Forest Methodist Circuit - Company Message
Circuit News & Events

Please see below a message from Revd Tony Malcolm, the Circuit Superintendent Minister, dated 17 March 2020:

Dear all,

Following the Government guidelines yesterday, their suggestion to avoid non essential contact also includes faith gatherings. Therefore I ask your support in the following 2 areas:

1. I am cancelling the Circuit Meeting on Thursday 19th. If possible, Dallion will try to set up a conference call for the CLT & Circuit Finance Group on Thursday evening at 7.30pm in order that we can discuss some of the issues we are and will be facing as a Circuit.

Most of the paper work for the meeting has been circulated. If anyone has any comments they would like the group to consider, please let me have them by 2pm on Thursday. Thank you for your understanding. A summary of the conversation will be circulated after the call.

2. I am recommending, in accordance with The Methodist Church guidance, that we close all church buildings, not holding any non essential meetings, and that there be no public worship until we are advised to do so. In this way we will play our part in the containment of this disease. All alternatives suggested will involve placing some members at risk, and this is something we cannot knowingly do.

The Methodist Church guidance also mentions that during this incredibly difficult time when people might want to spend time in prayer in their Methodist Church, local trustees should consider whether it is possible to open up their churches to enable people to come to pray or sit quietly, perhaps offering prayer stations as a point of reflection, with precautions around physical distancing. This is something to be decided locally.

This has been a very difficult and challenging decision to make and not one the Church will have taken lightly but it is the responsible thing to do to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.

I know many of you will have concerns and will either be in a vulnerable age group or have other vulnerabilities, or you may have concerns about protecting your loved ones and are therefore self isolating.

What will be important during these unusual and stressful times is that we continue to support and care for one another - practically, emotionally and spiritually. This is where the pastoral systems in the local church are tested, and I hope you are able to look out for one another - keeping in touch with other members mainly by phone, but also via social media, church websites and e-mail links if your churches have them. Just because groups, meetings and church don't take place doesn't mean that we cease to be church.

Lastly, take courage my friends and as it says in Galatians 6:2 'bear one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.' And also this passage from Psalm 46:1 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.'

Revd Tony Malcolm
(Circuit Superintendent)

Winter Soup Kitchen:
Food Rescue and Redistribution at Leytonstone Methodist Church

Since February 2019 Leytonstone Methodist Church has been hosting Transition Leytonstone's Community Fridge Project. Sacks of bakery and morning goods donated by local branches of Gail's Bakery, Tescos, Salisbury's and Today Bread, are set out on a stall next to the church every Friday/Saturday/Sunday from noon until 3 pm (or earlier, if the food runs out). Anyone and everyone is welcome to take what they need, with help and advice from the knowledgeable volunteers. This is not a food bank, but a waste reduction project, which at the same time helps people access food that they would perhaps struggle to afford. Approximately 60 people use the stall every day: mums, dad with children, toddlers, and babies, churchgoers, cake 'addicts', pensioners, teachers, jobless folk, rough sleepers, and of course least but not least, the charities and churches who cook for them.

To give you an idea of the scale of this operation, on Sunday, March 17th 2019, the stall had received a record 84 kgs (185 lbs) of bakery. All of it went before 3pm, with help from Cann Hall Mosque, the Leytonstone United Free Church, and the Salvation Army, all of which cook for the homeless and/or run night shelters. No further proof needed that we are a strong community and getting stronger all the time!

Diana Korchien
Project Lead, Community Fridge and Best Before
Transition Leytonstone

Review of Safeguarding course on Spiritual Abuse, 2 November 2019

This course was run by Dr Lisa Oakley, who is the Chair of the Church of England task and Finish Group on Spiritual Abuse. The venue was Loughton Methodist Church who made everybody most welcome, especially at lunch time. 

The course was devised particularly for those in Preaching positions and others in positions of authority. Almost a hundred people attended which was an impressive turnout.

Lisa Oakley gave two presentations and after each one there were group discussions on the points raised and then the groups reported back. 

For the reviewer, two closing comments from Dr Oakley which stick in the memory were:
i). that if people were nicer to one another then it would make everyone's lives better and 
ii). somebody's naturally abrasive style was unacceptable.

Thanks are due to all those who organised the day particularly Dr Oakley, Malcolm Bell (Circuit Safeguarding Officer) and members of Loughton Methodist Church. With apologies to any I have left out. 

Peter Richardson 

Good news: a new defibrillator
Rev Hilary Cheng, the Minister of Winchester Road Methodist Church is pleased to announce that the members have recently installed a defibrillator on the external church wall, for the use of the church and the community. 

She says that as a church at the centre of the community, it feels as if we are the heartbeat of Highams Park.

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