Thursday, 27 August 2009

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 22 year B

Ordinary 22.
Readings: Mark 7 v 1-8+14-15+21-23; Psalm 45v1-2 + 6-9
James 1 v 17-27; Song of Sol 2 v 8 - 13.

Lord God as we gather for worship today, help us to leave the world outside and the pressures to live the way the world lives at the door of the sanctuary. Help us Lord to praise and worship you whose faithfulness to us your people is great.
We ask your blessing on N as they lead us in worship and prayer today, help them too as they share the scriptures with us. We ask all these things in the name of the Lord’s anointed. Amen.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 21 Year B

This weeks prayer is below:
Ordinary 21.
Readings: John 6 v 56 - 69; Psalm 84; Eph 6 v 10-20.

Lord God we gather in fellowship today and it may be that for many of us the week has been rough. Lord remind us that we have access to the whole armour of God.
We pray that you will give N the message to speak today and that you will enable them to fearlessly explain the meaning of the good news of the gospel.
Help us to go from here rejoicing and let the mighty strength of the Lord go with us and make us strong.
In Jesus name we ask. Amen.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Whatever happened to preaching?

I was greatly interested in two letters in this weeks Methodist Recorder discussing the lack of preaching and a range of thoughts about this topic. I have to say I found myself saying Amen a lot as I read them.
There were some extremely valid points raised and one or two of my own thoughts on this matter were echoed in these letters. What good is a sermon if no one can hear it? Why do we not instruct/teach our trainee local preachers about things like voice projection and the need for the person who can't hear but always sits on the very back row to be able to hear. Why do we not ask people to indicate if they can't hear us - a friend of mine always used to say if you can't hear me put your hand to your ear and I will see this, I never heard anyone complain they couldn't hear him. In part I think there is too much reliance on public address systems in our church. It was quite funny recently when at the end of a farewell service for one of our ministers where there was lots of noise over the cup of tea someone came to me and said could I shout and ask for a car to be moved as I was the person with the loudest voice (not sure if this was a compliment)(it turned out to be the ministers car.
There were also comments made about the use of the lectionary and the almost zealous application of this in some places - I do use it but not all the time because some weeks the combinations of readings leave me feeling like Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones. There is I believe a place for the lectionary and it can be extremely helpful but again it should be a tool for use by preachers that can be picked up or put down.
One of the writers felt the use of numerous people in a service was not always helpful and that if they go to a concert they do not expect members of the audience to get up part way through and go and play an instrument with the band - I can see the point here and do think we need to use other people in a balanced way.
There was concern expressed about the use of aids in services and again I think these need to be used in a balanced way and perhaps only with some of our congregations. There are some churches in our circuit where I would no more use a power point presentation than fly a kite and there are others where I would do all sorts of things - in fact on Sunday Evening gone we sat and made prayer beads in the service and this was very well received but it was balanced out by a fairly traditional hymn sandwich with the a short talk about how difficult prayer can be to lead into the making of the beads( see the Methodist Church website and search for the Venerable bead if you might like to try it).
I think it is important that we know our congregations and one of the things I have been doing with the on note local preacher I am working with is telling them the things about the different churches that are not on the circuit plan - the likes and dislikes of churches, the differences in the way the offering is received and what the congregations do at that point in the service (sit or stand) and about the various providers of music from a full organ to a CD player and a number of things in between.
There is probably much more I could write but this will have to do for now as I do have a day job and time to get ready is fast approaching.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Where have all the bloggers gone?

I was sitting here looking at the blogs I regularly read and noticed an absence of posts on many of them - at least me and Bob the Black Country Brummie have been posting but he looks like he might not be for a few days so it may be down to me to keep something going.
I am hoping that when the Methodist Recorder comes today there might be some juicy controversial story I can comment on - I had thought of commenting last week on the silliness that had gone on in respect of the communion service in Trafalgar Square and the clunking fist of Methodism as the Recorder referred to it, but never got round to it and others did so I kept away from it.
I would say though the story has made me think a bit during this week about whether we are more interested in rules and regulations than we are in mission and is this part of the demise of many of our churches - surely Christ came to set us free and yet we have a 'rule book' with hundreds of rules in. Isn't the reality that there are ten or possibly twelve rules that we should follow if we work on the Ten Commandments and the new commandments that Jesus gave us that we love one another and our neighbours as ourselves?
Now there's an interesting concept!!!

A response to a question.

I have been asked on my previous post what 'Ordinary 20 year B' means so for Bob and any other readers who may wonder I will try to explain.
Some churches use a series of readings from the Bible throughout the year which are published in a sort of calendar which is called a lectionary.
The Methodist Church along with others use what is known as the Revised Common Lectionary, sometimes referred to as RCL. This lectionary covers a three year period designated year A, year B, Year C with the year beginning on the first Sunday in Advent and ending the following year on the Sunday before Advent (sometimes known as Christ the King Sunday). To give some cohesiveness to the process each year features on one of the gospels interspersed with parts of the fourth gospel. Matthew, Mark and Luke are used with John as the filler so to speak. There will be other reading listed and it is fairly normal to find an Old Testament Reading, a Psalm and a reading from one of the letters in the New testament listed as well. People leading worship services will often use one or more of the suggested reading as the basis for their sermons.
The Christian Year is split into times such as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost along with other odd Sundays such as Trinity Sunday. Periods outside of the seasons listed above are classed as 'Ordinary Time' and this week is week 20 of ordinary time in year B.
I hope this is helpful to any readers who wondered but were afraid to ask and thanks Bob for asking and more importantly still reading!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 20 year B

Here is this week's prayer.
Readings: John 6 v 51-59; Psalm 111;
Eph 5 v 15-20; 1 Kings 2 v 10-12: 3 v 3-14:

King of kings we come to shout our praise to you for all the wonderful things you have done.
We thank you that you are a loving and forgiving God who deals with his children fairly.
We ask you to help us in our worship today, remove our fears and give us your peace as we gather for fellowship.
Minister to us through N today and enable them to speak your word with clarity and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Vestry Prayer ordinary 19 year B

Good morning folks - thank you to Florence who commented on how useful she finds these prayers. I am pleased they are being used in a slightly wider sphere than my own circuit.
One small plea before I post this week's prayer is if like Florence you make a comment could you just say where in the world you come from as I note people are reaching me through google quite often from all sorts of interesting places.
Any way here is this weeks prayer:-
Ordinary 19.
Readings: John 6 v 35 + 41 - 51; Psalm 130;
Eph 4 v 25 - 5 v 2; 2 Sam 18 v 5 - 33;

Lord God, creator of all, giver of life we thank you for your love which took you all the way to death on the cross of Calvary.
We thank you that your sacrifice enables us to gather today and that by your Grace we can enter in to a new relationship with God the Father.
We pray for your servant N as they lead our worship and bring your word, help them in this task and in all they do for you. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Borth Beach Mission

A new visitor to the blog asked me if the reason I was late posting the vestry prayer was because I was in Borth at the Beach Mission - Hill_Topper must know me quite well to know that I might have been in Borth especially last week.
It was with some regret that the committee felt it would not be viable to run the mission this year due to a number of circumstances that seemed to be almost conspiring against us.
We have been fortunate for the last few years on two counts firstly a mystery benefactor has funded the mission which has meant we did not have to worry about fund raising too much - secondly we have had the advantage of staying in a delightful house on the beach side of the main street.
We have had difficulties with both these things this year - the benefactor did not give anything last year which means we had very little left in the bank and not a lot of time to try to raise the money especially given the current economic climate and secondly we could not get the house this year which would have meant going back to caravans and having two which would have more than doubled the cost of this aspect. We also found out quite late that at least on member of the team would not be able to come and another was doubtful which meant we would have had some difficulty finding replacements.
We will be thinking very soon about next year and looking at plans to raise some funds as well as recruiting new team members where appropriate and would value the prayers of our readers and if any feel they would like to contribute financially please let me know.
I am having some difficulties with the beach mission website as well because it will not let me update it to give people information, however if you want to get a flavour for what we do that would be the place to look.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Vestry Prayer Ordinary 18 year B

Sorry this is a little late this week but I have been a little bit busy this week.

Ordinary 18.
Readings: John 6 v 24 - 35; Psalm 51 v 1-12;
Eph 4 v 1-16; 2 Sam 11 v 26 - 12 v 31a.

Lord Jesus, bread of heaven who feeds us as you fed your people of old in the wilderness, we pray that you would feed us today on the bread that is your precious word.
Remind us Lord that you are the bread of life and that those who come to you shall not hunger and thirst.
May the words of our Brother/Sister N stir our hearts and minds and help us to go from here singing Alleluia because you have spoken through them and ministered to each one of us. We give you thanks in Jesus’ name. Amen.