Welcome to Wokingham Methodist Church
Sunday 15 December - Advent 3
|10.30 am||Nativity (All Age Worship)||Revd Catherine Bowstead|
|6.00 pm||Evening Service||Mr David Morgan|
Pastoral Letter - December 2019 / January 2020
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
Advent is almost upon us. Advent, a time of preparation and waiting, an opportunity to find time to think about our faith and prepare ourselves to meet the Christ Child and celebrate Christmas. Whilst the world seems determined to celebrate Christmas as soon as December begins, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the time and space to mark Advent. In addition, this year, we have a General election to consider too, and so our Advent time of waiting and preparation is interrupted by politics.
I wonder how we can take the themes of Advent with us into the polling booth. Themes such as peace, justice, patience, truth and hope, and how do these affect how we decide to cast our vote? Jesus’ example was to care for the poor, the outcast and marginalised; he saw a society that had become unjust, selfish and uncaring. Can we follow his example to care for the whole of society and especially the poor, the marginalised and the refugee? Please do vote and use the themes of Advent to help you to use your vote wisely.
And then it will be Christmas, and in all the festive busyness, do find time to pause and treasure the gift of Christmas. The gift of God becoming human in order to reveal perfectly God’s truth and love. The gift of Jesus, who died and rose again to life for our salvation and who established a community of faith to continue his presence and work.
Early in the New Year we have a very practical opportunity to be engaged in Christ’s work as we are taking our turn in hosting the Wokingham Night Shelter. Elsewhere in Greetings you will find further details of how you can be involved.
Also in January, we will be holding the first of our conversations about the Methodist Report on Marriage and Relationships: “God in love unites us”. This will be on Sunday 19th January, 6-7pm with further sessions on 16th February and 15th March.
May you have a considered and prayerful Advent, a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
With every blessing,
Pastoral Letter - November 2019
From Revd Catherine Bowstead
The Methodist Conference this year spent a lot of time discussing “God in Love Unites Us” the report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group. This report has now been commended to the wider Connexion for study and prayerful reflection. The report covers topics such as:
- the qualities of good relating
- an understanding of co-habitation
- celebration of civil partnerships
- prayers following the end of a marriage
- allowing same-sex marriages to take place in Methodist Churches
The report containing these resolutions is now to be discussed locally and then voted on by District Synods in the spring. A report will then be sent back to Conference for a decision next July.
One way of coming to a decision is to use the so-called “Wesley Quadrilateral”. This is a method whereby the four elements of Scripture, experience, tradition and reason are each used to examine the topic in question in order to reach a balanced and sensible conclusion. It’s a helpful method to use in decision making and as you read the report you will see how the task group have implemented it to reach their conclusions. I would urge you to do the same as you study the report, you may find it challenging or refreshing, you may agree with much of it or find that you disagree with the findings but I ask you to read the report in its entirety with an open mind.
These are very significant discussions and as some people find these subjects highly emotive such conversations can easily become highly charged, so it’s important that we conduct these conversations in a loving and respectful manner. The Methodist Church acknowledges that we live with “contrary convictions” on these matters, and whatever the church decides there will be some people who will be very disappointed. Therefore, the way in which we discuss this and the way in which we continue to work together after the decision is made will be vitally important for the future of our denomination.
It is important that everyone has the opportunity to read the report and share in the discussions if they wish. All the resources can be found on the Methodist Church Website: www.methodist.org.uk/MandR19 but there will be some paper copies of the report available too.
There will be some study and discussion sessions around the Circuit in the New Year. At Wokingham these are likely to be on Sunday evenings 19th Jan, 16th Feb and 15th March. Further details of other days and venues will be available nearer the time and you will be very welcome to attend discussions at another of our circuit churches if you wish.
With every blessing,