Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

Worship@home

During the pause in public gatherings for worship, you are not disconnected. Use the information posted here to worship and pray with the church community from the comfort of your armchair. Send prayers and items for worship to webmaster@bishopmethodist.org.uk that will be included here.

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Sunday 24th May [Aldersgate Sunday] – Worship@home Service materials

Sunday 17th May – Worship@home Service materials

Sixth Sunday of Easter This short act of worship

Sunday 10th May – Worship@home Service materials

Fifth Sunday of Easter This short act of worship

Sunday 3rd May – Worship@home Service materials

Fourth Sunday of Easter This short act of worship

Sunday 26th April – Worship@home Service materials

Third Sunday of Easter This short act of worship

Sunday 19th April – Worship@home Service materials

Second Sunday of Easter This short act of worship

Easter Sunday Prayers and Worship resources

Easter Sunday This short act of worship has been

Sing Resurrection at 10am Easter morning

Easter Sunday 2020 will be an Easter Sunday like


Either click on the links above or scroll below to view the posts one after another

  • Sunday 24th May [Aldersgate Sunday] – Worship@home Service materials

    Seventh Sunday of Easter falls this year on Aldersgate Sunday…

    In the Methodist Church calendar, Aldersgate Sunday is the Sunday nearest to 24 May (traditionally known as ‘Wesley Day’) or the Sunday before it. It commemorates a life-changing moment in the Christian journey of John Wesley, the most prominent of the founders of Methodism.

    Aldersgate – what changed for the Wesleys?
    Aldersgate Sunday is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of God in our lives, and to reflect on how we should respond to everything that God has given us.

    In May 1738, John unwillingly attended worship at a Moravian ‘Religious Society’ meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. It was during this service that he felt his “heart strangely warmed”, as he experienced God’s love in a most personal and life-giving way. Until then he had known God in his mind, but not in his heart. Now he understood the value of a personal experience of God that would bring assurance of salvation to the believer.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Methodist-Church-worship@home-logo-1024x209.jpg

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Opening Prayer

    Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—his name is the Lord—be exultant before him. (Psalm 68)

    As I come before you God, help me to praise your name.
    Focus my mind on your presence with me
    and remind me that I am joined together
    with people around the world worshipping at home.
    May your name be glorified in our worship.  Amen.

    Hymn StF 45: Earth’s Creator, Everyday God

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

    Let us pray together

    Everyday God,

    We praise you that you are with us in every part of our lives and you never stop loving us.

    We praise you for the world you created and the beautiful things we see around us.

    We praise you that you came to earth in Jesus to show us in person how much you care about us and the world we live in. As we remember your ascension we thank you that you did not leave us alone but sent your Sprit so that we can always know you are with us.

    You invite us to join in your work of loving people and the planet and we pray that you show us how we can share in your mission of love.  In Jesus name we pray,

    Amen.


    A Collect for Aldersgate Sunday

    God of overwhelming grace,

    you ignited the spark of your grace in John and Charles Wesley and a passion for holiness, justice and sharing your great love with others.

    Warm our hearts that we may trust in you.

    Renew our conviction and inspire us to embrace new opportunities even in difficulty.

    Pour out your spirit on your people that we may be united in your love and ready to share hope with the world through Jesus who is one with you. Amen


    Today’s Reading from the New Testament: Acts 1: 6-14

    Jesus Is Taken Up to Heaven

    When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

    Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

    10 They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11 and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”

    Judas’ Successor

    12 Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about half a mile away from the city. 13 They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James. 14 They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Gospel Reading: John 17: 1-11

    Jesus Prays for His Disciples

    17 After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.

    “I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word, and now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me.

    “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. 11 And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…

    “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?”

    They hadn’t really had a chance to think about it.  Surely it’s the most human thing in the world to keep watching the space where someone was, to need to see to be able to believe and start to understand, to need some time to adjust to a huge change in the features of your everyday life?

    There has started to be talk in the media about a “new normal”. Many of us had already started to experience the creeping realisation that things will not quickly or immediately go back to exactly how they were. Our lives are going to look different for a significant period of time, or for some of us forever if we too have lost people who made up the fabric of our lives.

    Jesus’ disciples have a promise, of the Holy Spirit to help them, but they don’t know when.  Like us they must adjust as best they can to the new circumstances of their lives.

    I wonder what they understood of the ascension they had witnessed and the prayers they may have heard Jesus utter like the one we read in today’s Gospel.

    In this Jesus asks that he be glorified, not for himself but for his followers. As Jesus ascends he brings all his human experience with him so that it is known within God. Remember that how ever you are feeling today God is with you.

    Jesus asks that God will protect his followers so that they might be united, one as Jesus and the Father are one.

    What might we learn about unity and fellowship from our experience of isolation?  How might we draw closer to God and to other people as we emerge into a new normal?

    Take a time to sit quietly

    Hope and Millie’s Reflection Slides

    Hannah’s Creative prayer: 

    Write down something that you are always thankful for and stick it somewhere that you see often (e.g. the fridge) Whenever you feel down about something, you can see some things that you are thankful for. 


    A Prayer for Aldersgate Sunday 2020

    By the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins

    Resourceful Holy Spirit of God,
    We thank you for your servants, John and Charles Wesley.

    That you fuelled their zeal
    and tempered it with divine grace;
    brought them through dark times,
    enlightened and renewed.

    That you warmed their needy hearts,
    assured and shaped them by your active holiness.
    That through their willingness,
    you worked out Your purposes of hope, mercy, and justice.

    Somewhat daunted, we stand today in their deep footsteps.
    In a world of new challenges and old needs in a time like no other.

    But undaunted, we humbly ask you to do in us,
    what you did in and through them.

    May we know both your infilling and outpouring,
    that whatever our situation or condition,
    we will serve and honour Christ,
    and in these, our days, know and believe
    that the best of all is, “God is with us.”

    Amen.


    A Reflection on Aldersgate Sunday 2020

    The President of the Methodist Conference the Revd Barbara Glasson reflects on Aldersgate Sunday 2020

    A time of prayer

    God our protector,

    We come before you in prayer for your world, your children and ourselves.

    We pray for the world that you have made.
    We thank you for the renewal of creation springing up
    as human activity has been restricted. 
    We pray that we will learn to value these gifts
    and to live more gently in the future.

    We pray for the leaders of nations
    making impossible decisions on our behalf.
    We pray that they will speak and act with integrity
    and protect those who are most vulnerable.

    We pray for our church communities.
    We bring you our sadness at not being able to meet together
    and we thank you for the people
    finding it easier to explore faith at this time.
    We pray that we will find new ways to reach out to the world.

    We pray for the people we miss. 
    Our friends and families and those we long to see face to face.
    We pray for safety and protection for our loved ones.

    We pray for those who have lost someone they love
    and haven’t been able to say goodbye.
    We pray that they will know the comfort of your loving presence
    and that you will show us how to reach out in love and friendship.

    We pray for ourselves in these difficult days
    shared by so many people
    but also lived in isolation.
    Help us to know your protecting love
    and to live in the power of your Spirit.

    In Jesus’ name we pray.

    Amen

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn StF 300: Hail the day that sees him rise

    A prayer of blessing

    Holy God,
    be with me as I leave this time of worship.
    May I know your presence in my everyday
    and live your message of love and hope.
    Amen

    Original Materials by Alison Seren

    If you wish to sing more Wesley hymns to mark Aldergate Sunday and read more about the history of the day, click here

  • Sunday 17th May – Worship@home Service materials

    Sixth Sunday of Easter

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    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Opening Prayer

    Almighty God, I am here to worship you.
    I join with Christians all around the world,
    and with all the company of heaven,
    to offer you my praise.

    Hymn StF 32: Meet and right it is to sing

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

    Meet and right it is to sing,
    in every time and place,
    glory to our heavenly King,
    the God of truth and grace:
    join we then with sweet accord,
    all in one thanksgiving join;
    holy, holy, holy Lord,
    eternal praise be thine.

    Thee the first-born sons of light,
    in choral symphonies,
    praise by day, day without night,
    and never, never cease;
    angels and archangels all
    praise the mystic Three in One,
    sing, and stop, and gaze, and fall
    o’erwhelmed before thy throne.

    Vying with that happy choir,
    who chant thy praise above,
    we on eagles’ wings aspire,
    the wings of faith and love:
    thee they sing with glory crowned,
    we extol the slaughtered Lamb;
    lower if our voices sound,
    our subject is the same.

    Father, God, thy love we praise,
    which gave thy Son to die;
    Jesus, full of truth and grace,
    alike we glorify;
    Spirit, Comforter divine,
    praise by all to thee be given;
    till we in full chorus join,
    and earth is turned to heaven.

    Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

    Let us pray together

    Loving God, we come, each of us just as we are,
    with hopes and fears, joys and sorrows,
    and lay them all before you.

    Help me to know that you are with me now.
    Grant me the assurance that, in your love,
    you receive me, accept me and forgive me.

    Give me a thankful heart for all that you have done for me
    through your Son, Jesus Christ,
    and let your Holy Spirit guide me as I worship you.


    Today’s Gospel Reading:
    John 14:15-21

    The Promise of the Holy Spirit

    15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is[a] in you.

    18 “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you.

    21 “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-22

    Suffering for Doing Right

    13 Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honour him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16 but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if this should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once and for all, a good man on behalf of sinners, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death physically, but made alive spiritually, 19 and in his spiritual existence he went and preached to the imprisoned spirits. 20 These were the spirits of those who had not obeyed God when he waited patiently during the days that Noah was building his boat. The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water, 21 which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you. It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone to heaven and is at the right side of God, ruling over all angels and heavenly authorities and powers.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for the sixth Sunday of Easter by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…

    Jesus and his disciples are at supper and Jesus has told them he is going to leave them. The disciples are, quite naturally, anxious and bewildered. Jesus speaks to them words of comfort and encouragement. He will ask the Father, who will give them another Helper, who will stay with them for ever.

    The Greek word given as “Helper” in the Good News Bible is very hard to translate. Other versions use “Comforter”, “Advocate” or “Counsellor”. The meaning behind the original Greek is of someone who is called in to help in time of need.

    Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom he calls “another Helper”, because the Spirit will work in a different way from himself. Jesus has been physically present with his disciples. They could see him at work, and listen to his teaching. As a human being, Jesus has been subject to the constraints of time and place. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, will be with Christ’s followers all the time, wherever they may be.

    Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to all who love him and keep his commandments. They will not be left alone. Whether they are aware of it or not, the Spirit will be there to guide them and strengthen them.

    Having told them the Father will send another Helper, who will be with them and in them, Jesus says that he himself will come back to his disciples. They will see him and he will be in them. After he was raised from the dead, he did indeed return for a while in a visible form, but when his appearances ceased, his followers knew they would never be alone, whatever befell them. God who had been present with them, incarnate, in Jesus Christ, would be present with them as Holy Spirit.

    Wherever you may be now, be assured of the presence of the Spirit of the Living God. The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us.

    Take a time to sit quietly

    Hope and Millie’s Reflection

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    Finger prayers…

    rainbow handprint

    This week, use your hands to guide you through prayer. 
    Your thumb is the closest finger to your heard so pray for those closest to you.
    Your pointer finger is used to give directions so pray for teachers, coaches, therapists, doctors and first responders.
    Your middle finger is the tallest so pray for the leaders in government, businesses and churches. 
    The ring finger is the weakest. Pray for the sick, the poor and those in need.
    The pinkie finger is the smallest. So pray for yourself and your own needs. 


    A Time of Prayer

    Ask God, our heavenly Father,
    to make the presence of the Holy Spirit real to you now.
    Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray…

    Remember before God your local church and all its people.
    Give thanks that its mission continues even if it cannot meet for worship at present.
    Pray that the Holy Spirit may direct its work and strengthen all its members in the tasks to which they are called.
    Pray for the wider church that by word and action it may proclaim to the world God’s love in Jesus Christ.

    Remember before God our world and its leaders.
    Pray for peace, for a just and sustainable use of its resources and for greater recognition of our responsibility to care for all creation.
    Give thanks for those who work to combat disease; for scientists, doctors, nurses and all who care for the sick, the aged and the vulnerable.
    Ask God to bless and strengthen them.

    Remember before God people you know who particularly need your prayers at this time:
    family members, friends, neighbours, fellow church members,
    people you would normally meet regularly but from whom you are now separated.
    Think of those who are ill, or anxious, or grieving.
    Pray that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit may surround and sustain them.

    Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can be part of the answer to your prayers…

    Christian Aid Week has just ended, and the work of Christian Aid among the poor of the world is as important as ever at this time. Perhaps you could send a donation, bearing in mind that much of their usual fundraising may not be possible this year. If you wish, follow this link to send a donation to Christian Aid using the e-envelope Rev John set up last week.

    Maybe someone you have prayed for would love to receive a phone call from you. As God blesses you, so may you be a blessing to others in Jesus’ name.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn StF 395: : Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me

    A prayer of blessing

    May God the Father bless us;
    May Christ take care of us;                                                                            May the Holy Spirit enlighten us all the days of our life.
    The Lord be our Defender and Keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages. Amen.

    (The Book of Cerne, 9th century)

    Original Materials by John Barnett

  • Sunday 10th May – Worship@home Service materials

    Fifth Sunday of Easter

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    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Call to Worship – Millie and Hope’s Slides

    Opening Prayer

    Jesus said ‘I am the way’. He is the light that shines on us and through us. We come to seek the way that we may receive new life and serve in all that we are.

    Alleluia! Christ is risen!
    He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

    Collect for the Day

    (from the Methodist Worship Book (MWB))

    Loving and eternal God,
    through the resurrection of your Son,
    help us to face the future with courage and assurance,
    knowing that nothing in life or death
    can ever part us from your love for us
    in Jesus Christ our Saviour;
    who is alive and reigns with you,
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and for ever
    Amen

    Hymn StF 252: Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Bread

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Bread,
    the Bread of Life for the world am I.
    The Bread of Life for the world am I,
    the Bread of Life for the world am I.’
    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Bread,
    the Bread of Life for the world am I.’

    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Vine,
    the true and fruitful Vine am I.
    The true and fruitful Vine am I,
    the true and fruitful Vine am I.’
    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Vine,
    the true and fruitful Vine am I.’

    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Way,
    the true and living Way am I.
    The true and living Way am I,
    the true and living Way am I.’
    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Way,
    the true and living Way am I.’

    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Light,
    the one true Light of the world am I.
    The one true Light of the world am I,
    the one true Light of the world am I.’
    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Light,
    the one true Light of the world am I.’

    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Life,
    the Resurrection and the Life am I.
    The Resurrection and the Life am I,
    the Resurrection and the Life am I.’
    Jesus the Lord said: ‘I am the Life,
    the Resurrection and the Life am I.’

    Anonymous, Urdu

    Let us pray together

    Wondrous God
    We are blessed that we can come together to praise you despite the restrictions and difficulties in our lives.
    We come together to worship you and give you thanks. We celebrate our life together as your people.
    In a moment of silence we share with you the things we want to give praise and thanks for today.

    Moment of silence

    Thank you for this delicate but awe-inspiring world we live in;
    for the opportunities in the world to respond to your call.

    Thank you for a world which is full of diversity,
    where there are many opportunities to worship you
    and to serve you and those we meet in different ways.

    Help us not to use their differences as excuses to build walls that divide. Help us to see each difference as a rainbow of hope and as a pattern where each colour is linked and bound together by your unending love.

    Forgive us, loving God,
    when we do not  accept the diversity of the world;
    when we forget that we are all your people,
    loved equally and known to you by name.

    Forgive us for our foolishness
    and our thoughtless use of the gifts of your creation,
    Lord, have mercy.
    Lord, have mercy.

    For our neglect of you, and our failure to care for others,
    Christ, have mercy.
    Christ, have mercy.

    For our selfishness in prayer and our carelessness in worship,
    Lord, have mercy.
    Lord, have mercy.

    Moment of silence

    Here is good news for all who put their trust in Christ. 
    Jesus says: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
    Amen. Thanks be to God

    (Words of confession from the MWB)


    Today’s Gospel Reading:
    John 14:1-14

    Jesus the Way to the Father

    14 “Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so.And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.”

    Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?”

    Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. Now that you have known me,” he said to them, “you will know my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him.”

    Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.”

    Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. 12 I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. 14 If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 2:2-10

    The Living Stone and the Holy Nation

    Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved. As the scripture says, “You have found out for yourselves how kind the Lord is.”

    Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable. Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. For the scripture says,

    “I chose a valuable stone,
        which I am placing as the cornerstone in Zion;
        and whoever believes in him will never be disappointed.”
    This stone is of great value for you that believe; but for those who do not believe:
    “The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
        turned out to be the most important of all.”
    And another scripture says,
    “This is the stone that will make people stumble,
        the rock that will make them fall.”

    They stumbled because they did not believe in the word; such was God’s will for them.

    But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light. 10 At one time you were not God’s people, but now you are his people; at one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received his mercy.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for the fifth Sunday of Easter by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…

    1. When you read this passage what words drew you?

    For me it was the image of the builder using the material that others would have overlooked.

    Have you ever seen the “free to use” pile at Ikea or the bargain basement section? I often look at it and think “what can anyone do with that?”. It’s warped, it’s split, it’s chipped, and it’s of no use. The “free to use” pile is often overlooked as we tend to want the perfect boxed version of what lies there. Who in their right mind would ever use “rejected” materials to build a house? You just don’t do that – you don’t start with a bad foundation because you know it won’t last.

    2. Do you find it strange that Jesus builds in a way that’s poles apart from what is expected?

    He uses the warped boards, the chipped sheets of wood, the lame sticks, the stuff that everyone else is looking past and in many cases tosses aside. It’s almost like he rejoices in using materials that everyone else would “reject”.  It’s almost like he’s loading up his trolley with all the crooked, broken, and warped wood that he can and he’s strutting around with it saying, ‘look at me’ and what I can use – do you want to question my decision making.

    “How are you going to build a house with that??” 

    “Are you blind? That wood is warped, you’ll never get it past building control!”,

    “There is a huge pile of perfectly good material over there, use that.”

    You can almost hear Jesus’ voice, “No, I’m going to build my house. And nothing is going to stop me.”… “These crooked, warped, broken pieces of wood are perfect and they’re all mine.” And off he goes, building the Church: one broken stick at a time; one chipped board; one piece of 2 by 4 that is too short and needs to be joined to another plank of 2 by 4.  And believe me, in Christ we don’t have to worry about the building inspector; in Him we are loved and welcomed. In His grace and with the gifts he gives us we can build His church, we can reach out to others and share His love and forgiveness. His welcome to all no matter how broken they may be.

    3. How will you use the gifts God gives us to reach out to others and to build his Church?

    Take a time to sit quietly

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    The Bible has lots of names for Jesus…

    Some of them are: Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Ancient of Days, Friend, Servant, The Word, Saviour, Good Shepherd, Rock. 
    Which name for Jesus means the most to you at the moment?
    What does it really mean to you?
    What does this tell you about Jesus?
    How could this help you to love and trust Jesus?


    A Time of Prayer

    God our Saviour,
    We pray for those who feel hopeless that they may hear your good news and be freed from their anguish.
    Silence

    We pray for those who have had their expectation of hope torn away, for those who feel discarded and deceived.
    Silence

    We pray that the Church will stand together with those who are suffering, working for acceptance and peace.
    Silence

    We pray for those who are beginning to hope, those who dare to dream of a better tomorrow.
    Silence

    We pray for all affected during this Covid-19 pandemic. We pray for those who are poor, sick, homeless, lonely, imprisoned, weighed down and powerless.
    Silence

    May your love reach them and may we all stand together. May your Church reach out to those in need, so that all may come to give thanks to you, and celebrate together.
    Amen

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn StF 690: The Church’s one foundation

    A prayer of blessing

    God the Father,
    by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
    strengthen us to walk with him in his risen life;
    and may almighty God bless us,
    the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Original Materials (unless referenced)
    by Cathie Steele, Vale of Glamorgan Methodist Circuit

  • Sunday 3rd May – Worship@home Service materials

    Fourth Sunday of Easter

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Methodist-Church-worship@home-logo-1024x209.jpg

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Opening Prayer

    Jesus said: ‘I am the Good Shepherd’. 
    Lord, help me to listen for his voice offering comfort and safety.

    Hymn StF 248: I heard the voice of Jesus say

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

    I heard the voice of Jesus say:
    ‘Come unto me and rest;
    lay down, O weary one, lay down
    thy head upon my breast.’
    I came to Jesus as I was,
    weary and worn and sad,
    I found in him a resting-place,
    and he has made me glad.

    I heard the voice of Jesus say:
    ‘Behold, I freely give
    the living water; thirsty one,
    stoop down and drink and live.’
    I came to Jesus, and I drank
    of that life-giving stream;
    my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
    and now I live in him.

    I heard the voice of Jesus say:
    ‘I am this dark world’s light;
    look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
    and all thy day be bright.’
    I looked to Jesus, and I found
    in him my star, my sun;
    and in that light of life I’ll walk,
    till travelling days are done.

    Horatius N. Bonar (1808-1889)

    Let us pray together

    Glory to God, creator of heaven and earth,
    who has made all things living. 

    Glory to God, Father of all mercies,
    who has given his only-begotten Son to be our Redeemer. 

    Glory to God, fire of holy love,
    who for our sanctification has poured forth his life-giving Spirit.

    John Hamilton (1512-1571) from Prayer Handbook 2019-2020 Day 3


    Today’s Old Testament Reading:
    Psalm 23

    The Divine Shepherd

    A Psalm of David.

    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures;
    he leads me beside still waters;
        he restores my soul.
    He leads me in right paths
        for his name’s sake.

    Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
        I fear no evil;
    for you are with me;
        your rod and your staff—
        they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me
        in the presence of my enemies;
    you anoint my head with oil;
        my cup overflows.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
        all the days of my life,
    and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
        my whole life long.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

    Today’s Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10

    The Parable of the Shepherd

    10 Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”

    Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.

    Jesus the Good Shepherd

    So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Easter Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…



    Those who first listened to Jesus would have had two different pictures of sheep-folds in their minds. The first would have been the communal sheepfold in the village — a solid structure with a strong gate and a gatekeeper. Several flocks would be kept together over night. The gatekeeper would only allow entrance to a shepherd who was known to him, whose voice was familiar to himself and at least some of the sheep.

    The other picture would be of the sheepfold used when the flocks were too far from the village to come back for the night — an open enclosure with no gate, just an opening, often made of rough stones with a layer of thorn brush along the top. At night, after the sheep were in, the shepherd would lie down in the doorway. He became the gate. There was no legitimate access to the sheepfold except through him. In our reading from John’s Gospel Jesus referred to both these images. He refers to the true shepherd entering by the door, past the gatekeeper; and he refers to himself as the gate, the one who lays himself down that the sheep may be kept safely until the day comes and they can safely graze.

    Gates come in many shapes and kinds. Sometimes they exclude to keep the group safe, and sometimes they admit, depending on issues of need and trust. Lately we’ve had to exclude people from our homes for our own safety. All of us have had to become our own ‘gatekeepers’, deciding what level of risk is acceptable, after checking the advice being given and weighing up who and what we feel we can trust.

    Jesus lays himself down, risking all, that we may come and go freely, enjoying abundant life in company with Him.

    Take a time to sit quietly

    Hope and Millie’s Slides

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    From Psalm 23…

    Hannah’s sister Rebekah took this picture on a family walk

    Think about your walk of faith so far. Reflect on the pathways the God has made clear and the unexpected detours he has walked you through, while never leaving your side. 

    Pray about your walk with God and ask him to continue to guide your path as you seek to walk as he walked in the world. 


    A Time of Prayer

    Let us pray for our world in crisis,
    a crisis that has brought out the best and the worst in humanity:

    We give thanks for those who are offering help in so many ways to those in need;
    and pray for those who in their fear acted less generously.

    We give thanks for all the ‘key workers’ who have  worked tirelessly in medical and care sectors; Local Authority and community teams; production and distribution;
    and pray for those now idle, anxious, and depressed due to the closures.

    We give thanks for positive voices, encouraging and nurturing others in so many ways;
    and pray for those whose voices bring ‘fake’ advice and false testimony.

    Good Shepherd of the sheep,
    by whom the lost are sought
    and guided into the fold:
    feed us and we shall be satisfied;
    heal us and we shall be made whole
    and lead us, that we may be with you;
    for you are alive and reign,
    with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and for ever.
    Amen

    Collect for Fourth Sunday of Easter from Methodist Worship book.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn: Listen to ‘You are my keeper’

    A prayer of blessing

    I come into your sheep-fold this day, to find the rest I need. When the new day comes, I will follow you through green pastures and beside still waters. May your goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life. Amen.

    Original Materials by Pamela Cram

  • Sunday 26th April – Worship@home Service materials

    Third Sunday of Easter

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Methodist-Church-worship@home-logo-1024x209.jpg

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Hope and Millie’s Slides

    Opening Prayer

    As you come to worship you might like to picture a road that you know really well.  Is it straight or twisted?  Is it smooth or uneven?  Is it busy or quiet?  Who else uses it?  Who have you walked the road with?  Hold the picture in your mind while you pray.

    As I come before you today God, I bring you my road recognising others are bringing theirs too.  For some the road to worship today will have been difficult while for others it has been smooth.  For some there will have been twists and turns, for others it may have felt straight and plodding.  Some will have walked alone and others with companions.  Thank you that you walk each road with us, uniting us as a community of faith wherever we are to the glory of your name.  Amen.

    Hymn StF 297: Christ is alive!

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here remembering that the living Christ brings good news ‘to this and every age’

    Christ is alive! Let Christians sing
    The cross stands empty to the sky
    Let streets and homes with praises ring
    Love, drowned in death, shall never die

    Christ is alive! No longer bound
    to distant years in Palestine,
    but saving, healing, here and now,
    and touching every place and time.

    In every insult, rift and war,
    where colour, scorn or wealth divide,
    Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
    and lives, where even hope has died.

    Women and men, in age and youth,
    can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
    and find the way, the life, the truth,
    revealed in Jesus, freed for all.

    Christ is alive and comes to bring
    good news to this and every age,
    till earth and sky and ocean ring
    with joy, with justice, love, and praise.

    Brian Wren (b. 1936)

    Let me join my prayers with others today

    Loving God,
    for the times I have seen you journeying with me,
    I am thankful.

    Gracious God,
    for the times I have seen others journeying with you,
    I am humbled,

    Holy God,
    for the times I have not recognised your journeying with me,
    I am sorry.

    Forgiving God,
    thank you for the assurance
    that you will continue to journey with me.

    Living God, in my journey this week
    help me to see glimpses of your good news
    so that my heart burns within me. 

    Amen.

    Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35

    The Walk to Emmaus

    13 On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; 16 they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. 17 Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”

    They stood still, with sad faces. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?”

    19 “What things?” he asked.

    “The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. 20 Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. 21 And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. 22 Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, 23 but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24 Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”

    25 Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! 26 Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” 27 And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.

    28 As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; 29 but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

    33 They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others 34 and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”

    35 The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… do join us!

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Easter Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…

    Two friends are walking down a road together in a place of deep despair and sadness.  They can barely get their heads around what has happened because they ‘had hoped’ for something so different.  A stranger begins to walk alongside them and, to their complete amazement, the events that have so rocked their world seem to have passed him by.  How can he not have heard what has been going on?  Where has he been?  It seems impossible that anyone could be walking that road and not know what they have been through.

    We too are living through troubling times at the moment and may feel as if we hoped for something so different.  I wonder if, like me, there are times you have walked the road of despair over the last weeks.  I definitely think that if any of us crossed paths with someone who seemed to know nothing of our journey, we’d have a few questions too! 

    Yet in that place of despair, even when they do not know it, Christ journeys with the disciples.  More than that, he opens up the scripture in a way that clearly energises and invigorates them despite their hurt and pain.  Then, in that simple, every day act of breaking bread, they see anew the presence of Christ among them.

    I wonder if, as we have travelled our current road individually and together, you too have been surprised by Christ?  Have you experienced any bread-breaking moments of recognizing the presence of Jesus?  What scriptures or prayers or hymns have you found particularly speaking to your heart? 

    I invite you to reflect on this for a moment.

    For me, I have been surprised by the many ways people have found to continue to be church without our familiar patterns of meeting and worshipping.  Christ has been present in acts of hospitality and prayer, in phone calls and stillness and my heart has burned within me even as I have felt despair.     

    Take a time to sit quietly and ask Christ to be present for you in new ways this week.

    A time of prayer

    As you prepare to pray, you may find it helpful to reflect on this hymn verse (see StF 66):

    ‘This, this is the God we adore,
    our faithful unchangeable friend,
    whose love is as great as his power,
    and neither knows measure nor end’
    Joseph Hart

    Faithful God, you are present in all aspects of life even when people don’t see it.  We call on you today to send your Spirit to bring comfort and peace to all who find their path ahead difficult.

    We pray for your church
    and all those seeking ways to be church in these times.
    May they recognise your living presence.

    We pray for the world
    and all those seeking to offer leadership in the midst of uncertainty.
    May they recognise your living presence.

    We pray for all those who suffer at this time in body, mind or spirit.
    May they recognise your living presence.

    We pray for all who are bereaved
    whether through the loss of loved ones or the loss of human contact.
    May they recognise your living presence.

    Merciful God, accept these our prayers today
    in and through the name of the living Christ. 
    May we too recognise your living presence
    in the week ahead and trust in you for all that is to come.

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    This week I chose a 5 finger prayer.
    Start with your thumb and work round to your little finger.
    Hold your thumb and prayer for family and friends.
    Hold your next finger and prayer for leaders and teachers.
    Hold your next finger and prayer for the government and authority.
    Hold your next finger and prayer for the weak or sick
    and finally hold your little finger and pray for yourself.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn StF 471: Lord I come to you

    Listen to or sing along to this hymn

    Lord, I come to you,
    let my heart be changed, renewed,
    flowing from the grace
    that I found in you.
    And Lord, I’ve come to know
    the weaknesses I see in me
    will be stripped away
    by the power of your love.

    Hold me close,
    let your love surround me;
    bring me near, draw me to your side.
    And as I wait,
    I’ll rise up like the eagle,
    and I will soar with you,
    your Spirit leads me on
    in the power of your love.

    Lord, unveil my eyes,
    let me see you face to face,
    the knowledge of your love
    as you live in me.
    Lord, renew my mind,
    as your will unfolds in my life
    in living every day
    by the power of your love.

    Geoff Bullock (b. 1956)

    A prayer of blessing – adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    The sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields,
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the presence of Christ
    Wherever you are on the road.

    Original Materials by Rev Lorna Valentine, North Bedfordshire Circuit
    Songs published under CCLI No 882296

  • Sunday 19th April – Worship@home Service materials

    Second Sunday of Easter

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Methodist-Church-worship@home-logo-1024x209.jpg

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Opening Prayer

    In places of darkness and in the fullness of light
    Christ is risen
    In times of doubt and in strength of faith
    Christ is risen
    In our pain and in our joy
    Christ is risen

    The Lord is risen
    He is risen indeed! Hallelujah

    Hymn StF 314: This joyful Eastertide

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

    This joyful Eastertide,
    what need is there for grieving?
    Cast all your cares aside
    and be not unbelieving:

    Come, share our Easter joy
    that death could not imprison,
    nor any power destroy,
    our Christ, who is arisen!

    No work for him is vain,
    no faith in him mistaken,
    for Easter makes it plain
    his kingdom is not shaken:

    Then put your trust in Christ,
    in waking and in sleeping.
    His grace on earth sufficed;
    he’ll never quit his keeping:

    Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)

    Let us pray together

    In the chaos before anything was, Lord, you spoke bringing life in abundance.
    We praise and adore you, God of life

    In the darkness of an early morning garden and the dank coldness of death and the tomb, Lord, you spoke bringing resurrection, defeating death and giving us abundant life
    We praise and adore you, God of Life

    In the dark places of our lives, Lord, you speak and bring recreation transformation and calling us to life in abundance
    We praise and adore you, God of Life

    God of abundant life,
    you have called us to be your people and to walk in your way but there are times when we wander away, when we close our ears to your call and our eyes to your life. 
    We remember those times before you now…

    Take all we have been and done
    and all we have left undone
    and transform it
    through your love and grace.

    Open our ears to your words of forgiveness and our eyes to your glory.
    May we hear the words
    “Your sins are forgiven”
    and know their truth.
    Amen

    Today’s Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 16

    A Prayer of Confidence

      Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety.
    I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
        all the good things I have come from you.”
    How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people!
        My greatest pleasure is to be with them.
    Those who rush to other gods
        bring many troubles on themselves.
    I will not take part in their sacrifices;
        I will not worship their gods.
    You, Lord, are all I have,
        and you give me all I need;
        my future is in your hands.
    How wonderful are your gifts to me;
        how good they are!
    I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
        and in the night my conscience warns me.
    I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
        he is near, and nothing can shake me.
    And so I am thankful and glad,
        and I feel completely secure,
    10 because you protect me from the power of death.
    I have served you faithfully,
        and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.
    11 You will show me the path that leads to life;
        your presence fills me with joy
        and brings me pleasure forever.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Gospel Reading: John 20: 19-31

    Jesus Appears to His Disciples

    19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

    Jesus and Thomas

    24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

    Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

    26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”

    28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

    29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”

    The Purpose of This Book

    30 In his disciples’ presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31 But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    Imagine you are seeing Jesus for the first time after him rising from the dead  just as Thomas did.
    Would you believe he had risen before you saw him?
    What would you say to him?
    What might Jesus say to you?
    Would you want to touch him, as he invited Thomas to do? 


    Time to Reflect

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Easter Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here.

    What does resurrection mean? 

    Shut behind closed doors for the disciples it comes first in disbelief, confusion and fear.  The inability to believe Mary’s words, to take in the impossibility. The fear that they might follow to a terrorist’s death. Confusion that it could all have come to this.

    Into those shut doors and fearful hearts Jesus comes to bring resurrection and peace. It is a resurrection that does not turn back the clock, does not erase the horror of the Friday but bears its marks and is recognised by them.  Without those marks, the pierced hands and side, the resurrection could not be real, the life it offered could not be full.

    It is a resurrection that joins the disciples where they are shut behind the closed doors of the room and of their fear. That again seeks them and Thomas out behind closed doors a week later. It’s a resurrection that will seek us out where we are and however we are feeling.  It does not expect us to make a leap of faith and travel towards it but comes to us and meets us in our need.

    It is a resurrection that offers life, calling forth peace and breathing the Spirit echoing God’s breath at the dawn of creation or the breath of the Spirit in Ezekiel’s Valley of bones. It comes to empower and to change and to lead us onwards into the Kingdom of abundant life.

    But stop, notice the closed doors, not just at the first encounter but the second as well.  It appears Thomas isn’t the only one doubting.  The disciples are still locked in. John’s “Pentecost Moment” is not met with the throwing open of doors or the shouting of praises or the preaching of sermons. In John the giving of the Spirit is met with a gradual resurrection and empowerment of the disciples which crescendos with Thomas’s declaration ‘My Lord and my God!’ It echoes Lazarus’s first stumbling steps from his tomb before he is released from the grave clothes that bind him. 

    Take a time to sit quietly
    and then listen to…

    Hope and Millie’s Reflection


    A time of prayer

    Into the closed doors of this world
    come, Lord, and speak your word of peace and life

    We pray for all those who are afraid at this time. 

    We pray for all those who are ill and for those who yearn for their health.

    We pray for those who are homeless and for those who struggle to feed themselves and their families.

    We pray for those who have lost their incomes or whose businesses are at risk.

    We pray for all those who offer care during this crisis often putting their lives at risk to do so.

    We pray for our government and all the governments of the world, for business leaders and all who hold any power.

    We pray for those who feel voiceless and powerless.

    We pray for those situations that no longer make the headlines for those suffering from conflicts, war and oppression, for those seeking refuge and those who have no place of safety.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen


    Hymn StF 306: Now the green blade rises

    Listen and reflect on the words of the hymn below

    Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
    wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
    Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
    Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

    In the grave they laid him, Love who had been slain,
    thinking that he never would awake again,
    laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
    Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

    Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
    he that for the three days in the grave had lain,
    quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
    Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

    When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
    then your touch can call us back to life again,
    fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
    Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

    John Macleod Campbell Crum (1872-1958) (alt.)


    A prayer of blessing

    May the light of the resurrection shine on your way
    May the peace of the resurrection hold you fast
    And may the abundant life of the resurrection fill you and empower you
    And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
    be with you now and always.

    Original Materials by R A Bending
    Songs published under CCLI No 882296

  • Easter Sunday Prayers and Worship resources

    Easter Sunday

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Call to Worship:

    Christ is risen,
    he is risen indeed alleluia!  

    Hymn: StF 298 Christ the Lord is Risen today

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version by Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band here

    1   Christ the Lord is risen today;
          Alleluia!
        Sons of men and angels say:
          Alleluia!
        Raise your joys and triumphs high;
          Alleluia!
        Sing, ye heavens; thou earth, reply:
          Alleluia!

    2   Love’s redeeming work is done,
          Alleluia!
        Fought the fight, the battle won;
          Alleluia!
        Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
          Alleluia!
        Christ has burst the gates of hell:
          Alleluia!

    3   Lives again our glorious King;
          Alleluia!
        Where, O death, is now thy sting?
          Alleluia!
        Once he died our souls to save;
          Alleluia!
        Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?
          Alleluia!

    4   Soar we now where Christ hast led,
          Alleluia!
        Following our exalted Head;
          Alleluia!
        Made like him, like him we rise;
          Alleluia!   
    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies:
          Alleluia!

      King of Glory! Soul of bliss!
          Alleluia!
        Everlasting life is this,
          Alleluia!
        Thee to know, thy power to prove,
          Alleluia!
        Thus to sing, and thus to love:
          Alleluia!

    Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

    Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 298

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    This week I did my first teaspoon (tsp) prayer on a youth Zoom meeting. We managed to pray about a range on things so I thought it could be a good idea for this weeks prayer.

    T-thank you: Here you could thank God for Easter and all that it means and stands for
    S-sorry: Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Ask God for forgiveness for the wrong you have done
    P-please: Here you could ask God for help and guidence, especially at this difficult time
    Happy Easter! 

    And a similar prayer from the Connexional resources

    Resurrection God, you offer life overcoming death, love overcoming emptiness, light overcoming darkness.
    I give you thanks for the hundred small and powerful ways I experience resurrection every day.
    Thank you for Jesus, who shows us how to live as a resurrection people, living defiant and in resistance to death.

    For those times when I have failed to challenge the things of death, the political systems, relationships, selfish desires, I’m sorry.
    For those times when I have failed to resist death and ignored your call to live the life I am gifted, I’m sorry.

    I trust that you forgive me, I hear your forgiveness intertwined with your call to me to live the life I am gifted, and I trust that you are merciful in all ways.
    Amen.

    Today’s Gospel Reading: John 20:1-18

    The Empty Tomb

    20 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

    Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and saw the linen cloths, but he did not go in. Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there and the cloth which had been around Jesus’ head. It was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. (They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.) 10 Then the disciples went back home.

    Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

    11 Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb 12 and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 “Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her.

    She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!”

    14 Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?”

    She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

    16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

    She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher.”)

    17 “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.”

    18 So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Easter Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here.

    Take a moment to think about:

    The Easter story is one that is familiar to us, we know it so well but how do we live it? How do we live as resurrection, Easter Day people, the whole year round?

    We are surrounded by death, and we are called to live as resurrection, Easter day people in the midst of death, how is that possible? How do we do that?

    Easter isn’t just “happy”. Easter is much more powerful than happiness. Easter isn’t safe. Saying ‘Alleluia’ isn’t a passing pleasantry. Easter is the big shout of protest to all that is death. Easter is a defiant act against all that has tried to suppress life.

    Easter is black Americans chanting “I can’t breathe” whilst those with white privilege often become deaf. Still they chant attempting to dispel death. That is Easter, it’s angry.

    Easter is a young journalist from Northern Ireland, shot dead by terrorists but whose message of inclusion for the LGBTQI+ community continues to echo after her death. That is Easter, it is passionate.

    Easter is the force of climate change protestors, trying to alert us all to the climate catastrophe about to happen, being arrested in their pursuit of the truth. That is Easter, it recognises truth. Truth is life.

    Easter is the welcome we offer refugees who leave behind their home, fleeing violence and conflict for the increasing hatred and far right politic of the west. That is Easter, it is the love of welcome.

    Easter is throwing off the grave clothes of death, not in a pretty delicate fashion but with power, with force, with strength. Easter is life beyond the things of death amidst the things of death.

    It’s Easter, it is triumphant, it is victorious, it is persistent, it is angry, passionate, truth, life and love.

    While I was ill, I claimed a phrase as my own and it was ‘live the life you are gifted’. By that I mean, whatever life you have – really live it,

    So at Easter we talk about life winning over death, light over darkness, hope over despair. I invite you to really think about that life that you have been gifted, with whatever limitations you might have, and really embrace it, really live it. Resurrection is living the life you are gifted in the face of death.

    We experience resurrection in a hundred small and powerful ways every day. And it all begins when we commit ourselves to live the life we are gifted as a form of strong resistance to death.

    To live the life we are gifted as resurrection people, as an act of radical resistance to death.

    Take a time to sit quietly and listen to this Taize chant: Bless the Lord My Soul

    A time of prayer

    Resurrection God I bring before you now my hopes, desires, needs and concerns and I trust that you hear me and help me.

    For your church, a people of resurrection; frightened, weary, hopeful
    May we all know your love empowering us to live the life we are gifted.

    For your world, a people and creation; frightened, weary, determined
    May we all know your love empowering us to live the life we are gifted.

    For your vulnerable ones, the sick, the grieving, the isolated; frightened, weary, loved
    May we all know your love empowering us to live the life we are gifted.

    I especially want to pray for …..

    Resurrection God,
    These are my prayers, our hopes, concerns, desires and needs and I trust that you hear me and will help me, help me to be your hands, your feet, your voice in all those situations and with all those people who need to know your gift of life. Amen.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn: StF 313 Thine be the Glory

    1   Thine be the glory,
        risen, conquering Son,
         endless is the victory
        thou o’er death hast won;
        angels in bright raiment
        rolled the stone away,
        kept the folded grave-clothes
        where thy body lay:

          Thine be the glory,
          risen, conquering Son,
          endless is the victory
          thou o’er death hast won.

    2   Lo, Jesus meets us,
        risen from the tomb;
        lovingly he greets us,
        scatters fear and gloom;
        let the Church with gladness
        hymns of triumph sing,
        for her Lord now liveth,
        death hath lost its sting:

    3   No more we doubt thee,
        glorious Prince of Life;
        life is naught without thee:
        aid us in our strife;
        make us more than conquerors
        through thy deathless love;
        bring us safe through Jordan
        to thy home above:

    Edmond Budry (1854-1932)

    translated byRichard Birch Hoyle (1875-1939)

    Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 313

    A prayer of blessing

    May you know life rising from the death,
    May you know hope rising from the pain,
    May you know light rising from the darkness,
    May you know and live love,
    May you know and live the life you are gifted.  
    Amen

    Songs Reproduced under CCLI 888296

    Original Materials by Charity Hamilton

  • Sing Resurrection at 10am Easter morning

    Easter Sunday 2020 will be an Easter Sunday like no other before it. We cannot sing the great Easter hymns inside our churches, but we can sing them in this way…

    At 10am on Easter Sunday 12 April 2020 we call on all who want to celebrate the resurrection to go outside and sing Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Thine be the Glory at the top of their voices! You could sing them…

    • in your garden
    • in your street
    • like an Italian from your balcony!
    • on your permitted daily walk in your local park
    • by the sea or by a lake

    …all of course keeping safe spatial distance.

    If you are planning a live streaming service, why not also include these hymns at 10am, so that your viewers can step outside and sing at the same time.

    Why Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Thine Be the Glory?
    • They are probably the best loved Easter hymns known by the largest number of people.
    • They are cheerful, confident and joyful acclamations of resurrection and will be uplifting for other people to hear on Easter morning.
    • Jesus Christ is Risen Today is very ancient based on a 14th century Latin hymn, but reworked in the Lyra Davidica of 1708, so it is an expression of unity and connects us with all those who have gone before us.
    • Thine Be the Glory was first written in French (A Toi la Gloire) by the Swiss writer Edmund Budry and connects us with the world wide Church.
    How to make this happen…
    1. Please share Sing Resurrection with as many people as possible by social media, email, phone.
    2. Let’s share it globally too and see if Sing Resurrection can happen at 10am in 24 time zones around the world!
    3. Invite friends and neighbours in advance to listen out for Sing Resurrection or to join in themselves.
    4. How to prepare for Sing Resurrection – Download this brief guide (PDF) including how to keep to government guidelines.
  • Good Friday

    Readings, music, reflections and prayers to help you worship at home on Good Friday are below

  • April 5th Palm Sunday Prayers and Worship Resources

    Lent 6 – Palm Sunday

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.

    Opening Sentences

    Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
    See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
    lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

    Hymn: StF 262 All Glory, Laud and Honour

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words below or listen to it here

    All glory, laud, and honour
    to thee, Redeemer, King,
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring!
    Thou art the King of Israel,
    thou David’s royal Son,
    who in the Lord’s name comest,
    the King and Blessèd One.

    The company of angels      
    are praising thee on high,      
    and mortal men and all things      
    created make reply.      
    The people of the Hebrews      
    with palms before thee went;      
    our praise and prayer and anthems      
    before thee we present.

    To thee before thy Passion      
    they sang their hymns of praise;      
    to thee now high exalted      
    our melody we raise.      
    Thou didst accept their praises;      
    accept the prayers we bring,      
    who in all good delightest,      
    thou good and gracious King.

    All glory, laud, and honour  
    to thee, Redeemer, King,      
    to whom the lips of children      
    made sweet hosannas ring!

    Let us pray together

    God our Father, we thank you that you sent your Son Jesus to be our King and Saviour. We thank you that he came to his people in triumph, but also in humility, and was willing to die so that all who believe in him may be forgiven, may become your people, and may share in eternal life.

    Forgive us for the times we have refused to believe, for the times when we have not listened, and the times when we have been unwilling to follow him on the way, and work in us by your Holy Spirit to make us the people you want us to be..
    In Jesus’ Name.
    Amen.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9)

    Today’s Epistle Reading: Philippians 2: 5-11

    Christ’s Humility and Greatness

    The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:
    He always had the nature of God,
        but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.
    Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had,
        and took the nature of a servant.
    He became like a human being
        and appeared in human likeness.
    He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—
        his death on the cross.
    For this reason God raised him to the highest place above
        and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
    10 And so, in honour of the name of Jesus
        all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below
        will fall on their knees,
    11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
        to the glory of God the Father.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 1-11

    The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

    21 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything, tell him, ‘The Master[a] needs them’; and then he will let them go at once.”

    This happened in order to make come true what the prophet had said:

    “Tell the city of Zion,
        Look, your king is coming to you!
    He is humble and rides on a donkey
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

    So the disciples went and did what Jesus had told them to do: they brought the donkey and the colt, threw their cloaks over them, and Jesus got on. A large crowd of people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds walking in front of Jesus and those walking behind began to shout, “Praise to David’s Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise be to God!”

    10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. “Who is he?” the people asked.
    11 “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee,” the crowds answered.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Passion Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here.

    Think about the last time you saw the Queen in a procession, perhaps on television, at the State Opening of Parliament, or the Trooping of the Colour, or a royal wedding. How did she travel? Either in a limousine or a stately coach most likely. Have you ever seen her arrive at such an event in a battered white van?

    But that is the equivalent of what Jesus is doing here. He is coming to Jerusalem as King. That much the prophet Zechariah makes clear. He prophesies after some of God’s people returned from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem. But they had no king, and it was dubious whether they wanted one because kings had not done them much good in the past.

    But God promised them a king who would be different from any king they had known.

    Firstly, he would be victorious. That was unusual, though not absolutely unknown in the history of Israel and Judah. And secondly, he would be humble, coming on a donkey – the common working animal in the streets of the city.

    His victory too would be unusual. It involved dying on a cross, bearing the consequences and responsibility for the disobedience and rebellion of all God’s people so they can reign in life.

    We too can share in his victory, if we are prepared to believe in Jesus as God’s chosen deliverer, to ask forgiveness for going our own way rather than his, and to commit ourselves to walking with him the way of the cross.

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    Verse: Philippians 2:5-11

    Create your own personal image of Jesus. When you read scripture, how do you imagine him looking? This image may be based on films, stained-glass windows or art images that you have seen, or perhaps on long-help personal ideas of how Jesus may have looked.

    Using you own ideas of the image of Christ, begin to pray to him as you Lord and Saviour, giving thanks for the many things he has taught you as well as the stories he told and the man he was, as recorded in the scripture. 

    Consider some ways in which you would like to deepen or renew your relationship with Jesus. Pray these though and ask him to guide you. 

    Remember that Jesus died on the cross, but also that he rose in glory.

    Pray for a renewed sense of Jesus’ resurrection power for you personally, and an understanding of how it can inform you onward journey with God.

    How might it affect the part you play in the body of Christ, your church, and your local community as you serve God where you are?

    Prayers of Intercession

    We stand with Christ in his suffering.

    For forgiveness for the many times we have denied Jesus,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For Christian people, that through suffering of disunity there may grow a rich union in Christ,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those who make laws, interpret them, and administer them, that our common life may be ordered in justice and mercy,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those who still make Jerusalem a battleground,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those who have the courage and honesty to work openly for justice and peace,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those in the darkness and agony of isolation, that they may find support and encouragement,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those who, weighed down with hardship, failure, or sorrow, feel that God is far from them,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    For those who are tempted to give up the way of the cross,
    Let us pray to the Lord,
    Lord, have mercy

    Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
    In Jesus’ name.  
    Amen

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn: You laid aside your majesty

    Listen and reflect or sing along

    A prayer of blessing

    Christ crucified draw us to himself
    that we may find in him a sure ground for faith,
    a firm support for hope,
    and the assurance of sins forgiven.
    And the blessing of God the Father,
    the Son, and the Holy Spirit
    be upon us and remain with us always.
    Amen

    Original Materials by John E Staton

  • Daily services

    Daily Services from Wesley Chapel

    These services are broadcast daily at 10am. If you follow the link to their YouTube channel page you can find past broadcasts and if you tune in at the right time, listen to the live stream.

  • March 29th Passion Sunday prayers and worship resources

    Lent 5 – Passion Sunday

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added.

    Millie and Hope’s worship video for this week

    Opening Prayer

    As we come to worship you might like to have a time of silence and light a candle.

    Then pray:

    Holy and Loving God I come to worship you,
    as I do, I remember that I am a part of your church
    in my community and in the world,
    and I take comfort from the fact that I am not alone.

    Come by your Holy Spirit and help me
    to worship you in spirit and in truth.

    Amen

    Hymn: StF 370 Breathe on me breath of God

    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here

    Let us pray together

    Holy and Loving God,
    all life comes from you,
    and in you all things hold together.

    As we remember this,
    we pause to give you thanks and praise.

    As we remember this,
    we are reminded that you hold the end from the beginning,
    and that nothing is too large or too small for you.

    As we remember this,
    remind us that as all things are held,
    so we are held by you, in love.

    Help us in our anxious thoughts.
    Help us in our day to day lives.
    Help us in this time of deep uncertainty.

    We acknowledge that at times we are selfish,
    at times we do not seek you first.
    But we know that you are always
    faithful, merciful, gracious, and forgiving.

    (Silence)

    We receive your mercy and forgiveness,
    your faithfulness and grace.
    In the name of Christ.
    Amen

    Today’s Reading from the Old Testament

    Ezekiel 37: 1-14

    The Valley of Dry Bones

    37 I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?”

    I replied, “Sovereign Lord, only you can answer that!”

    He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the Lord. Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

    So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together. While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies.

    God said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind.[a] Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.”

    10 So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army.

    11 God said to me, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. 12 So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. 13 When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. I have promised that I would do this—and I will. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Today’s Gospel Reading:

     John 11: 1-45

    The Death of Lazarus

    11 A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, became sick. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. (This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.) The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is sick.”

    When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this sickness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.”

    Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days. Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

    “Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?”

    Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, doesn’t it? So those who walk in broad daylight do not stumble, for they see the light of this world. 10 But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.” 11 Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.”

    12 The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.”

    13 Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.”

    16 Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, “Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!”

    Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

    17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother’s death.

    20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.”

    23 “Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her.

    24 “I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.”

    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26 and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    27 “Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

    Jesus Weeps

    28 After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. (30 Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31 The people who were in the house with Mary comforting her followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there.

    32 Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!”

    33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34 “Where have you buried him?” he asked them.

    “Come and see, Lord,” they answered.

    35 Jesus wept. 36 “See how much he loved him!” the people said.

    37 But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?”

    Lazarus Is Brought to Life

    38 Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39 “Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered.

    Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!”

    40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41 They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.”

    The Plot against Jesus

    45 Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did, and they believed in him.

    Reading taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to Reflect

    If you would like to listen to a sermon for Passion Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below

    Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings

    and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here.

    Todays readings are full of hope, reminding us that the resurrection is real, and new life is possible.
    Take time to read the gospel passage slowly and prayerfully again.
    Is there a word or a passage that stands out to you?
    Pause to spend time with that word/ passage.
    What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
    If Jesus were stood before you what would you like to ask him?

    Take a time to sit quietly

    A time of prayer

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer

    In the Gospel passage John 11:1-45, Lazarus was dead until Jesus raised him back to life. In our lives there are times that seem ‘dead’, without hope of restoration. Know that God has the power to restore, renew and encourage you and wants you to feel his power to perform miracles or bring hope. Pray about whatever comes to mind for you, where you or someone you know needs God’s miracle-working power and strength.

    Prayers of Intercession

    Let’s pray

    Holy and Loving God we pray for your world, for the leaders who are making difficult decisions as every day brings new changes and challenges.
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer

    We pray for our nation,
    that decisions might be made
    with wisdom and care for the benefit of all.
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer

    We pray for Bishop Auckland.
    For all who live here that your peace might reign and that your perfect love might settle our fears.
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer

    We pray for frontline workers, doctors, nurses, carers, shop workers, refuse collectors, postal workers.
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer

    We pray for our loved ones, those we know who may be ill, those who are struggling, those who are confused and conflicted… ( you might like to name names here)
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer

    And finally we pray for ourselves, you know what is on our hearts and minds, and so we offer that to you (again you might like to name your own prayers and concerns)
    Lord of all, Lord for all
    Hear our prayer
    Amen

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into tempation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Hymn: Oceans by Hillsongs United

    Listen and reflect

    A prayer of blessing

    May you know the deep peace of the God
    who knows and perfectly loves you.
    May take the yoke of Jesus upon you, 
    knowing that he bears your load with you.
    May you know the indwelling Spirit
    bringing you wisdom and peace.
    Amen

    Original Materials by Rev. Sally Coleman

    *********************************

  • March 22nd Mothering Sunday Prayers and worship resources

    Lent 4 – Mothering Sunday

    This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added.

    Millie and Hope’s worship video for this week

    Prayer
    As I come before you Jesus, open my eyes that I might truly see you as my shepherd, comforter, and redeemer.  I want to be with others worshipping you but this is not possible, yet I know that I am being prayed for as part of the community of faith.  Thank you for this time where I remember you are with me. 
    Amen.

    Hannah’s Creative Prayer for this week
    Verses from Psalm 23…

    Walking hand in hand with God, you’re led through green meadows so you can lie down and rest when you’re tired. You feel safe, comfortable, relaxed. You feel the cool breeze against your skin and warm sun on your face. Breathe in deeply the peace God offers you. Someone watches over you while you sleep. Rest a moment. 

    God – the creator of all of this – is good. God is the one who takes care of you so everything you need is yours. When you feel thirsty, God leads you to a fresh stream. Feel the cool water, taste its sweetness. 

    Your soul is restored and refreshed as you journey with God. You are gently guided along paths that offer life to you and to others, paths of good things, your heart is full. You really want to sing. Go ahead. 

    Even when you walk through a dark, scary valley, there is nothing to fear. God is with you, protecting and comforting you. You’ll never be left alone. Feel yourself lifted into God’s strong arms as you journey through the dark.

    God prepares a banquet for you in the midst of all your fears. You are God’s own. God blesses you with oil. Your joy overflows as you sit at the table and eat. 

    Goodness and love will be with you always. You’ll live in the house of love forever and ever. Stay in the beauty of this love that never ends. Dance, play, rest. Enjoy. 

    Imagine yourself in this place. Share your heart with God. Was there anything you heard that you found difficult? Spend some time considering that with God. Do you sense an invitation from God? How are you drawn to respond?

    StF 440 – Amazing Grace
    Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here

    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.

    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!

    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.

    The Lord has promised good to me,
        his word my hope secures;
        he will my shield and portion be
        as long as life endures.

    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.

    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

    Let us pray together
    Lord, I worship you today. Help me to see your calling in my life.
    Open my eyes to what is possible when I see things through the eyes of your Son.
    Forgive what is passed, protect me from all that is to come.

    Today’s Reading from the Old Testament 1 Samuel 16: 1-13

    David Is Anointed King

    16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

    “How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me!”

    The Lord answered, “Take a calf with you and say that you are there to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will tell you what to do. You will anoint as king the man I tell you to.”

    Samuel did what the Lord told him to do and went to Bethlehem, where the city leaders came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is this a peaceful visit, seer?”

    “Yes,” he answered. “I have come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me.” He also told Jesse and his sons to purify themselves, and he invited them to the sacrifice.

    When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse’s son Eliab and said to himself, “This man standing here in the Lord’s presence is surely the one he has chosen.” But the Lord said to him, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”

    Then Jesse called his son Abinadab and brought him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen him either.” Jesse then brought Shammah. “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen him either,” Samuel said. 10 In this way Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel. And Samuel said to him, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Then he asked him, “Do you have any more sons?”

    Jesse answered, “There is still the youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep.”

    “Tell him to come here,” Samuel said. “We won’t offer the sacrifice until he comes.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He was a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled. The Lord said to Samuel, “This is the one—anoint him!” 13 Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the spirit of the Lord took control of David and was with him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

    Today’s Gospel Reading: John 9:1-41

    Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

    9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?”

    Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

    After he said this, Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means “Sent.”) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing.

    His neighbors, then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”

    Some said, “He is the one,” but others said, “No he isn’t; he just looks like him.”

    So the man himself said, “I am the man.”

    10 “How is it that you can now see?” they asked him.

    11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made some mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash my face. So I went, and as soon as I washed, I could see.”

    12 “Where is he?” they asked.

    “I don’t know,” he answered.

    The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

    13 Then they took to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 The day that Jesus made the mud and cured him of his blindness was a Sabbath. 15 The Pharisees, then, asked the man again how he had received his sight. He told them, “He put some mud on my eyes; I washed my face, and now I can see.”

    16 Some of the Pharisees said, “The man who did this cannot be from God, for he does not obey the Sabbath law.”

    Others, however, said, “How could a man who is a sinner perform such miracles as these?” And there was a division among them.

    17 So the Pharisees asked the man once more, “You say he cured you of your blindness—well, what do you say about him?”

    “He is a prophet,” the man answered.

    18 The Jewish authorities, however, were not willing to believe that he had been blind and could now see, until they called his parents 19 and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind; how is it, then, that he can now see?”

    20 His parents answered, “We know that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21 But we do not know how it is that he is now able to see, nor do we know who cured him of his blindness. Ask him; he is old enough, and he can answer for himself!” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had already agreed that anyone who said he believed that Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That is why his parents said, “He is old enough; ask him!”

    24 A second time they called back the man who had been born blind, and said to him, “Promise before God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man who cured you is a sinner.”

    25 “I do not know if he is a sinner or not,” the man replied. “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”

    26 “What did he do to you?” they asked. “How did he cure you of your blindness?”

    27 “I have already told you,” he answered, “and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you, too, would like to be his disciples?”

    28 They insulted him and said, “You are that fellow’s disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for that fellow, however, we do not even know where he comes from!”

    30 The man answered, “What a strange thing that is! You do not know where he comes from, but he cured me of my blindness! 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do. 32 Since the beginning of the world nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a person born blind. 33 Unless this man came from God, he would not be able to do a thing.”

    34 They answered, “You were born and brought up in sin—and you are trying to teach us?” And they expelled him from the synagogue.

    Spiritual Blindness

    35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

    36 The man answered, “Tell me who he is, sir, so that I can believe in him!”

    37 Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him, and he is the one who is talking with you now.”

    38 “I believe, Lord!” the man said, and knelt down before Jesus.

    39 Jesus said, “I came to this world to judge, so that the blind should see and those who see should become blind.”

    40 Some Pharisees who were there with him heard him say this and asked him, “Surely you don’t mean that we are blind, too?”

    41 Jesus answered, “If you were blind, then you would not be guilty; but since you claim that you can see, this means that you are still guilty.”

    Readings taken from Biblegateway.com Good News Translation (GNT)
    Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

    Time to reflect

    If you would like to listen to a sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne, click the file below. And / or you can read the reflection from the Connexional resources below that.

    Susan Thorne – Sermon for Mothering Sunday

    “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.  The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures; he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures”. 

    When I was a teenager, I went through Confirmation Exercises in the local Anglican Church.  I remember thinking how wonderful that Jesus would go through what he went through for the whole world.  I was saddened and shocked by the way he was treated by not only his fellow Jews but also by the Romans.  It wasn’t until several years later that I realized Jesus died for me personally, not just the whole world.  It was for my sin too that Jesus had died.  It was as if the scales fell off my eyes and I could finally see clearly.  The Pharisees were becoming increasingly hostile toward Jesus, so hearing of this miracle, they cross questioned the man who was born blind.  In verse 24 and 25, they summon the man and say, “Swear to God to tell us the truth!  We know the man who healed you is a sinful man! Do you agree?”  The healed man replied, “I have no idea what kind of man he is.  All I know is that I was blind and now I can see for the first time in my life!” 

    Our youngest grandchild, Theo was diagnosed with many health-related problems.  Developmentally he was delayed and although almost two years old now, he is not speaking, although making noises.  He is beginning to pull himself up and walk holding on to the sidewalls.  However, what made the biggest difference in Theo’s life was finding out he needed glasses.  My daughter, Joyce sent us a video of Theo donning his red framed plastic glasses.  We saw him seeing and focusing on his mother’s face.  His countenance beamed, as he was able to register what he was looking at for probably the first time in his young life. 

    The blind man looking at Jesus’ face said, “Lord, I believe.”  He could now see not only others and the world around him, but he could see Jesus clearly.  Contemplate on when you have seen Jesus, not just as a good teacher, or as an historical person but as the One who knows you, loves you, and hears your every prayer.

    Take a time to sit quietly

    A Mothering Sunday Prayer

    All seeing, all knowing God I call on you today. May your Spirit give your world a sense of calm and peace in these difficult times.

    On this Mothering Sunday, we pray for all Mums.  The good ones and the not so good.  We remember all those who would have liked to have children but for whatever reason could not. 

    We pray for your 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.We continue to pray for those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend and act of worship today.
    I especially want to pray for …..

    Holy God,
    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 who art in heaven
    Hallowed be thy name
    Thy kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    and lead us not into tempation
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom
    The power and the glory
    For ever and ever
    Amen

    Listen to the hymn: Open the eyes of my heart

    A prayer of blessing
    Lord, I commit myself to you today.  At the end of this day, may I see you more clearly and love you more dearly, and follow you closer. 
    Amen. 

    Original Materials by Heather Wilson and Paul Wood

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