Planning ahead has been difficult due to the pace of change. There’s not a person who hasn’t had to change their plans because of Covid-19 restrictions. In the Methodist Church, one of the key documents that every group of churches (we call them ‘circuits’) publishes is The Preaching Plan.
All places of worship are listed (22 churches in this area) and appointed preachers, both ministers and lay preachers, are scheduled so that every church has an appointed preacher for each service. Each plan covers three months and we are always working on the next one, collecting information some six months in advance.
We are struggling to even do a month ahead right now because many churches are not gathering in person. In fact, my last two church services were cancelled at short notice because of the increase in Covid-19 cases locally.
However, we can produce online services and at Capel Methodist Church we have asked our preachers to record their sermons for this purpose. Using YouTube, Zoom, Facebook and our websites, we have made contact with many more people and learned new skills in the process. Do check them out at www.methodistic.org.uk and www.capelmethodistchurch.org.uk.
What are our expectations for 2021? It is difficult to be precise about the future and making predictions is risky. We do know that God loves us and many of us know that as a present experience. When King David experienced difficulties and was verging on despair, he wrote, “I find rest in God; only he gives me hope. He alone is my rock, my rescuer, my defence; nothing will shake me” (Psalm 62:5,6).
I do not need to have my whole future mapped out. I need to find that quiet space each day to discover God’s presence with me. That can give us a quiet confidence and, as David says, we will not be shaken. There will be more twists and turns in the development of the pandemic and the rollout of the vaccines. There will be people we won’t be able to see. We need to live each day in the present. We may be unsure of the future but let us learn to live life for that day and each day that follows.
My prayer is that you, like me, may be thankful that God is with you, with us. This experience is available for all and if you do not know it, please do contact me as I would love for you to have that confidence in God.
Rev Andrew Sankey
Minister at Capel Methodist Church
8 Roundridge Road, Capel St Mary IP9 2UG [email protected] / 01473 311178 / 07966 187216
Rev Derek Grimshaw, Minister at Elmsett Methodist Church
2 Henley Avenue, Ipswich / 01473 805486 / [email protected]
Please check websites or with ministers for what is being offered in February.
Online services are available 27/7 at: