I have just returned from a ‘Re-Imagining Circuit’ morning at Mobberley Methodist, where we explored together a future Vision for mission and ministry in the different churches of our Circuit. Our prayer continues to be that we are ‘Christ centred and Spirit led’, but if we keep doing what we have always done, we will just get what we have always got! For some churches, the fear is that could mean an ageing congregation with reducing numbers. However, by re-imagining how we do our mission and ministry, that can lead to a very different narrative of a new congregation at Mobberley with many new members, our new kingdom community in Northwich ‘Zac’s House’, a growing congregation in Plumley and a new working relationship with ‘The Welcome Charity’!
I am pleased to be able to welcome people this month to ‘Firefest’, a wonderful opportunity to experience quality teaching on Colossians, inspirational worship and to be equipped in our discipleship for everyday living. The wonderful Steve Wild, a man of God whose anointed ministry blessed many throughout Methodism and beyond when he served as President of the Methodist Conference recently, returns to KMC. Alongside our good friend Shane Rootes (Washington DC), who is joined by Randy Seedorff and Mike Trivett from USA (at their own expense) as they want to see how we do our ministry at KMC! Both, have much to offer to us as they minister here and are also joined by eminent theologians Rev’d Canon Dr David Holgate and Rev Dr Raj Barat Patta. Please do make the most of this opportunity.
We are also sharing our ‘2020’s Vision Review’ at the AGM 10am on Sunday 17th March, which will be followed by a Tearfund Soup lunch for all the family. This is when we hear in more detail some of the developments that are planned in the coming months, in Uganda, with our building, in Northwich and in Knutsford. We will be using a film theme of ‘The Greatest Showman’ and consider how P.T. Barnum created a community which welcomed everyone to use their gifts (no matter how extraordinary) to serve others. Please do consider wearing a waistcoat for worship on this occasion. Top hats and canes are optional!!
I would greatly appreciate your prayers at this time, for everyone involved in Firefest and for all in leadership within our church and Circuit. This is a season of opportunity, but it is also a season of challenges and change. You will read later in this magazine, how things are changing in our ministry through ‘Hampers of Hope’ (and also our Hope Centre at the Council House) after four years of great service to many in our local community. Our thanks particularly to Jackie and Barbara, who have headed up this work on behalf of our church in partnership with others and to all who have delivered hampers and have given and sorted out our food collections and storage. This work will continue, but read later of the changes.
In John chapter 15 we read ‘I am the vine; you are the branches’, and we find that no branch can bear fruit by itself and that we are to remain in Christ. Here Jesus clearly teaches in verse two that ‘He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful’.
As we begin to tidy up our gardens during this season of Spring, we have to prune back the dead branches, flowers, weeds, so that the green shoots and buds can appear, making way in a few weeks and months for the flowers and blossoms of new life to appear. I fear that a Rhododendron which has been quite beautiful in times past, has suffered as a result of last summer and a harsh frost. I am hoping that there may still be some life there, but at the present time it does not look very hopeful and possibly some pruning is called for!
Our prayer must be that we become ever more fruitful as individuals and as a church and Circuit. In John chapter 15 verse 8 we read ‘This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’
In this season, as we begin to see change all around us in our gardens and the beautiful countryside around us, may our prayer be that we are ‘ever more fruitful’ as His children and disciples. There is much to be encouraged by and excited about in the mission and ministry of Christ, particularly as we look forward to Firefest, the AGM and the forthcoming visit of ‘The Watoto Choir’ (April 2nd), so let’s pray that we are personally fruitful in this year ahead.
Your friend and minister,
Rev. Rob Cotton
Rev. Rob’s 63rd Epistle