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Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit

Newsletter No. 8 June 2015 THE GREAT STOCKTON HEATH BAKE - OFF

CONTENTS The Great Stockton Heath Bake-Off


Adrian Plass Discipleship Evening


Discipleship Bible Study Series


Graham Horsley At Synod


Widnes Street Pastors


Wesley Hospital Report


New Song "CAT" Projects


Penketh Little Angels


Sabbatical Leave


The Widnes Foodbank


Sutton Church Anniversary


The Thatto Heath Marian Trail


Nutgrove Community News


Stockton Heath and Active Hope


Hello World


Food Hygiene Training Course


Diary Dates


The Circuit Newsletter is the collective work of the named contributors, edited and produced by the SVMC Communications Group, and printed and published by the Circuit Resource Centre. The Editors take final responsibility for the content of this magazine. Although we have been careful to check all copyright permissions we would be happy to hear from any copyright holders if we have not recognised copyrighted work used herein. Please contact us at the address below: Circuit Comms Group, Circuit Resource Centre, 1st Floor, Palmyra Square North, Warrington WA1 1JQ A copy of this publication has been lodged with the British Library (Legal Deposit Serials) according to the Copyright Act 2003.

The night of 28th February 2015 will go down in history as one of the most successful social events of our church. The day before we had sold only 30 tickets but in the end we had at least 72 adults and 10 children! The Hall was decorated with bunting and we had a gazebo for all the cakes - even this proved too small. We had four classes for the cake competitions: Novice, Victoria Sandwich, My Favourite Bake and By Children Under 12. Cake making was optional but encouraged so much so that we had 41 entries in total. The 3 judges were Mark Coles, Eileen Robson & Pauline Faulkner and they found they were "caked out" by the end. While they were judging we decorated cup cakes, tasted chocolate, played cake bingo and 'cake beetle' as well as a food related quiz, guess the kitchen utensil from photos taken at odd angles and a baking word-search. There were also activities for the children on the baking theme. We took the left over cakes to the YMCA who were most appreciative and we raised ÂŁ 245 for the Warrington Foodbank - but these were almost an added bonus to what was a wonderful church social occasion. So if you are looking for ideas for a church social we would recommend you try a bake off - we can offer help if needed.

Janet Stott


discipleship is either about a gin and tonic in the bath or martyrdom; sometimes we'd like one and God is calling us to the other. Often it's somewhere in between. - We don't need a dull imitation of something the world has got e.g 'PrayBoy' or 'Repenthouse'. We have abundant life in Jesus, we have community.

The Circuit evening on discipleship hosted by Penketh brought together people from at least 15 of our Methodist churches as well as ecumenical and District friends. Adrian and Bridget Plass shared insights, Bible stories, personal experiences of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the 21st century: - We are invited to follow Jesus Christ. The first disciples didn't know where they were going to be led, they had no formal training. They trusted. - We need to be learners and let other people challenge our thinking and change us. - Being a disciple is a hard, rocky road at times. We fall into holes along the way. Sometimes disciples hang on by their fingertips, despite everything. But often new insights, grace and depth of faith come out of the hard experiences. - We've got our own language as Christians but we need to talk to people in ways they can understand and be honest. Laugh at the things that don't matter that we get all serious about; recognise there are things we don't understand. - God does not go out of his way to find fault. We do a lot of guilt in the church. God goes out of his way to love and be gentle. - One of the costs of being a disciple is being alongside people in their long term needs and questions. Sometimes people seem impossible but God can transfigure our feelings into genuine love. Who is God calling you to look after, be alongside? - Sometimes we give the impression that

- Jesus was very good at being with 'winebibbers and sinners'; people no-one else wanted to spend time with. We put up fences and make judgements. We see Jesus suddenly jumping over a fence. 'Where are you going?' we ask him. 'I'm going to someone who needs me over there. You don't have to come but I'm going anyway.' - Being a disciple is walking the narrow way. The narrowest thing we could walk is a tightrope. When you walk a tightrope you have to put your arms wide out - this gives balance; walking with our arms wide open also speaks of grace. We thank God for an evening full of laughter, stories, poems, much encouragement and yet challenge. Lucille Rogers DISCIPLESHIP BIBLE STUDY SERIES Our Discipleship Bible study series at Prescot and Whiston brought together 20 people for prayer, discussion and an exploration of some of the key Gospel passages on discipleship. We came because we had enjoyed the last Bible study series, because we wanted to learn things we could apply to our working / daily lives as Christians, because we wanted to get to know the Bible better... We thought about the different aspects of learning and following involved in being disciples of Jesus, the costs and joys, and how we can play our part in making more disciples of Christ. Throughout the sessions we remembered that we are not alone in this. We have Jesus' promised presence, the gift of the Holy Spirit, to inspire and enable all we do and say. We were challenged to live as people of integrity - does the loving Christ we believe in and follow show through in our actions, in how we treat people,


in the compassion we show to people in need, in the injustices we stand against? We grew in our faith, knowledge and love and are thankful for all the shared wisdom and experiences offered by the group. Lucille Rogers GRAHAM HORSLEY AT SYNOD Attendees at Presbyteral Synod in April 2015 heard Graham Horsley speak about 'The Baby Boomer Generation'. By this he meant those born approximately between 1945 and 1964: one of the most under-represented age groups in our churches, but also potentially the most reachable group. Few churches are reaching out to them. Baby Boomers, claimed Graham, are inherently activists, being of the generation of 'long-haired rebellious rockers' who sought and fought to change the world, at least in their aspirations. The Methodist Church is historically an activist denomination - why aren't we making more of the connection? We watched a humorous song video that transformed the anthemic 'Born To Be Wild' into the 'ageing rocker' version 'Bored, Tubby, Mild'.

WIDNES STREET PASTORS It has been a great joy and a privilege to commission two Methodist Street Pastors Stan and Jan Woods from Farnworth Methodist Church Widnes. A full Church service was held on Sunday January 18th 2015. Other Street Pastors came in support dressed in their uniforms and two had been out on the streets until a few hours before the service.

They were presented with the Street Pastors ‘cap’ by one of the Trustees – Ray Roberts who spoke briefly about their work. They join a group of 20 people from Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Christian Fellowship, and Deeper Life faith groups who go out on the streets of Widnes on Saturday evenings and early morning Sundays, offering care and help and listening skills. They build up relationships and gain credibility from the community showing that the Church has come alongside them to support them. The local government, the police and the health authorities appreciate all that the Christian Community of Street Pastors can offer the people of Widnes and have supported the team with monetary support at the same time as gaining knowledge received from the shared stories.

Graham challenged us to engage in community enhancement with our local 'baby boomers', and pointed us to the resources via his own 'Living In Three Dimensions' website online at http://www.l3d.org.uk Stephen Froggatt

Monetary support and prayers come from all the local churches in the Widnes area. May God support and strengthen them as they live out their discipleship and servant ministry in God’s Name. For anyone wishing to be trained as a Street Pastor please speak to Rev’d Jenny MacGregor and Jan & Stan Woods.


WESLEY HOSPITAL REPORT Our previous Circuit Charity efforts raised much-needed funds for the Wesley Hospital in Myanmar. Recently Revd Stephen Kingsnorth received an email from Dr Luai describing how the money was being spent. Dear Stephen, Kindly accept our heartfelt gratitude for your generous effort of raising funds for Wesley Hospital. We are really thankful to churches and individuals in the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit. The following is a brief account of how the funds were used and are going to be used. Microscope (£1,000) This is being used in the laboratory to make diagnoses of malaria, tuberculosis, and to do tests for urine and stool examinations i-Chroma analyzer (£2, 100) - This is being used in the laboratory for various serological tests and it is really handy and it enhances the Hospital’s capability of making a greater number of correct diagnoses on patients Oxygen concentrators (2 x £600) - These are well used and already benefit the patients in the wards Patient monitor (£800) This is being used in the operating theatre to monitor the patients' vital signs


NEW SONG "CAT" PROJECTS! As New Song Church holds services in both Bold Street and Latchford churches it also works alongside them on various projects particularly involving the community. A home group has just been set up in Lyon Court at Latchford. This is in addition to a monthly service of Holy Communion held in there too. In addition to this there is a monthly Bible study held in Station Coffee at Latchford on a Wednesday evening. Bold Street and New Song members have worked alonside each other on maintenance days and on making the exterior of Bold Street look attractive and welcoming with hanging baskets due to go up in June. We are working together on a number of events to fund work in the building including updating the sound sytem and lighting. Children are involved too as New Song Kids are collecting coins in their Smarties tubes which will be given to Tea and Toast, the project for homeless people at Bold Street. Other community events have taken place and are in the pipeline. New Song's regular community work increases through the Hot Drinks Ministry at Walton Crematorium and Fox Covert cemetery and the Community Action Team ("CAT") where people are amazed and delighted with what we do. "Loving God, Loving People" sums up what we believe and what we do. A CAT project - Before and After

Remaining balance (£3,000) We are going to buy a Diathermy machine for use in the operating theatre. This machine is to stop bleeding from wounds during operations. With our love and prayers to you all. Luai Our own thanks too to all churches and individuals who contributed so generously to this project. Stephen Kingsnorth

Kit Heald


PENKETH LITTLE ANGELS Little Angels at Penketh Methodist Church is where mums, dads, babies, grandparents, childminders and carers come with their little ones, aged from a few weeks old up to nursery or school age. We all spend just over an hour worshipping God. All sessions are Bible-based and we follow a theme for each school term – eg creation, the weather, parables of Jesus.

THE WIDNES FOODBANK Due to low incomes, sudden crisis, redundancy, benefit delays, unexpected bills, people can find themselves struggling to put food on the table. The choices can be paying the rent or eating! People become ill and with no sick pay find themselves in deep distress. Widnes Foodbank provides emergency food and support to local people in crisis.

A typical session takes the form of 2-3 action songs – jumping, clapping, using musical instruments, walking and wiggling are a few of the things we do – leaders, children and all adults. We then have story time. Being a local preacher I thought this would be quite easy. It was not. For you are sitting on the floor, at eye level to the children and adults, and the older little ones love to interact with you and any visual aids you use. A craft time follows this and then a prayer before snack time. Bubbles and a prayer finish our time together.

A gift of food does more than just fill empty stomachs. It can help to prevent family breakdown, housing loss, crime and mental health problems as we take time to listen and signpost people to further support.

Our numbers range from 25-30 adults plus their children. As we have a few childminders who come they bring more than one child. Several of our mums regard this as their “Sunday church" time. This works because of the prayers prayed before each session, and that God is there making his presence felt to everyone during this time together. This work could not be done without a cheerful band of leaders and helpers. At one session we had been singing and talking about thanking God and it was time for a prayer before snack time. I said we were all going to say a thank you to God for our snack time. The two year old tiny tot next to me started clapping. That was our prayer. Diane Bennett

Widnes Foodbank is run by ecumenical church volunteers and with a trustee management group administrated from premises at Trinity Methodist/URC. As with other Foodbanks, it is also connected to the Trussell Trust and is supported by many different referral agencies i.e. frontline care from doctors, citizens advice, social services and care workers. They have five distribution centres so that people can choose where to go to pick up their much needed supplies. We have ecumenically trained warehouse workers and designated drivers who give voluntarily of their time to help. Recently we have had interest from the Samaritans who wish to work with us and support us, and we also work well with Halton Borough Council who have encouraged the local Halton/Arriva Bus Company to accept vouchers for free bus rides given to people on the day that they pick up their supplies. What a joy to work with such a team of willing, nonjudgemental workers who seek to live out their discipleship in practical ways.

SABBATICAL Revd Jenny McGregor is on sabbatical leave between June and August this year. All enquiries should meanwhile be directed instead to the Senior Steward of Jenny's respective churches, who will then forward them as necessary to the Staff Minister who is covering for her there. Thank you.

Jesus said, ‘I was hungry and you fed me… I was a stranger and you welcomed me…’ Matthew 25:35ff Rev’d Jenny MacGregor is a Trustee of Widnes Foodbank.


SUTTON CHURCH ANNIVERSARY Sutton Chapel began on the corner of Lancots Lane and Sutton Road. I don’t think that the founders could ever have imagined that 170 years later we would still be worshipping here (now in the third building). The Chapel was built with copper slag which was made into bricks. It was a basic building, and it still is! By 1871 the Methodists had out grown the chapel and it was passed over to the Welsh Methodists. There they stayed: it was looked after by two wonderful Christian ladies, Gladys and Blodwen Jones. Unfortunately that chapel had to close but it is now used as a base for the Celebration Choir under the leadership of John Beirne. So music and singing still fill the old chapel. The Methodists then moved to a larger church in Sutton Road. This one was built like most Methodist Churches with an upstairs, balcony, school room and stage. They had a brass band, a football team, a wonderful choir, walking days and music festivals. (We have photos of past Trustees.) Sadly when they realised the church was getting past its best; with coal subsidence as well as being next to the brick works, they started raising money to build a new church. One of the fundraising efforts was a weekly dance every Saturday night. It was 1/ 6d a ticket and my friends and I never missed! Such happy memories! So in 1961 the doors opened to our new church which was built in New Street. This was a prefabricated building and this is where we celebrated the 170th Anniversary of Methodism in Sutton on 31st May 2015. Revd Lucille preached at the open air service, which was followed by a picnic lunch (held in the schoolroom) and an opportunity to look around the displays of Sutton through the years. The Mayor of St Helens, Councillor Steven Glover, found time to attend and join in the celebration.

THE THATTO HEATH MARIAN TRAIL Nutgrove Methodist Church continues to build on the recent improvements and changes made by the congregation. The most recent innovation is the inclusion of the church in the Thatto Heath Marian Trail. The Marian Trail is a walk around the Thatto Heath community, taking in several of the local churches to see the plaques highlighting women of the bible, which are displayed in the grounds. Nutgrove MC chose to highlight Queen Vashti, whose story can be read in the book of Esther, as their character. Queen Vashti was a strong and independently minded woman who refused to be treated as an object of desire by her husband and his friends. The plaque is to be found amongst the shrubs on the left hand side of the pedestrian footpath to the left of the church. Thanks are owed to Jenny Griggs who organised the trail and to John Hunt who did the work to place the plaque in our gardens.

We remember past members who, through love and care of these churches have made it possible for us to continue our worship here today and serve God in this place.

Balmer St has also joined in the Marian Trail, but with no gardens has plumped for two very attractive hanging baskets. The successful luncheon club continues to function each Tuesday at Balmer St. Over 20 diners gather at Balmer St for a substantial lunch of soup, main course and sweet. Why not call in and see the hanging baskets before you eat?

Anita Lewis


NUTGROVE COMMUNITY NEWS The Playgroup continues to operate in the new building and has a healthy number of children on its roll. Some of these children attend Messy Church which continues with monthly meetings, run by church members Maureen, Janet and Thelma. The church benefits from their activities in many ways not least by displaying in the church some of the artwork and the craft produced by the children each month. The removal of the pews and their replacement with chairs has enabled the main body of the church to be used in a much more flexible manner, and so Messy Church, which has now outgrown the Wesley room in Nutgrove School, is held in the main church building.

It has also made it possible for a mums and toddlers group to meet at the church on Wednesday mornings from 08:30 until 11:00. We regularly meet with over a dozen children and their mothers/grandmothers, sharing stories about the children and about the world. There is plenty of space for more if anyone is interested in joining us. Tea and toast are available throughout the morning, and the St Helens Credit Union can be accessed after 11:00.

STOCKTON HEATH & ACTIVE HOPE Around 50 members of our Church continue to support Active Hope in a very practical way. Last October Half Term our Church supported our third Adventure Academy which helped give 30 children some days out to remember. The tasks included praying, fundraising, driving minibuses, preparing food, helping with activities such as mountain biking, archery, using a climbing wall and this time it included exploring the Dingle. Several of us ended up walking up the stream which gets quite deep in parts.

This was followed by the recent May event which was a weekend of activities on Anglesey, walking, beach games and climbing up Black Mountain, for 60 youngsters including 30 of those we met in October. Five of our Church members including Mark Coles stayed on this residential helping with various activities throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.

There are tentative plans for more activities of this kind, perhaps a group for dads and their children, or other family style ministry in the future, when resources allow.

Many additional people have become involved with Active Hope this year in many ways. Over the last three years we have helped make a positive impact in the lives of over 200 children from all sorts of backgrounds and it's important that we continue to help Dan Curtis and his Active Hope staff and volunteers with their expanding work in our local area.

Martin Wood


HELLO WORLD FOOD HYGIENE TRAINING COURSE There is a long standing tradition that when you first create a new website or learn a new computer programming language, especially one of those connected with the internet, the very first thing you see, or in the instance of a newly learned language, the very first program you write, should simply say, “Hello World!”. This is because it is the simplest program you could possible write and you are indeed Monday 6th and 13th July 2015 speaking to the whole wide world. Jesus also said to his disciples ‘Go out into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation’ (Mark 16:15 NIVUK). Putting these two circumstances together, means that our current generation is the first in the whole history of humanity that any individual person, or Church, using internet technologies, can actually speak to the whole world. You may be the smallest Church there is, but you have the capability to broadcast the Christian message across the entire planet and with current technologies, you don’t even have to be a computer programmer or even know very much about computers. How fantastic is that? If you have the capability to write an email, or document such as Church meeting minutes on a computer, you also have the innate capability to speak to the world. The current Circuit initiative is for Discipleship and you cannot get closer to true Discipleship than obeying the command of our Lord Jesus to take His Word to the whole wide world. How can this be done? Simply by linking your Christian blog or Church website to an internet forum such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or more (there are many more!) which can be done without a computer, just using a smartphone or tablet. Text, photos and even videos can be shared, and it's all totally free to use. If you are already a Facebook or Twitter user and think that setting up a Church Facebook page is pretty easy (which it is), then you also have the capability to set up a Church website, the advantage being that on a website you can do so much more, although there is a small cost. See me for more information. Chris Betts

Prescot & Whiston Methodist Church, 7pm-9.30pm

Saturday 11th July (please bring packed lunch) St James (Rainhill), 9.30am-3pm If you are interested in attending either P&W or Rainhill training, then please ring Emma Thompson at CRC 01925 652228 or crc@svmc.org.uk

Booking is essential by Thursday 25th June This is for you if you serve at a church coffee morning, coffee bar, lunch etc

DIARY DATES Safeguarding Meeting - For all church Safeguarding Officers - 7.30pm on 14th July 2015 at Penketh Methodist Church Local Preachers and Worship Leaders Meeting - 7.30pm on 3rd September 2015 at Venue TBA Circuit Meeting - 7.30pm on 16th September at Venue TBA NEXT ISSUE Submissions for the next issue should reach the Circuit Office crc@svmc.org.uk by Monday 31st August at the latest. Thank you in advance for your articles and permission-cleared photos. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. The publication date for the next issue is the 16th September Circuit Meeting.

Profile for SankeyValleyMethodistCircuit

Newsletter 8  

The Newsletter of the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit, published three times annually. Newsletter 8 is dated June 2015.

Newsletter 8  

The Newsletter of the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit, published three times annually. Newsletter 8 is dated June 2015.