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November letter

Dear everyone.
We all have limitations.
Older people feel they do not have the capacity or the energy to do as much as they used to do and have to slow down. Others have disabilities and illnesses requiring lots of rest. Those who have limited incomes may feel unable to do the things they ought to do. Others in the heyday of their working experience may feel there are not enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done.
We may have limits to the ways in which we help families and friends who live a distance away. Some may have a worrying and heavy workload, the responsibilities of caring for others may be onerous and without a break.
Limitations of all kinds can create a sense of despondency and stress. We all need ‘faith’ that help us with these times, in addition to help we require from other sources.
We have to try and avoid anxiety, but also remember that no two people’s ‘bests’ are the same. I’m reminded of this in the true story that Jesus told.
When he was sitting opposite the temple treasury in Jerusalem, people were putting money into the treasury chest. Rich people were giving large amounts. Then there came a poor widow who dropped in two tiny coins together worth a penny. He called his disciples to him and said ‘truly I tell you, this poor widow has given more than all the others. They had more than enough to live on, but she who has less than enough has given all that she had.’
In giving these two ‘widows mites’ she was giving her best according to her means, but we also have to remember that the limited amount that we can give is often of a far greater significance in our Creator’s sight than we may imagine. We are all unique, we cannot compare what we are able to do with what others do.
My hope is that all of us will find contentment when we have done best and when sometimes we feel it is very small, we must ask ourselves, who are we to judge its value?
Needless to say, we do need to examine ourselves and always seek to be doing our best. May we never tire of ‘having a go.’ If we venture in faith, somewhere along the line it is quite possible that we might come up with some pleasant surprises!
With all good wishes for the month of November.
Every blessing,
Sincerely
David.

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October letter

Dear friends,
Like Topsy in ‘Uncle Tom’s cabin’ this monthly letter, has ‘just grown.’
It started off like a church pastoral letter, and mainly went to people in many different parts of the British Isles where I have served in ministry. Now it goes into many other walks of life even world wide: friends of long-standing and more recent ones, people in leadership roles, in policing, church life, education, health and care homes, those who join in ‘prayers @ 12’ and also a very considerable number of friends who are having to get adjusted to living on their own.
Social media can give us a platform of our own choosing.
We must never think of it only being used by those who want to stir up strife and hatred in the world. Its easy availability does have its dangers, but it can be a tremendous force for creating a sense of community, cohesion, the Fellowship of like minds, and ‘the common good.’ This is exciting, it’s demanding. It is also a responsibility.
How important it is that as we participate we express the truth as accurately as we can about life’s issues. St Matthew’s Gospel says that in situations when a lot depends on what you say; ‘Let your yes be yes and you’re no be no!’ says Jesus. This is a tall older!
We can overload people with words. Just a few can be far more effective. We suffer from information overload. The time saved could well be put to more creative use, a few chosen words can be the means whereby we show compassion, and a way of making life more enjoyable for all!
Let us thank God for the many ways in which useful information and ideas can be conveyed to others today They can be a means of giving pleasure to large numbers of people: and not simply as a ‘tower of Babel’ adding confusion and distress in the world.
Let us also pray that we will all use words wisely, sensitively, and for the building up of others in their needs as well as our own.
Wishing you blessings ‘beyond words!’
Sincerely, David.

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September Letter

Dear everyone,
In less than a fortnight’s time, we are trying out what for us is a new venture. Alongside the harvest festival at Mapperley Methodist Church, we are organising a ‘FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS.’ This is a project to open up our church buildings more to the community around us, and we are inviting people to bring along their paintings, drawings and other things that they have made to put on show for other people to see.
We need suitable panels on which to display works of art. We are also rather short of helpers and any offers of help will be greatly appreciated.
There is a sense in which this is a venture of faith which will take place at a time when we thank God for all that we have received, and pray for those who produce it. Needless to say all the foodstuffs provided will go to people who need it. Will a Festival of the Arts work? Will people support it? We hope and pray that there will be a good response.
‘Ventures in faith’ however are not limited to things that go on in churches. In work, in good neighbourliness amongst all people we meet, and also in our personal lives we all have to make steps into the unknown. In these times of rapid change, we are called upon to trust in the unchanging nature of God. We all need an anchor to give us stability in uncertain times. We are not always successful at our first attempts at improving situations but we are given new insights I believe, into the way that we should go.
Life for us all is a challenge, and it simply withers away if we never do things that seem, even just a little beyond us!
May we all be prepared to make responses to the challenges we face, and may we find blessings in every new and worthy venture we undertake.
Sincerely,
David.
PS. The ‘FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS’ will take place at Mapperley Methodist Church at the following times. Saturday the 16th from 10 AM to 4 PM., Sunday from 12:30 AM till 5 PM. Monday from 10 AM to 4 PM and Tuesday from 10 AM till 12:30 PM.
Please come if you possibly can. If you come on Sunday our harvest festival services are 10:45 AM when the preacher will be the Rev Moses Agyam with Holy Communion at 6:30 PM the Rev Paul Worsnop.

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August letter

August letter.

Dear everyone,

This morning when it was time to get up, I didn’t feel like ‘getting going’ at all. I looked at my smartphone and found a message from a gerontological magazine which said ‘don’t forget to submit an article on neurological disorders!’  I have never submitted an article to such a magazine but I felt   in a strange sort of way it was saying something to me. Lack of motivation might well be described as a neurological disorder!

All kinds of factors in our lives can create a doldrums period, but then quite unexpectedly other things come along, sometimes other people, who play their part in helping us to make progress from our indecisive states of mind.

Needing to get on with my monthly letter, I suddenly felt that this smartphone message was giving me inspiration. and my mind turned to St Paul’s letter to the Romans where he says ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’

These words of St Paul have a strong religious significance, they remind Christians and others who believe in God that a person trying to live a good life has to live ‘by faith.’ Faith of many different kinds and in many different things is needed to give us the motivation to live out our lives in worthwhile directions

All of us have days, when we have moments of uncertainty about the direction in which we should travel, but when it comes to the point, we have to take steps in faith. How Important it is that we do.

May today be one of those days when we ‘boldly go forward’ or even ‘timidly go forward.’  May this happen frequently so that there may be a true sense of purposefulness in the things that we do. We might in the process well help motivate others to go forward in faith as well as ourselves.

With every blessing,

Sincerely,

David.

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July letter

July letter.
Dear Everyone
Recently I was in St Albans to take the Church Anniversary at Marlborough Road Methodist Church, the last appointment I was at twenty years ago, before retiring as a Minister in pastoral charge of churches. It was great to meet again with a great number of friends in the congregation , many of whom I had not seen for a very long time.

I was wondering how I would get on. Whether I would recognise everyone, remember names, or whether they would think I looked and reacted very differently. To my great relief and delight, although at times, my response was rather slow, I remembered pretty well, everyone there that I knew and there was a great sense of rapport.

I suspect that the older we are, time goes more quickly. Twenty years seemed only as if it were yesterday.
How do we cope with the passing of time? For some, reminiscing has a useful purpose. There is a value in being thankful for the past because it always has a lot to teach us; and it is rather interesting to note that a few people whom we may have found difficult to relate to in the past we now see them in a different light. Ageing can often give us a deeper understanding and therefore a deeper sympathy with people who may have a very different outlook from our own.
We all have to learn how to value the past whatever age we are, as well as valuing the present. ‘Living in hope’ with a robust pro- active faith, explored gently and with compassion, I believe, is important. We all need to live with wider dimensions to our lives than just our own needs, and discover ‘eternal values.’ This is what true religion is all about.
If we are to’ have life, and have it more abundantly’ as Jesus said, we will need to put aside some time when we rest from our activities and consider what our lives are for.

Even just a few extra minutes every day in prayer and reflection can make a great difference!
With all good wishes, and every blessing,

David

PS. Apologies for not replying as yet to several emails. They are much appreciated.
(Still remembering the victims of terrorism and all who have suffered extreme losses of loved ones from fires, both due to human neglect of safety, and natural disasters.)

 

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June letter

Dear everyone.
I recently sent a twitter, which said ‘we need to love widely’, to do this is ‘to do justly, love, kindness, and walk humbly with your God’. The First response (‘like’)to this twitter was from the president of our Methodist conference, another came from one of our police officers responsible for ‘social cohesion’ in a part of our city which is extremely multiracial. The officer is a member of a different faith from my own!
Learning how to ‘love widely’ is crucial in rapidly changing times. All of us are being challenged to move on from where we were in our thoughts and actions, not least about our national life. I believe that if we do not ’love widely’ we rapidly become a backwater in the world.
‘To love widely’, however, does mean that we have to seek out justice in the world for everybody. We need to be compassionate and kind to all kinds of people, and learn how to ‘walk humbly with our God’. The person who first wrote these words was the Hebrew prophet Micah who lived several centuries before Christ, but he still has a very clear message for us today. Faiths are expressed in many different ways. How important it is that we walk humbly along the way we are convinced is the right way to follow.
We are facing many violent situations at the present time. Terrorism creates fear, but it can never put right anything that is evil in the world… But seeking the right things, and loving our neighbour’s as ourselves, in other words, being truly compassionate, kind and fair, is a surer way, and the only way eventually to bring about peace and happiness for all people’s.
Sincerely, David
Apologies for the long delay in sending this letter due to computer problems. At present the victims of terrorism and the terrible fire in the Grenfell Tower block are bound to be in our thoughts and prayers. We also remember those who are so valiantly helping.

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May letter

Dear everyone,
Chuck Berry was a great inspiration to many musicians. The Beatles were greatly influenced by his style ; but it was not just celebrities. Ordinary people became enthusiastic to make a’ joyful noise’ as tunefully and cheerfully as they could!
In his early days, I was at College training for the Ministry. We had a skiffle group. I used to play ‘the double bass’, It was made from an old tea chest and a broom handle with a cord tied to the top of the broom handle and the tea chest.
Although it was a very simple instrument, it was amazing how skilled you could get, and the notes produced had a distinctive quality about them. The improvisation required provided a challenge to us all, and money was scarce to buy quality instruments anyway. It wasn’t an era that lasted for long, but we thoroughly enjoyed what we were doing at the time.
‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.’ Says the psalmist. When the Psalms were written many of the musical instruments were of a simpler kind, but they gave pleasure to those who worshipped God in this way and to human beings in their merrymaking too-even if the noise was not tuned to perfection!.
We do not always have to have expensive equipment to entertain ourselves and others. . Sometimes the simpler things are, the more others can join in.
Life does not just consist of the abundance of the things we have, but rather the good and proper use to which we put our possessions and our talents.
It is not easy to live a simpler lifestyle, but the challenge is there for us all. May we resist an overwhelming consumer style approach to life, and cut back more on those things which are not essential. Life gets cluttered so quickly with things that we do not need.In doing so, we would also be treasuring and valuing the world’s resources so much more.
May we happily celebrate the month of May, and enjoy many of the simpler things we take for granted.
Every blessing,
David

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