Posts by John Ritson

Posts by John Ritson

From our Minister

I’ve noticed over the years of my ministry that when preachers speak on the subject of prayer, they, more often than not, admit the inadequacy of their own prayer life. When the preacher is someone of significance I’m encouraged. Trying to pray meaningfully today, I find difficult. Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, persecuted Christians, earthquakes in Turkey, Afghanistan and China, global warming…. I listen to the news and it seems every day there is something else of concern. How to pray…

From our Minister

Here’s a quiz for you. In which film do we hear the phrase: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? If you haven’t got it, I’ll leave you in suspense for a little longer.     Do you remember the cartoons which had as the caption; ‘Love is’ and then at the bottom of the cartoon something describing one aspect of love. For example; ‘Love is… Feeling richer than Rockefeller.’ In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul describes love; here’s a…

From our Minister

I’m not sure if it’s me, but Christmas seems to have arrived early this year. Christmas trees, decorations, carols playing in the shops all began appearing in early November and the displays in John Lewis are truly extravagant. When we lived in Germany it was very different. In December Christmas markets would appear in the towns and cities but no carols until a couple of days before Christmas day. The music would be Advent hymns and the decorations muted; and…

From our Minister

Paul was 18 years old, a soldier in the infantry serving in NI. On the 28th August 1992 he and the platoon to which he was attached began a patrol through the town of Crossmaglen. A few minutes later he died. No one heard a shot, no sight of a gunman, the street up and down was clear. It was sometime later before the police were able to say what had happened. The sniper had positioned himself half a mile…

From our Minister

We have something of a mixed blessing on the driveway of the manse. Bushes lining the driveway and going through into the rear garden have briars growing through the middle of them. As they have the sun shining on them most of the day the briars come through on our side: I’ve noticed there are no signs of them in the neighbour’s garden. Over the last few weeks, they have been laden with a heavy crop of blackberries. It’s very…

From our Minister

Greetings and happy new year. It’s a bit odd to wish a happy new year in September, but then that’s Methodism. Rather than an article from me this month I’d like to introduce Kirsty McGhee, our new probationer Minister, who takes up her appointment on the 1st September. We are delighted to have her join us in the circuit and I ask for your prayers for her as she starts this exciting new ministry among us. Kirtsy’s welcome service is…

From our Minister

Kathryn and I returned from the Methodist Conference in Birmingham yesterday (29/06). It has been an interesting week and one in which some significant decisions regarding the Methodist church have been taken. Falling numbers and shrinking income are having a serious impact on future planning and management: one significant change is to reduce the number of representatives attending the conference in future. The highlight for us of the Conference was the induction of the new President and Vice President and…

From our Minister

I like to attend Christian conferences and look forward to sharing with others in fellowship and worship. I enjoy being stretched and challenged by good teaching and generally everything about the event. Usually, when it has been a particularly good conference, there is a sense of disappointment that it is coming to an end. Often over coffee prior to departure conversations turn to what we are going back to and sometimes people talk of their church back home being dry…

From our Minister

Have you ever looked closely at the coins in your purse or pocket? If so, have you noticed that on every single coin is written: Elizabeth II D.G. Reg F.D.? D.G. refers to Dei Gratia; ‘By the grace of God.’ New coins will have Charles III. F.D. refers to a title given to Henry VIII in 1521 by Pope Leo 10th after the King working with his secretary, Thomas More, wrote a defence of Catholic dogma regarding the seven sacraments,…

From our Minister

I’m writing this before we have concluded the bible marathon, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who took part. Early on, the web page showing the separate reading slots looked rather bare, with only a third filled on the day we started to read. But having started, more joined us, it was a great experience. I subscribe to Christianity magazine; I have done so for several years and find it a useful resource…

From our Minister

Is it me, or has February gone by in a flash? An update on what is happening in the manse. A few days ago, five workmen arrived and immediately started pulling up floor coverings and taking plaster off the walls. The house was filled with the roar and clatter of jack hammers, dust and debris covered all surfaces and we were left wondering yet again: how could so much damage occur in such a short time? To add to the…

From our Minister

In the gospel of Mark ch10, there is an account of Jesus healing a blind man; Bartimaeus. It is one of many miracles Jesus did during his earthly ministry, but there is something about it which speaks volumes to me of Jesus’s concern, sensitivity, respect and love for blind Bartimaeus. In the story, Jesus and the disciples are leaving Jericho surrounded by crowds. Blind Bartimaeus, sitting at the roadside begging, is told Jesus is passing by and immediately starts shouting…