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Reflections, Messages & Prayers

Pastoral Letter for May 2021

“Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem...” (Nehemiah 2 : 17)

Dear Friends,

As I reflect on the past year in terms of the Mission Review, I am encouraged by Nehemiah’s life. I would encourage you to read the book of Nehemiah if you have never read it or have forgotten its message. Having realised the hopeless situation in Jerusalem, Nehemiah fell on his knees in prayers, for he knew that without God’s strength he would not accomplish his mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He also fasted and prayed for many days. He was confident that with God’s help, Jerusalem would again be a rejoicing city and a worshipping community of the living God. He was able to recognize how each individual could play a role in God’s purpose. Therefore he gave a challenge to the people, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem…” Nehemiah’s call to that community mirrors our own churches’ situation too:

1. It was a call to reflect on the causes of Jerusalem’s ruin.

2. It was a call to affirm that they belonged to God and hence needed to turn back to God in repentance.

3. It was a call to consider how each individual could play a different role in completing the task.

4. It was a call for positive action in order to bring glory to God.

5. It was a call to see hope beyond the destruction which would bring great joy, peace and a sense of accomplishment.

We live in a time of opportunities and challenges both within and outside the church. Some of you have been at church for many years and have been experiencing God’s presence and received encouragement to grow in your discipleship. In life, as we all know, sometimes we may have to make changes or difficult decisions. During this pandemic we may struggle financially or for lack of manpower. However, this difficult time also can be a time to discern God’s will and be prepared to move in His direction.

To be honest with you, we have now fewer Local Preachers to cover the quarterly Preaching Plan. I am grateful to all preachers who have faithfully served churches to share God’s word. Some churches have struggled to fill positions, hence we see one person wearing many hats to ensure a church continues to function. This no doubt will wear that person out! One thing is certain; churches have to wake up to the fact that things cannot remain the same!

Therefore, let us take time to rededicate ourselves in order to rebuild our churches and leave a legacy for the next generations. It is not a question of how to close our church, but how to re-create something new that is relevant as a great witness for the Risen Lord, in the midst of this evermore multi-cultural and secular century. Today the challenge for each one of us is not what can my church do for me, but to ask: what can I do for my church? Let us continue to encourage and inspire one another to accomplish God’s Mission.

I express a deep gratitude to every member of the circuit churches. Your presence makes every church a warm, accepting place. God has helped us thus far and will be with us to trust him for the future whether we remain in our church or join a new one. Let us come and re-build our churches for God’s glory.

Yours in His service,

Rev Nutan Suray

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Pastoral Letter – Easter 2021

“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here” (Mark 16 : 6a)

Dear Friends,

How a year has passed since last Easter! Who would have thought that we would be barred from living a normal life by the current pandemic for so long? But there is not much we can do except to keep the government’s guidelines and keep ourselves safe.

And so, we are here. Holy Week has already begun and Easter Day will soon be here. As we think of Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, death resurrection, let me share a few thoughts that would make us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus who is RISEN in order to be our redeemer and strength.

During his ministry, Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world, unbeatable by darkness; the announcement “Jesus is Risen” proved Light to be stronger than human hatred and religious intolerance. All those who believe in Jesus become part of God’s family and therefore become stronger than social, racial and lingual prejudices that continue to dominate today.

Jesus’ resurrection also proved that God’s love is stronger than politics of oppression, discrimination and exploitation. The power of resurrection demonstrated that Life is stronger than death. As St. Paul says, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all… Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life…is also interceding for us…” (Romans 8:31-34). Thus, as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must remember ”… nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus Christ our Lord.” Praise God, the father of all humankind for the gift of resurrection to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am praying for you all so that you may remain strong against any adversary. Please continue to pray without ceasing and encourage one another. I wish you a very happy Easter.

God bless you,

Rev Nutan Suray

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Pastoral Letter – February 2021

“But anyone endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24 : 13)

Dear Friends in Christ

Greetings to you all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen!

We are on the verge of completing one year since first lockdown and we might have now several experiences of finding the life safer. I really feel sorry and pay my condolences for those who have passed away during this pandemic and we couldn’t be able to say properly a final goodbye to those beloved souls who have been part of our Church and the community for many years. May God grant their souls an eternal rest. It’s a bit relief after discovering vaccines for Covid-19 and is rolling out, gives us hope for human sustainability.

Another exciting year as we are reaching towards Lent which is beginning from Ash Wednesday on 17th February this year, this is the time for our spiritual renewal to strengthen our faith in God. It may be another year that we wouldn’t be able to do the things normally which we used to do. We all are doing best by keeping each other in our regular prayers. I’d like to encourage all to be benefited by a Lent Course (Into all the world – MWiB), is arranged for six Tuesdays morning from 24th February during the lent and it will be led by one of the Worship Leaders/Preachers each week.

We thank God for the life and contribution of Sandon Road Methodist Church; and we pray for those who have moved on to local Churches finding an embracing and comfortable place for them. We keep Akrill Methodist Church in our prayers for their life and mission left in the hands of few people who are struggling to be their due to having huge change in the demography with the inter faith people. We give thanks to God for those Churches who are able to run their mission activity virtually or by any other communication mode. We keep those Churches in our prayers who are finding difficult to open up and running the life of the Church during this pandemic due to lack of volunteers, willingness and financial crisis; may they find courage and strength in God to continue to hold the vision, mission and unity in Christ.

Our Circuit is going to face another challenge to find my replacement as I’ve been picked up by the Connexion to be stationed in the Ealing Trinity Circuit, London from September 2021. Please keep all the Churches in my section and the circuit leadership and the circuit invitation committee in prayers to find the best way to move forward.

Church has faced lot of challenges in every age, it’s nothing new to us by being his followers. A word of encouragement comes from the scripture in a different context re persecution and atrocities to shake up their faith, but it’s quite relevant to us - “But anyone endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24 : 13). We do query God, “Where are you in the time of trouble?” He says, “I am around you”; which gives us courage to keep moving should God is leading and guiding us.

We are stepping out every day as a new day with a hope that it will be much better than yesterday. It allows us to keep up our faith and continue to be believing in God. It might be our testing times when we have lot of struggles in different aspects of our lives. We may find strength in God who blesses us to bear the pains and sufferings.

May the peace of God be with you!

Rev Ajay Singh

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Pastoral Letter – January 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

Greetings to you all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen!

Happy new year 2021, the year which has started with both good and sad news to us all. The good news being that the vaccine has started to be rolled out to the elderly, vulnerable, frontline workers and those who are shielding and is being administered throughout the whole nation; hence our turn will come to receive our doses.

The sad news is that yesterday [4 January] we heard the [Prime Minister] Government’s announcement of an immediate National Lockdown which comes into effect tomorrow night [6 January]. I am sure we all saw it coming, judging from the high spike of the virus especially the new variant of Covid which spreads quickly. This pandemic disease created pressure that prompted the Government to reconsider its options to save lives and the overwhelmed NHS. These were difficult decisions to make when trying to balance the economic and the mental well-being of people. However, a decision was arrived at and made. After exhausting all options, National Lockdown was effected.

On behalf of the Church in our own Circuit, I have to take a difficult and painful decision to encourage the closure of all our Churches in this Circuit. I am aware that the government left it possible for places of worship to remain open for services without mingling with each other. But judging from the spike of the new variant, why would we want to take the risk, rather than to save lives and be patient for the next six weeks until mid-February when the government will review the situation. Some of us may not be afraid of this disease, but let us love our neighbours and spare their lives. We are nearly there, together we will come out of this predicament. Let us all support one another with compassionate love that is drawn from Christ alone. Nothing will stay forever; we will come out of this miserable situation which has become a global crisis.

To all our Church stewards with duty of care and responsibility for the flock of Christ that has been bestowed upon us, let us do the right thing (John 21:15-17). This moment and time are important to us as leaders: let us continue giving pastoral oversight to all our members as we did in March last year.

Now let us revert to our online virtual services; through the district we are also running services every Sunday, for which we will forward service sheets that you can print and distribute to your members who are not able to access Zoom, YouTube or Facebook worship services.

It is my prayer that this National Lockdown may be the last before the vaccine drives this virus out of our lives. May the Good Lord protect you always and remember to wash your hands, put on the face mask when going to attend to any essentials and keep social distance as we wait for the vaccine.

You are always in my prayers. May the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you always, now and evermore. Amen!

Peace and love be upon you,

Rev Mucharutya Chisvo

Superintendent Minister Birmingham (West) & Oldbury Circuit

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