Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

The Bible and Ecology Course

A Five week -session course facilitated by Rev Ruth Newton of the Diocese of Leeds on behalf of the North East Churches Environment group

  • What are the connections between ecological concerns and faith?
  • Does the Bible help or hinder us when thinking about creation-care?
  • Is Salvation just for humans?

These are some of the questions addressed in The Bible and Ecology Course. Using online material from the University of Exeter, you will have the chance to hear from expert theologians in this area, followed by discussion in a local group.

Taking place on Zoom Thursdays in Jul from 7.30 to 9pm.
Thursday 1st July and continuing on  8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of July.

Rev Ruth Newton is parish priest of St John’s, Sharow, near Ripon and author of Greeningthelectionary.net. Ruth is studying for a Doctorate in eco-theology and mission. She is member of the Church of England General Synod and Area Environment Champion for Ripon Episcopal Area (South).

To register, please contact the North East Churches Ecumenical Environment group on this email.   Places are limited.

What previous participants said about the course:

“This course has helped to pull to gather lots of disparate thoughts I have had on the environment and enabled me to place them on a strong Biblical framework.”

“I’ve found it really helpful to try to see eco issues form others’ perspectives. Thank you Ruth for your excellent facilitation.”

“The group discussion on the course has been really stimulating. I have learnt a lot from others”

The Green Church Showcase

Could a group meet on Wednesday mornings? asks Rev John having read the idea on the Green Christian Website which links through to a project in the Church Times

Has your church, church school, diocese or Christian group done something amazing to combat climate change or to protect nature?

We want to share your story with a wider audience.

The Church Times, in collaboration with members of both the Church of England and Roman Catholic environmental working groups, is looking for inspiring church initiatives which protect the planet….

Rev John read in the blogpost that caught his attention in the first place:

“Could you create a wildlife hedge on your church boundary, or to mark off a piece of land within it? Plant “whips” of hawthorn, hazel and other suitable native trees and shrubs, and in several years’ time get a volunteer group to lay it in the traditional fashion. Your local Wildlife Trust or the National Hedge Laying Society websites are good sources of further information.

A traditionally managed hedge provides many opportunities for wildlife to flourish, including cover for nesting birds, a wildlife corridor and shelter, a growing environment for shade loving plants, food for birds and other animals and a home for a wide variety of invertebrates.

“Incredible Edible” is a nationwide project, with many groups scattered around the country. It’s well worth looking at their website to see where your nearest one is. A church could easily partner a local group by setting aside part of its grounds to grow edible plants, making a raised bed or simply siting a planter somewhere to grow herbs and edible flowers (great for pollinators as well as providing food for humans). A mini orchard with a few apple trees on dwarfing stocks might be another possibility.

If there isn’t a local group, why not start one? It’s an effective way for a church to connect with the local community – people who will work with you on the plots and planters and those who will take produce from them.” 

Circuit News from Jenny

Weekly newsletter 30th April

Bishop Auckland and Shildon Methodist Circuit

For a week in May there will be a number of “Gifts outside the box” events.  Bookings need to be made by 3rd May. Click here to book

Plan

We have updated the plan so that Vanessa is preaching at the Zoom service on Sunday 16th May and Susan on 30th May.  Please let me know if you would like the link to join in the Zoom service.

The details of preachers can also be found on the Circuit website.

Plenty! 

A small group discussion on living with ‘Joy in Enough’ over Zoom

Wednesday evenings 7pm-8.30pm beginning on Wednesday 12th May,                                  

a two-week break, then 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th June 

See https://greenchristian.org.uk/update-on-plenty/

Let us know if you want to come along and we will know to send you the Zoom code and the pre-reading.

God bless,

John and Vanessa

Children and young people – if you would like the link to join in on Zoom, please get in touch.

A reminder that our next gathering for workers/volunteers with children, families and young people is coming up on Wednesday 19th May, 11am-12.30pm.  The focus will be on Mental Health and Wellbeing and we will be joined by Lynne Norman and George Dixon-Gough of the Connexional Children, Youth and Family Team to share some of their experience and encourage further conversation on supporting ourselves and each other as well as how we might go about supporting the children, families and young people we are working with.  Lynne and George are trainers on the Mental Health First Aid (Youth) certificate course. 

Regular events and links

SundaysVisit YouTube to see a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church.
Or visit the website for lots of other opportunities for worship https://bishopmethodist.org.uk/church-community/worshiphome/  
Worship sheets are on the Circuit website https://www.basmethodistcircuit.org.uk/publications/worship.html
Sundays 11amBishop FM 105.9 will have a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church  
Sunday 6pmWorship takes place on Zoom, please get in touch for the link  
Monday 12.45 pm    The President and Vice President of Conference are hosting a series of events on Facebook Live. https://www.facebook.com/MethodistPresidency/  
Tuesdays 12.45pm      During this Year of Prayer there is an opportunity to join with others across the Methodist Family in a weekly prayer session, on Zoom and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MethodistChurchinBritain     Next Tuesday’s service will be led by Barry Sloan, Partnership Coordinator for Europe.

GDPR

Within our Circuit and churches, we have been completing the Data Checklist.  We should be careful how we use people’s data, so I thought I would let people know about the “BCC” function, in case you are not familiar with it.

If you send an email to more than one person everyone can see all the other email addresses used. 

You will see from the emails I send that I send it to my own email address and then list everyone else using “BCC”.  In Gmail it is on the right-hand side and once you click on it, email addresses are listed on a separate line.

It is still possible to send to everyone and have their email addresses visible if the group have agreed to this, but please ensure that if the email is sent outside of the group that the email addresses are deleted.

Click here for the District worship at home sheet.

District Environmental group formation

Bill Offler has advised us of the formation and work of an Environmental group within NECAT (North East Christians Acting Together).  The NECAT environmental group consists of officially appointed representatives and other interested people from some of our ecumenical partners.

Bill advises – At the DPC it was agreed that we might appropriately form some kind of federation of people across the District who are interested in or practitioners in ecological/environmental issues: including those relating to climate change. Before beginning his sabbatical Richard Andrew set aside the evening of Monday July 26th for an on-line meeting for anyone interested to meet up and to see where this might lead.

If you would like any further information, please let me know and I will pass your details on to Bill.

From Connexion

 As India grapples with the devastating impact of a Covid-19 second wave, please support vulnerable communities by giving generously to the joint Emergency Coronavirus Appeal. All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain will be responding through All We Can’s local partner in Odisha to the unfolding crisis, helping rural communities in the state to pull together, and providing vital help at this most desperate moment.’ Read more here.

In this podcast to mark Earth Day, we hear about the eco-district initiative and the importance of the COP 26 climate summit. The youth president tells us how young Methodists feel about the planet they are going to inherit and we consider meta ethics, faith and the environment over the kitchen table. Listen here.

The latest edition of the Connexion magazine is available now, featuring inspiring stories of Christian calling with testimonies that demonstrate the breadth and depth of God’s imagination as God calls people in so many and various ways to follow Jesus. Download a copy here

A number of Ecumenical events are being organised in the North East.

Wednesday 5 May 2021 18.30 – 20.30hrs: Community Organising in the North East: An ecumenical conversation.

Over the last five years Christians have been working alongside people of other faiths, and none, to challenge the injustices that shape our communities in the North East. During this online event we want to share some of the stories of how together we have empowered people to tackle low wages, mental health provisions, hate crime, free-school meal access and climate change. Along with the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, and the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Robert Byrne, we will be asking how community organising is part of our faith journeys.

Storytelling is at the heart of challenging injustice and we hope our stories will engage and inspire you.

Please sign up here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/147983904843 [1] and login details will be sent out the week before the event.

Save the date: NECAT are organising a series of 5 evening on-line sessions on ‘Creation Theology’ Thursdays July 01st-29th.  I will send further details once they arrive.

General Church Meeting Report

Report of the General Church Meeting of Bishop Auckland Methodist Church (BAMCh) held on Sunday 11th April 2021

Those Present: Chairman: Rev. John Purdy and 35 members and friends.

Introduction: As restrictions continued due to the pandemic, the General Church Meeting was held this year as part of our Morning Service, so that time in the building could be controlled. To save time, reports had been distributed to as many members and friends as could be contacted, ahead of the Meeting.

  1. The Chairman began with the Pastoral Secretary’s Report. He updated members and friends that since our last General Church Meeting in April 2019, our congregation had suffered the sad losses of Members and friends. But also new friends had been received into Membership, taking our current Membership to 125. The Chairman thanked the Pastoral Secretary for her report, which was unanimously accepted by the congregation.

In addition, the Chairman referred to the recent sad death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99. He had spent most of his adult life in Serving the Country and supporting the Queen and Royal Family, to immense effect.

Members and friends stood in respect to those who had passed away and this was followed by the Chairman saying a prayer.

  • The Opening Devotions were led by the Minister, when the first part of Hymn No. 964 ‘O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing’, was shown as a video, as singing by the congregation was not allowed.
  • The Chairman welcomed the assembled Members and friends to the meeting. Pre-registration of attendees had been recorded and a note made by the Porch Stewards of those attending without pre-registration. Apologies for Absence were received from those continuing their self-isolation.
  • The Minister continued devotions with an opening prayer.
  • The 1st Reading, of Psalm 133, read by our Senior Steward was shown on video.
  • The Chairman introduced the Senior Stewards Report, and thanked the senior steward for his report, in which he paid tribute to all those who had worked hard throughout the year to keep the Church functioning in very difficult circumstances. He also thanked him for his great help to him during his time in office. The report was unanimously accepted by the congregation.
  • The Chairman introduced his own Minister’s Report. He advised that his Report was also available as a hard copy on request. The congregation unanimously accepted the Minister’s Report.
  • The 2nd Reading, from 1st Letter of John, Chapter 1, beginning at Verse 1 and read by the Church Council Secretary, and shown on video.
  • The Minutes of the last General Church Meeting, held on Sunday 7th April 2019, having been made available earlier, were taken as read. After a minor correction, they were signed as a true record.  
  • Matters Arising from the last General Church Meeting Minutes – The Chairman gave an update on: –

10.1 The One Opportunity North East Scheme and saidhe would be seeking forfurther funding as necessary for the continuation of this excellent Young Persons initiative.

10.2 The Lighting Scheme was complete, and the new Video system was now operational and available for use throughout the Circuit.

  1. held on Thursday, 25th March 2021, having been distributed, were taken as read, accepted, and signed as a correct record.
  2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the ‘Way Forward Group’ – None.
  3. The Chairman introduced the new Safeguarding Policy, having been distributed, was taken as read, accepted, and signed, The Church Council Secretary’s signature is required on the document. The Chairman thanked the safeguarding officer for her hard work in preparing the Policy and for her Safeguarding work in general. A copy of the Safeguarding Policy is to be sent to the Room Booking Secretary, for onward use by room users.

A virtual Safeguarding Training Course will be taking place in the coming days on Zoom and encouraged all Members and friends to take advantage of the opportunity to train.

  1. The Next General Church Meeting was decided as Sunday, 24th April 2022.
  2. The 3rd Reading, from The Acts of The Apostles, Chapter 4, read by the Church Treasurer, was shown on video.
  1. The Chairman introduced the Treasurer’s Report, submitted by the treasurer, and was taken as read. It showed that in the financial year to date, we had spent £9,000 more than the amount of money we had taken in. We currently had £25,761 in reserve, which is sufficient funds for four Months of normal operation. The Circuit Assessment must continue to be paid, as this is essential for the support of our two Circuit Ministers.

The Chairman thanked the treasurer for her Report and hard work in looking after the Church’s financial affairs. He acknowledged that finances had been greatly affected this year by the Covid restrictions on our Church Services and Room Hire and hoped that this would improve in the coming months. He was pleased with the recent Easter Gifts effort, which had raised £3,100 and appealed to Members and friends to continue to give as generously as possible. If our current 125 Membership were each to give £500 annually, our financial problems would be solved.

  1. The Minister introduced a hymn sung by one of the youth team:
As men of old their firstfruits brought sung by Niamh Prior, organ by Richard Irwin, hymns without words
  1. The 4th Reading, from 1st Letter of John, Chapter 1, beginning at Verse 5 and read by the incoming secretary, was shown on video.
  1. Appointments: –

19.1 Church Stewards and Assistant Church Stewards: –

As happy to continue in post the 6 standing Church Stewards and 4 Assistant Church Stewards, were re-elected to serve from 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022. A new senior steward would also be in place from September.

19.2 Representatives to the Church Council: –

Two representatives had sadly passed away since our last General Church Meeting, and one representative has agreed to be Church Council Secretary and is therefore an ex-officio Member of the Church Council, were taken from the list of Representative.

As standing Representatives, the others were re-elected, to serve for the year 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022.

Three new names, having accepted nominations, were elected for a 1st year, subject to safeguarding procedures.

The newly elected Representatives will serve for the year 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022.

19.3 The Chairman thanked all those who had operated in an official capacity during the past two years and for their invaluable contribution to the life of the Church.

He also welcomed those who had been elected and re-elected to office for their new year of running the Church.          

  1. The Minister based his Sermon on the words of the four Readings that were read earlier in the Service.
  1. The Minister gave the final prayers of the Service.
  1. The Final Hymn was the remaining verses of Hymn 964, ‘O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing’.
  1. The Minister pronounced The Blessing.

Circuit News

GDPR

Each church and Circuit are being asked to complete a “Data protection annual checklist”.  Part of this is to ensure that we hold the correct details for people.  I don’t think we will be issuing a new Circuit Directory until the autumn, but if you are listed in the 2020 directory and any of your details have changed could you please let me know, thank you.

The weekly news email is sent to those who have previously consented, but if at any time you wish to be removed from the mailing list just get in touch.

Safeguarding

There are still a few places left on the online training courses.  If you are new to a role and have not undertaken any training please see if you are free to join a session.  If you don’t know when your training is due, I have the dates for training.

For a week in May there will be a number of “Gifts outside the box” events.  Bookings need to be made by 3rd May.

From District (they have a new logo)

From Connexion

The Global Relationships team have received an update and request for prayer from the General Secretary of the Church of South India as the country struggles to cope with a surging Covid 19 second wave. You can read the request and a full report on the situation in South India here.

Two Reflect quiet mornings are to take place for Aldersgate on the 22nd and the 24th May 2021, 9.30am-12.15pm, via Zoom.  This is the first part of two quiet morning events exploring Wesley’s spiritual journey. Part two will be held in the early autumn. You can find out more information here.

Find out how you can create a beautiful outdoor space in your community, church yard or school ground and see how three communities have transformed their outdoor space for both people and wildlife here, courtesy of the Bible Society.


A number of Ecumenical events are being organised in the North East.

Wednesday 5 May 2021 18.30 – 20.30hrs
Community Organising in the North East: An ecumenical conversation.
Over the last five years Christians have been working alongside people
of other faiths, and none, to challenge the injustices that shape our
communities in the North East. During this online event we want to share
some of the stories of how together we have empowered people to tackle
low wages, mental health provisions, hate crime, free-school meal
access and climate change. Along with the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler,
and the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Robert Byrne, we will be asking
how community organising is part of our faith journeys.

Storytelling is at the heart of challenging injustice and we hope our
stories will engage and inspire you.

login details will be sent out the week before the event.

Save the date: 
NECAT are organising a series of 5 evening on-line sessions on ‘Creation Theology’ Thursdays July 01st-29th.  I will send further details once they arrive.

Eco conference – 4th September – details on poster:

Regular events and links

SundaysVisit YouTube to see a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC_duanwurAoKYcmPeSWTug Or visit the website for lots of other opportunities for worship https://bishopmethodist.org.uk/church-community/worshiphome/   Worship sheets are on the Circuit website https://www.basmethodistcircuit.org.uk/publications/worship.html  
Sundays 11amBishop FM 105.9 will have a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church  
Sunday 6pmWorship takes place on Zoom, please get in touch for the link  
Monday 12.45 pm    The President and Vice President of Conference are hosting a series of events on Facebook Live. https://www.facebook.com/MethodistPresidency/  
Tuesdays 12.45pm      During this Year of Prayer there is an opportunity to join with others across the Methodist Family in a weekly prayer session, on Zoom and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MethodistChurchinBritain     Next Tuesday’s service will be led by Revd Dr Deji Okegbile, Chaplain, Nigerian Methodist Chaplaincy UK and Ireland, and minister of Askew Road Church in the Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham Circuit.
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