New Hub Plan

Plan Mar – May 2021

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.

Gordon

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

Wales Lockdown

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.

Circuit Lockdown Letter December 2020

Advent Calendar

Please do share with friends and family

Advent Calendar

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:

  1. 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) 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

Blessings,

Bethany 

Great News!

Back to Worship in Church: we can now meet in Church as a group for services. 

A number of safety measures have been put in place. Please do read this carefully and follow the guidelines/instructions to keep everyone safe from Covid-19. 

There will be a maximum of 30 including the Minister/Lay Preacher, Musicians and Stewards allowed in church. To ensure we keep to this number there is a “booking system”. Please contact Debbie Cairns seatbooking@chepstowmethodist.org.uk at least two days before a service to indicate that you and, if appropriate, members of your family will be attending giving names and a contact phone number.

However, if you cannot be at a service you will still be able to be see the service via a Zoom link. Services will be available as podcasts later on a Sunday, on the the Church website in the usual way.

Beacon Café

The Beacon, along with our Family Room, will be open each week from Monday-Wednesday 10am-1pm .  The Family Room is operating a pre-booking system, and we are limited to 2 households, each consisting of no more than 2 adults and 2 children under 5 yrs old.  Please book using the email beaconbookings@gmail.com We look forward to welcoming you back to a socially distanced cuppa and a chat!

Debbie and the team.

Counting Our Blessings

Just as we were beginning to get back to some sort of normality this Covid19 hits us once again! I would like to give thanks and count my blessings for the few weeks of respite that we have been able to enjoy, catching up with family members and friends and enjoying each other’s company once more. 

With campsites open, Dave and I have been able to get away in our motorhome and enjoy some wonderful coastal walks in Wales, North Cornwall and Devon.  We were walking the coastal path from Ladrum Bay into Sidmouth and I was reminiscing and bringing to mind the wonderful Church Family weekends we enjoyed at Sidholme and Brunel Manor, what fun and fellowship we shared! the great company, lovely food, the impromptu “talent shows” and the special times of worship, knitting us together as a Church Family.

Of course my memories were also tinged with sadness as many of those beloved ones are no longer with us physically today, but nevertheless  remain with us in our hearts and minds and I give thanks for sharing my life with so many wonderful people.

Our Church is now open once more and many of us are able to attend services, join in on Zoom or watch the Podcast recording in our own homes.  The shops and supermarkets are easier to negotiate and we can have a meal out and go to the pub (if we want to). Children are back to school and people are working again.  A lot to give thanks for.

However I am very much aware that so many of our Church Family members are not able to enjoy this liberation; those in Care Homes who are still only allowed visits in the garden, those with infirmities and underlying conditions that inhibit them from mixing outside of their “Bubble”.  We have many members who are waiting for hospital procedures and operations which will no doubt be delayed once again causing anxiousness and concern. 

We are so fortunate to have a very good handbook of our faith and we are reminded in Philippians 2: 4. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. And inGalations 6: 10. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  So as we go forward in the coming months and possibly into the New Year let us act on, 1 Thessalonians 5: 11  Encouraging one another, and building one another up, just as we are doing

Rev. Rachel, Elena, the Pastoral Team and myself are on the end of a phone and some us can do “Doorstep” visits and following Data Protection Protocol we can put you in touch with Church Family friends, so if you are feeling a bit low and want a chat or a visit please get in touch.

My number is 620870, love and blessings Kathy G.

Church Reopening

Happy New Year!
More than 10 years since leaving full-time education our three children still think of September as the start of a new year. This seems so appropriate when we think on the historical emphasis Methodists have placed on education and the scriptural and social transformation of society Methodism has been so involved in for well over 200 years. I say again; Happy New Connexional Year!

This year feels like no other. It feels ‘new’ in respect of new thinking that is required in growing our on-line presence, new measures in opening up our buildings for worship and community use. New arrivals in Rev Bethany and her husband, Joel, filling the gap left by our sister and brother, Ruth and Richard. We have a new way of a local Welcome Service in Monmouth, rather than a Circuit wide one. We have a new model of Circuit which feels old; Four Missional Hubs reflecting the drawing together of 3 Circuits in 2008/9 and new, experienced Ministers in the gracious offer of Revs Joe Rooney and Lin Healey to help out in the Caldicot and Rogiet part of the Chepstow Missional Hub.

We have new social distancing rules, new hand sanitiser dispensers in our Churches and we enter a new reality unsure of what the future holds. As a Circuit Leadership Team we are trying to lead in these strange times. We have booked a Circuit Meeting for the evening of Wednesday October 14th. This will be done electronically, and we will inform you how this is to take place when we have a clear idea. We hope to arrange a Local Preachers Meeting in a similar way, and we are to encourage local Churches to have Church Council’s for good governance and opportunity to pray together and to look ahead on how we continue to share the good news of God’s love shown to the world through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and the continued active work of God through the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth day-by-day.

May I say what a privilege it has been to be involved with so many detailed risk-assessments as regards opening our sacred and community spaces. The care and attention to people’s well-being has been a wonderful witness, and the practical solutions from so many gifted people has got us to a point of beginning to build people’s confidence up and allowing folk to enter sacred space and encounter God alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we have shared so much down the years.

Let us tread gently into this new year, and new beginning, and let us look forward to when we can all, as a Circuit, gather together to sing God’s praise; to say a big thank you to Local Preachers, one of whom has dedicated 60 years of ministry this year; to say a proper goodbye to Preben, Margaret, Ruth and Richard; to welcome Bethany and Joel and just to be together rejoicing that we can echo the words of the Psalmist: ‘I sought the Lord and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.’ [34:4]

Gordon

Returning to Church

After five months away from our church building and many Zoom sessions under our belts, I thought I would ask the house groups how they felt about returning to worship in person. Here are a few responses:

I am looking forward to being in church with other people. The podcasts have been good but, living alone, I miss the interaction with other worshippers.

I’m feeling quite dubious, especially as we are going to have to be careful about being too close to others. Also, I’m not sure about not being able to sing hymns, very much part of worship for us. On the positive side, it will be lovely to see others again, and it’s one step further on the road to normality! We have to remain positive, whatever happens.

I can understand people have different thoughts about it. I myself would need to know how it will be done and I know a lot of people will feel like this.  It will be a case of going into the unknown. I think people will feel safer with a structure.

I am still very cautious. I enjoy the links to all the services. So, I think when they do reopen, priority should be given to the seniors who cannot access the website. Also, I will miss gathering for tea and coffee afterwards. I quite often sat in church after the service for ten minutes as I enjoyed the musicians playing.

I am probably a bit anxious and excited to see others again, but pleased to see they have worked hard to set up so that, as far as possible, everyone is kept safe and keeps to COVID guidelines. It will be a shame that we can’t join in any singing yet, but of course we can while watching at home. I am also pleased that should we not be able to get to a service we can watch a podcast or live at home when the event happens.