Singing the Faith plus

The Methodist Church

November 2020

 
Singing the Faith Plus

It feels as if Advent has arrived sooner this year. I don’t think this is simply the familiar by-product of getting older. There is something about our intense focus on the many-faced presence of Coronavirus in 2020, and the accompanying social disruption, that has drawn us through the months with unimagined, unwanted haste.

 

Less than a fortnight away, however, Advent brings us its conjoined messages of preparation, hopefulness, and the demand for lives lived with a God-centred view of the world. It is no coincidence that the beginning of this justice-infused season coincides with World AIDS Day.

 

Perhaps because this will be an Advent unlike any in recent memory, there are a more than usual number of resources being made available for worship (whatever form it takes) and personal reflection. A selection are highlighted below.

 

As ever we offer you StF+’s Advent one-stop shop – re-stocked and open for business throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. Plus, this year the Methodist Church is launching its #GodIsWithUs campaign. It will feature 24 stories of individuals and their experiences of 2020 – testimonies to draw strength from each day of Advent.

Christmas worship on CD

          

A collaboration by colleagues in the Connexional Team, with support from StF+ and many others, is behind a unique Christmas worship experience on CD – also available for download. It features specially recorded carols from – amongst others – Gareth Moore, Matt Beckingham and the National Methodist Choir, and the Jazz Church Big Band with the Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir. Music is interspersed with interviews, readings and prayers by contributors from right across the British Connexion; and a reflection by Methodist President the Revd Richard Teal.

 

Offered as an easy-to-use resource for those who won’t be able to access Christmas worship this year in a building or online, you might also want to order them to give to church members or neighbours to listen to. The CD is free. Order your copies here.

Year of prayer

             

Many of you will already know that Methodist Conference declared 2020/2021 a “year of prayer” to support the Connexional Strategy for Evangelism and Growth. Conference has invited districts, circuits, churches and individuals to pray for the Methodist Church “as we deepen our commitment to be a growing, evangelistic, inclusive, justice-seeking Church of gospel people.”

 

You can join others from across the Methodist Church in pray every Tuesday from 12.45 to 1.00pm. Details on the Year of Prayer web page. Still available to order is the 2020/21 Methodist Prayer Handbook, with its theme "The Earth is the Lord’s". Another resource you may also find helpful for daily devotions is the pack of postcards from the Methodist Modern Art Collection: 24 images of art, selected and arranged to tell the gospel story.

      

Look out, too, for a new Christmas resource from the Methodist Modern Art Collection. Entitled “Carols, Paintings and Prayers for Christmas” and created with the support of StF+, this online resource will be similar to the very well received Poems, Paintings and Prayers for Holy Week and Easter produced earlier in the year. Further details to follow.

A place for all

     

The editors of the Methodist Prayer Handbook have put out a call for prayers to include in its 2021/2022 edition. The theme of the new handbook is “A place for all”.

 

“We invite prayers of thanksgiving and intercession, penitence and resolve that, with God’s help, we may recognise and repent of our exclusivity, and that then we may be reconciling, open to all and ready to listen to all voices equally.”

 

The deadline for submission of prayers and photos is 11 January 2021. Full submission guidelines, and details of where to send your contributions, can be found on the Prayer Handbook web page.  

Red sails in the sunset

             

A new collection from Andrew Pratt has just been published – but this time, no hymns.

 

Words, Images and Imagination draws together poems, watercolours and photographs by one of Methodism’s most prolific hymn writers.

 

The creations in different media represent what Andrew calls “circles of inspiration”, with their initial springboard found in a song by Leonard Cohen. Here’s a chance to get to know a familiar writer exploring ideas afresh without the constraints of regular meter and verse. A Christmas gift perhaps? Read more here.

For those looking ahead into the new year, lectionary hymn suggestions for January 2021 are now available (including the feast of Epiphany), with a few ideas that look beyond Singing the Faith itself. And to prepare for Epiphany, why not take a look at our quick guide: Epiphany - arrivals and beginnings?

 

Wherever you are and – if you are in the UK – whichever tier of restrictions you are presently negotiating, all good wishes as you approach the gifts and challenges of Advent.

 

Take care. We will keep you up to date with the latest StF news on our Facebook page. Check it out.

With good wishes from all the StF team.
 

Laurence

       

       

Laurence Wareing @ stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk.

       

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