As we navigate these strange days and seek to respond carefully and courageously to the dangers posed by the Coronavirus, our churches have a key part to play. Although we cannot, for now, ‘go to church’, we can develop new patterns and rhythms that ensure we are ‘being church’, and in so doing fulfilling Our Calling. That calling remains to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. We do this through, worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism.
I am confident that across our District we have such great faith, creativity, wisdom and imagination that we will be able to find new and rich models of being church. A key challenge is for us to find new ways to fulfil the Great Commandments of Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
Through this page let us share resources and keep in touch as we continue to faithfully serve God.
Revd Leslie Newton – Chair of District
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The District Office is closed but Sian is working from home. Email contact remains the same, phone/text to 07809 431871. Chair of District, Leslie Newton, will no longer be available via the landline; his mobile number is 07535 433178 and the email remains the same – email@example.com
DISTRICT ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICES
The District is now producing online worship services once a month for circuits and churches to utilise. As well as finding them used locally, you can also watch them on YouTube and Facebook, and all the services are available to watch back on this page of the District Website: www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/district-services/
Here is an example of one of our recent services, from Sunday 27th December, with contributions from the Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference.
Pentecost 2020 District Zoom Gathering
Transcript of Leslie’s message ‘Fly the Flag’ – click the link below to open/download the document
Facebook Live transcript 25th April 2020 by Leslie Newton (pdf)
See the latest guidance from the Methodist Church here:
Update 5 January 2021
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4 January 2021, a new National Lockdown has been announced in England. This now supersedes all other previous government guidance, including the Tier system. This came into effect from midnight on 4 January 2021.
A number of the restrictions outlined in the new government guidance affect Methodist Church property. Unlike previous lockdown decisions, the government has decided that churches can remain open, along with community buildings for certain activities. Click here to read more.
Despite this government decision, it should be borne in mind that the opening of our church buildings is not mandatory, and it remains the responsibility of each Church Council to make this significant decision – which should not be taken lightly. It should be based upon thorough risk assessments and planning to ensure that it is safe to do so. Every venue should fully meet the health and safety requirements for a COVID-19 secure environment in opening and operation, including the impact on those opening a building and those attending if they fall into a vulnerable group.
The Connexional team have provided a variety of information on alternative ways to worship, fellowship and explore mission. During this difficult time, we encourage you to explore these as alternatives to opening a building and the increased risks this may bring.
A previous statement by The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference (March 2020): “We are asking people to change their way of ‘going to church’ to help to protect themselves and others. We have put in place measures that will enable Methodists still to be part of the worshipping community, whilst for everyone’s sake staying away from church buildings. There is a range of resources available for people to use at home which we hope will help them to continue their cycle of prayer and worship. The Methodist Church is more than its buildings and if in these unprecedented times we can continue our life as Methodists without using our buildings we will help to reduce the chances of transmission of the virus.”
Methodist Coronavirus Resources Page – www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/coronavirus
Prayers & Encouragement
Message from Revd Leslie Newton, Chair of District
5th January 2021
As we move into this new lockdown, please be assured of my love and prayers. I pray that we will continue to find ways to flourish and to help others flourish. Let’s keep ‘watching over one another in love’ maintaining regular contact with members of our church family, and supporting each other through these difficult days. And let’s continue to be missional – connecting with and serving our communities. May we share even more passionately the Good News of our faith.
Our Chair of District, Revd Leslie Newton, has written and recorded this prayer shared by the Methodist Church
A poem written by Catherine Clowes, Community Link Enabler for Ripon and Lower Dales Methodist Circuit – “Just Be”
Just be at home
How can that be so hard to do?
Most of our lives we long to slow down
Now we can there’s so much to pursue!
Just be apart
From those not known and those we love
We must keep at a safe distance
Our hearts burst with the build-up of love
Just be at work
Be it at home or on the frontline
Whether we’re fighting the virus head on
Or we’re meeting with colleagues on Zoom time!
Just be at school
All this home teaching wasn’t part of the deal!
Such pressure to keep up high standards
Know you’re doing great no matter how you feel
Just be patient
Although it feels like we’ll never get through
We’re told that if we follow the rules
This time will pass, we can start anew!
Just be at peace
Our heavenly Father has got this in hand
He hears our cries for his hurting world
He will come to heal our land
Just be at rest
Give Him your worries and your fears
Let Him hold you in His loving arms
Let Him wipe away your tears
Just be His child
That is all we’re called to be
We can trust Him with our future
Let Him love you tenderly
Hymn: When life is shaken to its core
When life is shaken to its core,
when clouds and storms arrive,
we find it difficult to know
God present in our lives.
Yet there’s no misery or grief,
pain, doubt, or emptiness,
that is not known by the divine
and filled with tenderness.
When we are tempted to give up,
when life is cold and grey,
where is the God of hope and joy,
can peace replace dismay?
God, in the centre of our pain,
makes of our dark a tent,
a holy place of tearfulness
as life splits and fragments.
We need to learn to trust and know
God in our lives, God here
hidden within the clouds and storms,
one with our doubts and fears.
This is our peace: that in the depths
of life’s adversities
we find a suff’ring God, who shares
all its cruel miseries.
© Andrew Brown (District Property Secretary and Local Preacher in the Nidd Valley) – November 2019
Inspired by Psalm 18 v11 (Nicholas King translation) and as a counter to the idea that God always brings light.
86 86 86 86 (DCM)
Possible tune – Vox Dilecti (H&P 136)
A message of thanks and support from the Methodist Church
We in the Connexional Team are working hard to support you all in Mission and Ministry to fulfil your calling. We wanted to say how grateful we are for the way you have responded to the challenges of these current times. We have seen so many of you going the extra mile in producing web based worship, in sharing resources, and in building one another up. This last Sunday we saw hundreds of examples across the Connexion of true connexionalism and we are so encouraged. This will be a marathon and not a sprint, we are committed to serving you as you serve the world, take care of yourselves and please feel free to make contact if we can offer more, or you spot gaps that you might have ideas on filling. Thank you.
Jude Levermore Head of Mission and Paul Wood Interim Director of the Ministries Team
Prayer from the Methodist Church
God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of others’ reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.
We pray for your Church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others.
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.
Ideas and Resources
It is important for us to share creative and helpful ways of ‘being church’ in these days when we ‘don’t go to church.’
This section is for sharing and signposting practical ways in which we can encourage and mobilise good and innovative practice in these days. There are ideas for helping sustain worship and care for each other and our wider communities. In this environment hopefully we can encourage and mobilise our people to be keeping in regular contact with members and friends, and wherever possible ensuring that people have all that they need. Pointing people to prayer and worship resources – online or in print. Our churches have the opportunity to be ’salt and light’ to our communities in how we offer support and hope.
If there are other good ideas that are emerging in your circuit or church which aren’t included here, it would be great to share them in our District Facebook Group here: