We are pleased to tell you that you can come into the Beacon coffee shop as from Monday 17th May for your coffees, teas and light meals. Debbie and Cheryl will be there from 9:30 to 1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The family room is open for two families at a time. Please book the family room with Debbie using the email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev Andrew Webster is doing “The Wales Spartan Challenge” on 20th June helping raise funds to build a much needed “Grade 8 Classroom” at Hope in Christ School, Zambia. Can Andrew count on your support? Please take a look at the weblink below and the article for Andrew’s personal message and sponsorship details.
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.
Rev Gordon Gresswell
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,
The church will be open once a week, for one hour, for private prayer. This will occur on Wednesday afternoons from 2:00-3:00pm.
The same risk assessment and guidelines will apply to this private prayer time as for Sunday morning services, which means that people will need to wear masks, maintain appropriate distance, and follow the one way system in and out. We are not asking at this time for people to book in, though if the number of people coming to pray greatly exceeds our expectations, we may have to implement this system in future.
We hope that some of you will make use of the opportunity for private prayer in our church building and that you will find it spiritually nourishing as we press on toward that light at the end of the tunnel.
Unfortunately this quarter we cannot have a full Plan of worship for all our Churches and Chapels. The intention is to have a full Plan for the quarter beginning June 6th.
What this Plan does reflect is the on-line Acts of Worship that will definitely take place in this next quarter. Chepstow and Caldicot in one Hub, Monmouth and Trellech (at 5.00 PM) in another; St. Julian’s in a third and Trinity in the fourth. If you wish to access these Services the contact details are available. We also have on-line Services planned for Maundy Thursday (April 1st) Good Friday (April 2nd) Easter Sunday (April 4th) and Ascension Day (Thursday May 13th).
The vaccination programme seems to be going well, and with the coming of warmer weather the future looks brighter. It may be that your Church/Chapel may open, safely, for prayer or an act of worship in these next three months. As local Stewards, local Local Preachers and local Ministers, these may be collaborative and joyful occasions, but they will not be part of this formal Plan, for I, in the role of Superintendent Minister, have deemed that we will only have the tried-and-tested on-line Services as our planned acts of worship.
I hope that this is a ‘one-off’. As a Circuit we will try and keep you informed of what is happening, and please do keep your ear to the ground in your locality, and may the Living God, revealed in Jesus Christ and confirmed through the Holy Spirit, bless us in the days, months and years ahead.
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,
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.
Many, many welcomes,
February fair – maid!
Ever as of old
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
We must now go into this further lockdown in Wales. For us at Chepstow this means that we cannot offer ‘in church’ worship. Our services will be held via Zoom with a live/recorded service from our homes. If you cannot join in via Zoom there will be recorded versions as YouTube links provided via email and on the website for later viewing.
Rev Gordon has written a further circuit letter for December giving advice to the church on lockdown.
Please do share with friends and family
Here’s how it works:
The Advent Calendar is designed to be printed on one sheet front and back. Each day gives us three things to focus on:
- Photo prompt: This is a single word which is a prompt for reflection and for taking a picture of something inspired by that word. Then come and join the fun on social media! Use the hashtag #Godiswithus on your posts & to see what others are posting! I will be posting each day on the Monmouth Instagram account! (@monmmouthmethodistchurch)
- Piece of music: I have chosen a piece of music for each day, trying for a variety of classic hymns/carols and newer music. If you would like to listen to the exact version I chose, you can check out the Spotify playlist linked on the calendar. (Spotify is free but does require an account.) If you don’t want to or can’t use Spotify, no worries! Just listen to your favorite version of the song listed (I left titles of carols/hymns generic) or Google for the song if it is a new or unfamiliar one.
- Prayer: I have written a one-line prayer for each day.
The calendar will also pair with the daily worship sheets as both the word of the day and the prayer were each inspired by the lectionary readings for the day, which I expand on in the daily worship.