Langley's Piece

Weekly bulletin – we 070820
Greetings everyone. It is good to be back after a (partly) restful week away near Alnwick in Northumbria. I say ‘partly’ not to emphasise that I did glance at the odd e-mail, and even assist at a friend’s funeral, but because, in reality, life – even life that involves a holiday – can be hectic. One hopes of course that on balance the times of rest and replenishment those times of business where we are compelled to respond. One also hopes that ‘a change can be as good as a rest.’ So did I find rest? Yes I did. Above all I was struck by how peaceful things were as we stayed briefly in a farm cottage close to the sea. One of my abiding memories is of a boat trip to the Farne Islands during an evening. The operators offered a ‘sunset cruise’. Unfortunately, the sunset did not appear apart from one small part of the sky, and the trip as we bounced up and down in the North Sea, was less than cruise-luxury like. This said, whilst there was no golden sunset, the clouds were dramatic, and I found that every time I changed position the view was different as the light changed. The most powerful thing that struck me was an eery effect when the suns rays penetrated through, reflected off what seemed like an oily black sea, and illuminated the underside of the heavy cloud in the sky to the point that you could see their texture. It reminded me, in a strange way, of how as Christians we can be living in less than ideal settings, buffeted by the waves (spot the  link with this week’s gospel reading), we nonetheless have within us the light of Christ that can illuminate and beautify the storm clouds that are above us, and in doing so point to our creator. I will stop there before the poetry continues but do be encouraged. 
Another moving moment was how the story of Grace Darling (from which we have the term ‘you are such a darling’, hit home as we surveyed the rocks which tore the Forfarshire steamer apart in 1838. It was Grace who spotted the wreck from her bedroom in the early hours of the morning and alerted her Father. The storm was so bad that they deemed it unsafe for any lifeboat but nonetheless ventured out in their 6-metre rowing boat. In the first wave, Grace and her father saved three people, with Grace steadying the boat. In the second wave, they saved another four. One lifeboat, launched from the ship independently, was found later the next day. But be in no doubt, there was a tragic loss of life, and only a fraction survived. I am not sure what moved me the most; the loss of life; the fact that you could see the Grace Darling’s bedroom in the lighthouse from our boat – and the knowledge that her attentiveness saved lives; or the scale of Grace Darling’s legacy; her actions inspired our nation in the values of bravery and simple virtue – and this was compounded by the fact that it sat so uneasily on her humble shoulders. Ultimately, I feel that it was the scenery which brought the scene to life, and served as a reminder that whilst we may feel powerless in the face of a calamity, our attentiveness, and our willingness to be brave and do our part, will save lives. As I reflect today, it serves as a reminder to everyone involved in our local churches to be attentive the needs of those who surround us.  Today, our storm is the pandemic, and we will make a difference. 
2. A big thanks to Rev Dale, and Grace of course (the other Grace) for providing livestream prayers in the morning whilst I was away, and organising and presenting our first online family worship. It was great to see the Hutchings family reading, see the Lego challenge in action, hear from Alan and Sue Gage about their work at the Peterborough Foodbank (and how they overcame the challenge of feeding people), and to hear the Lord’s Prayer shared by different people ( - with four Amen’s – something that was truly powerful. !) If you are online and did not get a chance to see it, you can still view it on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMl7_b8egcc Do note that if you want to add comments during the livestream you will need to subscribe to YouTube – but this is an easy step. 
In terms of that is happening this weekend, Dale and Grace have certainly lifted the bar. We may well broadcast to YouTube again; if we do so I will place links on my own Facebook profile as well as the Circuit Profile Page. The good news however, when we look at how we are carrying congregations across is that this movement seems to be happening efficiently, without people being left behind. 
3. Finally. Churches reopening. It seems to me that slowly but surely churches are thinking carefully about how we emerge from the lockdown, and we are finding that our initial ‘let’s try and then see how things go’ approach is working well, with some churches planning a reopening the following week, or the week after. Meanwhile, if you would like to invite a preacher, please let me know. By all means approach them yourself if you are part of a stewarding or leadership team, but it is helpful for us to keep track of who has visited which church for our own planning. And talking of the plan, all we ask is that you simply do your best in terms of forwarding plan requests or letting us know when you might have a clearer idea of your needs. We realise that the future is difficult to predict, but the more that we can plan (and know what resource we will need, and what we have available), the better.
Every blessing – and have a good week. Thanks for your hard work. 
You are all such Darlings. (Now there is a sign-off that I would never have predicted!)
Langley

 

Greetings all

 

Sue is on leave. I have been left to coordinate these two documents; one detailing the Vine service for this weekend, the other is my weekly bulletin. 

 

Every blessing to you all

 

Langley

 

 

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Rev. Dr. Langley Mackrell-Hey
Superintendent Minister to the Peterborough Circuit of Methodist Churches
Circuit website: www.peterboroughmethodistcircuit.org  
Peterborough Pioneer Hub: Facebook @peterboroughpioneer 
Research findings: www.fxoversight.online  
Blog: www.blog.fxoversight.online 

 

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