Spring Harvest 2017 - Theme – One for all (unity)
Each year I’ve returned from Spring Harvest I’ve written an article about our experiences and the fun we’ve had – and we did indeed once again have lots of fun! But this year I feel I learnt so much and that’s what I wanted to tell you about!
Focus on John 17 (also Eph 4)
What did I learn at Spring Harvest 2017?
John 17 is a recount of Jesus’ prayer for the world
What does it tell us?
· We have one God who is available for all
· We have been saved by Grace, Jesus died on the cross to save us all
· We have been given an invitation to accept Jesus into our lives, we just need to RSVP
· The individual person comes first – love yourself this is key, it empowers you to love and accept the people around us
· Our identity is in Christ – this is who we are – we are loved – accept this – therefore we show love
· God accepts all
· John 17 v21 “May they be one so the world might know” – we are told to be united to show the world God’s love
· We stand collectively to show the world – allowing God to work in us and through us
What can we learn from it?
· Unity is only found in Jesus
· Unity is not uniformity
· We are a family (and families disagree at times)
· Accept that we may disagree don’t sweep it under the carpet or paper over the cracks – we need to listen, be willing, be true to scripture, keep love at the core
· In the face of all our disagreements – in Christ we still stand together
· Acceptance v agreement – we can be different, we can accept we don’t agree
· Build bridges not walls
· The strategy of the kingdom is in relationships
· When dealing with disagreements it’s not what we disagree about but how we go about it
· Is it conflict when we disagree or just diversity?
· Diversity promotes growth
· Ensure the church doesn’t split on minor issues
· Its not just the power of our convictions its how we do it
· Staying together is powerful
· Even if we have had good intentions – if we separate ourselves from the ones we love – we have missed the call to love all
· If we cause a separation through our opinions then we are guilty of judging – we are walking in judgement and separated ourselves from the very people we have been called to lead
· Learn how to disagree well
· Make every effort to make peace (build relationships) even if they make it difficult for you – forgive
· We have more in common than what divides us
What does it ask us to do?
· It is our responsibility to get the church on the move – not be a static organization (Semantu)
· How does the outside world see us? The world is watching – we need to be like Jesus
· Are we influencing people towards Christ?
· When people come into the Church - give them space don’t expect them to get it straight away let them GROW AS THEY GO! Church is a SPACE FOR GRACE
· We have a missional God – he is always reaching out
· The love of God is to gather nations – welcome strangers home
· We have 3 things to do
o Pray – for the Glory to be known
o Tell of Gods Glory – what he has done
o Trust in him to fulfil his promises
· Trust God
· Trust the holy spirit
Where do we start?
· From the kitchen table – let the grace flow
· In your home, with your family, talk about what’s happened this week – how has God moved in your life? Tell a story
· From there be hopeful of unity, imagine and different way of doing things, be creative – start living as if it were true!
1. We are one
2. We are family
3. We learn to disagree well
4. We serve all
5. We are sent – united – to share God’s Glory - amen!
By Shelley Piercy
Risk Taking Mission and Service (RTMS)
Sapcote Methodist Church; Family Day 2017
Our church Family day was based on Robert Schnase 5 Practices of a Fruitful congregation and this time; The Practice of Risk-Taking Mission and Service. The stewards team led the day with support from Jill Marsh who is the Director of Mission for the Northampton Circuit.
· God strengthens the body of Christ through mission and service
· God calls us to change lives for those within and beyond the congregation – beyond the inner circle of the church
· Stretching us beyond the circle of relationships and practices that routinely define our faith commitments
· Deliberate effort to improve the conditions of others
· Congregations that risk in love and compassion attract those who seek genuine community
What does the word of God tell us about Risk Taking Mission and Service? (RTMS)
· Micah 6:8
· Matthew 25:40
· Matthew 20:26-28
· 1Cor 13 1&2
· James 1:22
We are called to make disciples of Jesus. We cannot simply attend church on a Sunday and leave Jesus there at the door. We need to be living out the gospel in our everyday lives 24:7.
Current Mission at SMC
We evaluated what we already do at Sapcote Methodist Church
We have a number of activities currently that
· Foodbank, Messy Church, Tools with a mission, Thursday Teas, Youth Club, Open the Book, financial support for emergency appeals, Lawrence House, outreach to the new housing development, a church hall for community groups to use, Reality Bus, Christmas Cards,
We also have individual members who are involved in mission
· Supporting Emmaus Charity, The Vine Christian Bookshop, Donating to Christians against Poverty, Sponsoring a child through the Compassion charity, Talking about your faith at work or with non Christian friends and family
The discussion led us to think about the difference between Service (serving God) and Mission (taking His word out into the community) and whether what we do really challenges us – takes us out of our comfort zone – (that’s the risk taking bit!)
What makes it risk taking?
Not expecting people to commit to a sponsored bungy jump! The risk comes from having a go at something new – as Christians do we have a ‘fear of failure’ - Are we any good at experimenting? Do we like challenge? Do we like change even?
If something works well we feel blessed but if it going wrong or isn’t 100% successful we feel it has been in affective
To make it Risk taking mission – its about putting ourselves out there – having a go – going beyond our normal boundaries
The Hinckley Circuit is benefitting from studying Robert Schnase’s book 5 Practices of Fruitful Congregation. The idea of studying these materials is that we can continue with our mission to be (in the words of Schnase) “vibrant, fruitful and growing congregations” to ensure that we fulfil God’s mission to make disciples of Jesus.
Here at Sapcote we have heard lessons on the first 3, Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship and Intentional Faith Development. In fact Judith Cooke preached only a couple of weeks ago on Passionate Worship for a second time to remind us how to engage in worship. She helped us to identify the following points from Schnase’s book.
What is worship?
The purpose of worship should be to change lives; either for ourselves or to impact others. (By worship I don’t just mean the singing, I mean the whole of the service.)
Worship calls us out of our everyday life so that we might offer our love to God. After all, when we worship we are singing to God, playing instruments for God, dancing for God, praying to God, participating in drama for God When reading the bible and saying the prayers we worshiping God.
Worship should open our hearts to hear God’s message to us. It prepares us spiritually so that we listen carefully to God as he speak to us through the preacher or minister.
Worship helps us as a congregation to grow the living body of Christ. Our Worship should be drawing people in. It is our collective responsibility as a church to ensure that our congregation continues to grow. Our worship should inspire our current congregation and inspire others to come and visit.
Why Passionate Worship (using the word passionate may appear odd!)
We should have strong feelings about worship, our worship should change lives. Every Sunday should feel like Easter! Each time we worship it should have that same joyous celebration that we experience at Easter; knowing that Jesus is Alive! He died that we might be saved! Alleluia! Passionate worship should lead to change in our hearts, either gradually or some may experience a sudden more overwhelming connection with God. Do we feel changed by worship? When we leave a service hopefully we feel that God’s spirit has changed us through our worship with him.
Should our worship change?
When we do something for a long time, it can lose its impetus. We can become too familiar, almost taking it for granted. Without passion in our worship we run the risk of worship becoming dry, predictable and routined. We should never attend worship out of a sense of obligation or tradition. We should be attending worship with a feeling of “I can’t wait to join in!”
Worship should inspire…
Worship should be our tonic for the week! It should build us up to face the week ahead. Worship should bend hearts towards God and hands toward others. We should leave worship feeling personally closer and more connected with God and inspired to connect with others in order that we may spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Worship just on a Sunday?
When we use the term worship we tend to think of our attendance at church on Sunday. However worship should be about connecting with God privately and personally. It is about developing our relationship with God. Therefore we can’t just come before him just once a week! It’s about considering what opportunities there are to come before the Lord throughout the week. (We will be thinking more about this as we continue to study the 5 practices).
Well I’m not involved in leading worship so I don’t need to do anything!
We can all contribute to improving the worship in our church. We can do this in the following ways:
Be flexible to change
Don’t be static
Ask God to stir our souls, strengthen us as a congregation so that we can grow.
The Steward’s team would love to hear your views on Passionate Worship at Sapcote Methodist church. If you have any suggestions or would like to give your feedback please contact us.
Last year at Church Council we heard Carol Bray had decided to resign as leader of the mission group. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Carol and all involved with the Mission Group for all the efforts that they made to develop the role of the mission team. The Stewards then had to discuss the next steps for the Mission group, which we have been doing over a number of months giving it very careful consideration, even taking it to district level for consultation! We take everything very seriously!
The stewards discussed what mission meant to them. We seemed to be in agreement that ‘mission’ was everyone’s remit; not just the church leadership team or individual groups but every member/attendee of the church. We saw ‘mission’ as evangelism. As Christians and disciples of Jesus, we all have a responsibility to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We felt that as a church body we spread the good news through so much of what we already do. Here is a summary of how we felt we already fulfil ‘mission’.
We also felt that individual groups ‘spring up’ to meet the needs of areas that need developing:
Lent and Easter at Sapcote Methodist Church 2016
Lent has traditionally been a time when people give up things for a while. Just as Jesus had to go without for 40 days we too have a go at giving up and often it’s our favourite things like chocolate. However, Jesus also took up the cross and carried it to Calvery. So an alternative idea for the Lent season, is to do something, rather than give something up. This year attending the Lent course enabled me to do just that. Five study sessions based on the Film Casablanca with an opportunity to study scripture, engage in thinking (not too academic!) and discussion with fellow Christians, to help us gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We gathered in church on a Tuesday evening to watch film clips and study the bible in a very friendly and informal way. I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and felt that I learnt so much more than if I had read my bible at home alone. It was lovely to meet and discuss with fellow Christians. This is the fourth Lent season I have attended a film course and highly recommend it. Look out for details of the 2017 course. I hope to see you there!
Maundy Thursday Service
Wow! Rev Sue led us in worship in a truly moving service on Maundy Thursday. It was opportunity for quiet reflection, and contemplation as we thought about the Last Supper and how our Saviour knew what was about to befall Him. How He knew He would be betrayed and how He acted so humbly washing the feet of his followers. We thought deeply about this act and how the culture of that time gave it such importance and whether or not it had a place in today’s acts of worship. As a symbolic act of servitude we too had our feet cleansed amidst prayerful reflection. It was a moving experience.
Easter Sunrise Service
My second time at an Easter Sunrise Service and once again I was moved by the sense of peace and tranquillity that can be found at Rosena’s Garden. There is something so special about meeting at Sunrise (and I’m not an early bird!). A dramatic re-enactment of when Mary discovered the empty tomb, and hymns in the fresh air, watching the sunrise over the fields, on a glorious Easter Morning! What a wonderful way to start our Easter Celebrations, wishing each other a very happy Easter! We then travelled back to Chapel to celebrate further with a fabulous breakfast cooked by Ken! Thank you Ken very lovely!
Easter Day Service
Christ is Risen! Christ is Alive! Alleluia!!! 11am and back at Church (I confess I did have a sleep in between the Sunrise Service and the 11 o’clock service!) Rev Sue led the worship to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! It was a very joyful service and thought provoking too! We focussed on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus and how it is a great witness to the immense power of God! And also for those believers in the Christian Faith death is not the end, there is life after death. Praise the Lord!
Easter Celebrations were wonderful! I am looking forward to next year already see you there!
Once again (4th year in a row!), a group from Sapcote Methodist Church attended the Spring Harvest Christian festival and once again it did not disappoint! This year we travelled to Minehead instead of Skegness yet it still had that familiar feel to it and this year’s theme ‘Game Changers’ seemed more inspiring than ever!
So what does it mean to be a Game Changer? The bible study was based around episodes in Moses’ life and how we could learn from them. We journeyed through key moments in Moses’ ministry, identified parallels in Jesus’ work and explored how we too could be Game Changers for God. I will confess as I write this I am going to quote the Game Changers book written by Gavin Calver but it’s such an inspiring book forgive me. We listened to him preach too and he was awesome!
We were asked to consider how in an age that is characterised as the ‘digital revolution’ with a big emphasis being placed on social media and how many place so much importance on such things, what impact can the church have? It may seem that Christianity is fast becoming marginalised in our society. The church is no longer the epicentre of our community. Even worse if you admit to being a Christian you are labelled as being ‘weird’. Worse still there seems to be a kudos and credit in atheism which appears to have an intellectual weight attached to it. I will quote Calver here… “[atheism] is often seen as intellectually superior, whilst in order to be a Christian you can just leave your brain at the door”.
Yet people seem to be looking for spirituality in their lives. Spiritual trends come and go, for example feng shui, meditation and yoga, and now mindfulness, (not heard of that yet? You will!). So in this difficult time where Christianity seems so side-lined in our mainstream culture, What can we do about it? Do we need to do something about it?? Yes! In his book Calver reminds us that in the Sermon on the Mount we are called to the salt and light, Jesus calls us “to flavour the world and bring about difference within in it!” It is not always easy to stand up for what we believe in. But just like Jesus did we have to stand up and be different. We need to be influencers not let society influence us! Challenging? Yes! But we do not need to be afraid for God is with us!
Moses and Jesus didn’t have it easy either! We face many challenges and opposition and we have to “cling on to God and take on the world in his name. Regardless of what’s going on around us, following Jesus remains the only way to know what it is to live.” Amen to that! We Christians need to stand up and promote this message, being careful not to let society drag us under, not be tempted just to fit in. It is time for our Church to step up! We must be a church on a mission in a world that desperately needs to see and hear the love of God!
We are longing for this nation and the world to be transformed by the power of Jesus. Let’s encourage one another to join his mission, however it might look for us. We want to be God’s Game Changers too! If you would like to find out more at Café Worship we will be studying more of the Game Changers’ Theme. Alternatively read the Game Changers book by Gavin and Anne Calver:2016:Monach
Church Family Day/Away Day – Intentional faith development, 7th November
About 20 people braved the torrential rain to meet for our away day at Church on 7th November. The day started with drinks and pastries, followed by a time of worship led by Sheila Grice. This included prayer and songs – some familiar and some new.
Rev Sue then talked to us about intentional faith development. What is it about? I learned from Sue that it is about setting aside time (intentionally) to develop and grow in our faith. This may be on our own but also it is about meeting together in groups to learn, encourage each other and share faith. Intentional faith development is also about knowing your bible.
We had some discussion time in small groups thinking and talking about our early experiences of hearing about the Bible, faith and God’s love for us. We also had some personal reflection time to think about what our own personal faith development opportunities are and where are the gaps that we might want to think about filling….
After a faith lunch with lots of food and chat, we moved on to talk about what opportunities there are currently in our church and what we can improve on. We talked about both how we can develop our own personal faith and also encourage new people. We came up with some ideas of building on what we currently do and also some new ways that we can inspire growing in faith in our congregation.
The day finished on time (almost) with Rev Sue saying a few words to summarise the day followed by a song. There was a lot to think about and reflect on. As a starting point, I made some notes to myself to find some radio stations and websites that I wasn’t previously aware of. You will find more information about these in the weekly newssheet.
There will be more information from the stewards soon about how we are going to move forward to develop more opportunities within our church for intentional faith development, so watch this space.
My thoughts on Spring Harvest
Our Diamond Dozen
Splendid Strolls by Sea and Sand
Treasure Island the Panto
This year it’s Treasure Island, a Christian pantomime loosely based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, and written, produced, directed, and performed entirely by the enthusiastic amateurs in the congregation.
So the story began. The hero Jim Hawkins (Shelley Piercey) works in an Inn owned by his mum dame Aggie (Malcolm Ware) and his simpleton brother Simon (David Watts). Life looks grim but Jim unexpectedly inherits an ancient pirate map from a drunken sailor. Unfortunately the infamous pirate Short Joan Silver (Rebecca Seviour) and her crew of cut throat women pirates also find out and want the map. The rich ship owner squire Trewlawney (Will Taylor) and his lovely daughter Rosie (Sheila Grice) agree to help search for the treasure, but accidently recruits the pirates as the crew. Chaos now reigns.
Good fairy (Lauren Lissamen) tries to keep order, but is thwarted by the bad fairy (Grace Hurst), who produces a host of unexpected baddies including the pirate captain Blackbeard (Ken Crosse) and two naughty genies (Lillie Bray and Esme Black).
So they all set sail on the good ship Hysteriola, Jim helped by the squire, Rosie the love of his life, the brave first mate Sam Arrow (Alistair Piercey), and the incompetent ship’s captain Jed (Les Makepeace) who bizarrely thinks he auditioned for star wars, try to control the ship.
But I did say this was a Christian Panto didn’t I? So could there ever be a Christian message, not to mention a happy ending to all this chaos.
Helped along by some amazing!!! Singing performances, the story twists and turns until eventually Rosie marries Jim (can’t imagine what music came to mind at this point), everyone (except the pirates and maybe captain Jed) lives happily ever after.
So finally the big question was who had the most fun? The audience or the caste, and then finally when are we doing another one?