people, and so our lives will draw others to Jesus. Sometimes we will use actions in this process; sometimes we will need to use words. So, perhaps a helpful question for us to consider is this: who are the people we might invite to consider the Christian faith?

We will share our faith with others. What opportunities to share your faith have you had during the coronavirus pandemic? How have you responded to these opportunities to share your faith? These are big and important questions for us to consider, but they are often questions we would rather not think about. They are questions that call for a response. Please understand that not everyone is called to be an evangelist. But everyone is called to share their faith in ways that are appropriate for them. If we are all made in the image of God, then every person has something of God’s character in them, whoever they are and whatever their life circumstances might be. In sharing our faith, we might use actions as well as words. The apostle Peter, in his first letter, writes this: ‘…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…’ (1 Peter 3:15) When did you last speak about your faith with another person?

The calling of the people called Methodists is to make more followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take a few minutes now to sit quietly in an attitude of prayer and ask God to speak to you, by the Holy Spirit, about the ways and opportunities you have to share your faith, about your opportunities to encourage others in their discipleship – and listen deep in your heart for what the Holy Spirit is saying…

May we be a blessing within and beyond God’s Church,
for the transformation of the world.

[You can hear Lynne reading these by clicking the link below]

It is apparently the shortest verse in the Bible (John 11;35)  Yes, Jesus did weep and in front of witnesses too.  Now, just think about that.  Men are statistically much more unlikely to cry in public than women.  There is an idea that to do so is somehow unmanly.  I only saw my father cry twice.  However, I am not for one moment suggesting that men should not cry.  In fact, watching my father’s agonising attempts to hold in his deep loss as he stood at his mother’s grave, convinced me that the reverse is true.

There are three recordings in the bible of Jesus crying.  Jesus was emotionally uninhibited.  It strikes me that this is a sign of just how much he shared our humanity.  Jesus Christ, God made flesh to dwell among us, was not God made to look like a man but a fully human person who knew what it was to experience pain and sorrow; to hurt emotionally as well as physically. 

Let’s just spend a brief time reflecting on the three occasions that Jesus is recorded as having cried.

Tears for his friends

If you remember, in Luke chapter 11, we are told that Jesus had been delayed in answering the summons from Martha and Mary to come and help their brother Lazarus.  The message had been simply, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  Jesus saw no urgency in responding.  In fact, he told those with him that this event would not end in death but in God’s glory.  So, despite his great love for the three siblings he stayed where he was for two more days.  Even then, the disciples were nervous.  To go back to Judea was dangerous and they thought people might attempt to stone him again.  But Jesus was insistent.  “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep and I am going to wake him up,” he said.  He then told them that Lazarus was already dead, and he is glad that he was not there, so that they may believe.  As he explains no further, they are devastated; Thomas even says he would like to die with him.

By the time they got to Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.  Martha met Jesus on the road and berated him for his lateness, telling him that if he had been there her brother would not have died.  It is at the this point that Jesus says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me, even though he dies… will never die.”

Martha does believe and sends for Mary to come from the house.  When Mary arrived she fell at his feet and also says, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  Her weeping deeply moves Jesus and he is visibly very troubled.  He asks where they have laid the body and they take him to the place.  That is when he weeps.  Those around comment, “See how he loved him!”  Others don’t agree, asking, “if he could make the blind see, why has he not kept his friend from dying?”

So, what is it that has made Jesus break down?  It is clear, that his intension has been to reveal the glory of God and the reality of the resurrection of the dead.  But this has cost him personally very dear.  To have allowed his dearest friend to die and to literally rot in his grave.  To have witnessed the pain that this loss caused the two sisters; their sense of betrayal and desperation, has moved him beyond measure.  To do God’s will has entailed him sacrificing his own desire to help those he loved so deeply, and to see them suffer, that God should be glorified, is horrendous.  Jesus found it hard to serve God.  The sacrifices he was asked to make were not small.  His love for his friends was as deep as his love for God.  His emotions were conflicted, and this was incredibly painful.  When Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me,” he asks us to join him in self-sacrifice and to know that discipleship is costly.

Tears for his nation

The second recording is that of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as recorded in Luke 19: 41.  It is ironic that the crowds in Jerusalem have just welcomed his arrival by chanting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Some Pharisees have ordered him to rebuke his followers.  As he looks upon the city he cries.  He seems to feel that its occupants have not been fully prepared for this day, on which he brought them peace.  He can see forward to the day when the city will be surrounded by its enemies and destroyed.  Jesus loved this city and its people, even though they had rejected God’s prophets.  Earlier in chapter 13 he is recorded saying, “often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”

I have often said it is a blessing that we cannot see into the future.  Jesus had a comparatively short time on earth during which he tried to save all the people that he could.  We know, as he must have done, that ultimately, he could only achieve that by dying.  Even then, he might win the immortal souls of those who believed. but he could not prevent earthly devastation, ruin, and misery.  This Jesus, who truly shared our human nature, knew what it was to suffer pain, fear, and loss in this life, and he wept for and with those who would suffer the same.  As, I believe, he still does.  In the light of human suffering many people will ask the question, “Where is God?”  My answer is found in the tears of Jesus who, I believe, continues to cry for the suffering of humankind.

Tears for himself

Finally, in Hebrews 5:7, we are told, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions, with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.”  This is most clearly seen before his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, recorded in each of the gospels and in John chapter 17, where Jesus’ prayers for himself, his disciples and future believers are recorded.  I remember being blown away as a new, young Christian, when I discovered that Jesus prayed for me in his hour of greatest need.  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done,” Jesus prayed in anguish.  Though it was far from easy, Jesus chose obedience to God, out of his keep love for those he loved and continues to love, more than his own life.

As you look at the pictures, showing Jesus in tears, give thanks for his human emotions.

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