4th November 2020

Pastoral Letter

Dear friends

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 31 October, it has been confirmed that new National Restrictions will be brought into effect from 5 November 2020 in England.

As part of these new restrictions, places of worship and their ancillary accommodation will have to close or remain closed for congregational worship and all other user groups, with a few exceptions (See Methodist Church website for these). Unfortunately wedding ceremonies will not be permitted to take place, during this time.

As a Circuit, we will continue to offer resources for “Worship at Home”. These include a posted sheet, pre-recorded sermons on our website and a phone-in service that will allow you to listen to the weekly message by simply dialling a Northampton telephone number. The number is easy to remember and from Northampton it will be a local rate call (01604 266000). Please share this number with your friends and especially those that are not able to access our weekly services online. Our monthly podcasts can also be accessed via the circuit website https://methodist-churches-northampton.org.uk/

We are introducing a Zoom service on Wednesday evenings, during Advent. Please get in touch with the circuit office if you want to join that.

We also plan to offer a weekly Prayer meeting on Zoom in the  near future. We will let you know about these arrangements as soon as they are finalised.

If you can’t connect via the internet, these Zoom meetings can be accessed by using your landline or your mobile phone. Please speak to Sarah in the circuit office to get some advice on how to do that.

For Advent, we want to connect with the broader Methodist Church-wide Christmas campaign in 2020 #GodIsWithUs, which seeks to share people’s stories about their walk with God in this extraordinary year. If you are interested in recording or writing a short story, please contact one of the ministers.

You can contribute to our Online Worship. If you want to share in prayers (making a little recording or offering some artistic expression – doodles, poetry, sketches, etc), please send them to me. We will find ways of including them in worship.

If you need any pastoral support or know anyone who might appreciate any form of pastoral support (whether it is about joining a zoom prayer meeting or having a conversation with someone over the phone) then please do contact one of the ministers.

Please let me remind you of this story that I shared with you before.

An anthropologist was doing her research on a tribe in a remote African village. As the work was about to finish in a day or two, she decided to reward the children as her parting gift.

She collected a bag of sweets and goodies from her belongings and put it in a bag under the tree. She called the children and told them – “let’s play a game.” She drew a line about 100 meters from the tree and asked the children to line up. She explained to the children that it was a race and whoever ran the fastest would win the bag of sweets from under the tree. She instructed them to start running as soon as she gave them the signal – “on your mark, get set, go…”.

The children waited for her signal and then something strange happened! To her surprise, instead of running for the sweets, the children held hands and walked together towards the bag of sweets! Once they reached, they sat in a circle, distributed the sweets evenly, and ate them while talking to each other.

The anthropologist asked them – “Why didn’t you run? The person who ran fastest would have won the entire bag of sweets.” A young girl looked up innocently and replied – “Ubuntu”. “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

Ubuntu is a word from the Nguni family of languages spoken in Southern Africa. It can be roughly translated into English as “a person is a person through other persons”. A person cannot exist in isolation. We are all interconnected. The philosophy of Ubuntu says – “I am because we are”.

 

We need each other, my friends. Pick up a phone and speak to someone. Write a letter to a fellow church member. Whatever you can do to show our interconnectedness during this time – do it.

And also remember:

God is With Us

Your brother.

The Rev’d Romeo Regardo Pedro
Superintendent Minister
(03 November 2020)