As the news unfolds this week no doubt our hearts go out to the people of Afghanistan.
The President of the Methodist Conference, Rev. Sonia Hicks & Vice President Barbara Easton write:
The Taliban's advance in Afghanistan has taken place more quickly than anyone predicted. Over the past few days, we have received distressing reports about the situation in Kabul, as well as across the country.
Following our military involvement, the UK bears a heavy responsibility towards the people of Afghanistan and must act to support all who fear for their future and seek asylum. Over the course of this conflict, members of our churches have been supporting those who have been forced to flee and at this critical time our response must be one of compassion and generosity. As Members of Parliament are recalled, we hope that there might be an unequivocal guarantee to support those seeking asylum, and that broad and accessible routes to the UK are created for those seeking sanctuary from Afghanistan.
Methodist chaplains have served members of our Armed Forces in Afghanistan over the past 20 years and we are mindful of them and of all who bear the scars of this conflict. We remember particularly those still serving, veterans, civilian colleagues and their families for whom the current situation in Afghanistan may be evoking difficult memories.
Our hearts go out to women in Afghanistan who have taken the opportunity to lead in many ways, making contributions in their communities, business and politics. They now fear that these freedoms will be reversed. We call on all governments everywhere to uphold the empowerment of women and to ensure that the new government in Afghanistan maintains the freedoms that have been gained in recent years.
In the face of uncertainty in Afghanistan and the region we know that many will want to join us in prayer.
Gracious and holy God,
We come to you with the situation in Afghanistan heavy on our hearts. It is a situation so complicated, and so fast moving, that it is difficult for us to know what to say or how to think.
We hold before you the people of the country, those who stay and those who flee; those living with terror and afraid for the future; those who, because of this latest turn of events, will never be able to live the fullness of life that is your purpose. We hold all this before you.
We hold open to you the future: the world leaders with a role in shaping what happens next; the many who are becoming refugees and the people who will be called upon to offer them safety and a future; the impact of these local events on our world story. We hold all this open to you.
We hold in your love all those known to us whose lives have been bound up in the recent story of Afghanistan. We think of all those who have served there in our Armed Forces, those who were injured and those who did not return. We hold in our hearts all those for whom this is a time of special grieving and confusion, and those who minister to them. We hold all these in your love.
Rock of ages, at this difficult time we lean into your timelessness. Turn us, and all people, to your good purposes for your world. Grant courage and wisdom, hope and a future. Amen
Don't forget to pop in for a coffee on Tuesday mornings between 10 and 12noon, it's a great opportunity to meet friends old and new!
The Monthly Newsletter is coming back!
We'll be producing the first edition at the end of this month with lots of news about September activities.
The Newsletter will be available online, from the church website, or as a printed copy.
If you have an event to publicise, please send the details by email to Nancy Buck or the Church Office by 4pm on Sunday 22nd August or hand hard copy to Nancy or one of the stewards by the end of the morning service.
Please remember that the Newsletter will be available online when composing your item. We cannot use copyright material without permission (e.g., pictures) and you may wish to consider what contact details you include. If in doubt, please discuss with Nancy.
Plans for Messy Church
We are hoping to restart Messy Church on the first Saturday of the month from October 2nd 10-12noon. If you are able to help the team to begin to make plans for this, please let Philip know of your interest or availability. It may be welcoming families on the door, helping with refreshments, overseeing a craft or being in the background helping to cut out crafts ready for the children during the week before.
It was so lovely to see so many of you on Sunday as many more people came back to church, and others had invited friends. We enjoyed singing 'How Great Thou Art' and reflected on Psalm 111.
After the service there was the return to tea and coffee being served in the hall and lots of conversations being enjoyed.
You no longer have to book; masks are of personal choice but encouraged, and we can now sing! For those of you yet to return to worship we do miss you and hope to see you soon!
This Sunday's worship is led by Liz George at 10am.
Hants Surrey Border Circuit services can continue to be found at www.altonmethodist.org.uk.
Some Dates for September
Thursday 2nd Sept. at 10.30am Willow Court Devotional Service led by Rev Gordon Randall.
Wednesdays from 10am – 'AMC Stay & Play' – A new Parent & Toddler Group led by Angela & Liz.
Sunday Sept. 12th Circuit Service at 4pm at Fleet Methodist Church.
A welcome service for Rev Nick Oborski as he becomes our superintendent minister.
Wednesday 15th Sept at 7.30 Circuit Meeting at the Spire, Farnham.
Sunday 19th Sept at 4pm Alton Church AGM followed by bring & share refreshments – all welcome.
Congratulations to Freda Ryan on her 90th Birthday!