In October each year every Methodist Church in the land counts their congregation each Sunday. Then, in November, we look at the member changes over the last year. All this is used to put together what we call the statistics for mission for the Church. These figures give us a snapshot of how the church is doing. I have to say that nationally the figures are not great reading and in most churches across the connexion you can see a decline in membership and attendance. We in this church are bucking the trend a bit in that our membership is just about stable at the moment and attendances are just holding their own. This of course does not give us permission to be complacent. The truth is that there are a lot more seats in our Church which we could fill every week.
It seems to me that, while we are not growing, we seem to be attracting a few new people into the life of the Church here in Hartford. This is a good thing and we need to build on this so that we become an attractive church that people want to come to. It has been said to me by a number of newer people that, in general, we are a very welcoming church, which presumably is why these people continue to come. If that is the case we need to continue to build on that, remembering that welcome also means drawing people into the community of the church. This doesn’t mean that we give them a job, although if they want one why not? What it does mean is that we try and include everyone in the life of the church. I also think we need to do other things as well. Newcomers and indeed old stagers won’t come very often if our worship life is poor. We need to ensure that the worship in this church is as good as it could be and that it has a variety of styles that can enable us all to meet with God. What I am saying is that we need to think about what we do well and then to think about any improvements we can make.
Of course our primary concern isn’t about recruitment. We are not here to recruit more members of Hartford Methodist Church; rather we are here to “Show God’s love to the people of Hartford and the surrounding area” and “to make more disciples of Jesus.” The core reason for the existence of any church is to help people to get to know Jesus and continue to be his disciples. This is the most important thing that we do as a church. It is probably our biggest challenge, but if we get this right then hopefully more people will want to join us. The church should not be a recruitment organisation, it should be evangelistic in outlook.
These are challenging times for all the churches, but I do believe that w have to look to God, do what we do well and think about how we help others to come to know Jesus.
God Bless Chris.
HARTFORD METHODIST CHURCH
Action for Children (NCH)
On Saturday 4 November 2017: 10.30am – 12 noon
in the Methodist Church Hall
There will be a Cake Stall, Gift Stall and a Christmas Stall –so why not start your Christmas shopping early!! This is a lovely morning with time to chat and have a coffee as well as support one of our own charities. Contributions to any of the stalls are most welcome. Pat once again will be making a Christmas Hamper to be raffled on the day.
Tickets: £1.50 Available from members of the Ladies’ Fellowship.
Please support us by coming on the day!
ALL ARE WELCOME
The Men’s Fellowship will be starting a new programme in September. Following the summer break, the first meet will be a dinner at Hazelhurst Arms at 7.15pm on Thursday 21st September. If you would like to join for a meal and fellowship please book a place with Allan on 351154.
When you read this letter the school children and their teachers will be doing their final preparations before going back to school. Before the teachers who read this complain too loudly I do realise that they will have been back to school on several occasions during the holiday. My point is that early in September school life starts again. For some there are big changes such as starting or changing school or for the older ones starting at college. At this time we remember all those involved in education in our prayers.
For us in the Methodist Church September feels like the start of a new year. For ministers who have moved they will begin in their new circuits on the 1st September and again I would ask you to pray for them. Thankfully this year we have had no changes in staff but may I gently encourage you to pray for my colleagues and me.
September also feels like the start of term for us because the meetings seem to start up again. Often over the summer there has been a bit of a lull as people take holidays but now we are back and the meetings such as the District Synod, Circuit meeting and Church Council will soon be upon us. Please pray that the decisions made at these meetings will be in the best interests of the Methodist Church.
The Methodist Conference recognised “the challenges and changes facing every community in these islands and the urgent call of God on the Methodist people to share the love of God in Jesus Christ in word and action”. It called on every local church to launch the new Methodist year with a day of prayer and fasting as a way of seeking Gods help and guidance for the church. We in this circuit will hold such a day later on in the year. However, that should not stop us as individuals praying about the church’s future and our role in that future. You might even ask about what role God might be asking you to play in showing God’s love to the people of this area.
So, as the children and teachers go back to school and the pace of church life gathers again, I ask you to spend some time in prayer, praying especially for God’s help and guidance as we seek to serve God in this place.
Saturday Sept 23rd followed by Harvest Supper
This is a fun event with something for everyone, have a go at making, baking, growing, sewing, painting and photographing!
4-5pm Entries to be displayed
5-6pm View entries and judge
6.30pm Harvest Supper and prizes
Tel: Alison 01606 888359 for more information
See Church magazine or Harvest leaflet for categories
How Action for Children works
From before they are born until they are into their twenties, we help disadvantaged children across the UK.
We help them through fostering or adoption – and by intervening early to stop neglect and abuse. We make life better for children with disabilities. We influence policy and advocate for change. Our 7,000 staff and volunteers operate over 600 services, improving the lives of 390,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year. We succeed by doing what’s right, doing what’s needed, and doing what works for children.
Peter Ashburner will present “Flog it!” on Thursday 6th July – open to men and wives from 7.15pm in the church hall. Tea and coffee available.