Welcome to Torridge Methodist Circuit website
We join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99. We give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service, both in war time and in the many decades since. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen for 73 years.
The Duke has left many legacies, not least the Duke of Edinburgh award which encouraged generations of young people to challenge themselves and serve others. The Duke was interested in conservation, years ahead of his time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Queen and the Royal Family at this time. Although the Duke was very much a public figure, he was also a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
There is no doubt as to the seriousness of the current Covid-19 epidemic. Nor is there any question that there are going to have to be, in the short and medium term, changes to the way we live our lives. That clearly includes the Church.
It is highly likely that what is set out here is likely to change, due to Government advice and action.
I believe that we are now in a situation where while we need to consider what we must do to protect ourselves; we must also consider what WE must do to stop the spread of Covid-19 and make adjustments accordingly. At the same time, I hope we can continue our lives as Christian Disciples, although perhaps in different ways from that which we have been used to.
We have rightly said over the years that the Church is about people, not the building. Indeed, the Greek word for Church is Ecclesia, meaning assembly, people. We are the Church. Yes, we are glad for our buildings, sometimes! But now we have the opportunity to be Church where we are. The worship life of the Church will continue because we will continue it, where-ever we are, and in the next period, in our homes.
Similarly, our Pastoral care and service will continue, in different ways; but nevertheless, faithfully and effectively. There are sections of our community that are extremely vulnerable. It is stating the obvious that many are in our Church communities.
I am extremely sad to have to say that Worship Services in the Methodist Church are suspended for the time being. The same goes for Bible Study and Prayer Meetings. Indeed, there will be no activity on Methodist premises, nor meetings in the name of the Church. There will be no outside organisations using our Churches either, unless there are exceptional circumstances agreed with the Superintendent. All planned events are now cancelled until further notice. A notice to that effect will be placed outside every Church.
We will seek to provide Worship Material for people to use in their own homes. There are also a range of services available via the internet, more news of these where available. I hope Local Preachers will help in this respect. Obviously getting this material out is going to be an issue, especially where people do not have email.
There will be no funerals on Methodist Premises; but we will conduct services at the Crematorium and in Graveyards. Memorial service will be held at a later time to celebrate the person’s life.
We anticipate that weddings may be postponed anyway, but if there is compelling reason for them to go ahead then we will solemnise the marriage with between 5 and 12 people there.
Baptisms will be delayed until we can meet normally.
Learning and Caring
The Lent Course booklets are available and the study can be followed individually.
We have the Bible Month booklets on Ruth, June.
Thy Kingdom Come – May 21st Ascension Day to May 31st Pentecost.
Devotional material will be available alongside Worship material and in the Newsletter.
Pastoral Visits – by phone or by electronic means. Face to face meetings should not take place, and only by arrangement with the Superintendent.
We would hope to have in place a system where everyone in our Church would receive a phone call once a week, if that is what they would like. This will also help with the flow of information.
It would be useful if each Church could identify one person who will be the contact person (it would be helpful if that person had access to email)
Hospitals are already restricting visiting.
Care Homes and Nursing homes have already imposed restrictions on visiting.
Prayer – dedicated phone line to ring with prayer requests: - 07947 102542. This will be listened to each day and prayers will be said.
Of others – Love your neighbours – check on them and keep in touch.
Shopping for others – by all means, but please be aware of the risks to others in going into their homes and having contact with them. See the guidelines on the Methodist Church Website.
Continue our good practice.
Be aware and make others aware of Romans 8 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Pray for our country, our world, for each other.
Leaving Churches open – We agree that this could happen if the opening and closing of our buildings is not to be undertaken by those over seventy years of age and those who have underlying health conditions. Also, that there is a commitment to effectively clean the space used between closing and reopening the building. Please confirm arrangements with the Superintendent or your Minister.
Clearly it is going to be a tricky time for Churches with cash flow issues. Is now the time to consider giving to your Church via electronic means or direct debit? Your Church treasurer will be able to advice and help.
The current advice of the Methodist Church can be found at (Keep checking daily please)
We should not be afraid “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.
We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.
God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.
LET US BE CREATIVE IN SHOWING AND SHARING GOD’S LOVE
Revd Rob Blackhall