Friday, 28 November 2008
So it came and it went, and actually I slipped easily into the next decade. It was completely painless. Yesterday I had a quiet day with just the family, today a chocolate fondue party in aid of "Stop the Traffik", tomorrow dinner with friends and family and Sunday Handel's Messiah. I am a very lucky woman and planning to enjoy each part immensely!
Monday, 24 November 2008
Q1 Why choose Methodism? Answer by selecting two characteristics (or common practices) of the Methodist church that are significant to Methodist identity and that form the basis for your choice of Methodism as your denomination.(400-500 words approx.)
It was difficult to try and just find two reasons for choosing Methodism, as there are many, but after many hours of thinking and reflection I think these two are the most important.
I have always believed that church should be a community that does not judge a person by how they look, sound or by what they believe, by their race, sex, age, sexuality or indeed for any other reason and for me Methodism is a denomination that truly tries to do this, recognizing that we are all in need of God’s grace.
“Methodists have always been clear that no-one is beyond the reach of God's love. Salvation is there for everyone who turns to God, and not just for a chosen few.” (Quote from Methodist Website)
This quote is the number one reason why I am a Methodist. I am a mother of four and have taught my children throughout their lives, that all human beings are equal, They live in 21st century Britain they have friends and family who are of different faiths and no faith, black, white, homosexual I would not be able to answer their questions truthfully, if my church did not reflect what I had told them, it would compromise my faith and my beliefs.
I don’t believe that God discriminates about who needs to be shown his love, I don’t want my children to and I don’t believe that my church should either.
One of the other things, which attract me to Methodism, is the teaching of the Methodist Quadrilateral.
Methodists traditionally use a fourfold approach to learn about our Christian faith and apply it to contemporary issues and to our Christian practice: we are taught to reflect using scripture, reason, tradition and the experience of God in our lives.
As I have been studying pioneer ministry many of the issues I have faced do not have answers that can directly be found in the Bible and using the Quadrilateral has been very useful.
I believe that if we are to move Methodism successfully into the 21st century there will be many more questions that society will expect us to answer and I think the quadrilateral is a good way of making sure that in every new decisions we make, every new fellowship that is started and every answer that we give, we hold true to scripture and tradition but use reason and our experiences of God, to show the world God’s way for our times and our place and also for the generations to come.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Seems ages since I last had time to write on here, since I've been at the sanctuary I have been busy, I did keep up the writing on the train though and the only reason the next two parts of the candidating answers are not posted yet(5 down, 4 to go - over the halfway stage) is because they form two thirds of a whole question and I think it will be easier to understand if they are read together. At the moment I am struggling to say what I want for the last part in only 150 words!!!
Monday, 3 November 2008
Well actually the second answer.
Q1b How should Methodism relate to other denominations? Answer by citing and reflecting upon your local Church's experience of ecumenical cooperation (400-500 words approx.)
I think that throughout its entire structure Methodism should be trying to co-operate with, work alongside and relate with love and understanding to other denominations. I believe this can be done without forfeiting Methodist identity or compromising what we believe to be important, and know deep within me that each one of us must prepare to be challenged or indeed changed by other people’s perspectives.
I believe Connexion should keep supporting ventures such as Hope 08 and Fresh Expressions and encouraging ecumenism, continuing to train students ecumenically can do this. My Foundation Training has in part been done at an Anglican college and I think that both the Foundation Trainees and the Anglican ordinands have been enriched by this experience. Many false ideas about each other’s denominations have been explored and the way has been paved for future ecumenical co-operation.
At local church level ecumenical co-operation often depends on circumstances such as the area the church is in and the people who are leading it. It is important that ecumenism in all communities is encouraged locally, at circuit, district and at connexion.
My Own Experience.
I live in Chyngton, a housing estate on the outskirts of Seaford. One Anglican and one Methodist church serve Chyngton and the relationship between them shows ecumenical co-operation working near its best.
Why so good?
After careful reflection I think the co-operation between churches on Chyngton estate is good because;
1. It takes place in all levels of the church.
2. There is recognition, that God has sent us to serve one community.
3. There is a good use of shared resources.
I would like to elaborate further on each point.
Co-operation on all levels.
Each church has a member on the other one’s church council; this keeps everyone well informed and able to demonstrate support. Practically this makes sure that details are taken care of, such as checking the Christmas Fairs don’t clash.
Due to the hard work of previous and present clergy, we hold joint services and Alpha courses, have ecumenical house-groups – for me this has meant I have had another church community following and praying about my current journey, which has led to a greater knowledge of Methodism especially confirmation, local preachers training and candidating.
We also hold an annual holiday club together and termly follow up sessions.
Shared resources is about more than borrowing tables
Our two churches have their own strengths and ecumenical co-operation needs to recognise that we will not always be the best at everything. Each church will lead and support. Between us we have;
Talented songwriters and musicians, worship leaders, preachers, cooks tea makers and administrators. People who are gifted at working with children, teenagers, and old people. Counsellors, pastoral carers and a bereavement counsellor. First aid and food hygiene trainers, Health and Safety specialists and much more.
To me it makes perfect sense for these resources to be shared as two churches move forward together to share God’s kingdom with our small corner of the world, and it makes perfect sense for Methodism to embrace this sharing and co-operation in every corner of the world.
The last few weeks have seen me make far more train journeys than usual. Today for instance I was out of the house for 6 1/2 hours for a ninety minute meeting in London. Five hours of that then is travelling and four is spent sitting on a train. I have made a grand decision to make better use of my travelling times, today being the first day for this new resolution. So on the way up to London I answered another candidating question (and one of the big ones at that!) two down seven to go, and on the way home I tackled the first three chapters of Pete Ward's "Mass Culture" which is reading for the next module. I was quite astounded at how much I got done. However it is a bit like celebrating on the first of January that I have kept my New Years Resolutions, so lets see how it goes. Another journey beckons Thursday.
Saturday, 1 November 2008
The Mission and education work is done and posted 12 days before the deadline, my Aunts flat is painted, half term has been a time of great production, some rest and is now nearly over. Tomorrow is busy, the children are on parade in the morning, I have to go to a church council meeting after church and my friend Christine is being accredited as a local preacher in the afternoon. Next week sees the start of my first real pioneer module, I have a meeting with my tutor on Monday and with Jonathan on Thursday to see what I have to do during my time at the Sanctuary, I have been up to visit 3 times now and am really excited about my time there, and especially about having the privilege of leading worship there in December.
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