Langley's Piece

Weekly Bulletin from Rev Langley (8/10/20)

Greetings folks,


This is a much shorter bulletin than usual. It has been a busy week for me, including morning Livestream prayers, a visit to Brookside last Sunday to lead Communion, one church council meeting, one trustees meeting, and an encouraging meeting between Grace Sherriff, Oliver McAllister, (Young Leaders Scheme Coordinator for the Northampton Methodist District) and myself, and prepping for the forthcoming Circuit Meeting.
The essential things are:


1. We need to involve more people in creating content for Livestream services, especially in reading scripture. You may have seen one of two videos that are now online: One simply inviting people to be bold and 'press the red button'. This is intended to encourage people to think about going live themselves, and then having the confidence to perhaps join us in helping lead prayers or the Sunday Service online. This may be the next step for some people. We have had two offers so far, which is really encouraging, but we need more. Note also a second video 'Basic Lighting, including how not to give yourself three chins', which should help people grow in confidence. 


We are also interested to hear from anyone who is interested in compiling worship services - the material for Rev Dale's service is compiled from clips: Prayers, music, readings, all-age illustrations, for example, that come together, and then the service is posted online. This additional work is time consuming, and Grace has been supporting us thus far but, in order to release Grace to focus more on developing her own segments (last week's all-age star exercise was great), or to look at how we use social media to help young people to connect, we need other people to assist. I am not quite sure how things would work, but I am keen to develop an 'all-age' team. It may well be that we have people who can work behind the scenes on this. It is the kind of thing that someone who is already confident enough to – for example - put together a PowerPoint presentation could take on. If this interests you, please let me know. 


2. Do keep abreast about the latest advice from the Methodist Church, especially as it looks like there will be regional changes to what is permitted across the country. Do make sure that you guard against people gathering after church, and honour the principle that services should be 30-40 minutes. (You can see this advice on the newly updated, 'Guide to using your Worship Space' which is available on the Coronavirus/Property Section of the Methodist Website.)  Even though it is hard, we need to discourage people from gathering, which is yet another reason that, sadly, refreshments after worship (even if we can do them safely) remain impossible. 


3. Please pray for the good folk of Westgate New Church who will be meeting with three of their key partners this week; Peterborough Association for the Blind, CROPS, and Peterborough Christian Books (Christian bookshop). The aim of the meeting is to allow WNC to confer over what they have agreed with the developers so far. We have heard that WNC has indeed been selected as one of two projects in the District that will be supported under the New People for New Places scheme. Historically, progress with the North Westgate Development has been high in terms of vision but low in terms of action - but we may be at a point where things are progressing. WNC's vision, as outlined in their mission statement, is to work with and move in partnership with the community groups that it supports. I would also ask your prayers for the church as we discern the future of the manse, which is owned by the URC but managed by the local congregation. 


We live in exciting times where we are seeing new opportunities, and new people becoming involved in the life of our churches in general (I noticed three new people attended Brookside last week, despite the pandemic). However, we also live in testing times where we are also seeing a decline in the people who would usually support us. My view on this - and I know that I am not alone in this - is that (i) We can often worry about things ahead of time - predicting a scenario that is not with us yet and (ii) We always tend to predict the most negative outcome rather than anticipating that, on the other hand, positive things can happen. 


I remain committed to the Methodist Church retaining a presence and working in partnership with the URC to demonstrate the love of God, in word and action, to the City of Peterborough. Wherever we are. Whilst we will always need key people, what is more important is that our hearts are simply focused on honouring God and His plan for us. And I am actually excited for us as a circuit as a whole - and predict that the Coronavirus will not shake us apart as God's people, but shake us more together. If you feel led / drawn to have some part in God's mission to the heart of Peterborough (and the evidence from the Night Shelter and the Foodbank is that this is indeed the case), then let me know. WNC may well need you. I also sense we are reaching a point where we will see more and more people serving across the Circuit as a whole, being a member of one church but volunteering in another. It is merely an extension of what is happening already. 


4. Advance warning - and part-extracted from a mailing that I received today - more information will follow - The Methodist Church will be launching a high profile new campaign on Sunday 4th October called ‘Reset the Debt: A fresh start for families in Britain swept into debt by Covid-19’ -


‘The experience of the pandemic has been hard for so many of us. But for many families who were already only just surviving it has also meant huge amounts of unavoidable debt. Many people have had to borrow in order to pay for basics such as food.  


The lockdown has magnified the inequalities in society. While higher income groups were able to pay off debt, the huge increase in Covid debt has been focused on the poorest families and the groups who were already most disadvantaged - Black families, for example, are 3 times more likely than white families to carry Covid-debt.  Families with children or disabled people have also been badly hit.

Measures to pause evictions or arrears simply delay debt collection, and mean the stress and burden of debt may continue for years. We need a just and urgent solution to release people who are already on low incomes from this unavoidable and unpayable debt so they are on a firmer footing to face the uncertain economic winter.


Together with the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church, and Church Action on Poverty, the Methodist Church is calling on the Chancellor to establish a Jubilee Fund, to give families a fresh start, free from Covid debt’.


The campaign will be launched on Sunday 4 October.  

Every blessing,