Newssheet Aug. 9th 2020

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Dear Friends,

It was Helen Keller (1880-1968) who once said:
"Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all."

This from a lady who as a child, due to a fever, became blind and deaf yet she became an inspirational woman who learned to overcome.

Helen went on to become a world-famous speaker, writer and political activist. She championed the cause of those with disabilities and also fought for women's rights. She met many American presidents and travelled to 35 countries. Many people have drawn inspiration from her example.

In the bible we find that Peter was also a man who was up for a daring adventure! None more so than when he was in a fishing boat on Lake Galilee when a storm arose.

The disciples were then amazed to see someone walking towards them — understandably they thought it was a ghost and were afraid.

To their astonishment they began to realise that it was Jesus walking on the water. Peter — being far braver than I would ever be said 'Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.'

'Come' said Jesus.

Peter was up for a daring adventure!

He got out of the boat and began walking toward Jesus, but then as he took his eyes off the master and looked around at the wind and the waves, he was afraid and began to sink.

He cried out with one of the shortest prayers recorded in the bible 'Lord, save me!'

Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

We might reflect on this story in many different ways but the thing I admire Peter for the most is his willingness to step out of the boat.

The other disciples watched from relative safety, they preferred the comfort of what they knew, they didn't share Peter's willingness to go on a daring adventure.

What would you have done?
Have you ever 'stepped out of the boat' and gone on a risky adventure?
Maybe you have succeeded or like Peter, having started well begun to sink.
What did you learn?

I don't know about you but I love that encouraging line: 'Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

Here are some inspirational words from a new song based on this bible story:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your Name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise.
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now...

Opening our churches update...

I am sure that most of us long to be able to meet for worship in our churches as we once did. We would also like to see the return of the many groups that use our premises.

In each or our churches we are required to do a risk assessment and follow both the government and national church guidelines. A team of people have been working hard on this — it's no easy task and the goalposts keep moving!

Our friends at Rowledge & Farnham have already asked their congregation if they feel ready and able to return to worship and understandably the feedback was quite mixed for good reason.

We would like to receive the views of folk at Alton and Hale so that we can plan our next steps.

I attach a questionnaire which you can email to altonmethodist@hotmail.com
(to save my inbox filling up!) by Aug 23rd if possible (or post through the church letter box)

It may or may not be the right time to meet as yet for worship — we would love to hear your views so that our church council/leaders can make an informed decision.

If we did meet for worship on a Sunday or perhaps a 'Pause for Thought' during the week as a first step you will need to be aware of the following:

We are allowed to meet for worship (for 30-40mins) — but with social distancing at 2m (or 1m+) and that limits numbers!

We can share together in prayers, readings, listen to music and celebrate Holy Communion — but we are not allowed to sing!

No doubt we will enjoy the opportunity to fellowship together however we are asked not to mingle after the service, have refreshments or prolong our contact.

There will be hand gel available for everyone on arrival and we are required to do 'Track & Trace' — but we would also look forward to seeing your colourful masks which are now mandatory!

The service would be projected onto the screen and well-presented but it will make worship a different experience!

We aim to continue the on-line service for the coming weeks/months and give thanks that so many people are able to access and participate in it.

This week's on-line service can be found as usual by going to www.altonmethodist.org.uk where it will be on the front page.

During August this will continue to be a circuit wide service with members from our different churches taking part.

A Song
Holy, holy, holy
With joy my heart adores you!
My heart cries out to worship you:
Holy are you Lord!

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