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> Wednesday 1 July 2020

Guidance on the reopening of Methodist Church Buildings for worship and general use has been published today. I shall review the documents and enable a conversation to take place at our Circuit Meeting which is scheduled to meet via Zoom on Monday 6 July 2020. The situation is far from straightforward and we are certainly not going to be rushing back into our buildings . It may be some time before we feel it appropriate to gather again for public worship as we must only do so once it is safe and sensible. Thank you for your continued patience, I shall keep you up to date with the progress of thinking and action through these webpages.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 18 June 2020

We continue to keep on with our daily living and for many of us we remain frustrated and challenged by the situations in which we find ourselves. A number of us are supporting family and friends who need especial care at this time. Here is a prayer from the Methodist Church, to use in our situation and to help us offer all that we are feeling to the God who cares for each of us.

It is going to be some time yet before our churches get back to worshipping together in our buildings. Our worship continues to be online, produced week by week, and broadcast via YouTube. I am grateful to all those who assist me in presenting worship. If you would like to participate, by recording yourself reading a lesson or prayer, then please do let me know and I shall include you.

The life and work of the church is not standing still. We continue to work towards and plan for the future. We are especially excited that our new pioneer missioners, Paul and Maura, shall be joining us in September. They are part of the Shaw & Royton Circuit's developing strategy and thinking about mission. Notice that I said 'part of'. They will be coming to work amongst us with some specific tasks, but the overall task of mission belongs to us all as Christian disciples. In exploring the demands of mission we are in line with the current strategy of the Methodist Church. You can watch a new video which has been produced by the Connexional Evangelism and Growth Team here. The video reminds us that God is for all people and that part of the demands of being Christian disciples is to enable other people to come to know Christ and so join us in becoming disciples. Remember though that this does not necessarily mean that these new disciples will do things the way we have always done them. If we allow it, the future is going to become exciting as we travel on in our journey of faith as individuals and as a community.

A number of people enjoyed our virtual coffee morning last week and I invite you to another one. Let's get together again, using zoom, on Wednesday 24 June from 10am until 11.30am. You do not have to come at the start or stay for the whole time. Drop in and drop out as and when you wish. I shall send the link by email. If you are reading this and have not received the link then it means that I do not have an email address for you — so send me a message and we can include you.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Wednesday 10 June 2020 update Friday 12 June 2020

The statement containing the UK Government Guidance on the reopening of places of worship, issued on 12 June 2020, can be found HERE

I need to make some comments following the recent government announcement that places of worship may open for private prayer from 15th June 2020.

I would propose that the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit remain closed.

There are several reasons for me making this proposal.

The Methodist Church in Britain has decided not to make any change to its position until after the Methodist Conference has met at the end of June and so there is no change in the guidance from the Connexional Team.

Methodist Churches are places where we gather in community to worship and pray together and not a place we commonly go as individuals.

A risk assessment has not been conducted on any of the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit.
There are issues with cleaning, distancing and movement through buildings and policies will need to be in place before we resume meeting together. These issues have not yet been resolved.

We need to ensure that those opening and managing the buildings are not those in the highest risk categories . The demographic of the membership of the Shaw & Royton Circuit suggests that this condition would be difficult to meet.

The reinfection rate (R) in the north west of England and in Oldham is one of the highest in the country at the moment and we must remain cautious about the spread of the infection in our area.

I hope that this proposal resonates with the ambitions and expectations of all members of the Circuit. It would envision that it will be the autumn before we can realistically begin to consider opening our buildings for any significant use.

In the meantime, we continue to do what we have been doing in the manner that we have been doing it. Thank you for your patience. Thank you to those who have taken the time to make contact with me offering messages of encouragement and support — such kindness is greatly appreciated.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

Prayer from Ascension Day to Pentecost : Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day (21 May) and Pentecost (31 May) for more people to come to know Christ. The movement is supported by the Methodist Church in Britain.

Daily Videos for reflection:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Final

 

> Friday 5 June 2020

Yesterday we had a really good online coffee morning and chat with a crowd of people joining in. We shall do it again in a couple of weeks.

Worship on Sunday takes the form of a Songs of Praise in which a number of members of the churches of the Circuit have participated. I also have included rainbows created by some of the children from the churches around the circuit. You can download it in the usual manner, from YouTube, by going to the Worship page of this website. Please remind your friends who do not have smartphones, ipads or computers, that they can listen on the telephone. Details of the telephone number are on the Worship page of the website.

We continue keeping on with what we are doing in the manner that we are doing it. There is no sign of any significant changes to the regime which would make very much difference to the way in which the church is operating at the moment. The Methodist Connexional Team is guiding us as we move forwards. They have indicated that we continue to heed the Government guidelines for churches and to consider carefully the needs and risks involved in reopening places of worship. At this point, we do not anticipate making any changes to our own guidance until after the meeting of the Methodist Conference which takes place between June 25 and July 2.

If either you, or someone known to you, has a need with which you think I may be able to help, then please do get in touch with me. I know that our established pastoral systems are working well and that you are all looking out for each other. I am especially appreciative of the work being done by our Church Stewards, Pastoral Secretaries and Pastoral Visitors to keep in touch with all our church members and friends.

During our online coffee morning it was suggested that some people would like to maintain their financial support of the churches of the Circuit. This is appreciated and to be encouraged. Our income has pretty much dried up although we continue to have expenses. Please consider sending your collection into the treasurer of the church you normally attend. If you don't already pay by standing order or direct payment from your bank, then please consider doing so as it is by far the most efficient way to make a donation at the moment. Contact the Treasurer of your local church for further details, or contact me if you are not sure who that is.

It has been quite a weeks since things were 'normal'. There is a sense in which how things now are have become the new normal. Let's take a breath. Ask yourself what you need to remind yourself of today. Remember the people, the places, the things that you do that are a blessing. Remember the people, the places, the situations for whom and within which you are a blessing.

Do you remember that back in March I shared this poem, written by Kitty O'Meara, which was created for this time:

FB_IMG_1591347812586

And the people stayed home.
And read books,
and listened,
and rested,
and exercised,
and made art,
and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated,
some prayed,
some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant,
dangerous,
mindless,
and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses,
and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.

Here is a link which takes you to a worship song on YouTube that you might like to listen to.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Thursday 28 May 2020

Sunday will be our celebration of Pentecost and our worship will highlight this great festival of the Church. You can access the worship in the usual manner, through the Worship page of this website and on the telephone if you do not have a computer, ipad, smartphone or television which can access YouTube.

You will all be aware that from Monday 1 June 2020 some of the restrictions on activities are being lifted. Most notably, it becomes possible for schools and early years childcare facilities to recommence their work. The Circuit has two early years projects — Red Robin Preschool at Gravelhole and St Andrew's Preschool. Following a risk assessment, Red Robin has decided not to open for any children. St Andrew's has decided to open only for the children of key workers as and when required. The principle reason for this decision is that the nature of the space makes it impossible to guarantee the safety of the children and staff were there to be a full cohort of children on the premises.

Some of you may know people who are teachers and who have continued to work in various ways during the pandemic. Most have been conducting their teaching activities from home and some have been present in schools. Teachers and all others whose work is within schools now face going back to their posts on a full time basis. Please pray for them as they lead the way in working towards the new normal which shall be post-pandemic Britain.

Some of you have been in touch asking what the position is about opening the churches in early July as stated in the Government 'roadmap' a couple of weeks ago. It is important that we all recognise that the timing of such an opening was a very tentative suggestion about which firm decisions have not yet been made. It is also important to recognise what that opening will enable and what it will not allow to happen. Whilst our building might be allowed to open for some activities, it is highly unlikely that public worship will commence in July. I am aware that the preaching plan runs out at the end of June, but do not yet intend to spend time in creating one which continues on from July. There shall be time enough to make provision when we are given notice of public acts of worship being permissible. It continues to be the case that baptisms and marriage service are not permitted and that funeral services are extremely limited.

Recent guidance has come to me via the Chair of District which helps us to consider what needs to be done in our buildings in order to make provision for those activities which take place in them which are becoming permissible.

Opening the Church Building for the First Time

During the previous phase of lockdown, churches were encouraged to carry out regular property checks, but we appreciate that this was not always possible or practical for some trustees. It is therefore crucial that churches adopt a formal process when reopening parts of their properties to ensure that they are safe and fit for purpose before allowing them to be used again under this guidance.

Where possible, the initial assessment for reopening a property should be undertaken remotely in association with your church property steward and the managing trustees or other church members and not one individual. This is to ensure an organised and planned approach which brings collective decision making to the process. The Connexional Property Team have produced detailed guidance and a printable checklist & risk assessment, so please refer to this for this additional information. You can get hold of a copy of this information by going to the Connexional Website HERE.

Other Matters to Consider to Allow Use

Once a building has been opened and initial checks completed, other matters must be considered and any adaptions implemented before it can be used. All of these are covered in the Connexional Property Team's Risk Assessment guidance.

In addition, the following specific questions should be considered —

  • Does using the building for this purpose conflict with other users who may now be using the building under the current policy changes — e.g. pre-school or contractors?
  • If so, can an alternative entrance be used to minimise contact with other users?
  • Can a room/space be used which is easily accessible from outside?
  • Can a room/space be used which minimises door opening?
  • Can a room/space be used which has easy access to handwashing facilities?
  • Does using this property at this time, in this way, have any legal or insurance implications?

Procedures for Using the Church Building each time

It is important that you consider the following broad guidance in the context of your specific building and situation. If there are any specific property questions please contact a member of the Connexional Property Team at property@methodistchurch.org.uk

  • Ensure you have a signing-in/signing-out sheet by the door being used for primary access.
  • Co-ordinate any property visits with church members who may be carrying out other activities e.g. the weekly property check. If any activities can be combined to reduce access to the building or essential travel then this is encouraged.
  • If you are alone, ensure you are working in accordance with your church's lone working policy.
  • Ensure you are using the building in accordance with church security & fire risk procedures.
  • Any books, pens etc. to be used should be brought from home and taken back again afterwards.
  • Ensure hand sanitiser is available at the entrance door for use on entry and exit of the building.
  • Ensure that other hand washing facilities are stocked with soap, paper towels etc.
  • Ensure that there are cleaning products easily available so that cleaning of surfaces which may be touched can easily be cleaned after using the room e.g. door handles, light switches etc.
  • If for any reason others may be unavoidably using the building at the same time, please follow government guidance around social distancing and your church's own risk assessment provisions.

If you wish to discuss any of the procedures outlined, or need further advice, then please do contact me in the fist instance. I can then help you to find the answer to your concern, either from my own resources or by putting you in contact with the appropriate member of the Methodist Connexional Team.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 21 May 2020

Today is Ascension Day when, as we can read in Acts chapter 1 verses 1-11, Jesus was taken back into heaven before the sight of the Disciples. The angels challenge the disciples, asking them why they stand staring up into the sky, and sending them back into the world to follow their calling as disciples of Christ. They are to await the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them, which will empower them to become the people they are called to become.

From today until Pentecost Sunday we are invited into a process of prayer and preparation. Thy Kingdom Come is an international and ecumenical initiative of prayer. As we stand staring up into the heavens, wondering what happened, we are challenged to turn our eyes and hearts back to the world in which we live and move and have our being. I would encourage you to participate in the Thy Kingdom Come initiative and come back for the daily material which will be posted here on our website.

Sunday's worship is being led by three of our Local Preachers, Peter Owen, Norman Unsworth and Dawn Allison. I appreciate their contribution to our worship life and especially appreciate that they have given me a little bit of respite from the challenges of creating our worship online week by week. Go to the usual worship page of our website to participate or go to the usual telephone number if you are accessing worship in that form.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 14 May 2020

Another week has passed and we have seen some very minor changes to the situation, but nothing of any consequence. The reopening of places of worship is mentioned as a possibility in the third phase of the Government's 'roadmap'. This means that nothing is going to happen before early July and even then I am not sure what we shall be able to do. So, it may be that we can open our churches but still can not gather in large numbers for worship.

Still, we keep on keeping on and continue to walk in God's love. Be assured, there shall be a time when this shall all be history!

Thank you to the many people who have taken the time to contact me with a word of encouragement this week. It was really kind of you to do so. We all need the hand on the metaphorical shoulder from time to time, don't we?

This week has been a good week. We interviewed, via Zoom, for the post of Pioneer Missioner in the Circuit. I am really pleased to be able to announce that we have made an appointment of a couple who will share the post between them.

Paul is a trained teacher and Maura holds a Master's degree in Community Music. They served the Methodist Church as Mission Partners in El Salvador and Nicaragua from 2012 to 2016. Maura is presently working as a community music practitioner and Paul as a self-employed gardener in Lincolnshire where they have also been engaging in pioneering mission with their local Methodist Church.

Paul and Maura have a good understanding of the principles and challenges of pioneer missioning. They have good experience of working in this style of ministry, both in the UK and in Latin America. The interview panel was impressed by their clarity of expression, realistic expectations and enthusiastic 'can do' attitude. The panel recognised that Paul and Maura would work well in a job sharing context, each bringing distinct and complementary skills to the role.

Subject to the arrangements being possible in the current situation, Paul and Maura are anticipating moving to the Circuit with their three children in time to begin work in September.

Please pray for Paul and Maura as they make their preparations, and for the Circuit as we make ourselves ready for this exciting new phase in our life and mission.

Worship for Sunday 17 May is prepared and ready to go on the Worship Page of this website. It continues to be available in audio-only form on the telephone for those without internet access. Please continue to let people know about the telephone option as not as many people are accessing it as I thought might.

Christian Aid Week continues to run throughout this week. Obviously we shall not be distributing or collecting donation envelopes. Your can, however, still make your annual donation to the important work of Christian Aid online at www.caweek.org/payin . Please consider supporting this important work as generously as ever.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 7 May 2020

This week I have conducted two funerals under restricted circumstances and they have been quite difficult times both for the bereaved families and for me as the leader. Please remember the families and friends of Ida, from Gravelhole, and Connie, from Trinity, in your prayers at this time. I hope that, when the situation allows, we shall be able to remember Ida and Connie in services at Gravelhole and Trinity and the many people who would have attended their funeral services shall be able to come together in remembrance and celebration.

Worship for Sunday 10 May is now available. The service has made extensive use of material offered by Christian Aid as it is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. You can watch online by following the link here or you can listen to an audio-only version of service over the telephone by dialling 01706 580206.

Christian Aid Week runs from this Sunday, 10 May 2020. Obviously we shall not be distributing or collecting donation envelopes. Your can, however, still make your annual donation to the important work of Christian Aid online at www.caweek.org/payin . Please consider supporting this important work as generously as ever.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 


> Friday 1 May 2020

The Rev Cathy Bird, Superintendent of the Stockport Circuit, has written and produced this prayer which some people may find helpful. You can see it on the Methodist Church in Britain YouTube channel by following this link.

 

> Thursday 30 April 2020

Worship for Sunday 3 May is now available. You can watch online by following the link here or you can listen to an audio-only version of service over the telephone by dialling 01706 580206.

Here is a video prayer led by the Rev Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Thursday 23 April 2020

Telephone Worship. I have now managed to set up a local telephone number and automated service for our telephone worship. This means that you can dial in at any time and the call will be free to most landlines. Simply dial the number — you do not need to enter any codes or hash key. The telephone number is 01706 580206. Please will Pastoral Visitors and Church Stewards pass this number onto anyone whom they think would like to join in with our worship. Be aware though that what people shall be listening to is simply the soundtrack to the video and so there may be moments when it is not clear what is happening.

I do hope that this new facility will enable people to participate in worship more easily.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Sunday 19 April 2020

We enter another week of lock down and I hope all is well with you.

A recorded service is online again this week. Go to the Worship page and follow the link. Apologies for the editing error at the beginning of the sermon. I shall not give up the day job and move to Hollywood ... Hollinwood maybe!!
.
Some of us who usually work outside the home may have been on holiday these past weeks and maybe return to work tomorrow. Maybe you are home-schooling children and shall be back to that task in the morning. Maybe you start another week of lonesome self-isolating, social distancing. Whatever you circumstances, may you find peace and blessing.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Thursday 16 April 2020

Worship for Sunday 19 April shall be available on the worship pages of this website.

You can also listen to it live at 10.30am on Sunday over the telephone. Please share these details with friends known to you do not have access to a computer:

Here is how to do it:

1. Dial the telephone number 0330 088 5830
2. You will be asked for a meeting number. Using you telephone keypad put in the number 8061526008 followed by the # key.
3. You will be asked for your ID number but you do not have one so simply press the # key on your telephone.
4. You will be asked for the password. Enter 580329# on your telephone keypad.
5. You shall now be able to listen to the service.

Note that this will only be available at 10.30am on Sunday as it is a live broadcast of the service.

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Good Friday (10 April 2020)

Today is Good Friday. We remember the suffering of Christ on the Cross.

Click here to watch a short video meditation containing music and images for Good Friday.

There is a service for Good Friday, produced by Norman Unsworth, and a sermon/meditation by Peter Owen, both Local Preachers in the Shaw & Royton Circuit, on our worship page. You can see them HERE.

 

cross nail

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Maundy Thursday (9 April 2020)

The ancient designation of this day is "Maundy," a form of the word "mandate." And what is a mandate? It is a command, a demand, an order, an administrative determination, a legal authority, something required. It is mandatory, rather than optional. No choice.

The mandate on this day is to love one another.

The story of this day, this night, includes dinner with friends, some farewell speeches, the washing of feet, entreaties to wakefulness, sleep, betrayal, violence, absence. It is a night of sweetness and of division, of coming together and ripping apart. The stories we most often associate with this day and which we remember most fondly, are the stories of a last supper, of Jesus instructing his disciples to "remember me," of Jesus washing his followers' feet.

But do you remember, too, the entreaty of Jesus to "watch with me for a little while," when his disciples wanted to sleep? Loneliness. Abandonment. The quiet of a slumbering night. Do you remember the betrayal of Judas, when he identified his lord to the soldiers? Treachery. Anger. The other disciples responded with horror. One disciple cut off a soldier's ear before Jesus stopped him. Finally, Jesus was hauled away by the soldiers, the disciples were left alone in shock and grief, Peter stumbled around, lost, denying he even knew Jesus, and the cock crowed. Once. Twice. Three times. The dawning of a new and terrible day when people would be put to death.

When we mark Maundy Thursday, we mark the beginning of the end, in a sense. It is the time when Jesus bid farewell to his followers on this earth and gave them final instructions for carrying on in his absence. It was a last opportunity for Jesus to tell them his message and show them what he meant: Love one another; do it like this.

But we must give consideration, too, to the brokenness of these events.

In some respects, our observation of Holy Week and our longed for celebration of Easter Joy are broken this year. We are not together in the way that we always thought we would be together. We are physically separated, socially distanced, self-isolated. We cannot yet meet with one another, we cannot yet meet the risen Christ, in the breaking of the bread.

In the record of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus and the disciples are nourished, body and soul, in the breaking of bread and the sharing of a meal. In John's gospel, there is a different kind of breaking, a different sort of nourishment. For John, when Jesus washes feet, he is offering nourishment of a different sort. When he breaks himself, lowers himself, to take on water bowl and towel and perform this lowly act of comfort, he is giving life to the words: "Do this in remembrance of me."

The love of Jesus, the love of God, the love of neighbour, is more than breaking bread in church. It is emptying oneself in love and modesty to be filled with the spirit of God in service to our neighbours.
John's relation of the story of this day has a message for us beyond the breaking of bread, even beyond the breaking of the Body of Christ, which we do over and over again in our lives and in our Eucharistic worship. John's message is this: Remember me. Love one another. And this is how you do it.

To love one another is our mandate for this day. And we are seeing that lived out on a daily basis. We see ordinary men and women express their love in extraordinary ways. We see extraordinary men and women express their love in ordinary ways. When we can again come together and when we can again break the Body of Jesus once again in the act of breaking bread, may we continue to remember his command to love one another, and better yet, his example of taking care of one another — in remembrance of our Lord. Amen

Watch this video of the hymn "Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love".

WIB04004_Washing_Feet_fs

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Wednesday 8 April 2020

postcard front

The day-to-day figures which show leaps in those affected by Covid-19 is alarming. Each number is a person and each person is a family and a friendship group changed forever. Maybe it has come close to you, either as an infection or as a loss through death. Have we yet reached the point whereby we all know somebody who has been infected, or are aware of family who have lost a loved one to this pandemic? It would be easy, wouldn't it, to become depressed and despondent? Let us hold fast to the God we know as a loving and faithful God. Psalm 103 tells us that the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. God will not let go of us.

We were at one of those places that has lodges in the forest when we decided to go on an exploration. We stepped off the track and headed into the forest. It became darker and colder. Every so often a shaft of light broke through the leafy canopy to remind us that actually it was a sunny day beyond the woods. Just occasionally we heard the sound of children at play reminding us that, though we were alone, others were close by.

Christian people do find themselves in dark and lonely places. This is when, through the ministry of other people, we can be reminded of the light which continues to shine around our darkness. In the distance , beyond the loneliness, we can hear the sound of the church at worship, singing the songs of faith. And though we are not yet in that light place, and though we cannot yet sing those songs, it is enough to know that the light is there and the songs are being sung.

The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103.17)

This is the God who hold us in the darkness and sings into our silence.

Click on this link to watch a video which I find inspiring. You need to read the words written by Steph Macleod, the songwriter, which are beneath the video on this YouTube page. (You have to click on "Show More" to see the whole Text). Watch the video, read the words and know that blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Tuesday 7 April 2020

Today's meditation is written by Clive Marsh, the Vice President of the Methodist Conference.

Follow this link to read the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus in John 12.1-11

There will again be a time to celebrate, but it is not now.
There will again be a time for feasting, but not today.
There will again be a time to pour out expensive perfume, but for the moment we leave it stored.
We long for resurrection, but for now see mostly death.
We long for the fresh air of freedom,
but today salvation keeps most at home,
whilst nurses and doctors keep Lazarus company,
and water waits to be turned to wine.
It will all come; but not today.
Today, we hope.
In Christ, with Christ, through Christ.

 

> Monday 6 April 2020

We are in Holy Week, the week which begins with Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, contains Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and which culminates in the Resurrection. We observe this year's Holy Week in very strange circumstances, physically separated and yet united spiritually as closely as ever — if not actually closer than ever before. There does seem to be a new ethos pervading society, we seem to have rediscovered the things that matter — caring for our neighbour, looking out for one another, saying thank you to those whose presence we had previously never noticed. We are truly finding that blessings do indeed abound!

An interesting phenomenon is emerging and being recognised by all the churches. We seem to be drawing more people into our online worship services than ever we got through the doors of our church buildings. Take our own services for example. Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I can see that we had over 180 separate connections to the worship that was produced for the Circuit. We do not have 180 people in membership in the Circuit and we certainly do not have 180 people who all have a computer connection. When you further recognise that some of those connections will be more than one person watching, then the number of people engaging in worship is even greater.

It seems to me that it has always been a case that in times of personal, national and international crisis, people turn to spirituality in order to find relief, expression and understanding. That seems to be what is happening here. And in this instance people are turning to the Church to find that spiritual dimension. That challenges us to be the best we can be in times which are, for many, the worst that they can be.

So, let us walk through Holy Week knowing that we walk the way of Christ. Let us, in faith, set our faces towards the empty tomb and fill our lungs ready to shout "Alleluia! He is Risen!" . Let us, though, also recognise that the route to that place takes us from the table of fellowship, into the garden of betrayal and up the hill of crucifixion where is becomes dark and lonely and desolate. For some people this week will be all of those things. Let us hold the world in love and peace and prayer knowing that we too are held by the hands which have been stretched out and nailed to the cross.

Let us proclaim that, even in the darkness, the light shines. Let us proclaim that, even in the deepest sadness, joys waits to break forth. Let us proclaim, that even when we least expect it, blessings abound.

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

#Important Notice — 23 March 2020 (Updated 30 March 2020)

 

The Rev Eddie Gordon and the Rev Bob Davies are giving pastoral support to the circuit until Palm Sunday when I shall resume full time working. They are only able to give telephone or 'remote' support.

Please contact Janet Abbott (Circuit Steward) if you need further guidance.

eddiegordon47@hotmail.co.uk
robertdavies123@btinternet.com
janet.abbott13@ntlworld.com

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

Blessings abound!

Adrian.

 

> 23 March 2020 1300h

The Methodist Church is announcing a closure of all its churches for the foreseeable future. The only exception will be for churches that are offering essential social outreach such as foodbanks, soup kitchens and night shelters, but these must be carried out closely within Government guidelines. The Methodist Church suspended worship services last week with some churches still opening for quiet prayer and reflection. This must now also be suspended. We would encourage people to use our online resources at home which include downloadable services and links to online worship services.

The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference said: "We are asking people to change their way of 'going to church' to help to protect themselves and others. We have put in place measures that will enable Methodists still to be part of the worshipping community, whilst for everyone's sake staying away from church buildings. There is a range of resources available for people to use at home which we hope will help them to continue their cycle of prayer and worship. The Methodist Church is more than its buildings and if in these unprecedented times we can continue our life as Methodists without using our buildings we will help to reduce the chances of transmission of the virus."

This means that we must shut up our buildings and leave them shut until told otherwise. Our employed caretakers must be stood down on full pay. There shall be no weddings, funerals or any form of activity in our buildings.

I am conscious that we have Red Robin and St Andrew's preschool operating in support of key workers. They may continue to do so in line with the conditions under which they are already operating.

Continue to support the restrictions and do the right thing.

If you need assistance please contact the Revd Bob Davies and Eddie Gordon as in the message at the head of this page.

 

>22 March 2020 1400h — 101 Connections

There were 101 connections to our act of worship this morning and, assuming some of those were families, that means that more than that worshipped together this morning. Isn't that wonderful? It certainly makes it worth my while producing the material. If you know someone who doesn't have internet, but would value receiving the material on DVD then let me know at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

It is Mothering Sunday and we send love to our mothers and remember, with fondness, those who have mothered us. I spoke with my 89 year old mother this morning and was pleased that her local church and neighbourhood is looking out for her. Interestingly her comment was that she has never before had so many people making contact with her in order to ensure that she is OK... makes you think doesn't it! I am grateful that there are others doing for her what I am trying to do here. Let us be blessed by each other.

I have been alerted to an issue with the general emails that I send out. You cannot reply to them by hitting the reply button as it just bounces back. I am using the website, which hold contact data including emails on all our members, in order to send out the global emails. It seems not to have the capacity to deal with replies. So, if you wish to reply then use my regular email address. I shall remember to put that message on the next email that I send out in that way. Email me at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

Some people are asking me what happens about baptisms, weddings and funerals at this time. I do have some baptisms and weddings booked and funerals continue to be needed. The Methodist Church has issued direction on how we might engage with these events. You can see it HERE.

Carry on keeping yourselves safe and remember...

Blessing abound!

Adrian

Please contact me if there is anything at all that I can do for you at this time.

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> 21 March 2020 1200h — Can you help me find the vulnerable people?

Things are changing quite rapidly and as the country is shutting down so opportunities for us to move around interact become more limited. I had a video conference yesterday with the senior steward of every church and the Circuit Stewards. We talked about how we can keep in touch with our folk and shared some ideas. We are conscious that there are some people who shall be particularly vulnerable during this time of isolation. PLEASE will you help me out by sending me an email telling me of those from our churches, known to you, who might come into this category. This means our older people who live alone and may not have family close by. If you are a Pastoral Visitor or Pastoral Secretary then you will probably have this information, please send me an email at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk . Whilst I may not do pastoral visits in the normal manner, I can do brief doorstep visits without going into people's homes. I shall do this where appropriate if you will help me out with the information.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we can worship together even though we are apart. I have produced a video version of worship that I would have been leading at Trinity. Let all watch it tomorrow. I shall be doing so with my family at 1030am, let all do it together and know that others are worshipping with us. I shall be producing a video for each week. Be aware it is not BBC songs of praise quality! You can go to the worship page of this website and click on the link. I am using the YouTube platform which means that you can watch it on any kind of device (apart from a landline of course!). I know that some of our folk do not have access to any kind of device and so have worked out how to create a DVD using the same material which can be watch on a standard DVD player and television. Who should I give these to? Again, if you are a Pastoral Visitor or Pastoral Secretary then you will probably have this information, please send me an email at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

So follow this link and let us all worship together at 10.30am tomorrow.

Adrian

Please contact me if there is anything at all that I can do for you at this time.

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

> 20 March 2020 1100h — Letter from the Chair of District

The Rev Dr Andrew Lunn, chair of the Manchester & Stockport District of the Methodist Church has sent a pastoral letter around the district. You can see it here.

 

> 20 March 2020 0900h — Take a breath

It has been quite a few days. Let's take a breath.

Ask yourself what you need to remind yourself of today. Remember the people, the places, the things that you do that are a blessing. Remember the people, the places, the situations for whom and within which you are a blessing.

Keep the faith. Pray without ceasing. Blessings abound!

I discovered this poem, written by Kitty O'Meara, which was created for this time:

And the people stayed home.
And read books,
and listened,
and rested,
and exercised,
and made art,
and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated,
some prayed,
some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant,
dangerous,
mindless,
and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses,
and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.

Here is a link which shall take you to a worship song on YouTube that you might like to listen to.

Remember to get in touch if you have any need.

Adrian adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>19 March 2020 1600h — Circuit worship on DVD

I have managed to get the technology working this afternoon. The worship that I have put on the Circuit website can be made available on a DVD for those without access to the internet but who have a standard DVD player or TV which plays DVDs. If you know anyone who might like the worship in this form please ask them, check out that they have a DVD player and then let me have their name and address. It is a bit of a time consuming process to make these DVDs so please only ask for it if it is for someone who does not have any other access and who really is going to use it. Let me know at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk or on 01706 847393 . It is probably a bit too late to manage to organise this for this Sunday, but I can undertake to do it for all future Sundays.

Even better though if there is someone out their who is sufficiently geeky to be able to do this task and so free me up to do something else — let me know!

 

>19 March 2020 1445h — Continued support for the Foodbank

Many of our churches support the foodbank and it is especially important that we continue to do so. If you would normally send food through your local church, or you wold like to make a donation, then Val Stott is available to collect it from you and deliver it to the foodbank. Please contact her on 07910729713 or by email at val.stott@gmail.com. The Foodbank relies heavily on donations from churches in the area, and because the majority of churches are no longer open the need is greater than ever. Thank you for your support and thank you to Val for this initiativ

 

>19 March 2020 1330h

This update includes information about:

1. My video conference with colleague Superintendent Ministers
2. Some comments on the financial implications for the churches of the Circuit
3. An mechanism to volunteer to help the wider community
4. General comments about continued contact with church members
5. Specific comments about continued contact with and between senior church stewards
6. Continued and developing pastoral care for our members
7. Provision for worship in the Circuit

I have now had a video conference with the Chair of District and colleague Superintendent Ministers. We had a good meeting together and agreed to support one another by meeting together again in the same manner on a regular and frequent basis. It was clear that we are all in the same boat and dealing with the same issues. All worship services are abandoned and our buildings closed. Some of us have issues about employment of lay people — as we do with our two childcare facilities at Gravelhole and St Andrews. We are all seeking ways, and shared ideas about, how to enable our folk to have some worship life together.

The Superintendent Ministers considered the finances of the churches and, remembering that we still have bills to pay, suggested that if people are not already doing so, they might like to keep the cash flowing by making their regular donations via standing order or, at the very least sending their collection into the church treasurers.

If people are wondering how they might get involved in helping the wider community on a voluntary basis then a website has been established by Greater Manchester Council with help from the Methodist Church — go and have a look at it at volunteergm.org where you will find opportunities across Greater Manchester and specifically for Oldham.

I shall put regular updates on this page of the website and invite you to check back regularly. I shall be sending out emails to all those for whom I have a contact. If you are reading this on the web but have not received an email from me in the last two days then that means that I do not have your email address. It would be great if you would let me have your email address and then you will receive updates and information directly. Send your email address to adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

I am keeping contact with each of the senior church stewards as a matter of priority and thank each of them for the great work that they have been doing in each church over the past day or so. I shall be contacting them so that we might all meet together in a web conference in the next couple of days and regularly thereafter.

It remains important that we keep an eye on the most vulnerable of our congregation members whilst at the same time keeping them and ourselves safe. Please let me know of people who you know who need attention, especially our older folk who live alone, by sending me a message at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk . You are the people who are in each of the local churches and who know who needs particular attention and I thank you, in advance, for your assistance in identifying these people.

I have managed to get the technology working and have recorded a service for us all to use on Sunday. It is pretty much what I had planned for use at Trinity already. You can see the video by going to the Worship tab at the top of the page, or by clicking here. I shall be preparing worship for every Sunday over the coming weeks and you will find them on the Worship page of this website. I would be pleased to hear comments about these services and whether there are any issues when you use them.

And finally, I hope that the format of these updates is useful. We are learning how to do things differently and so are aware that we might not always get it right. Let me know if you have any ideas of how we might do things better or if you think of something for us to consider. Let us continue to pray for ourselves and each other as we go forward into uncharted territory. Remember that we do not go alone, but we walk hand-in-hand with the loving God who is made known to us in Jesus Christ. Remember the words of the ancient mystic, Julian of Norwich — All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

See HERE for the latest response and advice. from the Methodist Church to the corona virus.

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
The Shaw and Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

2 The Avenue, Shaw, Oldham, OL2 7HE
01706 847393
adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk
www.shawroytonmethodist.org.uk

 

>19 March 2020 0900h

If you are reading this page of the website, but did not receive an email from me yesterday, then that means that I do not have your email address. I am going to be using email quite a lot as a means of communicating with members of the churches. If you would like to receive those emails then please send me an email message at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

 

>18 March 2020 0800h.

Following government guidance, the Methodist Church in Britain has closed all of its churches for public worship until the present health crisis is passed. Consequently, no services of worship shall be taking place in the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit either on Sundays or weekdays. All of our usual activity is suspended and there shall be no meetings for spiritual, business or social purposes taking place. Any regular events, such as coffee mornings, bible studies, prayer meeting are similarly suspended no matter where they meet.

I am preparing an act of worship that we can all share as a video to download to your computer or tablet. Please come back here at the weekend and it shall be available.

Please look after yourself during this time. Please also have a mind for those who live alone and for whom this is going to be a lonely time. Let us care for one another — but in an appropriately safe manner.

I shall be working out the manner in which I shall be engaging with you pastorally. All of the Superintendent Ministers of the District are speaking together via a video conference on Thursday in order to establish good practice and share ideas. I shall share those ideas with you later in the week.

Please return here frequently as it is the place I shall use to communicate with you all.

Here is a prayer for us to share:

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other's reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.

We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love — demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.
Amen

Adrian

Please contact me if there is anything at all that I can do for you at this time.

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
The Shaw and Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

2 The Avenue, Shaw, Oldham, OL2 7HE
01706 847393
adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

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