Newssheet June 14th

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Dear Friends,

Last weekend we witnessed continuing protests surrounding issues of racism — highlighted by the bringing down of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. I must have walked past it many times without giving it a thought as to who he was and how provocative the image was proving to be.

He was of course a slave trader involved in transporting around 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the America's. On his death he bequeathed his wealth to charities and his legacy can be seen all over Bristol in buildings, streets and memorials. I was unaware of this when attending concerts in the famous 'Colston Hall.'

I always remember a 'racism awareness' course at college where the speaker reminded us that those who have not been touched or exposed to multi-cultural and racial issues may need to work even harder to ensure that our actions, attitudes and language reflect the love of Christ for everyone.

The President of the Methodist Conference writes this on the subject of racism:

It is with outrage and deep sorrow that we have witnessed the recent brutal killing of George Floyd in the United States.

But outrage and sorrow are not a sufficient response to racism and inequality in society. How to begin a process of change? It starts with self-examination and listening to the people whose lives are affected by discrimination and hate.

This week I received these words from a Methodist living in south London:

"The young people whom I have worked with for over the last 15 years have felt the impact of racism in every institution they have been part of from schools, to university, to various work places, and other than local support and informal church networks they have not found the Methodist Church as a place that speaks up for them."

As your President, I start by saying I am sorry. Sorry for being silent when we should have spoken out against the everyday injustices that affect BAME communities. I am sorry that, despite our efforts, we have not done enough for those who feel excluded and we need to do better. We know this includes people of all ages from the Windrush generation to the very young. I am sorry when we have not listened carefully enough and not challenged the assumptions of white privilege and bias.

Repentance can lead us to change, to embody a gracious, loving spirit of inclusion and understanding. There is no excuse for racism. All people are made in God's image. We are one body in Christ Jesus. (The Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference.)

A Prayer
Lord, Jesus Christ
who reached across the ethnic boundaries
between Samaritan, Roman and Jew
who offered fresh sight to the blind and freedom to captives,
help us to break down the barriers in our community,
enable us to see the reality of racism and bigotry,
and free us to challenge and uproot it
from ourselves, our society and our world.

(John Bucki SJ)

News Round Up!

Last year Hale Methodist Chapel suffered a fire which caused a great deal of damage to the church and hall. Since May 2019 the congregation had been meeting in the village hall whilst the chapel was being restored.

Many of their members haven't seen the restored church now that the work is all but finished, complete with new partition screen dividing the chapel from the hall. So here are a few 'good news' pictures attached to this article.

The nursery that use the premises are returning next week... and are delighted with the improvements.

The folk at Rowledge have not been idle either as Aileen Ashby writes:

There has been an outbreak of knitting in Rowledge during lockdown, mostly squares for blankets but also children's knitted garments. All the knitting produced goes to 'Christian Hope International' in Romford, who work in Rwanda and Eastern Europe. (Pictures attached)

If your fingers are restless please don't hesitate to try out a square. Contact Aileen for details.

Worship This week

Sunday Service — Hymns, Songs, Readings and Reflections led this week by Liz George. To listen to the service and join in — please visit the Alton Methodist Church web site (front page) where it will be available on Sunday morning:

A Blessing
May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favour and give you His peace.

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