Newsletter Jan 31st 2021

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Dear Friends,
Last weekend we saw the first snowfall of the year creating a spectacular winter wonderland.
Maybe you were able to enjoy it from the comfort of your armchair or perhaps by an energetic walk through the countryside.

One man who was fascinated by snowflakes was the mathematician Johannes Kepler. The story goes that he wanted to buy his friend a new year gift but was strapped for cash. His playful solution was to write him a book about 'nothing'. He considered writing about a grain of sand or a drop of water or even perhaps a spark of fire, but nothing would come to mind. It was whilst he was walking across a bridge in Prague that he was suddenly struck by the shape of snowflakes falling on his coat, 'all six cornered with tufted radii.'
You can read his twenty-four-page work along with diagrams in Oxford University. In it he debates why each snowflake always falls as six cornered star shapes — why not four, five or even seven sided?

As Kepler wrestles with all sorts of possibilities which eventually come to 'nothing' he concludes that whilst the shape of the snowflake may have some formative purpose, perhaps it was created in such a way simply for adornment — sheer beauty!

As we look around us, we too can be captivated by the sheer beauty and complexity of nature. It may have been through watching each six-sided crystal snowflake falling to the ground, all said to be perfectly formed and individually unique.
It may be by stopping for a moment to gaze at a frost covered spiders web sparkling in the winter sun. It could be through enjoying the sight of snowdrops pushing through the soil or a catkin hanging from a snow-covered branch.

No doubt all things have a scientific reason for being and a purpose for its existence but let that not stop us, like Kepler, being able to enjoy the sheer beauty and complexity of God's creation.

It reminds me of the song:

Tell me who made all of creation,
Who designed the wonders of nature?
Whose idea was pattern and colour,
Wonderful to see?

Everywhere around me,
I can see the hand of God,
The evidence surrounds me,
In the greatness of his world.

Don't stop looking, don't stop believing,
God is to be found when you seek him.
All creation tells of his glory,
For eternity... everywhere around me!
(Singing the Faith 118)

The Prayer Course
It is great to have a group of 14-15 people choose to join the Prayer Course which runs for the next 8 weeks on Zoom, Thursday evenings at 7.30pm for an hour. We will be listening to an interview with Pete Greig each week followed by an opportunity for discussion and reflection.

Alton Food Bank
The foodbank has been very busy adapting to the new lockdown and ensuring that we support families in need while keeping all our volunteers safe. We are now operating a home delivery service and have temporarily closed our premises in Market Square. Demand is increasing and we are distributing about 750kg of food a week. In addition, we have started a new service offering families a home delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables that is delivered by Get Fresh & Fruity in Lasham. The Food Bank do still need regular food donations as listed below.
* Tinned meat (stewing steak, hot dogs etc.)
* Pasta sauce
* Cereal (Cheerios, Weetabix, Rice Crispies)
* Coffee
* Tinned carrots, peas, sweetcorn
* Tinned rice
* Long life fruit juice
* Cereal bars (no nuts)
PLEASE NO
Baked Beans, Soup, Tinned tomatoes. Pads, or Tampons (as we have very good stocks currently)

Worship Services
The On-Line Circuit Service this week is led by Liam Sheridan. 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.

This Sunday — Zoom Coffee Morning!

One of the things we miss about not being able to meet at church for worship is the fellowship that we so often share before and after the service.
This week there is the opportunity to join our Zoom Coffee Morning (bring your own drinks!) simply so that we can meet up and encourage one another — you can drop in and leave as you please, but it would be great to see you.
Sunday at 11am — just click on the Zoom link in your accompanying email or copy and paste it into your search bar... and click!

Notice about Covid Vaccinations
Responding to questions as to why there appears to be no vaccination hub in Alton, local doctors have written an open letter to the community as to their reasoning which will be attached to the weekly email that we send out and also uploaded onto the church web site as a publication.

A Prayer
Ever-present God,
you walk with us
through good times
and bad,
mountain top
and valley deep,
your footsteps our guide,
hands our support.

Ever-present God,
you are close to us
when life is smooth
or rough,
in wholeness,
and brokenness,
your healing our hope,
your touch our desire.

Ever-present God,
bring comfort and peace,
and the warmth
of your presence,
and I shall fear no thing,
for you are with me,
always. Amen.
(www.faithandworship.com)

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