Rev Rob’s 70th Epistle (Nov 2019)

Dear friends,

We have enjoyed together the season of Harvest, with 160 school children and their teachers from local schools coming to share in the Harvest Experience with Peter Freeman and his team of volunteers. This was certainly well received and appreciated by all of the school staff and pupils. But we also had an amazing response to the Harvest Festival and lunch, with ‘All We Can’, the Methodist Relief agency bringing much needed aid to Ethiopia with our support. However I do think that Peter, dressed as ‘Mr Potato Head’ and the rather corny jokes, whilst all appreciated was certainly pushing the boundaries!

The evening meal at Giovanni’s with Paul Jones and Fiona Hendley, sharing their story and music, was a complete sell out and the response requesting prayerful support from them included many people asking Jesus to be their Saviour for the very first time. Guests who were in the restaurant celebrating special occasions even requested prayer and thanked us for a special evening, saying that they ‘got more than we bargained for!’ Thank you to everyone who supported this event and particularly to Heather Lawrence and Carol for all of their hard work in making this event possible.

It was good to welcome Rev Ashley Cooper (Principal of Cliff College) as our guest preacher, who was one of the task group who prepared the ‘Marriage and Relationships report’ for next year’s Methodist Conference. We will be hosting our own prayerful discussions in the Spring, before we host the Manchester and Stockport District Synod on April 25th.

Another interesting report to be discussed at next year’s conference is ‘God for All’, which is the Connexional Strategy for Evangelism and Growth. I feel that it is a real privilege that Rev Neal Stanton, Vicky Royle and I were invited to participate in the Consultation at Methodist Church Hall Westminster to help in the preparation of the strategy. You will also be pleased to hear that ‘Zac’s House’ and KMC are featured in the latest edition of ‘Connexions Magazine’. This is such an affirmation of all that Neal, Jo Wallwork and all of the team are doing in Northwich

I am also looking forward to welcoming Sam and Kelly’s son Benjamin Jack Walton into the family of our church in Baptism on Sunday 27th October at 10.45am. What a privilege it is for us to welcome children, young families and new attenders to our church. Our hospitality and welcome should always communicate love to everyone and be one expression of how we ‘passionately share God’s love with others’.

In the coming weeks, many Methodist Ministers and their families will be prayerfully considering where God is calling them to serve, whilst many Circuits will also be interviewing those Ministers to discern God’s will for the future mission and ministry of their Circuits. The Chairs of District will be meeting together from Monday 4th to Thursday 7th November, as part of the Stationing process to prayerfully match prospective Ministers and Circuits to each other.

As a church and Circuit, I am asking that we observe Monday 4th November as a day of prayer and fasting, to support the Stationing Process as it begins. There will be a prayer meeting in room 3 at 9.15am to begin our corporate prayer, but there will be other opportunities to come together and to pray specifically for all involved in this process and particularly for our own Circuit during this period. Alternatively, you can personally pray wherever you are and you can fast from food, coffee, Facebook, chocolate, or whatever enables you to focus upon your prayers.

There are so many good things happening within our church and Circuit. God is at work and so I do ask that you pray for all of the church staff and those in leadership at this time. It is good to be praying for all of our preachers, and those who teach in Kidzone. Particularly we pray for God’s protection and anointing upon Shane Rootes and Derek Balsdon as they minister to us. I would encourage you all to consider forming a prayer pod with two or three friends to pray for each other, the church and the local community as we seek God’s will for the future and a new decade beginning in 2020. There will also be a prayer tree to hand prayer requests, as leaves upon the tree, in our prayer ministry area to the rear of the worship area.

We do greatly appreciate everyone’s prayerful support for us and for each other, but let’s build upon the impetus of prayer that we are currently experiencing, in the coming weeks and months. There is so much

in our world that should bring us to our knees and I close by quoting Wilberforce and a JPIT prayer I have found particularly helpful.

“Things great have small beginnings. Every downpour is just a raindrop; every fire is just a spark; every harvest is just a seed; every journey is just a step because without that step there will be no journey; without that raindrop there can be no shower; without that seed there can be no harvest” William Wilberforce

Lead our leaders, God of wisdom

guide them past the lure of power or self importance

keep their eyes focussed on the wellbeing of all people,

give them courage to tell the truth,

empathy to listen

and enduring compassion for the voiceless.

When the paths of our opinions diverge,

the way seems treacherous or our criticism destructive

then,

for heaven’s sake,

call us all to account, to apology and to compassion

so that together we can be people of hope, truth, kindness and justice.

Your friend and minister,

Rob

Rev. Rob Cotton

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