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Superintendent's Letter

September 2020

Dear friends,

We have begun a new connexional year like no other. In September last year I imagine none of us envisaged the prospect of a global  pandemic which would have such a huge impact upon our lives. We have seen the impact upon us and those we love, whether in terms of our relationships, studies, work and health. We may have found ourselves forced to adapt our way of living in ways that feel uncomfortable and unnatural. Many of us will be aware of the pandemic’s effects on people in other countries, some of which are less able to withstand the challenges than us in the UK.

September has seen several of our churches re-open for Sunday worship, albeit with limited numbers and no congregational singing. The
opportunity to worship physically with others will no doubt be a welcome relief to many, even with the necessary constraints. However, we
acknowledge that others may not find this appropriate for them at present; hence our continuing provision of online worship via Zoom and YouTube.

Reflecting the new circumstances for worship at the beginning of this connexional year I would like to share two forthcoming events:

Circuit Reflection on Worship Discussion
Tuesday 29 September at 8.00 pm via Zoom

This open discussion will allow us to reflect upon our experiences of worshipping in church under the new arrangements. We can discuss the joys and challenges as well as our ongoing questions. Revd Stephen Day will host and facilitate this discussion. Please contact Stephen on 020 8656 6997 or revstephenday@croydonmeth.org to receive the Zoom link.

Circuit Technology and Worship Forum
Tuesday 6 October at 8.00 pm via Zoom

This forum is a chance to explore how we have been using technology to enable and enhance worship. What has worked well? Sharing best
practises and technical tips. What ideas do we have as we move on? Adrian Pickett will host and facilitate this forum. Please contact Adrian on 020 8771 7222 or adrianpickett@hotmail.com to receive the Zoom link.

I pray we could continue to experience the presence of Emmanuel “God with us” during this difficult period.

God bless,

 

 

 

 

 

Dear friends,

I don’t know about you but I am finding this moment in time quite tricky to navigate. On the one hand, we are given the freedom to move around and engage in activities which weren’t possible several weeks ago; however, on the other hand, I find myself making decisions about what to do – for my wellbeing and that of others. Some of us may be facing significant decisions about study, employment and finance which have major longterm consequences.

During the last couple of months leaders within our churches have been wrestling with risk assessments to consider the re-opening of church buildings for private prayer, Sunday worship and other activities. I salute leaders in all our churches for the diligence and care they have taken when conducting these risk assessments. I have met with senior stewards and property stewards from all our circuit churches on several occasions and have been impressed by the depth of engagement with the complex issues we are facing. We have been grappling with the implications of Connexional guidance – based on government guidance – which has changed frequently, sometimes weekly, making it difficult to keep up to date. I know that all churches have consulted their members about reopening, or are in the process of so doing, to assist decision-making by the Church Council as the managing trustees.

From the beginning of September we anticipate gathered Sunday worship taking place in five churches and so I have prepared a Preaching Plan for the first time in several months. For the next few months I expect to produce a monthly Preaching Plan to give us flexibility. We anticipate that online worship – Zoom and YouTube – will continue alongside gathered Sunday worship. Please note that the YouTube services will be livestreamed on Sundays at 3.00 pm, beginning on Sunday 30 August, allowing me to lead worship in church on Sunday mornings and then offer YouTube worship in the afternoons. I hope that you will feel able to continue to experience and find support, inspiration and encouragement from Sunday worship, whether in church or online, as is appropriate to your situation.

You will be aware that all of our churches have been struggling financially during the past few months with limited giving from members and no lettings income. The result is that some churches have been unable to pay their circuit assessment in full; the circuit is thus needing to consider  means to reduce circuit expenditure, especially since we have no certainty about finances going forward. Based on proposals from our circuit stewards, last month’s Circuit Meeting agreed for an independent HR consultancy company to conduct a review into the roles of our three circuit lay employees. The circuit stewards will bring the findings of the review, and proposals stemming from it, to the Circuit Meeting next month. I would ask you to hold in your prayers everyone involved with and affected by this process.

I conclude with a lament which is part of the Connexional resource Beyond Exile: A service to celebrate a return to public worship. We may find some of our own recent experiences reflected in this lament.

God bless,

 

 

Marking loss – A lament

We thought we knew how the world was meant to be. Day followed night, every week had a Sunday and that was the day for church.
How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

We thought we knew how the world was meant to be. We made our plans,held our meetings, kept the roof on the church and the show on the road.
How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

We thought we knew how the world was meant to be. We would see colleagues, friends and loved ones again, and we would embrace, laugh and share stories as we always have. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? And now, we know something new. We know that the world is not ours to control, and that our plans are confounded by the smallest microbe.
God is teaching us a new song, for a new land.

And now, we know something new. We know that church is not committees, agendas and buildings, it is us, in homes, streets, hospitals
throughout the world.
God is teaching us a new song, for a new land.

And now, we know something new. We only have today with those we love, today is the day to say, ‘I love you’, to mend an argument, to hold on tight.
God is teaching us a new song, for a new land.