Hope Springs Eternal. Newsletter No 38 - 3rd May 2021
Now a man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). Here was a young man who had an enquiring mind, certainly with regards to spiritual matters, someone who believed in a life beyond this one, but someone who ultimately went away disappointed because his priority in life was his wealth, something that he was not prepared to be parted from.
There is nothing in Matthew’s gospel or any of the other accounts of this meeting that suggests the young man was in any way greedy, but it did provide a blockage with his relationship with God. However, following recent events in our world, it provides a timely reminder to us all about how our dependency on material things does present a hindrance to our faith.
Over the past fifteen months, whilst the world has been battling with Covid, another conflict has emerged, that of striking the right balance between the health and welfare of people against the need of maintaining economic wealth. It is no coincidence that when the balance has tipped in favour of maintaining economic wealth by delaying or avoiding lockdown and ignoring other measures that reduce the spread of this dreadful virus, then the results have been an almost catastrophic rise in both infections and premature deaths.
We are all aware of what has happened in Brazil and India. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, has consistently ignored the advice of scientific experts in favour of his economic growth policies. Whilst in India the government of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has followed a similar path influenced by both economics and political expedience.
In the United States, under the Trump Administration, again priority was given to maintaining the economy for political reasons over the needs to contain the spread of the virus. Of course, here in the United Kingdom, we are all aware of how our government vacillated for far too long before taking action and is now currently besieged by stories and accusations regarding its conduct when dealing with the crisis. We have all heard stories of the cronyism, favours for mates and uncaring statements. Sadly, many of these incidents are rooted in greed and the desire for wealth.
In the type of world that man has created, it is so easy to get our values distorted. We seem to believe that property, money, material possessions, or a large bank account give us security, but dependency on such items is at best only temporary and can never fulfil our basic spiritual needs. We came into this world with nothing, and it is certain we will leave it in the same way, with nothing. Jesus has promised us eternal life if only we believe in Him and determine to dedicate our lives to Him. No amount of wealth or material possessions can be a substitute for our faith in Him.
On the subject of money. As a church we consider ourselves to be good stewards of the financial resources that God has granted us. For many years we have made it a practice of limiting our reserves and using what we have for the benefit of our church, local community, and the wider church. During the past year, our core membership has enabled us to keep afloat financially, but we know we have lost much of our income from fringe, occasional and casual attenders. Furthermore, the income that we receive from Community Groups using our building has fallen to zero.
We cannot believe that we are the only Independent Methodist Church to have been affected financially by the pandemic and a letter has recently been sent to the Officers of the Connexion asking them to show some support and empathy for the churches of the denomination in these difficult times. The Connexion has extensive financial reserves, and its operating costs must have been considerably reduced during the past year with no Annual Meeting to finance, reduced travelling expenses of office holders and lower postage costs as most things are now sent by email. We requested that the Connexion cancel church dues for all churches for the years 2020 and 2021. We are awaiting an official response.
We as a church are required to pay to the Connexion £35 per member which adds up to something over £1600.
A number of Church Members now use standing orders to make their weekly church offertory. If you would like to support the church through this method, then please contact either the Church Treasurer, Susan McArthur, her assistant Glenys Baguley or Rob Brooks.
Sunday 9th May at 10.30 – Rob Brooks
Sunday 16th May at 10.30 – Andy Hunter (Tyldesley IM Church)
Sunday 23rd May at 10.30 – Frank Pemberton – Pentecost Sunday
Sunday 30th May at 10.30 – Susan McArthur
This week Roy asks us to consider Hebrews 2: 10-13. What does it mean to you for Jesus to call you His brother or sister? How can we live up to that relationship?
Many people have used the last year to have a de-clutter. The church is hoping to hold a ‘White Elephant’ sale during the Summer months, probably outside on the car park and lawned areas.
If you are having a de-clutter, then we are interested in any bric-a-brac items you have no further use for. These would include ornaments, unwanted gifts, and gadgets that you thought were going to be useful at the time! In fact, anything that you think others may find a use for. Music CDs and Film DVDs would also be welcome donations.
Items that we are not looking for are clothes and books. Charity shops have been inundated with such items during recent months.
We are prepared to collect and store any donated items until the event is held, possibly July. For further information or to arrange collection and storage, please contact either Kath Middleton or Anne Pridden.
Events in the Church grounds
In addition to the ‘White Elephant’ sale, we are also looking to holding other events in the garden and car park such as ‘Afternoon Tea’. If you have any ideas of other events that we could hold outdoors, please forward them on. Of course, the arrangement of such events will depend on the type of Summer we have!
Church Recipe Book.
We are compiling a booklet of recipes to raise funds for Church. This will only be successful if we share our recipes, so please send us your favourites, either by email or handwritten and pass to your cluster leader or dictate by phone. We also need a title for our booklet, so suggestions please. All responses to Anne or Kath please.
Warrington Foodbank. We are continuing to collect items for the Warrington Foodbank items currently in short supply are, tinned rice pudding, tinned potatoes, cream crackers, tinned meat(hot), corned beef, Angel Delight, custard, potato mash, tinned fruit, fish / meat paste, jelly, cat food. If you wish to donate any of the above or other items via church, please advise your cluster leader, Anne or Brenda. Collection can be arranged.
Birthdays and Anniversaries in May
5th Sharlee Misal, 15th Margaret Jenkinson, 23rd Rob Brooks, 25th Philip Newlan celebrates his sixtieth birthday. Wedding Anniversary, 14th Jocelyn and Colin Whitby.
Spring Flowers, a poem by Enid Hart
Spring is bursting all around.
Shoots are growing from the ground.
Now the Winter’s cold is past.
Glad to greet the sun at last.
Bud and blossom, bush and tree,
From wintry grave set free,
All wave in the wind and greet the dawn.
They flourish on the pathway and by the lawn;
Their smell to enchant us, their colour to thrill.
We love them in Springtime and always will.