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Pastoral Letter

Dear Sisters and Brothers.

As we approach the Christmas period, that time when we are busy entertaining and being entertained, preparing nativity plays and pantomimes, singing the traditional carols and hearing the familiar stories. From a distance we may see that the incarnation story, centred in a manger in the occupied village of Bethlehem, is woven around with journeys.

  • The journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem at the instruction of the occupying power. A journey echoed by all those expected to fulfil the whims of those in power.
  • The journey of the Shepherds who we are told left their flocks in the fields to travel to see the infant child laid in an animal feeding trough.
  • The journey of the Magi, travellers from the East, followers of another religion. Seeking truth, first among those with power but eventually finding it in the poverty of the village of Nazareth.
  • The journey to Egypt, a family fleeing the cruelty of those in power. A theme that continues to resonate in our own time, with one refugee crisis after another.
  • Journeying continued throughout Jesus's ministry, travelling around the Holy Land and eventually that final journey carrying his cross to his crucifixion.

You like me may have grown-up with stories of Methodist local preachers walking vast distances to preach. I know a minister who had served in Ringwood and would cycle to chapels along Southampton water, some 20 miles, to preach on a Sunday. I also heard about a chapel which was built in a certain spot because it was just an hour's walk from five villages.

Never has it been easier to travel than it is today and yet we seem to be reluctant to do so. At our recent Circuit Meeting a number of churches failed to send representatives. We want the Circuit to support our causes but some are unwilling to support the Circuit when asked to do so. I wonder whether this is a reflection on a general malaise which is that the church exists to serve us, rather than that we are members of the church in order to serve God.

erhaps at this time of incarnation we need to consider these words of St Paul, 'Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.' (Philippians 2.5-8 NRSV)

Your brother in Christ,

David

Rev. David Hookins


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Balfour Centenary

Sunday 26th November from 4:00pm Salisbury Methodist Church

Commemorating the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration

4:00pm - Conversation between Revd. Brian Brown and Jan Sutch Pickard

"Social Responsibility; What's Balfour to do with us?"
Revd. Brian Brown Jan Sutch Pickard

Brian Brown was Director of the Christian Institute of Southern Africa until he was banned in 1977 by the apartheid rregime. He then became Africa Secretary for the Methodist Missionary Society; now he continues his search for social justice within Israel/Palestine.

Jan Sutch Pickard is a former Vice President of the Methodist Conference and has worked as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Israel/Palestine

5:00pm Tea and Fairtrade stall featuring Palestinian Products.

6:00pm - Circuit Service - Preacher Revd. Brian Brown

Lord Balfour was a member of the British War Cabinet in the First World War. At the fall of the Ottoman Empire, French and British Governments carved up the countries of the Middle East, Palestine falling to the British. In November 1917 Lord Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild, one of the leading figures of the Jewish community in Britain in which he promised to " view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" .... Simultaneously adding " it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" . The Jewish Homeland was achieved in 1948 on Israel becoming an independent state but this was at enormous cost to the Palestinians with 750,000 fleeing from their homes and becoming refugees. The pledge to the Palestinians has yet to be honoured. Indeed their situation is worse through the Occupation, the separation wall and the blockade of Gaza. British history is intrinsically linked with the fight of Palestinians for human rights and that is why our partners in Christians Aware and the Amos Trust etc. ask that churches should use this centenary year to urge the UK government to honour its one-hundred-year-old pledge to safeguard Palestinian rights and work with others to create the framework for peace and security for all who call the Holy Land home. So on November 26 at Salisbury Methodist Church there will be a special Balfour centenary evening service conducted by the Revd Brian Brown.


3 Generate

Sixteen children and young people from our circuit, together with 4 or 5 adult leaders will be travelling to Southport on November 24th for 3 Generate - the annual connexional youth event. Please pray for them as they seek to explore and develop their faith with many others of similar age from across the country.


Christmas Events and Services

Nativity Festival

at Salisbury Methodist Church

  • Thursday 14th - 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
  • Friday 15th - 10.00 am to 7.00 pm
  • Saturday 16th - 9.00 am to 1.00 pm
Musical interludes. Light refreshments available

Christmas Musical at Bemerton

December 16th - 7.30 pm

Following the success of previous circuit musicals Rev Steve Hawkes is organising a performance of 'The Inn Crowd' - by Roger Jones, telling the Christmas Story through the eyes of the Inn keeper and his wife. Look out for posters and invitations to take part - or ask Steve for more details.

Nativity at Café on the Green

Friday December 22nd - 6.00pm

Building on the success of last year's community carols, arrangement are in hand for an outdoor nativity play with community carols on the green outside the pavilion at Bishopdown Farm. All will be welcome.

Christmas Day Services

  • Amesbury 10.30 am
  • Bemerton 9.30 am - Rev Steve Hawkes
  • Bourne Valley 10.00 am - Rev Cecil King
  • Fordingbridge 9.30 am - Mr Michael King
  • Salisbury 10.00 am - Rev David Hookins
  • Shrewton 10.00 am - Worship Leaders
  • Winterslow 9.30 am - Rev Paul Rees

Other Christmas Services

Winterslow Saturday 23 December 2.30 pm - Christingle with Rev Paul Rees

New Year's Eve - 31 December 2017

There will be four services in the circuit on the morning of New Year’s Eve. It is hoped that all who wish to worship that morning will be able to get to one of them at Amesbury, Salisbury, Fordingbridge or Woodfalls (where there is a united service with the Church of England).


Cafe on the Green Banner

Café on the Green - Bishopdown Farm

Community coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons 2.30 - 4.00 and Friday mornings (except during August)09:00 - 11:00 in the Pavillion at Bishopdown Farm. All are very welcome to come and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and have a drink and cake.

Tuesday - Mother and Toddler group from 1.30pm - 2.30pm before the Cafe opens.

You are welcome to join in adult crafting sessions on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 2.30pm

This project has been set up by the Circuit as a Christian outreach presence in this growing community. The local Anglican churches are also holding a prayer meeting at the same site on Friday evenings and we hope to be able to develop these activities to provide a positive Christian witness in that area.

More volunteers to join the rota of supporters will be appreciated.

Maybe you can help with serving drinks and cakes, making drinks in the kitchen, providing home-made cakes, talking to people as they sit at tables or visit the reflection room - or join the prayer chain.

If you can help in anyway please speak with Bekkie Wright or Christine Fordham or contact us by clicking here. Or, of course, come along on a Tuesday afternoon or Friday morning to see for yourself and enjoy what is on offer.

You can download a flyer here.


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Salisbury Methodist Circuit
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