A Happy New Year and New Decade to all of you reading this letter, who I have not had opportunity to greet in person. As I write to you, I want to thank you all for helping to make our last Christmas in Knutsford feel so special and possibly the very best that we have shared with you. It was so good to repeatedly hear the comment, “this has been our best ever Carol Service/ Concert with you”. As we have been making many memories together, it has been such a privilege to once again see God at work in people’s lives and to sense His presence with us in tangible and transforming ways.
Since I last wrote, we have had the privilege of celebrating the life and faith of Mike Tolchard and Rose Cannon (Gareth Crookes’ Grandmother). We continue to pray for all who have recently been bereaved and, at this time, we join with our friends at Alderley Edge and in the Circuit praying for the family of Peter Young (Formerly our Senior Circuit Steward and serving as Senior Church Steward at Alderley Edge Methodist) who recently suddenly died. We particularly pray for his wife Marjorie, son Ian and daughter Jane. Ministering to them and to our own church members in hospital and local homes has been one of the privileges of my ministry recently.
Alongside all that has been happening, it has been good to share with people in our various prayer meetings; there does seem to be a fresh impetus of prayer undergirding all that God is doing amongst us. In particular, Carol and I have appreciated the prayerful support as we have been preparing for the Stationing process.
In fact, as I write, we have just accepted an invitation to the ‘Aire and Calder Circuit’ where I will have pastoral care of Sandal, Walton, Crigglestone and Newmillerdam Methodist Churches, whilst developing a new Fresh Expression focused upon Newmillerdam Country Park.
I am pleased that the refurbishment of our toilet facilities is now well under way and thank you all for your patience whilst this work has proceeded. Activities have had to be cancelled, postponed or adapted during this period, but this sacrifice will all be worthwhile, as our premises are equipped to serve the church in its mission and ministry within the local community. In fact, it is also exciting to see some other general improvements to our building being gradually made, particularly in providing a more appropriate space for our Youth Work.
In the coming weeks, we will be hearing of the latest developments for the work of ‘Hope Through Action’ at our 7pm Café Church on 2nd February and we will all have the opportunity to consider the forthcoming report on marriage and relationships ‘God in Love unites us’ when we share a 1pm lunch followed by a discussion on 9th February. This will be followed by Marriage themed worship services on 16th February when, at 10.45am, we are also thrilled to be welcoming, in Baptism, Arthur Cureton (son of Laura and Jack, Grandson of Peter and Dawn Freeman).
Preparations are already underway for Firefest (March 13th-15th) and Easter, dare I say, so the season of Lent also begins during February! I began this letter by reminding you of Jesus coming into our world and conclude by focussing upon us prayerfully preparing to remember his death for us. As I place the bread into people’s hands as part of a Communion Service in church, or privately in their homes and speak of remembering his body being broken for us and doing this in remembrance of Him, the joy and mystical presence of Christ in that moment never ceases to thrill my heart. Whatever else I am called to do as part of the mission and ministry of our church and Circuit or elsewhere, these moments will always stay with me.
We have said the Covenant prayer together as a church, recommitting ourselves to serving Him as and where He chooses. We pray that His will be done and His kingdom come in our lives, His church and in our world. We pray this together and individually as His children, trusting in Christ and in Him alone. Let’s see what this means for each of us, as we share in our faith adventure, journeying with Him.
Your friend and minister,
Rev. Rob Cotton