Beacon Café

The Beacon, along with our Family Room, is open each week from Monday-Wednesday 9:30am-1pm.  Debbie and the team look forward to welcoming you to a cuppa and a chat! If you’re feeling hungry there are delicious cakes and a range of light meals.

For more information click here.

Debbie’s full breakfast is becoming a legend

New Year Message

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.’ Acts 2:28-32

We begin a new year with the spectre of Coronavirus, once again, causing us to carefully review worship opportunities. Restrictions have been tightened and some of our churches have decided to sit tight, wait for the storm to pass and then to re-open doors. Others continue with social-distancing and other measures in place. A difficult start to the year.

The words of Simeon, perhaps, resonate for some of us after the past two years. ‘Lord, we have met you and know you; thank you; now let me go in peace.’ It is tempting to ‘give-up’, to stop meeting in church all together, or even to leave the house and rely on Ocado and Amazon. We have seen the light of Christ and that is enough.

Yet, we have the follow-on story of Anna. A faithful woman in the midst of tragedy. No ‘giving-up’ with Anna. Patiently she had waited, rewarded by God, and her response is not one of; ‘great, I have met the Saviour of the world, release me Lord.’ No, Anna gives thanks to God and then goes and finds people to tell. Anna, in her old-age, wants life to carry on and for the world to know about Jesus.

The past year was challenging for us all and especially for myself. Yes, Circuit and Church provided specific difficulties, and I am grateful for all of the prayers, wisdom and support from so many, but, from a family perspective, this has been a journey of discovery. An aunt who lost her third and final son suddenly whilst in hospital. She has no grandchildren and it has been given to me the task of picking up the pieces for her. Both of my parents have been in hospital for weeks on end and changes in circumstances for our children have meant lots of mileage on my battered old Skoda.

My mum was fading away. I saw her in the hospital. We spoke about perseverance, (one of the words of the year for 2021) and spoke about life; how precious it is. She asked for a prayer. The result was my ‘old’ mum returned. She has always had a feisty streak in her; she has had a difficult life, and her determination to get better, to get out of hospital, to be useful again, came to the fore. She has got stronger week-by-week and she has encouraged my dad to do the same. Praise God.

There is something indomitable in the human spirit. God created us to be tough, to live life in all it’s fullness, to embrace change, sorrow, joy and to live in relationship with God and with others. God has given us family, he has given us brothers and sisters in Christ, she has given us neighbours to care for and be cared for by. Created in the divine image we are created for relationship, for love and for being receivers and givers of this love. In Christ we are more than conquerors through him that loves us; and in Christ we are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus.

So, as we prepare for new opportunities and challenges in 2022, let us know, like Simeon, that we have seen the Light of the world, and like Anna, let us be thankful, persevere, and continue to meet in the different temples we have been given by God to worship the blessed Trinity in….yes, church buildings, and yes, our dining rooms, community spaces, cafes and wherever we can gather to meet with others and give thanks to God, and to speak about the child whose birth we have just celebrated.

Gordon

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Welcome Letter

We have all been living through very troubling and difficult times and continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 

At Chepstow Methodist Church we seek to be a worshiping community dedicated to serving God and sharing His love with the community.  We have a range of services and activities to suit all ages and tastes. At the present time we do not have our own Minister but the Church is continuing to function as a caring community for the people of Chepstow.

Our worship and service is based on and surrounded by Prayer and there are several opportunities to meet together in large and small groups to pray.  We also have confidential prayer chains to pray about personal, urgent matters and several ‘home groups’ where we support and pray for individual members.

As well as caring for each other we believe it is important to share our faith with others in practical ways through the food bank, debt counselling, supporting local events and personal hospitality.  We support local and national charities and projects in Zambia.

You could sum up our aims as:  Chepstow Methodist Church exists to Celebrate the love of God by Worship, Caring for each other, Cultivating personal growth by prayer and reading the Bible and Communicating the Good News of Jesus in words and actions .

May the Lord bless you.

A Sample of our regular weekly activities

Sunday Service 10am in Church, zoom and on the website.

Beacon Caféa café with a caring heart.  Open Monday. Tuesday & Wednesday. 9.30am-1pm.

Toddlers fun for the children and fellowship for the carers.  Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. 10-11.30am.

Housegroupsfellowship, friendship, support.  A time to pray and learn together. Available face-to-face and on Zoom at various times and places.

Food Co–op fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables at a reasonable price.  Tuesday 10.30-11.30am.

Wednesday Fellowshipinteresting speakers and demonstrations for men and ladies.  Every two weeks in the afternoon at 2.30pm.

Boys (and Girls) Brigadeactivities, fun and fellowship.

Bible Studyon Zoom every Thursday 9.30-10.30am. A time to learn and discuss.

Photo by Sandra Seitamaa on Unsplash

April Circuit Pastoral Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

As life seems to reopen in Wales and we start to look ahead to a hoped for brighter, vaccinated future, I write an update of where we are as a Methodist Circuit and as a Methodist Church.

Firstly: Reopening of Churches.
The distancing, mask, and singing rules remain in place for places of worship, but some of our churches have reopened to worship in premises, and I am aware that others are planning to in May. The Circuit’s plan is to have a ‘Worship Plan’ involving all of our Churches in place for June 6th through to August 29th. Some of this may be a mixed-economy of Zoom and physical presence, but the intention is for us to be able to gather as people in physical proximity to one another to offer our prayers and worship to the Living God revealed in the Risen Christ. If the rules stated above change in any way we will, of course, inform you all.

Secondly: Farewells, Welcomes and Congratulations.
We had proposed a Zoom Service for an opportunity to say a ‘proper’ farewell to Revs Preben and Ruth (alongside Margaret and Richard), a welcome to Rev Bethany and congratulations to Local Preachers who have achieved landmark years in their service to the Lord. This was intended for Ascension Day (May 13th) but will now NOT take place. This is because we are hoping to actually have an outdoor Service where we can safely meet. The UK Government’s plan is aiming for a ‘full-opening’ up from June 21st, and we envisage that the Senedd will be giving a go-ahead in Wales for around the same time. We are searching for an appropriate venue and date. Preben, Ruth and Bethany are all excited about opportunities to actually meet some actual flesh and blood three-dimensional Christians. We envisage this to be late June/early July and please pray that we find the right venue and the right day when the sun is going to shine!

Thirdly: Synod and Connexional News.
There was a special Wales Synod last Saturday (24th). One item of this was a proposal for Synod Cymru to amalgamate into the Wales Synod and become one. There is work to be done still but this was agreed upon, in principle on Saturday. The main body of discussion was around an indicative vote around the resolutions in the God in Love Unites us Conference Report. This Circuit’s voters were the ordained clergy and five Lay Reps. There were five separate votes on these resolutions. These resolutions involved changes to CPD in regard to the understanding of the status of marriage in the Methodist Church. Some of this provision was around issues of cohabitation of couples and around people of the same sex being able to be married in a Methodist Church.

All of the resolutions were accepted by majority votes. These resolutions are for discussion at this year’s Conference. This Synod votes does not count towards this, this is why it is known as an indicative vote, it is a vote to reflect the generalised view of any particular Synod/District. If these resolutions are passed at Conference each Church Council will be asked, within the next 12 months, whether they are willing to accept a marriage ceremony to take place on their premises or not.

This has been a difficult discussion for many. Some have been strongly for these resolutions and some have been strongly against these resolutions. For some this will be a source of rejoicing and for others a source of angst and struggle. The Methodist Church is a broad church with many different views held. May Christ bless us with peace in our prayers and thoughts.

Fourthly: Daily Devotions
Thank you to all who have enabled us, day-by-day, to worship God collectively over this past year. The plans are for these to continue until the end of June. The Gospel of Mark is the set book for Bible Month which takes place in June. We plan for a daily devotion throughout June beginning on June 1st with Mark Chapter 1, and my hope is that 30 different people will take a day each giving us a wide variety of voices. After this we hope to continue with a written Sunday Service connecting us all as disciples of the Living God.

Thank you for the privilege of being your Superintendent Minister. If you have any questions please do ask, and if you have any news you wish to share please do let me know.

May grace and peace be with you all.
Gordon

Rev Gordon Gresswell

May Letter from Rachel

Hello CMC Friends,

Well, we are starting to see some changes, with things opening up again, and the High Street looking almost as busy as it did before Covid (on the days with beautiful weather, anyway)!

Having said this, I know many of us are probably starting to really yearn to be back in our Church building for worship and activities, and we can take comfort in knowing that isn’t too far away. However, I just want to reiterate that, as a Church, we committed to keeping our building closed for worship throughout May, along with Circuit Guidance.

However, our first in-person service will be the 6th of June, and what an exciting moment that will be! We will truly celebrate that day, and even more-so when we’re able to meet again without the need for masks and distance! Can you even imagine that after all this time?

Also, I wanted to let you know that the Stewards have decided that, for the month of May, we will only open the Church for private prayer on Wednesday afternoons. This is simply because no one has come in on a Sunday afternoon since we began opening for private prayer, though several have come in on Wednesdays. We do hope that some of you have been able to take joy in being in our sacred space and having moments of prayer and meditation there.

I know we’re all ready for all of this to be behind us. We may not be there yet, but we’re headed in the right direction.

Blessings to all of you in this time.
With love and in Christ,
Rev. Rachel

Greetings from Rachel

It’s hard to believe that we have just recently entered another season of Lent when, in some ways, it almost feels like the wilderness of last Lent has been ongoing since last year’s Lent began. I wonder how any of us would have reacted if we had been told a year ago that we’d still be where we are today!

To say that the last year has been challenging is obviously an understatement. However, I just want to say how proud I am of the people of Chepstow Methodist Church and your resilience during this time. You have looked after one another, have adapted to new ways of doing things, and have done it all with so much grace, with your commitment to God and to each other at the forefront. I also hope that you all have continued to have a sense of God’s presence and God’s faithfulness during this time. “Best of all is God is with us”, as has been the Methodist theme for the 2020-2021 Connexional Year, and that has, indeed, rung true.

Although we still have a little way to go before things begin to feel ‘normal’, it is very encouraging to see the light at the end of this long tunnel. As I’m sure you know, the vaccines are making a difference, with the infection rate and the death rate going down. What a godsend these vaccines have been!  So, let us continue to keep the faith, holding onto our faith and to one another (figuratively speaking) until we can go back out into the world, without fear or limitations, to proclaim the good news that God held us through it all. Thanks be to God!

With love and blessings,
Rev. Rachel

Snowdrops

Last Wednesday 27th January was Holocaust Memorial Day and throughout last week I watched a dramatisation of “The Ann Frank Diaries” on BBC Four.  Having also read the diaries and visited the museum in Amsterdam I found its impact more profound at this particular time.  The situation of the eight Jewish people who were in hiding for two years during 1942-1944 helped me put the isolation and uncertainty we are facing at present into perspective.  Ann’s hopes and dreams were so cruelly crushed with only her father surviving World War II and death in the POW camp.

It has been heartening news to hear that some of our Church Family have had their first vaccine and there is light at the end of the tunnel and we give thanks to all those who have developed and are administering the vaccine.  When we are facing a ‘Dark Day’ let’s remember we have much to look forward to and much to be thankful for.  The Snowdrops are in bloom in my garden bringing Hope and Joy.  

Kathy

The Snowdrop
Many, many welcomes,
February fair – maid!
Ever as of old
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses
Many, many welcomes
February fair – maid!  

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Beacon Cafe Closed

Welsh Government advice for Wales, in Level 4, means The Beacon is unable to open for the time being. We look forward to meeting you again for a socially distanced cuppa and chat when restrictions are lifted.
Blessings
Debbie and Cheryl