Newsletter Jan 24th 2021

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Dear Friends,
This Sunday we are invited to share in a Circuit Service led by Rev Chris Blake, our Superintendent Minister.
This is a special occasion in the sense that we are commissioning four of our trainee Local Preachers from around the circuit as now fully accredited.

The Methodist Church is indebted to the work and commitment of its Local Preachers who ever since the early days of John Wesley has been dependent on them.

Sensing a call to preach each of those to be commissioned will have first tested that call through conversations with their ministers, others and the Local Preachers Meeting.

They will have been placed 'on note' and began their journey by shadowing an experienced preacher, beginning to share in services and growing in confidence. Following lots of reports and a trial service they will then begin to lead services on their own, still being mentored and assessed.

Alongside this there is a demanding training course that usually takes 2-5 years to complete with studies on Old and New Testament, Christian Doctrine as well as exploring different worship styles.
A portfolio of work is all the time being produced which is then assessed.

The trainee Local Preacher will be invited to share their testimony of faith, their continuing sense of call to preach and questioned on one of John Wesley's many sermons at the LP Meeting.
It is quite a journey and commitment which for Julie, Anna, Phil and Catherine has now come to completion.

We would usually have a great circuit gathering followed by a 'bun fight' but this year we are unable to do that at present (We hope to have a celebration service in July however!)
So please do share in this weeks service recognising what a momentous occasion this is for these Local Preachers as they graduate and become fully accredited.

I invited them to send me a photo and in 50 words or so say a little about themselves.

Julie Clark worships at Fleet and is the children and family worker for both Fleet and Farnham.
I had been the Children and Families worker at Fleet and Farnham Methodist Churches for almost a year before I acknowledged the call to preach. It was something I felt quietly confident doing but for me, the real sign that God was in this process was the way in which, when life got really tough over the past 3 years, I was still able to carry on studying and leading worship. I definitely wasn't doing it in my own strength!

Anna Carrington worships at North Camp.
I came to faith when I was 26 years old. I was sat in a Church Council meeting one day and I remember someone saying, "where are all the new local preachers?" I distinctly felt that God was saying to me "go on then, what are you waiting for?" The prospect terrified me at first, but I went on to chat with my minister regarding the next steps. I have really enjoyed the Worship Leading and Preaching studies and feel privileged to be able to share the Gospel, and to share in fellowship with those around the circuit.

Phil Smith worships at Fleet
Living in Fleet with my wife and our 4 children, I work as a project and portfolio manager for a transmission manufacturer. I first sensed a call to preach during a communion service, I could not shake the voice in my head telling me to start preaching. I began to explore this calling but paused my journey for several years after only a couple of months. About 5 years ago at an accreditation service for Local Preachers, I sat wondering why I had not returned to this calling that had never left and so I now complete the first phase of this calling.

Catherine Reeves also worships at Fleet.
I have been a member of Fleet Methodist Church since 1994. I currently live in Fleet. I have had a variety of jobs most recently at Farnborough College of Technology. I have also got a background in nursing. I felt the call to preach through dreams, which I kept pushing aside. I finally listened to the call during an accreditation service in 2015. My passion is to help bring scripture alive, to relate it to today and to spread the message of hope for all through Jesus not just for the future but for now.

Congratulations to Julie, Anna, Phil and Catherine and we look forward to Liam Sheridan completing his training later this year!

Worship Services
The On-Line Circuit Service this week is led by Rev Chris Blake. 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.

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