Newssheet June 21st 2020

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Dear Friends,

The remarkable news story that hit the headlines this week came from the unassuming Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford. Now I wouldn't normally like to talk about Manchester United or their footballers but this young man deserves the praise he is receiving.

He has spoken out about the need for families to receive food vouchers during the school holidays so that parents are more able to feed their children.

His message was so powerful that the government did a U turn and responded positively to his request. What a lesson to us all about speaking out in a compassionate and knowledgeable way in order to bring about a change for the better.

What I found moving about this story was that this highly paid footballer could genuinely empathise with families in poverty. He himself was one of five children who grew up knowing what it was like to feel hungry, being allowed one yogurt a day so that they lasted all week, seeing how hard his mum worked to provide and turning to friends when there was no food left in the cupboard.

He rightly said: 'People want to help but don't have the knowledge or understanding behind it.'
Marcus understood. He had been there. He had walked in their shoes. He wanted to be able to help. He has achieved that. Well done!

Toni Sorenson wrote:
Walking a mile in someone else's shoes isn't about the walk or the shoes.
It is about being able to think like they think, feel what they feel and understand why they are who they are. Every step is about empathy.

Steven Covey wrote:

"Seek first to understand, and then to be understood".

It's not easy putting ourselves in someone else's shoes!

I have a battered old pair of trainers that I have been wearing for many a countryside walk — they even have a hole in the toe! My wife tells me I need new ones — but I like these old shoes! They are what I know — they are comfortable!

It can prove very uncomfortable to put yourself in someone else's shoes — as we learnt through the Black Lives Matters protests and now through Marcus' plea to provide for the vulnerable.

Jesus seemed able to empathise with others.

He seemed to understand the deepest needs of the vulnerable — the lady struggling with mental health, the lonely tax collector, the women at the well, the leper treated like an outcast, the disciple who had let him down, even the thief on the cross.

The Psalmist also reminds us of God's understanding:

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.

What a challenge to try and put ourselves into another person's shoes — but what a difference it can make!

News Round Up...

Congratulations to Ches and Carole Gaines as they celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary this weekend. They were married at Hale Methodist Church and are a great support to each other and the Church to this day!
Rev Vida Fodey was going to come and take the service for them this Sunday at Hale by special request -we are sorry the service is unable to go ahead but we trust that you and all the family will be able to share some great memories.

Kym Burgess is the Captain of the Girls Brigade in Alton and keeps in contact with both the leaders and the girls through a Zoom meeting each Monday at 7.30pm.

Each week Girls' Brigade produce resources for each section within the company so that parents & girls can have a look at them. Nancy has been sending craft to our youngest group and we have had pictures posted of the final crafts.

Thanks, are expressed to those who are keeping up the premises and the grounds at each of our churches. Some have planted flowers, cut the grass, checked the property and ensured that all is in working order.

Churches Opening — Update.

You will be aware that churches are allowed to open for private prayer however the guidance from the Methodist Church is that we remain closed a little longer due to the health and safety requirements and the practicalities of actually doing this. We are constantly monitoring the situation at our weekly ministerial staff meetings, aware of the risk assessments and work that will need to be done when the time comes for us to be able to meet in worship once more.

Worship This Week

Sunday Service — Hymns, Songs, Readings and Reflections led this week by Rev. Philip Simpkins 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: www.altonmethodist.org.uk
or direct from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4CdfF-YjOA

A Blessing

The peace of the earth be with you, the peace of the heavens too; the peace of the rivers be with you, the peace of the oceans too. Deep peace falling over you. God's peace, God's peace growing in you. (Guatemalan)

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