Circuit service - Sunday at 10.30am
This Sunday’s on-line circuit service will be led by Mr. Roger Byard at 10.30am.
The link and service sheets can be found at: https://www.nkmethodists.org.uk/news/invitation-to-worship-from-home.html
Those without the Internet can dial in and listen to Sunday's service:
Step 1: Dial 020 3481 5237 (alternative number 020 3481 5240) - these numbers are charged at the standard national rate
Step 2: When requested, enter the meeting ID (7429588134) followed by #
You don't need a 'participant ID' - just press #
Coffee after the service
Your friends from Larkfield would love to see you for coffee after Sunday's service:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 850 7820 0322
Circuit services on DVD - Responses needed!
Although so many are able to join us online or dial in on Sunday mornings, we're aware that there are still some who struggle to access the weekly circuit services. The circuit is exploring whether it would be possible to distribute copies of each service on DVD (after it has gone out live) and would find it helpful to know how many people would be interested. So if you - or someone you know - would be interested in receiving the weekly circuit service on DVD, please let me know as soon as possible. Pastoral Visitors, I'd be very grateful if you could check with those on your lists.
Circuit Welcome Service
A date for your diaries - it has now been confirmed that the circuit welcome service will take place online at 10.30am on Sunday 6 September. For this reason, the circuit won't be planning ministers or Local Preachers to lead worship in church buildings on this morning (in the hope that everyone will be tuning in to the welcome service) and churches planning to open their doors in September are asked to consider waiting until the following Sunday (something we can discuss at our Church Council meeting - see below).
Virtual Extraordinary Church Council meeting
It has now been confirmed that a Virtual Extraordinary Church Council meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday 18th August from 7.30pm. Access details are shown below.
The focus of the meeting will be to consider the recommendations of the Covid-19 Sub-Committee for re-opening the Church in September and to review the current financial situation.
We will also be required to consider and vote on Burham's own risk assessment and recommendations for their proposed re-opening in September.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 812 3073 3873 Passcode: 089345
For anyone who wishes to dial in by phone, call 0203 481 5237 from a mobile or landline and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode when requested followed by #. You do not need a Participant ID - just press # again.
Let me know if you intend to dial in as it may be possible for Claire to let you have in advance any "visuals" in relation to the finances. Margaret Cox
Looking to the future - Church Council meeting
As you hopefully all know, there will be a Church Council meeting on Tuesday 18 August at 7.30pm. All are welcome, although only members of the Church Council will be able to vote. We'll be receiving the report of the small group who've been working hard to carry out a thorough risk assessment and to prepare the church to reopen its doors in September. The Church Council, as Managing Trustees, have the final say as to whether we're ready to do so safely. As this is such an important subject, we hope to see lots of you there (and especially members of the Church Council). We'll also be considering the church's current financial situation.
Next dial-in service - Thursday 13 August at 10am
Our next fortnightly dial-in service will take place on Thursday 13 August at 10am. As usual, we'll have chat and introductions between 10.00 and 10.10, followed by a simple act of worship lasting no more than half an hour, led by a small team.
Here's a reminder of the details for dialling in, which are the same as previous services:
Step 1: At 10am (or just before) dial 020 3481 5237 from a mobile or landline
Step 2: When requested, enter the Meeting ID (826 1364 7836) followed by #
You do not need a 'Participant ID' - just press #
Appointments for the year from 1st September 2020
There were no objections submitted in respect of the nominations shown on the recent ballot paper sent to all members of the Church. The following were duly elected to serve from 1st September 2020:-
Wendy O’Leary (Senior Steward)
Alan Connor – Our congratulations to Alan on his new appointment for an initial term of one year.
Churches Together in Malling—Songs of Praise - Sunday 6th September
Please could you let Valerie (email@example.com) know your favourite hymn or worship song, in the next week or so, and explain why. She and Naomi will then choose one to put forward to The Churches Together in Malling for inclusion in the Zoom Songs of Praise service to be held on Sunday 6th September at 4pm. Please indicate whether or not you might be willing during this Zoom service to explain why it is your favourite. Please also put this date in your diary.
When we're smiling
This is an interesting thought: what does God's smile look like?
We know the warmth we feel when we make someone smile or someone makes us smile, a neighbour, a child, an elderly friend or relative.
Can we make God smile? How?
When we exchange smiles with the post worker or a passer-by, we can imagine God smiling on us. It is a moment of joy, uplifting, encouraging, reassuring.
If someone is heartbroken, a smile sends them a message:
"Wait on the Lord. God loves you ... and so do I."
A kind action accompanied by a smile is very powerful. It can give much needed support and bring a sense of hope.
Perhaps God's smile resembles the one we make to everyone around us, a glimpse of His radiant countenance. It's like the joy we bring to others through our words and deeds. God smiles upon us, when we smile to others and they to us. It's as bright and warm as sunshine on an otherwise dreary day. The light in our lives.
Alan Connor has decided that it is time to shed some of those lbs that have been put on. He is asking you to decide on an amount you are happy to pay to church funds per lb, and pay it to the church, either when we get back from lockdown, or by bank transfer. Alan has been losing about 2-4lbs per week, and the sponsored diet will finish on 31st August. He will let us know each week how much he has lost the previous week.
Weight loss up to Monday 3rd August = 12lb
Methodist Prayer Handbook
The Methodist Prayer Handbook for 2020/2021 is entitled The Earth is the Lord's and is inspired by Psalm 24:1 and the impact of our human activities on the life systems of the world. Due to be published in August, it's available to pre-order now. The circuit won't be placing a bulk order for this year, but if you would like the church to place an order for a number of copies, please let Naomi know.
The latest issue of Grapevine, our circuit magazine, is now available. You can read it online here - or let Naomi know if you'd like a hard copy.
Crossover service with Zoom Thursdays at 7pm. — You are invited to come and share a time of worship, which includes a time of Sharing the Word. Over the last couple of months, the Word has been given by preachers from different parts of the UK, as well as having Pastors and lay preachers from, Brazil, Republic of Congo and Fiji. For those who would like to have the opportunity to discuss, or listen to others discussing, what has been said, and share in some spiritual conversation, a second session will follow straight afterwards.
Come and join us, you would be more than welcome to dip in and out of these times.
Meeting ID: 260 631 405
Christian Aid in Lockdown?... But not locked down at Larkfield!
Christian Aid Week sneaked up on us. We had put the diary dates aside when we heard that for the first time in over 50 years, there could not be a house-to-house collection on the streets of Larkfield, or anywhere, and, to be honest, we had almost forgotten about it. Then, just about 10 days before Christian Aid Week would have started, an urgent email arrived. The need for money out on the field, to support some of the poorest people in the poorest countries in the world, was more urgent than ever. Please, whatever we could do, to raise funds at this critical time would be so much appreciated.
What could we do? How could we do things differently, in such a short time? The thinking caps worked overtime.
Firstly, Rev. Naomi set up a JustGiving account for us and we were on the way. Information was disseminated through our extensive network of church email contacts, and we were so grateful for the modern day wonders of the world – Facebook, WhatsApp, and Zoom! During Christian Aid Week itself, our daily prayer emails focussed on information and prayers from Christian Aid. An Auction of Promises was quickly arranged and in less than two weeks raised over £400, which was mostly for promises of delicious cakes and curries. On the Friday evening of Christian Aid eek, Rev. Naomi organised a fun quiz on Zoom, in which nearly forty people participated, including guests from three other Methodist Churches and four churches from Churches Together in Malling. We asked for donations of £5 per person, but, of course, we brought our own snacks and drinks! Naomi led the quiz brilliantly, thanks to her sense of fun and her brilliant technical skills. She had us disappearing into break-out groups, running round our homes finding pineapples, plain flour, palm crosses and all sorts of things as well as searching our brains for long -forgotten bits of information. (How many hearts does an octopus have?)
But the most amazing thing was the total raised on our JustGiving page - £1260! Huge thanks to every- one who has contributed to this total, and to those of you who have contributed in other ways. And if you haven’t had the chance to give, please just look at the Christian Aid website to make your donation. Coronavirus has hit almost every nation in the world, but how much more difficult is it for the poorer countries to fight it, especially when they already have to cope with poor sanitation and water supplies, starvation, and all the problems associated with extreme poverty.
God bless all of you. Keep safe and well, Monica Wilding
Huge thanks, too, to Monica, Gwen and Valerie for their creativity and hard work to ensure that Larkfield was able to mark Christian Aid Week in new and creative ways, from helping us to pray and reflect, to organising the highly successful auction of promises. Thank you! Rev Naomi
Supporting local refugee families
Some time ago we had a request for assistance from two local charities (Tonbridge Welcomes Refugees and Tunbridge Wells Welcomes Refugees) working with Syrian refugee families who have been resettled in the local area. A member of All Saints in Wouldham is now giving language learning support to a local family and has asked if anyone has "childrens" books and toys aged 3-9 to donate, and also bicycles for the whole family. Also bulbs, plants or seeds.
I know that several of you have already changed to paying in your offering via standing order, which is very helpful in these difficult times in keeping track of the church's finances.
For those of you who have Freewill Offering Envelopes at home with donations in, please ring or email Valerie (ValerieT_17@hotmail.com / 01732 845915), who will come and collect them and deliver them to a steward for banking.
It was ten years ago that we had a fashion show so l thought maybe we could have another one when we are back to normal, to give us something to look forward to. Therefore, if you have any new or nearly clothes in your wardrobe please could you put them to one side. Also wondered if children's clothes and good quality toys could be included on a fifty / fifty basis. More details to follow in a few months, but in the meantime if you fancy modelling for the show I would be pleased to hear from you. Diane.
Muffins & More
Tuesdays during lockdown—Muffins & More group receive reflections and prayers by email. If you wish to join with the group in prayer and quiet time, contact Gwen who will add your email address to her Muffins group.
There is now a WhatsApp group for those of us who would like to both keep in contact and encourage each other during this time. It is open to those worshipping at Larkfield Methodist church, as well as hopefully to those who become known to us who might benefit from such a group, e.g. the lonely and the self-isolating.
If you would like to join, please text Alan C. (07913 082190)
Please be aware, that should you join this WhatsApp group, your phone number will be able to be seen by all other group members.
Family and Pastoral News
We ask God’s blessing, love, comfort and reassurance on:
Revd. Naomi Oates, our minister
Mr. Roger Byard who will be leading our on-line service this morning
Sylvia Ratcliff, Peggy Flanagan and Brenda Tarr
Monica and Rob who will be celebrating fifty years of marriage this Saturday (15th)
Jean Young (Richard’s mother) who has been unwell for the last couple of weeks
The people in Beirut who have been affected by the catastrophic explosion
All those in our congregation who have been unwell this week, in pain, lonely or isolated and any known to us and unknown who are anxious about their health, worried or affected by the corona- virus;
The doctors, nurses, and all those working for the NHS, carers in homes and those who visit patients at home;
All those people who have continued to work during this difficult time, enabling us to have the necessary utilities and food, the delivery drivers, public transport drivers, those working in supermarkets, refuse collectors and postal workers.
Folk living in: Dickens Drive, Eagle Close, Easterfields, East Malling Research Station, Elizabeth Smith Court and Elm Crescent
Our church for growth, in faith and numbers and we also ask God’s blessing on each and everyone of us, that we might fulfil our calling to be the people of God working for Him in this place.
Living God, you have chosen us, called us to follow you, commissioned us to serve you and to proclaim the good news. In Christ, you bring us out of darkness into your wonderful light. May we share the gospel of your love with all your creation, declare your righteousness and praise your holy name. Amen.
Alison Judd, World President, World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women
Helen will be preparing the on-line prayers next week. If you have a request for prayer or thank you, her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
God in Love Unites Us: Marriage and Relationships
The circuit-wide consultations that took place about marriage and relationships (and the Conference report 'God in Love Unites Us') might now seem like a lifetime ago. Inevitably, under the present circumstances, the April District Synod has had to be cancelled. This means that feedback from circuit consultations will not be discussed by the district until the Synod in September, and the conversation that was due to be taking place at the 2020 Methodist Conference (which will no longer be happening in its usual format) will be deferred until 2021. The detailed feedback that was gathered from over 100 people who took part in the circuit-wide consultations will still be fed back to the district and the wider Connexion, albeit at a later date.
I know that for many among us, this is a subject that touches on deeply held theological beliefs, significant personal experiences, and strong emotions. For some, this delay may be a relief - for others, a cause of great distress. As was the case in our circuit consultations, let us continue to be mindful of one another’s feelings, to treat each other with compassion and respect, and to strive to live well with contradictory convictions.
Should you have any questions, please contact Revd Naomi Oates.
Some of you have asked how to donate to the foodbank at Maidstone Homeless Care's day centre, which is seeing unprecedented demand in these times when so many people's income has been affected by the virus. Naomi is currently visiting the day centre once or twice a week, so if you have food you'd like to donate, you can drop it off at the manse (45 Garner Drive) on your 'daily exercise,' or let her know if you'd like it collected from your doorstep, or contact Zofia (the day centre manager) to arrange a time when you can drop it off yourself at the centre in Knightrider Street. email@example.com
Archbishop of Canterbury free dial-in worship phone line during coronavirus lockdown
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus.
Daily Hope, which is available from today, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.
ALERT—Scams and Deception, on-line Safety
Unfortunately, there are several deception/scam situations that have recently been brought to the attention of the SE District Safeguarding Officer.
Cases of individuals trying to gain entry to the homes of the elderly/ vulnerable by asking to use the toilet during their daily walk – a couple, with the woman claiming to be pregnant.
People claiming to be police officers, visiting churches that are open (hosting foodbanks etc) and issuing on the spot fines for breaking social distancing rules. In one case this was followed up with an email – from a bogus account.
Email and phone contact from a woman, claiming to be a Muslim who converted to Christianity, phoning church people saying she is needing to escape domestic abuse and needs money to travel to a refuge. She has been doing this in a number of areas around the Connexion, sometimes claiming her name is 'BridgetJones'.
Please be vigilant about allowing access to your home and personal safety.
If anyone accessing or providing essential services such as foodbanks are approached by individuals purporting to be from the authorities, it is recommended that you request to see formal identification to verify this.
No one should be providing personal financial details to anyone with whom they are not familiar – be that in person, over the phone or via email.
The Methodist Church has issued guidance relating to staying safe online – both as individuals and as a church volunteer – documents, can be viewed via this link.
Please ensure that any concerns or queries of a safeguarding nature continue to be reported via the usual channels and in keeping with Methodist Church policy.
Helping Vulnerable People
Gill Fox at Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has set up a Community Hub to provide assistance to the most vulnerable local people (some of whom may not be on the lists being provided by GP’s). She would really appreciate any assistance in identifying these vulnerable people, as well as trying to find healthy volunteers who can assist in reaching them at this time (especially volunteers who are already DBS checked). You can contact Gill on firstname.lastname@example.org
Oasis UK (founded by Rev. Steve Chalke) have set up a Friendship Line. If you are feeling isolated, worried, or simply could use a chat call them on 020 7921 4272. Calls are charged at the standard rate but are completely free over the internet!
Singing the Faith
website includes service sheets for worshipping at home and links to church services that can be live-streamed: see www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
The Methodist website includes a daily Bible study: www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/the-bible/a-word-in-time/
“Out of all the relationships and friendships we have on this earth. There is one that trumps them all and that’s our friendship with God.”
“Never forget that God is your friend. And like all friends He longs to hear what’s been happening in your life...”
“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Face it, friend, He is crazy about you!”
“All shall be well, all shall be well, and All Manner of Things Shall be Well.”
Mother Julian of Norwich