Winter 2019 Pastoral Letter from the Superintendent

Home » News Stories » Winter 2019 Pastoral Letter
Working Together

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I must begin with a word of gratitude for the welcome and generous hospitality that Mary and I have received since we moved from the South-East District to the Gloucestershire Circuit. Many people were involved in preparing the manse so we could make it our home and there was a wonderful fridge full of food waiting for us. People have been patient and generous in introducing us to Gloucester, where we are already enjoying living, and helping me as I look, listen and learn about this Circuit, its context and its multiplicity of stories.

Having the break between appointments over the summer gave me time to do some reading for relaxation. Encouraged by the TV series I decided to read Margaret Attwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, which is about a dystopian future in which an authoritarian regime run by men using fear, violence and propaganda values women only on the basis of whether they can bear children. Its a chilling and prophetic account of what happens when people cease to recognise and value one another as unique human beings. Both the oppressor and the oppressed are dehumanised in the process.

Contrast this with the themes that run through the Bible of God's purpose for all people. The prophet Micah spoke of people fulfilling their full potential when they do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. In John's Gospel, Jesus is reported as saying that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. This is surely about God's intention that we should all reach our full potential as human beings and the invitation to discipleship is to share in God's project to make this a reality for others and to enjoy it for ourselves.

In the coming months and years I look forward to being alongside you as we work out together what it means for us to be faithful to God's purpose in a world where the things that dehumanise people are all to evident. If we are honest we sometimes do it to each other in the church as well in the way we handle conflict and disagreement. The call to recognise and affirm the humanity of others means we have a contribution to make in facing up to the big issues of our time. Our confidence in God means that we bring the perspective of hope and the steady conviction that God purpose will be achieved. I have always been attracted by the prayer from the Iona Community that says "In us, through us and if need be despite us, let your Kingdom come." which sets us free from the idea that it all depends on us.

A good starting place is to treat one another, and all our neighbours with a generosity and hospitality that reflects all that we have been given by God in Christ.

May God continue to richly bless us.

John Hellyer (Superintendent)

You may also be interested in

sky,grass,people,holding hands
Circuit Webteam: Wed 12 Feb 3:07pm

Pastoral Letter from the SuperintendentDear Sisters and Brothers,You may have seen the posters in your church which tell people what the core purposes of the Methodist Church are.Our CallingThe calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God's love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission.It does this through:WorshipThe Church...

Nativity - slideshow
Circuit Webteam: Thu 19 Dec 11:20am

You are warmly invited to share in the Christmas Services being held in our chapels throughout GloucestershireYou can also download and print our Christmas ServicesChurchChristmas EveChristmas DayAbbeydale18.00 Carol Service with Revd Peter Clarkson10.00 All Age Worship with Revd Peter Clarkson 23.30 Holy Communion with Revd Peter..

Browsing and buying
Circuit Webteam: Sat 09 Nov 9:00am

Despite near freezing temperatures and torrential rain, the local community turned out in their hundreds to help Lonsdale Road Methodist Church in Gloucester raise well over £1500 during their two hour annual Autumn Fayre.Wood-craft, cakes, baskets full of produce and gifts, mouthwatering bacon butties, books, toys and games, an auction of meat, and a host of competitions were just some...

Calendar

Latest news

sky,grass,people,holding hands
Spring 2020 Pastoral Letter
Circuit Webteam: Wed 12 Feb 3:07pm
Nativity - slideshow
Christmas services
Circuit Webteam: Thu 19 Dec 11:20am
Browsing and buying
All that Jazz!
Circuit Webteam: Sat 09 Nov 9:00am
Working Together
Winter 2019 Pastoral Letter
Circuit Webteam: Thu 24 Oct 12:05pm

Publications

Gloucestershire chapels
Spring Quarter Preaching Plan
PDF file
Gloucestershire chapels
Christmas Services 2019
PDF file
Gloucestershire Methodists
Winter Quarter Preaching Plan
PDF file
Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit
Autumn 2019 Preaching Plan
PDF file