Newsletter March 14th

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Dear Friends,
This weekend we will be celebrating Mothering Sunday. It always falls on the fourth Sunday in lent and has done so since the 16th century.

Traditionally, it was a day when children who worked as domestic servants would have a day off and be able to return home to visit their family. Along the way they may have picked flowers from the hedgerow to take as a gift or perhaps return home with a Simnel cake to share.

Today we often celebrate with the sending of cards, giving a bunch of flowers or pre-covid sharing a Sunday lunch together.
Mothering Sunday has been a day of reunions and family gatherings which this year may prove impossible for most due to our present restrictions.

We recognise that for some this special day comes tinged with sadness, disappointment or even hurt. We remember those who have been unable to have children, those who have experienced difficult relationships with parents and those who have lost those that they have loved and treasured.

Mothering Sunday was also the day when people would try and visit their 'mother church' — perhaps the cathedral or the main church in the area. It was and is a day for not only appreciating those within our families but also the parenthood of God.

A God who calls us his children, a God who thinks we are special and a God who will never give up on us or leave us.
In the bible we see both his motherly and fatherly qualities.

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you... Isaiah 66.13

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3.1

And the hymn writers also give thanks to God for such parental qualities.

Now thank we all our God,
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

We may not be able to celebrate Mothering Sunday as we might like, we may even be feeling a bit 'blue', but perhaps we can take a few moments to look around us and give thanks to God for the many ways that we are blessed.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures for ever... Psalm 106.1

And then in turn, look around us and give appreciation for those who bless us in so many ways.

On the subject of thanksgiving, it so happens that a number of people have sent me a message to pass on to you for the way in which they have been blessed from your kindness.

Ray Patey would like to say thank you for the many cards, flowers and birthday wishes he received on his special day — including a card sent by the Queen!

Lin Fitch would like to say thank you for the bag of goodies received as a token of our gratitude for leading the steward's team so ably for a number of years, having now stood down. The flowers, the scones, cream and jam along with a BIG bar of chocolate were greatly appreciated.

Di Wright would also like to say thank you for the many cards, treats and flowers received following her operation a few days ago. She is glad to say that she is 'improving' and will be glad to be out and about soon.

And last week we had an email sent to the church office which greatly encouraged us as it read:

I HAVE BEEN USING THE ON LINE Methodist Church Service since the start of lockdown and our local Parish Church of St. Lawrence Alton has been closed. Have printed the service sheet out for three of my friends all over 90 in large print versions, as well as for myself and have been trying to find a way of contacting to say how hugely these services are appreciated. They have been a beacon during what has been quite a dark time for some, and I just wanted to express all our thanks for this to those responsible each and every week. Well done!

How encouraging it is to receive all these messages of gratitude this week and to be able to say a big thank you for all that you do to care for one another within our church families at Alton, Hale, Rowledge and Farnham.

Giving to Alton Methodist Church

Thank you for your continuing generous giving through this difficult period. All your donations are much appreciated and over the last 6 months the church has managed to break even while we wait for normal life to return. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the bank now charges 60p for every cheque deposited, so if you give by cheque, there are 2 ways we can help here. Firstly, save up your donations and then write one cheque e.g monthly. Better still you could switch to giving electronically, either by standing order or by online (BACS) payment. If you would like to set up a standing order, please ask Graham Titterington for a form that you can give to your bank.

Worship Service

The On-Line Circuit Service this week is led by Pam Jones. The service can be accessed at www.altonmethodist.org.uk
Pause for Thought appears on a Wednesday on the church web site — St Patricks Day.

Let us go from here rejoicing
in our family on earth
and our family the church.
As the children of God
we take his love into the world
that others may also rejoice
and be part of his family. Amen

Mothering Sunday Faith Resources | Mothers' Union)

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