Newsletter June 20th 2021

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Dear Friends,

Everyone has been talking about how hot it has been in recent days with the temperature rising to 25-27 degrees centigrade on some occasions.

Such heat often leads to thunderstorms which at the time of writing are due over the next couple of days!
I was reading that thunderstorms occur when warm and cold air rub together, causing friction and energy in the sky, which makes electricity.

I was also reading that a lightning bolt carries around 20,000 to 30,000 amps of electricity — that's 2,300 times more than your washing machine!

Thunder is caused by the lightening, and I love the following description:
The light from the flash reaches us in a fraction of a second, whereas the sound lags along like a snail following an interplanetary rocket.

As children we were taught to work out how far away the storm is by counting the seconds between the flash of lightening and the clap of thunder. I am told that roughly speaking every five seconds between the thunder and lightning is a mile.

Thunderstorms come suddenly, and unexpectedly and create chaos, breaking up the warm balmy evenings we have become accustomed too.

They may remind us of the storms of life that break into our lives from time to time and disrupt our sense of peace and calm.

Our world can be turned upside down in an instant, as was certainly the case when the Covid Pandemic began but is also true in other areas of our lives.

No doubt at such times 101 thoughts race through our minds and we become discombobulated (always wanted to use that word!) — confused and disorientated.

As a child goes to its parents to seek solace and reassurance in the thunderstorm, so we are encouraged to share our fears and anxieties with our heavenly Father and having done so to find our rest in him.

I came upon a prayer this helpful prayer:

Lord, the wind and rain come down fast and hard, clouds darken against me.
Won't you help me?
Send me your protection and peace against the chaos. May your grace cover and calm my heart even in the uncertainty.
Send us your Spirit to show me that no mater what happens my soul is at rest in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
May I wait when I must wait, act when I must act. Let patience and clarity keep my mind focused on your will.
This only happens if I trust you and seek you. So here I am, oh loving Lord, at your feet, under your wing until the storm passes.

Covid Restrictions
Following the government's decision this week not to relax the majority of Covid regulations until July 19th we will of course continue to follow the Methodist Church guidelines/regulations on the safe use of places of worship.
This means social distancing, wearing of face masks and no congregational singing during times of worship.

We have however enjoyed coming back together as a church fellowship in meeting for worship!

Dates for your Diary
Stewards Meeting at Alton — Wed. 30th June at 11:30am in Church.
Alton Church Council — Tuesday 6th July at 7.30pm in Church
Cream Tea in the Alton Manse Garden Saturday 17th July from 2:30pm
Come and enjoy conversation and cake!

Also change of date!
Due to Covid restrictions not being relaxed until July 19th we have decided that the following very special event will be moved from the Sunday to the Monday so that we are able to meet together more fully and share in open air worship.
Farewell Service for Rev Chris Blake our retiring superintendent minister and Local Preacher Accreditation Service — for Liam Sheridan & our other newly accredited Local Preachers.
Monday July 19th

Arrivals, gathering & picnic from 5.30 pm
Service in the Garden 7pm by kind agreement of Paul & Mair Fry (Dockenfield — Details in the church email)
(Bring your own picnic & chair, parking on site)
(If wet to be held at North Camp Methodist Church and all Covid Regs. allowing)

Worship Services

It has been great to meet again once more for worship in Church and see everyone!
The on-line Service this week is led by Rev Philip Simpkins via www.altonmethodist.org.uk.

Services in Church are as follows:
Alton — 10am led by Rev Philip Simpkins
Book via altonmethodist@hotmail.com or ring Liz George Places may well be available — we would love to see you.

May the grace of God uphold you,
the peace of God surround you,
the love of God flow from you
and the strength of God protect
and bring you safely through this day.

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