Monthly Archives: March 2011

Worms turning or renewing of Connexionalism?

I have read Angie's post The Kneeler: The turning of the worm? which begins:
Good morning God,
Tell me, did you ever intend gender to be such a problem?
I will probably comment on the 14 proposals in more detail – when I am more awake would probably be a good idea :-)
I wonder:
Can there be renewal without justice?
Can there be renewal without reform and transformation?
Can there be renewal without compassion, grace, forgiveness?
Can there be renewal without renewal of spirituality?

In human terms I hope we would all answer no. We cannot and should not expect the Spirit to bring renewal unless we are seeking God's ways, unless we are choosing the Christ way.

Of course the Spirit blows where God wills, not where we choose. So at times and for a while the Spirit may bring renewal without us getting things "right". Fortunately God does not wait for us to get things right (or we would be in for a long long wait). However, God does call us to change and be changed.
Anyway my point is (I think). Angie's list is in many ways a response to injustice. However, by standing for justice I think we see keys to renewal.
More later.

When you run out of cups …

This morning was unusual at Syston Methodist Church. We turned the Church into a cafe for our General Church Meeting followed by cafe worship.

To help us through the meeting and prepare us to worship the God who ´╗┐in Jesus says "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" we had Danish Pastries and Croissants. Plus we had our nice coffee (I hope the tea was good too but I find hard to get excited by tea).

The only problem was that there were so many people that not only were we running out of space and chairs but actually did run out of cups! How awesome is that! A Methodist Church with so many people at the General Church Meeting that you don't have enough cups! I love it.

After an opening prayer and song we got stuck straight into mission with a presentation from Josie, Margaret and Ann who are our Mission Shaped Ministry Pioneers – great to see how they are being inspired and challenged but even more important how they are looking to put things into practice here in Syston.

We then spent a little while on Past, Present and Future as we celebrated what God has been doing among us, considered our response today as the conclusion to our appeals week and then looked forward to some of the things that are being planned. The coming months are looking really exciting:

  • We start a Churches Together Big Read Lent Course with a Pancake party on Tuesday. We have got a lot more people than last year signed up with all the house groups at capacity and more wanting to join. We even have a Men only group this year (Saturday Mornings at Syston Methodist Church – Bacon rolls included).
  • We are looking forward to a day on Healthy Circuits with the other Leicester Circuits and Loughborough on 2nd April.
  • We have some great plans for Easter with worship and witness.
  • We have people committed to a fresh prayer ministry to follow Sunday morning worship.
  • We are at the early stages of forming a team for a new contemporary worship service, already aiming for a public launch on the Saturday of Pentecost weekend (11th June).
  • We have loads of plans for social and fundraising events.
  • Somewhere in all that we will be supporting a major circuit initiative for Biblefresh.

So it was good that the Church Meeting have given the enthusiastic go ahead to a new Leadership Team, have appointed a new and larger Church Council, found a great new Steward in Chris, added more pastoral visitors (and great to see men taking up that vital role) and for good measure found new people as Christian Aid Representatives. Plus we have a got a bunch of people signing up for membership classes :-)

With all that achieved we could move on into the Cafe Worship "proper".

We had some creative thinking and sharing around the tables on the text from the 2nd half of John 10:10 where Jesus says: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". We were invited to share what this means for us today as individuals, as a church and in our wider community.

After singing "How deep the Father's love for us" which nicely expresses some of the ways the words of Jesus are made real through his life, death and resurrection, we collected the thoughts of the table groups on huge petals which we built into a huge flower. Finally we had a a time of open prayer, again around the tables. It was lovely to hear a real buzz of prayer from all around the Church. Our closing song was "Teach me to dance" with a plenty of people getting up to dance around the Church.

A good morning :-)