Short Cross Methodist Church

a welcoming Church with Jesus at the centre of our activities

Just a thought... 


Hello everyone.This page is a compilation of videos and messages..

Sunday May 31st 2020

Blackheath and Halesowen Pastoral Letter

 The Lord Almighty is with us…”  (Psalm 46) 

Dear Friends,

By God’s grace and strength we have completed another month in isolation for which I thank God. 
Not knowing what is awaiting us in the days to come we shall continue to trust God because He  knows what is ahead and He will sustain us. Therefore, let us offer all that is known and also the unknown to Jesus, all for Jesus.

 As we know that the CV19 has impacted us so much that it has raised many questions. It will not disappear so soon but will present a continuing challenge for us to live our lives carefully and meaningfully to be fruitful in all that we intend to do. Therefore, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ( Hebrews 4:16 NIV).    In the light of the government advice and Church office, it is a challenge for us to see how we are preparing ourselves in terms of worship, different activities and fellowship groups in relation to our Mission and Ministry. This matters for all who have responsibility and duty of care for people in our churches. It is not what we wish or intend to do for one day but the greater question is what Next after every next??  So let us place our lives into his caring hands, 

 There is no doubt that CV 19 presents practical challenges for all churches in terms of human resources,  age, underlying health conditions and also how we continue to maintain the social distance as we come through the doors of our buildings. Also how we encourage all those who use our buildings for different activities to do the same.  I am confident that we shall overcome and we will come out stronger but before we come out of the lockdown we need to ask the following questions for us to reflect objectively– 

   1.     What are we going to leave behind,    

   2.     What are we going to let go,   

   3.     What are we going to bring out with us and how are we going to live our  lives in relationship with each other and God?  

I am aware that while trying to do different things in order to meet the needs of families, we also need to pay careful pastoral  attention to the older generation…. Once upon a time they were always young and energetic like some of us today and that is how they have established the existing Christian witness and built the buildings for us to come together to worship. So how are we going to rise up to re-build the broken, damaged walls today so that we may also leave a lasting legacy beyond our boxes for another generation to know Christ and worship God? 

I am conscious that with all our difficulties, we are brought to a situation to use the opportunity to renew our faith in Christ and to know that the God we have been worshipping all these years is not dead and abandoned us but he is with us, He will strengthens us to follow him till we complete the race on this planet.
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23).
In times like these we are called to be firm and hold fast to the hope we have claimed all these years because the one who has called us is faithful and he will see us through.

CV19 will continue to change our way of living, thinking, relationships, attitudes and how we spend our remaining life in serving God. I pray that when the restrictions are eased, people may have the courage to trust each other, confidence to start fresh by maintaining any social distances and be liberated from any fear that may hold any one back from joining the fellowships.  I also pray that people may experience fresh healing touch of Christ in their body, mind and soul;  that they may also experience reconciliation to God and to their past months in order to trust him for the grace to move on; that they may know that our life is God’s gift, every morning when God wakes us up he places eternity in our hands, empowers us to live that eternity today and therefore recognise that this life will pass away soon without our permission. As we are not here on this planet forever,  let us live the eternity today with a sense that every day is the last day of our life on this earth. Therefore, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews. 10:22 NIV). 

 It is my hope and prayer that this Pentecost be the Explosion of the Holy Spirit in the life of every individual of our Circuit in order for the nation to explode with the good news of Jesus by all means to reach out anyone at any cost to know Jesus.  

 May I encourage you to what St Paul says

 (1 Corinthians 15:57-58). May the Lord be your Strength and shelter for you to be safe forever. 

 

Be assured of my prayers for you all. 

God bless you all. With much appreciation.  

Joseph, Peter, Troy 


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          Thursday May 21st 2020

Dear friends,
We are in the post resurrection season when we recall how Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of forty days teaching them about the kingdom of God. These were vitally important days, according to the gospel narratives, when he enabled, encouraged, envisioned, and emboldened them, thus laying the foundation for what was to come.
On Thursday, May 21st, we will celebrate Ascension Day when our Lord ascended to the Father in triumph (see Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8-10), and ten day later He poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on the Young Church to raise up a global movement to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
We are the inheritors of this global movement that was birthed in prayer (See Acts 1:14). We have an opportunity to join with others as part of a global prayer movement called Thy Kingdom Come. This is a movement of people coming together to pray during those nine days from Ascension to Pentecost (May 21st – May 31st) for a mighty outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit across the globe during these traumatic and challenging times when many people are searching for answers to life’s questions. We want to invite you to identify five (5) individuals to pray for so that they might come to know the love of God for them in Christ.
Please use this link to our Website and scroll down to find the PDF link called Thy Kingdom Come PDF


This will take you to the Thy Kingdom Come resource page for a pattern of daily prayers to be used throughout the day and a specific pattern of prayer for the five individuals you have identified.
As we pray Thy Kingdom Come may the Lord Jesus pour out His Holy Spirit afresh upon the church, to breathe new life into his people to live the gospel, to share God’s love with our community, and to pray that the Father’s lost children will come home.
Every blessing in Christ Jesus,
Peter, Joseph, Troy.
Image may contain: text that says "THY KINGDOM COME"

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Friday May 15th 2020

Hi.

Please could you watch the entirety of the Video for our Pastoral Letter. I have included the beautiful Father's Love Letter. This I feel fits what I wanted to share with you beautifully. Blessings. Troy.


(Please click on the link at the end of the Pastoral Letter to watch the video. Thank you)

Pastoral Letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There is a profound beauty within the detail. I learned this recently when I purchased a Readers ESV Bible that has no Chapter or Verse numbers. It is laid out just like the original scriptures would have been before Stephen Langton (1207-1228) and Robert Stephanus (mid-16th century), divided the Bible to what we know today. Their formatting was brought in to make the Bible easier to read.
However, with the removal of the chapter verses and numbers, I am seeing scripture in a whole new way. God’s historical tapestry from the beginning of His creation is unwoven with such beautiful historical, poetic imagery, that you want to continue reading more to see how His story unfolds. You discover beautiful details within the text that you know you have read before, but without the distraction they take on a new significance and shine a new light.
Stephen Langton’s and Robert Stephanus intention were commendable. However, if you systematically through deconstructing a chapter and a verse take God’s word out of context, you will miss the bigger picture of His eternal plan for your salvation. Every word becomes pure like, sweet honey, because you have no outside noise or distraction. You have no theologians with their many commentaries trying to tell you what the text means, or another book with someone’s experience that does not match your own. You are not bombarded with the world’s misunderstood view of who God is. It is you alone, listening to your Heavenly Father share with you His plan for your life.
In stunning beauty, you hear the resounding words of Jesus Christ to the Pharisees and the Scribes with their many questions say this: “Have you not read?” Because in pure simplicity this is what God is asking us to do: Sit with Him and share in His story. Like a child on a parent’s lap. Sit with Him, read, and listen to what He has to say. “We must enter the Kingdom of Heaven just like a child,” and when was the last time, we had faith like a child?
If we are taught anything from what Stephen Langton and Robert Stephanus did, it is that we need to have order and security to make sense of our lives. However, we have a unique opportunity through this time of isolation and that is to read and share God’s Word with each other. To stop, reflect and to pray for one another and to take the time to think through our relationship with God. This time is a great opportunity to set our priorities on the things that matter and are eternal. Remember that Jesus Christ said this: “All things will pass away, but my word will never pass away.”
Mareike and I have stopped focusing on the Coronavirus news as much as we did, because we realised that all it does is bring unnecessary distraction to what we should be focusing on. That is that we are so blessed to have each other and Baby Joel. I would say that through the noise we represent the Mary and Martha Story. “Mary sat with Jesus listening to His words, while Martha was too distracted by worldly concerns that she missed what Jesus had to share with her.” Today it seems that we have to much noise, and not enough silence, and we need to ask these questions of ourselves: When was the last time we took a step back to really hear what God is saying to us? When did you remove the chapter numbers and verses out of your own life?
In the Prophet Isaiah we are told that God keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in Him. Today there is too much distraction without the need for reflection. There is too much information without a sense of clear direction. But those who are truly walking in God’s Spirit live in perfect peace despite the chaos. Those who really trust in Jesus have their hearts set on true assurance, because they know they belong to Him.
So, let me challenge and encourage you with this:
Remove the unnecessary things out of your heart and your life that are stopping you from walking with God. Strip away the chapter verses and numbers you have created for yourself as security. Bring yourself just as you are to the feet of the Father and let Him share His eternal plan for you. When you do this, great things can happen, and the greatest miracle of all: Freedom in Christ that was given by His blood and the Cross for you.
Amen.
Troy, Joseph, and Peter.


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Saturday 9th May 2020

A special thank you to our Minister Peter Brown for this weeks Pastoral Letter. We pray that you are blessed by his words.

CIRCUIT NEWSLETTER: OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES
One of the rare gems of blessing that we discover through our relationship with God is that obstacles can become steppingstones for great and exciting opportunities for personal growth and development and for advancing the Kingdom of God. David, a Shepherd boy, with no apparent military skills, confronted and defeated an opponent who outmatched him in size and strength. What seemed to be an unfair contest became an opportunity for David to demonstrate his skills and prowess on the field of battle.
An army that was being gripped by fear and terrorised by a seemingly unassailable enemy, and on the verge of defeat, rallied behind David’s inspirational leadership, routed the enemy, and rescued their nation from a future of subjugation and oppression. David saw this obstacle as an historic opportunity, a defining moment, in which his destiny would change from being an unknown Shepherd to Israel’s future anointed King. He chose faith over fear. His heart as a worshipper and his calling as a warrior were stirred when he heard the Name of God being defiled and his army defied. Both Saul and David heard the challenge of the huge Philistine. Saul, who was Israel’s greatest warrior hid in fear. David, a nipper of a lad, seized the moment, rose to the challenge, and won glory and honour for God and freedom for his people. The rest as they say is history.
One of the most significant principles of leadership that is illustrated and confirmed in the story of David is that a crisis will reveal the true nature and character of a leader. Saul, who was the current king, was by contrast, a ‘lid’ holding back the potential of the army and the future of the nation. He should have been an example of courageous leadership to unite the army and ignite their potential into a formidable fighting force (See 1 Samuel 17:52-53). He sent others when he should have gone himself and later allowed his poor self-image to cloud his judgement regarding David. This proved to be a serious obstacle that undermined not only his relationship with David but prevented him from capitalising on key opportunities to advance the nation and grow in his obedience and walk with God (Read 1 Samuel 15).
Everyone who wants to lead must first be a good follower. The greatest leaders are servant leaders. On one occasion Jesus shared some perceptive insights on leadership with his disciples when a dispute broke out among them about who should hold the senior positions in his future Cabinet. He called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).
The manner in which a leader chose to exercise power and use his authority will reveal the depth of his character and shape his destiny and that of those under his leadership. Power in the hands of a leader can become a corrupting influence and an obstacle to personal growth and self-development or it can be stewarded and exercised for the common good, where it is used to transform dungeons of darkness into domiciles of hope, prosperity, national regeneration and transformation. Ultimately, power does not corrupt, it simply reveals the true nature and character of a leader. That is the law of leadership and the true nature of power.
The Covid-19 crisis has revealed a number of servant leaders, like Captain Tom Moore, who has shown us that great age and the lack of physical agility should not be an obstacle or an excuse not to serve others. He has demonstrated that a person with restricted or reduced capacity can overcome obstacles and seize the opportunity to serve the common good. The heroes whom we applaud every Thursday remind us of the very best of our humanity and give us an opportunity to celebrate the depth of commitment and sacrificial service that is unstintingly given by our Care Givers. It has revealed that at the heart of our nation are people who are not motivated by selfish ambition but a self-less desire to serve the weak and vulnerable with love and compassion. Three cheers for our Care Givers!
These are indeed strange and unprecedented times. For many, these uncertain times have created a sense of disorientation, fragility, vulnerability, and fear. In my judgement these are not just strange but serious times in which we need to choose to live serious lives if we are going to change the course of history. COVID-19 has ensured that life will never be the same again, and we have to choose, not how we live after this crisis, but how to live during this crisis, because how we live now will determine our future. What is the current spiritual picture that is emerging in our nation? Are there any clues or insights? The April 27th edition of New Statesman Magazine reported that more people have been engaging with religion since the lockdown. In March, the Bible App downloads shot up globally at an unprecedented rate. The top English language Bible was installed over two million times, the highest ever recorded for March. Eden, the UK’s largest online Christian Bookstore have seen physical Bible sales increase by 55 % in April, and according to CRUX, an online media platform reflecting Catholic views, Google searches for “prayer” and “Christianity” have skyrocketed. There are reports that 25% of people in the UK have watched an online service during this lockdown season, ten times the number that normally go to church. Holy Trinity Brompton, one of the largest Churches in the U.K., has seen double the number of inquirers signing up for their online Alpha Course. I am excited because people are hungry for spiritual things and are asking questions. This crisis has triggered an historic spiritual moment and we need to be ready for the harvest. When the harvest is ripe if we do not reap it, we will lose it.
Our response should be twofold: prayer and action. Thy Kingdom Come, is a global call to prayer between Ascension and Pentecost (May 21st – 31st). What a wonderful prospect to pray: come Holy Spirit and let thy kingdom come. During these eleven (11) days let us pray that we will see the life-changing power of prayer in our families, churches, communities, country, and the world. O Come Holy Spirit! Grant us a harvest of souls. (Please note: More information will follow shortly)
I see this season of confinement not as an obstacle but an opportunity to advance the kingdom. When have we ever seen in this ‘sports mad’ nation a period where there is no football; no sports; no entertainment? This is a unique moment when people are sanctioned to their home with few distractions, in what the Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, Revd Stephen Lake, calls “an enforced period of reflection.”
The serious nature of our day has presented us with what theologians call a Kairos moment. “Kairos” writes Os Guinness, “is a time filled with opportunity, a moment pregnant with eternal significance and possibility…it is the moment when the present is at its greatest intensity and the future is uniquely open to our decision and action.” How we choose to live and act in these times will take on new meaning and urgency. The obstacles and challenges in the present crisis are real but they have also gifted us a unique and fresh opportunity for mission.
At the heart of our Easter Faith we see weakness transformed into strength, the oppressed into overcomers, and the vanquished into victors. Indeed, the testimony of the people of God, is that, to use the words of St. Paul, “God’s power work best in our weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The setbacks in life should not be seen as obstacles to our future but by God’s grace can be transformed into life changing opportunities and become the fulcrum where we gain the will and momentum to redefine our purpose and reignite our passion to fulfil our destiny.
I find the story of Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932) inspirational and instructive. She faced multiple challenges and privations that would have undermined the character and overwhelmed the affections of a lesser person. At the tender age of three her mother died in childbirth. Her father suffering from an incurable disease was unable to look after his two daughters and gave them up for adoption. Annie was drawn to spiritual truths and at the age of eight accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. She became a great champion and advocate of the idea that children could understand sufficient spiritual truths to become disciples of Jesus Christ. She rightly perceived that many of the Christian truths were more easily grasped by the simple faith of a child than adults who often made it more complicated and failed to grasp its wonderful simplicity.
Annie was a popular girl with a positive outlook who enjoyed writing poetry which reflected her caring nature and deep sensitivity towards others. After leaving High School she went on to train as a teacher and had a position offered to her. Shortly into her teaching career she developed arthritis. The disease rapidly progressed taking her mobility and independence. She was forced to give up her dream as a teacher and had to support herself and her younger sister from the limited income generated from her poems, handcrafted cards, and gift books.
The degenerative effect of her illness could not undermine her robust faith and life transforming testimony. She came to terms with her condition and opened a unique window into God’s grace in the midst of her suffering. Her verses were poignant, personal, and perceptive. She wrote movingly with great insight to encourage others to understand the hardships of their own lives as reflected in one of her well-known poems, God Hath Not Promised:
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
Annie’s experience reflected an uncommon courage and a deep trust in God’s unfailing love. In the midst of her deepest trials she saw opportunities for service and received fresh insights into God’s grace. She was forced to give up the classroom of her dreams, but she exchanged it for the courtroom of heaven where her intercessions were heard, and fresh fires were poured out on her faith. Her pen became her voice “and by faith she still speaks, even though she is dead” (See Hebrews 11:4b). Her pen was the ‘sword of the Spirit’ to banish the darkness of depression and put the devils of discouragement to flight in the lives of many needy and desperate people. Her words still provide solace to the broken, renew the faith of the saints, provide manna for our journey, and remind us that God speaks through our sufferings and comforts those who suffer (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
She believed that God used her weakness for his glory and through her life distilled and dispensed much needed grace to the broken, needy, discouraged, and those suffering with incurable and irreversible conditions. To the suffering and struggling her words are a conduit of grace, and one of the means by which God’s healing balm has touched and blessed his people. She understood the depths of God’s redeeming grace in the finished work of Christ for our salvation. She also gave us a deep insight into the richness and sufficiency of God’s grace towards his children, penned so beautifully and eloquently in theses verses:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labours increase.
To added afflictions, He addeth His mercy, to multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
when our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share.
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing; The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
These verses are a poignant reminder that we have an all-sufficient relationship with an all-sufficient Christ. Everything we need is already provided in Jesus Christ. Let us remember…
He gives grace for every trial and adds more when we are tested. He supplies strength to endure when our troubles grow stronger, and a light to guide us along each darkened way. He releases peace to the persecuted and protects with his presence every child that is sheltered under his care. Our Father knows best when we are perplexed, his grace is sufficient in boundless supply.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement, give you a tenacious faith to overcome obstacles and seize every opportunity to advance his kingdom. As you serve the purposes of God may you know the Father’s everlasting grace and eternal love, so graciously given and matchlessly supplied, out of his infinite riches and wisdom, in Jesus Christ. Every blessing in Christ Jesus,
Peter, Joseph, and Troy
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Wednesday 29th April 2020

Click on the link below to follow the weekly newsletter from our Circuit

https://www.bhmethodist.org.uk/welcome.htm


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A pause for thought from 

Tony Frate at Central

Monday April 27th 2020

https://www.bhmethodist.org.uk/newsletter.htm

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Saturday April 25th 2020

Our church supports the work of Action for Children

Please click on the link to find our more about this vital work

https://www.google.com/search?q=Action+for+children+emergency+appeal&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB799GB799&oq=Action+for+children+emergency+appeal&aqs=chrome..69i57.15518j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


Action for Children Emergency Coronavirus Appeal 

Action for Children has launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help provide essentials to the most vulnerable families they support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future. 

Coronavirus has thrown all our lives, our communities and the UK into an unprecedented crisis. Families who were already struggling are now unable to buy food and basic essentials such as nappies, cleaning products, and money for gas and electricity. They need us now more than ever.

Action for Children is working hard to make sure they can still support children and their families at this difficult time.  The appeal is just one of many ways they are taking action. They are also creating more digital solutions to support where face-to-face options are limited.  

 

Please keep the charity in your prayers. Thank you

 

Here is also a video promoting the Emergency Appeal:

 



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             Thursday April 23rd 2020

Now that we have come through our Easter Week I thought that you might want an overview of the New Testament. To do this I am sharing with you this video from the Bible Project called "The Overview of the New Testament." Gaining the bigger picture of what the Bible is about can help you to see a clearer picture of the Redemption plan of God. May you be blessed as you watch this short video.

Please click on the link below to hear this week's pastoral letter from Troy, Mareike and Joel. Thank you 

         

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Sunday April 19th 2020

Grateful thanks to our Minister Rev Peter Brown for writing our Circuit Pastoral Letter.

Jesus is Our True Mother - Soul Shepherding

The words of Bob Dylan’s call to action, “The times they are A- Changin” ring with fresh poignancy in these strange and embattled times. Indeed, we need fresh vision, compassion, character, and courageous leadership that is grounded in the hope of the Gospel, to counter the fallout of fear and anxiety, as lives and livelihoods are threatened and put under pressure during this extended period of confinement.

These are changing and challenging times with much for us to grasp and process in terms of the social, spiritual, economic and political upheaval and the plans that should be put in place for a post-COVID future. As we wrestle with these issues is it also pertinent for us to ask, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to the Church in these challenging times?What is our mission now? What will the future look like in terms of our mission and ministry?

This period of confinement does not signal that we are being laid aside or being made redundant. I believe that the Holy Spirit is brooding over the Church during this Covid Crisis to resurrect a dynamic life giving church with a vital and transforming spirituality. Far from being laid aside in lock down, we should be God’s hands serving the needy; his feet taking his compassion and support where others fear to go; his heart showing mercy to the broken; his eyes looking with love and tenderness on the weak, vulnerable, dying and mourning reminding them that He is the God who cares.

Our working model of the church is that of a gathered body of believers meeting regularly for fellowship. We have been dispersed and in our confinement we need to find fresh ways of being the church (an effective network of believers connected to our community and each other) so that we by God’s grace may emerge from this period as a people whose faith has being refined and renewed and our mission reignited with fresh vision, fresh hope, and fresh purpose.

The disciples on that first Easter Sunday were confined with fear in the Upper Room when the risen Jesus stood among them, declared his peace over them, breathed the Holy Spirit on them, and unleashed their potential to start a new missional movement that would take the gospel to the whole world.

One of the key lessons from the Book of Acts is that these first disciples were a House Church Movement. They did not have the luxury of their own buildings

and when they were turned out of the Synagogues they simply used their family network that became the bedrock of a new missional movement where people were enfolded and discipled in the faith and became part of an extended family.

These households of faith, or extended families, became the catalyst and main driving force of the new missional movement that turned the world upside down. They were transformed into lifesaving stations; huts of refuge; places where people found unconditional love; unconditional acceptance; unconditional forgiveness. They discovered grace; met Jesus; shared their resources and did life together. They were embraced and enfolded in a family of friends and had relationships that were transparent, real, and vulnerable, and many discovered for the first time a place they could call home.

In this season of disruption and uncertainty I know that we are all longing for our spiritual home. I can just imagine the home coming parties when this is over! Cheer Up! However, might I encourage us all to continue to reach out and care for each other. It is so lovely and deeply moving to receive your news and stories through the various media platforms. 

Thank you for taking the time to show your love and care in such practical ways. As we care for others, it is also vital that we care for our souls through prayer, Bible Study, reflection, reaching out to friends and neighbours with compassion and what I call practical Christianity. Soul care and acts of mercy towards others are key motivators and de-stressors that will protect us against slipping into moments of depression, discouragement, and temptations that come with the stress of these daunting times.

We continue to hold you in prayer that you may know Christ’s sufficiency in your insufficiency, and in your weakness know his power at work in you, and his presence resting upon you in your confinement.

Every blessing in Christ Jesus, 

Peter, Joseph, Troy


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Sunday April 12th 2020 - Easter Day

Sx cross

Please now take a look at our "Easter Sunday" page for the final lent liturgy, more flowers, and 'live' service

Thank you 

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A letter from our Superintendent Minister

Rev Joseph Suray

Saturday 11th April 2020


“The joy of belonging to the Risen Christ” 

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you in the most wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the current time of difficulty and vulnerability , I need to be honest 
here: I miss meeting you all in different fellowship groups in our well-loved churches that we have cherished for ages. I understand the feeling of isolation, not being able to visit one another today. Personally as a Minister, it has been a challenge for me to not be able to visit those who are in hospitals to read the Bible, pray with them and to assure them that the Lord is with them. My heart goes out for those who have lost their beloved ones and I extend my heartfelt condolences and my sincere prayers for them during their loss. Certainly I have missed the opportunity to be with them in order to share their deep sorrow, tears, pain and to listen to the lifelong stories of their relationships. Many difficult questions are raised about God, personal faith, human suffering as well as personal questions of what to expect next, and what happens after the death.

This week, the Lord came to the end of his earthly journey, reaching Jerusalem to face his destiny. He knew the cost of submission to Father’s will: betrayal, imprisonment, crucifixion and burial. Jesus faced the challenge of redeeming humanity from sin and death by offering himself on the cross. He knew this was the only and final way to conquer sin and death, in order to bring forgiveness and hope.

Today in our isolation, we are grateful to God for the gift of technology that has enabled us to encourage and pray for one another and be assured that we are together on this journey to know that God is here. In the midst of our loneliness, pain, and sorrow, it becomes clear that nothing shall separate us from love of God. We belong to the Risen Lord and that is our joy which keeps us moving on in our Christian journey today. 

Therefore I affirm what St Paul said, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). We try to understand the amazing love of God that compelled Him to come down and dwell amongst us. God demonstrates his love for us – through Jesus - where we are reconciled to be his children, restored back to God’s family and assured forgiveness of our sins. We are bound together in him and given the blessed assurance that “Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of Glory divine”

Our hope is founded on nothing but on the Lord Jesus who was the same yesterday and shall remain the same in the forthcoming days. We are bought by his great sacrifice on the cross and we are redeemed to live and enjoy the glimpse of eternal life which comes through the power of the Resurrection. Our hope is built on the Risen Lord who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26).

When I Struggle to explain God’s comfort and assurance of eternal life beyond our present life here on the earth, I am reminded that in Christ we are not lost but found to be with him forever. As Paul writes, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..” (Philippians 3:8-10) We draw our comfort and confidence from these words.

We do not know where Coronavirus will take us, but I pray that while obeying the medical advice, we all continue to believe in Jesus who has gone before us, died on the cross, buried and rose again. He is not dead,  Hallelujah, He is alive. 

So friends, no matter what we have been going through today, may I encourage us to take heart to rejoice because Jesus is alive and be confident that he is with us even in the midst of all darkness that surrounds us today. Let us not be afraid but be bold, because Jesus is our faithful friend who knows what we go thorough. Do you remember the song which goes like this –T rust in the Lord and don’t’ despair, no matter what your troubles are, Jesus will see you through, trust when the day is bright and trust through the darkest night, every day, all the way, let us trust, trust and trust the Lord.

This is my prayer for all of us during these days to know that: 

Jesus is our Rock upon which we stand today.
Jesus is our refuge where nothing will touch us today,
Jesus is our comfort which encourages us to live today,
Jesus is our hope which empowers us to live beyond today,               
Jesus is our peace which will not be shaken by the world today.  Jesus is our confidence which helps us to face tomorrow.

Therefore let us continue to pray for the world as we prepare to meet the Risen Lord.                                                                                          Jesus may come in the morning,
Jesus may come in the noon time,
Jesus may come in the night any time,

So it is time to tune our hearts to meet him every time. 

Amen

May I wish you all a Joyful Easter to know that we are not finished, but are just entering into New beginning to enjoy the joy of belonging to the Risen Lord.

Shalom my friends, Shalom 

Rev Dr Joseph Suray


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Holy Saturday 

- a message from Rev Justin Welsby

 - Archbishop of Canterbury

                            Saturday 11th April 2020


On this Holy Saturday, we are all waiting. Waiting for news. Waiting for government instructions. Waiting in the supermarkets. Waiting to see our loved ones, or hear if they are safe. Waiting for test results. Waiting for things to go back to normal.

For the friends and followers of Jesus, his crucifixion turned their worlds upside down. All their hopes and expectations were invested in this carpenter from Nazareth. They had left their jobs and homes to follow this man. 

They had risked everything because they dared to believe in Jesus. 

I wonder what each of Jesus’ friends and followers did on the day after his crucifixion - this day we now call Holy Saturday. Waited… but for what? 

So much of our waiting in uncertainty and grief often gets channelled into activity. We can act like everything is normal and do our best to hide the pain. 

But things weren’t normal anymore. Everything had changed. On the first Holy Saturday, the world was waiting for God.

The disciples didn’t know Sunday was coming; that new life was on the way. They had to go through the utter darkness, grief and pain of Saturday before the resurrection of Sunday. Things would never be the same again. 

That man from Nazareth would be known as God come among us, so that death would not have the last word.

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Reflections from Sue - a Church Member

Thursday 9th April 2020


Jesus's disciples asleep


Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane

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Thought of the Day - April 7th 2020



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Palm Sunday Liturgy

Sunday 5th April 2020

Palm Cross


Reading: Matthew 21: 6-11

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, the crowds shouted their hosannas; we too, praise you because you are our King. 

Help us to persuade others to also acknowledge you as King.


Lord Jesus, 

we take a moment to pray that we may have courage and compassion to bear witness to who Jesus is to our friends, family and society, through acts of service, and through sharing our faith more widely. 

We pray for your Church to be bold and loving in its stand for Christ in the UK and around the world, to stand together and to have an increased passion for mission beyond its walls and our nation.


(Image below shown whilst a few moments quiet)

Church

Lord Jesus, break the silence of your people and cause them to take to the streets again, proclaiming and demonstrating the joyful good news that you are king, and that you have made a way for us to know you, and love each other. Amen


(Visualise Palm Cross and tear drop are added to the road of tears)


SX full cross

Short Cross Easter Garden of Tears



Joseph and Palm branches

Joseph and Zachary - two of our Junior Church who have made their own palm branches

Zach and his palm branches


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Please click on the link below for a Palm Sunday video service by the Blackheath & Halesowen Methodist Circuit. 

Sunday April 5th 2020

Service for Palm Sunday.


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Reflections from Troy - our Family Worker

Tuesday 31st March


We are now entering into Holy Week and this Sunday 5th April will be Palm Sunday. 


What joy it is to hear those great words heard "Hosanna" when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt. In this one great act He declares Himself as the King of Kings. 


Stop and reflect a minute on what this means.


Jesus is setting the stage so that He can walk the darkest week of His earthly life for our Salvation. 

Oh, praise His name on high for taking away the sins of the world. 

This Holy Week give thanks to God our Father for His eternal mercies on our lives. 

Amen. 


Let us remember that as Christians we believe in the Creator God, in Jesus Christ as our living Saviour and in the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us in our lives today.  


As Methodists we believe we need to respond to the gospel of God's love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. 


In Ephesians 1:22-23 we are told that "He [Jesus] put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things top the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." 


In this season of Lent and Reflection 

as we now draw closer to the Cross, 

let us do so in adoration and praise. 

Let us give thanks and remember the words of Jesus

 when He said that 

"No one comes to the Father, except through me, (John 14:6).

"Let us kneel in humble adoration for what He has done for us."


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Lent 5

Sunday 29th March

The Crown of Thorns


Reading – Matthew 27: 27-31


Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we hate being humiliated, yet it is nothing compared with yours on that first Good Friday. Enable all your people to withstand humiliation, but especially if it is for your sake, we pray.


(We would have added a Crown of thorns and tear drop to the road of tears.  Visualise this in your mind)


Leader: Lord Jesus, we take a moment to think about those who are making a courageous stand for You and are undergoing humiliation before others as a result. We pray for those seeking to stand for Christ at school, university or in the work place and for those whose careers or spheres of influence involve difficult issues against which they may be called to speak out against.

children bullying

All: Lord Jesus, empower all your people to prize the glory of your name above our own reputations, statuses and success, and be close to us always, as you promised, in both the joy and humiliation that follow. Amen.


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Just a thought on Psalm 46 - Thursday 26 March



Message from Troy - our Family Worker - March 25th 2020

It took man years to figure out that if we wash our hands it reduces the risk of cross contamination. Today this is the cry from the Medical staff (Wash your hands). God however, knew it all along: ”Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded,” (James 4:8). I think through this crises I will listen to Him because clearly He knew all along what He was doing.Troy 25.03.20

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A prayer from Rev Paul Donnison - March 24th 2020

Lord God You came among us in Jesus Christ Your Son to be the Saviour of the world.
Save us now we pray.

We pray for those who are sick and those on the frontline of the NHS.

We pray for those countries who have no organized health care system

We pray for politicians with such enormous decisions to make.

We pray for scientists that they might discover vaccines and new testing strategies
For manufacturers of medical equipment and those in the food supply chain
That we might all embrace social distancing, reduce the infection rate, and save lives.
And in it all, may we know a peace that passes understanding.

Amen

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Message from our Minister - Rev Peter Brown


MOTHERING SUNDAY GREETING - March 22nd 2020


I greet you this Mothering Sunday, entrusting you all to God’s grace and love, praying that you will be sustained by his peace, unfailingly love, and mercy. I want to remind you that “God is our refuge and strength, a very presence help in times of trouble”(Psalm 46:1). 


I am inspired by the story of Martin Rinkart, the German Clergyman, who from humble beginnings, went to the University of Leipzig to study music before taking Holy Orders.  At the age of thirty-one, he went as the archdeacon to his hometown of Eilenburg in Saxony. He lived through the thirty years war and saw pestilence, plagues, and famines. He endured multiple privations and challenges as he served and ministered to his people; challenges which he faced with a courageous faith that was undimmed, unbowed, and unbroken. 

One day he went into his study and penned these inspirational words which carry in these anxious and troubled times fresh resonance and poignancy especially with today being Mothering Sunday:

“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices, 
Who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices; 
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love and still us ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed; 
And free us from ills in this world and the next.

All Praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and him who reigns with them in highest heaven, 
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore, 
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. 

I want to to take this opportunity to honour all the women among us; those who are mothers or remembering mothers; those who are not mothers by choice, those who have chosen not to be mothers and those who have been like a mother to others. To all you dear ladies and sisters - you are indeed our brightest lights, greatest gifts, strongest support, wisest mentors, and sweetest inspiration. Just what would we do without YOU? Today we celebrate you and thank God for the wonderful blessing and gift that you are to the church and community.

Have a  blessed and wonderful Mothering Sunday. 

Peter

 

Gracious God,

This year Mothering Sunday is difficult for so many people:
difficult for those who cannot worship in their church building today, difficult for those who cannot be with their Mum’s today because they are older or have an underlying health condition,
difficult for those who have lost their Mum’s and difficult for those who have never fulfilled their desire to have children.

Loving God,
We lift before you all for whom this day is difficult, remembering that your are our Heavenly Father and Mother, who loves each and every one of your children.
Be with us all this day and let us know your presence,
bringing us your peace and filling us with your infinite love.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
and by the power of the Holy Spirit we pray.

Amen. 

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Thought of the Day by Jan - March 20th 2020




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  • Attwood Street
  • Halesowen
  • B63 3UE


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