Newssheet Sept 20th 2020

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Dear Friends,

Many years ago, a young girl lived in a small cottage in the Welsh countryside in the shadow of the mountainside. She was excited to learn that a school was to open in the village and even more keen to be able to learn to read.

Mary had also watched the minister in her village church read from this big leather-bound book called the bible. She longed for the time to come when she could read it for herself.

As time went by Mary was delighted to be asked one Sunday to read a lesson from the scriptures. She wasn't very tall and so a box was made for her to stand on! She read perfectly.

After the service she rushed up to her mother and asked for a copy of her own bible, however it was explained that they were very expensive.

Mary wasn't to be put off and so for six whole years she saved up her pocket money from doing various jobs around the house until she had enough. She was fifteen years old when she heard that a man in the village of Bala had some bibles for sale and so she set off on a 26-mile journey crossing hills and valleys until eventually she reached her goal.

When she told her story to Mr Charles, the seller of bibles, he found her story inspiring. He handed Mary a brand-new bible and wished her well as she began the long journey home.

Mr Charles reflected on Mary's desire for a bible and thought of others like her who longed to be able to read God's word for themselves. Consequently in 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed.

Today the Bible Society works in over 200 countries around the world bringing the bible to life for people hungry to read and listen to the scriptures.

Back in July people from our own congregations were invited to do 'The Bible Course' prepared and presented by the Bible Society.

Within a very short time people had signed up to do the course and a maximum sixed group of around 12 of us met each week on Zoom. We have just completed the eight-week course which gave us an overview of the bible's story beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.

Many thought-provoking questions were raised, difficult bible passages explored, and people's insights proved helpful and encouraging... and of course we didn't agree on everything — but that's OK!

Here are some comments from the group:

I have never delved deeply into the Bible, but this course has given me a hunger to open my Bible more often and find out more about the truths and history within it's pages. Talking over ideas about the Bible with friends has been so helpful that I would recommend the course to everyone.

I'd just like to say how much I enjoyed the bible course. I learnt so much and I feel inspired to learn more It doesn't matter how much you think you know about God's word you can always find something new.
By the way I now have the Life Application Bible on my tablet.

We both enjoyed the course. For me, it was a valuable revision of material covered years ago at school. Without the insights and explanations brought to the sessions, a lot of our questions and observations would have just been left hanging. As it was, they added enormous value to the course and made it something to look forward to.

The course also proved that in our present circumstances where we can't meet together in house-groups or bible studies as once we did — meeting for fellowship, prayer and study on-line is more than possible. It was great to meet up and be able to encourage one-another.

We look forward to offering further short courses and opportunities to develop our faith — and it will save going out on a dark evening!

Help us, O Lord, to learn
the truths thy word imparts:
to study that thy laws may be
inscribed upon our hearts.

Help us, O Lord, to live
the faith which we proclaim,
that all our thoughts and words and deeds
may glorify thy name.

Help us, O Lord, to teach
the beauty of thy ways,
that yearning souls may find the Christ,
and sing aloud his praise.
(William Watkins Reid — Singing the Faith 501)

Churches Opening for Worship

At Alton:
NEW — Live Pause for Thought — Wednesdays in church at 11am for 20-30 mins.
This will include reflective music, prayers, reading and a reflection. 15 people attended on our first week — it was great to see everyone!
The church will provide a safe setting should you wish to attend.

Book by preferably emailing altonmethodist@hotmail.com or ring Liz George

Alton: Sunday Worship
This will resume as of October 4th at 10am with a celebration of Harvest. Conditions and booking as for Pause for Thought is essential as numbers are limited due to social distancing requirements.

Rowledge: Sunday Worship

This will resume on Sunday September 20th at 10am with a service led by Rev Philip Simpkins.
Following contact with members who wish to come this service is now at its full capacity.

Hale: Our first service will aim to be on Sunday Oct 11th at 11am. A booking service will be in place and risk assessments to be actioned.

Farnham: Zoom services on Sundays at 9.30am, Pause for Thought resuming in church on Friday's and live worship in church from October 4th. (see 'The Spire' website for details)

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

A Blessing
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.
(Northumbria Community)

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