Services this Sunday 24th in Ordinary time
There is no requirement to book a place
Please wear a mask
The service will be led by Robin and includes Communion
Hankelow with Woore
There is no requirement to book a place.
The Harvest Festival will be led by Rev Rob Wykes of the St Paul's Centre in Crewe.
Audlem The service will be led by Norma Stolworthy
Hankelow with Woore The service will be led by Robin and includes Communion
My wife says I make terrible coffee, but I'm sure that's not grounds for a divorce?
Whenever my wife uses the phrase 'I've been thinking', that means I have to either move, build, paint or buy something.
My missus asked me to put ketchup on the shopping list. Now I can't read anything!
My wife says I'm hopeless at fixing electric appliances. Well, she's in for a shock.
My wife said she wanted a divorce because of my obsession with my walkie talkie radio. She said, "It's over." I said "Over and out!"
My wife wanted to become a postal worker but I wouldn't letter.
I love playing mind games with my wife. I just bought her flowers and I haven't done anything wrong.
What did the plumber say when he wanted a divorce?
"It's over, Flo" (Had she driven him round the bend?)
Been on a blind date with a girl who mixes concrete for a living. Things were going great until I put my foot in it.
My girlfriend left me for an electrician, who promised her the earth.
I joined a pyromaniacs dating site – got a match straight away.
I was going to write about not returning to normal, then decided I had better look up what the word normal meant. In a fit of nostalgia, I reached for the dictionary on my shelf and turned the actual paper pages to read, sure enough 'conforming to a standard, usual, typical or expected' Hmmm, I think I'm right, we're never quite going back to normal, in society, or in church. Then of course I returned to my own normality, and googled normal. I read the same definition.
But the joy of google, is that, unlike a book, it opens up possibilities and other articles, alternative readings and offers all sorts of other paces to take your mind. I found an article from the BBC asking if returning to normal working life is even going to be possible – for some of us it might be, but for many of us now hybrid and online are the new normal. I could have pursued articles about the economy, future predictions of the virus pandemic, and all sorts of interesting articles.
But I had done what I intended to start this article – thought about normal. The Methodist prayer handbook's daily suggested readings ended August with the story of Joshua. The successor to Moses, neither of them lived through normal. Joshua is perhaps quite appropriate for us as we Methodists enter September, most church buildings are now open, most of the churches never reported their reasons for opening to me as requested (that's normal!), we welcome two new members of staff – Rev's Sarah Butcher and Donna Broadbent-Kelly, two new circuit stewards, Geoff Dickinson and Briony Myles-Hook, and a new senior steward in Issy Brislen; churches can now choose to register for same sex marriage if they want to, and the minimum number of members required to form a viable church council has risen from 7 to 12.
If there's one word that means normal, it is change, or, as I prefer, transformation. Perhaps an alternative word for normal would be adaptation. In my last few decades of life I have constantly adapted to parenthood, let alone serious illness and the consequences of treatment, as my children are now adults, I still adapt, but my own parents are very elderly and in need, so I'm adapting again. Change is normal, and, if choose it, we can be transformed for the better, by adapting, as we make part of our journey of faith through life.
As christian people we adapt because our faith is real and relevant, as christians we seek transformation as we are constantly called to conform to the renewing of our minds by the power of God's Holy Spirit that we may more closely resemble Jesus Christ. And so we find the definition of normal is actually quite relevant; 'conforming to a standard, usual, typical, or expected'. Our standard is the standard of Christ – that is love, in all things, and in every situation, love is our way. It is therefore usual that in our dealings, even when we disagree, we will be kind to one another. The use of social media erodes kindness at times, and yet through the challenges, loneliness and fear of the pandemic, kindness is one of the things we all long for. It is typical that things will change, and we will face those changes with prayerfulness and hope. So it is expected that the church will change and adapt. We're not always very good at it, but it is expected by God – reading the stories of Moses and Joshua we read stories of God's guidance through changing times and his calling to his people to exhibit the standards and ways of the Lord.
I am reading a book at the moment entitled, How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going, by Susan Beaumont. It is packed with Biblical examples and principles. Here's just one quote from page 19. 'Solutions are achieved when the 'people with the problem' go through a process together to become 'the people with the solution' – it requires more than changed minds – it requires changed hearts and behaviour'. Words that ring true to a people whose normality is 'repent and believe for the Kingdom is at hand'.
So friends we enter another new Methodist year – I hope we will develop a deeper sense of community amongst ourselves, especially within our churches and chapels facing change. I hope we will be inspiringly kind to one another through this process, and that through all things we will bear witness by faith to the truth that our God is with us. We may not know where we are going, but we know who leads us there if we, by faith, follow Him.
Happy New Year! Rob