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District Newsletter – May 2020
Welcome to the Bolton and Rochdale District Newsletter.
This edition includes details about events, dates for your diaries, training opportunities, vacancies, links and contacts.
If you have any information to share please contact us so we can include in future editions.
Please share this newsletter around your churches, circuits and contacts.
A message from the Chair of District, Rev Paul Martin:
Greetings from the District Manse!
There are more questions than answers. I have been inundated with questions about finance, Synods, governance, furloughing, property, pastoral matters – the list goes on. In many cases I haven’t been able to give the answer and have had to resort to the standard, “I’ll have to get back to you on that one”.
Perhaps the biggest question is what will the new normality look like? What have we learned (and continue to learn) during the pandemic and attendant lockdown which we will want to carry forward into the future? To put a theological spin on it, what is God teaching us? It would be a missed opportunity if each church, and indeed each follower of Jesus, does not reflect on how we might change and adapt what we do in the future. For example, I have been hugely impressed at the way ministers (and others!) have made provision for worship via one of the on-line platforms available. Anecdotally, more people seem to be accessing this worship than would on a Sunday morning. With the obvious caveat that some will be excluded from this medium (either because they don’t have or can’t or won’t use the technology) there is a great evangelistic opportunity. Such platforms can be steps to greater engagement with God.
That opportunity throws up another question: if ministers are going to continue making this provision, what will they stop doing when the lockdown ends in order to make the time?
My daily Bible readings at the moment feature the Acts of the Apostles. Life in the early church which was full of questions, evangelical opportunities and not a few arguments! Let’s pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we reassess what we do.
The Rainbow is a sign of hope, found in the Bible story of Noah and the ark. Bolton Methodist Mission Sunday School have drawn some rainbows to encourage us all in these challenging times click here to see
There is also a version at the District Manse click here to see
Bedford Hall School have produced a lovely "Thanks You" video click here to watch
Thy Kingdom Come - Graham Baker, the GMCT facilitator, has set up a virtual prayer room for Thy Kingdom Come and is looking for Christians across the Greater Manchester area to fill one hour or more slots. The hope is that the whole period between Ascension (21st May) and Pentecost (31st May) is filled with people across our churches joining together in prayer.
Graham has sent details on how to get involved below:
I have set up an online prayer room that churches across Greater Manchester can use to sign up for slots to pray over the 10 days of Thy Kingdom Come.
The concept is that we would have every hour covered for the whole ten days - with people signing up for hour slots at this page:
There are ideas for how people might use the hour to pray at this page:
as well as some great resources from Thy Kingdom Come, here:
Phakamisa A Ministry of Pinetown Methodist Church Newsletter Spring 2020
I hope you are all keeping safe and well at this time.
Thokozani wrote this report for the UK Trust just before South Africa went into lockdown and Phakamisa had to close its doors for the duration. Thokozani does not have access to Wi-Fi at home, so we are using the report attached in place of a newsletter to let you know what has been happening at Phakamisa and the plans they have for the year ahead, when they are allowed to meet again. Please keep the staff, students, children and caregivers in your prayers as they are unable to access the usual support and training, they would receive from attending Phakamisa.
All We Can have been producing short videos every day at 1:17pm to help people keep a sense of connection, togetherness and worship in these strange and isolating times. We have been drawing on Paul’s letter to the Colossians, and in particular Colossians 1:17, where Paul writes that ‘in Christ all things hold together’. That’s felt like a very appropriate message right now… click here for details
Also, All We Can and the Methodist Church have launched a joint ‘Emergency Coronavirus Appeal’, which is enabling people, communities and churches in some of the world’s poorest communities to respond to the virus. Some of you may have seen the Easter Methodist Sing-a-long on Easter Sunday afternoon, where we launched this appeal. We have been inviting people to pray with us, to give (if they can) and to save lives together.
You can find out more about the appeal and support our work here – allwecan.org.uk/globalresponse
Journey of the Magi – a festive, light-hearted, joyful event with a moving and profound message.
Following a sell-out year in 2019, Journey of the Magi is back, for churches to host for Advent 2020. If you’re wanting to find ways to bring your community together in a joyful way after lockdown, then why not share the joy and wonder of Christmas with your church and local community through this exhilarating, critically acclaimed performance. The show offers a bridge between contemporary life and Jesus’s birth, comparing our own personal journey to Christmas day with the journey that the wise men took. With sparkle and songs to keep the children engrossed and bags of good humour for the grown-ups, Journey of the Magi delights audiences of all ages and offers a chance to reflect, refocus and bring strength to the community.
“Absolutely fabulous show. Wonderful mix of fun, wit, and meaning. It made me laugh and it made me cry all in a couple of minutes. (Hope you'll come back.)” Richard, Poynton Methodist Church
Springs is inviting churches to host a performance of Journey of the Magi, which we are planning to tour nationally from 21st November to 23rd December 2020. If a performance in 2020 cannot go ahead due to COVID-19, bookings will be fully refundable or postponed until Advent 2021.
Further information can be found on the Springs Dance Company website page https://springsdancecompany.org.uk/productions/journey-of-the-magi/, by emailing email@example.com or by calling 07876 752 910
MWiB ANNUAL REVIEW, SPRING 2020
The Covid-19 situation is naturally causing difficulties with our usual MWiB processes, not least the printing and distribution of the Spring 2020 Annual Review. In light of this, the new Annual Review is currently only available as an electronic download / pdf. This is attached
herewith, and is available on our website at the link below:
Please forward this email and attachment as appropriate, and if you can encourage the appropriate people in your church, circuit and/or district to include the download and/or link on their websites for others to see, that would be great.
With thanks, and best wishes
Judith R Simms
Methodist Women in Britain
Action for Children Emergency Coronavirus Appeal
Action for Children has launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help provide essentials to the most vulnerable families they support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future.
Coronavirus has thrown all our lives, our communities and the UK into an unprecedented crisis. Families who were already struggling are now unable to buy food and basic essentials such as nappies, cleaning products, and money for gas and electricity. They need us now more than ever.
Action for Children is working hard to make sure they can still support children and their families at this difficult time. The appeal is just one of many ways they are taking action. They are also creating more digital solutions to support where face-to-face options are limited.
Please donate to this Emergency Coronavirus Appeal and keep the charity in your prayers.
Here is also a video promoting the Emergency Appeal: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4iQ2B-4MfU
Action for Children has launched a Coronavirus Emergency Appeal to help provide essentials to the most vulnerable families we support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future. Please donate now. Thank you.
While we are struggling with COVID-19, how are our sisters and brothers in Kenya and Haiti getting on?
We have had news from Methodist churches in both Kenya and Haiti, telling us of their preparations for, and the impacts on their lives of, COVID-19.
Kenya: We have information from Maua Methodist Hospital about the preparations they are making for the time when COVID-19 infections have spread north from Nairobi and reached Meru and Nyambene districts. The hospital has already sent home all staff over the age of 65 years, and all those who are pregnant. The remaining staff and students have been trained/retrained how to manage highly infectious patients and the symptoms these patients are likely to present. They have protective equipment for the clinical staff, but they do not have large stocks of these items, and their procurement is not easy. Please keep them in prayer as they face the arrival of the virus.
The first cases of COVID-19 in Haiti have only come in the past week or so, but as soon as the first 2 cases were identified the government introduced the same ‘lock-down’ instructions which we are now following, so they have been matching us for the past few days. The schools for the wealthier families are sending work out by e-mail and returning it for marking in the same way. People are making brief forays to the shops for essential supplies as infrequently as possible and most businesses are closed. The churches were virtually closed last Sunday as they are only allowed 10 people there at one time (irrespective of the size of the church). The services must have been made up of the Preacher, Worship Leader, Music director, one or two musicians (keyboard, guitar or drums), possibly 2 stewards and then about 3 congregational members, so most folk will have had to worship at home. We understand Facebook, and WhatsApp we used so that some people could receive worship materials. We assume the church radio stations were also broadcasting worship in some form.
We received an email and photographs telling us of the preparations for the virus. Members of church had been to the poorer areas giving health talks, showing posters in Creole, teaching people how to wash their hands and distributing toilet paper and bottles of water. So many families live in single rooms with no kitchen or bathroom and are dependent on communal toilets and buying food cooked on the streets. Isolation is a problem so washing well is essential. We were touched by the comment “For years while you lived in Haiti you went about teaching health procedures to the community, and here we are doing it for ourselves. We’re for ever thankful for your ministry.”
Let us remember them all in prayer at this time, and especially all those who normally survive on street food.
Dates for your diary: visit the District Website: www.barmd.org.uk
For details of the various jobs around the Connexion please visit: www.methodist.org.uk/jobs
Advanced Module Training Dates – please visit the Events section of the District Website to book places on these training days.
Policies and guidance – the most recent are now available on the Methodist Church website: https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/safeguarding/policies-procedure-and-information/policies-and-guidance/
District Safeguarding Officer: New email address Kev Brabrook - firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning Network: North West & Mann Region
Our Learning Network Team have various events and training coming up so please visit the website for further information of what is coming up - http://www.methodist.org.uk/learning/network-regions/north-west-mann-region
The Learning Network write a regular e-newsletter which is very informative. If you are new to the Region and / or don’t already receive this, please could you sign up by filling out your details here:https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/learning/network-regions/north-west-mann-region/subscribe-to-the-dmln-north-west-and-mann-newsletter/
General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on 25th May 2018.
Training and resources from TMCP are fine tuned for The Methodist Church context:
How to become a Fairtrade Church: The three goals: To be part of the campaign by becoming a Fairtrade Church, please register with us www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/in-your-community/faith-groups/fairtrade-churches
- Action for Children: www.actionforchildren.org.uk
- All We Can: www.allwecan.org.uk
- Bible Society: www.biblesociety.org.uk
- Children’s Bible stories: www.childrenschapel.org
- Christian Aid: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/
- Connexion website: www.methodist.org.uk
- Methodist Women in Britain: www.mwib.org.uk
- Methodist Publishing: www.methodistpublishing.org.uk