For Prayer and Reflection…

Thanks to Dorothy, our President, for the prayer points below, to the people who have contributed various other parts to the page, and to the people at Sermon Central, who have made it possible to share with you some video messages of hope and encouragement in these unprecedented times.  Please feel free to pray on the points given, reflect on the thoughts shared, to watch the videos below, to read the suggested Scriptures, and to reflect on what a great and awesome God we serve.

Alan Harrison (Communications Officer)


Week Commencing 21st September 2020

Points for Prayer

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

(Colossians 3:17, NIV Bible)

The past week has not been the best with yet more of our Fellowships being in areas of local lockdowns and the possibility on the horizon of the whole country being in some kind of lockdown for a fortnight.

However, I have been encouraged, and trust you are too, by the fortitude and creativity that many of our Fellowships have demonstrated.  Those who have re-opened are continuing to do so, adapting as necessary to the new restrictions.  Those who have not yet been able to re-open are finding other ways of sharing the Gospel, and also discovering how they can discover the beauty of God at home in creation and the joy of sharing that with others.

The truth we have together discovered is that when we put Jesus at the centre of all that we do, say and think we naturally turn to God in thanksgiving because we experience His powerful presence within us.  No matter what the world throws at us, we know we are secure in the arms of Jesus.

With love and blessings.

Dorothy Kendrick, Connexional President

Connexion

Continue to pray for direction, strength, protection and for unity for the Churches in our Connexion during this time of uncertainty, especially as they prayerfully consider ways to re-open and make suitable arrangements for their Fellowships and buildings.  The churches in bold italics have informed the Resource Centre that they have opened or intend to open in the coming weeks.

Bolton Circuit: Chorley, Noble Street, Radcliffe

Bristol Circuit: Staple HillWarmley, West Camel

Blackpool Area: Blackpool

Burnley Area: Cliviger

Croxton Circuit: Croxton

Leigh Circuit: Astley, Atherton, Croft, Culcheth, Leigh, Kirkhall Lane, Leigh, Mill Lane, Lowton, Moorside, Roe Green, Tyldesley

Liverpool Circuit: Crosby, Haydock, Long Lane, Ramsey, Sutton Village, Thatto Heath

Medlock Valley: Failsworth (Roman Road)

Nelson Area: Nelson

North East Circuit: Bank Head, Boldon, Brandon Murray, Easington LaneGrindon (Bethany Memorial), Hebburn, Hetton-le-Hole, Murton, New Delaval, New Silksworth, Ryhope, Seaham Enfield Road, Seaham Stanley Street, South Hetton, South Hylton, Spennymoor (Jubilee), Spennymoor (Mount Pleasant), Sunderland (Bethel Christian Fellowship)

Pendle Circuit: Barnoldswick, Bethel (Colne)

Skelmersdale Area: Skelmersdale

Trafford, Manchester: Trafford Christian Life Centre

Warrington Circuit: Appleton, Grappenhall, Lymm, Risley, Stockton Heath, Buckley Street, Friars Green, Kent Street

Wigan Circuit: Bryn, Downall Green, Hindley, Ince, Lamberhead GreenNewtown, Pemberton, Spring View, Stubshaw Cross, Westwood

Yorkshire Circuit: Bingley, Dewsbury

Prayer requests from our churches

Atherton: Jim Cheers was transferred to the local hospice on Tuesday 8th September.  He may be discharged to his home with carers in the near future.  Please pray for Jim, Ann and all the family in these difficult days.

Cherry Lane: Many thanks for all your prayers for Ken Irwin who is now at home resting (as he has been told to).  Please continue to pray for Ken and the family.  Please also uphold the family of Ada Edwards in your prayers.  Her funeral is to be held this Friday.

Murray: Please uphold the family of Thelma Smith, who was a founder member and served as treasurer for many years, in your prayers.  Her funeral was held last week.

Six months on: Prayers of Hope – Churches Together in England

It is six months since the Presidents of Churches Together in England issued a national call to prayer for all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  They invited Christians across the country to join together in prayer at 7pm each Sunday night.  To mark six months since #PrayersOfHope began, CTE General Secretary, Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, has written a special prayer:

Gracious Lord, six months ago we faced an uncertain threat from the coronavirus pandemic and stood on the verge of the lockdown.  Then we lit candles of hope and prayed for our world.  Scripture calls us to persevere in prayer, and so we pray again and again that you would have mercy on our world, especially in those places where the virus is still spreading out of control.  Give wisdom and courage to all charged with leading the responses, from Governments to public health leaders, and especially to those Christians seeking to serve their communities.

 Closer to home, schools have re-opened, students are preparing to go to Universities and Colleges, and many face uncertainty at work.  Grant that the same mutual support experienced at the height of the lockdown may now be released again as we face social, economic and employment challenges.  Guide Christians throughout these islands to lead by example in building a fair and compassionate society and give courage as we witness to the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.

Good News!

Cliviger Church has been open since the 6th September with thirty attending at both services.  Sadly, none of our families have returned, as it means the children have to sit with their parents for the whole service and are not allowed to use any of our resources at Church.  However, we are looking into introducing some kind of Sunday Club for them soon.  We still enjoy fellowship over Zoom with our weekday meetings, prayer on Mondays and Bible Study on Wednesdays with coffee after the Church service.  We are also live streaming our morning services at 10.45 each Sunday or you can ‘catch up’ later on Facebook.  God Bless.  (Rena Scholes)

Murray Church opened for services last month.  Though it is not the normal service, we have a reading and message and each hymn has been read by someone instead of singing.  While it is not ideal situation, it is lovely to meet (socially distanced) to have a short time of fellowship and prayer.  May the Lord bless all our churches in these difficult days.  (Valerie Davis)

Friendly Neighbours!

We too have, or are, enjoying our harvest from the garden but so are others if you care to look at the picture – the joy of living in the country!

Fewer Brussel sprouts for Christmas!

(Rena Scholes – Mount Zion, Cliviger)

Any Good Ideas?

What creative ways have you found to share the Gospel while in lockdown?  Have you any suggestions for recognising upcoming festivals and celebrations whilst we remain/begin to emerge from lockdown?  We should remain physically distant to keep everyone safe, but we can choose to be socially close – to our Family, our Church Family, our Connexion and our Community.

Come on all you creative beings – what ideas is God placing in your consecrated imaginations?  Share it with us so we can work together in sharing the Gospel.  Do send any ideas into the Resource Centre.

Thank you!


Week Commencing 14th September 2020

Points for Prayer

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.  I pray that you may (continue to) be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”

(Philemon 1: 4 – 6, NIV Bible)

Feast or famine!  This week we have an abundance of pictures and Good News stories which absolutely fills my heart with thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Father.  What wonderful gardeners we have amongst us and how richly God encourages us with His creation, harvest and each other.  Thank you to everyone who has sent photos of what you have been doing through lockdown – keep them coming.  Thank you too to those who have included messages of encouragement and exhortation for others.  This is truly the Connexion working at its best – seeking to build one another up in the faith.

These remain difficult days for many.  Some are still in local lockdowns, unable to meet and socialise with anyone, inside or outside, except their own household or social bubble.  As the evenings begin to lengthen we are truly grateful for the splash of sunshine that warms our hearts in these difficult days.  Not all of us are yet able to be back together in worship, and for many harvest will be our own thanksgiving time with God, but it is wonderful we can share the excitement and rewards of labour of others.

Please keep the Good News stories coming in.  We are seeing the chink of light.  Sharing together does not have to be solely in physical presence.  Let us keep praying for one another.  There are difficult decisions ahead for some.  As we change and adapt to new ways of living and meeting together let us remain open to God’s direction.  The early church were scattered and grew.  What we did before has gone – we look forward to what we are doing now and will do in the future.  Praise God, He is in control.

May He continue to richly bless you as you love and worship Him.

Dorothy Kendrick, Connexional President

Connexion

Continue to pray for direction, strength, protection and for unity for the Churches in our Connexion during this time of uncertainty, especially as they prayerfully consider ways to re-open and make suitable arrangements for their Fellowships and buildings.  The churches in bold italics have informed the Resource Centre that they have opened or intend to open in the coming weeks.

Bolton Circuit: Chorley, Noble Street, Radcliffe

Bristol Circuit: Staple HillWarmley, West Camel

Blackpool Area: Blackpool

Burnley Area: Cliviger

Croxton Circuit: Croxton

Leigh Circuit: Astley, Atherton, Croft, Culcheth, Leigh, Kirkhall Lane, Leigh, Mill Lane, Lowton, Moorside, Roe Green, Tyldesley

Liverpool Circuit: Crosby, Haydock, Long Lane, Ramsey, Sutton Village, Thatto Heath

Medlock Valley: Failsworth (Roman Road)

Nelson Area: Nelson

North East Circuit: Bank Head, Boldon, Brandon Murray, Easington LaneGrindon (Bethany Memorial), Hebburn, Hetton-le-Hole, Murton, New Delaval, New Silksworth, Ryhope, Seaham Enfield Road, Seaham Stanley Street, South Hetton, South Hylton, Spennymoor (Jubilee), Spennymoor (Mount Pleasant), Sunderland (Bethel Christian Fellowship)

Pendle Circuit: Barnoldswick, Bethel (Colne)

Skelmersdale Area: Skelmersdale

Trafford, Manchester: Trafford Christian Life Centre

Warrington Circuit: Appleton, Grappenhall, Lymm, Risley, Stockton Heath, Buckley Street, Friars Green, Kent Street

Wigan Circuit: Bryn, Downall Green, Hindley, Ince, Lamberhead GreenNewtown, Pemberton, Spring View, Stubshaw Cross, Westwood

Yorkshire Circuit: Bingley, Dewsbury

Prayer requests from our churches

Gill Jacks, Friars Green: We opened our doors just coming up for 5 weeks now on a Sunday morning at a slightly different time of 11.15am.  What a blessing it has been!  We meet for around half an hour, to pray and hear a short message, but that time is just so important to each and everyone who comes.  Pray please that the Lord will continue to bless us and help us to continue this outreach in our town.

Hindley: Fred and Lilian Kearsley have asked for prayer for their granddaughter Amy, aged 22, who has been diagnosed with a cyst on her womb (now out of hospital).  Also, for Barbara, their youngest son’s mother-in- law, who is waiting to go into hospital in the near future, as she has a lump on her ovaries.  Please uphold Amy, Barbara and the family in your prayers.

Cherry Lane, Lymm: Please pray for Ken Irwin who is in hospital after suffering a heart attack.

New Delaval: Update on John (Derek and Brenda’s son-in-law).  He needed to be stabilised prior to any operation.  Major heart surgery took place on Tuesday.  He is still in intensive care but was due to be moved on Sunday.  We give thanks that our Father makes wonderful provision for us through the prayers of you all and the skills and dedication of hospital staff.

NE Prayer Warriors: The funeral of Jennifer Barnes will take place on Thursday 17th September.  Due to the present Covid-19 restrictions, only family can attend.  Please uphold her sons, Paul and Andrew, and their families in your prayers.

Good News!

Hope Street, Spring View: Brian Edwards is home after over five weeks in hospital.  He says he is feeling great – he’s glad to be home and able to watch the TV and sleep in his own bed!  Thank you for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for a full recovery.

100th Birthday Celebrations at Cherry Lane, Lymm: We had a lovely afternoon celebrating Edith’s 100th birthday (socially distanced).  We all enjoyed cake, scones and a coffee or tea and were so pleased we had good weather!  Edith was really pleased and spoke of her telegram from the Queen and fondly of our church fellowship.  Ken spoke about life in the 1920’s and about how Edith came to join our fellowship and how good it was to have most of our fellowship together.  Although it had been a long time since we last met together, it really didn’t seem it.  The afternoon ended with a word of prayer.  (Sue Stanworth)

It’s Harvest Time!

As a Church we were unable to celebrate Easter, Ascension and Whitsun.  It is great that together we can celebrate Harvest.

We have been growing tomatoes, kale, radicchio, beetroot, parsley and carrots – all of which came in seed packets attached to a gardening magazine brought home as ‘something to do’ by Carrie.  By now, we have been eating the parsley, carrots and beetroots (inc. leaves) and working our way through the tomatoes and kale.  Radicchio has not been served in our house before and it remains listed here as I have finally found out how to spell it!  It’s a long time since we grew produce but we have managed in pots and tubs as you will see by the samples in the picture, we accepted the challenge of the magazine that we try and it’s been good.

Harvest is a great time as we thank God for all His provision.  As Christians we have only an indication of the many good gifts God ‘sends from Heaven above’ just as the hymn writer encourages us to sing our praises to Him.  We have experienced unique times, but we have a unique God.  Some of what we have grown is new to us.  The world in which we are planted is new to us but, in faith and without fear, we will take on the new challenge being ‘fed and watered’ by Him who has blessed us with such good gifts in  bringing us this far and certain that He will never forsake us.  (Graham O’Nions – Long Lane)

Cheerful Sunflowers!

Some sunflowers sown at beginning of lockdown have cheered us on difficult days.  Praise our creator.

(Alan and Anne Chisholm – South Hylton)

Blessings During Lockdown!

These anemones and dahlias in our front garden were planted in lockdown (only cheap from B&M) and they took off – obviously good soil – and they still plenty of buds on!  I am reminded of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23) and 1 Corinthians 3:6, ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.’ (ESV).  I was so thrilled with how well the plants have done: they really cheer me up and remind me to thank God every day for all his blessings.

Also, have been reading and studying His word more during the lockdown and found ‘hidden gems’ I had missed before…  Also, as Kathy will agree, I am not technically minded, but my skills have improved, not a lot, but going in the right direction during lockdown!  Praise God for everything.  Romans 8:28.  Love and God bless.  (Lynda Hunter – Tyldesley)

Wonder and Joy in the Allotment!

The joy and peace I get from working on my allotment, either by myself or with my little helper (my great grand-daughter Alana) I could never describe.  God’s work is all around me and the marvel of planting a little hard seed (in my dining room), talking to it, then watching it grow until I can plant it outside fills me with wonder and joy that God has enabled me to do it all.   The end joy is being able to share it with my own family and my Church family – could anything beat the joy of that.  God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform!  (Hilda Jackson – Thatto Heath)

Encouragement from Wendy Hourriez

Back to school, back to work, back to lockdown…

Most of us fit into one of these situations but, being ‘retired’ and previously busy in our church and community, we don’t and we aren’t the only ones.  We used to be so busy in our church and community, but everything is on hold.  So, what do we do?  We could stay indoors and feel sorry for ourselves because we feel isolated now everyone else is busy.  We could find things to do in our home and garden, especially as we moved house recently – but that’s not enough.  We want to serve the Lord, but how?

During lockdown, we spent a lot of time contacting people by email and telephone so we could pray for them.  Even if most don’t have time to reply or chat now, this doesn’t stop us from our times of intercession.

We have also been praying that God will use our new home as a haven of peace for others.  So why were we surprised when a friend of a friend contacted us and asked if she could come to see us?  Her husband has had an accident affecting his memory so has to stay at home on his own now she is back at work.  She needed to talk and as she left, she mentioned how good it had been to be able to do so and to have a break.  We offered to help in any way we can and continue to keep in touch to encourage her.  Then a friend I worked with in school activities in English asked if she could call in to see us briefly as she would be in our village – and left two hours later!  Ex-neighbours have also said they’d like to come and see us sometime.

We may not seem to be doing a lot and certainly less than before, but we are encouraged.  We hope this will encourage those of you who feel you are not able to do much, for we never know the blessing little things can mean to others.

Even if you are back at work and busy, there are always little things you can do for others.

Let us remember and be encouraged by these words of Jesus: ‘And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.’  (Matthew 10:42 – NIV)

May God bless, encourage and keep you.

Wendy