As I potter around the Circuit it would be so easy to be weighed down by talk of numbers, level of assessment, lack of people to hold certain roles and I know these concerns are real.
Instead, I would much prefer that these weekly offerings allow us to focus on the positives and build our awareness of where our God is at work. We all need to hear of where the new have arrived and helped transform, where faith has been deepened, where music has touched, where the Gospel is being lived out or a reminder of where God has touched in the past which then informs our present.
What stories can our people share?
It would be great if Pete Honeyball, who collates these weekly offerings, was inundated with suggestions of who to ask or even better with a piece of proper good news.
There is so much good news happening in our church which too often we do not share.
So, a few signs of good news in our midst:
What good news is there that it would do your family in the Circuit good to hear?
Could you pen a few words to share with others?
Previous 'Good News' reports are now archived and will be kept for 12 months.
see January February March April May June
July August September October November December
This week we meet Joan who reminds us of the beauty of God's creation that surrounds us that so often we miss as we rush through life. This week, please listen to Joan's wise words, and pause to look around and marvel at the wonders that surround you.
"Creation – What an incredible wonder before my eyes every day.
I only have to be slicing a cabbage for a meal and there in my hand is the beauty of creation in the tight leaves. No man can achieve this wonder from the earth to the human in such perfection.
Creation – the relationship given to man between loved ones; friendships with those around us and the connection with mankind and all the natural world, the great universe, to the smallest insect flying by as one sits and gives thanks to the Creator.
Be aware and grateful.
We meet Paul who shares his experiences of the influence that God has had in his life. It is good to hear Paul confirming that his experiences in the junior church stayed with him. So often when young people drift away we feel that we have lost them but Paul shows this is far from the case! Please pray for all those who care for our young people and strive to instillan appreciation of the love that Jesus has for them.
Here in Whitchurch we are a committed but usually small gathering at Sunday service so it was great to see half our pews full on the 19th for our service conducted by Noreen, the occasion being the introduction and impending membership of a local family who have given great support to the "Little Chapel" and "Little Steps" activities over the past couple of years.
Following on from the recent trend in "Good News from...." for personal accounts of the journeys we all make to know God better, I would like to add my own.
After being a member of junior church here in Whitchurch, during my teenage years I moved away from regular attendance, although I never forgot my Christian roots, and since re-starting regular attendance have been keenly aware of the influence of God in my life.
During my prayers I cannot claim to have had a conversation or any instantaneous answers from God. What I do have is an absolute belief in the guidance and support I receive from having God in my life. When I trace back events through my life I can see in retrospect where He has helped and guided me through difficult times, influencing me and holding my hand – very much as in the popular "Footsteps in the sand" poem – gently nudging me to a closer relationship with Him.
The comfort I get from knowing He is with me throughout life is my greatest blessing.
With every blessing
This week we are sharing in the thoughts of Rev Heegon Moon about the journey of life that we are on together. Heegon moved into the manse in Thame three months ago and has very quickly endeared himself to the members of his churches. He speaks openly about his journey of faith and reminds us that our footsteps are as important as the destination. We pray this week for all our ministerial team, that they may find joy, peace and love in their ministries to and with us.
During the last two years, I often pondered that my journey was not meant to conclude in this way. Before my heart attack and COVID, I was happy with my ministry, surrounded by old and new friends. I believed I could complete my ministry and retire with satisfaction. However, it seemed as though I was wandering. It was not meant to be this way. Now, I understand the experience of Moses, who had to grapple with the incompleteness of life. We can learn a lesson from Moses that life is about the journey, not the destination. His mission was in the quest, not the conquest.
I have come to realise that the meaning of life lies in the journey, rather than reaching of the destination, which can resonate with us all. I wonder how Moses found the strength to climb the mountain at the age of 120. I believe that the reason for his vitality may be attributed to his lifelong sense of purpose. He never retired; his life was always a journey, a quest with a clear mission and purpose. The secret to a long and healthy life, both mentally and physically, lies in having a mission for oneself.
God speaks to us in many different ways, in all sorts of places and at all sorts of times. This week we hear how that call was heard and responded to by a member of the congregation, and what they have done to answer God's call. Please pray that this prayer meeting becomes once again a place of regular renewal and replenishment to feed the people at Waddesdon, whilst supplying the power to achieve great things through the gifts of the Spirit!
May God continue to bless His people here as we support them in our prayers.
A faithful member writes:
We are a small congregation at our Sunday services. However, God speaks to us through the words and witness of our spirit-inspired preachers.
In one moving and inspirational prayer time, I felt "called" to gather our members in a prayer meeting. This was a tradition in the Wesleyan Church and our own Church as well, until the new millennium began. It is now, more than ever, vital in our Church and in the wider community to resurrect this meeting.
We plan to meet weekly in the back room for prayer and meditation, starting in the New Year.
Please remember us in your prayers as we begin to meet in obedience to God's call, and to answer the spiritual hunger which is in our Church and community.
From a faithful member at Waddesdon Methodist Church
#Sunday, 12 November, was the turn of Christchurch Thame to be the focus of our Circuit Prayers
This week we journey alongside Ken as he shares his story of the way God has used him on his journey. For many years Ken has been a stalwart of the Thame church, always so reliable and committed. God has used Ken powerfully in his ministry in Thame. Please remember Thame in your prayers this week and thank God for all those who have worked so hard to bring us the good news of Jesus.
Here's some of my story relating to Church and Circuit and how they have been an influence on my life. My first reaction is on how unworthy I am to have received so many blessings from the Church and Methodist Circuit.
I was brought up in a Christian home and always thankful for my dear Mother's influence. The family business seemed to be my Father's chief concern, although Methodist Church attendance sometimes both morning and evening was compulsory.
So how did God use me? Not very effectively I'm sure but conversing matters who did God use to influence me. The memory of our Circuit minister at that time was Rev White and together with his son we would often attend evening services at one of the village chapels, so numerous in those days. He was of great influence throughout what was then the Thame and Watlington Circuit, including me.
Fast forward to the age of 18 when National Service was compulsory. This was my first experience of leaving home, and meeting so many in the same situation. It became easy then for me to become one of the 'lads'. My kind Father had bought me a small car, the only one in our section, which added to my popularity! Church attendance was only compulsory on special occasions. All claimed to be Church of England. Non-conformists were dismissed, and to my shame I claimed to be C of E. Well, my sister was anyway. I enjoyed the social events to the full.
After demob I returned to live with my parents in Thame, working in the Gents Outfitters business. My father's health deteriorated and I found myself doing everything I could to please him. I had agreed to be a steward at the Methodist Church still within the Thame and Watlington Circuit. One of my responsibilities was to switch on the oil central heating on Saturday evenings. April 2nd 1966 was the day I married dear Sylvia, the heating responsibility was forgotten and there was a cold church Service the following day.
By now my father had died. Responsibilities multiplied, but at the same time we both felt drawn more towards the Church and to worship the Lord Jesus. Our commitments included the Methodist chapel in Bledlow. It was a small but devoted community. Sunday evening worship was led by a circuit minister because each was more available after leading a morning service elsewhere. We were greatly blessed always with friends from Christchurch.
Back to the question of how has God used me? Here with faith I can only hope with much humility. Serving as a Church Steward still in the Thame and Watlington Circuit was a role I could undertake. Today this position must be far more complicated and beyond my ability. Aylesbury Vale is fortunate indeed having professional Stewards to serve us all.
About 20 years ago Christchurch Members and friends led by our Minister embarked on a full restoration project of the Church premises. With God's help the new Property/Finance committee was formed to ensure the work was completed according to the plans and contract, also to assist in the practical work ourselves.
By this time both our sons and daughter had been to University but before leaving home had joined other Christian groups. We had the pleasure of seeing both baptised and our daughter made a member of a community church.
It's our dearest wish that they in turn can influence our grandchildren to love the Lord Jesus and to know how much He loves them.
"All things work together for good to those who love God."
A final word. We are, as Christians, horrified at the wars and atrocities in many countries today, bringing chaos and division. The Bible still teaches about the enemy and the roaring lion. When considering this I conclude I do believe in Satan because JESUS did and He will be victorious in the end.
. This week we meet Anne and learn of her journey to find faith in the small village chapel there. We never know what may happen as a result of chance encounters, and the odd remarks that we make, in this case 'Why not come to chapel?' – a phrase that we find so difficult to say, yet so powerful in the right circumstances. In your prayers this week, rejoice in the faith that Anne has rekindled, and pray that the Lord may give us all the right words to say at the right time.
My Name is Anne Parker.
I moved to Swanbourne with my family (husband, two sons and a German shepherd dog) on 1st of April 1976. We started to build our family home on a disused farmyard in Nearton End. At the time my faith had almost disintegrated, despite being brought up as a Roman Catholic.
In June of that year I met a lady newly-moved into Swanbourne and we became firm friends and still are. Her name is Frankie Fisher. We did all sorts of stuff together – anything to keep four boys occupied and out of mischief. Although I had my regular chats with God I would not have called myself religious. I helped Frankie occasionally at the chapel when she needed it but never with any thought of returning to organised religion.
Time moved on and as I grew older I started to feel the need to know God better and renew what faith I had. I joined the Anglican Church in Swanbourne but despite their welcome I found the ritual stifling.
Frankie said, "Why not come to chapel? We sing a lot and talk a great deal." I thought, "Why not? I love music and am not afraid to speak my mind".
As soon as I walked through the door as a worshiper I felt I had come home and I now feel that through prayer and music my life is fulfilled and my chats with God are more relevant.
Thank you, God and Frankie. It took forty years to get there but I have.