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From our Minister

We have arrived at that point where the manse is feeling emptier, cupboards bare and what remains difficult to sort. One positive result from the house flooding, ceilings coming down and everything being taken into storage was the workmen emptying years of accumulated stuff out of the attic. Regular trips to Oxfam in Sevenoaks, the Hospice of Hope and Sevenoaks refuse centre has denuded us of much we once thought useful. For me, a problem as I strip books from…

From our Minister

Aldersgate Day, May 24th is a significant anniversary in Methodism; John Wesley wrote in his journal of 24th May 1738 ‘In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society [then meeting in Trinity Hall] in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed I felt I…

From our Minister

In meditating on scripture, one of my most profound experiences each year is as I reflect on the Good Friday account and the disciples as they experienced the events we read about. Jesus taken by force in the Garden of Gethsemane. Betrayed by one of their friends, Judas: when Jesus at the table said ‘One of you will betray me’ no one looked at Judas, no one hinted it would be him. Jesus being questioned by Pilate and the crowds…

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,…