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Jo is on leave for two weeks.  Meanwhile, have you seen the new leaflet?

Grange Methodist Church

29 March

Dear Friends,

This is the last Weekly Update you'll get from me for a couple of weeks - I am taking two weeks leave after Easter. While I am off David, Hazel, Su and Andrew will be taking the online services from the church (as two households, they can legally meet in the church to stream a service but are not allowed to be indoors in a house together). They will also be keeping the zoom Coffee morning going. The whole Rand household is very grateful to them for enabling us to have a break!

If you need a minister while I'm off there will be a message on my email and answerphone telling you who to contact.

The Mustard Seed

The April edition of The Mustard Seed is now available here. Thank you once again to everyone who has contributed, and to Hazel for putting it all together. It's great to hear more about what's going on. You are welcome to share The Mustard Seed with others.

Holy Week and Easter
If we really engage with the story, Holy Week can be tiring for us all (not just clergy!) All the ups and down, hopes and heartbreaks can take us to spiritual and emotional places we might otherwise avoid. Please do pop in to church for some quiet time to reflect and pray if you would find that helpful. The Lent Cross is set up, and there are booklets available with prayers and reflections. And we've got the heating on! Open Mon - Fri this week, 10.30-11.30am. A reminder that we also have online services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - details in The Mustard Seed.

Wishing you all God's blessing in this holy season, and the joy of Easter when it comes.

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

24 March

Dear Friends,

Holy Week and Easter are fast approaching. Next week the church will be open for individual prayer for an hour each morning, 10.30-11.30am from Monday 29th March until Good Friday on 2nd April. You are welcome to drop in at any point during the hour.

Holy Week online services:

  • 10.30am Palm Sunday

  • 7 pm Maundy Thursday

  • 12 noon Good Friday

  • 10.30am Easter Day

As usual these services will be available afterwards if the 'live' time is not convenient.

Breaking Day - Riding Lights Passion Play

The URC group of churches have invited us to join them to see Riding Lights Theatre's online passion play. It will be shown in three 15 min acts, with time for reflection in between. They are showing it this Sunday (28th) at 7pm, and repeated on Good Friday at 10.30am. Email Jenny for details of the log in information. Alternatively, we will be watching it in the Fellowship Group this Monday evening, 29th at 7.30pm - join the zoom meeting using the usual link (links here.)

Breaking Day: A Lockdown Passion Play by Les Ellison

Daybreak on Good Friday. The Governor's grip on authority is slipping, his wife plagued by dreams, and their servant clearly knows more than she should. Torn between the Capitol, the Sanhedrin & the mob, the lines between personal & political begin to blur. The teacher at the centre of it all remains silent.
Flimed remotely in lockdown, Breaking Day is an innovative passion play for Easter 2021, immersing us with stark intimacy in decisions that led to crucifixion. Watch the trailer here.

Easter Pack

This weekend look out for an Easter pack coming out to you. If you don't receive one we probably don't have your postal address - let me know if you would like one.

The Mustard Seed

The deadline for the April edition of The Mustard Seed is this Sunday, 28th March. We will aim to get this out before Easter. Please email any items to Hazel Edmondson, or tel: 36213, address: 16 Charney Court.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

17 March

Last week I promised that I would share the outcomes of the Church Council meeting last week. There were three key issues on the agenda. The first is the proposed building project; the second was about the Circuit Review.  If you would like me to forward a letter on either of these, please email me.

The third item discussed was opening the building for services. The Church Council felt that it is too early for us to be holding gathered services yet. In the autumn when we were operating under the tier system the Church Council decided that if our area were to be placed in tier three, we would stop holding services. This was because the rules required us to have no social interaction between those attending, and it was felt that this was almost impossible to expect people to adhere to, or expect those stewarding to enforce. We now do not have the tiers, but the nearest equivalent in the Government's 'Roadmap' is Step 3, which will commence on 17th May at the earliest. We do have another Church Council meeting on 20th April, and at that meeting we will look again at this. If the roadmap is not delayed, this could mean we open for services from Pentecost (23rd May). However, we all need to be prepared to understand that it will be considerably longer before services are able to be anything like what we have been used to pre-pandemic. The Government Roadmap is clear that even beyond Stage 4 when legal restrictions are lifted (21st June at the earliest) we are likely to continue to need to distance and wear face coverings. It is also quite likely to be later than 21st June when we will be able to reintroduce congregational singing. But of course all continues to be under review.

In order to offer something to mark Holy Week, it was decided to open the church for individual prayer 10.30-11.30 daily, from Monday 29th March until Good Friday on 2nd April. We will need two stewards at a time for each day. Stewarding instructions will be provided. If you would like to volunteer to steward please let me know which day(s) you are available, and whether you are willing to do one or more of the days. If you would like to attend to pray you do not need to book - just turn up at any point between 10.30 and 11.30am.

Greening Cartmel Peninsula

I have received an invitation from PEAT (Peninsula Environmental Action Together, formally GCAN), a group that was meeting in our hall before lockdown. They are holding an online public meeting on Weds 5th May, 7-8pm, to kick off a local campaign to emerge from lockdown to a greener, kinder future. They are using a model that has been successfully followed in over 100 communities. The meeting is open to anyone who lives or works in the Peninsula, including businesses, societies, churches and schools. If you are interested in attending alongside others to represent the church, please get in touch and I will give you more details.

Taize Evening

St Charles's church is organising a Zoom Taize evening on Friday March 26th at 7.00 pm. If anyone would like to join, please contact Greg Tagney for details, either on 07776 252937 or by email.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

10 March

Dear Friends,

Well done to those who spotted my error in the online service on Sunday - in the prayers I mentioned Church Council meeting on Tuesday, when I should have said Thursday! (Thursday 11th - as I write, this is tomorrow.)  I hope I have not caused too much confusion. This is an extraordinary meeting that was arranged primarily to make some decisions about the proposals for building redevelopment, but we will also be discussing the circuit review and of course the question about how and when will be right for us to open the building for services. Please do remember these things in your prayers, and we will do our best to keep everyone updated. In the meantime, online services and printed service deliveries continue as usual. This Sunday, Mothering Sunday, is where we began with online services last year, with our first streamed service from the church very nearly (but not quite) a full calendar year ago. It is a strange thing to look back over all that has happened in those months - things we never expected or imagined possible.

Pastoral News

I have been asked to share a request to pray for John Warrington, one of our members who moved to Grange during the past year, and therefore has had very little chance to get to know any of the congregation. John is father of Amanda Fogg, who many of you will have known when she worked at Abbott Hall. John is in hospital having had two very serious strokes, and the family would greatly appreciate your prayers.

District Ordinands Testimony Service

You may be aware that in the Cumbria District we have two ordinands. Zena Smith (South West Cumbria United Area) and Andrew Sterling (Kirby Stephen, Appleby and Tebay Circuit) have been in post since September 2018 and were due to be ordained it the Methodist Conference in Summer 2020. However, the ordinations have had to be postponed, and then postponed again because of the pandemic. Last year's ordinations are now planned to take place locally, rather than gathering everyone together from around the Connexion, and Zena and Andrew should now be ordained on 19th June at Penrith.  Before Ordination it is the Methodist custom to have a Testimony Service at which those who are being ordained share something of how God has brought them to this point. This too has been postponed, but will now take place online this Saturday, 13th March, at 3pm.
You can join on YouTube here. If you find this direct link doesn't work, try the Heart of Westmorland Mission Community channel here.

Beyond lockdown - a webinar

A really large number of training opportunities arrive in my inbox, so many that I'm afraid I rarely share them as I think it would be overwhelming if I shared them all. However, one that has caught my eye this week is a webinar entitled 'Community engagement beyond lockdown: What is God asking of us now?', at 7pm on Weds 14th April. I'm not able to go, but it is open to anyone. Perhaps you are also thinking about this question? The description says:

'It's been a very tough year: we've been through a lot, and so have our communities. Our churches may well look very different than they did in 2019, and our communities' needs may well have changed. Join Mission and Community Engagement Officer, Emma Nash, in conversation with others who are responding to God's call in a variety of ways. You will hear of fresh mission opportunities, pick up ideas and resources and, most importantly, you'll find a space to ask yourself: what one thing is God asking of our church now?'

Anyone can sign up, and it's free. Details about this and a number of other webinars on different themes can be found here.

I am always glad to hear thoughts from any of you about ideas for the life of the church - God can speak to any and all of us with promtings, and calling us in new directions!

I hope you all have a good week,

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

2 March

Dear Friends,

This week's update comes with the March edition of The Mustard Seed. Thank you to all who have contributed, and especially to Hazel, who is doing such a brilliant job of highlighting the breadth of our church life, even in these difficult times when we can't meet together. I hope you enjoy reading it, and I encourage you particularly to look at the Prayer Pointers on the last page, with information about upcoming dates for us to bring to God in our prayers. Perhaps this might become a regular monthly feature. A printed copy of The Mustard Seed is distributed to all who have asked to receive the printed weekly services, but please do pass it on to anyone you know who might be interested, whether in Grange or further afield – view or download here.

The World Day of Prayer this Friday is mentioned in The Mustard Seed. I have also received information about the official online WDP service which is already available on YouTube, here. This is another way to be encouraged as we join in prayer with others from all around the world. The service is prepared and led by the women of the Vanuatu Islands.

The Methodist Women in Britain Spring Newsletter can be found here.

Here's a prayer that I'm sure echoes what's in our hearts as the warm sun cheers us:

Awakening by Jan Berry,
published in 'Friends and Enemies' by Ruth Burgess. Wild Goose Publications

Praise be to God
for winter awakening to spring,
for budding branches bare against a sunlit sky
and the tough fragility of snowdrops
speaking of promise to come.
Praise be to God
for the stirring of hope
and new dreams growing. Amen.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

25 February

Dear Friends,

This is the first week of FairTrade Fortnight. I wonder which FairTrade products you like most? Chocolate was the first, 27 years ago, and has to be top of my list! Though there are now a very wide range of things available, from bananas and roses to cotton. Do have a look here for some information about FairTrade Fortnight this year, which is focussing on the disproportionate effect of climate change on farmers and workers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, who have done the least to contribute to climate change - and most importantly, how fairer trade can help them.

'Visit' from the President of Conference, Revd Richard Teal

Our former Chair of District, Revd Richard Teal, is 'visiting' Cumbria this weekend! As part of his visit he will be preaching at an online service hosted by the Kendal Circuit, this Sunday, 28th February, at 4pm. The service will be streamed live on YouTube by the Kirkby Lonsdale Church, and you can watch it using this link.

The Mustard Seed

Final call for items for The Mustard Seed! The deadline is this Sunday, 28th Feb. Please send any items to Hazel, by email or tel: 36213

Lent Group

The online fellowship group got off to a good start with the Lent resources on Monday. The resources we are using can be found here - they can also be used individually if you wish. They are being followed all around the county by many different denominations, so it is one way to feel a part of something bigger. You're welcome to join the group on zoom for any sessions even if you can't make it to all of them. Details of how to join are here.

Recent letter to all Grange members

Thank you to all who have sent responses to the recent letter about the building project - we've had around 40 responses so far, which is very encouraging. If you are still planning to respond but haven't yet done so, a reminder that the deadline is 1st March, to enable the Church Council to make decisions about next steps at the extraordinary meeting on 11th March. (Please do remember all this in your prayers!) If you need any of the information again, please let me know. If you don't feel able to respond in any way at this time, that is absolutely fine, please don't feel pressured to do so.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

10 February

Dear Friends,

As I begin this email it is a bright but cold day. It is lovely to see the sunshine bringing hope of warmer days to come. Next week there won't be a weekly update as I am taking a week's leave for half term. Even if we can't go anywhere it will be a welcome break for all four of us not to spend so many of the daylight hours staring intently at computer screens! I will be endeavouring not to check emails or phone messages, but as ever, colleagues will be available if a minister is needed urgently.

Lent begins next week. Here are a few things coming up:

'Let's Live Lent' Leaflet

As mentioned in services, the 2020plus team have put together a leaflet for Lent. We normally talk about giving something up in Lent, but we've 'given up' a lot in the last year, so instead this is encouragement to count the days to Easter with positive actions. Each day of the week has a theme - be thankful, connect, create, give, creation care, notice, self-care - and there are a whole range of suggestions for things to do, suitable for all ages. A pdf version of the leaflet is here, but a printed copy will be going out to church family in the next few days, and there will also be copies available by the notice board at church by Friday this week. Do pass them on to friends, family, neighbours etc, whether in Grange or beyond.

Coffee Morning Wednesdays 11 am - 12 noon

We enjoyed some good conversation this morning, including sharing some wonderful pictures of ice formations, and some amazingly detailed snowflakes on a cobweb. Hazel and David will host the coffee morning next week (which will be Ash Wednesday). Details of how to join are here, along with information about everything else online.

Online Fellowship Group Mondays 7.30 - 9 pm

Fellowship group will take a break on 15th Feb, but will be back on 22nd, to begin a Lent series written for Cumbria by Bishop Emma Ineson. We'll be looking at the Gospel Reading used in the service the previous day, and also linking with the four themes of the Cumbria God for All ecumenical vision. These materials will be used by churches of different denominations across the county. Details for joining the Zoom meeting are here - they are the same details as the Fellowship Group has already been using. If you need any further info or help using Zoom do email me.

Dial-a-Prayer

The Methodist Church continues to offer FREE phone lines for prayers and news from the Methodist Church
Listen to a prayer: 0808 281 2514
Listen to the President and Vice-President: 0808 281 2695
Listen to news: 0808 281 2478
The content is updated weekly, and particularly for those who can't get online, this is a great way to stay connected, with no cost for the phone calls.

Climate Webinar Tuesday 16th Feb 7.30-9pm

This is a free webinar exploring how the Methodist Church can support a just and green recovery ahead of COP26 by divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean alternatives. It is sponsored by Operation Noah, Christian Aid and the Methodist Zero Carbon Group. The keynote speaker is Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, and co-founder of 350.org (and himself a Methodist). Among the other speakers is Martha Rand, Vice Chair of Methodist Zero Carbon Group. Click here for more information, including how to register to attend. If you want any further information do get in touch with Martha by email.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

2 February

Dear Friends,

Although January has seemed very long, I also can hardly believe it's already February! And with an early Easter this year, we'll be into Lent before we know it.

The Mustard Seed

We mark the beginning of the month with a new edition of The Mustard Seed, which is here. Once again there is lots of interesting news and things to think about, so do read it. Feel free to pass it on electronically or print and share if you know anyone else who might appreciate receiving it.

Circuit Prayer Day this Thursday

This Thursday has been chosen by the South Lakes Circuit as a day of prayer for the circuit, as we face some challenging decisions about our future. Hopefully all members will have received a prayer card through the post, but if it hasn’t reached you, an electronic copy is available here.  If you can, please do take some time to pray (and I'm sure God will still hear our prayers for the circuit on other days too!)

Online services

Some people have been finding that without a Facebook account they are no longer able to watch the live services on Facebook. Just a reminder that the service can usually be accessed live on the Circuit website as well – click here. We are also hoping to try a new piece of software that will enable us to stream live to both Facebook and YouTube at the same time. If it works, this will mean that those watching on YouTube will be able to join the service at 10.30am if they wish.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

27 January

Dear Friends,

This week I have very little news to share in this update! Except to remind you of three things:

  • Our Chair of District, Revd Dr James Tebbutt will be preaching at our online service this Sunday.

  • The deadline for the next edition of The Mustard Seed is also this Sunday - please get any contributions to Hazel as soon as you can: email her, or tel. 36213

  • A Prayer day for the Circuit Review will take place on 4th February, encouraging us all to pray for the future of the Circuit.  We are all invited to set aside some of the day to pray. Prayer cards will be distributed soon with some details and a prayer to pray; an onscreen version is here.

The links for all the usual things are here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

20 January

Dear Friends,

For many of us, whether we're busy or don't have very much to do, life is feeling quite monotonous. Some regular things continue, though in strange formats, and of course it is hard to plan ahead. There continues to be uncertainty about when vaccination might enable easing of restrictions, and I know colleagues around the country are variously talking about whether services might restart at the beginning of March, or maybe for Easter, or perhaps not until the Autumn. I quite honestly don't know yet what will be right for us here, and if the past year has taught us anything it is that we can put lots of time and energy into planning something, but it may not be wise, or possible for it to happen when we get there! It is a challenge, and perhaps a discipline too, to find small moments of joy and encouragement somewhere in the midst of the present, rather than only looking to future hopes.

Coffee morning and Fellowship Group

The zoom coffee morning continues each week - we often get about 16 people dropping in at some point or staying for the full hour. Today we shared some memories and laughter, including stories of the lido, and highlights of our current circumstances being the appearance of the street sweeper and drain cleaning vehicles! We also often get a glimpse of the handiwork of those present, today some beautiful cross stitch. On Monday evenings, also on zoom, the fellowship group is going strong. This week we spent time in four small groups of 4 for conversations about how we pray (anything and everything from structured patterns of daily prayer, to ad hoc conversations with God as we do practical things, to consciously holding before God those we are thinking of without the need for words). Next week's session will include thinking about the relationship between belief and practice. You can join the group at any time, or just drop in for one session to try it out.

Online services

Our service this Sunday will conclude our series of three thinking about the Covenant Service, and will include an opportunity to join in making that covenant commitment. Although it is not the same as sharing in the full service together in person with communion, I hope it can still be a meaningful thing, and a future echo of being able to gather again in person! You can download the words of not just the covenant words we say together, but also the preamble, which is well worth reflecting on; .also a more visual version of the words which some of you may remember from a few years ago. If you find doodling or colouring helps you reflect and pray, do make use of it.

Next Sunday, 31st January, our preacher will be our Chair of District, Revd Dr James Tebbutt. We look forward to what he has to share with us.

Network Youth Church

Chris Mason has sent a short Network Youth Church Update - download here. Please do continue to pray for our schools - students, teachers and parents - as they continue with these strange ways of working and continue to face uncertainty over the future. I continue to send a weekly video assembly to Cartmel Priory School, but it is very odd not to have really had any way of building relationships with the students there, or at the primary school.

Mustard Seed

The deadline for the next edition of The Mustard Seed approaches - if you have any items to put in please send them to Hazel. The deadline is 31st Jan, but earlier is good!

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

14 January

I hope you are managing to stay warm and dry in this cold and snowy / wet weather! It is good to see a few bulbs starting to come up, reminding us that longer, warmer days will come eventually.


Pastoral News
These announcements are coming far too frequently at the moment, but I am sorry to say that I heard on Monday that Audrey Larkins has died. Audrey came from Levens to live at Grange Cottage two years ago, and transferred her membership here. She died on 28th December, and Revd David Stretton will be taking her funeral tomorrow (Friday 15th Jan).

Shirley Rothery's funeral will take place in church this Monday, 18th January, at 3pm. Obviously because of the restrictions attendance is by invitation only, but technology permitting, we will be live streaming the service to YouTube. This is a slightly new technical venture for us, but streaming to YouTube rather than facebook enables us to make the service only available to those who have the link, rather than the entire online world, which seems more appropriate in the circumstances. Hopefully you can click here. If you try this in advance you should see a picture of the church and a little message telling you when the service is due to start. Let me know in advance if you have any problems with this and I can try to help. The order of service is here - though I apologise that this is not quite the final version as I only have an electronic copy of an earlier draft.

New for 2021 - Finding the Way
I now have copies of the 'Finding the Way' booklet I mentioned last week, and they are on their way out to those who have asked for them. It's not too late to ask for a copy, or to join the Fellowship Group on Monday. The link, and others mentioned, are here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

7 January

Dear Friends,

I want to begin this email with the words 'Happy New Year'. I do very much want to wish you well now and for the coming year, however, I am acutely aware that those words can feel a little hollow in the present circumstances! Things have changed again, and continue to change rapidly. Following the new lockdown, although we are still legally permitted to hold services, there are no churches in our circuit meeting physically at present, for the safety of our congregations. This decision rests with each individual Church Council, and we do have a Church Council meeting on Tuesday at which we will review the decision made by email just before Christmas. However, at a Cumbria District ministers meeting this week there has been talk of a strong recommendation that churches do not hold services at present.

A more unexpected outcome of the new lockdown is that it seems we are no longer permitted to open for private prayer. The list of reasons a person may leave home is quite specific, and while it says you may leave home to attend communal worship, it does not mention private prayer. This could be an oversight in the detailed guidance, but for the time being we need to stop opening on Monday mornings. 

We continue, as ever, to offer live services online each Sunday, and a weekly printed service delivered to those who request it. If you know anyone who would like to be added to the delivery list, please let me know.

Also, if you, or anyone you know of, needs practical help in the new lockdown situation - with getting shopping, medication, etc, please get in touch. Please take care, especially in the icy weather - don't risk broken bones, as I shouldn't think the hospitals will thank you needing emergency attention!

Pastoral News
I am very sad to tell you that Shirley Rothery died yesterday (6th January). Details about her funeral will follow, but please do remember Norman and the family in your prayers.

The order of service for Brian Holding's funeral yesterday can be downloaded here.

New for 2021 - Finding the Way
All of you who received Christmas packs will have a little booklet and card: 'Methodist Way of Life'. To accompany these, there is larger booklet, 'Finding the Way', written by Revd Dr Roger Walton, former President of Conference, and former Chair of the West Yorkshire District (and my Chair when I candidated). I have ordered 30 copies, because I think these would be helpful for encouraging our thoughts and reflections as we enter this new year. And because they are free!! As well as things to read, there are questions to think about and exercises to try. I can order more if we need them.

You can use these booklets:
a) on your own, or:
b) read and then discuss over the phone with a friend, or perhaps meet to walk and talk together in a safely distanced way (current lockdown restrictions allow you to meet with one person from outside your household for exercise), or:
c) try out the Online Fellowship Group on Monday nights. We will be using these resources in four sessions, 18th  and 25th Jan, and 1st and 8th Feb. The zoom link is in the Links, but please ask if you need any help.

Just let me know if you would like a copy of the booklet and I'll get one to you.

Coffee Morning
Our online gathering continues each week, 11-12 on Wednesday mornings. Details in the Links, but do ask for help with using zoom if you need it. Thank you to David and Hazel for hosting over that last two weeks.

Online Fellowship Group
Group meetings will restart this Monday, 11th Jan at 7.30pm, with a stand-alone session of some sort before we begin the new resources the following week.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

22 December

Dear Friends,

Well here we are - we have nearly arrived at Christmas! And then we will reach the end of this strange and challenging year, and embark on the new one.

Don't forget the Carol Service online tonight! We'll be broadcasting live from the church, with the assistance of Ray and Judith Booth for the music. Followed by online 'Coffee and mince pies' on Zoom!

It's not too late...

  • ...to book to attend one of our services in church - 24th or 27th Dec, details below.

  • ...to ask for a DVD of the Nativity and Carol Services (so far I have had no requests at all! We are not making them 'just in case' so if you would like one, please ask. If we hear by 23rd we may be able to drop them round before Christmas. If not, it will probably be on the 27th)

For either of these, contact Jo (015395) 33164 or email: jo.rand@methodist.org.uk

Online Services

All of these will be available in the usual places on Facebook and later on YouTube:

Tuesday 22nd 7pm Carol Service

Traditional carols with readings and stories of hope
****Followed by 'Coffee, chat and mince pies' on Zoom using the Coffee Morning zoom link****
We expect this will be shortly after 8pm. I'm sorry, you need to provide your own refreshments!

Christmas Day 10.30am Christmas Morning Celebration

A short service to celebrate the birth of Jesus

There will be no online service on Sunday 27th Dec, but we will resume the usual 10.30am Sunday services on 3rd January

Online service on Zoom:

31st December 11.30pm Watchnight Service
See in the new year together on Zoom, led by David and Hazel Edmondson. If you need any help using Zoom you can contact them by email or call Grange 36213.

Services in church - Booking essential:

Please contact Jo (015395) 33164 if you have not yet booked and would like to come:

Thursday 24th December 7pm
Sunday 27th December 2pm

Each of these will be a half-hour service with Covid measures in place. Please wear a face covering. Attendance is limited. Apologies that incorrect information was circulated in the circuit mailing - there is no plan to stream these services online. 

Looking ahead:

Services

Following the review of tiers and all the challenging recent news about the virus, the Church Council has decided that we will not restart services in the church building in January. We will review this decision when we have our next meeting on 12th January. For the time being, instead we plan to continue to open the church for private prayer on Monday mornings, 10.30-11.30am. (We will not be opening on 28th December) You are welcome to drop in at any time during that hour - no need to book.

We continue to offer services online, and printed services for those who request them. Please let us know if you, or someone you know, would like to be added to the list.

Funeral of Brian Holding

The funeral of Brian Holding will take place on Wednesday 6th January. Burial at 12.30pm will be followed by a service in church at 1pm (by invitation only due to the legal attendance limits). I am sure Jean and the family continue to appreciate all your prayers and support at this difficult time.

Although there is much that we are glad to put behind us this year, and although Christmas for most of us will not be what we would have hoped or chosen, let's not seek to rush on too quickly. Let's take a moment to linger at the manger, to soak up the miracle and wonder of Christ's birth. Any birth calls us to pause and to drink in the present moment, but the birth of Jesus more than any other calls us to stop, and breathe, and enter into the mystery and joy offered to us. In so many ways that first Christmas was far from perfect. But imperfect circumstances never seem to be a problem for God. God still comes to be with us!

More than ever this year we have needed to know that God is with us, so I hope that somewhere in this season you are able to know, and feel, and rest in the presence of Christ. Not just the baby, small and helpless in the manger, but the eternal Christ - pre-existent Word of God, born among us, living and growing, healing and teaching, calling and leading, suffering, dying, defeating death, rising to life, ascending, and yet also present with us always, always coming into our lives and this world we share. May this eternal Christ bring you hope and peace, joy and comfort, this Christmas and always.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

15 December

Dear Friends,

A reminder that although we are not holding weekly services, the church is open for private prayer on Monday mornings, 10.30-11.30. We will not open on Mon 28th December, but apart from that, we intend to open in this way whenever we are not holding a Sunday service. The Church Council will be making a decision in the coming week about what we plan to do in the New Year, once the tiers are reviewed later this week. As you will appreciate, it is very difficult to plan when things are so uncertain, and anything we do decide will be subject to change.

We do have the two special Christmas services on 24th and 27th December - if you want to come, please do make sure you book through Glenda (32386). The government has said that if you are in a Christmas bubble with up to two other households you can sit together in church (please let Glenda know as it may enable us to fit more people in). However, apart from this, we are still required to follow the Tier 2 rules that there must be no interaction between different households.  Please do respect this, as it will be difficult if we need to stop people interacting.

Even if you're not able to get online, do have a look at the information below about the online services. We're offering to put the Nativity and Carol services on a DVD for any who can't get it online and would like one. Please let me know as soon as possible so we can make sure we have enough DVDs. Reply to this email or call (015395) 33164. Also, on 22nd after the Carol Service (probably around 8pm) we will have a chance for people to chat using Zoom. It is possible to join this using a normal telephone even if you don't have the internet. I can give you more information about how to do that.

Pastoral News

We're sorry to hear that Brian Holding died yesterday (Monday) morning. Our prayers are with
Jean and the family at this difficult time.The funeral of Revd Noel Stancliff will take place at
12.30pm on 21st December at Beetham Crematorium. The service will be available online both
live, and afterwards. The details are here. We continue to pray for Kathy and all the family.

Some Thanks

Jean Cormack and Dorothy Brennand would both like to express their thanks to friends at Church for their kind messages, cards & phone calls in recent months. They have also received many Christmas Cards which are much appreciated. They would like to send their love and best wishes to everyone this Christmas and hope you will understand that circumstances prevent them sending cards this year.

Online Services

A reminder that we have some special services in the next few days, all of which will be available in the usual places on Facebook and later on YouTube:

  • This Thursday, 17th at 7pm. Quiet reflective service, an opportunity to bring to God our cares and concerns, and consider the hope God offers in Christ, with readings, prayers, music and candlelighting.
    This is a joint venture, with Deacon Maggie Patchett, Revd Martyn Coe, Alison Adam and myself. Although the congregation cannot see one another, you will be joining together with others from the various churches we serve, and beyond.
  • This Sunday, 20th at 10.30am. Nativity Service led by Toast Church. A lockdown nativity play rehearsed and performed live from our separate homes! This year has been a challenge, but we hope to bring the usual joy and laughter to our nativity service.
  • Tuesday 22nd at 7pm. Lessons and Carols on a theme of hope. We cannot gather together to sing, but we can sing in our homes. After this service there will be an opportunity to share 'Coffee, Mince Pies and Chat' on Zoom - though you will have to provide your own refreshments! We'll use the coffee morning link (click here) to start a zoom meeting just after the service ends. It will be an opportunity to 'meet' and share together. Even if you don't have access to the internet, do have a look at that information as there are instructions explaining how to join zoom using an ordinary telephone. Obviously we can't see anyone joining this way, and they can't see everyone else, but it is possible to chat together. If you need any further help with this do give me a call.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

8 December

Dear Friends,


I'm afraid that the main thing to share this week is the sad news of the death of Noel Stancliff. We remember Kathy and the rest of the family in our prayers, and I will let you know any details about the funeral when I receive them.

I also have some more information on the funerals of Don Gabbitas and Jennie Watson. If you missed either of them, they are now both available online. With Jennie's funeral there were obviously some technical problems, and the company that hosts the webcast is making it available for a limited period. Alan Postlethwaite tells me it may take a couple of days to appear in the system, so try it from Friday or Saturday. Don's funeral is on YouTube, on the channel for Dale Street Methodist Church. The relevant links are here.

Christmas Services

Do remember to phone Glenda (32386) if you want to book to attend either of the Christmas services in church: either 7pm on Christmas Eve or 2pm on Sunday 27th.


After the online Carol Service (7pm on Tuesday 22nd December) we've decided to offer 'Coffee, mince pies and chat' on Zoom. It won't be the same as gathering in person, not least because if you want coffee and mince pies, you'll have to provide your own! But we thought it might be nice to have a time to see one another's faces after the service. We'll use the same link / login details as for the Wednesday coffee mornings - they're in the attached links document along with all the details about how to find the online services etc. If you want any information about how to use Zoom please do get in touch.


I'm going to leave you with some words someone sent to me this week. I've found a few slightly different versions online so can't vouch for these being the original, but I hope they bring a little hope.


Take care, and God bless,

Jo

"A century ago, men were following, with bated breath, the march of Napoleon, and waiting with feverish impatience for the latest news of the wars. And all the while, in their own homes, babies were being born. But who could think about babies? Everybody was thinking about battles.

"In one year, lying midway between Trafalgar and Waterloo, there stole into the world a host of heroes! During that one year, 1809, Gladstone was born at Liverpool; Alfred Tennyson was born at the Somersby rectory, and Oliver Wendell Holmes made his first appearance at Massachusetts. On the very self-same day of that self same year Charles Darwin made his debut at Shrewsbury, and Abraham Lincoln drew his first breath at Old Kentucky. Music was enriched by the advent of Frederic Chopin at Warsaw, and of Felix Mendelssohn at Hamburg...Samuel Morley, Edwin Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Francis Kemple. But nobody thought of babies. Everybody was thinking of battles. Yet viewing that age in the truer perspective which the distance of a hundred years enables us to command, we may well ask ourselves, ‘Which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies of 1809?’

"We fancy that God can only manage His world by big battalions abroad, when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a work wants doing, or a truth wants preaching, God sends a baby into the world to do it. That is why, long, long ago, a babe was born at Bethlehem.”

Frank W. Boreham (Mountains in the Mist - published 1914)

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Grange Methodist Church

1 December

Dear Friends,

I am writing this on the eve of lockdown restrictions lifting, and eagerly looking forward to having my hair cut tomorrow! Perhaps this year as we enter Advent we are doing so with more collective experience of longing and waiting than we have ever known. As restrictions ease a little, but with things in no way 'back to normal', it makes me think of the way we often speak in the Christian faith of the 'now' and the 'not yet'. Jesus is with us, and yet also still coming among us. The Kingdom is here, but is not yet fulfilled. I pray that as we enter this season of Advent with an easing of restrictions, but also a longing for greater freedom, that this might speak to our spiritual longing. May we long for Christ's coming among us with even greater hunger.

Upcoming Services

It is with regret that the Church Council has decided we will not yet restart the 2pm Sunday services in church. There is more information about this in The Mustard Seed, which is here. I won't repeat it all here, except to say that we do intend to have two Christmas services in Church. If you wish to attend either of these you will need to book. Again, the details are in The Mustard Seed.

Pastoral News

I have details of the funerals of both Jennie Watson and Don Gabbitas. Sadly the services are at exactly the same time: this Thursday, 3rd December, at 11am. Both can be joined online; for details of how to access, and orders of service for both funerals, click here. I know that Jennie's funeral will only be available live. June Gabbitas told me there was some thought that Don's might be recorded, but I don't think this is certain. When June heard that Jennie's funeral would be at the same time as Don's, she said it was good to know Don would be among friends.

'God is with us' Christmas stars

Please do encourage your friends and neighbours to come and pick up a star from outside the church to hang on their Christmas tree, or collect one yourself to give to them. These are now available under the notice board, along with a postcard with a prayer and some questions to think about, and information about our online services. We are also inviting people to take a picture of their decorated tree and post it as part of our online Christmas Tree Festival here. Church members will shortly be receiving a small Christmas pack including a star and postcard, so you don't need to take one for yourself.

The Mustard Seed
The next issue of The Mustard Seed is here. Thanks again to Hazel and all who have contributed. There is a lot of important and interesting information in it, so please do read it! This edition is for December and January together, so the next deadline for contributions for the February issue is 31st January.

Grange Youth Panto
Oh yes it is! - Not quite the Panto, but instead there will be an online concert tonight (Friday 4th Dec) at 7pm!

The cast have got an amazing array of different acts to entertain you for an hour, compered live by Martha and Amos (with Paul doing the technical stuff behind the scenes). Join here on facebook - hopefully if you click the link it should take you straight there. We'll be live from about 6.45pm to give you a chance to find it. If you have problems, just click here, then find and click on the video post.

The list of links for all our regular services, coffee morning and fellowship group is here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

23 November

Dear Friends,

We're currently waiting to see what the implications are of the Prime Minister's announcement about the ending of lockdown and reintroduction of a tier system. I would encourage you to continue to take great care as our new infection rates in South Lakeland have risen considerably - there were 269 new cases per 100,000 people in the 7 days from 12th Nov (whereas Barrow had 143 new cases per 100,000). Please take extra care if you're going out shopping etc, and if you need any help please get in touch.

The church opened for one hour for private prayer for the first time today. It will be open again next Monday at the same time, 10.30-11.30. If you need a change of scenery do drop in.

Pastoral News
Jennie Watson, one of our Local Preachers, died on Thursday 19th November, aged 94, having contracted covid-19. Jennie had been a Local Preacher since 1956. She and her lifelong friend Ada (who died at the very end of 2015) are fondly remembered in Grange. We remember Jennie's friends and relatives in our prayers.

Jennie’s funeral will take place at Beetham Crematorium at 11am on Thursday 3rd December. The service will be streamed live, so you are invited to join online here.
Username: Xozu2761
Password: 398339
It will not be available later. It is strongly recommended that you test the connection in advance. At the moment if you log in there is a video of a waterfall so you can check it works. The live webcast will begin about 5 minutes before the service.

Advent courses
A reminder of the three options for Advent Courses, all starting over the next week or so. It's a great opportunity to be part of a group to encourage one another.  Full details of the courses can be found here

The Mustard Seed

The deadline for the December / January edition of The Mustard Seed is this Sunday, 29th November. Do get any news or articles for inclusion to Hazel in good time. You can contact her on 36213 or by email.

Links for all our regular services, coffee morning and fellowship group are here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

18 November

The days suddenly seem to be a lot shorter and darker! While this can be hard, perhaps it helps us to see the glimpses of light all the more clearly when they come.

Church open for private prayer
I am sorry it has taken a little while to make arrangements for opening the church building as promised. But I can now tell you that initially at least, we will open weekly for one hour, on Monday mornings, 10.30-11.30am. We do need to make sure this does not become a social gathering, and it will be stewarded to make sure physical distancing is kept. But if you would appreciate just sitting in the building for individual prayer during that time, whether for a few minutes or for the whole hour, or anything in between, you will be most welcome. Just turn up - we feel it is unlikely that we will have too many people. I understand that St Charles' is open for private prayer on Thursdays and Fridays, 10-12, so we have deliberately decided to open on a different day.

Pastoral news
I am sorry to share the news that Don Gabbitas, a former member of Grange, has died. Don and June contributed a great deal to the life of the church in their time here, and we were glad to know them briefly before they moved. We remember June and the rest of the family in our prayers.

Advent courses
Last week I mentioned the Advent course we will be following on Monday evenings, in our online fellowship group. There are also another couple of options around the circuit, and you are welcome to join whichever time, mode or materials you like the sound of!

Using Zoom:
Rev Graham Ransom will be leading 'To live again', based on the film 'It's a wonderful life', on Thursdays at 2pm from 26th Nov. Please email Graham for the zoom link.

Rev Jo Rand will be leading 'Unsettled Advent' exploring the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and considering how in this unsettled year this story may speak to us. We will meet on Mondays at 7.30pm from 30th Nov. The link is here.

Deacon Maggie will be leading 'Now and Then - Reflecting on 2020 through the Christmas Story' on Wednesdays at 2pm from 25th Nov (for 5 weeks). Email Maggie for the zoom link.

Not using Zoom:
If you can't use zoom, or prefer not to, the resources for 'Now and Then' can be used for personal reflection. A copy is here, but if you would like a printed copy please contact Ruth Briddock (32235) The resources suggest adding figures to a nativity scene each week. If you do not have one to use, Ruth can provide a paper version to cut out.

News from General Church Meeting
The (unapproved) minutes of Sunday's General Church Meeting are here. Following on from that meeting, the Church Council voted 15 for, 1 against, in favour of approving the building project. On Tuesday, the Circuit Meeting then voted to authorise the project, 31 for, 1 against. This is not to say that it must or will happen, but that it may.

These decisions open the way for further steps in the process of exploring whether this project is the right thing for the life of the church and God's mission here. It also means that the Connexional Conservation Officer will be willing to give us authorisation to remove some of the pews now, which the Church Council unanimously supported at our October meeting. We have been gifted 120 second hand chairs from Bowness Methodist Church which we will be able to use as a medium to long term temporary measure, which will enable us to provide better distancing measures when we are able to re-open for services again.

Prayer Handbook and Advent Calendars
Hazel has copies of the Prayer Handbook (£4-15) and Fairtrade Advent calendars (£3-99) – not long till December now! Hazel is happy to arrange collection/delivery. I am sure she will also appreciate any advance submissions for The Mustard Seed December issue. Email Hazel or call her on 36213.

Links for all our services, coffee morning and fellowship group are here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

11 November

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping well. As mentioned last week, we are working on how we might offer support during this new lockdown, and on into the winter months. We are looking at the possibility of opening the church for private prayer, maybe once or twice a week for an hour or so. This must not be used as an opportunity to gather, but I know some may appreciate the opportunity just to get out of the house and have a change of scene. We do not have details finalised, but I hope to have something arranged in the next few days.

Also, if you would be willing to commit to regularly phoning one or more people, say weekly, please would you let me know? If you would appreciate being on the receiving end of a regular phone call, please do also let me know. I did have some volunteers in the first lockdown, but knowing that things have changed quite a lot since then, I'm going to start a new list from scratch.

Thirdly, I would like to just take this opportunity to remind you of one or two of the things that you are allowed to do under the lockdown regulations as they currently stand:

Any two people may meet outdoors in a public place (e.g. park, countryside, prom, but NOT private gardens). They may meet to exercise together, but this is not a requirement! Sitting on a bench is fine, so long as you stay distanced. Children under 5 are not counted in the two people, and neither are 'disabled people dependent on round the clock care' - so they can be present in addition to the two people meeting.

Anyone who lives alone can choose to form a 'support bubble' with another household, so long as neither household is in another bubble (remember if you are forming a bubble with family who live away, that still counts, even if you are not seeing them frequently). Being in a support bubble means that you can behave as one household - you can go in one another's homes, eat together, even stay the night, and you don't need to keep distanced.

Of course there is no lockdown restriction on phone calls!

Online Coffee Morning
The online coffee morning continues on Wednesdays 11-12. We had around 14 people present today. Those of us present at the start began by marking 2 mins silence together for Armistice Day. Later we spent some time in different small groups for conversation. The link to join, together with other links, can be found here.

Online Fellowship Group
The time of the online fellowship group is changing to enable more people to attend. It will now meet on Monday evenings at 7.30pm. In the next couple of weeks we will probably finish off looking at the seven churches of Revelation. 

We plan to start a four week Advent course on Mon 30th Nov. It is called 'Unsettled Advent' and is looking particularly at the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, alongside our unsettled experiences this year. I think the materials look really good. They are accessible for all ages and have both light hearted and more serious elements.

We would welcome anyone joining the group whether over the next couple of weeks, or specifically for the Advent sessions. Feel free to invite anyone else from beyond our congregation. We have a few people from outside Grange already, so the more the merrier! Again, the link can be found here.

General Church Meeting - Sunday 15th Nov at 3pm
Just a reminder that we meet this Sunday on zoom. If you've not received the papers, or if you want to speak to me about anything, please let me know. Please send any apologies to Hazel - tel:36213 or email her

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church


2 November

Dear Friends,

Firstly, I would really appreciate it if you could email me to say you read this letter on the website.  This will help me to know who we need to deliver hard copies to of information about the General Church Meeting - see below.

Services in Church

As you will be aware, we are heading into a new national lockdown. From Thursday under the new rules churches are not permitted to physically gather, and therefore our services in church have to cease. In view of the rapidly rising cases across the country, I am glad that this decision has been made for us. However, I am also very mindful of the significant impact a new lockdown has on our collective wellbeing, particularly at this dark, wet time of year.

In the next couple of days I will be in touch with the Church Council to consider what else we might do to support one another. If you are finding you are struggling in any way, or if you know others who are, please be in touch. If you would rather seek help from people you do not know, the mental health charity Mind suggests a number of listening services, including Samaritans (24hr) 116 123 to talk about anything that is upsetting you, or SANEline (4.30pm-10.30pm every
day) 0300 304 7000 if you'e experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else.
Sometimes people think these helplines are only for people experiencing suicidal feelings, but they are far more than that.

Our services online and printed service deliveries will continue. If you know of anyone who would
like adding to the printed service distribution list, or who would like help accessing the online
service, please let me know.

General Church Meeting - Sunday 15th Nov at 3pm

Unfortunately plans for our General Church Meeting are also affected by the new lockdown. We
are now not able to offer an opportunity to meet in the church hall for those not able to use Zoom.  I am sorry about this, and have spent a good bit of today trying to work out the best way forward.

We have considered postponement / cancellation, but in the end have concluded it is better to go ahead. We will endeavour to keep those not able to attend 'in the loop' by sharing briefing papers, and will welcome views offered before the meeting, whether by phone, email or written note. An agenda can be downloaded here, but there will be a reports booklet and paper to follow.  These will be delivered in hard copy to anyone who does not email to say they have seen a digital version - so please email me - it will make our delivery job much smaller!!

Although not ideal, it is possible to join zoom with sound only by making a phone call on a normal
phone. If you would like more information about this please get in touch.

The Mustard Seed

The November edition is now available here.  Please do share with anyone who may be interested. Thank you to Hazel for her editorship once again.

Acorns to Remember

Thank you to all who contributed to this project. Some 60 prayer cards were taken (we didn't count the acorns!) and we hope and pray that people have found them helpful. We are beginning to think of something similar to mark Advent / Christmas.

Links

- click here

This week I leave you with a sonnet written by a vicar in response to the new lockdown, reminding us of things we have not lost.

Things Not Lost

No one has said we cannot worship God.
We cannot gather, breathing & rebreathing
Warm air of fellowship: it's not that odd.
The shadow of pandemic spreads, bereaving
Us of the things that were. Yes, cause for tears.
But one can weep & worship. Exiles learn
To search the treasure casket of the years
That each soul carries, weightless; to return
In faith to binding love, retest its strength;
To trace the soaring arches deep inside:
Each room a chancel - hallowed breadth & length -
Each place an altar, if the heart decide.
Spirit & truth embrace, deep as old song;
The living stones while scattered still belong.

(c) Caroline Beckett. Used by permission

May you be assured that you are living stones, part of God's church wherever you are.
Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church


21 October

A reminder that the clocks go back this weekend! And also that from this Sunday our service in church is at the new time of 2pm. It will be led by Hayley Edmondson, who is candidating for ministry (and is no relation of David and Hazel!). This is one of her assessed services for the candidating process, so I am sure she will appreciate you remembering her in your prayers whether or not you are attending the service.

This Sunday is also the deadline for any material for November's edition of The Mustard Seed. Please contact Hazel with any to contributions. Phone 36213 or email Hazel.

There won't be a weekly update next week as I am taking leave for half term. I hope to get The Mustard Seed out by email on 2nd or 3rd Nov, and paper copies will follow along with the printed service deliveries for 8th Nov.

General Church Meeting - Sunday 15th Nov at 3pm
You may remember that on the very last Sunday before lockdown we had a much shortened General Church Meeting. We arranged our next GCM for Sunday 15th November, 'after the morning service.' Given the uncertainty about any sort of return to 'normal' in the near future, we do still need to go ahead with a GCM, not least because the accounts need to be presented. At Church Council we decided that we will therefore hold a GCM at 3pm, after the 2pm service. We are asking that all who are able to use Zoom join the meeting that way (if attending the service, we encourage you to leave promptly to get home, but if you have concerns that this will not be possible please have a word with me and we will see what we can arrange).

If you are not able to use zoom, or if you have found it difficult, you are invited to join the meeting in the church hall if you wish. This is legally permitted because it is a business meeting of the church and therefore comes under the same rules as employment and is exempt from the 'rule of six'. We will set up a zoom connection and use the screen and speakers to enable everyone to participate from their different locations. The meeting will be physically distanced, and you will need to wear a mask. We intend for the meeting to be no longer than an hour. Please can you let me know if you would like to attend in this way, so that we know how many people we need to accommodate. 

If you are not able to attend by zoom, and do not feel you want to attend a meeting in person, I completely understand. I am happy to have individual phone conversations if this would help, and we can try to find ways to share the information and hear your contributions. It is possible to join a zoom meeting by telephone and be able to listen and speak, but you obviously would not be able to see what is happening. I can give more information to anyone who is interested in doing this. 

I will sort out an agenda for distribution to all members before I go on leave, to be distributed in the next week or so. Apart from receiving the finance report, we will be sharing an update on the progress made with the building development plans over the last 6-8 months. They have been amended in a number of ways, in response to feedback, and in conversation with the Listed Buildings Advisory Committee, and we have been advised that if we decide to proceed, we will have the approval of the Connexional Conservation Officer. The report from the LBAC says: 'The Committee has commented on this scheme informally and formally since April 2019 and have consistently praised the church on the standard of their application.' 'The scheme should be monitored and kept as an example of innovative design.' and 'This is a really exciting and creative scheme' - The committee do not have a reputation for being positive, so we really should be very encouraged!

We had also decided that it makes sense to bring our full Annual Report on the different areas of church life back into line with the financial report. Therefore we would like to receive short reports on the last 6 months of church life, since we produced the last report booklet. I will very shortly be contacting those this applies to.

Acorns to Remember
The box of acorns and prayer cards is now available by the notice board on the hall side of the church. It has only been there since Sunday, and approximately 15 prayer cards have been taken. Thank you to all who have produced the resources for this, and are keeping it stocked up. Please do pray for all those who are taking acorns and cards to remember loved ones. Do take one or more for yourself, and / or offer them to friends and neighbours. In this small way we hope to let people know of God's love and care for them, and for those who have died.

Cornerstone Books and Gifts
We have heard that Cornerstone Books and Gifts, the Christian Bookshop in Ulverston, has sadly decided to close. Their last day of trading will be 31st October. Their closing down sale includes 75% off all books (except Bibles) and 50% off everything else,and they are hoping to sell all their stock. So you might like to drop in for a bargain. Shop opening hours are 0930-1630 for the following days: Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd, Monday 26th, Thursday 29th, Friday 30th, Saturday 31st. They want to thank all who have supported them in any way over their sixty-two years of trading.

As the clocks change and the leaves turn and fall, I leave you with this short prayer for Autumn by Mary Hanrahan, taken from Acorns and Archangels, compiled by Ruth Burgess.

Lord of the seasons,
there is a time for dying
and a time for new birth;
a time to speak
and a time to keep quiet.
Help us discern your will for us now.

Lord of autumn leaves and warm berries,
help us to let go gracefully
and to rejoice in the colour and fruitfulness of this moment.
Wrap us in the shawl of eternity
and teach us to await with wonder
the new shoots of your love.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

14 October

Dear Friends,

Some important information about services in church:
As you will know, just three weeks ago Church Council confirmed that following our two trial services in September, we would have weekly services, open to the public, at 4pm each Sunday, for October, November, and December until Christmas. The 4pm time had been specifically proposed by members of Church Council in order not to clash with the online services, and so as not to break into the day too much, so people can go out for lunch for example. However, at Church Council last night a concern was raised that nights are drawing in and people may not want to come out for a service that finishes at 4.30pm. After some discussion, the meeting decided to move the services to 2pm instead, from the point at which the clocks go back. This means that this Sunday, 18th October will be the last 4pm service, and from 25th October onwards services will be held at 2pm.

I and others are trying to make sure we track down and amend all the various bits of publicity we had just put up - church notice boards, online posts, website, printing new leaflets etc. but please could you let me know if you see the 4pm time advertised anywhere, so we can try to get it updated. Apologies for any confusion this may cause, to change just three weeks into going public!

We did also discuss the rapidly rising virus rates in our area. Although at present we are in Tier 1, our rate of positive cases in South Lakeland in the past week is 135 per 100,000, when the UK average is 81 per 100,000. We must continue to carefully follow the measures we have in place. The Church Council decided that should we at any point be placed in Tier 3, we would cease to hold services in church. Of course there might be other reasons we need to cancel services, such as positive cases among those attending.

We hope these measures keep people safe. I continue to feel concerned about the risk posed to you by meeting me, knowing that members of my household have been in close contact with people who are now isolating because the other members of their household have tested positive. There is every possibility for asymptomatic infection especially among younger people - but it seems only those with symptoms are allowed to be tested, so we just do not know. The government advice is that those who are 'contacts of contacts', as in this situation, should continue going to work and school as usual.

We also discussed the problem of the cold in church, as we are following the advice that we should ensure extra air flow. It is hard to know how to balance doing all we can to keep people safe, and enabling people to feel comfortable. We are putting the heating on until the start of the service so that the building at least starts warm, but then the heating goes off and the doors remain open to allow the air to flow through. If you are attending church do wrap up warm, and you are welcome to bring blankets and even hot water bottles if you wish! Also you are encouraged not to arrive too early if you want to avoid waiting outside. The doors will not open until 10 minutes before the service starts.

Christmas Services
Church Council agreed that all being well, we will have two Christmas services in church, one on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th), and one on Sunday 27th. These will be bookable, rather than attendance by rota. You will be able to book for one date or the other, but not both. Hopefully this will allow everyone the chance to attend if they wish. Between Sunday 20th, Thursday 24th and Sunday 27th there is 72 hours or more each time, so it is long enough that we don't need to clean the pews etc between services. I need to clarify the time these services will take place - at the point when we agreed it, we were assuming they would be 4pm, but I guess they will probably now be 2pm services. I will confirm the time, and provide information about how to book in due course. Probably we will not open the bookings until December, as people may well not know their plans far in advance, especially in the current circumstances! We also intend to stream these services online for any who prefer to join in from home.

On Christmas Day we will offer an online service in the morning, but we will not have an online service on the morning of Sunday 27th December.

Funeral of Eric Brennand
A few people have asked about whether Eric's funeral would be available online. Sadly it will not, as it is being held at Caton Methodist Church, and they do not have the facilities to put it online. However, Eric's minister Revd Emma Holroyd has given me a service sheet for people to use at home if they would like to. I have attached it to this email. The service will take place at 11.30 this Friday, so you might like to join with them in spirit at that point. I am sure Dorothy and the family will appreciate your prayers.

The Mustard Seed
The deadline for the November issue of The Mustard Seed is Sunday 25th October. Hazel would very much appreciate any contributions in good time. Do you have any news you would like to share? Please email Hazel or phone 36213

Acorns to Remember
Look out for the box of acorns and prayer cards which should be appearing by the church noticeboard from next week until All Saints Day on 1st Nov. As Sue Nicol wrote in the October edition of The Mustard Seed, this is to offer a small way to join together in remembering in prayer those loved ones who have died. Some of the other churches in the area are joining in. Feel free to take them to give to a friend or neighbour if that seems appropriate (obviously take care with washing hands etc, just as you would with shopping) For those who are online, there is a page on facebook where people can, if they wish, share the name or initials of someone they are remembering, and a photo of where they plant their acorn. We will remember those who have died (though not by name) in our services on 1st November.

A reminder of the usual links for coffee morning etc...

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

6 October

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the deluge of encouraging feedback following the Toast Church-led Harvest festival online last week! We have passed messages on to those involved. It's lovely to see pictures of the craft activity that people have sent us. And thank you to all of you who have made donations to All We Can, and / or the Foodbank. This year we won't know the total we have raised, but we know donations are being made individually, and will make a real difference to people's lives.

Pastoral News
We are sad to learn of the death of Eric Brennand. He died peacefully during the night of Monday 5th October, very shortly before his 90th birthday. Eric was a Local Preacher in this circuit for many years before moving away to live nearer to family. Please do remember his wife Dorothy and the rest of their family in your prayers.

Online fellowship group
It seems that my link for the online fellowship group is not working correctly. I think somehow it just hasn't copied correctly, so apologies to any who have been trying to join. The correct link is here - or you can go to www.zoom.us, click 'join a meeting' and put in the meeting ID and passcode. If you're having trouble do give me a call. All are still welcome to join in - we are learning about the churches addressed in the book of Revelation, and thinking about how the message they were given might apply to us today.  
Meeting ID: 852 8087 2426
Passcode: 307363

Do also come along to the online coffee morning if you are able - it's a great opportunity just to see one another's faces and cheer each other up, especially as days begin to get shorter and wetter. You don't even need to risk getting cold and wet on the way there! (Although the forecast for tomorrow looks quite nice). All the links are here.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

30 September

Dear Friends,

Our 4pm services in church go weekly from this Sunday! We will be celebrating harvest both in our online service and at 4pm. The online service will be led by Toast Church, and I will be leading the service in church. It will be strange not being able to sing harvest hymns in church or bring harvest gifts, but we are encouraging financial giving to All We Can, as we are focussing on their theme of 'Change begins with a bike'. More information in The Mustard Seed, attached. Of course if you missed the chance to give to the Foodbank at our Firstfruits harvest in the summer, you are welcome to make financial donations to that too. This year because of the challenges of holding collections we are not going to collect through the church, but simply encourage you to give direct. It means that we won't be able to tell you what amount we have raised, but the money will still be going to those who need it, which is what matters. Details for how to give:

All We Can:
To give online: click here
By phone: Call 020 7467 5132
By cheque: Make cheques payable to 'All We Can' and send by post to:
All We Can, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR

Barrow Foodbank:
To give online: click here
By cheque: Make cheques payable to 'Barrow Foodbank' and send by post to:
Barrow foodbank, Abbey Road Baptist Church, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, LA13 9BD

Services in church
Hopefully all who have told us they are wanting to come to the 4pm services have heard from us about when to attend. Most people are asked to attend alternate weeks, and a card will be given to you this week or next with your dates running up until Christmas. If you have not heard anything yet and are wanting to attend, please get in touch. We are now advertising these as public services, as we are keeping some space for visitors, so do spread the word, and invite friends and neighbours. If we have a deluge, we will find a way to cope! Also, a few people have been invited to attend every week. If this would be pastorally helpful for you or someone you know, just ask.

Of course, the online services continue each Sunday at 10.30am, link below.

The Mustard Seed
The second edition of The Mustard Seed is now here - I hope you enjoy reading it. Do share with anyone you think might like a copy. Printed copies are being delivered to those who receive the printed service, and we will try to have a few copies available to pick up at the 4pm services too.

Online fellowship group
It's not too late to join the online fellowship group on Tuesday, 2-3.30. We are learning about the churches addressed in the book of Revelation, and thinking about how the message they were given might apply to us today. Let me know if you need any help with Zoom.  For this and all current links, click here.

Have a good week!
Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

23 September

Dear Friends,

I've read various articles recently reflecting on the experience of being about six months into the pandemic. One was written by Dr Aisha Ahmad, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, who has experience of working in conflict zones. She writes about her experience of the 'six month wall', which she says appears like clockwork in every crisis she's experienced. After six months of a very steep learning curve - having to adapt to new ways to relate to one another, shop, work, live - it is completely normal to find ourselves struggling. We may be feeling tired and low, or simply have no patience for more change, especially while the news is of increasing virus rates and increasing division over the best way to handle it. And the news today is that we should expect the current restrictions will be in place for the next six months. We need to be gentle with ourselves, and gentle with one another as we move into a new phase of adjustment. I encourage us all to continue to pray and care for and support one another, as I know we are doing. If you know of any particular need, whether for others or for yourself, do let me know. I can't promise we can make everything right, but I do know God is with us, and I am happy to offer a listening ear.

Services in church
We have the second of our September services in church at 4pm this week. As I said last week, if you missed booking for this and would like to be there, do get in touch and we'll see if we can fit you in.

From October we are going to have weekly services at 4pm each Sunday. Based on the experience of our first week, we think we can safely accommodate up to about 25 people, given that most were individuals. At Church Council on Monday night we decided that the way we will manage numbers is by asking people to attend on alternate weeks. If you booked to come to one or both of the September services, I will assume (unless you tell me otherwise) that you want to continue to attend, and will put you into one of two groups.  (Obviously we know that there will sometimes be reasons people cannot attend, and no one will be 'in trouble' for not turning up on their week!)  If you didn't attend in September and would like to try it from October (or later), just let me know and we will add you in. At present this will give us two groups of about 15 people, so there is room for those groups to grow if others decide they want to come, and there is also space to accommodate some visitors 'on the door'. Church Council agreed that it is important that we continue to remember that we are here not only for our own members!

I am also aware that for some people there is a real sense of pastoral need to attend church weekly. If that's you, or if there is someone you think would benefit from being able to attend every week, please let me know. We obviously can't accommodate everyone every week, but for some I know it could make an enormous difference, and others are happy to leave space for those who need it.

Of course, the online services continue each Sunday at 10.30am.

The Mustard Seed
A reminder that the deadline for the October issue of our new newsletter, The Mustard Seed, is this Sunday, 27th September. Please send any last minute contributions to Hazel. Email her, or phone 36213

Online fellowship group
The online fellowship group restarts this Tuesday, 29th Sept, 2 - 3.30pm. All are welcome. We'll be beginning a series of eight sessions looking at the seven churches in the book of Revelation. If you've not joined the group before, but think this might be for you, do let me know. If you've not used zoom before we can help with that. I've set up a new link for the group (previous group members please note!)

Harvest

As has been the case for the last few years, early in the summer we had the firstfruits harvest when we encouraged support for foodbanks. Our autumn harvest celebration will be on 4th October, and Toast Church will be leading the online service which will focus on the work of All We Can (the Methodist relief and development charity). More information to follow next week on ways to make donations to them, but of course you are still welcome to give to the foodbank or any other causes you feel led to support this harvest time.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

17 September

Dear Friends,

I would like to say a big thank you to all those who worked towards being able to have the service in church last Sunday, both beforehand and on the day, and thank you to Paul for making it possible to stream the service on this occasion. For the time being we are not usually going to stream the service in church, simply because what we are allowed to offer with a congregation present is so limited, but I thought that for the first occasion it might be appreciated for those able to access it. That service is still available online if you missed it.

Our next service in church will be at 4pm on 27th September. As before, people have already booked for this. If you have missed the booking deadline though, you can still get in touch with me and we will see if we can fit you in. This service will be led by Joy Campton.

Further news about services in church from October will follow next week, and our online services continue every Sunday at 10.30am, available in the usual way.

The Mustard Seed
A reminder that the deadline for the October issue of our new newsletter, The Mustard Seed, is Sunday 27th September. There have been a lot of positive comments about the first issue, so do send your contributions to Hazel - let's make the second issue just as good! Email Hazel or phone 36213.

Online fellowship group
After conversation with those who had been attending the online fellowship group, it seems that Tuesday afternoons are still the time that suit the most people. We have considered various options for what to study, and one of the favourites is to use a DVD course exploring the seven churches of Revelation, looking at some of the historical context behind what is written in the letters. To give a little advance warning, let's restart on Tues 29th Sept, 2pm-3.30 as before. If you've not joined the group before, but think this might be for you, do let me know. If you've not used zoom before we can help with that. Just let me know. I've set up a new link for the group: click here to join the meeting.

Meeting ID: 852 8087 2426

Passcode: 307363

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

8 September

Dear Friends,

Just a short update this week to say that following responses to the invitation to services this
Sunday (13th) and two weeks later on 27th Sept, we have space for everyone who has told me
they would like to attend. I have been in touch with everyone via email or phone this evening to let them know. (If you have said you would like to come but have not heard from me, please let me know and I will follow it up).

As I have said in previous emails, we are hoping to continue services in October.  It is now clear that the changes in the rules about gatherings do not apply to church services, and so do not prevent us from going ahead with opening the building for services. Though clearly the new rules underline the importance of us taking the greatest of care to limit the risks of transmitting infection.

Also, I wanted to let you know that we are hoping to stream the 4pm service just for this week. This will be done in the same way that the morning services are, so you will be able to find it using the same link on Facebook and then later on YouTube - links here.

This will enable more people to share this significant moment, and may perhaps help some with making decisions about whether to attend future services. We will set up the camera in such a way that members of the congregation will not be filmed either in the congregation or as they come in, so do not worry if you are planning to attend and don't want to be seen online!

Of course we have to be mindful that with infection rates rising it is always possible that we may need to change our plans if the laws and guidance change further.  I will keep you informed.

In the meantime, the online coffee morning continues each Wednesday - all welcome for a chat
(but you need to supply your own coffee!) The zoom link is below. If you haven't yet tried zoom
and have wondered about giving it a go, do get in touch. I'm happy to help you try it out at another time if you would find that useful.

I've not done anything about restarting the online fellowship group - the past week and a half have been completely non-stop. But I haven't forgotten! If you weren't part of the group before but would like to try it, let me know. We haven't finalised what time we will meet yet.

Please remember the Cumbria District Synod in your prayers - we meet this Saturday, online, which will be an interesting experience for such a large gathering!

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

1 September

I write on 1st September, the beginning of the Connexional Year. It is a time of new beginnings for many, whether in relation to Methodist Churches, or schools opening up their buildings, having taught in other ways for almost 6 months, or restrictions more generally beginning to ease.

We also have our first edition of our new newsletter, The Mustard Seed, which you will find here.  Please do read and enjoy it, and perhaps send your own contributions for next month. It will be circulated in a number of ways: by email; by printed copies delivered to all those receiving the printed services; available on the circuit website.  It is designed to be easily printed on A4 paper (rather than being a booklet) so that if you know of anyone who would like a copy, it is easy to print off and pass on. Or of course it could be sent on by email. But if you know of anyone who might like to read it and isn't receiving a copy any other way, do let us know. Once our building is in regular use again I am sure we will have a few copies available to be picked up at services or events.

Which leads me on to say thank you to all those who have already filled in the form about services in September and October. I am hoping to deliver most or all of the printed copies required today. If you haven't received one by email or through your letterbox by the end of tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd) please let me know.

I must admit that I feel great trepidation about the next few months. It is so important that we continue to take care to protect ourselves from infection, as news suggest infection rates are rising, and a 'spike' is expected perhaps in October / November, just at the time we are hoping to open for weekly services. By Monday next week, three out of the four members of the Manse household will be back at school, and at three different secondary schools. This means that as a single household we are in direct contact with I think 3000+ students, and I would guess maybe 500+ teachers and support staff. And that is before we begin to consider out of school activities that are re-starting, such as the Westmorland Youth Orchestra, which draws members from a much wider area and more schools. I hope that the measures in place in schools are sufficient to limit any transmission of the virus, but having been into school myself this morning, I have seen that it is clearly not possible to maintain social distancing to any great degree. Please, when you meet any of us, remember to keep your distance from us, for your own sake. If we back away from you, it is out of concern for you, not ourselves!

Because I feel the risk of me unknowingly carrying the virus into people's homes is relatively high, I will continue not to make any routine pastoral visits for the time being. Since lockdown began I have only made two in-person pastoral visits - one for a funeral, one for a wedding. I am not unwilling to visit, but if you would like me to come and see you, please will you initiate that. I do not want to contact people and offer to visit in case those I contact feel pressured to accept. Of course a phone conversation (or even a zoom conversation, for those who have that) is risk free! And you are welcome to contact me to arrange a time for a phone conversation if you would like a longer chat and want to make sure it is convenient for us both.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

26 August

Dear Friends,

The Church Council met on Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of re-opening our building for services and lettings. A huge amount of work has gone into producing a risk assessment, and working through all the procedures that need to be put in place. Thank you to all those who have contributed, and for all members of the property meeting and Church Council for the lengthy discussions we have had.

We will continue to have online services each week at 10.30am. We are planning to start a weekly service in church from October onwards. This will be at 4pm, to avoid clashing with the online service. We think we can accommodate up to about 30 people in the church building safely, maintaining physical distancing. In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, a number of changes will be needed. More information on this to follow. To trial the processes and get ready for October, we will hold two services in September, on Sundays 13th and 27th. These trial services will be advertised only to our church family, and numbers will be further limited (perhaps up to 20 people). To do this we will be asking people to tell us if they would like to attend. Depending on the response, it may not be possible to attend both services. Similarly, from October it may be necessary to put in place a system for different people to attend on different weeks, to allow everyone a chance to attend, and also leave some spaces for visitors.

If you want to attend the September services, you don't need to do anything yet. We will be ensuring that communication about this will go out to all the church family by letter, not just by email. We will also be seeking volunteers to help things run smoothly, recognising that some of our usual office holders may not feel able to take on all their old duties.

The demand for hall lettings so far is small. It looks like some, but not all, of the various regular bookings will restart gradually over the next few months. At the moment it looks manageable, and a detailed risk assessment has been put in place which all user groups will need to follow.

Thank you to all of you for your understanding as we take these careful steps forward. None of this is 'forever' - we will be reviewing how things go and taking further steps forward as regulations permit, and as feels manageable. We value your prayers and support as we wrestle with all the challenges we face.

Don't forget the deadline for the first edition of our new newsletter, The Mustard Seed, is this weekend. There is still time to email any articles in to Hazel Edmondson, or phone 36213.

Please remember all our young people and teachers as they return to school over the next week or two. Many students have been studying at home for 6 months, and things will be very different in school. Many schools are having a staggered start to enable them to cope with the number of students returning. I will be taking one assembly in person for the year 7s on their first day at secondary school, then after that, for both primary and secondary school, clergy will be sending in weekly assemblies recorded on video. 

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

19 August

Dear Friends,

We're back, having had a good break. Having been away I don't have much to put in this weekly update, other than to say thank you to Andrew and Su Lockley and David and Hazel Edmondson for doing such a good job of continuing the online services while we've been away, and also thank you to Hazel and David also for keeping the online coffee morning going, and covering various admin tasks. The links for all the online things remain the same as ever (see below).

I am attaching the third and final edition of Lockdown News. I have been asked to give an update on some news already out of date - we are very pleased indeed to hear that Jean Cormack is now home from hospital! Welcome home Jean, and we pray for your continued healing and strength. 

Do read the Lockdown News, not least to find out what is coming next month!

Church Council
The Church Council will be meeting online on Tuesday evening for further discussion about how and when it might be appropriate to reopen our church building. Thank you to everyone who has answered the survey - having received 54 responses, I think this gives us a good picture of how our congregation is feeling, which will be an important part of deciding the way forward. A summary of the responses will be sent out to Church Council members in the next day or two. After the meeting we will share the summary of responses widely, and let you know what has been decided.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

29 July

Dear Friends,

This will be the last Weekly Update for a while as I am taking some leave. I'm very grateful to Andrew and Su Lockley and David and Hazel Edmondson who will be continuing the Sunday morning service on Facebook while we're having a break. Coffee morning will also continue. The links for accessing everything online will remain the same, so make sure you keep a note of them if you need to for the coming 2-3 weeks. 

If any urgent pastoral needs arise while I am away, there will be colleagues available to cover. We are still advised that in-person pastoral visiting should be avoided if at all possible, especially to those who are in higher risk groups, because of the risk that ministers may potentially spread infection to large numbers of people - and I really don't want to pass on infection to any of you! But we can visit if alternatives of phone call etc are not sufficient. While I am away, contact details for my colleagues will be available on an out of office reply on my email, or on my answerphone message.

Pastoral news
The funeral of Geoffrey Ward takes place this Friday, 31st July, at 12.30. Please continue to remember Joan and family in your prayers. It is possible to watch the funeral service live online using the following details: 
website: www.obitus.com
username: Subu1283
Password: 859320

It is recommended that you try out this in advance - you can log in at any time beforehand to see a test message that will show you whether it is working. The live webcast will start approximately 5 mins before the service start time.

You  can view or download the order of service here.

Church correspondance
It does seem that quite a few people are not receiving this email update. There could be a number of reasons for this, most likely either their email provider is treating it as spam (check junk folders, and if possible add the email noreply@churchbox.co.uk to the 'safe senders' list). Alternatively, we may not have an up to date email address (email Hazel Edmondson,  or phone 36213) and she can provide you with a contact details form to give consent for us to hold your information. Obviously putting this information in the email people are not receiving is of limited use! So please if you hear of anyone in the congregation who has an email address but is not getting the emails, ask them to get in touch.

Hopefully if you have received this email you will also have received the email with a link to the survey about reopening our building for services. Thank you to everyone who has already responded - please do complete it if you haven't yet done so. Paper copies have gone out to those not on email, but using the weblink here makes it much easier for those of us gathering the information together! Let us know if you need any help with this.

Do keep on sending any news to Hazel for the Lockdown Newsletter - one of the challenges of not gathering together is that it is harder to share news informally, and obviously we always need to keep appropriate confidentiality. But if you have news you want to share, whether sadness or joy, do please send it in.

Online House Fellowship
The House Fellowship will take a break through August and will begin meeting again in September. I'll put information in the weekly update at the end of August to let you know what's happening. We're open for others to join at any point.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

21 July

Dear Friends,

Sorry for not sending an update last week - time ran out on me! And there wasn't a great deal of news last week anyway. This week I am attaching Lockdown Newsletter 2. If you have any news for the next edition, do please send it to Hazel (click to email; for other methods, see the newsletter.)

Pastoral news
A couple of sad pieces of news to share - Geoffrey Ward (father of Pam Brook) died on Friday in Lancaster Infirmary. Our prayers are with Joan, Pam, and all the family. His funeral will take place at Beetham Crematorium at 12.30pm on Friday 31st July. It will be invite only because of restricted numbers, but will also be live streamed, and the family would love as many friends as possible to be able to share in it with them. I will send the details out when they are available. 

Also I have been asked to share with you that Don Gabbitas is seriously ill in Warwick hospital. Some years ago Don was treasurer here, and June was Church Council Secretary. We were glad to know them for a short time between our arrival here, and their move to Warwick. I'm sure they will also appreciate our prayers. 

Church Council
The Church Council met last week, and of course one of the main items on the agenda was when we might consider re-opening the church building. The general feeling was that most of the congregation are feeling very cautious about gathering again too soon, so it was decided that at present we have no particular date in mind. However, members of the property team will be meeting online to have a closer look at the various requirements for reopening, including what would be required to enable some of the regular lettings to begin again, if they wish to. Along with some other Church Council members, I am also working on a short survey to send out to all our church family to ask how you are feeling about returning to church for services. I am planning to send this out in the next couple of days, in a separate email. It will also be printed and delivered to those who do not receive the emails. This will help guide our thinking about how fast to move forward. I do want to reassure those of you who are worried about meeting again that we plan to continue to offer some form of service online, and in written form, even when we do resume physical gatherings again. Hopefully in this way we can continue to provide better support to all those who are unable to meet in church, whatever the reason.

Do please look out for the survey, and respond as soon as you are able. We have arranged to have another online Church Council Meeting on Tuesday 25th August to look at the responses and hear what the property team think about the practicalities.

The usual links for coffee morning tomorrow and for Sunday services are below.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo


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Grange Methodist Church

8 July

Dear Friends,

I hope you are keeping well. Here at the Manse we are looking forward to the end of the school term. Although no one has been leaving the house, school has very much continued at home, both for Paul teaching, and for Martha and Amos studying. There is a week and a half to go, and we will be glad of a break when it comes! It is amazing how in the space of little more than one school term, new ways of doing things have emerged and developed and now seem almost normal. I guess much the same can be said of church. The way we do things may have changed, but our purpose remains the same, and we are finding new ways to fulfil God's mission. Among other things, our virtual house fellowship has completed the eight week series of The Character Course, and Church Council is meeting online on Tuesday, more of those below. And the usual links for coffee morning and services are here.

However, before I go further, I have some sad news to share - we heard on Monday that Revd Joe Daley, the minister here before me, died on Sunday. Our prayers are with his family, and so many others at this time, who are grieving in difficult circumstances.

House Fellowship
It has been such a joy to meet together that we will continue to meet on a Tuesday afternoon, 2-3.30. Over the next few weeks we are going to try out some other things as we decide what to do next. Anyone else would be very welcome to join. For the time being at least, each week will stand alone, so you are welcome to dip in and out. If you are not sure about using zoom, do get in touch - we can help.

Click to Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 832 1289 5721
Password: 611697

We want to hear from you!
A few weeks ago I reminded you of the questions below, and encouraged you to pray and respond. I have had some replies, but would welcome more. Church Council will be meeting online on Tuesday 14th July, and your thoughts would be really helpful as we begin to think about priorities for the future. I have attached the grid again, this time in an editable format, but you don't have to use this to send your response. You could just give answers to each question. If any more answers could be sent to Hazel Edmondson by this Sunday, 12th, she has offered to collate responses (which will be recorded anonymously). I'm sure our thinking will continue to develop, but it gives us a starting point. You can email Hazel,  or if you would prefer, we can pass on anything delivered / posted to the Manse (let me know if you need the address)

  1. What have we lost that we need to regain?

  2. What have we gained that we need to keep, and even develop further?

  3. What have we gained that we won't need after the pandemic is over?

  4. What have we lost that we need to leave behind?

As you consider these questions I would particularly encourage you to use our vision statement to guide your thinking:

We believe we are called to be a church where people of all ages and backgrounds are supported in:

  • loving and serving God

  • loving and serving our neighbours, both local and global

  • growing and sharing faith

Church Council will also be looking at the information about what is required to safely re-open church buildings. This is a big task. We won't be moving ahead with re-opening until the Church Council is happy that we can do so safely, and in a way that is manageable, bearing in mind that government advice is that people over 70 should still be taking extra care not to put themselves at risk.

That's all the news for now, but I leave you with the words of a new hymn written by Revd Rosemary Wakelin, a supernumerary Methodist minister. It was published in the Prayer Handbook for 2019/20, before the virus struck, but the words seem very apt.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo


The world we thought we knew is changing fast,
and longingly we cling to what is past:
that settled life which made no great demand,
a foretaste of the hoped-for Promised Land.

But as for you, dynamic, pilgrim God
you do not linger on the path well trod
but ever lead your pilgrim people on
to risk an unknown future with your Son.

The challenge of diversity and change
will take us well beyond our former range,
exposing us to things we do not know,
demanding all the love that we can show.

You take the stuff of chaos, fear and dread,
and make a path that we can safely tread,
and if we fear the wildness of the wave,
we know your outstretched hand is there to save.

(c) Rosemary Wakelin (Suggested tune: Woodlands)


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Grange Methodist Church

30 June

Dear Friends,

A much shorter update this week! Here is our first edition of the Lockdown Newsletter - thank you Hazel for putting this together, and thank you to those who have contributed news. Please do send Hazel any news you would like to share in the next edition.

This afternoon we had the seventh session of our house fellowship that has been meeting online. We've had about 15 people participating each week, and by the wonders of technology have been able to have conversations all together and in smaller groups of 4-5. Next week will be the final session of the materials we have been using, practising characteristics of Christian life through daily prayer exercises. This means that we need to think about what comes next. As we think about starting something new, this would be a good time to join! I am also happy to hear suggestions of materials we might use. 

Methodist Conference is in full swing. This morning Martha proposed a Notice of Motion to seek full disinvestment of Methodist funds from fossil fuel companies. The proposal was amended before it was accepted, asking (rather than directing) Methodist Council to take the step of asking for full disinvestment. But it was very clear from the debate that there is strong feeling that the Methodist Church is not moving far enough or fast enough on this issue. If any of you are interested in listening to the debate, you can watch it here.  (The discussion of the report runs from 2 hours 33 mins in to 3 hours 16 mins, Martha first speaks at 2 hours 47 mins)

The usual links for coffee morning tomorrow and for Sunday services are below.

Take care, and God bless,

Jo

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Grange Methodist Church

24 June

Dear Friends,

For those receiving the printed service this week, it has been prepared by Ralph Penny-Larter, pastoral worker at Carver Uniting Church, and a Local Preacher newly arrived in this circuit. We're grateful to him, and to Maggie for all the weeks she has been preparing written services for those around the circuit who don't have access to the online services. In future weeks we are hoping various preachers will be taking turns to prepare these services. We have directly contacted everyone we are aware of for whom we don't have an email address, and are delivering to all those who said they would like a copy, but if you know of anyone else who would appreciate it, please let me know. 

I'm sure you will be aware of changes to restrictions announced by the government this week. We are expecting that the Methodist Church will issue updated guidance after Methodist Conference, and we will not be considering opening the building until we have a fuller picture. It will be for Church Councils to decide what is safe and appropriate in each circumstance. Do please send me any thoughts in response to the four questions I sent last week. There is no doubt that things will need to be done a bit differently when we do start gathering again, and your reflections will help us discern together what God may be saying to us about the way forward.

Our online services for the Circuit continue each Sunday morning at 10.30am - click here. This week we will be finishing our series on Ruth, looking at chapter 4. Our Superintendent, Graham, is also preparing a weekly recorded service which is uploaded to YouTube in time for Sunday evening. These can all be found here.
The virtual coffee morning continues each Wednesday morning, 11-12.
All are welcome to join the coffee morning and service, not just Grange people, and not just church members. It has been great to welcome friends from all over! The links are here - feel free to share them with anyone who might be interested (but don't post the zoom link publicly online please) If you need any technical help do give us a call on Grange 33164.

District Service, 3pm Sunday 28th June
The District service I mentioned last week will be available via zoom and YouTube. Our District Chair, Revd Dr James Tebbutt will be preaching. Some of the hymns will be led by Keith and Jill Hudson, leaders of the Phoenix Praise Band in Gosforth, others will be led by the Rand family! The service will include an opportunity to affirm Revd Andrew Sterling and Revd Zena Smith, who should have been ordained on Sunday.

The service begins at 3pm. It will be available on the channel of the church in Kirkby Lonsdale, here.

 If you wish to join via zoom, please arrive from 2.45pm - the service will begin promptly at 3pm. Click here - ID & password if you need them:-
Meeting ID: 813 6019 2473

Password: 284695

 

Methodist Conference
All the public sessions of the Methodist Conference will be live streamed here.

In particular, the following sessions on Saturday 27th may be of interest:

2.15pm Opening of Conference and Induction of President and Vice President, Revd Richard Teal (our former District Chair) and Carolyn Lawrence

3.15pm President's Address

4.15pm Vice President's Address

6.00pm Reception into Full Connexion (receiving and affirming those who would have been ordained this weekend) 

 

There is no Sunday morning worship from Conference this year. However, Revd Richard Teal will be preaching at the live streamed service from Methodist Central Hall, Westminster at 11am. This will be available both live and after the event here

Sharing News
A reminder that Hazel Edmondson has offered to put together a short email / printed newsletter, likely to be produced as often as there is news to fill it. News could be a recent or upcoming birthday or anniversary, something that has encouraged you during recent weeks, a new or rediscovered hobby etc. - tell us about what you have been up to! It doesn't need to be long, it will just be good to be able to hear from one another. Contact Hazel on 36213 or by email  (If the news concerns anyone else please make sure they are happy for it to be shared publicly.)

 

The theme we are exploring in our online housegroup this week is humour, which the author expands as joy, laughter, cheerfulness, gladness, so we are all looking out for moments of joy and laughter this week! I want to finish with this prayer for you all, from Romans 15:13:

May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Take care, and God bless,

Jo


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Grange Methodist Church

17 June

Dear Friends,

There is quite a bit of news this week!

Methodist Conference
Of course the Methodist Conference cannot happen in the normal way this year, but the 300+ representatives will be meeting electronically, beginning with the presbyteral session from 25th June, and then the full body of conference from 29th June - 2nd July. The business has been slimmed down to essential items, and others (such as the discussion of Marriage and Relationships) have been deferred to next year. Please remember all those involved in your prayers as they meet, as it will not be easy to do business this way, and it will be hard for representatives to feel the same sense of joy as comes with gathering together. Martha Rand is again one of the Youth Representatives this year.

On Saturday 27th at 2.15pm our former Chair of District, Revd Richard Teal, will be inducted as President of the Conference, and Carolyn Lawrence as Vice President. Richard will address the conference at 3.15pm. At 6pm the probationers due to be ordained will be received into Full Connexion, again online, but ordinations are postponed until a future date when they can happen in person. There are two probationers in our district who will be received into Full Connexion, Revd Andrew Stirling (Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Tebay circuit) and Revd Zena Smith (South West Cumbria United Area). As usual, these and other sessions of conference will be streamed live online. I will share links once they are available

Conference Sunday Special Services, 28th June
There is no Sunday morning worship from Conference. However, Revd Richard Teal will be preaching at the live streamed service from Methodist Central Hall, Westminster at 11am. This will be available both live and after the event here.

In the afternoon there will be a Cumbria District Service at 3pm. This will include recognition of Zena and Andrew at this special but somewhat disrupted occasion in their ministry. Details are being finalised, but the hope is to offer this live on Zoom, and possibly also via YouTube. I will let you know the details of how to access it as soon as I have them.

We will still have our usual service from Grange Manse in the morning. If you want to also share in the service from Westminster Central Hall, it is possible to join one of them live and watch the other one later.

A letter to the Methodist Recorder
A group of Methodists including Martha have written a letter to the Methodist Recorder asking for further action to be taken to withdraw Methodist investments from fossil fuel companies. A copy of the letter is attached. The writers are inviting others who support what they are asking to add their signatures by emailing Michael Pryke at mikepryke@gmail.com. In the first 24 hours over 100 people have added their names. If you cannot email but would like to sign, please let me know as soon as possible and I will pass your name on.

'My heart is blue' - a song for the NHS
Our very own David Webster has written a song dedicated to all his NHS colleagues in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Those of us attending coffee morning were able to watch an interview with ITV borders during which David and Lucy performed the song. It is well worth watching, and is available here (as well as on music streaming services for those who have them.) Some of the "back story" to the song can be found here.

Sharing News
If all this feels very internet based, fear not - Hazel Edmondson has offered to put together a short newsletter, likely to come out as often as there is news to fill it. It will be sent by email to those for whom we have an email address, and delivered on paper to those who ask for a copy or who are receiving the printed service sheets. If you have any news you would like to share please contact Hazel on 36213 or by email.  If the news concerns anyone else please make sure they are happy for it to be shared publicly.

Moving Forward
Last but not least, a few weeks ago in our online service I suggested thinking about how life has changed and how we might move forward beyond the time of the pandemic by considering these four questions:

  1. What have we lost that we need to regain?

  2. What have we gained that we need to keep, and even develop further?

  3. What have we gained that we won't need after the pandemic is over?

  4. What have we lost that we need to leave behind?

I've had one or two people send me some thoughts, and it would be wonderful to have more. We are currently hoping we might manage to have a Church Council meeting on 14th July via zoom - more news about that to follow in due course. At some point soon Church Council will need to begin thinking and planning for the future as we emerge from the pandemic, and these four questions will be very important to work through. So please do prayerfully think about what God might be saying to you about the life of the church here, and share anything you feel able to. I have attached a template you could use to jot down thoughts over the coming days and weeks. 

Take care, and God bless,

Jo


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Grange Methodist Church

11 June

Dear Friends,

Apologies for not sending an update last week - it's been very busy with quite a lot of meetings in the last couple of weeks. One of the advantages (or is it?) of doing everything online now is that we can have meetings more frequently without needing to factor in travel time! And of course there is a lot of discussion going on about what is safe for us to do, when and how we might begin to think about opening church buildings, how to make sure we don't neglect those who need to continue to isolate once we begin to meet in some way, and so on. This means even more meetings than usual! 

To give a brief update on where we are at the moment, there are no plans as yet to re-open any of the church buildings in our circuit. At present the Methodist guidance is clear that buildings should only be in use to provide essential social support such as food banks. Windermere Methodist Church is one example of this, currently running the foodbank from the church porch with strict hygiene measures in place.

The Methodist Church has said that even though recent government announcements would permit opening churches for private prayer, there will be no change to this guidance until after Methodist Conference has met (25th June - 2nd July). The Connexional Property Team are working on guidelines for how buildings might be reopened safely. This will not be an easy task, and is likely to involve, for example, checks on the water supply to ensure it is free from legionella after standing unused for this extended period of time, as well as extra hygiene procedures that will need to be put in place. We need to carefully consider what is manageable, particularly remembering that many of our members who might ordinarily volunteer to help are themselves at greater risk from the virus due to health conditions and/or age. Once there is permission within the guidelines, it will be for Church Council to decide how and when is right for us to open.

For the forseeable future we will continue to broadcast a Sunday morning service from the Manse, rather than going unnecessarily into the church building. As a circuit we will continue to offer a printed service to those who would like it. So far Maggie has been preparing all of these, but in future weeks it is anticipated that other preachers will take responsibility for some weeks. Do please let me know if you are aware of anyone who might appreciate a copy, and we will arrange to deliver it. Graham is also uploading a pre-recorded act of worship for Sunday evenings, which can be found on YouTube via the circuit website.

I should also mention that we have recently discovered that some of those who do not have access to the internet via computer or phone may be able to watch the services on YouTube through their television. This will be newer 'smart' TVs, and I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with them so I'm probably not much help, but anyone with a TV with a YouTube app can use it to search for Grange Methodist Church and they should be able to find all the services there. Each week the new service should be available by noon on Sunday. Unfortunately we don't currently have the ability to stream live to both Facebook and YouTube at the same time, so the services are uploaded to YouTube after they have finished.

The links for services, coffee morning etc are the same each week. I've put them at the bottom of this email. I'll finish by sharing this prayer written by Nadia Bolz-Weber at the end of May. She's an ordained minister in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Some of the cultural references might be lost to us (insert your own!), but the sense of it speaks to me deeply about encountering God in our day to day life.

As ever, take care, and God bless,

Jo


I do not know when we can gather together again in worship, Lord.

So, for now I just ask that:

When I sing along in my kitchen to each song on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life Album, that it be counted as praise. (Happy 70thBirthday, SW!)

And that when I read the news and my heart tightens in my chest, may it be counted as a Kyrie. ['Kyrie eleison' is the part of the liturgy meaning 'Lord, have mercy' - Jo]

And that when my eyes brighten in a smile behind my mask as I thank the cashier may it be counted as passing the peace.

And that when I water my plants and wash my dishes and take a shower may it be counted as remembering my baptism.

And that when the tears come and my shoulders shake and my breathing falters, may it be counted as prayer.

And that when I stumble upon a Tabitha Brown video and hear her grace and love of you may it be counted as a hearing a homily.

And that as I sit at that table in my apartment, and eat one more homemade meal, slowly, joyfully, with nothing else demanding my time or attention, may it be counted as communion.

Amen.

-Nadia Bolz-Weber

 

Links:

Services
You can join in with the live services at 10.30 on Sunday, or watch them later, here: https://www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live 
From around 12 noon on Sundays, the services can also be found on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAjjn_mCrNDNqBW9KryuHrw

If you have any problems with watching on Facebook or YouTube, you can also find the service on the circuit website here https://www.slakesmethodist.org.uk/grangesundaymorningstream.htm Usually it will be available live at 10.30 as well as later.

If you have missed any, the full back catalogue can also be found in all these places!

General information, newsletters etc
The circuit website is being regularly updated (thank you Andrew!) and has links to pretty much everything - service videos, printed services, newsletters etc https://www.slakesmethodist.org.uk/

Newsletter

Our new monthly newsletter, entitled "Mustard Seed", can be found here:

https://www.slakesmethodist.org.uk/mustardseed.htm

Coffee Morning
While we can’t meet for our usual coffee morning in the hall, we can meet on zoom. The online coffee morning runs from 11am – 12 noon every Wednesday. You can pop in briefly or join for the whole hour. There are various ways to join. You can:

Click this link and follow the various prompts to join (if you don’t want to install zoom you can say ‘no’ to this, and it should still get you there eventually!) 

Or, if you have zoom installed you can open it and enter these details:

Meeting ID: 913 8670 2687
Password: 8BDE06

Or, if you don’t have access to the internet you can join on an ordinary landline phone. You won’t be able to see us, and we won’t be able to see you, but you can still chat with everyone. Be aware that the phone calls cost whatever your national rate is. If you have a call package that includes normal geographic numbers it will be included, but may start to charge you if the call lasts over an hour.
You can call any of these phone numbers to join:

  • 0203 481 5240 United Kingdom

  • 0203 901 7895 United Kingdom

  • 0131 460 1196 United Kingdom

  • 0203 051 2874 United Kingdom

  • 0203 481 5237 United Kingdom

You will need these codes:

  • Meeting ID: 913 8670 2687

  • Passcode: 181350

Online Fellowship Group

The online fellowship group is meeting on Mondays at 7.30pm - click here 

Or you can join by entering these details:

  • Meeting ID: 852 8087 2426

  • Passcode: 307363

Although it would be possible to join by phone, our sessions do tend to involve watching short videos together, so joining by phone would make it hard to participate.

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26 May

Dear Friends,

Once more the sun is shining! I'm writing this having just had our second virtual house fellowship. This week the theme was Hope, and we've explored some inspiring and challenging things about hope in the big picture (the hope of a world restored to everything it should be) and hope in the immediate (Christ in us, the hope of glory, transforming things here and now). I hope that whatever these days are bringing to you, there is hope in them. 

Services
This coming Sunday is Pentecost! As we said in the last service, we're inviting everyone to send in a short video of yourself (or a photo if a video is not possible). Instructions are:

  • wear bright / flame coloured clothing if possible

  • using British Sign Language, sign the words 'Holy Spirit come'
    This video
    shows how to sign these words.

We will put these videos together and play them during the service - we will only see each person for a couple of seconds, but it seemed appropriate to find a way to see and pray for one another on this special day as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church.

Videos can be emailed to toastchurchgrange@gmail.com or get in touch if you need any technical support!

 As ever, you can join in live at 10.30 on Sunday here.
Shortly after the service finishes it will also be uploaded to YouTube here.

Zoom coffee morning
I'm taking a few days off this week as it is half term so the family are not busy with school work. David and Hazel have kindly agreed to host tomorrow's coffee morning (Wednesday at 11am) The sign in details are the same as always:

https://zoom.us/j/91386702687?pwd=by9xY053dUxZOW9qOW1td2RXSStrUT09

Meeting ID: 913 8670 2687
Password: 8BDE06

I will leave you with a hope-filled poem / prayer that I came across today - see below. I'm sharing with permission.

Take care, God bless,

Jo



Refresh

I think God will refresh the church
I think God will make a new start
All the weary, sluggish back story
Will become a new song
One of worship, dancing, singing, love

God saw the brokenness in the church
God saw the tears
God saw the unsatisfied
God saw the longed for
God saw the emptiness

And then as we reeled from this 'lock-down'
We became isolated
And vulnerable
Feared illness and death
Worried about money

But, this opened our eyes to those who were already reeling
And those who were always in lock-down
We became vulnerable
So we were alongside those who will remain vulnerable
We caught a glimpse of what it is like to fear illness and death daily
And be worried about money constantly

I knew I needed to be refreshed
I knew I needed a new start
The struggle of my worship effort
The recognition of my lacking prayer life
The ignorance of my unfulfilled spirit
Will become a new song
One of commitment, obedience and fire

God stepped in
God stepped up
We have had our eyes opened
Our hearts are unlocked
Our spirits released
A spirit of fire
Let us get ready!

I think God will refresh the church
I think God will make a new start
All the weary, sluggish back story
Will become a new song
One of worship, dancing, singing, love

Rev Liz England May 2020
Team Rector of Buxton

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21 May

Dear Friends,

I am sorry to be later than usual with this weekly update. Firstly a warning about a scam - I've received information that in another part of the country some church members have received emails that look like they have come from their minister, with a message asking them to make an online purchase on their behalf, e.g. buy a gift voucher for a family member because the minister is too busy. I would never ask a congregation member to do something like this! So please take care to check things out if you ever receive a message you are unsure about.

Services

Today is Ascension Day - when we enter that strange waiting time between Jesus' Easter appearances and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Perhaps this year as we wait with many unknowns, we can identify with the story. We will be exploring more of this in Sunday's service. As usual you can join in online at 10.30am. From about 10.15 there will be a picture and music, to give you a chance to tune in. And if you have a facebook account it is possible to 'chat' with others.  Click here

Shortly after the service finishes it will also be uploaded to YouTube here.

Please do let me know if you are aware of anyone who can't join online and would appreciate printed materials each week with hymns, readings and a written sermon. Deacon Maggie is writing resources each week and we are sending them out to various people. We can send out by email or printed copies.

Christian Aid Week

Our fundraising events went well last week. I am very pleased to report that the current fundraising total is £1,720, plus £342.50 in gift aid. This is an amazing achievement, so thank you to all who have donated, and all who have supported the events in various ways.

Zoom coffee morning

The coffee morning continues each Wednesday at 11am, so make yourself a coffee and come along if you can. Even if you cannot install zoom, it should be possible to join a meeting through your internet browser (e.g. chrome or internet explorer) though it's not always immediately obvious how to do this. If you would like us to talk you through it, do get in touch. We can give technical support! 

Feel free to invite others to the coffee morning, and give them the details for joining. We are being joined by various people who have been watching the services online, some of whom are regular visitors to Grange.  Please contact me for joining details.

Fellowship Group

The Zoom fellowship group met for the first session this Tuesday and had a good session, with about 15 people. We'll continue to meet at 2pm on Tuesdays for the coming weeks. If anyone missed week 1 but still wanted to join, I could give you a quick catch up on what we discussed this week and you would be welcome to join from week 2. Contact me if you would like more information, or joining details. 

A prayer for Ascension Day:

O God of earth and sky,
as Jesus came among us in Bethlehem to raise us up to heaven,
so today we recall his departing from us at Jerusalem to be in all places.
Though he is hidden from our sight,
enable us to abide in him
by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit,
until his mercy and grace fill your whole creation. Amen.
Copyright © 2000 Order of Saint Luke Publications. Used with permission.

As ever, do take care, stay safe, and keep in touch.

God bless,

Jo

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12 May

Dear Friends,

I hope you're keeping well. Here is the news for the coming week:

Christian Aid Week

A reminder of our zoom quiz tonight, to raise funds for Christian Aid. 7pm start; contact me for joining details. We have the questions ready - hopefully something for everyone in there. Really looking forward to it!

Also, on Friday, don't forget the Youth Theatre's Christian Aid concert, also 7pm, on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live
 It's always a great evening, so although it will be a bit different this year, do 'come along' if you can.

If you feel able to make a donation to Christian Aid, the circuit has a fundraiser here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/southlakesmeth
 All donations go directly to Christian Aid. I'm really pleased that we already have donations amounting to £475 (a couple of other donations have been made via the facebook page)

Zoom coffee morning

Last week we tried splitting into 'breakout groups' - like sitting on different tables for a chat. It seemed to work well, and people told me they felt they were able to have much more of a real chat in smaller groups, so we'll try that again. We'll be meeting again on Wednesday at 11am, so make yourself a coffee and come along if you can – contact me for details

Fellowship Group

So far, I've had around 10 people saying they're interested in the Zoom fellowship group. We'll be meeting at 2pm on Tuesdays from next week (19th May) I will be contacting those who have expressed an interest, but the details for joining are below. You will see there are phone numbers at the bottom - it is possible to join a zoom meeting by phone, though you obviously won't be able to see anything! I would be happy to discuss this option with anyone who would like to try it, although part of the session is watching a video, so we would need to look at sharing that on a DVD or something in order to be able to watch it before the session. But it would be possible. Contact me for joining details.

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Services

Services continue as usual at 10.30 on Sunday morning. You can find all our services here:
 https://www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live 
Shortly after the service finishes it will also be uploaded to YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAjjn_mCrNDNqBW9KryuHrw

As I said last week, if you or anyone you know is not able to see the online services and would appreciate a printed service to read through, Deacon Maggie is preparing an act of worship each week particularly for the folk in Ambleside and Windermere, most of whom do not have internet access. I can print a copy and send it out, or I can email it for you to pass on a printed copy.

Take care, stay safe, and do get in touch if you need a chat or any practical support,

God bless,

Jo

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5 May

 
Dear Friends,

Spring continues to burst into life around us. The chestnut tree we pass near Clare House on the way to the prom seems to have bigger leaves every time we see it. I think they're probably full sized now, but still have that fresh green of new growth. Whenever I'm tempted to feel fed up with the current situation I remind myself how thankful I am that we live where we do, surrounded by nature and beautiful views, and with such a caring community.

Pastoral News

We're sorry to hear of the death last week of David Hawkes, who quite recently moved to Scotland to be closer to his daughters after his wife Mary died in September. We remember the family in our prayers.

I'm also taking a funeral this Thursday of Bob Davies, who was a resident at Cartmel Grange. I don't think he was known to the congregation, but I am sure the family would appreciate your prayers as well.

Zoom coffee morning

As numbers at the virtual coffee morning grow, we're going to try something slightly different tomorrow morning. Having paid for a subscription to Zoom I can now create different small groups - like having different tables at coffee morning! I have been in a meeting organised by someone else where we were put into groups and it worked well, but I've not yet been in charge of making it happen... we shall see how we go! We're all learning new skills we never expected to need! Do join in with the fun from 11am until about 11.40. We'll have some time all together before we split into groups and just like real life I should be able to pop from one table to another to say hello. We shared a lot of laughs and stories at our second virtual coffee morning last week. The details for joining in are the same as before - if you haven't been with us yet, call Jo (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)

Services

As usual we'll be live on facebook at 10.30 on Sunday morning. This Sunday is the start of Christian Aid Week, and Dare Holland will be contributing to the service. You can find the service here.  Shortly after the service finishes it will also be uploaded to YouTube here.
If any of you have been having difficulty watching the service, do get in touch. We've managed to solve a few technical issues when people have had problems!

Also, if you or anyone you know is not able to see the online services and would appreciate a printed service to read through, Deacon Maggie is preparing an act of worship each week particularly for the folk in Ambleside and Windermere, most of whom do not have internet access. If you let me know, I can print a copy and send it out, or I can email it for you to pass on a printed copy.

Christian Aid Week Events

A reminder below of our events during next week for Christian Aid. If you'd like to make a donation to Christian Aid's work, we've set up a Just Giving page here.  You can make a donation using a bank card. This sends donations directly to Christian Aid, but will tell us the total we have raised. No envelopes to deal with and no money to count! It also deals with reclaiming any gift aid. Christian Aid really would prefer donations to be given online, but if that's really not possible, you can phone 020 7523 2269 to make a donation over the phone.

    Tuesday 12th May at 7pm - Circuit Quiz Night!

    The Rand family will be your quiz masters for the evening, live on Zoom - feel free to invite your friends to join online by sharing the link below. At or just before 7pm, get a pen and paper ready and join us on Zoom. Just for fun (no prizes) and we will invite donations to support the work of Christian Aid.
   If you haven't Zoomed with us yet, call Jo for details (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)
    

    Friday 15th at 7pm - Virtual Concert

    Grange Youth Theatre normally put on a fantastic concert each year, under the brilliant direction of Jean and Mick Malkin. We can't gather together, but we're hoping that various members of the Youth Theatre will record their perfomances and send them in to be streamed. Join us on Facebook live at 7pm, in the same place as the church services:
    https://www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live
    Again, we will invite donations for the work of Christian Aid, which is needed all the more at the current time.

While we're talking about money...

A short (and positive!) message from the treasurer about church finances:

We're very grateful to all who are continuing to give financially to support the work of the church. Those who have standing orders set up for their regular offerings may notice a change on their bank statement. The switch from NatWest to the Cooperative Bank is about to go through. You don't need to do anything - it's set up to automatically switch across all existing regular payments.

We're also very grateful to John Hutchinson for encouraging so many to give by standing order in the past. It means now that we should still balance the books this year even though we are not able to have services in church.

If you don't currently give by standing order, could you consider setting one up with your bank now? (sort code 089299, account number 65894617). If that's not possible, you can send offerings by cheque (payable to Grange Methodist Church) to The Manse, Fernleigh Road, LA11 7HN. Please don't send cash.

I [Jo] would like to say the change in bank accounts is no small triumph. Thank you very much to Paul for his persistence in making this happen. It will enable us to make electronic payments with dual authorisation - the same as needing two signatures on a cheque. This will make it much easier to pay the bills, especially while we're not really able to go round gathering the necessary signatures!

I think that's everything for now, well done for reading this far! As ever, take care, please stay safe. Although there is talk of 'easing lockdown', there is much concern that there are still high infection rates in Cumbria and other parts of the North West. If you need any support or just a friendly phone call, do get in touch.

God bless,
Jo


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29 April

Dear Friends,

Last week I mentioned our need for rain, and today rain has arrived... I don't think it was my fault! And the gardens and wildlife will be very glad of it.

Zoom coffee morning
We shared a lot of laughs and stories at our second virtual coffee morning last week. I'm sorry that this email is a bit late to remind you that we'll be gathering again tomorrow morning from 11am until about 11.40 Again, if you'd like to join, click this link at or after 11am tomorrow. You can drop in for just a short time if you want. The link should remain the same each week. Feel free to share the link with others in Grange who might appreciate joining us, especially any coffee morning regulars.  If you haven't Zoomed with us yet, call Jo for details (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)

Services
As usual we'll be live on facebook at 10.30 on Sunday morning here, and shortly after the service finishes it will also be uploaded to YouTube here.

Christian Aid Week 10th-16th May
Some advance notices! Obviously many of the usual fundraising activities are not possible in their normal form. However, we have some exciting plans for Christian Aid Week!

  • Sunday 10th May at 10.30am - Christian Aid Service
    Our live streamed service will follow the Christian Aid themes, with guest speaker Dare Holland.

  • Tuesday 12th May at 7pm - Circuit Quiz Night!
    The Rand family will be your quiz masters for the evening, live on Zoom - feel free to invite your friends to join online by sharing the link below. At or just before 7pm, get a pen and paper ready and click the link to join in. Just for fun (no prizes) and we will invite donations to support the work of Christian Aid.  If you haven't Zoomed with us yet, call Jo for details (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)
     

  • Friday 15th at 7pm - Virtual Concert 
    Grange Youth Theatre normally put on a fantastic concert each year, under the brilliant direction of Jean and Mick Malkin. We can't gather together, but we're hoping that various members of the Youth Theatre will record their perfomances and send them in to be streamed. Join us on Facebook live at 7pm here (in the same place as the church services.)
    Again, we will invite donations for the work of Christian Aid, which is needed all the more at the current time.

If you want any more information about these events or anything else, or if you need any help or support, do get in touch.

God bless,

Jo

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21 April

Dear Friends,

I hope you are keeping well, and that even in lockdown you are able to enjoy something of the amazing sunshine we're getting at the moment.The Hospice on Hampsfell The big blue sky from the hospice on Hampsfell the other day.  Although gardens will soon be wanting some rain!

Pastoral News
I have been asked to pass on the news that Margaret Berry died peacefully in the early hours of yesterday morning. She was formerly a member at Cartmel before moving into a care home down south after Westerly closed. She was also aunt of David Edmondson. In many ways her death is a much longed for release from the ravages of dementia. Our prayers are with all her friends and family.

The funeral of Harry Mercer will take place at 2pm on Monday 27th April at Beetham Crematorium. At the moment it looks like the service will not be available online, in accordance with family wishes. Click here to view or download a resource recently produced by the Methodist Church for prayers at home when not able to attend a funeral, which you may find helpful.

Zoom coffee morning
Around 12 or so people from 6 or 7 households joined last week's virtual coffee morning last Wednesday. It seemed to go well. I'm hoping this can be a regular gathering for those that find it useful. We'll do the same again this week, from 11am until about 11.40 (there is a 40 minute limit on the 'free' service). If you'd like to join, call Jo for details (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)


Services
All our online services continue to be available on Facebook here
and on YouTube here.

It was great last week to have contributions from so many different Toast Church friends! Thanks to all involved. We'll be live again at 10.30 this Sunday.

As ever, do be in touch if you need any help or support, practical or otherwise.
God bless,

Jo

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14 April 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! It may be a very strange one this year, but Easter is still Easter! Perhaps the circumstances this year give us a small glimpse of how the disciples might have been feeling - the tomb was empty, but they were hidden away, afraid of what might happen if they ventured out. And yet, Jesus came among them in the home they were in. May each one of us know that Jesus is with us in our home this Easter.

Pastoral News

I'm sorry to share the news that Harry Mercer died yesterday. Do please remember Andrew in your prayers. When we have the date and time of the funeral I will let you know.

The funeral of David Sharples takes place on Thursday this week at 2pm. Click here to view or download the order of service.  The service will be available live online. Here is the information about how to do that:

Instructions for connecting to the webcast.  It is strongly recommended that the link is tested ahead of the day:

  1. Follow this link: www.obitus.com
  2. log in via the username and password boxes in the top right corner
    The username is: beetham5260
    The password is: 921338
    Type, or copy and paste these into the username and password boxes
  3. Click on the Log in button
    You should then come to a page that says the Service of David Miles Sharples.

If you try this out before the service you will get a picture of a waterfall with a duck swimming across the bottom of it.  If you can view this (with the sound) you know that you will be able to watch the webcast. You can login to the website at any time to view the test connection but you'll only be able to view the Live Webcast between approx. 13:55 and 14:35 on Thursday 16 April.

Online Services

We continue with our live services online, which can be found at  www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live/  live as we broadcast, and can also be watched afterwards. Soon after the service has finished they are also available on YouTube on the Toast Church 'channel' here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAjjn_mCrNDNqBW9KryuHrw

This Sunday's service at Grange was due to be a Church to Toast Church service, so Toast Church will be leading. The service will still be at 10.30am. We will have a very simple craft activity which we would love you all to join in with. The only equipment you need is a pen or pencil and a piece of (preferably white) paper. However, if you feel a little more adventurous here is a fuller list:

Essential:

  • pen or pencil
  • Piece of paper at least A5 size (preferably white)

Optional:

  • scissors
  • a piece of newspaper or coloured paper or another white piece of paper
  • coloured pens / pencils / crayons
  • glue, sellotape or bluetack

Virtual coffee morning

This is a bit of an experiment - a lot of meetings are now happening online by video. If anyone would like to 'come' to a virtual coffee morning tomorrow (Wednesday) morning from 11am, I am hosting one! It's a chance to see each other's faces and say hello. It won't last longer than 40 minutes, but you can pop in for as long or short a time as you like. If this works, we could make it a regular weekly thing.  If you haven't Zoomed with us yet, call Jo for details (015395 33164, or click here to send an email)


Even if all this online stuff is too much for you, do keep on picking up the phone for a chat! Especially with those who don't have access to the internet. Do let me know if there is anyone who would particularly appreciate a call from me.

Take care, keep safe, and let us know if you need any support.

God bless,

Jo

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Holy Week 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping well. Do remember that there is help available if you need some shopping or someone to chat with on the phone. I am glad to hear how many of you are keeping in touch with one another by phone.

I wanted to remind you about services this week:

Maundy Thursday 7pm

We will be sharing a service from around the kitchen table, remembering the meal Jesus shared with his friends. It won't be a communion service as the Methodist Church does not allow for sharing communion with a congregation online. We would be able to live stream a communion service, but I am not permitted to invite you to participate by providing your own bread and wine. As it does not feel appropriate for our household to receive communion when the rest of the congregation cannot, we will not have a communion service until we are able to do that all together again in church.

Good Friday 12 noon and 3pm

Marking the hours of Jesus' crucifixion and death, we will have two shorter acts of worship reflecting on Jesus' 'seven last words' spoken from the cross. (The first three 'words' at noon and the remaining ones at 3pm)

Easter Day 10.30am

An Easter celebration.

These services can all be found at https://www.facebook.com/grangemethodists/live where you can also find our past services.

For any of you who have Facebook accounts, if you like, you can also join a new group I have set up, Online from Grange Methodists where you can currently 'vote' on what hymns you would like to sing on Easter Day! If you're not on Facebook, feel free to email me with your favourites. (I'm not promising that we will strictly follow the votes, as it depends what we can manage musically, and what makes for a reasonably balanced service.)

There is still time to send us a few seconds of video of any signs of hope (see last week's email) - please send to toastchurchgrange@gmail.com by this Friday evening. If you are having trouble sending by email do get in touch. There are other ways we might be able to help you send it to us.

With my prayers for you all as we experience a Holy Week like no other we've ever known. May you know the presence of Christ with you through these days.

Jo


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