Newsletter Feb 7th 2021

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Dear Friends,
This week Captain Sir Tom Moore died aged 100. In this last year he has become an inspirational man, capturing the nations hearts after raising over £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire. He is praised as a man of integrity, of great character, an optimist who had an ability to warm our hearts and make everybody smile!

One journalist said: 'Captain Tom gave the nation a lesson in how to grow old... we all want to be like him because he kept going... he was resolute to the very end. He didn't give up.'

There are many other people who have been inspirational too!

We might think of Nelson Mandela as he fought for equal rights for black people in South Africa. The journey wasn't easy. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Following his release in 1990 he remarkably became President, working towards a 'rainbow nation' where black and white could work together as one.

We might think of Malala Yousafzai who spoke up for a women's right to be educated in Pakistan from the age of 11.
Sadly, she was shot for her outspoken views bur thankfully survived and was able to speak more powerfully than ever. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Who will ever forget the inspirational self-sacrifice and compassion of Mother Teresa?
Trusting on God's call upon her life she went to Calcutta, began teaching but then seeing such poverty on her doorstep had the courage to step outside her comfort zone and work tirelessly to minister to the sick, dying and downtrodden. Her faith, passion and example inspired many others to join her. She left behind 'The Missionaries of Charity' with its 517 missions at work in 120 countries. Here are some of her inspirational quotes:

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."

'Peace begins with a smile'

I wonder what qualities make someone an inspirational person, maybe:

Selfless
Courageous
Compassionate
Self-sacrificial
Servant hearted
Honesty and Integrity
Humility
Persistence and endurance.
Belief and faith.
The will to make a difference.

The writer to the Hebrew Christians sets out for us men and women of faith who proved to be an inspiration. People who remained strong and courageous, determined, and faithful despite their many difficulties. People like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Sampson, Samuel, and David. None of them were perfect, many of them made big mistakes but they inspired others to keep the faith and walk with God.

Considering these inspirational people, the writer continues:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Heb. 12.1-3)

Oh, and thank you Captain Tom for being such an inspiration, a light in the darkness and a wonderful example of how we can encourage one another to make every day count, no matter what our limitations!

Signs of Spring
I try and get a walk in to my daily routine each day and love looking out for signs of spring — the pictures for this weeks newsletter show the following:

Aconites defying the cold and wet and snowdrops adorning many a garden and
Hellebores and Cyclamen out in bloom.

Worship Services

The On-Line Circuit Service this week is led by Rev Philip Simpkins. The service can be accessed at www.altonmethodist.org.uk
Pause for Thought appears on a Wednesday on the church web site as we continue our series on the 'I Am' sayings of Jesus.

An Inspirational Prayer
Do not look forward to what may happen
tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, then. Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations and say continually: "The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in Him
and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me, and I in Him."
St. Francis de Sales

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