Category Archives: Circuit

Circuit Service 17th May 2020

Everyone is welcome to join us tonight at 6:30pm. The service this week is being broadcast via YouTube and can also be accessed by the Sutton Park Methodist Facebook Page. The preacher tonight is Revd Stephen Froggatt and Revd Malcolm Oliver will be breaking bread.

There is also a Circuit Youth and Junior Church Service at 4pm led by Deacon Rachel Thomas-Prasad. Please contact Malcolm for Zoom details.

The Unheeding World

Whilst I was in  hospital recently the hospital chaplain, the Revd Kathryn Darby and I celebrated together the Lord’s Supper in one corner of the ward. We did not draw the curtains around my bed, so that anyone could see what was happening. One thing struck me forcibly as we celebrated. The rest of the ward, nurses and patients simply carried on with their daily concerns, bustling about, distributing cups of tea, meals, medication and so on. There was the background noise of the television and radio news. Nobody seemed to take a blind bit of notice of what we were doing and I thought how that reflected what happened on Good  Friday, when Jesus was crucified. The World carried on with its business as if nothing else mattered.

The merchants and the money changers, the scribes and the soldiers just ignored the dying man whose life was ebbing away right next to them. They put up a board saying in three languages that he was the King of the Jews. They played dice as they gambled for his clothes. They were passing the time until he died. Then they would leave him hanging there while they went away to other more honourable military tasks than guarding a corpse. Business as usual.

Is that not how it is with us? The supermarkets are open and selling their goods as usual. The World carries on with its own concerns, the noise and bustle as usual – and the King of the Jews on his cross, his blood being shed even for those who ignore him. Even many Christians who will rejoice on the third  day after his death and shout: ‘The Lord is risen’ forget that before being raised  he first had to die. We cannot have a Risen Lord without first knowing him as the Crucified. Can we not pause in our busy lives and look death in the face before we speak of the resurrection?

Revd Dr John Taylor

Written by John on 26th April 2020, the day before he died.

Zoom! Circuit Service Easter Sermon

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Down through the centuries, that Easter Acclamation has rung out on Easter Day, from first dawn, to the evening light, proclaiming the end – not just of the night passed, but of darkness for ever. Death is defeated, and the Light of Christ has entered the world, never to be extinguished.

As Revd Alan explained in his recent Blog posts, we are learning to experience a little of what it is like to be living in exile, singing the songs of lament. Yet we do so with the trusting faith of the psalmist who proclaims repeatedly at the end of the lament – “Yet will I praise my Lord and my God, for he is faithful and his love is everlasting”.

Easter means that the darkness will never again take the upper hand. More soberly still, not even the death of those we love is able to separate us from the love of God. In the face of death, and through the tears of grief, we can sing as we weep, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow” and “Thine be the glory”. Easter gives us a hope that the world cannot give.

We are also learning how to be church when we can’t leave our homes. Using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or WhatsApp for staff meetings has broadened to include Bible Studies, Prayer Groups, Home Groups and Fellowship Groups. Watching live broadcasts over Facebook or YouTube includes the opportunity not just to participate but also to connect to people beyond the normal geographical boundaries.

We can’t meet to share in Holy Communion, but we can fast and pray, as Revd Alan says. We can develop a spiritual hunger for renewed fellowship. Yet we can also take bread and wine, tea, toast, cake, scones, biscuits (even jelly and ice cream!) – whatever we have to hand – and deliberately and mindfully consume them. As we do so, we can be aware that the God we worship is bigger than all our doctrines and buildings and traditions, and that this God can meet us where we are even in the simplicity of a shared family meal.

On the first Easter the old order was broken for ever. So it is for us. We will never go “back to the way we were”. We will never go back to the old normal – it will be a new normal, and it is precisely in the newness of life that we encounter God’s relentless re-creation of each new day. We are called to be co-creators with God. We are called to behold the one who says “See! I am doing a new thing!” And we are called to join in with the Missio Dei – the work and purpose of God.

That first Easter changed history. We are living in a history-making era, and future generations will look back and see how well we handled this pandemic. Will they see how the churches took charge of social care while the hospital staff took charge of medical care? Or will they ask what the churches did when they had a chance? Will they encounter the risen Christ amongst the empty Church buildings or amongst the supermarket cashiers, the shelf-fillers and the delivery drivers? 

That first Easter changed the way the world saw those first disciples. Previously they were viewed as simple, illiterate fishermen. Suddenly they were transformed into fearless preachers of a radical new gospel. This virus outbreak is already changing the way we view our lowest-paid workers, as we realise that it is them who actually hold this country together. 

Jesus turned the world upsidedown. Easter reset history. We are living through uncomfortable times and there will be no going back.

But what of tomorrow? In Luke’s Gospel, the final pages give us the story of the Road to Emmaus. The encounter with the unexpected and unrecognised Christ is one that keeps repeating. Even as we tread the weary paths around the house, shuffling between TV and kitchen and bedroom and bathroom, we can be aware, if we look, of the One who walks with us, accompanying us even in those moments when we feel most alone.

Easter changes everything. Many have locked themselves into their homes and many are afraid. But God is far, far greater than a lockdown. This Jesus appeared to the disciples when they were afraid, and when they were in lockdown.

Jesus came among them and said ‘Peace be with you’. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

The peace of the risen Christ be with you all, and with all those you love, and with all those who love you, today and always. Amen.

What’s On – Week Beginning 5th April 2020


Bible readings, Hymns and Psalms from the Methodist Prayer Handbook:

Sunday 5th April (Palm Sunday): Matthew 27:11-54, StF 277, Psalm 31:9-16
Monday 6th April: Isaiah 42:1-9, StF 338, Psalm 36:4-11
Tuesday 7th April: Isaiah 49:1-7, StF 17, Psalm 71:10-14
Wednesday 8th April: Isaiah 5-:4-9a, StF 319, Psalm 70
Thursday 9th April (Maundy Thursday): 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, StF 572, Psalm 116
Friday 10th April (Good Friday): Isaiah 52:13-53:12, StF 285, Psalm 22
Saturday 11th April (Holy Saturday): John 19:38-42, StF 291, Psalm 31:1-4

Find Reflections on these passages on the Methodist Church Website

 Lectionary Readings for Today (Palm Sunday)
Matthew 21.1-11; Psalm 118.1-2,19-29
Read these Scriptures online
For some thoughts on these passages, have a look at Words On The Word

Lectionary Readings for Today (Passion Sunday)
Isaiah 50.4-9a; Psalm 31.9-16; Philippians 2.5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66
Read these Scriptures online
For some thoughts on these passages, have a look at Words On The Word

The Methodist Church Worship At Home Sheet
This week’s sheet for you to download and print off at home is here.

Online Streamed Services
The Birmingham District will seek again to offer Sunday worship at 10:30am
Wesley’s Chapel London on Sunday at 11am
SwanBank Methodist Church on Sunday at 10:30am

Weekday Morning Prayers
09:00 Monday-Friday – from Wesley House Cambridge with Resources for following the prayers and readings.  
10:00 Monday-Friday – from Wesley’s Chapel London

Worship Resources
 These resources have been generously provided by the following:
Roots On The Web 
The Family Friendly Churches Trust 
The Worship Cloud – Free Vine At Home Resources
The Worship Cloud – Vine Service for Palm Sunday
The Worship Cloud – How To Fold Your Own Palm Cross
Illustrated Ministry’s Junior Church Activity Sheets