Sarah, from Weedon is very much involved in the excellent work with young people at Weedon, and she writes below a really moving account of aspects of the 'Church' as perceived from a younger viewpoint. Please support Sarah in all she does and pray for the work with all our youngsters this Sunday.
We often don't give youngsters the credit they deserve for their own views and opinions. Whilst as adults we like to believe that what we are teaching our children, tweens, teens and young people is for their own good, ultimately it is not for us to impose our own beliefs and faith upon them – this is something they must discover for themselves. It doesn't matter how much we preach, if the messages are unwarranted, unwanted or simply irrelevant then the disinterested won't take anything away from Church. But we all do remember the one teacher, the one subject, the one occasion where we did sit up and listen. How can we know about an opportunity if it is not offered to us in the first place?
When we asked a few youngsters about what Church meant to them, these are the responses we got:
From the older teens:
€ I like the opportunity to reflect on the way things are going for me, to really think about the values that my faith has taught me and to enjoy the stillness of the moment. The rest of my life is so busy that for me a Church service is time for peace;
€ I love the way that I can be with people who all believe in the same God and that we all have the same faith and it makes me feel good;
€ Church is just the place where we can share our faith with other people in our village who I really like.
And from the (very) younger children:
€ Church is about following God;
€ I love the singing;
€ The best bit is that you can go to the back and colour;
€ I really like doing a reading so that I can practise speaking out loud;
€ I like to help out by giving out the hymn books and handing round the collection plate;
€ I love Christingle because I get sweets and it's fun because I get to draw;
€ I like all the cake!
So it just shows you, doesn't it, that we might enjoy the benefits of being taken to Church by our parents and carers when we are young, but the real benefits of our faith develop as we get older and begin to understand the significance of God in our lives.
We pray this week for all children and young people, wherever they are, that they may listen to and learn the messages that God imparts to us all and that they may grow in that love and wisdom to make the choices that are right for them.
In God We Trust.
###On Sunday 19 February, the focus of our Good News was on Wingrave and the lovely people in the fellowship there.
Carrying on our thoughts from last week, we are continuing to focus on people, and this week we hear from Marie. Marie quotes the words of John Wesley and shows once again how up-to-date and relevant his words are in our society today. His message firmly echoes the words of Jesus and has not changed in several hundred years, still calling us to action in the community. Thank you Marie, for sharing these thoughts with us and reminding us that our roots are founded in action as well as words. Please remember the family at Wingrave in your prayers this Sunday.
My very first visit to the Methodist Church in Wingrave, changed the way I think about my faith.
Just reading John Wesley's rule:- "Do all the good you can".... etc, made me want to share my faith, not only in prayer but in practice too. We all have the ability to help and support our neighbours, no matter how small the deed, it could make a massive difference to someone.
Getting together for prayer is an important and uplifting experience for me, but also sharing the practical skills that we have, is just as important. For me, Methodism is praying, listening and doing.
May God's love, guidance and blessings, be with us all.
Marie Lawton.Wingrave Methodist Church.
###Last Sunday the 12th February, it was the turn of the church in Whitchurch to become the focus of our Circuit Prayers
This week marks a departure into a new venture for the 'Good News'. It has been suggested that we move our focus from buildings and activities to people and the stories they have to tell.
So this week, it is the turn of Whitchurch to be the focus of our thoughts and prayers and Emma has very bravely agreed to share her thoughts with us. Please remember the lovely folk at Whitchurch in your prayers this Sunday and rejoice in the story she tells.
From its primitive, humble inception in the late 1780s, in a small cottage in Castle Lane, Wesleyan Methodism has been firmly rooted within the Whitchurch Community. And in 1844, what we now recognise as the chapel, was opened in the High Street.
God's work has wholeheartedly been carried out here since.
The people of Whitchurch will fondly and animatedly recall services, Sunday school, Easter Parade, Harvest Shows, Christmas Plays, the choir, Cellar Youth club, Beetle Drives, all-church camping, and the infamous WI to name but a few, throughout the generations.
This sense of God Working amongst us, within our rich heritage and community, is always prevalent, and this baton is passed from generation to generation.
Recently, a Grandmother who regularly attends activities at our Chapel with her Granddaughters, commented on the overwhelming feeling of welcoming warmth and love within our setting, and I simply told her that it's always been here, it's the richness of God's past and present work here, it's within the fabric of the building, you can feel past generations and the love exuded within it.
This love fuels everything we do here at Whitchurch, and I know this to be true of all the churches within our wonderful circuit.
A big part of our Wesleyan Methodism is our outreach and love given to our wider community, and recently we have all been reminded of just how important this role is. I'd like to share with you, a statement from a Mother who along with her family, attend all of our Outreach activities, including our Little Chapel services, that in my mind, highlights just how vital this role is.
"Little Steps was such a lifeline for me. After my first child was born, I struggled with postnatal anxiety and low mood. As a parent, you look after your children... but who looks after you? I felt looked after and cared for at Little Steps. Having somewhere for my child to play safely, where you could engage with other mums, find out you're not the only mum feeling exhausted or out of your depth, was great."
LS is such an amazing toddler group – a big, supportive family and an asset to our community.'
With God alongside, we provide.
Bless all of our churches, and our outreach, grant us the energy and love we need to keep on providing.
#Sunday, 5 February, was the turn of Weedon to be the focus of our Circuit Prayers.
As Sarah says, Weedon is a really lovely haven of peace where you can truly feel the presence of God.
What Sarah fails to mention are the faithful group of workers here who have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that this Chapel continues to provide a light in the darkness. To understand just how alive this holy place is you only need to come along to one of the family services held here to witness an impressive crowd of people of all ages including an astonishing number of youngsters who seem really pleased to be there. The youngsters come in good number because they enjoy being there – I am sure we could learn a thing or two here!
Please pray for this lovely Chapel and everything they do to offer the love of Jesus to all.
As Pete reminded us in one of his recent posts, he is always struck by the beauty and peace of the Chapel in Stewkley. I get a similar feeling when entering the small Chapel in Weedon, and judging by the number of comments I get, many others feel the same way. The presence of God is certainly felt here in the heart of the village and never more so when the light rises on a spring day and shines brilliantly through the beautiful stained glass window we have at the front of the Chapel. The windows here are not particularly old – this one dates to 1913 and the other piece we have on the western but darker side elevation dates from 1926. Both were made by W J Pearce of Manchester and are dedicated to Elizabeth Rolls, the first person to be buried in the Chapel graveyard, and her son Edmund, a renowned preacher.
But more than the dedication, perhaps the most significant thing about these windows is their subject matter. The main one is a stunning depiction of the Last Supper, a reminder of the life and work of Jesus and (aside from matters of betrayal!) a taste of what is to come. The smaller picture window is of Jesus and the Lost Sheep, confirmation indeed that the Kingdom of God is accessible to all. Here in Weedon, we always like to be accessible for anyone who would like to drop by – and we have our fair share of visitors and contacts from relatives of those who worshipped, were married, buried or just lived here once upon a time. We pray for all of them – those who have been touched by the experience of being in our very own holy place and for whom memories have been made.
This Christmas we tried a new experience – a live nativity parade – brought very much to life by the presence of Ronan, the donkey (pony), numerous hungry sheep, inevitable rain and a muddy field. Loved by old and young, we thank Keith for his involvement and good sense of humour in bringing the Nativity Story to life. A taste of things to come indeed..
We pray for our community, our camaraderie, our care, our compassion and our companionship amongst our congregation and further afield. May the significance of the Last Supper and the parable of the Lost Sheep always be the bedrock of our worship at Weedon.
Thanks be to God.