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Saint Johns Methodist Church

Llandudno

Connections

St John's BBC service. Broadcasted on Jan 28th.
Our next recording service will be on April 8th
          God please show me

Our Concert Season for 2018 has just been updated.
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 Christmas 2017

 Connections

A seasonal publication produced by St David's and St John's Methodist Churches, Llandudno. Minister, Rev Bev Ramsden.

 
Minister’s Pen 
Written at the start of Advent...  

It's good to have Christmas traditions that we continue year after year. But this year in our churches we've added in a few new ways of doing things. I hope they will prove to be lovely changes.

One is our Live Nativity, which this year is coming from Queen's Road Park in Craig y Don. I have been inviting almost every person I meet, especially if they have children - my brother, my hairdresser, even a family for whom I'm doing funeral. It is such a lovely opportunity to invite people to take part in something so simple and yet so profound. And clearly, some people really get it. I got over excited and spontaneously invited the Mayor and Deputy Mayor to be wise men...and they said yes. Indeed, the Deputy Mayor suggested I invite the Immediate Past Mayor as well, so we've ended up with two wise men and a wise woman! And several children from the neighbourhood want to take part too. Truly, a community event.

As the Mayor's Chaplain, I get to do the Christmas message at the town parade. I have decided to talk about angels - how they are messengers from God, and how the Christmas story is jam-packed with angels bringing messages of hope, peace, joy and love. It gives me an excuse to wear my wings and halo of course, but the main reason I want to mention angels is because of our soon to be revealed secret plan - to "yarn bomb" the town with knitted angels following the services on 10th December. Many of our church folk have been knitting away for weeks. I know there will be hundreds, possibly thousands, of angels, taking flight across the town, each with a Christmas message to the person who finds them. As I will be saying at the town parade, I wonder - are you looking out for angels this Christmas? Are you ready to listen to the message they bring? That's what you need to do this Christmas, this Christmas in particular. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as you go round town. Who knows, somewhere right here in Llandudno you may come across an angel with a message especially for you."

One final thing I want to share with you - a challenge. We may be looking forward to a happy Christmas with plenty of food and fun to go around, but there are many people, yes, even in our town, who will be struggling to make ends meet. Have a look inside this magazine for an article by Graham Morgan and see if you can respond to the challenge there. For the tiny sum of £1 a week, you can support our local Food Bank as they seek to help those in need this Christmas and beyond. £1 a week to bring a message of hope to those who are struggling. Can you be an angel of hope this Christmas?
Rev Bev

 
 
Blessed is the person who sees the need, recognises the responsibility, and actively becomes the answer. William Arthur Ward.
 
 
 
JMA AT ST. DAVID’S CHURCH.

JMA continues to thrive with over 25 young JMA collectors aged from two to twenty two!! We are always supported and encouraged by so many lovely members of our church family who either give to individual collectors or give directly to JMA.

This year Bev once again kindly presented our JMA certificates and medals plus our special JMA prayer cards and all our collectors and friends of JMA took smartie boxes away to fill with 20 pence pieces- AFTER eating the Smarties of course!

During the service a group of our collectors took part in a presentation entitled “DID YOU KNOW?” when with help of younger members holding large cards they helped us to understand just how AMAZING the work of JMA is.

DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that last year JMA collectors raised £73,150 pounds?
AMAZING!!!

And did you know that our JMA collectors here at St. David’s church raised £1,132 pounds of that total?
AMAZING!!!

Did you know that our JMA money goes to partners in Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific and also to projects in the UK?
AMAZING!!!

Did you know that JMA has helped in HAITI after a bad hurricane to rebuild Methodist schools?
AMAZING!!!

Did you know that in MEXICO there is a tall fence to stop people getting into the United States? Well, the EL FARRO church is run by Methodists from both sides of the fence and brings together children and families from both sides?
AMAZING!!!

Did you know that in SICILY JMA helps in CASA BELLA CULTURA where
Refugees arriving in small unsafe boats can be welcomed and loved and where they can stay until they can go to a new home?
AMAZING!!!

Did you know that in KENYA with the help of JMA 100 women from MERU have started a fish farm, built greenhouses and now sell fruit and fish and tomatoes so they can pay for their children to go to school?
AMAZING!!!

And did you know that in GHANA JMA sent money to the ANKAASE hospital to decorate the children’s ward. To buy toys and games and to set up a room where mothers learn about the right food to cook for their children?
AMAZING!!!

And did you know that in addition to all of these projects we in JMA here also support the Chicken project in Mafinga in Tanzania?

Before we received our awards and presentations all our JMA collectors joined in with all our friends in the church family at St. David’s in renewing our JMA PROMISE

I promise to learn, pray and serve with the worldwide family of Jesus Christ.

What a joy and privilege it is to serve as members of this world wide family!
Caris Williams. JMA Secretary.

 
 
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Last Christmas I was given a box of twelve Belgian Fairtrade Truffles (yum, yum) produced by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, supposedly one for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Also in the box was a booklet ‘A Guide to the Festival of Christmas’.

The booklet included an explanation of the carol, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ which lists a gift for each day of the Festival from Christmas Day to January 5th.

It is thought that each gift had a hidden meaning which helped children learn aspects of their faith. I wonder how many people know of the hidden meaning of each gift?

1. The partridge in a pear tree, Jesus Christ.

2. Two turtle doves, the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

4. Four calling birds, the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

5. Five gold rings, the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. Six geese a-laying, the six days of Creation.

7. Seven swans a-swimming, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit - traditionally thought to be wisdom, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, wonder and understanding.

8. Eight maids a-milking, the eight Beatitudes, or blessings from The Sermon on the Mount. (The Eighth Day is New Year’s Day, when people make New Year’s resolutions which originally had a spiritual dimension as people resolved to be a better person, many would be inspired by Jesus’ Beatitudes).

9. Nine ladies dancing, represented the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

10. Ten lords a-leaping, the Ten Commandments.

11. Eleven pipers piping, the eleven faithful Disciples.

12. Twelve drummers drumming, the twelve points of faith in the Apostle’s Creed.

Mary Jones.

 
 

Covenant Service at St John’s
Sunday 07 January 2018 at 11 a.m.
Covenant Service at St David’s
Sunday 14 January 2018 at 10 a.m.
   
St John’s Newcomer’s Lunch
Sunday 21 January after 11 a.m. service
St David’s Newcomer’s Lunch
Sunday 28 January after 10 a.m.
service
   

18 to 25 January 2018
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 18 to 25 January 2018
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

 
 
THE SPARK THAT LIT THE REFORMATION

At the dawn of the sixteenth century the time was ripe for a reformation of the church. It was a young lecturer named Martin Luther from an obscure German university who lit the vital ignition spark on October 31st 1517.

It would be wrong to think that there was only one Reformation spark. The young Martin Luther was just one of many particularly in Germany and Switzerland who resented a wealthy church getting richer at the common people’s expense. So what fired up Martin and propelled him to nail a sheet of paper to a church door?

To answer this we can use a story which Luther himself told about when he was riding home and was caught in a severe thunderstorm. Suddenly a lightning bolt struck the ground near him, terrifying his horse so he was thrown off. Panic-stricken, Luther called out “Saint Anne, help me! I will become a monk!” In those days it was believed that fiends and devils lurked in woods and dark places ready to pounce on travellers. Protection could be gained through certain special Christians who were designated by the church as saints and these had special access to God (this contradicts what the Apostle Paul taught that all Christians are saints – sanctified by the Holy Spirit).

Luther kept his word and on July 17, 1505 at the tender age of 21, Luther became an Augustinian monk and stayed for 7 years. All this time he believed fervently that salvation was earned. The motto was “God will not deny grace to those who do their best.” Luther worked so hard at this - almost fanatically – that his superior at the monastery, concerned about Luther’s mental health, advised him to take up the study of theology. He read about great early Christians such as Augustine of Hippo who taught that salvation was the free gift of God. He studied Paul’s letter to the Romans and the powerful message of chapters 5 to 8 gripped his soul: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…and those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified…Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!” This contradicted what Luther had been taught and discontent with the church’s theology grew.

Right at the heart of his discontent with the church was the practice of selling indulgences. These payments were supposed to ensure a fast track through purgatory – the interim state of the dead where sinners suffered extended horrors of purification before being allowed into heaven. As one slogan put it, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” The money raised by playing on the fears of ordinary folk who were denied access to the Bible (written in Latin which they could not understand) often went back to Rome for funding cathedrals, supporting church armies, underpinning political intrigues, and paying for the extravagant lifestyles of the church hierarchy.

Luther was appalled by this practice. Forgiveness was meant to be the free gift of God! The last straw took the shape of Johann Tetzel. He came to Wittenburg to sell indulgences partly to cover the huge cost of rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Robbing poor Germans to pay for a palatial church in far off Rome – it was just too much to bear! So about midday on 31st October 1517 the young lecturer Martin Luther, aged just 33, nailed a piece of paper to the main north door of the castle church in Wittenburg. It was just an invitation to debate the issue of indulgences. But this was no mere academic topic. The sale of indulgences – giving the church the authority to allow or deny access to heaven based on money – seemed to deny the very Gospel itself. Luther now understood that the Gospel meant that God freely justified sinners on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, received by faith, not by any good works on our part. Either the church was right or the Bible was right. What was at stake was Luther’s newly rediscovered doctrine – justification by God, through Christ, by faith alone. The Reformation was born! From a freak thunderstorm, to an Augustinian monastery, to theological studies, to Romans…to the enlightenment and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. God’s plan can be seen in Luther’s life. Can you see it in yours?

Over the next few years, Luther’s reforms, set out in his Ninety-five Theses, acted as a catalyst for like-minded reforming individuals and congregations across Europe. The main reforms were

The Bible is the ultimate foundation of all Christian belief and practice. But at this time the Bible was in Latin, readable only by a highly educated elite. So Luther spent his first years translating the Bible into German. Once the general population could read the Bible, they would be able to discover the truth and question practices within the church.

Salvation is a free, unmerited gift of God, received by personal faith. For Luther, the great question in life was simple: how can I find a gracious God? So, sometime in 1516, while an Augustinian monk, Luther rediscovered the doctrine of salvation by faith. Nothing can compare with this stunning, humbling, overwhelming truth. We cannot earn our way to heaven. Instead it comes as a direct result of having a direct living relationship with God through the risen glorified Christ. There is no need for intermediaries – so-called saints and priests.

There is no difference in status between clergy and laity – all believers are priests. They can understand and apply the truth of the Bible for themselves. As part of Christ’s royal priesthood they could appoint their own leaders, ministers, teachers, pastors. This doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” was the greatest threat to the church. If ordinary Christians were priests, then the power of the ordained priesthood was broken, as was the monopoly of the church in deciding who could enter heaven. Did the church welcome these reforms with open arms? Hardly! The danger to power and status was all too obvious. Luther was summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms (nothing whatsoever to do with an odd eating habit) in 1521.

Luther refused to retract his reforms and his words resounded throughout the emerging reforming movement:

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

Today, 500 years later, we find all too many examples of churches and whole denominations which have slid back into pre-Reformation error. In the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, those entering the full-time ministry are still ordained as priests. The congregation is still referred to as laity. Worse by far, we find many Christians still believing that God will accept them because they do good – attend church, give money, devote time to helping others and so on. How has this reversal come about? Is it not because so many Christians today do not read their Bibles regularly (after fellow Christians have laboured for thousands of hours to translate it into our language) and discuss it? Is it not because the very word “doctrine” is viewed with dislike, so the study and discussion of the great doctrines of Christianity is lacking?

The truth is that in many churches and denominations across the UK – and this is the reason for their decline and often closure - Luther’s final words would come out as: “Here we do not know where to stand; we can do otherwise but are too lazy. God help us! Amen.” Neil McKenzie.

 
 

A DANGER AND A DELIGHT IN CAROL SINGING !!

A DANGER

It was the 1950s and I was a teenager attending a Methodist church in Ardwick, within a couple of miles of Manchester city centre. On Christmas Eve we held a Communion Service at 11.30 p.m. (as we do here in Llandudno) but we then enjoyed tea/coffee and mince pies together before going out carol singing. I have to admit that one of the attractions to us younger teenagers was that, starting carol singing about 12.30 a.m. we didn’t finish until about 7.00 a.m. before having breakfast together. Wow ! Carol singing around the streets of Manchester right through the night was a great adventure to us!

How did this come about? One year the church took the decision to have a go at broadcasting the good news of Christmas throughout the night and see how it went. The theory was that if we sang outside the homes of church members their neighbours would also hear the carols. A walking route was well planned so that folk knew at what time (approximately) we would arrive outside their house (wake them up?) so they could join us in the singing and this planning the route carefully also meant they could advise (warn?) their neighbours accordingly. But why so long? Well, while most of us teenagers lived within walking distance of the church a lot of the older folk lived 4/5 miles out so we covered a few miles (no cars allowed – they were parked at our last stop to take us home after breakfast) and it was amazing how quickly the time went. Mind you, we were helped along by an arranged stop at one house, about 3.30 a.m. for tea/coffee and - guess what - yes, mince pies again!

How was it received by the neighbours? They loved it (can you imagine that being the case today?) and we did it for some years, varying our route somewhat but always refreshing (at Burnage) and breakfasting (at Didsbury) at the same homes.

So, where does DANGER come into it? Well, I was a young teenager and you know what they’re like! We were coming to the end of a long night, just approaching our breakfast stop and, to keep our spirits up, we were larking about a bit and one of them (I won’t say who !!!!!) suddenly turned round and collided with a lamp post. No apparent mishap and we carried on and soon started singing outside the house. The next thing I knew I was lying on a bed in a strange bedroom - I had fainted while singing! No real harm done – I was probably just tired and cold - I didn’t miss breakfast and still made it to church for the 10.30 a.m. Christmas Day service. Don’t let this put you off carol singing this year - the danger was the high jinks not the carol singing. I did repeat the carol singing (and probably the high jinks) but not the fainting!
A DELIGHT

This is not a one-off like the danger quoted above but increasing each year. Now, Jack, be honest - with your voice the singing is not a delight, at least not for others - it’s the message the carols bring which is the delight. I like most carols even though some seem to be part truth and part fantasy (e.g. is the snow artistic licence and did the baby Jesus really not cry?) but I particularly like the following lines - guess which carols they are from!

1. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

2. Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing

3. God with man is now residing

4. Lo within a manger lies he who built the starry skies

5. He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all

6. Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensively made man.

Alright, I’m cheating a bit here because the last one is not really a carol but more a hymn but it’s worth looking up all its verses - it’s one of Charles Wesley’s! - 109 in Hymns & Psalms!

Yes, my favourite bit of the Christmas story is found in Matthew 1 v 23 where it says : “… and they shall call his name Immanuel which, being interpreted is, God with us”. I suppose one could say this could - like carol singing - be dangerous but in my experience anyway it is certainly a continuing DELIGHT !

Jack Waddington.

 
 

ST DAVID’S SAVINGS CLUB

There may be some of you who are unaware that a savings Club operates at St. David’s・

This has been running for many years, originating in the 1950’s, as the Sunday School Savings Club, and was paid out just prior to the annual “Sale of work", but is now supported by many members and friends of St David’s.

It functions from January to mid November and individuals “pay in” to me on a weekly or monthly basis, as little or as much as they wish and when I “pay out” they get back exactly what they paid in!

Any interest earned on the savings account is to the benefit of the Church. You can see that this benefits both the individual as a form of saving up before Christmas and also the Church as an extra form of revenue to be able to contribute towards any extras.

If you would be interested in joining the “Savings Club” for 2018 or if you have any queries about the system or would like more information then please speak to me after morning worship or call me on 01492 876492.

Hilary Roberts.

 
 

THE WEEK OF PRAYER:- FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

In 2018 the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs from 18th to 25th January.

The theme of the week comes from the churches of the Caribbean, and addresses some of the problems which affect the people there, but also worldwide. Therefore, as abuses of human rights are found across the region, the week will challenge us to consider our manner of welcoming the stranger into our midst.

Human trafficking and modern-day slavery continue to be huge issues.

Addiction to pornography and drugs continue to be serious challenges to all societies.

The debt crisis has a negative impact upon the nations and upon individuals – the economies of the nations and people have become precarious.

Family life continues to be challenged by the economic restrictions which lead to migration, domestic abuse and violence.

What are Christians to do, in the face of such vast problems?

The Caribbean Churches work together to heal the wounds in people’s live, but also know that reconciliation demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories.

The whole Church is called to be both a sign and an active agent of this reconciliation.

That All May Be Free

Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power (Ex 15:6)

 
 

Swanwick October 2017

An opportunity to explore and experience worshipping God with our whole being “Body, Mind and Spirit”

Chris and I belong to Art Serve, an ecumenical group, which grew out of the Methodist Music Society, and now encourages the use of all art forms in worship. This year was our 5th conference, and, as always, it gave us the chance to use our gifts and talents (and take the risk of trying some new things) in a safe and non judgemental environment.

The workshops this year were all led by members of Art Serve and included music, singing, painting, poetry, movement, labyrinths, and prayer walks.

My choices were Labyrinths - which I knew little about. Here, we thought about how labyrinths can be helpful in our spiritual lives and then had the opportunity to make a finger labyrinth out of beads or clay.

Paint and pray - my risk taking activity! This was a silent workshop. We were asked to contemplate where God was in our lives and then picture where we were. There was a variety of different size canvasses and paints, and as quiet music was played, we were invited to interpret our thoughts and prayers on the canvas. I think I was the only one in our group who was not a painter, but I filled my canvass with the light of God and my hands reaching up. It will never be hung in the Tate, but it was my prayer and it was celebrated as such.

Movement in worship - which I love. The first half of this session was spent practising for the Sunday worship, when we interpreted John Rutter’s “For the beauty of the earth” in movement. The second half proved just how powerful movement can be. Our leader, Jo Richards, who has danced all her life, shared her grief when her third child died at the age of 6 weeks. She could not come to terms with the loss, but then found herself one day dancing in her lounge and through her movement was able to give her baby over to God’s safe keeping. It was not the end of her sadness, but it was the beginning of healing.

She invited those of us who wanted to participate to think of people or areas of our world who needed God’s touch. With the sombre sound of a single oboe, we let our bodies move with our thoughts and give those prayers to God. As the music changed to “Cavalleria Rusticano” we were invited to take a lighted candle from the foot of the cross and walk slowly round the room. As we met people, we made eye contact and touched fingers in encouragement. At the end of the music, we naturally made a circle around the cross, linking fingers and raising our hands towards the cross.

The weekend didn’t just involve workshops - at meal times, we enjoyed lots of good food, the opportunity to get to know people and to chat about using different art forms in worship. We were also privileged to listen to a variety of speakers who are involved in the arts.

Sarah Middleton spoke to us about the Methodist Modern Art Collection, which visited St. John’s last year. On the Saturday evening, we were treated to a performance of “Chosen” a one woman show written and performed by Susannah Hallcroft. This hour long performance followed the life of Jesus from birth to crucifixion, but told through the eyes of Mary. The stage was filled with a variety of props, which helped to set the different scenes and change Susannah into the various characters. It was amazing to see how a length of fabric could one moment be a shawl and then be transformed into the shape of the baby Jesus!

The weekend culminated with communion and the opportunity to share what we had learned and experienced during the weekend within a time of worship. A really great weekend - we already have next year’s weekend in our diaries!

Helen Cooper.

 
 

WHEN I NEEDED A NEIGHBOUR

Being good neighbours and challenging injustice may be said to be at the heart of Christian discipleship. The challenge to take on board the implications of this was made clear in a public meeting at St Johns back in March 2016. Rev Phil Jump from the Joint Public Issues Team outlined the need to get involved in community practical action so that together we face truth and seek justice. Following this meeting the Reach Out for Justice Group was formed consisting of many from different churches and other organisations who were present at the public meeting.

Since then, though the Group has a long mailing list of interested people, about a dozen folk have met regularly to discuss issues of injustice and follow up any decisions with practical action where possible. Technically the Group is open to anyone in support of the biblical basis of justice and the aims and objectives we have set up.

‘Reaching out’ is the important thing but the hard work of ‘prayerful discussion’ has to come first. We endeavour to face the facts of an issue before we decide what we as a group can and should do. Often there is an emotional response first of all as individuals express concern, anger(!) and disgust maybe, at what has happened. There does come a point in discussion where reason prevails over emotion and a conclusion is reached which satisfies members. Here is an example of an entry from Minutes going back to Autumn 2016.

“The meeting expressed their disgust regarding the sealing off of the Great Orme caves and the confiscation of tents and sleeping bags by the police causing further hardship to the local homeless”

The local homeless have had a prominent place on meeting agendas. We have sought to get at the facts by inviting Brenda Fogg from local Charity ‘Hope Restored’ to share about her ministry. We have been in conversation with Conwy Council Housing Officers and written letters to Council and local press. We have had a presentation from Green Pastures Housing Charity and Chair of Llandudno Cytun, Rev Mike Harrison, continues to monitor the situation for us.

We have tried to keep up with local Government’s response to the refugee crisis. Two of us were present at a meeting in Porters Colwyn Bay in August 2016. Representatives from C Council, CVSC and other community groups and churches were encouraged to get involved in supporting the Council’s participation in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVRP) The issues of matching recipients to local authorities and finding appropriate housing solutions were highlighted. To date six persons only have been resettled within the County. This is a disappointing number considering Government’s commitment to accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the current parliament, by 2020. ( Wales as a whole has taken in about 400 refugees under this scheme so far)

Clearly if the above figures represent the kind of welcome the people of Wales and the people of Conwy County give to refugees something is drastically wrong. However, figures do not tell the whole story. When two of us met up with MP Guto Bebb recently we discovered that he was serving on a Wales -level Group managing the overall picture. We felt we were in the right place to make our views known and we did! We spoke to him about Government commitment and also about unaccompanied asylum- seeking children and young people. Government is under pressure from organisations including Unicef, Citizens UK and a group of bishops to take at least 300 children in on top of an existing promise to relocate 3000 from North Africa over the next few years. We are in touch with our MP who has promised to keep us informed of progress. We shall keep up the pressure!

This article is rather like an iceberg! You only see 10% of what is really going on! There are injustices all around us and we are challenged by each one of them. The challenge is “What am I doing about it ? Maybe your starting point will be coming to the next ROJ meeting? Why not get a taster? Everyone’s contribution is valuable. As one of our members put it “we must be pro-active about injustice” We owe this to our God, our community and ourselves as followers of Christ.

As the Sydney Carter song puts it,

          When I need a neighbour were you there?

          I was hungry and thirsty were you there

          I was cold I was naked were you there

          when I needed a healer were you there

          wherever you travel I’ll be there

          and the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter

          I’ll be there

Dyfed Matthews (Chair ROJ Group)

dyfedm@gmail.com. www.methodist.org.uk (social justice).
www.jointpublicissues.org.uk

 
 

IMMEASURABLY MORE

‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 3:20,21).

January is traditionally the time when people join a gym to improve their fitness! Faith is also like a muscle, whose strength depends on how much we exercise it. As we start a new series entitled ‘God is able’, how can we experience God’s power in our lives ‘to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine’?

Know God’s power by praying: Prayer and power go together. Paul prays that we ‘may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’ (18). When we can grasp how much we are loved by God, this becomes the basis on which we are empowered to fulfil His will.

Know God’s power by risking: God’s ability to do ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine’ enables us to be ready to take risks for Him. When we are prepared to step out in obedience to what God says, despite the cost involved, He promises His ‘super-abundant’ (i.e. immeasurable) power to flow into our lives.

Know God’s power by trusting: Paul also prays that the Spirit would strengthen our trust in God, that ‘He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.’ (16,17). If our faith is to grow, it needs testing. God will enable us to keep following Him, despite the difficulties, delays, despair and discouragement.

‘Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God’ (William Carey).

By Rev Paul Hardingham, from The Parish Pump editorial.

 
 

 

Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life. Corrie Ten Boom

 
 

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad
the saying which was told them concerning this
child. And all they that heard it wondered at those
things which were told them by the shepherds. But
Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her
heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and
praising God for all the things that they had heard
and seen, as it was told unto them

Luke 2:17-20

 
 

ARTICLES FOR THE NEXT EDITION

Our next edition will be for Easter. Please can you get any contributions for this edition to me by Sunday 18 March 2018.

My email address is maria.s.carter7@gmail.com

Telephone: 01492 460702 Thanks very much. Maria

 
 

ASK YOURSELF, WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

Mary & Joseph , who gave their lives to God putting all their faith in him.
The innkeeper, who did his best to help those in need with what he had to give.
The shepherds, who wholly believed and rejoiced in the news of the Christ child.
The Magi, who sought him and fully embraced the one who is the keeper of eternal wisdom by protecting the child.
The angels, who could not contain their joy and shared it with everyone.
Aren't we all a bit of each of these?
The best gift of Christmas is to share the gift of hope that this story gives with others throughout the coming year.

 
 

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 
 

QUESTIONING CONWY FOOD BANK

An interview by Graham Morgan with Arwel Jones coordinator for Arc Communities who run Conwy Food Bank.

1. You are administrator for ARC Communities that run Conwy Food Bank?
          Yes, I work part-time, 20 hours a week for ARC Communities.

2. Can I ask you some basics about Conwy food bank? Can anyone get food parcels?
          In essence, yes, as long as you can show that you are struggling financially and in
          a crisis situation. You also have to be referred by an outside agency, such as
          housing benefit, social services, Citizens Advice Bureau, or others.

3. So once you are referred you can get a parcel every week and are sorted?
          No – we aim to provide food for the crisis situation you are in, whilst the other
          agencies work with you to deal with the reasons why you have found yourself in
          this situation.

4. How significant are the donations we collect here in St John's and St David's Methodist churches?
          We rely on a number of churches, throughout Conwy, to provide the bulk of the
          food we give to those in need. From a single tin of beans, to a van full of food,
          everything is needed and makes a difference. Nothing is wasted.

5. Are there other ways to help ...like giving money?
          Yes, we do have a small amount of overheads to cover. These are mostly
          related to travel and mileage costs, and also the smaller cost of heating lighting,
          and the telephone.

If you would like to help us financially, you can give just £1 a week to help us. Please don’t stop giving us food donations – they’re essential! But if everyone gave just £1 a week, that would make a huge difference to us. Find out more on http://bit.ly/CFB432

6. Do you have paid staff or volunteers?
          We rely on the hard work of many volunteers, but due to the scale of the work,
          we need a paid co-ordinator. Tony (seen at the end, on the left) was initially
          paid through a grant, but this ran out in July 2017, and we rely on donations to
          keep him employed. A number of churches have helped, but there is still a
          shortfall of several thousand.
          You can help through a CrowdFunding campaign on
          http://bit.ly/ConwyFoodBank.

7. Do you do other things? I have heard you also operate in Rhyl and Penmaenmawr?
          Yes, indeed! ARC Communities run a drop-in centre in Colwyn Bay and Rhyl, and
          last month alone we provided 545 hot meals. We also have a house in
          Penmaenmawr for those finding themselves living in chaos and crisis.

8. Has the roll out of Universal Credit helped or hindered you?
          We are only just beginning to see the effects of Universal Credit (UC) – it is due
          to be rolled out fully in this area at the beginning of 2018. Other food banks
          have reported a 30% increase in demand as UC comes into play. We have the
          capacity to cover this.

9. I understand Government grants are already cut and are being further reduced. How will you sustain your effort to help our poor?
          As austerity measures have an increasing effect on our community – increasing
          the need for our services – government grants are also being cut. We are always
          looking at ways of becoming self-sustaining, and have a charity shop, and offer
          an outside catering service.

10. Are you a Christian? Does it help power your work?
          ARC is a Christian based organisation. It is the reason why we do what we do-
          Matthew 25 challenges us all to “feed the hungry.” Undoubtedly, due to the
          power of the church coming together – collecting food and giving to us on a
          regular basis, we are able to continue to feed the hungry in our community.

ACTS 4:32 says “the believers were united … so they shared everything they had.” It is no co-incidence that giving £1 a month to Conwy Food Bank works out at £4.32 a month! United as Christians in this way undoubtedly helps power our work. Thank You to you all!

 
 

A CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS PRESENT

What’s your best-remembered childhood Christmas present? I must have been around 6 or 7 years old when I spent one Christmas Night at my Nana and Grandad’s. The stocking was duly placed at the foot of the bed and Father Christmas was expected to call during his rounds that night.

Grandad owned a fish shop (‘Robinson’s High Class Fish and Poultry’ said the shop sign) in Grange Road, Birkenhead’s main shopping street. It was next to Timpson’s shoe shop and directly opposite Woolworth’s; for a child in the post-war years of the late 40’s this was an emporium of fascination with its enormous range of goods - including those enticing coupon-commodity sweets!

Nana and Grandad lived over the shop. My bedroom had just a single bed and little else. There was a painted iron bedstead and I snuggled down to wait for the excitement of what would lie at the foot of the bed on Christmas morning.

I was not disappointed. He’d been! There lay my stocking, filled as usual with a small orange in the toe, and 2 or 3 other surprises (no bounty of ‘stocking fillers’ in those days!) and, delight of delight, a Mabel Lucie Attwell book to unwrap. I was an avid reader from an early age and the pictures in this famous illustrator’s books were enchanting. I’ve never forgotten the joy on seeing that present from Nana and Grandad.

I often wonder what Mary and Joseph would have made of the gifts of the three wise men. Astonishment must have been their initial reaction. After all, foreign sages bearing expensive presents weren’t regular callers at homes in their small off-the-road hillside village. First there’d been God’s message via the angel Gabriel about a special baby, then angel songs and visiting shepherds at his Bethlehem birth, and now the unexpected visit of these Eastern wise men. It must have dawned afresh on Mary and Joseph just how special and significant was this young child entrusted to their care.

And I wonder if there might have been a smidgen of fear - why would there be a need for such gifts when Joseph had a settled and valued trade as a carpenter? Such valuable items were standard gifts to honour a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil. Ensuing events - God’s urgent warning and King Herod’s jealous fury - found the family fleeing at night to the safety of Egypt. Gold would fund their needs during this testing refugee time; frankincense and myrrh would help to keep them healthy.

As we celebrate once again the coming of God’s best-ever gift of Jesus, ‘God-with-us’, let’s share with joy his gifts of peace, goodwill and reconciliation with everyone we spend time with this Christmas season.

God our Father,
whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem:
may the light of faith illumine our hearts and shine in our words and deeds;
through him who is Christ the Lord. Amen.
(Christmas Day collect: Common Worship)

Elizabeth Pass.

 
 
PRAYER AT EPIPHANY

Lord of all, Creator of all,
Please shine your light into this dark world.

Reveal yourself afresh we pray.

Bring new sight and understanding to eyes blinded
by commercialism, materialism, self-seeking and cynicism.

 At the start of this New Year, Lord, soften hearts and give wisdom, so that many will search and find you, just as the wise men searched and found you.

And for we who already know and love you, Lord, shine on us that we might reflect your light and make a difference, day by day. In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

By Daphne Kitching

 
 

St John’s Methodist Church, Mostyn Street, Llandudno, LL30 2NN

Church Office Lyn Brown 860439
Community Worker David McKinlay 860439
Senior Steward Janet Hughes 545429
Church Council Secretary Lyn Brown 874415
Pastoral Secretary Eileen Bennett 541103
Organist Jenny Anderson 209509
Church Treasurer Mark Ramsden  
Toddler Groups David McKinlay 860439
Sunday Seekers Val Conway 878225
     

St David’s Methodist Church, Mostyn Avenue, Craig y Don, LL30 1YY

Joint Senior Stewards Gill Baggs 872943
John Pass 546658
Church Council Secretary Caris Williams 870985
Pastoral Secretary Colin Stewart 870551
Bookings Secretary Hilary Roberts 876492
Church Treasurer Tom Williams 870985
Toddler Group Caris Williams 870985
Storykeepers Francine Moores 878877

 

 

Llandudno Methodist Churches

St John’s and St David’s Churches are part of the Conwy & Prestatyn Circuit of the Methodist Church. They share a minister, Rev Beverley Ramsden.

A leaflet is available at the back of both churches with further details about Methodism, its beliefs and practices.

Our minister is available to discuss any matter of concern, including:

The baptism of children and adults;

Information about the Christian faith;

Preparation for church membership;

Marriage preparation and ceremonies;

Funeral and memorial services.

If you would like to talk to Rev Bev about these or any other matters, she can be contacted on 01492-877799 or emailed at revbev@llandudnomethodists.org.uk