Newsletter Oct 11th 2020

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Dear Friends,
This week I had a visit from our Superintendent minister, Rev. Chris Blake. He was delivering the annual 'CPD' (rule book!), 'Minutes of Conference' and our Methodist Membership Tickets for me to sign and along with our pastoral team to distribute over the next few weeks.

Every member of the Methodist Church receives a membership ticket once a year. It is a reminder of our commitment to God and to our local church.

The Membership or Class Ticket goes back to the time of John Wesley. When people became Christians, he would form them into small groups of 8-12 people called classes. As well as attending the local Parish Church (we were all Anglican back then!) Wesley encouraged people to meet for fellowship, bible study and to give an account of their spiritual growth.

Wesley based the class meetings on the small groups of catechumens that formed in the early church as the believers developed in their Christian faith. Those small groups became a vital part of Methodism growth and more importantly the growth of individuals in the Christian faith.

Members of the Methodist Society were given class tickets... on a three-month trial!
Class leaders were required to assess the lives of members — and disorderly ones were corrected or asked to leave!

The class leader was also expected to visit each of his members weekly to help and encourage him in his or her life and faith. They would collect any gifts to be given to the poor and report to the minister of any who were sick or disorderly!

The Class meeting had many benefits some of which were:
It was a training ground for new leaders
It was an entry point for new people
It encouraged everyone to participate
It gave very member a voice
It allowed people to practice speaking about their feelings
It provided a forum for resolving conflicts face to face.
It financed Methodism through its penny collections.
It enabled people to grow and develop in their faith and walk with God.

Our membership tickets today remind us that we belong to a family of faith.
They also remind us of our calling as Christian people.
Worship — Meeting together when able (or on-line!) for worship, holy communion and prayer.
Learning and Caring — Through bible study and meeting for fellowship.
Service — Being a good neighbour in the community, challenging injustice and using our resources to support the church in its mission.
Evangelism — Working out our faith daily and sharing Christ with others.

This year the Membership card comes with an added extra — a leaflet which helps us to contemplate on how our walk with God is progressing. No doubt the cards will be delivered to you soon via your pastoral team where possible.

Christmas Cards — please buy from us!

This year we will be selling Christmas cards in aid of Alton Methodist Church funds. The designs have simple, colourful nativity scenes on them. They feature Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem and the Wise Men on their way to the nativity scene (2 different designs). We hope to have them by early November.

To place your order or to show interest please contact Debby Bridger or email the church office

'All We Can' our Methodist Relief and Development Agency.

Last week we shared in a harvest celebration at Alton and in our on-line Service. It was great to see so many people taking part and be back in church on a Sunday!

We continue with a Harvest Theme at Rowledge and Hale this week with a 'Celebration of Creation' theme.
We will also be invited to participate in supporting the work of 'All We Can' our Methodist Relief and Development Agency.
This year's appeal is entitled: 'Change begins with a bicycle'.
We may or may not wish to offer £6/month but perhaps as churches or individuals we can be encouraged to donate to the work of 'All We Can'. This year there are no paper envelops to fill, but you can donate on-line — it is easy, simply follow the link:
https://www.allwecan.org.uk/give/make-a-donation/one-off-donation/

Churches Open for Worship
At Alton:
Alton: Sunday Worship — October 11th at 10am led by Liz George.
Pause for Thought — Wednesdays in church at 11am for 30 mins.
Book by preferably emailing your name/s (not just how many people!) for Track & Trace on altonmethodist@hotmail.com or ring Liz George

On-Line Worship
This will continue with this week's service led and created by Liz George. To access the service go to www.altonmethodist.org.uk

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