Circuit Newsletter June - Aug 2019

Nene Valley Methodist Circuit

Faith and Fellowship

June - August 2019

Dear Friends

By the time you read this letter the period of Easter is over and we are already moving on to new things. The preparation time of Lent led us to Holy Week and the glorious dawn of Easter Day. We had our services, ate our chocolate eggs and, for those who gave things up for Lent, the joy of partaking once more of those things we enjoy so much. With the relentless pace of life, so many demands are made on our time and so we move on to see all that the summer and the future offers us.

If you would spend just a moment though with the thoughts of Easter, please do not leave behind the message that it brings. Through all the accounts in our Gospels we read of a gift of love; a transforming love and joy that brought hope instead of despair. We must grasp that hope and use it in all we work to achieve for God. There are stories of great forgiveness by Jesus on the cross and with Peter and Judas.  As a result of Jesus resurrection forgiveness is for all of us too. We can receive that great gift of love and know the transforming joy in our lives but we must also grasp the gift of hope and use it. Where there is division and not harmony may we allow Jesus in to bring forgiveness and love, and may we learn to offer it to all we meet.

This will be my last pastoral letter to you all and the last five years have brought many highs and lows – much joy and some sorrow. I have been privileged to walk alongside some of you through difficult times and I thank you. I have been welcomed and accepted by many and the friendships that have been developed will travel with me as my life in ministry and beyond continues.

Earls Barton are being amazing in their grasp of the need for change within their building to make it more accessible and of use for the community. I am proud of the work, prayer and care that is going into all their plans and I have enjoyed my time with you and wish you well in your walk with God.

It has been good to see the members at Hope Church come to the site in Higham and begin the journey of redevelopment. It was not in my gift to see work begin but I wish them well for the future but they have a long way to go. I pray that you may continue to step out bravely into the unknown and put your hands into the hand of God and understand his call for you. Have courage and faith and I pray that you will achieve all that you are called to be and my prayers will always be with you.

Irthlingborough have continued to grow and develop and alongside that growth is the increase of prayer and Bible study which is so important in the vision of God’s work. The coming together of Yelden with Irthlingborough has been good to see and it is very important to have the continued presence of worship in the chapel at Yelden each month. My prayers will continue to be with you in all you do.

Perhaps the biggest change that was not anticipated has been the growth of friendship, companionship and hope between the people of Great Park Street and Kingsway congregations. They have committed so much energy and prayer into coming together and it has been a journey of highs and lows but they have held one another in prayer, worked through the difficulties and this July will see them as one church in a renewed building with the prospect of much opportunity for work in the community and encouraging others to discover the love of God for themselves. I am so proud of the work, effort and “letting go” that everyone has done, of the commitment despite the hard decisions that has come and my prayers are with you as you begin to shape this body of Christ into an instrument for God’s glory.

Raunds has begun to look at the future for their church and although it is a difficult journey for them they are working well together and with God and I am sure this too will lead you to a bright future.

Irchester have given this circuit a tremendous example of the skill of working together as a community of faith and this 150th year is seeing continuing outreach and mission going on in the community. I hope others from across the circuit will continue to support and encourage them in their goals. Thank you Irchester people for your love, care and friendship of this last 5 years and my prayers are with you as you continue to work for God in your community.

Wollaston continues its work amongst the community of the village and its older members and plans to continue this is the future and my prayers and love go to them for their work.

Thank you to my friends and colleagues for keeping me sane, for laughing and crying with me and for holding me when I needed a hug. May you know God’s love in your lives. Thank you , the amazing Nene valley Circuit for these last 5 years and I will hold you in my prayers and heart always.

May you know the peace of God in your lives.

Every Blessing       Rev Margaret


We will sing the wondrous story

Since 1738 we have been singing our Methodist faith, adding our voices to the multitude of Christ’s people who know God’s love and what is needed for God’s will to be done. We may not all be choristers in the choir – our Fran knows that he (or she) is a ‘grunter’ – but there are many Frans who tell of God’s love at full volume by their lives.  

In our memories we hear the voices of those Christians who led us to know Jesus as Saviour, many now singing in the Choir Triumphant. We welcome every new member to our Choir Militant, bringing fresh voices for Christ - - - even if they clap along with their singing!

Yes - new styles of music, though the message is unchanging. But we realise the messengers change. This summer, our lead voice, Rev Margaret, heads west to her next Circuit. She takes our hearty thanks for what she has done in N V Circuit, and we offer our best wishes for her time in her new station. We will bid farewell to Margaret at her Leaving Service on Sunday (date, time and venue TBA)                  

Rev Lesley Dinham comes to us in September, another singer to lead us. We will welcome Rev Lesley at her Welcome Service on Friday August 30th at 7.00pm at Wellingborough(Kingsway).

There were some Jewish Leaders in the crowd. “Sir,” they said, “tell your friends to stop singing.”  “Believe me,” replied Jesus, “if my friends were to stop singing, the rocks would shout out!”   
 (Luke 19 v 39 as paraphrased in Alan Dale’s ‘New World’)            



Are you coming or going, I wonder? For months now the thought of that holiday in the sun may have been spurring you on to make plans, to daydream little, to save your money, to service the car, to indulge in an orgy of buying holiday clothes. Visions of lazy days on the beach or mountains or on the camp or caravan site, blue skies, delicious food, scintillating company: no restrictions, no pressure, no problems...... just getting away from it all!

Well, it may not be exactly like that... there could be sand in your sandwiches,  a blister on your heel, queues that were not convenient! And the couple at the next table trying to make you laugh...the day it rains on your boat trip out, losing your car keys.... and the thought that perhaps you are not quite so far away from it all!

What is it that we are all so anxious to get away from? Different things for different people, I suppose. Routine? Civilization ? Noise? The neighbours? The Boss and work? Or just 'cooking the meals'? What ever it is, there invariably comes a time when. Having got away from it all, we are quite glad to get back to it all again!

There's a lot to be said for the old routine, for the discomforts with which we are familiar, for the same predictable problems over which we sighed and seethed before. They make us feel that we belong, that we are needed!

So, here's to holidays- long may they continue to relax and refresh us, to revive and restore us, and above all to remind us that life is where we are and that God is with us in every part of it. So, read Psalm 139 verses 7-10 just to be sure!  And when you do go on holiday- enjoy it!
(Adapted from  'It's Just a Thought' by Doreen Warman)


God calls us to journey

Simon Sutcliffe, Regional Learning and Development Officer for the North West and Mann Region, sees journeys as adventurous and dangerous acts of faith. 

In most cases I love to go on a journey; the thrill of discovering something or somewhere new, the joy of arriving at my destination. I particularly love walking in the hills and spending time outdoors. The delight I experience on reaching a summit of a new mountain makes the arduous journey worthwhile. Of course, not all journeys are enjoyable. Walking home in the rain after a busy day at work because the car has broken down might not fill you with the same pleasure as an energising ramble in the Yorkshire Dales!


I do want to suggest, though, that all journeys have at least one thing in common; they always require an act of faith. In Ian Adams’ beautiful little book Cave, Refectory, Road (Canterbury Press, 2010) he identifies “the road” – the place of journey – as a space that is both adventurous and dangerous. To journey is an activity that takes you beyond the stability of now into an unknown. No journey is ever identical – so even if you make the same journey every day, there will be different eatures to it.                         

I often wonder if Moses’ dilemma at the burning bush (Exodus 3) was not simply a lack of self-confidence, but a lack of faith that periodically returned to the Israelites throughout the Exodus. Moses was called to lead the Israelites out of an oppressive present into an unknown future and all he had to rely on was the voice of a divine being who claimed to be the God of his ancestors. Moses, utterly unprepared for the task before him, was asked if he could trust God (who has been faithful in the past) to hold out a future for him and his whole community. When a people accept God’s call to journey, they place their trust in God who, through Jesus, not only has promised to be with them in the here and now, but “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NRSV). This is a God who holds out a future before us, however unknown and unpredictable it might be and it is because we can place our faith in a future held by God, that we have hope. To go on a journey is a hopefilled act of faith.


There is a striking story in Luke’s Gospel where this act of faith is given a practical outworking. Jesus sends the 70 disciples “ahead of him … to every town and place he himself intended to go” (Luke 10:1, NRSV). Notice how Jesus does not go with them or ahead of them, instead they are asked to go on a journey trusting the instructions that Jesus has given. More than that, they are told not to take any supplies with them, no emergency rations, no safety net in case the journey turns out badly for them. They simply have to trust that somehow, whatever this journey has in store for them, it is held within the economy of God.

I find it interesting that these early disciples were not to take anything with them, it meant that they could only survive for a short time before they needed the support and hospitality of others. It reminds me that the route of the word journey comes from the Latin and French for day or daily. Perhaps when Jesus taught us how to pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 NRSV), he was hinting at the same act of faith required by the 70 disciples. Perhaps, in the desert when God commanded the Israelites to only “gather enough [bread] for that day” in Exodus 16 there was a hint of the faith required by Moses to begin this journey in the first place. Perhaps, it is deep within our narrative to trust in a God who calls us to journey into an unknown future, concerning ourselves only with what is needed for today and having hope in a yet-to-come held by God.

I started by telling you about my joy of walking in the mountains. Over the years I’ve learnt to carry as little as possible in order to make my pack light and manageable. If God is calling the Church to journey out, maybe we have to learn to do something similar and then simply trust in the God who calls.   

(Article taken from “the connexion” entitled Journeying, issue 13, Winter 2019, page 5) 

As you go on your journey, go in peace.

And may the Holy God surprise you on the way,

Christ Jesus be your company

and the Spirit lift up your life.              Amen



I hope that you are all well and enjoying the warmer weather!

With Summer approaching, I am approaching a year into my role as Young Peoples and Families worker in the Circuit. This Summer is looking far busier than the last, with plenty of holiday activities for young people going on within our Churches,

Relationships with schools are also flourishing and the links with our ecumenical brothers and sisters are continuing to grow.

Please join with me in thanking and praising God for all he is doing with young people and families within our Circuit, but please also continue to pray for increased opportunities.

If you would like to see more of me in your town or village then please get in touch; I'd love to meet up and discuss how you and your church can better serve and engage young people and families within your community.   

God Bless.   Rachel                  07305  893 444



Our Church Anniversary Service is on Sunday, May 12th at 10:30am when our preacher will be Rev. Peter Norton. Tea/coffee and cakes are served after the service. This is our 149th Anniversary Service, and we pray God's blessing as we share his love within the world.

On Saturday, July 6th we hold our Annual Summer Fayre from 10am to 1pm and it would be good to see friends from around the Circuit.. As always there will be a rich variety of stalls and light lunches will be available. We are well supported by our community and a warm invitation is given to all.

Prayer and Share is held on Tuesdays from10:30am -12 noon, and, as prayer is one of the Holy Habits we are looking to share, we feel this is vital in the life of the Church. Join us at any time.



Saturday June 29th 10am- 12 noon Table Top Sale.
Thursday July 25th Afternoon Tea at the Church 2pm-5pm approx
Saturday August 24th Possible Garage Sale in Higham Ferrers. Hope will provide refreshments throughout the day. Possible stalls too. This event to be finalised.
Saturday 21st September Quiz Evening with supper 7pm. Further details later.
We are hoping to hold two Sing-a-long events  June and July- dates to be arranged for these. Look out for further details.
FUTURE DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: October 19th 7pm Family Beetle Drive.
November 23rd Higham Sparkle.
Further details from Chris  on  01933 317719



On the evening of Sunday  March 17th we were very pleased to host a visit from the President of Conference, Rev Michaela Youngson, accompanied by the Vice-President, Bala Gnanapragasam. We also welcomed the Chair of the District, Rev Helen Cameron and of course, our own Superintendent Minister, Rev Margaret Eales. Our worship was greatly enhanced by the musical lead of a Circuit Music Group and our organist Mrs Stella Laughton.

The Sermon brought to us by the President was based on the words of Jesus reminding us, that  we  as modern disciples of the Lord, need to be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. This was an appropriate message in the light of the 150 years of Methodist worship at the current building in Irchester being celebrated in 2019.

Another memorable feature of the evening was the presentation to the Church by the Vice President of a beautifully designed cross. This was received on behalf of the Church by Ralph Barber, one of the stewards at Irchester. This cross is a small but powerful symbol of Christ's sacrifice for the whole world. It is made of teak, an important wood in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Bala's native country, which adds to the significance of the gift. The President and Vice President have written a booklet entitled 'Radical Grace and Transforming Hope' and the words 'Grace' and 'Hope' appear on either side of the cross, providing even more of the  inspirational nature of all the Lord has done for us.

The evening concluded with refreshments served in the Church Hall where informal fellowship was enjoyed by all who were present. A truly wonderful time together.         Barry Guy.



In the previous edition of Faith and Fellowship it was mentioned that we, as a Church, were looking forward to celebrating the 100th birthday of our oldest member and dear friend Tom Spence.  Sadly, that wasn’t to be.  After a relatively short illness Tom died on the 21st March.  Tom expressed to his family and hospital staff that he wanted to return home for his final days.   Shortly after paramedics brought him home and made him comfortable, he died.

Tom was born in Wallsend on the 29th May 1919, son of a shipyard worker.  From his bedroom window he had a good view of the huge ships being built – literally just outside his house.  During the depression Tom and his five siblings were sent away from home as due to the decline in shipbuilding  there was not enough money to support them all.  His brother and five sisters were sent to London and Tom to Irthlingborough, where he lived with an elderly lady. 

Tom’s great passion was football and he found out that the local Methodist Church had a team.  He was told that he could play if he attended Church at least once a month.  He enjoyed his time at the Church so much that he was there every week and had been coming ever since.

After serving as a radio operator in the Royal Corp offSignals during the Second World War, Tom returned home to his wife Hilda and to a long and happy marriage.  He played football for Irthlingborough Town, worked in the shoe industry and continued to attend the Methodist Church.

In the early 1950’s Tom was the founding trustee of the Welford Gardens Methodist Church.  Services and Sunday School took place in the Nissan Hut on the Crow Hill Estate for many years. Tom’s Bible was never far from his hands and he truly believed that God had always looked out for him.  We can all learn a lot from this wonderful man.  Rest in peace Tom.

As this is being written we haven’t yet had our Pet Blessing on the 11th April celebrating National Pet Day.  No doubt there will be stories to be told the next edition of F & F.

Community Cinema    Two further dates for screening s have been confirmed:
Wednesday 5th June and Wednesday 10th July.  Both at 2pm.  Please see local press for film titles.

Coffee Mornings continue to take place on the 1st Saturday of the month from 10am and Monthly Lunches on the third Wednesday from 12noon.

10 Year Celebratory Weekend of the Refurbishment of our Chapel
It can now be confirmed that as part of our celebratory weekend 21st/22nd September, the Northampton Male Voice Choir will be performing a concert on the Saturday Evening.  More details will be published nearer to the event, but be sure to book the date in your diary.  On Sunday 22nd September the preacher for our morning service will be Rev’d Helen Cameron, Chair of the District.  We are looking forward to a fabulous weekend to which all are welcome.

For more information and up-to-date news please visit us on Facebook or at



We are delighted to share news of Wellingborough Methodist Church plans to our friends in the circuit.

You may recall previous outreach projects included Angel bombing in Wellingborough just before Christmas 2016, and then came the 1000 or so hand knitted poppies pinned to the fencing at Kingsway in 2018. With a break intended before another project commenced Wendy (instigator of the projects) complained that she kept waking up and seeing ‘stars’. With certainty that this was a sign from God and not a medical condition, the project ‘Stars’ has been launched. Production, knitted or crafted in any way, has begun in homes and groups across Wellingborough and beyond with craft coffee mornings planned in the Autumn for all to participate. The intention is to populate the fencing at Wellingborough Methodist Church in December for people to take a star of their choice as they pass by. Every star will be tagged with a special Christmas message.

The builders on Kingsway Methodist Church site are making good progress on the redevelopment and we are all currently worshiping together at Great Park Street Primary school which has been the home of GPS for four years. We hope to all move together to the new church in the summer. In preparation for this time of excitement and anticipation small teams are meeting to look at publicity, worship and outreach and mission.

The opening weekend (date to be confirmed but hopefully July 2019) will include a time of prayer and quiet reflection on the Friday, daytime and evening, a church fete for all to enjoy on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday a breakfast for all will start the day followed by morning worship for everyone. Please keep an eye on notices and dates for this very special weekend and join us if you can.

We have been blessed in so many ways and we would like to thank the circuit for all the support received. The new website has not yet gone live so for regular updates please go to


The new entrance is on its way.



Saturday, July 6th Strawberry Tea from3:30pm. All Welcome
Wednesday, July 31st Summer Fayre, Various stalls and cream teas from 2:30pm. All are welcome


Lemon Posset

You need: 600ml/21fl oz of double cream. 150Ml/5oz of caster sugar. 2 large lemons, zest and juice only. This serves 6 people.

For the posset: place the double cream and the sugar into a large pan and heat over a low heat.  Bring to the boil, slowly. Boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the lemon zest and juice and whisk well.  Pour the lemon cream mix in 6 large serving glasses and refrigerate for 3 hours.


Don't forget your apron and to do the washing up. Remember to ask an adult to help.


Next Circuit Meeting:   20th May   7.30 pm   Venue TBA . Look on your church notices for the details.                                      

Please note: The next Faith and Fellowship Newsletter will be due to be delivered to Churches early August. Please email your contribution as attachment to your email ( A5 size please and no borders and simple format- No PDF format as editing may be required) to Rob Gould: by the end of July.

Thank you


Printer Printable Version