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.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Psalms for Today 3 -


Psalm 32:11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Here is an up tempo instrumental play on the words “Rejoice in the Lord”.

How to rejoice in your name, O Lord

To be glad with songs that accord,

That raises my heart and there stand tall

In your righteous gift that enthrals.

Lord teach me to sing, in you delight,

To find in new song your pure light.

Help me rejoice, and rightly to bring

With gladness of heart your praise sing.

Banish discord where harmony taints, 

The music of faith that you paint

Retune my heart to your note of peace

Let gladness of song never cease.

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad I sing

And claim your salvation, my king.

With joyful delight and purpose I bring

Sing now my poor heart, Sing, O Sing.

Let not a libation of tears be the only offering at the shrine of Jesus; let us also rejoice with joy unspeakable. If we have need to lament our sin, how much more to rejoice at our pardon!

Charles Spurgeon

Monday, 29 June 2020

Psalm for today 2 - Beside Still Water

Psalm 23 He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.

Beside Still Waters 

Link to Associated musical reflection

You call me, Lord, to sit a while

By waters still, midst crazed life-style

Of come and go, the frantic round,

There sit with you on holy ground.

Lord, as you stilled the raging storm

Come to my heart and there calm form;

A resting place, a sheltering dorm,

A place of peace my soul to warm

Take from my mind the stress and strain,

With soothing balm your blessings rain;

And from this place of solace lead;

Rely on  you to meet my needs.

Then from this gentle sacred place

Help me to take into life’s space

Your grace serene, that lasting peace

Where ‘neath your wing stillness increase.

Uncontrolled, the hunger and thirst after God may become an obstacle, cutting off the soul from what it desires. If a we would travel far along the mystic road, we must learn to desire God intensely but in stillness, passively and yet with all our hearts and minds and strength.

Aldous Huxley

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Psalms for Today 1

St Nicholas Methodist Church, Topsham Sunday Worship 280620

Psalm 19:14 

We now start a series of reflections on phrases from the Psalms in words, artwork and music.  In all thee mediums I have tried to capture the spirit of what the Psalmist is saying in the context of our day and age.

May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 

Listen to the Musical Reflection on Psalm 19 Here

Lord, your are the anchor of my life

The steadfast one midst earthly strife

The one who centres heart and mind

Enabling me your truth to find.

Redeeming Lord, refresh my soul,

Recreate and make me whole;

As lofty heavens shout wondrous truth

Perfect in me, with blessings sooth.

Your precepts plain brings joy to heart,

Your radiant golden light Imparts;

Allows my eyes to see anew

The glorious blessing here to view.

So may the words I speak for you

Present your truth and travel through

My faltering effort so others raise

And honour you with lasting praise.

“If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (107 BC - 47 BC)

Friday, 26 June 2020

BREAD SCENE 7 - Do you love me more than these

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." John 21:15 

Do you love me more than these?
Do you love me more than these?
Will you love me when your heart is low
When you do not know what’s ahead.
Will you love me when your life seems slow
Though the future now you may dread?

Lord you know that I love you;
Yes, you must know I love you.
Though I left your side and your love denied;
Though I said that I never knew;
Knew that you alone could change my poor heart
By the love of God found in you.

Feed my sheep, friend, with my bread.
Feed my lambs, friend, in my stead;
Through my love in you, share my word that’s true
For this word I give now to you;
Through my love in you, share my word that’s true,
Share this bread of life I give you.

“When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love.”

― Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love

BREAD SCENE 6 - Gethsemane

"He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed. Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:41-42

Here is the music associated with the following words.

Darkness and loneliness,

Grief and despair;

Shrouded in secret-ness;

How can he bear

Fellow companions asleep at their post,

Not comprehending the pain or the cost.

Jesus is praying; his love must win through.

Jesus is praying; can this be true?

For it is God’s will that he must do.

Jesus is praying “I’ll do your will.”

Sin with it’s stranglehold,

Having it’s way,

But for a moment

A season, a day.

Here in this weakness his strengths to be found.

Here, here in Jesus, God’s love must be found.

Boldness and fearfulness,

Seen hand in hand;

Strength and his weaknesses 

At God’s command.

Bearing all things for all humankind;

This is the Saviour at love’s own demand

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Faith in Times of Crisis 11

Artwork “Green Pastures” By Rev’d Paul Collings

Reflection By Dr J P Hunter

[Psalm 23:1-4,6 A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


This much-loved Psalm has a simple message for people living under pressure: have confidence in God.

The Psalm writer uses the metaphor of the shepherd caring for his sheep and makes confidently clear who his shepherd is: The Lord is my shepherd. Idyllic images of sheep lying down in green pastures beside quiet waters are followed by the need of the human flock to be spiritually renewed, he refreshes my soul, and morally guided, he guides me along the right paths. Jesus too used this imagery when he said: I am the good shepherd, John 10:11.

Even when accompanied by the good shepherd himself, any journey of the soul inevitably passes through dark valleys. But there is great comfort in Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. These last five words for you are with me speak so clearly about the reassurance and confidence that comes from a close, personal relationship with God. 


Lord, you are my good shepherd. I pray that you will refresh my soul and guide me in right paths. Although I am not always aware, I thank you that you are always near me, giving me confidence, protection and comfort. Your goodness and love will follow me when I stay in a close relationship with you. Amen.

Singing the Faith 736 verse 2,3, chosen because lock down measures are gradually lifted and our churches may re-open soon.

2 Wherever he may guide me,

no want shall turn me back;

   my Shepherd is beside me,

   and nothing can I lack:

   his wisdom ever waketh,

   his sight is never dim;

   he knows the way he taketh,

   and I will walk with him.

3 Green pastures are before me, 

   which I have not yet seen;

   bright skies will soon be o’er me,

   where darkest clouds have been;

   my hope I cannot measure,

   my path to life is free;

   my Saviour has my treasure,

   and he will walk with me.                                   

Anna Laetitia Waring (1823 – 1910)

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

BREAD SCENE 5 - This is my body

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19

To hear the music click here

This is my body, given for you;

Love torn in agony, lives to renew.

This is my life-blood

Poured out for you,

Come for renewing,

Come be renewed.

Come just now, for my blessing

Come to me, my love share in.

Love and hope, hope and faith

These are me blessings,

Come just now, 

Come to me.

“When Jesus wanted to explain to his disciples what his death was all about, he didn't give them a theory, he gave them a meal.” N T Wright

BREAD SCENE 4 - He gave me bread to eat.

The disciples now turn their thoughts to the feeding of the 5000

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Here is the music to the song

He gave me bread to eat

And fish so neat

A picnic upon the hillside, a treat.

I listened to his word,

The greatest heard,

That he is the life giving bread.

Five thousand people on that hillside fed,

From two small fishes and five loves of bread.

And yet, you know, there was still some to spare

Twelve baskets full, shows how he cared,

Far greater food for us on which to feed,

He can supply, yes, even all our needs.

This soul-bread surely gives us life indeed;

Just listen to him and take heed.

Farmers everywhere provide bread for all humanity, but it is Christ alone who is the bread of life...Even if all the physical hunger of the world were satisfied, even if everyone who is hungry were fed by his or her own labor or by the generosity of others, the deepest hunger of man would still exist...Therefore, I say, Come, all of you, to Christ. He is the bread of life. Come to Christ and you will never be hungry again.

Pope John Paul II

Monday, 22 June 2020

BREAD SCENE 3 - He Gave All

The Disciples still in the upper room, cast their mind back to the feeding of the 5000 and the lunch gift of the young lad.

John 6:9 Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Click here to hear the music

Please take all that I have, Lord;

Each morsel and each crumb Lord.

Use at your will other’s to fill

With living bread I pray.

He gave all,

He gave all to the Master,

God used it, renewed it with his love.

Lord take me and use me in my giving

That others may share your life through mine. 

”We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Scene 2 Bread - I’m hungry Lord

As the disciples look back at the better times they recall the plight of the 1000s who sat listening to Jesus teaching and how each one was fed in a miraculous way. In their minds eye the see many of they children crying out in hunger.

Matthew 14: 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 

Link here to hear the accompaniment 

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

I think I’m surely dying. 

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

Without any food, my life must conclude,

I haven’t much time left for living.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

Please feed me, feed me now.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

My tum is really grumbling.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

With nothing to spare and nothing to share

I tell you I’m really now starving

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

Please feed me, feed me now.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

I heard what you were saying.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

Now show me this bread, I need to be fed;

Just feed me, yes feed me, I’m fainting.

I’m hungry Lord, I’m hungry Lord,

Please feed me, feed me now.

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” – Mahatma Gandhi. 

BREAD SCENE 1 - A musical reflection - Jesus the Bread of Life

BREAD SCENE 1 - A musical reflection - Jesus the Bread of Life

Today we start a series based on Jesus teaching of Bread through the words of a musical reflection I wrote for the Charisma Youth Choir of St Thomas Methodist Church 30 years ago.


“From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of first fruits to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:17

Scene 1: The first Sabbath after the crucifixion finds the disciples sitting around the table in the upper room talking over all that had happened yesterday.

Here we are without a leader,
Lost, alone like frightened sheep.
No aim, not wise not even knowing;
“Did I Jesus come to set us free?”

Bread of life he came to give us;
Food to make us strong and good;
But we left him there, no-one to care
All alone he stood.

How then can he ever love us,
Now that we’ve all gone away
Left his side, his love denied;
“Why did he go, why didn’t he stay?”

Bread of life he came to give us;
Food to make us strong and good;
But we left him there, no-one to care
All alone he stood.

Jesus if you ever loved us;
Show yourself yo us just now.
Without your love we have no feeling,
Without your truth how can we know.

Bread of life he came to give us;
Food to make us strong and good;
Come Lord Jesus now, the feast prepare.
Bread of Life, the heavenly food.

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” – Robert Browning

Friday, 19 June 2020

Singing our Faith 6 - We have seen the Father’s glory.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, “made his light shine in out hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Here is the accompaniment to the hymn

No one has seen the Father,

No one has seen his face,

Yet God has sent his own Son,

Giver of truth and grace;

He who is near to the Father,

Close to his loving heart,

He comes to us revealing

Riches of God to impart.

We have seen the Father’s glory,

We have heard his loving word,

We now know the truth, the story,

We have met with Christ the Lord.

We have seen the Father’s glory,

We have found the living way.

We now know the truth, the story,

We have met with Christ today.

Light in this world of darkness

Shine in our hearts today,

You are the King of Glory; 

Yours is the only way.

Lord of  life we would follow,

Help us to trust and obey;

Make us your own, your children,

Jesus, the light of our way.

Word become flesh we greet you,

Make in our hearts your home;

Glory of God’s own off-spring,

Hope of the world, now come.

Son of the Father we worship,

God’s grace in us made full,

In him we find salvation,

In your name we call.

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and arming the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly presence of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” - Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Faith in Times of Crisis 10

Artwork “You are my Refuge” by Rev’d Paul Collings

Meditation by Dr J P Hunter

Psalm 31:1-4,14-15a,19-20a. For the director of music. A psalm of David. 

1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name, lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.

14 But I trust in you, Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

15 My times are in your hands;

19 How abundant are the good things

that you have stored up for those who fear you,

that you bestow in the sight of all,

on those who take refuge in you.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them

you keep them safe in your dwelling.


This is a Psalm about looking for refuge and finding safety through trust. The word refuge appears three times in the four opening verses as it becomes clear that the psalm writer is in deep distress and is looking for guidance, shelter and safety. Besides being in agony, the writer has a great treasure which gives him inner strength about which he prays so effectively to God. It is trust. He prays: “But I trust in you, Lord”, adding to that his complete dependency on his Heavenly Father: “My times are in your hand”. 

Then, despite difficulties, he is able to rise above his circumstances and realises the good things God has in store for those who fear Him. He finds shelter, protection and safety in His dwelling, which means in the protection of a close relationship with Him. May we too, whatever our individual circumstances, realise our dependency, live in complete trust in Him and find safety.


Be merciful to me O Lord, for I am in distress and fear is not far away.

Difficulties surround me and am in need of guidance.

In you I trust. I know my times are in your hand.

Save me through your unfailing mercy and love. Amen.

Hymns and Psalms 540 verse 5

Lord, my time is in your hand,

My soul to thee convert;

Thou canst make me understand

Though I am slow of heart;

Thine in whom I live and move,

Thine the work, the praise is thine;

Thou art wisdom, power and love,

And all thou art is mine.  

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Singing our Faith 5 - I will declare

I wrote this song for the Provincial Weekend of the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC) weekend held at Torquay Riviera Centre in November 1992. The the choir  came from the Charisma Youth Choir (St Thomas - Exeter) and the Youth Choir from the Avenue Church in Newton Abbot. Rereading the words it seems that we still need to declare the truth that Jesus is the Way the Truth and The Truth today! 

Psalm 40:5 “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”

Here in a world of sadness,

Where life is rarely kind

The Lord of Joy has entered

Broken hearts to bind.

Here as I kneel before him

Seeking his joy divine

May I now share this one hope

The joy I claim as mine.

Here in a world of hatred

Where some are bond in chains;

Contrasts of free and captive,

Liberty they claim.

Standing before my Saviour,

Freed by power Divine;

I claim the right to be free

And share this hope of mine.

Here in world of suffering,

Wounded by so much pain,

God’s chosen won has travelled;

To heal is why he came.

Here walking with my Saviour,

Healer man his name,

I will declare the whole truth;

Jesus the Lord now reigns.


I will declare the truth

That Jesus is alive today;

Speak of his power and love

And show to all his new-life way;

His power I’ve seen,

The love that redeems

The life now he lives out in me

I will declare!

““Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.” Voltaire

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.