Dear Church Family,
“If two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18: 19-20)
These are two great promises which Jesus makes to his followers which actually contain both an encouragement and a warning. Especially given the past few months, we can take encouragement from knowing that even though we are dispersed, if more than one of us is praying for the same thing, then God is listening and doing his work. Also, when we gather together in worship – whether that is in one room together or even with each of us watching our own screen, then God is there with us at the heart of that worship.
But there is also a challenge in this promise too. Whenever we are with at least one other Christian and we are talking about church or faith or our church family, whether that is on zoom or the telephone or in a coffee shop or house, then God is present, God is listening. It used to be a threat used towards children that “God is watching.” That he could see everything they did, and hear everything they said to others so they had better behave. Maybe we don’t need to take it as a threat, but maybe it is something we forget, and that we need to consider – that God is listening. He is with us. Are our conversations always worthy of him?
Hopefully soon, those of us who would like to meet in worship bubbles will be able to do so. But whether we meet physically together or join in worship in our own spaces, when worship is in our hearts, then God is there too and we are his people, his body, his church family in this place.
Sunday Online Worship
For this first Sunday of the new Methodist year, Rev Phil Gough is preaching in our online worship, on the theme of Accountability and needing one another. As always, there will be a zoom coffee and chat afterwards. This Sunday the breakout rooms will not be random across the circuit, but rather those from LMC and Midge Hall will all be in one group together with myself and Ellen/Sylvie. I have noticed that there are very few of our Leyland church family who join that zoom meeting. Maybe you are busy preparing dinner, or you watch the service at a different time of the day, or you can’t access zoom and that is all fair enough. But if you have any suggestions about what would make that time more helpful or engaging or accessible, please do let me know. There is no set agenda for the time together, just chance to share any family news and anything we have found helpful in the service.
Don’t forget, as mentioned last week:
If you are unable to use the internet at all, it is possible to use your telephone and dial up to listen to the audio of the service. Anytime after 10.30am on Sunday morning you just dial the number 01772 963008, you may be given some information, and then you can just listen. This costs the price of a normal, local telephone call and I understand that the service is available all week. (If you try this, do let me know how you get on)
Future worship in our LMC Building
Thank you to all of you who have sent me your first and second choices for our fortnightly worship bubbles. If you would like to be part of this and haven’t let me know already which session you prefer, then please can you do so before midnight on Saturday 5th September. Either email me or call 01772 452572 stating your first choice, and if possible, a second choice.
Just as a reminder, here is what I sent out last week:
Each worship session will take place fortnightly in the main worship area, and will last around 30-40mins. They will contain prayer, bible readings, a talk / mini sermon, and some music (although current regulations still say we aren’t allowed to sing). There will be a maximum of 20 spaces available at each worship slot and you are invited to sign up to one of these times only. That will then become your worship bubble for the foreseeable future. Feel free to discuss this with your family and church friends and sign up to the same bubble together if you wish. Please note that it will be necessary (except in exceptional circumstances) for everyone to wear a face mask and use the hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the building. Everyone will also need to sign in every time you enter the building for the track and trace system. If you are over 70 years old, or are in a vulnerable category, please think carefully about whether it is a good idea for you to be part of this. Everyone needs to make their own decision on what is best for them and there will be opportunity to join a group later on if you just don’t feel it is quite the right time just now. Sunday on-line worship will continue alongside these worship bubbles.
The four slots are:
Morning slot: Friday 10.30am
Afternoon slot: Tuesday 2pm
Evening slot: Thursday 7.30pm
Family slot: Wednesday 6.15pm
Deacon Kathy Lamb
Kathy started her new post in Wigan on Tuesday and our love and prayers go with her as she enters this new phase of her ministry.
A few weeks ago we presented Kathy with a card, a wooden cross which holds a tea-light and also a cheque for £540 from you all. There are two pictures at the bottom from when Bryan presented the gifts. Kathy sent a card to the church which says:
To All at Leyland Methodist Church
I wanted to thank all who contributed to the gifts I received and to all who contributed to the book of comments / pictures – it was very much appreciated and encouraging…. Where have 16 years gone?
If you are around Shevington do pop in – Rev Gill has my contact details – that is after I’ve moved of course!
No, I am still not sure when I will move but I start commuting and getting to know Wigan from Tuesday.
Do take care.
With Love and Prayers,
Meeting for Fellowship
Since we are entering Autumn and the weather is likely to become even more unpredictable, we won’t be having any more formal meeting in the park sessions at Worden Park. However, since many of you really enjoyed the chance to get together and have a chat and catch up, I am looking into trying to arrange something similar but indoors. A lot of this depends on current regulations etc, but I am working on it and more information will hopefully be available in the next few weeks.
Some of you have been asking what is happening with the roof. A few weeks ago, as soon as it was possible, a surveyor came out to look at the roof to see if we could put a new roof on top of the current roof, or if we needed to remove the old before replacing it with the new. We are still awaiting the official report (although I believe it might have just arrived as I am typing this in which case I will be able to give you more details next week!) and the recommendation of the surveyor will affect the cost. Even if we can overlay the new roof on top of the old, (which is very likely) we will still need to replace the lighting in the Wesley Hall and other essential connected works and this will still cost in the region of £65k -£70k in total. We are still around £35k short of this amount. Once we have an accurate costing, our fund raiser will be able to start applications but we have been told that no one can apply to the National Lottery at the moment because all their money is currently going to help fund COVID related charities. We will need to look to other grant giving bodies which will probably mean applying for lots of smaller grants, rather than one big grant.
It would have been ideal to have got the roof done while the building is still relatively empty but we can not start work until we have the funds. I know that it has not been possible to do the fund raising activities we were intending to do, and also that many people are struggling financially during this time, but if you can think of ways we can raise some money or you have some lying around from a cancelled holiday with you would like to donate (?!?!) please let me (or Bryan, Gay or anyone from the Property and Finance committee) know. It would be wonderful once we can meet again, to be meeting in a newly decorated and appropriately lit community centre with a safe and secure roof, but until we have the money, we will have to just keep plodding on and hope and pray that the weather doesn’t cause so much damage that COVID won’t be the only thing stopping us re-opening!
If you email me and do not get a response immediately, please bear with me for the next few weeks. Currently I have everyone emailing me their worship bubble preferences and also all the church council emailing me their contact details to update the charity commission website, so my inbox is overflowing. If your email is urgent, or you don’t get a reply within a week, please do call me, or send it again – it may have just got lost in the middle of everything else.
Church Family News
– Ivy P has been in touch to ask for your continued prayers for their son Andrew as he goes back to work teaching this week. He is still waiting for another heart operation.
– Naomi W is currently in Chorley Hospital but is awaiting more specialised help which could be anywhere in the region. Mark asks for our prayers that this help may be found close by and that he will be allowed to visit her.
Thanks to Enid for keeping us up to date with other prayer requests in the prayer letter sent through the church office.
If you have any news which you would like to share – either something to celebrate or a prayer request, please do let me know. In order to share a prayer request I need your specific permission to put it on this list, so apologies to those of you who I know are struggling with personal and family situations at this time, please be assured that those of us who know your situation will be praying for you. If you would like me to add a specific prayer request on your behalf in our family news here, then please contact me and I will gladly do that for you.
As we remembered at the beginning of this letter, our prayers matter and God listens, even if we don’t always see or understand his answer, he is with us.
God bless you all this week,