‘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.”
South Petherton and Crewkerne Circuit
Today as members and friends of the churches across the circuit we are not meeting together due to the Coronavirus outbreak which is having an impact both here and across the world. This order of service is being offered as an opportunity for all of us around the circuit to pray and worship together within our homes and within our communities. We have been asked to consider lighting a candle this evening as a sign of prayer for and with our communities and, taking care, we would invite you to do so too. This is an unprecedented time for us all and the impact on our communities will be felt for many months and years ahead. May we seek to help those around us through prayer and practical action whilst keeping others and ourselves safe.
We join together in quietness
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.
We read or sing the hymn Amazing Grace (StF 440)
1 Amazing grace — how sweet the sound —
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
2 God’s grace has taught my heart to fear,
his grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!
3 Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
God’s grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
4 The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
5 And, when this heart and flesh shall fail
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
a life of joy and peace.
6 When we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we first begun.
John Newton (1725-1807) (alt.)
Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 440
We pray the prayer that has been written by the connexional team
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.
Today’s bible readings
1 Samuel 16: 1-13
Reflection on the Gospel reading
In today’s gospel reading Jesus gives sight to a man who has been born blind.
Here is a man who is changed by the experience of meeting with Jesus. All of our meetings with people change us, some more than others, and this was one of those meetings which changed the man’s life in a dramatic way.
Jesus here changes the man’s world. He can now see and he can now use the light that is all around him in a different way.
When I was at school, my eyesight was poor but I didn’t realise that it was. It was only when I got some glasses that I realised what I had been missing. The world up to that point was fuzzy at the edges. I remember when I first put on my glasses the coal fire that we had then ceased to be an orange blob and became individual tongues of flame. I could see, in a different way now, and have been able to do so ever since. For this man too, there is a new beginning.
Jesus tells us that he is the light of the world. Sunlight allows us to see the world, or we feel its warmth. Jesus who is the light of the world gives us insight into our world, our faith and ourselves.
As John Newton puts it in the hymn Amazing Grace ‘I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see’
The man could see the world around him and the face of Jesus clearly now. He knew how the world was and now sees the way that the world is. It’s no wonder that when they met again, that the man believed in who Jesus is, the Son of Man.
We think today of times when we have seen Jesus in a new light and when we have found the light of faith in the darkened places of the world.
Take a time to sit quietly and to think about how we see Jesus today and how in our meetings with other people and with God we find strength, hope and blessing.
A time of prayer
Creator God, may your Spirit give your world a sense of calm and peace in these difficult times.
On this Mothering Sunday, we pray for all Mothers and for family and community life. We pray for those who nurture children and all who support them at home and at school.
We pray for the church in this time of uncertainty:
For those people who are worried about leaving their home and those who cannot.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other.
We pray for carers, doctors and nurses and for all those who support their community today.
We pray for those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend an act of worship today.
I especially want to pray for …..
Present with us now, guide me in all I do and say – that it might reflect your love for the world.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father ……
Please read or sing your favourite hymn
A prayer of blessing
Lord, be with me and those close to me today.
May I see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more closely day by day.
And may your love, peace and blessing be with me and with all your children, now and always Amen.
Material by Rev Philip Wagstaff, Rev Paul Wood, Jude Livermore and Heather Wilson
As gatherings for worship have been suspended, the Methodist Church will be making ‘worship at home sheets’ available via the national Methodist church website and we will produce worship materials locally. The Methodist Church nationally is planning to live stream a service each Sunday and other Methodist Churches across the connexion are offering this possibility including our friends at Plymouth Central Hall.