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- Aldersgate Day
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:
“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street,where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.
About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
John Wesley’s journal, 24th May 1738
A Reflection on Aldersgate Sunday 2020
The President of the Methodist Conference the Revd Barbara Glasson reflects on Aldersgate Sunday 2020
Hymns for Aldersgate
Before May 1738, no-one would have said that John and Charles Wesley were anything but devout Christian men. So what changed for them so much that Charles would write of his “conversion”:
Where shall my wondering soul begin
How shall I all to heaven aspire?
A slave redeemed from death and sin,
A brand plucked from eternal fire…
Two of Charles’ (right) most powerful hymns, both written in the immediate aftermath of his own “conversion” and both beginning with questions born out of wonder, express the assurance of God’s love that provided the bedrock for the borthers’ future ministry.
Where shall my wondering soul begin? (StF 454)
Charles began writing this hymn two days after his conversion experience on 21 May 1738. He and John are said to have sung it following John’s own experience in Aldersgate Street on the 24th. (See a short account of the ‘conversions’ of Charles and John Wesley.)
Wesley contrasts light and darkness, life and death, slavery and freedom, and Christ’s righteousness and our unrighteousness, in order to express the mystery of God’s grace extended to sinners who turn to Christ in faith. Like “Where shall my wondering soul begin?”, Charles wrote this hymn shortly following his own conversion. Its many scriptural references reflect his intimate knowledge of the Bible (e.g. Philippians 2: 7, Acts 12: 6-8, Romans 8: 1, and Hebrews 4: 16)
- 23rd May Newsletter From Rev John
Read Rev John’s most recent newsletter by clicking the image below…
- Mental Health Awareness Week #5
Jesus works from home
Love this Facebook image posted by Michael Thompson on his Facebook page:
- Thy Kingdom Come starts today
From Ascension to Pentecost in nine days – Thy Kingdom Come
Jesus loves all – a prayer journal
- Each day there is a passage from the Bible, a short reflection, a prayer, and a suggestion for action. There is also space each day for your own notes.
- Throughout the journal there are images to help you meditate on each daily theme. Let these inspire you as you read through each section for that day; and add your own notes.
- Author, Thelma Commey says, “It is my prayer that as we explore Scripture and reflect on the unconditional love of Jesus, you will experience it for yourself. Jesus loves you”.
Journey through the eleven days of Thy Kingdom Come using the prayer journal Jesus loves all, written by Methodist Youth President, Thelma Commey.
A free copy of the journal went inside the connexion magazine, issue 18, ‘Letting Go’.
Hard copies, if preferred, can be ordered through Methodist Publishing
- Some things to do next month…
30 days Wild
30 Days Wild – Individuals pack – The Wildlife Trusts have created a pack of activities to download to keep you occupied for the month of June, click the picture below to go to their site and sign up for the pack. It looks good!
- Mental Health Awareness Week #4
‘Today was a difficult day’ said Pooh, ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ asked Piglet…
One of our Circuit Stewards posted this on Facebook this morning, and it seemed appropriate to post it as post number 4 in our series this week.
- Mental Health Awareness Week #3
Will you walk the Labyrinth?
Great labyrinth, but what is it? What do you do?
Walk and pray is the simple answer…
but more information now posted on notice board.
So, get out and enjoy, it is good for you mentally, physically, spiritually.
- Mental Health Awareness Week #2
Congratulations to our Local Mayor for leading the way this week
Cllr Joy Allen leads the way to keeping the theme of the week in our thoughts… have a look at her Facebook page
- Mental Health Awareness Week #1
Rev John and Vanessa start course
Click the picture below to find about more about the Future Learn course that they have signed up for.
This is a recommended course and Rev John would encourage you to explore it yourself and will post more about this course and the support that it gives as he works his way through it over the next couple of weeks.
- Stories of Spring, Flowering and Growing #10
A different story of blossoming during Lockdown
We remember all with dementia and their carers and family at this time. This story was originally posted on the Alzheimer’s website
Janice is currently living with her 85-year-old dad, Reverend Arthur Parker, who has vascular dementia. During the coronavirus lockdown, they have been walking around the garden and reciting prayers. Now they are raising money for Alzheimer’s Society to support other people affected by dementia.
Janice moved back in with her 85-year-old dad, Reverend Arthur Parker, when the coronavirus lockdown began.
Arthur, who was a Methodist Minister for 50 years, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in November 2019 and has been living independently ever since.
But Janice, from Craigavon in Northern Ireland, decided to move in with her dad in County Down to support him during this time of uncertainty.
Since moving in, Arthur has gone from watching television for a lot of the day, to walking 28.84 miles over 28 days. He has also been learning The Lord’s Prayer and The Lord is my Shepherd again.
Now, the duo want to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society by continuing their walk around the garden.
We had noticed a decline in dad’s mental capacity since the beginning of last year.
When he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, it was helpful as it explained certain behaviours and also meant we knew what we were dealing with.
Dad was also in hospital last August with a chest infection, which resulted in dangerously low blood count and him needing a transfusion of three pints of blood.
Both events inevitably lead to dad needing all the support my sister, Lorraine, and I could give him when he returned home, along with a care package.
Over the last year, we have seen an improvement in dad’s health due to the extra care he has received from us and the fantastic team of community carers from Caremark, based in Bangor.
His friends, neighbours and Methodist Church have also played a role in his quality of life.
However as much as everyone was helping, his main daily activities remained watching TV, eating and napping.
As a social man of many talents and purpose his whole life, I believe this was a main concern to us.
Spending time outdoors
Recent world events obviously meant dad, at 85 years old, diabetic and with dementia was ‘vulnerable’.
I offered to move in with him for lockdown to ensure he was kept safe and well cared for. My sister Lorraine brings all the shopping during the week.
We decided it would be beneficial for dad’s health to move more, get fresh air and sunlight.
On 23 March, we completed two sets of two laps around his garden. Before the end of that week, it had increased to four laps, three times a day.
Fast forward to the present day. We are now doing six laps, five times a day.
Dad covered 28.84 miles in 28 days. And as of 12 May, he has done a total of 49.42 miles since starting on 23 March.
Praying while walking
On the second week, we decided to pray while walking.
Dementia had sadly taken those chapters so we began with The Lord’s Prayer. Within two days, he was saying the whole prayer with minimal help.
The Lord is my Shepherd has also been revived, and both are now said several times a day while we walk.
Dad says it pleases him walking in the garden and he likes saying his prayers.
He feels happier since he started walking and that he’s helping other people raising money.
My sister Lorraine and I both have noticed a positive increase in his confidence, general health and conversation.
During this lockdown he has also completed jigsaws, weeded his allotment, made apple pies with my help and dries and puts away all the dishes.
Having this time with dad is a God-given gift and evidence of giving someone with this condition time, support and encouragement can literally revitalise their lives.
Routine is important and allowing him to be a part of everything, making decisions is equally important, he really wants to be involved wherever he can.
Patience is necessary. as well. I know he understands everything that’s said and done, but he can’t always find the words to express himself. Given time, we get there.
And last but not least, compassion and understanding for how difficult and frightening dementia must be from the inside.
Words of wisdom
I always remember dad saying to me years ago, ‘People who walk together, stay together’, briefly meaning it allows them to talk in a comfortable way, without the intensity of face-to-face, and each having to compromise to walk at the same pace.
It’s something we’re doing now and without question has brought us even closer together.