Minister's Letter - June 2019

Dear friends,

In the next few weeks we have the opportunity to share in two national initiatives: Thy Kingdom Come and Bible Month.

If you were at the 10.30 Service on 26th May, you’ll have heard me introduce Thy Kingdom Come, and hopefully you’ll have picked up a prayer booklet. This was an initiative of the Church of England that the Methodist Church has joined in with. In some areas – including Winchester and Romsey – events have been organised jointly. Thy Kingdom Come takes place in between Ascension and Pentecost to coincide with the days in which the disciples prayed together as they waited in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit (read the first chapter of Acts if you’re not sure what I’m talking about). The initial impetus behind this was to pray for specific people who we long to meet God (through Jesus or the Holy Spirit). But that has widened over the years, and the Methodist Prayer booklet prepared to guide our prayers this year asks these questions. “Does faith in Jesus transform the world for us? How can faith change how we love and understand our neighbours?” It invites us to breathe deeply and give space for silence and focus each day. If you haven’t got a booklet, there are still some in the Linkway corridor. Please use it.

June is normally Bible Month, but there are so many other things going on this year, so I’ve split it across June and July. On 23rd & 30th June and 14th & 21st July. There will also be a taster on 2nd June in the evening! The book we’re looking at this year is the Letter to the Colossians and it’ll be one chapter each week. I’m letting you know now so you can read it in preparation. I’ve not taken part in Bible Month before, but I gather you have and that you’ve found it helpful. If you want to look at the resources available – including material for discussion – you can find it on www.preachweb.org/biblemonth

How is our faith being deepened? is one of the questions all the churches in the Circuit are being asked as part of a Circuit review. When the Winchester, Eastleigh and Romsey Circuit was established in 2016, a vision and mission statement was agreed, but it was also recognised that it would need to be revisited. That time has now come and the impetus has come from three directions. First, a new ‘Our Calling’ statement from Conference, and the requirement for Circuits to establish a property strategy by 2020. Second, the appointment of a new Superintendent. Third, the requirement for Circuits to review staffing as Ministers’ appointments are reviewed. In order to establish a new Circuit mission, ministry and property plan, the Circuit is inviting each church to respond to the following questions:

1. Mission, Purpose and Identity

a) What do you think God’s hopes are for this church and

community?

b) How do relationships with other churches, denominations and

organisations enable the Holy Spirit’s work in your church and

community?

2. Growing in Faith and Discipleship

a) How is your faith and the faith of this church being deepened?

b) And how will this shape the life of this church in the next five

years?

3. Evangelism and Growth

a) How can you share the love of Jesus with more people in your

community?

b) And how will this shape the life of this church in the next five

years?

4. Energy and Resources

a) How is the mission of God enabled by your present resources

of people, premises and money?

b) What might you need to let go of in order to take up new

opportunities?

Our Leadership team hopes that as many people as possible will discuss and respond to these, and they have been directly sent to house groups in the hope that you might engage with them. However, it is open to any group, committee or fellowship within the Church to respond. Please let Mark Downer have your responses (email them or leave them in the pigeon holes) by the end of August. The Leadership Team will then consider all your responses and produce a Church response to meet the deadline on 15th September.

The intention is that the Circuit Leadership Team will bring a new Circuit strategy to the Circuit Meeting in December 2019. The strategy is not likely to contain final solutions to every issue that we expect will be raised. Some of the issues are likely to require further work. It will therefore be a ‘work in progress’. It will propose ways forward for the most urgent issues and provide a timetable for the others.

This could be one of the pieces of work that you might pray for over the coming days. Prayers for everyone involved in this piece of work are essential!

I realise that these are not the only ways in which our faith, and the faith of Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church, is being deepened. It would be good to hear what works for you and what you’d like more of! Why not share your thoughts with us all through The Link?

With good wishes, Sue