Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Friday, 9 June 2023

Blessings of Summer

“Your sun shall no longer go down,

Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;

For the Lord will be your everlasting light,

And the days of your mourning shall be ended.” Isaiah 60:20

I have never travelled to the Scandinavian countries where in the summer season the sun never sets. I wonder what it is like to exist in perpetual sunlight. Mind you I have also never travelled to the extremities of the southern hemisphere where at the same time as our summer there is 24 hours of no Sunlight.

It was a bit of a family joke that my Mum would have two thinks that she would often start her conversations with depending on the time of the year. As a new year dawned we would be greeted with, “Getting lighter isn’t it?” Or as summer faded into Autumn, “Getting darker isn’t it?

Some folk suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it's often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days.

The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect our sense of wellbeing.

C.H. Spurgeon tells of a man who laughed and asked, “What advantage has a religious man over anyone like myself? Does not the sun shine on me as on him, this fine day?” “Yes,” replied his companion, “but the religious man has two suns shining on him at once – one on his body, the other on his soul.” 

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
all praise is yours, all glory, honour and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong;
no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

We praise you, Lord, for all your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom you give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
of you Most High, he bears your likeness.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

We praise you, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

We praise you, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night.

He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Earth,
who sustains us
with her fruits, coloured flowers, and herbs.

We praise and bless you, Lord, and give you thanks,
and serve you in all humility.

Extract from Canticle of the Sun, by St Francis of Assisi

Thursday, 8 June 2023

Blessings of Summer

Jeremiah 31:34-35

No longer will they teach their neighbour,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

This is what the Lord says,

he who appoints the sun
    to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
    to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
    so that its waves roar—
    the Lord Almighty is his name:

Who cannot be moved by a summer sunset, or the balmy breeze of a warm summer evening when the sunshine of the day gives way to a clear moonlight sk. Yet, how may of us brings to mind that we are viewing the handiwork of God and stand in awe of not only his creative art but his gracious gift of forgiveness.

In our reading we see that Jeremiah is relaying that God wills that our hearts will be changed, that we will see that the Lord who makes the sun shine is the one who can also change our hearts. 

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign, which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognised his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?" The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way." I wrote, "Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it." Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind.

Lord Jesus,
I ask you to open my eyes
as you did with the blind man,
so that I may really see.
Tune my ears
as you did with the man who was deaf and dumb,
so that I may really hear
what you are saying to me.
May the many experiences of my senses
remind me all that is around me.
May all that I experience
lead me closer to you.

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Blessing of Summer

Have you ever seen or heard the Lion King Musical? The marriage of profound lyrics of Tim Rice to the etherial music of Elton John is particularly memorable in the  classic song “the circle of life.”

From the day we arrive on the planet

And, blinking, step into the sun

There's more to see than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done

There's far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky

Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the circle of life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

'Til we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the circle

The circle of life.

Jesus speaks in much the same way in Matthew 24:32-35 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The changing of a tree’s leaves is nature’s way to indicate a change in season is approaching. And what Jesus is saying is that we can take note of the lessons from nature. The ‘it’ that Jesus refers to is the consummation of Creation. If we are familiar with Scripture and know what to look for, we will recognise the signs that Jesus is just around the corner too. We should be immersing ourselves in God’s word every day. And when we do that, the signs that the one who came, has come and is coming - Jesus is near should be as plain to us as the coming of summer.

Thank You Lord Jesus that no matter how overwhelming our troubles appear – You are our ever present, everlasting refuge and help! Help us to remember to humble ourselves and give ALL of our troubles to You – for You care for each of us! Amen.

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Blessings of Summer

We can take the changes of the seasons for granted, can’t we. In our hurried world we perhaps fail to stop and stare just like William Henry Davies poem Leisure.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

The psalmist is often found purposefully standing and staring and acknowledging our creator God in the present moment. In Psalm 74:16-17 we read, “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.  It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”

Take a moment today whether the sun shines or arrives in liquid form to quietly use this prayer and stand and stare.

God, we thank You for turning the earth toward the Sun .
We thank You for summer.

As the days and the light are long,

So is the Love of God:
   Full of possibility,
   Bursting with energy.

As growing things are awake and progressing,
So may we become awake
To Your light and to Your love:
   Making progress,
   Seizing opportunities to grow,
   Readying for harvest

As our plot on the planet faces the sun, our star,
So do we turn ourselves toward the Son
Following the Way of Christ,
Following the Way of Love,
Growing to maturity,
Spreading seeds of Good News to all.

Monday, 5 June 2023

Blessings of Summer

Hopefully, as we enter June we can look forward to the balmy days of summer. So, this month we will look through scripture tracing what the Bible says of this third season of the year.  However, along with Aristotle, we need to observe a word of caution when he said,”For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.” I wonder, what are the lasting blessings that summer brings for you?

One of the earliest mentions of Summer in the Bible can be found in Genesis 8:22 “For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” 

This  follows verses where God's reveals a commitment to never again curse the earth through the flood or to wipe out humanity and animal-kind in that way, with verse 22 completing God's promise. From this point, throughout the planet's history, the patterns of nature will remain as God has created them. The cycles will continue. Day will follow night. One season will follow another. The world will continue to function predictably according to God's design. This is the grace of God upon all His creation. 

However, we need to also see this cycle of events in the context of how God has bestowed upon humankind the responsibility to work with the seasons in caring for the created order. In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

Environmental responsibility means that humans should look after the world in such a way that future generations can enjoy it too. It involves not using up the world's natural resources and ensuring that the planet is cared for and preserved.

As stewards of God’s creation, Christianity teaches that humans have a responsibility towards the environment and we have a duty to do what we can to ensure we are environmentally responsible.

Living God, as we enter this summer season,  you continue to call us to be good stewards of this earthly home, strengthen us to care for your creation; forgive us when, through our greed and indifference we abuse its beauty and damage its potential. Empower us, through your Spirit to so nurture and love the world, that all creation sings to your glory.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

Holy Spirit, Come, O Come

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21

Prayer, says Jude, is to be in the Holy Spirit. What he means is this. Our human prayers are at least sometimes bound to be selfish and blind. It is only when the Holy Spirit takes full possession of us that our desires are so purified that our prayers are right. The truth is that as Christians we are bound to pray to God, but he alone can teach us how to pray and what to pray for.

Jude gives us two ways that we can keep ourselves in God’s love. The first is by building ourselves up in our most holy faith. Become deeply rooted in the faith and in God’s word. Intentionally invest time and effort in understanding and practicing your faith. It will not happen by accident or by passively sitting on the sidelines.

And, secondly, he tells us to pray in the Holy Spirit. I do not believe that he is telling us to pray in tongues as some might suppose. Rather he is telling us to pray in the power of the Spirit. As you pray, allow God’s Spirit to fill you and guide you in your prayer. And listen to the Spirit’s response to you. Prayer should be two-way communication. All too often, we make it one-way, talking to God but not listening to his response.

So, while we wait on the Lord, we are grow in God’s love by investing time in his word and in prayer. Not just a casual reading and simple listing of requests. But investing your whole self in it.

Well might we use the prayer found in the hymn:-

Holy Spirit, come, confirm us 

in the truth that Christ makes known; 

We have faith and understanding 

through your helping gifts alone. 


Holy Spirit, come, console us, 

come as advocate to plead; 

Loving Spirit stand beside us, 

grant in Christ the help we need. 


Holy Spirit, come, renew us, 

come yourself to make us live; 

Make us holy through your presence, 

holy through the gifts you give. 


Holy Spirit, come, fulfil us, 

you the love of Three in One; 

Bring our lives to full completion 

through your work in us begun. 

Friday, 2 June 2023

Holy Spirit, Come, O Come

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope.

The great thing about the words of Jesus is that we can rely upon them for he is true to his word concerning his promise of the Comforter Spirit. Paul knew the Gospel truth energised by the living breathing Holy Spirit.

Paul's prayer for the Christians in Rome found in this verse is often used in churches today as a closing benediction. It is a powerful statement about what God can do in the heart and mind of every Christian. 

Paul makes this request of the God of hope, another beautiful name for God. He is the only lasting source of hope we have for meaning in this life, and for a life beyond death. Paul asks that the God of hope fill these believers with all joy and peace "in believing" or as they trust in Him. In other words, Paul is not asking God to simply dump joy and peace into their hearts without cause. He is asking that as these believers trust in God, their faith will bring joy and peace to their hearts. In other words, help them to keep believing so that they can experience joy and peace. 

Finally, Paul asks that they might have this joy and peace in believing so that they may abound with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul is asking God to give them more than just regular human hopefulness. He is asking for supernatural, Holy Spirit-powered hopefulness. 

What a fantastic prayer to ask God for others or for ourselves. What more could we wish for other believers than to be filled with joy and peace and abounding in hope?

In you alone we put our hope,

God the Father, Creator and Sustainer,

who gives all good things

seen and unseen.

In you alone we put our hope,

God the Son, Saviour and Redeemer,

who died for our sins

and rose again.

In you alone we put our hope,

God the Spirit, Teacher and Comforter,

who moves us to sing

“Our God reigns!”

In you alone we put our hope. Amen

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.