28th November 2020

Pastoral Letter

Dear friends,

Following the Government’s statement on 25 November, it has been confirmed that
new Local Restriction Tiers system will be brought into effect from 2 December 2020
in England. The key thing to note is that communal worship will be able to restart
from 2 December in all Local Restriction Tiers.
Northampton is in Tier 2, High Alert. The following applies to us as worshipping
communities:
1. PLACES OF WORSHIP Open, but cannot interact with anyone outside
household or support bubble.
2. WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships,
wedding receptions and wakes; 30 for funerals.


Our own Circuit churches will be open for worship when they can within the
regulations but please check the plan for details (you can access this through your
local Church Steward or through the Circuit office).
I am repeating this from the previous pastoral letter: Please note that as a Circuit,
we will continue to offer resources for “Worship at Home, to enable those who
cannot return to worship in a building, to worship as part of our dispersed worship
community. 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/

In addition, we offer the following:

  1. Advent study guide (available on website).When we learn the
    discipline of preparing our hearts – for worship, for Scripture reading, for each
    day’s activities – we discover a greater depth and richness to life, and we learn
    to recognise the signs of God’s coming into our daily life experiences, that we
    would probably miss in the rush and busyness of life. This resource
    encourages us to read the Scriptures and reflect on their relevance for our
    daily life.
  2. Prayer every Tuesday at 7pm (for 20 minutes) on Zoom. This is something we
    have wanted to do for some time now – to ensure that everything we do as a
    team is grounded in prayer. This is especially relevant as we speak to one
    another in the months to come, about where God is leading us as a circuit.
  3. Advent Bible Study (phone in) with Roade Methodist Church: Mondays at
    1pm.
  4. Advent Group sessions (on Zoom): Wednesdays at 7:30pm; and Thursdays
    (on Zoom) with Kingsthorpe at 7:30 pm.
  5. Christingle (on Zoom) on the 22nd of December.
  6. A pre-recorded Carol Service on the 24th of December to be used any time of
    the day, but preferably at 11pm, so that we create some sense of communal
    worship at that time).

 

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.
Thank you to those of you who have contacted me to contribute to prayers by
making a little recording or offering some artistic expression – doodles, poetry, and
sketches. We will include these in our services over the next weeks and months. For
those of you that still want to do that, please contact me.
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.
I am often challenged and encouraged by the life and ministry of John the Baptiser.
The one remarkable thing about John was not his words – but his practice. This was
a preacher who practiced a simple lifestyle….. no fancy clothes, no sumptuous
meals, and no luxurious home. John wore the clothes of the poor, ate the food of the
poor and lived on the margins of society.
I wonder if the restrictions this Christmas are challenging us to draw on this tradition:
as we prepare to encounter God afresh this Christmas season, could we choose to
live on the margins of the vortex of fashion, food and fetish? And most especially for
those of us who are followers of Jesus: Let us all be challenged to dress simply, eat
more simply, and live with less ostentation.

Your brother.

The Rev’d Romeo Regardo Pedro

Superintendent Minister

(28 November 2020)