Monthly Prayer Calendar

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Please click on any of the links in the table for prayers for that day.


Diamond Anniversary - 1957-2017

In 1957, our Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District of the British Methodist Church came into being.  It was created out of the former Chester/Warrington and Stoke/Macclesfield Districts and stretched from Holyhead to Alton Towers and from Runcorn to Hinstock, Shropshire. 
 
The first Chair of this District was the Revd Arthur G. Utton (1957-62), followed by the Revd Dr Arthur Shaw (1962-80), the Revd J. Stuart Rhodes (1980-91), the Revd Brian G. Powley (1991-2001), the Revd John D. Walker (2001-2008) and the Revd Peter E. Barber (2008-      ).
 
In 1987, the five Circuits in North Wales left our District to become part of the new North Wales District, so we then had twenty-five instead of thirty Circuits. 
Today, there are twelve Circuits.

This Prayer Handbook, together with the Connexional Prayer Handbook (copies available from The Methodist Book Centre, Gitana Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 1DY), is an invaluable way of supporting and holding one another in prayer.


Day 1 - Chair of the District - Revd Peter Barber

We are living in strange and uncertain times.  The level of prejudice, fear, hatred, racism and violence is deeply disturbing and in the face of it we can feel impotent. At the beginning of this month, as you prepare yourself for the known and the unknown, find the time and space to be still, re-orientate and set a baseline.

Recall these words from Isaiah and apply them to yourself by speaking your name into the spaces:
When you were a child ………. I loved you.  I myself taught you ………. to walk; I took you in my arms.  Yet you did not understand that I was the one looking after you.  I led you ………. with reins of kindness, with leading strings of love.  I was like someone who lifts an infant close against their cheek; stooping down to you ………. I gave you your food.  How could I part with you ……….?  How could I give you up?

Take some time to allow these words to sink in.  That is how God regards you!

Now, the even harder bit; consider how God regards others, the people you know you are going to meet this month, the people you find it easy to be with and the people you find it challenging to be with.  Seek the grace of God to enable you also to see these people as God sees them.

One of the key understandings that emerges from scripture and from our theology is that each person is made in the “image of God”.  What does that mean for the people you meet and for the people you encounter through the media and the news?  How are you going to respond?  Ask to see with God’s eyes.  It is not easy, but it will transform what happens.

One of my favourite hymns from Singing the Faith is number 662 written by Jacqueline Jones (if you have a copy read the whole hymn).  Each verse and the chorus challenges us with a string of questions and the final verse asks:

   Will you watch the news with the eyes of faith,
   and believe it could be different? 
   Will you share your views using words of grace?
   Will you leave a thoughtful imprint?

Mull those words over in your mind for a few minutes and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.  Jacqueline subtly changes the final chorus from a series of questions to an affirmation of commitment.  As you enter this day and this month use her words to make your commitment:

   We will walk the path that will cost us much
   and embrace the pain and sorrow.
   We will trust in One who entrusts to us
   the disciples of tomorrow. 

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Day 2 - Chester & Delamere Forest Circuit (11/01)

Ministry:
Revd J. Neil Stacey (Superintendent), Revd David J Bintliff, Revd Christine M. Dutton, Revd Andrew M. Emison, Revd David J. Goodwin, Revd Susan Levitt, Revd David R. Speed.
Supernumeraries: Revd David Copley, Revd F. Bernard Dodd, Revd D. George Evans, Revd D. Graham Evans, Revd Ralph E. Fennell, Revd Anne E. Gibson, Revd Claire M. Heald, Revd Christine M. Jones, Revd G. Brian Westwood, Deacon John F. Clarke.
People involved in Lay Work: Children and Families – Cath Clarke, Andrea Ellams, Beth Ferrigno, Penny Hassall and Pippa Jacobson; Administration – Lorna Hunt,
Heather Oulton, Peter Sandercock and Linda Turner; Pastoral – Rob Wigmore; City Centre Mission Development – Andrew Herbert.

The Chester and Delamere Forest Circuit is a family of 22 congregations (including two in MHA homes) stretching across towns and villages in north-west Cheshire, in the city of Chester and in Wales at Saltney and Bretton.  We have around 1100 members and 2000 more community contacts.  We have good relationships with other denominations across the Circuit, especially in two LEPs with the URC and an LEP with the Baptist Church.
Several churches are exploring different styles of worship and outreach.  At Wesley in Chester and at Tarporley major building projects have been completed; providing bright, accessible and flexible spaces for worship and mission.

Give thanks for:

  • The signs of new life in our churches;
  • New possibilities for mission, including those enabled by the major building projects at Wesley in Chester and at Tarporley: “Yet when the work is done, the work is but begun”.

Please pray for:

  • Our circuit-wide venture in prayer and reflection, with a view to a major reshaping of the circuit’s mission and staffing;
  • The development of our work with children, young people and families;
  • Those exploring faith in new ways.

Jesus, the first and last,    
the source and goal of grace,  
increase the wondrous joy   
at love poured out for all,    
sending your people out   
to share your loving call.      

A broken world cries out
and longs to find new life;
reshape our hearts and lives
remove our love of strife.
Redeeming God, release
your Spirit’s gift of peace.  Amen.

(Revd J.N. Stacey)
 

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Day 3 - Runcorn Circuit (11/02)

           
Ministry:
Revd Linda Catlow (Superintendent); Revd David Hamflett; Revd Lisa MacInnes (C of E).
Supernumeraries: Revd Ian Rigby; Revd Paul Taylor.

The Runcorn Circuit is at the northern end of the District and consists of four churches and with a link to the Hallwood Ecumenical Parish which is an LEP.  Runcorn was redeveloped in the 1960’s and became a new town made up of the town of Runcorn plus surrounding Villages like Halton and newly built up areas like Murdishaw.  We are famous for the Jubilee Bridge which links us to Widnes and the North.  A new bridge will be opened very soon across the Manchester Ship Canal and Mersey Estuary.  It is the largest civil engineering project in Europe at this time.

Give thanks for:

  • The links and work with Primary Schools through The Hope Journey and Assemblies;
  • The Stay and Play Group in partnership with Halton Children’s Centre at Wicksten Drive Church;
  • The Toddler Group at the Heath;
  • The work of the Runcorn Foodbank and the volunteers from all denominations and the community;
  • The Coffee/Bacon Butty mornings and lunch clubs around the Circuit which bring together church and community folks;
  • The work of the Heath Drama Group which welcomes all ages and abilities from around the community.

Please pray for:

  • The Circuit Leadership Team and Circuit Meeting as we continue planning for the future;
  • The possibility of a project called ‘A Place of Welcome’ which is being explored at this time;
  • Our Bible Study Groups as we try to encourage more people to come along to help them develop their discipleship and spirituality.

God of fire, burn brightly in your Church,
Consume our petty concerns and jealousies,
Purify our deeds and intentions,
Kindle in our hearts the fire of your love.
Amen.                             (David Hamflett)


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Day 4 - Mid-Cheshire Circuit (11/04)


Ministry:
Revd Christopher N. Pritchard (Superintendent), Revd Andrew Brown (AP), Revd Jenny Brown (AP), Revd Dr J. Peter F. Levitt, Revd A. James Patron Bell, Revd Tim P. Simms, Deacon Rachel M. Thomas-Prasad.
Supernumeraries: Revd Patricia A. Billsborrow, Revd Paul R.J. Cieka, Revd Norman Pine, Revd Dr Andrew E. Pratt, Deacon Eileen Wright.

We hold Jesus as the First and Last, the source of all that we are called to, and the culmination of all we do.  Between these points we work in a corner of this messy and broken world.  Yet in this small part of Cheshire the Circuit works to spread and share God’s love.

Give thanks for:

  • The work of sharing God’s love across the Circuit, in the youth gatherings, the Messy Churches, the Guild and Fellowship Meetings and other gatherings;
  • The witness of our sermons in stone, as our buildings are used to show and share the love of God in practical ways, offering shelter and hospitality to many;
  • The commitment of many unseen and unheralded folk who allow for the work of the church to happen.

Please pray for:

  • The congregations in chapels that are the only place of worship in their communities, and for some the only public building, as they show God’s love to those around them;
  • Those congregations who are wrestling with how to be church in a changing world, to remain faithful to the core of faith, to keep Jesus the First and Last, and yet to make him known anew in this age;
  • The work of the Mid-Cheshire Foodbank, as it has ever greater demands placed upon it;
  • The development of new partnerships and mission opportunities, for the reseeding, revitalising and planting that is being explored across the Circuit.

Jesus You are our first and last,
our Saviour and Redeemer
the One who came in love for us.
May we show and reflect this love
to all whom we encounter.
May Your grace be shown through us,
in the spectacular and the every day.
May all be done in your name
Amen.


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Day 5 - Dane & Trent Circuit (11/05)

Ministry:
Revd Yvonne J. Pearson (Superintendent), Revd Derek J. Balsdon, Revd Derek Oldham, Revd Nicholas H.W. Witham.
Supernumeraries: Revd Dr Keith Davies, Revd Margaret E. Eaton, Revd Keith F. Jarvis, Revd Ieuan A. Johnston, Revd K. Andrew Lindley, Revd Dr Philip J. Lockett, Revd Patricia A. Percival.  Revd Tony Tagg from a neighbouring circuit sharing ministry within this Circuit.
Lay Workers: Mrs Jane Harrison, Mrs Susan Kennerley, Mrs Margaret Quine, Mrs Julia Tomes.

The Dane and Trent Circuit is made up of some town centre and rural churches which span the border of Cheshire and Staffordshire.  Each church has its own style of worship with a heart and desire to reach out with God’s love into our communities.  The Circuit is working together to seek God’s vision for His church in 2020 and beyond.  This is an exciting time as we ask ourselves some challenging questions and look to be courageous risk takers in mission.

Give thanks for:

  • The Circuit’s engagement in our 2020 Vision;
  • The gifts and graces of the lay people at the heart of our churches;
  • The prayerful oversight and leadership of the ministry team both lay and ordained;
  • Our Supernumerary Ministers who continue to minister within the Circuit in many  different ways;
  • Those working with children, young people and families;
  • Our lay employees whose work is invaluable;
  • Pastoral care offered within the life of our churches and communities.

Please pray for:

  • Vision and courage to face the challenges of today and to move forward in our mission;
  • Us as we continue to seek God’s guidance for our 2020 Vision and beyond;
  • The launch of a Dementia Friendly Cafe at Holmes Chapel Methodist Church and for Holmes Chapel’s plans to become a Dementia Friendly village;
  • Visionary, courageous leaders in mission, ministry and discipleship across the Circuit;
  • All who quietly serve the Lord in our Churches and Circuit. 

Loving and gracious God, as we turn to You in prayer may we hear the words of Christ which guide us, shape us for mission and send us out into Your world in love.  As we seek to do Your will, give us the energy and enthusiasm, the clarity and the courage, the purpose and the need to follow in your way.  Bless each and every one who offers their life in service to You.  Amen.

 

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Day 6 - The Ecumenical Landscape (Cheshire)

Ministry:
Revd Pat Billsborrow

The highlight of this last year has got to be the visit of the President and Vice- President to join us for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service which was held in the Parish Church at Frodsham, and who stimulated our thinking by their presence.  The Worship was not only well put together and serviced by the people of the local Churches Together but was noticeable by the way in which all ages were represented in the liturgy from young children to the very elderly. 
Beyond that the Ecumenical Officers have, on behalf of the Church Leaders, been continuing to carry out reviews of the various projects in the area and have endeavoured to encourage those whose ecumenical endeavours have been struggling through change of personnel and for other reasons.
We have been glad to welcome Christine Jones, the newly appointed Ecumenical Officer for the Liverpool District to our regular meetings.  She does, in the same way as does the Manchester EO, cover parts of our District and as such has an interest in our work.  We look forward to our ongoing work as encouragers to the churches to work more closely together rather than in competition with one another and to the day when the church will truly acknowledge that we are all on the same journey albeit by different routes.

Please pray for:

  • Andrew, the County Ecumenical Officer and we who work with him to develop good relationships between the denominations;
  • TThe Church Leader’s Group, our Sponsoring Body, who not only supervise but also support the work we do;
  • All those who see beyond the denominations to a time when all Christian people can come together in the service of the Kingdom.

Lord, You call us to be one as You and Your Father are one. 
Help us to fulfil our calling and to make a difference for You,
seeking as kingdom builders to have a unity of purpose
and a joy in doing Your will. 
We pray in and through Your Holy Name, Amen.




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Day 7 - The Ecumenical Landscape (Staffordshire)

Ministry:
Revd Margaret Eaton

Please pray for:

  • Those places in our District where working ecumenically is difficult and challenging;
  • Those Churches working together both formally within a Local Ecumenical Partnership constitution and those who come together as Christian friends endeavouring to carry out gospel principles in the environment in which they work;
  • The burgeoning work in setting up Foodbanks to help the less fortunate in our society, and other work of social outreach undertaken through Churches working together throughout the County area;
  • Courtesy and wisdom when communication is stumbling and the way forward is less than clear;
  • Churches Together in our various towns and villages, for Churches Linked Across Staffordshire and the Potteries (CLASP) and the County Ecumenical Mission Officer Robert Mountford, and the Church Leaders who seek to guide us on our journey;
  • All people who long to fulfil the command of Jesus that all those who believe on Him should be one.

Heavenly Father, we pray that the work that we do together
should be to Your praise and glory and not for any gratification of our own. 
We ask that through the Holy Spirit we might be guided and directed on the journeys we undertake with our fellow Christians,
so that Your will may be done, and Your purposes be achieved. 
We ask this in and through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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Day 8 - Cheshire South Circuit (11/08) 

Ministry:
Revd Rob Hilton (Superintendent), Revd Denise Harding, Revd Charlotte Lorimer, Revd Jennifer Matthews, Revd David Page (AP), Revd Jeremy Tresise, Revd Rob Weir, Revd Gary Windon (AP).  Supernumeraries : Revd Jenny Arthurs, Revd Christopher Denney, Revd Ian Duffy, Revd Andrew Gunstone, Revd Jennie Henshall, Revd Eric Kirkman (URC), Revd Margaret Lockwood, Revd Malcolm Lorimer, Revd Will Morrey, Revd James Needham, Revd Isaac Nixon, Revd Michael Parrott, Revd Dr Graham Patrick, Revd J. Stuart Rhodes, Revd Gordon Ryder, Revd Helen J. Stubbs, Revd Carol Vessey, Revd David R. Westhead.  Lay Workers: Heather Staniland, Ron Page, Judith Bell, Kathryn Davies, Revd Geoff Etherton, Sally Graham, Elizabeth Morris, Jonathan Newbould, Stephen Parker-Aiken, Andy Townsend.  Admin: Sue Brownbill, Carol Lindsay.

The Cheshire South Circuit has 34 churches, and over 70 local preachers, including five on note.  The Circuit is a mix of urban and rural areas, with industrial areas, market towns and small villages.  It also includes chapels in Staffordshire and Shropshire.  The key unit in the Circuit is the Mission Area, of which there are 11, and each Area is challenged with working out the shape of its mission and discipleship in its own locality.  This has enabled pooling of resources human, financial and creative, and the development of exciting and challenging new mission opportunities.

Give thanks for:

  • The dedication, inspiration and leadership of Revd Malcolm Lorimer, during his time as Circuit Superintendent;
  • The work of all those who enable this large and very diverse Circuit to function smoothly;
  • New initiatives in worship leading and preaching, and increasing closeness between churches in each Local Mission Area;
  • Wider involvement in informal ecumenical links in Local Mission Areas.
  • The proliferation of home Bible Study groups, Messy Church gatherings, links with local care homes, and midweek worship and prayer;
  • The further development of the Quiet Garden initiative at Poole, and the Fresh Expressions café in Crewe;
  • The work and worship of the church family at Higher Wych, which closed in November last year;
  • The new building works now completed at St. John’s, Willaston.

Lord, as our new Circuit began four years ago, so we look back and give You thanks for all you have enabled us to do, and the many ways in which Your Holy Spirit has stimulated us to new thinking, a new willingness to grow, and given us the courage to step out in faith with You. 
Keep us travelling along with You, we pray, and lead us on to even greater works in Your name, and the bringing of more and more people into Your family.  Amen.

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Day 9 - Cheshire South Circuit (11/08)

Please pray for:

  • Our new Circuit Superintendent, Revd Rob Hilton and his family, as they move into Cheshire South.  May they find a warm welcome awaiting them, and an openness to the new ideas and experiences they will share with us;
  • Revd Malcolm Lorimer, that he will be truly blessed and fulfilled in all he now finds time to do as he begins his new life as a Supernumerary;
  • Our Lay Workers, as they guide those in their Local Mission Areas in. thinking and planning for the work that God is calling them to do;
  • The work of the Circuit Stewards and the Circuit Administrators;
  • The families of our ministers and local preachers who died in the last twelve months;
  • The increasing variety of initiatives through which opportunities to share with the family of God are offered: lunch clubs, friendship groups, film shows, mother and toddler gatherings, contemporary worship events, arts and crafts groups, music and concerts.
  • A greater awareness for all of what it means to be a disciple (a follower and learner) of Jesus, and the importance of answering that call to witness in the world today.

Light of the world, we are the candles lit at Your shining flame. 
Help us to burn brightly and steadily in the world for You,
so that others may see You in us. 
When our flame burns low, or seems as if it would go out,
rekindle it through the love and support of friends and church family,
by the power of Your Holy Spirit. 
Make our churches and our lives shine for You,
as we travel on together until our journey on earth is done,
and we are re-united with You for all eternity.  Amen.

 

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Day 10 - Methodist Homes

MHA District Secretary : Mrs Rebecca Jones

It is our Aim to create in the Churches of the District, an awareness of the dedicated work carried out by the Staff in our Homes.  This is such an important aspect of Christian Mission.
 
The MHA Homes are situated in the following localities, each with a Chaplain:
1.  Chapel Fields, Frodsham.
2.  Callin Court, Chester.
3.  Claybourne, Stoke-on-Trent.
4.  Adlinton House, Apartments, at Newcastle-under-Lyme.


Give thanks for:

  • The dedication and witness of all the Staff in our Homes:  the Care Managers and their Deputies, the Carers , Cooks, Domestic Staff and the many volunteers who undertake different tasks;
  • The Chaplains who undertake and share so much of the love of Jesus with the Residents, their Families and the staff. 

Please pray for:

  • The continuing work of Christian witness and care in all the Homes;
  • The financial support given so generously from this District enabling the care to continue;
  • The Residents and their families, that God will surround them with His Love and Peace.

Just because I am old, Lord, I know that You will not leave me. 
Just because I am not as able as I once was, not as quick,
not always as well as I would like to be, You will not abandon me. 
You see in me the person that You have always loved,
even if I don’t always recognise myself any more. 
Thank you, Lord, for the security You give me, Your peace,
and for the sure and certain knowledge that each day of my life
I am drawn closer to You.   Amen.

 


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Day 11 - Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum of Primitive Methodism 'Using Heritage for Mission'

Project Director:  Dr Jill Barber
Education and Museum Officer:  Mrs Margaret Veal
Chair of Executive: Revd Michael Parrott
 
As part of the Royal Society’s Local Heroes scheme, we are looking this year at ‘Hugh Bourne: Pioneer of Science for All!’   Hugh Bourne was a man ahead of his time. With his questioning mind and scientific interest he encouraged children to use their God-given skills of observation and reasoning.  He was filled with awe and wonder, seeing science as God’s goodness and blessing for us through the natural world.  His science lessons in The PM Children’s Magazine (1824-43) looked at air pressure and steam power, flint mills and manufacturing.  Through simple experiments using everyday objects, Bourne encouraged working children to ask questions and explore the world around them.

Give thanks for:

  • Opportunities to talk about faith with people who are ‘anti-God’;
  • The Two Saints Way, a pilgrimage route from Chester to Lichfield, which is bringing many walkers to Englesea Brook;
  • Volunteers at the Book Sale at Hassall Road Methodist Church, every Friday and Saturday morning, who welcome customers, sort the books, and manage online sales; this is our main fund raiser – and we couldn’t do it without them.

Please pray for:

  • Outreach to schools, especially our new programmes looking at Science as a way to God;
  • Our monthly Heritage Services, Talks and Events for 2017-18;
  • All staff and volunteers – that we might share God’s love with everyone who visits us; 

Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer
The early Prims were known as ‘people of One Book’
Help us, like them, to trust in You completely.
You give us unconditional love
Poured out with infinite grace.
May we share the Good News of Your coming
With joy in our hearts and on our lips,
Bringing healing and wholeness
In Your precious name
Amen.

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Day 12 - Local Preachers and Leaders of Worship

Local Preachers’ Secretary and Tutors’ Coordinator: Mr Brian Gordon
Leaders of Worship and Preachers’ Trust Convenor: Mr Stanley Clowes
Local Preachers, and Leaders of Worship, are responsible for the leading of services in most of the District’s churches each Sunday.  Many have served for a number of years, willingly responding to the message inspired by God.

Give thanks for:

  • The people who are responding to God’s call to share the Gospel within worship;
  • The people who assist with the training and development of Local Preachers and Worship Leaders as their tutors and mentors;
  • The faithful preparation of worship so that our congregations may be encouraged in their pilgrimage of faith and service;
  • The Christian witness both within our churches and within our communities by preachers and worship leaders.

Please pray:

  • That those who hear God calling will have the courage, conviction and confidence to respond to that call;
  • For all involved in the development of the new training course for Worship Leaders and Preachers;
  • That preachers will come forward to offer as tutors on the new training course as Circuits learn how to make the new course serve the needs of the church;
  • That our preachers, both experienced and in training, may find ways of being relevant to society in the 21st century;
  • For those who offer their gifts of music to enable God’s people to worship;
  • That within our worship, we may help people on their pilgrimage journey;
  • That there might be a mutual encouragement and support of preachers, leaders of worship and congregations as together we share the Good News of the Gospel.

Please consider:

  • Who in your Church or Circuit might have a call to preach and or lead worship;
  • Who you might encourage to come with you to worship.

God of Your people, open our hearts and minds to hear Your words for us and for the people for whom we lead worship.  May we always be mindful of the pilgrim journey we are travelling together.  May we give encouragement to each other on their own journeys of faith.  Amen.

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Day 13 - Saltbox

Chief Executive: Lloyd Cooke

Saltbox is synonymous across Stoke-on-Trent and beyond for community-based services for vulnerable and marginalised members of society. 

CareLink helps lonely and isolated older people to socialise and maintain healthy independence in their own homes.

Restart offers support, housing and spiritual development to ex-offenders.

Money Matters helps Foodbank clients on low incomes with advice and debt management.

We work hard to nurture potential partnership opportunities with statutory, voluntary and community organisations to help bring about community cohesion and transformation.
Our Christian faith is paramount in everything we do and is the foundation that Saltbox is built on.  On a continued basis, we work with churches and faith groups to promote UNITY, PRAYER and MISSION across the region.

Please pray for God’s blessing on the work of Saltbox and pray specifically for:

  • Its advice and support of churches and Christian ministries;
  • Its role as a bridge with various local secular agencies, media outlets and the wider voluntary sector;
  • Its various caring services including Restart (housing and supporting ex-offenders), CareLink (telephone befriending for lonely, older people), Money Matters (debt advice alongside Stoke Foodbank), OPEN (S-o-T’s Older People’s Engagement Network);
  • Its Chief Executive, Lloyd Cooke, the Senior Management Team and Trustee Board as they all seek to grow the Saltbox vision;
  • Increased favour on its partnership working and increased funding as the work grows.

Lord of all, we thank You that You empower us to care for special people and their many and varied needs. 
Bless all that we do in Your name, and bring to us those who need to find us,
and also those who have a heart for reaching out with us and extending our vision.   Amen.

 

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Day 14 - Market Drayton Circuit (11/14)

Ministry:
Revd Ruth Jeffries (Superintendent).  Supernumeraries: Revd Paul Clapham, Revd Keith Marsden, Revd Edna Perry, Revd Douglas Savill.  Youth Worker: Kevin Lee.

Our small Circuit is diverse with each church congregation having distinctly different approaches to worship, service and community involvement as they each seek to serve God the Son.
Market Drayton fellowship enjoys rich corporate worship and is now seeking to discover how God would develop this to equip his people through the gifting and guidance of his Holy Spirit.  A process has begun to explore how worship might more fully describe our involvement with the local community.  Especially we seek a vision of how we can serve and emulate Jesus through worship, discipleship and mission.  The congregation at Ashley enjoys continued ecumenical togetherness as the churches of Ashley, Loggerheads and Mucklestone worship together with Jesus at the centre, especially through Lent and Easter Services and Harvest celebrations.  Meanwhile, the small congregation of Hinstock continues to walk in faith in companionship with the risen Jesus, serving other elderly people through their ministry of sharing worship at the local residential home.  Whilst we enjoy and respect this diversity we pray that we might be rooted and united in our faith and understanding of the One who is the first and the last, redeemer and friend.

Give thanks for:

  • The wide ranging and varied work with children and young people through church, outreach and schools work;
  • Opportunities to share Jesus in our communities through involvement and service;
  • The refreshment and enrichment of corporate worship and the daily reminders of God’s goodness made known through his creation.

Please pray:

  • For wisdom and discernment as we seek to discover God’s vision for His people in this place;
  • For a deepening understanding of the availability and activity of the Holy Spirit;
  • For ecumenical accord in shared acts of worship and community service such as Foodbank, debt counselling, addiction counselling and job club;
  • That we His people, might, with humility and grace, build relationships of trust and acceptance with individuals, groups and organisations in the town and villages in order that we may better serve our neighbours and God;
  • For our children and young people as they learn more about what it means to be a Christian;
  • That we might be a community of ready volunteers – enthusiastic, persevering and sacrificial.

Lord Jesus, as You taught Your first disciples to pray, teach us to worship You in all things. Grant us a better understanding of the presence and power of Your Holy Spirit with and within us. Give us a vision of what You would have us do and the courage to step out in faith for You. Help us to remember that all things are possible to You and that those You call You also equip, and help us to be prepared to change and adapt for your sake. Remind us daily that You are alpha and omega, the first and the last and that all our hope for ourselves and this world is in You.  Amen.

 

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Day 15 - Stoke-on-Trent (North) Circuit (11/15)

Ministry:
Revd Chris J Ambler (Superintendent), Revd Kim W. Kerchal, Revd Joyce E. Smith.
Supernumeraries: Revd R. Michael Speed, Revd W. Arthur Wakelin.
Lay workers: Naomi Boyd (Children’s worker) Francesca Gravano (administrator).

Give thanks for:

  • A successful night shelter project over the winter;
  • New worship leaders coming into training;
  • New people coming into existing congregations;
  • Ongoing work with young people.

Please pray for:

  • People settling into new congregations;
  • The refurbishment of the Community Centre in Norton;
  • The continuing collaboration across the city;
  • The proposed new nightshelter premises;
  • A new vision for work in the city centre.

Jesus the first and the last, we thank You that You go ahead of us to lead the way, to challenge us to do new things, to take risks in Your name.
We thank You that You follow us so that however slowly we move we are never left behind.
We pray that our growing confidence in Your surrounding presence will enable us to see and accomplish new things, and we pray that these will be kingdom things.
We pray that You will lift our eyes beyond the familiar, beyond survival and into the transformed life that You intend to bring.
In Your power we pray for people who are now last to find themselves first with You.  In Your name we pray.  Amen.


 
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Day 16 - Kidsgrove Circuit (11/16)

Ministry:
Revd Peter Barber (Superintendent)
Supernumerary: Revd John F. Keeling
The District Mission & Ministry Team working in the Circuit: Ian White, Ashley Cooper, Arthur Wakelin, Simon Sutcliffe, Andrew Harper, Rob Kellett, Alice Mashanga.

The Circuit continues to experience growth and development in partnership with the District Team.  During the past year, the work with children and young people has been strengthened and we have experienced growth in adult attendance and membership in a number of churches.  During this year, the Circuit will be working more closely with the Burslem Mission Circuit to become one circuit from September 2018.

Give thanks for:

  • The commitment and vision of the Circuit Leadership Team, lay leaders in each local church, Sandra in the Circuit Office and volunteers who help in many ways;
  • The significant increase in membership at Mount Pleasant and the growth in attendance at many of the chapels in the circuit;
  • The Village Church, Brindley Ford, as it strengthens and builds upon its increased community links;
  • The Circuit Advent and Lent studies led by Simon Sutcliffe;
  • The partnership between the Circuit and the District Mission & Ministry Team;
  • The Circuit Mission & Vision group and all who have shared in its meetings.

Please pray for:

  • The coming together of the Kidsgrove and Burslem Mission Circuits from September 2018 and those who will work on the details;
  • The continued intentional focus on mission, new ways of working and worshipping;
  • The Circuit Leadership Team as it continues to work with the District;
  • The lay leaders within each church.

Gracious God, you call us to be your faithful people, to rise up in response to the leading of your Holy Spirit and to be the disciples of Jesus.  As we journey on, may we continue to experience you both walking with us and going before us. Grant to us the courage to let go of all that hinders us and to be open to all that you have in store for us, that our life together may reflect more and more of the nature of your kingdom.  Amen.

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Day 17 - Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB)

District Executive Committee: Kath Roberts (President), Ruth Parrott (Vice- President), Chris Thompson (Forum Representative), Sheila Scragg (Secretary), Margaret Linley (Treasurer), Joyce Owen (Conference Secretary), Revd Peter Barber (Chair of District).

Methodist Women in Britain is an organisation within the Methodist Church, led by volunteers and funded by donations.  It is open to women of any age who wish to learn and worship together, exploring fairness and justice, both in this country and around the world.  Our recent campaigns have supported the Dalits in India, the growth of Dementia friendly churches and the Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya.  Methodist Women in Britain’s main decision making body is the Forum which meets twice yearly in London, and every district sends a representative. MWiB also has a seat at Conference.

Give thanks for:

  • The work being done at Maua hospital for mothers and babies;
  • The growth of Dementia friendly churches;
  • The increasing knowledge of Christian women throughout the world through the Easter Offering service;
  • The fellowship and friendship of MWiB events and meetings, open to all.

MWiB works for global social justice, so please pray for:

  • Those who are living through war and violence;
  • Those who are vulnerable and unsure of their future;
  • Those who have few resources and great needs.


Loving God,
we thank You for all that You have provided for us, for Your amazing generosity. We continue to pray for those families who are living under very different conditions, through violence and war, through poverty, through vulnerability, through illness and disease.
Open our eyes to see where we can make a difference.   Amen.

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Day 18 - Stoke-on-Trent (Burslem Mission) Circuit (11/18)

Ministry:
Revd Ashley Cooper (Superintendent & Senior Pastor of Swan Bank Church), Revd Anthony Clowes (Lead Pastor at The Potters Church), Revd Ling Yu Ji (Minister at Swan Bank and Wesley Hall), Revd A. Peter Hancock.
Supernumeraries: Revd Stephen G. Hatcher, Revd John M. Hibberts.
Amy Wyatt (Lead Pastor at Oasis Community Church).
Lay Workers: Alison Carr (Office & Events Manager), Alistair Johnson (18-30’s Pastor), Sam Taylor (Youth Pastor), James Adams (Worship Pastor), Rob Kellett (Pastoral Care Coordinator), Alice Mashanga (Children’s Pastor), June Sargeant (Voluntary Pastoral Visitor), Malcolm Sargeant (Circuit Treasurer & Voluntary Pastoral Visitor), John Tooth (Voluntary Pastoral Visitor), Julie Twemlow (Specific Needs Pastor), Roger Worthington (Voluntary Pastoral Visitor).

Stoke-on-Trent (Burslem Mission) Circuit sits between Stoke North and Stoke South Circuits and covers the areas of Burslem, Sneyd Green, Birches Head, and Biddulph Park, incorporating the town of Burslem, housing estates, a rural community and areas of deprivation and need.  Each church in the Circuit is firmly rooted in its community or busy forming new or stronger relationships.  We are all deeply committed to serving our respective communities with love, compassion and in very practical ways through work done across all ages, pastoral work, food distribution and generally getting alongside our neighbours to share the love of Jesus.

Give thanks for:

  • The vision and leadership of the Circuit churches as they continue to move forward serving God in purposeful, practical and contemporary ways;
  • Swan Bank’s recently forged links with the local sixth form college which will help develop more extensive Mission;
  • All the volunteers who help in the life of their churches and their communities, spreading the love of God in action and word;
  • The growing numbers attending worship, and deepening faith in young and old at the Oasis Community Church, Biddulph Park;
  • The opportunity at The Potters Church to build a second worshipping congregation in Longton;
  • Oasis, a growing church, with partnerships with local churches, growth in youth work and beginning of a ‘song and story’ session in the community;
  • More children coming to Wesley Hall for their Saturday Fun Morning, a monthly outreach event starting from none to 33 plus parents - most of whom were not attending a church.

Please pray for:

  • The continued vision of the leadership at Swan Bank, that they remain rooted in God’s will and purpose and in faith face the challenges that the year brings;
  • The Number 11 project which will provide a permanent hub at Swan Bank aiming to serve the most vulnerable people in our community by providing long term, holistic and relational support;
  • The coffee shop as it continues to seek to further develop the missional opportunities it presents;
  • Potters Church: for God’s guidance as they develop their focus for growing devoted disciples of Jesus;
  • Oasis: for direction as youth and adult discipleship paths are explored - trying to find the balance between evangelism and discipleship;
  • The continued development and strengthening of the relationship with Haywood Academy as their leadership changes;
  • Wesley Hall: for God’s provision for the church with what she needs in her day to day running and in the work of outreach and that God would lead the way forward and open the doors to the next stage of outreach and evangelism.

Father God,
we thank You for giving us Jesus as our Saviour, our Lord, our brother and friend.  Help us to place Jesus first in all we do and help us walk and live in the power and strength of Your Holy Spirit. 
We pray that we would more and more know the knowledge of Your love for us so that we can, in turn, show that love more and more to those we meet and seek to serve. 
Through this, we pray that many in our community, those who know little of love, who have been broken, who are lost without You, would acknowledge that Jesus is the first and the last in their lives and that with him their lives can begin. 
We ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.



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Day 19 - Immerse (Venture FX)

Ministry:
Pioneer Mission Leader          Simon Sutcliffe
 
Immerse has spent the last twelve months contributing widely to the life and fabric of the Miner’s Estate in Kidsgrove.  The Community Centre is seen as one of the hubs of the local community and is used by many different user groups to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people in the area. 
Immerse is developing a rhythm and pattern for its spiritual life which includes eating together once a month and sharing in daily prayer through an app.
Our hope is that we can roll this out to others in the coming year.

Give thanks for:

  • The various groups that form the work of the community centre: especially Brighter Nights (a drop in centre for adults with learning difficulties) and the Youth Club;
  • The spirit and determination of the folk who live on the Miners’ estate;
  • The folk of Immerse who are committed to sustaining and developing new ways of being a Christian Community.

Please pray for:

  • Immerse as they begin to plan for the future without Venture FX funding;
  • Vision for the Methodist Church and Immerse as they seek to discover what it means to be a missional order;
  • The Methodist Pioneering Pathways, as Immerse supports others who are looking to pioneer new forms of ministry and community;
  • Courage for the people of Immerse as they participate in God’s transforming love in the community;
  • Wisdom as they discern the future of the community centre and look to form collaborations and partnerships with others;
  • The wider Methodist Church to recognise the potential in the pioneering movement.

You are our Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end.
May we discover in You:
the newness and inspiration of community;
the source of all love  and being;
the hope and the joy to come;
as we learn to follow You to the end,
only to discover that we have just begun.  Amen.

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Day 20 - Stoke-on-Trent (South) Circuit (11/20)

Ministry:
Revd Jeff M. Short (Superintendent), Revd Ian S. Coates.
Active Supernumerary: Revd Stuart Hickerman.
Supernumeraries: Revd Alexander Brown, Revd Peter E. Coates.

The Stoke-on-Trent (South) Circuit takes in three of the six towns of the Potteries: Stoke, Fenton, and Longton.  It also incorporates the rural community of Forsbrook, the housing estates of Meir, Lightwood, Sandford Hill, and Fenton Park, and the suburban areas of Trentham and Blythe Bridge.
The Circuit is made up of nine churches: Broadway, Fenton Park, Lightwood, Longton Central Hall, Sandford Hill, Temple Street, Trentham, West End, and one church operating on two sites at Forsbrook and Blythe Bridge.

Give thanks for:

  • The work of the Youth Leader covering Forsbrook and Blythe Bridge Methodist Church in association with the Anglican Church;
  • The volunteers who ran the Night Shelter at Temple Street;
  • The outreach of the people at Longton Central Hall in working with Sanctus in providing assistance for asylum seekers;
  • The Circuit’s overseas project, supporting the Jerusalem based Princess Basma Centre for Disabled Children;
  • The Tesco Fareshare Scheme which provides fresh bread to the Community Café at Temple Street;
  • The congregation at Broadway as they build upon the work that they have done in the community;
  • The way in which the two churches at Temple Street and Victoria Road have come together to deliver a succession of community outreach initiatives in the town of Fenton;
  • Revd Chris Ambler who has been assisting the Circuit by working with Trentham Methodist Church as they seek to re-model their church premises;
  • The dedication of Local Preachers from our own Circuit and especially those from neighbouring Circuits who answer calls to preach and for those preachers who are on note and on trial;
  • Claire Rawlinson, a Local Preacher from Broadway who has successfully completed her Ministerial training and will be stationed in Barnsley;  
  • Beryl Barcroft, a Sunday School teacher in the village of Forsbrook who was awarded a British Empire Medal this year in recognition of over 60 years’ service in working with children;
  • The continuing generous response of churches in the Circuit who donate food to the Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, and to the volunteers contributing their time to the Foodbank Distribution Centres at Temple Street and the West End.

Please pray for:

  • Revd Stuart Hickerman who is willing undertaking additional responsibilities within the circuit due to ministerial shortages;
  • The Centre Manager, the Community Engagement Worker and the Chef at the West End Methodist Church and Community Centre, and the Church members as they seek new ways of missioning to the community;
  • Recharge Services at Blythe Bridge and Broadway;
  • Messy Church taking place at Trentham, Temple Street and the West End;
  • The Circuit Leadership Team as they pray and work through new ways of covering the ministry of the Circuit;
  • The churches at Fenton Park, Temple Street, and Trentham as they seek to re-model their church premises to enhance their 21st century mission plans;
  • The links being built with neighbouring work as we seek to serve the City of Stoke-on-Trent and its residents;
  • The congregation of Longton Central Hall as they explore working with the Potter’s Church;
  • The work of the Circuit Stewards and the Circuit Administrator;
  • The diverse groups that meet in Churches and homes across the Circuit where the word of Jesus is always at the centre.
  • The Connexional Stationing system as it seeks to place Presbyters across the country.

Lord we live in a world dominated by news.
Bad news, fake news, spun news, distorted news.
Saturated coverage, screaming headlines, manipulated photographs.
Jesus the first and the last help us to be thankful for a free press,
but also bring us back to the gospel good news of truth and love.
Remind us again of Your truth found in the Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount, simple yet profound parables, quiet prayer, and transforming conversations.
Help us to make sense of the world and our lives through the lens of Gospel values.
Grant us courage, grant us Wisdom, for the living of these days.  Amen.
(Revd M Parrott)

 

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Day 21 - Agricultural Chaplaincy

Cheshire Agricultural Chaplain:  Sharon Mayer  

Agricultural and rural chaplaincy seeks to support and engage with those involved in farming, rural businesses, tourism and rural life.  It requires an understanding of the structures of the agricultural industry and an appreciation of the particular pressures and challenges farmers face.  The chaplain also needs to empathise with the values and ethos of life in rural communities, identifying and engaging with the range of prevailing issues.

There is a bridging role to be developed between the churches and rural businesses and organisations, for mutual benefit and to inform and enable the churches’ mission.  An obvious point of contact is the local livestock market, where a long-term and consistent presence is required on the part of the chaplain to build up pastoral relationships and trust.

Give thanks for:

  • The work of farmers, farmworkers and countryside workers across our District, as they care for the land, the animals and the crops;
  • The work of Agricultural Chaplains, as they seek to provide support and encouragement, and to increase awareness of needs in rural areas, and how local churches can help.

Please pray for:

  • Sharon in her work across the County that she may be given knowledge, wisdom and strength to be alongside those in need;
  • All those involved in work on the land, that they may know that their work is appreciated, and vital to the lives of all of us;
  • That as governments and policies change, genuine recognition of the importance of agriculture to our nation will be recognised and protected;
  • Those for whom the present times are hard, and those who are suffering illness and anxiety as a result of the burdens they carry;
  • Those who are currently studying land and animal-based courses at Reaseheath College, and who by their studies will bring innovation and development to our farms and industries.

Lord, we thank You for the fruitful earth, and Your provision of all that we need in growing things.  Bless all those who work with the earth You made, ensuring that it is rich and fruitful.  Bless farming families everywhere, and bring Your peace and comfort to those who are struggling.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.    

 

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Day 22 - North Staffordshire Circuit (11/22)

Ministry:
Revd John B. Palmer (Superintendent), Revd Helen L. Hoe, Revd James Pritchard (Keele University Free Church Chaplain), Revd John Taylor.
Supernumeraries:  Revd Peter Bayley, Revd Paul Dickinson, Revd Cecil P. Mann, Deacon Jill Taylor.  Circuit Children’s and Family Worker: Mrs Jane Leighton.

Our Circuit is built up of twelve churches, including town centre, urban, suburban, and rural areas.  
Whilst there is some really good work happening around the Circuit, in reality there are parts of the Circuit where mission and outreach are more challenging.  Some of the difficulties are that we lack people who have specific gifts to take on roles needed to function as a church.
The lack of preachers is also a big challenge which we are trying to address as well as to try and offer people worship styles that best suit them.  The Circuit is short of ministerial staff which has a huge impact on the Circuit preaching plan as well as pastoral visiting and other roles.  Therefore, we shall be employing two part time pastoral workers, focusing on visiting the needy across the circuit and supporting the ministers.

Give thanks for:

  • Positive signs of churches and people wanting to engage more seriously in mission and outreach;
  • New initiatives that are being explored around the Circuit;
  • A more strengthened fellowship across the Circuit.

Please pray for:

  • The Circuit Leadership Team as they try and map out the future life of the Circuit;
  • A renewed enthusiasm for all churches to engage in real mission;
  • Those in our circuit who struggle with any kind of change;
  • People who need to respond to a call to preach, or to lead, or to have a passion for furthering the work of the Kingdom.

Lord, giver of life, let us live our lives to the full,
with humility, care and compassion and in Your Son’s image.
May we be the church you want us to be.
May we be bold, strong and firm in our faith.
May we always be ready to respond where You are calling and leading us.
May we always come to You, the source of strength and giver of all good things.
Take us, melt us, mould us and fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit, day by day.
Amen.


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Day 23 - The District Mission and Ministries Team

Coordinator: Ian White.

In a time when ministry is stretched in so many places (not least because of the shortage of Presbyters) the District Team have been assisting Circuits by providing support through lay and supernumerary assistance according to local needs and opportunities.

The Team has previously operated in the Runcorn and Mid Cheshire Circuits, spanning four years of Ministry between them.  It is currently working in the Kidsgrove Circuit in the last of three years’ work, in Staffordshire Moorlands in the second year of work and in Cheshire South in two different situations.

Dialogue with other Circuits is ongoing and we value the openness shown in the District and the way the team’s work has been both recognised and embraced.
There is significant connexional interest in the concept of the District Team approach and other Districts are considering the formation of their own teams.

Give thanks for:

  • Each member of the District Team who brings their own unique gifts and graces to the work across our District;
  • Identified opportunities for the creation of new teams and the and the discernment of new opportunities across our District;
  • The connexional interest in the concept of the District Team and for other Districts now recognising its particular value;
  • Sustainability in the work of the Team to ensure that when the work of the team comes to a conclusion the activity is maintained in the local context.

Please pray for:

  • The ongoing work in the Kidsgrove, Staffordshire Moorlands and Cheshire South Circuits;
  • Circuits and churches considering future Ministry needs;
  • Continued strong support amongst the members of the team and those with whom they work;
  • An openness within us all to different forms of Ministry in changing times.

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. 
This fills us with a living hope and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. 
He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil of fade away. 
They are for you who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time. 
Amen.  1 Peter 3: 5


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Day 24 - Staffordshire Moorlands Circuit (11/24)

Ministry:
Revd Julie Herbert (Superintendent), Revd Andrew S. Farrington, Revd Richard Pope (AP).
Supernumeraries: Revd John A. Bates, Revd Colin S. Cooper, Revd John M. Edwards, Revd Anthony R. Tagg, Revd David W. Watson, Revd Thomas M. Witham.
Lay workers: Viki Ward (Children and Families Worker), Donald Haslam (Voluntary Lay Worker), Debbie Beville (Circuit Administrator), Mark Hatcher, Sarah Ault, Margaret Parkinson, Fiona Farrington (District Team).

The Staffordshire Moorlands Circuit covers a large and diverse area: outstanding countryside, beautiful market towns, farming communities and villages which face the challenges of commuter population or of an ageing demographic.  The area benefits from the many visitors it welcomes each year.  It has a rich heritage, and its churches reflect a diverse theological understanding of the Gospel. 
It still enjoys many fruitful ecumenical partnerships as the church seeks to be actively engaged in servant ministry.

Give thanks for:

  • The first completed year working with our District Team Partners – the variety of gifts and skills they bring, and their dedication to serving Christ in our context;
  • The blessing during this year of those who have come to know the reality of God’s love in their lives – those newly baptised and confirmed, and those who have journeyed with them;
  • Opportunities which have come our way to share faith with folk in the in-between places, chance conversations and encounters of daily life.

Please pray for:

  • Those struggling with the realisation that God may be calling them to work which is beyond their immediate boundaries;
  • Prayerful attentiveness to the Spirit in discerning what to lay down and what to take up throughout the Circuit;
  • Our Circuit Leadership Team in guiding and prayer, in challenging and comforting, in inspiring and holding.

God of creativity beyond our imagining, You are closer to us than breath and You know that we face anxious and challenging times. 
Sweep over us with the renewing of Your Spirit - comfort those who are afraid of what the future holds, invigorate those who already sense Your call upon their lives, and fill each one of us with joy in serving You, in watching and waiting and longing. 
All this, so that Your Kingdom may grow in the expected and the unexpected places.  In Jesus name we pray.   Amen.

 

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Day 25 - Beacon House of Prayer and Christian Centre

Ministry:
Revd William R. Porter
 
We are grateful to God for his help in all we have been doing as a house of prayer this year.  We have helped the community to settle into life groups and a rhythm of life.  We celebrate each other’s testimonies of God’s goodness and opportunities to shine for Him.

We have continued to develop worship and prayer leaders in the house, maturing in how to pray over important things and big crises.  In May we were privileged again to join in a nationwide push of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost - Thy Kingdom Come - and to share in the first ever Big Church Day Out in the north.        

We have connected well with other houses of prayer in the nation, and together sense the urgency of prayer with recent terror attacks and the general election taking place.  We want to continue expanding the whole variety of worship, teaching and prayer opportunities for people to engage with locally.

We provide a space throughout the week for many to encounter the Lord, and find an easy place to pray.  Anyone is welcome to come simply to sit in the quiet or take part in a led gathering in the prayer room.  Have a look at the weekly schedules to see how you can fit in.

Give thanks for:

  • Strong connections with other houses of prayer in Britain and into Europe;
  • A fruitful adopting of a rhythm of life by those in the core community;
  • Both faithful and inspired times of worship and prayer;
  • Developing healing ministries in the house.

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom to expand the team of committed volunteers and possible paid staff;
  • God’s protection from spiritual attack;
  • Good connections to continue to develop with local churches;
  • Our fire of love and passion for Jesus to stay bright.

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Day 26 - Trade Aid - Fairtrade Centre

Staffed by volunteers, headed up by Mrs Ann Worthington.
Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love.  We do this by changing the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

Fairtrade:

  • sets standards
  • certifies products and ingredients
  • works with companies’ own schemes
  • lobbies government
  • works directly with producers

We drive awareness with the public: through our Fairtrade Towns, Schools and Faith groups and through our campaigns we drive awareness of the issues of unfair trade and ask the public ‘Don’t Feed Exploitation – choose Fairtrade’.

The Trade Aid shop (part of the Methodist Book Shop) in Gitana Street, Hanley:

  • Is open Monday to Thursday 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday 10:00am to 3:00pm, (closed Fridays);
  • Has a small café area where hot and cold drinks, cakes and cookies are available;
  • Stocks a large range of Fairtrade foods, crafts, clothing and paper goods.

Give thanks for:

  • The part the shop continues to play in the life of Stoke-on-Trent as a Fairtrade City;
  • The work of those who volunteer in the shop, and also take Fairtraded goods to meetings across the District;
  • Ann’s leadership in the work of promoting and selling Fairtrade goods.

Please pray for:

  • Ann, as she urgently seeks more volunteer help, and guidance for the future;
  • The future of Trade Aid, and the shop itself;
  • All those whose fairly traded goods arrive in this country, that they may know that their work is appreciated and enjoyed;
  • More churches to join the Fair Trade movement.

Gracious and merciful God, in this world where You created everything, we pray for those who have to struggle for everything they have, and often lack the basic necessities of life.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, make us vitally aware of what we can do, through our buying, our consuming and our prayers, to work for an equal sharing of all and with all.  Amen.

 

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Day 27 - Methodist Book Centre

Manager: Julie Ann Ellis

The Methodist Book Centre has been operating in Gitana Street, Hanley, for over 70 years.  It has a mission to equip individuals, groups and churches with resources to enable people to become disciples of Christ and for some to deepen their spirituality.  It also operates through a website (www.crfl.co.uk) enabling books, music and gifts to be despatched further afield than our District including some overseas sales.

Give thanks for:

  • The opportunities given to the Centre to carry out its mission of making Christ known to more than just churchgoers.  In addition to the shop, opportunities arise when the Centre provides a bookstall at training events, Synods etc.;
  • The staff, led by Julie Ann Ellis, who are committed to the mission of the Centre and respond to the many questions about the Christian faith that are asked by people who come into the shop.  They also show the love of Christ in a pastoral way as they pay attention to the needs of customers;
  • The District who see the importance of the Centre to the work of Christ’s Mission and give personal encouragement as well as finance to develop its work;
  • The mission work undertaken by the Methodist Book Centre in Hanley as it proclaims the gospel and equips individuals, groups and churches to deepen their own spirituality and encourage others to become followers of Jesus Christ. 

Please pray for:

  • The staff and the Management Committee as they continually seek to reach out in different ways – particularly through ecumenical contacts, bookstalls and the work of the website;
  • Those individuals who have come into the shop to seek help in a number of ways – possibly as an introduction to the Christian faith when they had not been able to go to a church.  Pray that the seeds sown by the staff as well as the books or the gifts they have bought for others, may grow within them  and that through the power of the Holy Spirit they may come to know of the love of Jesus Christ;
  • The authors of the books that are sold by the shop and the website as well as the musicians who write and record the music sold on CDs and the craft of those who design the cards and gifts. Pray that they will continue to hear God speaking to them and declaring His Word through different attractive products.

Lord God, Your word to us comes in so many different ways, enabling us all to hear, read, see and learn.  Enable us to share what we find, listen to others who have different thoughts, ideas and experiences, and thus encourage Your family to grow in wisdom, faith, and delight in You, our loving Father.  Amen.

 

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Days 28 - Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network (DMLN) North West & Mann (which includes Chester & Stoke on Trent)

Alison Ransome coordinates the staff, convenes the regional Learning & Development Forum and links to the wider Connexion.

Alison Hulse has a focus on children & youth work, pioneers and safeguarding.

Anthony Reddie has a focus on theological literacy and local lay ministries and CDiM.

Brec Seaton has a focus on Positive Working Together, 3Generate and circuit reviews.

Edel McClean has a focus on spiritual life.

David Pickles has a focus on lay employees and Circuit Reviews.

Jasmine Devadason has a focus on Worship : Leading & Preaching and vocation exploration.

John Squares has a focus on discipleship development especially 3rd Age Spirituality, the ONE programme and Bible month.
 
Our work is directed in a variety of ways including Methodist Conference, the Regional Forum and Circuits.  We are tasked with helping Methodism in the UK to grow in confidence as a learning church, be that skills to perform tasks or learning more of God.

Give thanks for:

  • All the churches who are committed to mission and evangelism and we will always prioritise supporting such churches.

Please pray for:

  • Us as we seek to find the balance in being available for Circuits when a request comes in, and providing the larger events and training.

As a diverse group of people, we each see You, Jesus, from our own perspective. Spirit of God embolden us to share our story with those around us and grant us humility to hear how others encounter Jesus of Nazareth in their daily lives.   Amen.

 


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Days 29 - Christian Aid

Becky Hurst (Regional Coordinator: Staffordshire and Cheshire)
www.christianaid.org.uk

Because Jesus did, we do.

Jesus loved people, radically, unexpectedly, extravagantly, with open arms for those on the edges and a welcome for those who’d been shunned.  We give thanks for our partners showing that same love to our brothers and sisters who live in poverty around the world.

Jesus told Peter to lower his sword, pursuing peace over retaliation, even as he was being taken away to be crucified.  We pray for people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict.

Jesus held sick people close, healing broken bodies and broken lives with the same touch, giving dignity to flesh, blood, skin and bone.  We thank you for clinics, health workers and vital medicine.

Jesus had compassion for a hungry crowd, taking simple bread and fish, filling stomachs as well as souls, leaving not a single person hungry.  We pray for all those who will not rest until everyone can get the essentials they need.

Jesus turned over the tables of the money lenders, stirring us to stand in solidarity with poor people; moving us to challenge the powerful; urging us to reset the scales of fairness.

We thank you for those willing to raise their voices to change attitudes and laws.

Following Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, Christian Aid’s partners distributed hygiene kits, as well as plastic sheeting for shelter and blankets. 

Father God, we thank you for all those who pray, donate and raise funds and voices for Christian Aid throughout the year.  We give thanks and ask for courage for those who visit their neighbours every Christian Aid Week to show your love to neighbours near and far.  We pray for all Christian Aid’s partner organisations as they work with people to reach their potential, respond to disaster and conflict and change attitudes.  We pray for ourselves that we may do as Jesus did.  Amen.

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Days 30 - Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District

District Chair: Revd Peter E. Barber
Deputy Chair: Revd Linda J. Catlow
Synod Secretary: Mr Ian C. White
Presbyteral Synod Secretary and Assistant Synod Secretary: Revd J. Peter F. Levitt
District Administrator and PA to the Chair: Mr Rob Glassonbury
District Treasurer: Mr Steve Best
District Safeguarding Officer: Ms Gill Clayton

The District Centre based at Broad Lane Methodist Church, Bishops Wood, Nantwich is open weekday mornings 9:30 to 11:30am and seeks to ensure the smooth running of the District and the support of the Circuits, ministers and lay leaders of the Circuits.  It provides resources and information and acts as a hub for the life of the District as well as a venue for meetings and training.

Give thanks for:

  • The District Mission & Discipleship Policy agreed by Synod;
  • The creative ways the District seeks to enable the mission and ministry of the Circuits and their churches;
  • The District Officers named above and their faithful ministry

Please pray for:

  • The process that begins this autumn to nominate to the 2018 Methodist Conference the next Chair of District to take up post 1 September 2019;
  • The District Policy Committee, the District Resources & Management Group responsible for handling grant requests, the District Safeguarding Board and Safeguarding Officer, the District Committees that seek in a variety of ways to support and enable the work of the Circuits;
  • The Stationing process as the Connexion seeks to continue to cope with the acute shortage of ordained presbyters.

Gracious God, so stir our hearts and minds that as we awake each day,
we may see the day as a gift from you and our first intention be to walk it with you.
Grant us to recognise and acknowledge your presence with us throughout the day and respond to your call to faithful discipleship day by day.
When at last each day ends, may we offer it back to you with thanksgiving
and to take our rest in peace, for you are the first and the last,
the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.  Amen.

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Day 31 – The Methodist Connexion

Please pray for:

  • The president of the Methodist Conference: Revd Loraine N. Mellor and her family;
  • The Vice-President of the Methodist Conference Mrs Jill Baker and her family;
  • The Secretary of Conference the Revd Gareth J. Powell, the Assistant Secretary of Conference the Revd Dr Jonathan R. Hustler, and all who hold Connexional Office;
  • The Methodist Conference 2018 in Nottingham, and all who will plan and lead it;
  • Revd Michaela Youngson, President Designate of the Conference in 2018/19, and Vice-President-Designate Bala Gnanapragasam as they prepare for their year of office to start in July 2018;     
  • Members of the Connexional Team based in London and Manchester, and Cliff and Queen’s Colleges.

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