Newsletter July 18th 2021

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Dear Friends,

One of the things many of us talk and obsess about is the weather!
Is it too hot, too wet, too windy or just now and then just perfect!

We had a perfect weather day on Wednesday when we had a day trip to visit friends holidaying on the Isle of Wight. An early morning boat trip with the sun glistening on the water, a picnic on Culver Down overlooking the sea, a couple of hours on the beach, a dip in the water, a walk around Carisbrooke Castle, a chip supper for tea, followed by a return trip across the Solent as the sun set — perfect!

As I write it is St Swithun's Day, July 15th, and as legend has it the weather on this day will last for the next 40 days (There is no know scientific or historical evidence of this!).

I discovered that St Swithun was the Bishop of Winchester in the mid 800's. He was known for his charitable gifts and construction of churches. Legend has it that when he died his wish was that he be buried in the 'commoners cemetery' outside the walls of the Cathedral so that refreshing rains might fall on him. One source suggests that 100 years later people didn't think it was fitting for his resting place to be among 'commoners' and so he was moved inside the Cathedral where today there stands a shrine in his honour. Following this torrential rains are said to have fallen — a sign of his displeasure and thus the weather legend was born!

The good news is that this year on St Swithun's Day the weather was warm and sunny/cloudy!

Thankfully, whatever the weather outside we can take time to look around us, enjoy creations beauty and give thanks and praise to God.

What better way than through the words of the hymn:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light.

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth, and friends above
For each gentle thought and mild.

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

Covid Regs News Update...

Following the Government's decision to lift most Covid restrictions as of the 19th July we will seek to follow guidance from the Connexional Methodist Church. We are encouraged to be cautious and considerate.

We are able to sing in church from the 19th July, do not have to book in, and can enjoy refreshments after the service maintaining safe practice (we will use table service).

The Methodist Church recommends that during this time of transition and increasing infection rates:

We keep hand sanitiser available
We continue good cleaning & hygiene procedures.
We seek to provide good ventilation in our buildings.
We use our space to allow for some social distancing.
Wearing a face covering is now a matter of personal choice however we are asked to consider wearing them a little longer to protect one another.
We deter handshaking and hugging!
We continue to encourage on-line giving but can have an offering plate at the door.
We review the length of our services and the number of hymns we sing.

Alton Gift Day — Thank You!
We want to thank you so much for your response to the annual gift day towards both Church funds and the 25% gift towards the work of the Anna Chaplaincy. Our treasurer is still receiving gifts, and we will update you on the final amount raised. Your wonderful generosity is however, so much appreciated.

Saturday 17th July from 2:30pm
Cream Tea in the Alton Manse Garden
Some shade provided!

Monday July 19th — Places available!
Farewell Service for Rev Chris Blake our retiring superintendent minister and Local Preacher Accreditation Service — for Liam Sheridan. Arrivals, gathering & picnic from 5.30 pm
Service in the Garden 7pm by kind agreement of Paul & Mair Fry (Little Oakley, Boundary Road, Dockenfield, GU10 4EU )
(Bring your own picnic & chair, parking on site)

Alton: Friday 23rd July 7-8pm
BB Parents Evening/Presentation Evening

Alton — Tuesday Coffee Morning Returns!
Tuesday July 27th 10-12noon
Do come along and enjoy company and table service!

The Forget Me Not Service
Wednesday 4th August at 2:30pm in All Saints Church led by Rev Rachel Sturt

Alton Sunday Coffee Rota
Please contact Di Wright if you are able to assist with this as restrictions ease.

Worship Services
Services in Church are as follows:
Alton — 10am led by Jennie Marlow
Book via altonmethodist@hotmail.com or ring Liz George (Last week of booking!)

The on-line service is led by Jennie Marlow co www.altonmethodist.org.uk. This will continue during August as a Circuit on-line service.

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