On Thursday 23rd July eighteen of us met up in the early evening for a Ramble around Stoke Park woods in Fair Oak. We saw a Hare in one of the fields near the path. We also enjoyed a view of Winchester, (approximately 5 miles away). If we had been inclined we could have followed a different path through the Woods until we had reached Bishopstoke. We all enjoyed catching up with each others news whilst strolling round.
One of our regular walking couples had bought some relatives with them, and it was the gentlemens Birthday, so we got to enjoy his birthday cake when we met up to continue our discussions in the Clock Inn. Our Thanks to those kind people who had organised the Ramble for us.
Last Sunday evening our new Methodist President, the Reverend Steve Wild was in the Meon Valley Circuit and preached at Shirrell Heath Methodist Church, the very first Sunday following his induction. Our new President is quite a character! He has a lively wit and a very unusual personality – not a staid, quiet cerebral sort, but a very outgoing personality and a strong character. He reminisced somewhat amusingly about his life in Methodism and found time to give thanks to those in the congregation he knew from the past, including Phillip Seaton, with whom he had been to Bible College at the same time.
He reminded us that his Mission in his Presidential Year was for each Methodist Community to get at least one convert during the year [not a Church Transfer mind you!] and that a small Church in Cornwall district with just 8 members has grown in a short period to 45 Members and is still growing . He gave examples of people he had met in recent days and how he spoke with them about his faith. He reminded us that prayer was important in Church life and we should – each and every one of us- look for daily opportunities to share our faith with others. Not everybody is as skilful as our President but with time and prayer, I am sure we can all improve.
He also publicly anointed those from the local Church who were participating in the up-coming Wickham Festival and he also anointed with oil, any who were personally concerned about church outreach in their own local communities.
Incidentally, Shirrell Heath was an elderly building but a few years back but it is now a new modern purpose built place which can easily and quickly be reorganised for various purposes. Looks very nice.
It was worth attending. Opportunities like this do not come often and the experience was thought provoking. It was also a good time to meet others from the wider Southampton District who were there as well.
The newly elected President of the Methodist Conference has urged the Church to ‘take God seriously’ and put evangelism back on the agenda.In his inaugural address at the Conference in Southport, the Revd. Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying: “Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.”
“We cannot sit back in complacency”, he added. “We have a massive Kingdom of God task. I’m wanting this year to challenge each church to bring one person to faith – to make one new member this next year, let’s make bringing people to faith the main point, we don’t do it alone. The unconditional love of Jesus is our motivation.”
He told those gathered at the Conference that John Wesley only had ten guineas to his name when he died. Wesley’s will directed that four of these guineas should pay four unemployed men to carry his coffin and the remainder be distributed among his poorest preachers.
“What else did he leave behind?” Steve asked. “Changed lives hundreds of them, Christian communities dotted all over this country and in other parts of the world, fellowships seeking to take God seriously. Oh that we may all draw to the foot of the cross and experience this powerful love and make this our legacy one of transformed lives and communities!”