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.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Celtic Contemplation


2 Corinthians 12:9-19 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you noticed that God sometimes uses our “low points” to open our eyes to our weaknesses. More than that, He has offers us the painfully beautiful truth that our weaknesses open doors to allow His unending grace, power and provision to enter our lives. Further still, God is not waiting for our exceptional achievements, He waits for humility to open the doors to our hearts.

Sincere prayerful communication is perhaps part of the key to open the door. This in turn births the ability to accept even our weaknesses, and in accepting, to transform. It is not meant to bring deliverance from a situation; it is meant to bring the ability to accept it and transform it.

From Northumbria Community

Now here’s another paradox.  I’m becoming more me by thinking less of me. I’m getting involved with these people. My fundamental problems remain unchanged, but I’m changing. Does that mean the fundamental problems will change too! Surely it must! If I’m a number in a sum, any change in me will affect the other numbers in that we’ll all add up to a different answer. Susan Howatch 


Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for all my needs. Help me to recognise and rejoice in the knowledge that Your power is made perfect in my own weakness. Help me to boast all the more gladly in my inabilities, so that Your great ability may be manifest in my life - to Your praise and glory, AMEN.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Celtic Contemplations

Matthew 9:9-10 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.”

There was reason for the unpopularity of tax collectors. They were disliked for collaborating with the Roman imperial authorities; and also for extorting more tax than was due, in order to inflate their profits. So it was a despised trade, along with ass-drivers, tanners and bath-attendants. They tended to be social outcasts.

We get so used to planning and arranging that we think God must surely agree with us! Today As we come into God’s presence, perhaps we can begin to realise that we are approaching tremendous mystery and ask, with awe and humility, for the help we need. Perhaps also we can ask forgiveness for any way in which we have become self-satisfied, for thinking that we know all God’s ways.

From the Northumbria Community Daily Prayer

God will know how to draw glory from even our faults. Not to be downcast after committing a fault is one of the marks of true sanctity. (Dom Augustine Guillerand)

When someone gets to the spiritual crossroads, they can either turn aside and go a completely different direction, or they can go on in a completely different way. (Susan Howatch)

Lord, maybe I have my own secret list of social outcasts, people I do not like to be mixed up with. You chose your friends differently. You saw need and goodness where others saw only disreputable villainy. Help me today to ask myself the question, do I have to do some serious work on my choosiness? Amen

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Faith in times of Crisis


Psalm 25:1-2a,4-5,14-17,20-21. New International Version (NIV) Of David. 

1 In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

2 I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame.    

4 Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Saviour,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Meditation By Dr J P Hunter

As this week our country has lost in total over 100 000 lives through the pandemic, we seek guidance where to go, how to continue. We can find that guidance in the words of this Psalm.

David expressed his desire for guidance as he felt “lonely and afflicted” and in “anguish”, all of which we can identify with. The first step towards receiving God’s guidance is to want to be guided. The second step is to realise that God’s overall guidance is in his Word, the Bible. By reading it and constantly learning from it, we will come to fear and revere Him as we recognise God for who he is: holy, almighty, righteous, pure, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, merciful. Then He “confides in those who fear him”, making his way known to you and me, offering a close and lasting friendship. What relationship could ever compare with having the Lord of all creation for a friend? Our search for guidance completes there: stay close to Him. “Because my hope, Lord, is in you”.


As we come this day to seek you, we bring sorrow and grief from our country in anguish. 

We come to you to pray for those who are missing loved ones, for those who have come to live without hope. As you are our all-knowing, merciful Father we pray that you will be near to all who mourn. 

Praying for our own situation we ask that you will be near to us and guide us in the circumstances of our daily lives. That you will relieve the trouble also from my heart, as I put my trust and hope in You. Amen

Hymn – Singing the Faith 465, verse 1 and 2.

Guide me, O thou great redeemer,

Pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but thou art mighty;

Hold me with thy powerful hand:

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,

Feed me now and evermore,

Feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain

Whence the healing stream doth flow;

Let the fiery cloudy pillar

Lead me all my journey through:

Strong deliverer, strong deliverer,

Be thou still my strength and shield,

Be thou still my strength and shield.

 William Williams (1717-1791).

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Celtic Contemplation

Luke 14:15-30  When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[a] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”


God is always inviting us to his table, He loves to spend time with us. Still, sometimes we are distracted by lots of things. They are not necessarily bad things but are given the wrong priority in our lives. Is there something in my life that has become an “excuse” for not accepting God’s invitation to his banquet?

How would I feel if I were invited to a dinner at which Jesus was going to be present? Would I care if I knew none of the other guests? Would I, instead, feel a common bond with all who were invited with me, each rejoicing at the other’s inclusion in the feast? 

The shared table is often present in the Gospel, one of the preferred images of the Kingdom itself. God, the King, prepares a big banquet with great care. All are invited to this celebration where they can enjoy the King’s generosity. This is the Good News proclaimed by Jesus.


Lord, let us hear you calling us, gently but insistently, out of our comfort zones. Give us the grace to respond to the many promptings of your Holy Spirit inviting us to reach out to the lonely, the lost, the sad, and the needy. Open our ears that we may hear you, and in the hearing take action. Amen

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Celtic Contemplation

 Mark 15: 33-39 

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing n

ear heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”


The death of Jesus reminds us that, as we will die, he has died. He has breathed his last as all will do. Yet the resurrection reminds us that as he has risen, we too will rise. The one who was the son of God on earth, is in eternity the Son of God. As he is, we shall be.

Susan Howatch remarks, “It makes all the difference to know there’s someone else screaming alongside you - and that’s the point of the incarnation - I can see that so clearly now. God came into the world and screamed alongside us.”


Lord Jesus, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross, that all people might come within the reach of your saving embrace. Clothe us in your Spirit, that we, stretching out our hands in loving service for others, may bring those who do not know you to an awareness and love of you; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, One God forever! Amen!

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Abiding in Christ

 Day 6 Welcoming others

“Go and bear fruit, fruit that will last”

(John 15:16b)

  • Genesis 18:1-5 Abraham hosts the angels at the Oak of Mamre
  • Mark 6:30-44 Jesus’ compassion for the crowds


When we let ourselves be transformed by Christ, his love in us grows and bears fruit. Welcoming the other is a concrete way of sharing the love that is within us.

Throughout his life, Jesus welcomed those he met. He listened to them and let himself be touched by them without being afraid of their suffering.

In the gospel account of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus is moved with compassion after seeing the hungry crowd. He knows that the entire human person must be nourished, and that he alone can truly satisfy the hunger for bread and the thirst for life. But he does not wish to do this without his disciples, without that little something they can give him: five loaves and two fish. 

Even today he draws us to be co-workers in his unconditional care. Sometimes something as small as a kind look, an open ear, or our presence is enough to make a person feel welcome. When we offer our poor abilities to Jesus, he uses them in a surprising way.

We then experience what Abraham did, for it is by giving that we receive, and when we welcome others, we are blessed in abundance.

“It is Christ himself whom we receive in a guest.” 

[The rule of Taizé in French and English (2012) p. 103]

“Will the people we welcome day after day find in us men and women radiant with Christ, our peace?” 

[The Sources of Taizé (2000) p. 60]


Jesus Christ, 

we desire to welcome fully the brothers and sisters who are with us.

You know how often we feel helpless in the face of their suffering, 

yet you are always there ahead of us 

and you have already received them in your compassion. 

Speak to them through our words, support them through our actions, 

and let your blessing rest on us all.


  • When you meet new people do they find you “radiant with Christ”?
  • As we pray together for greater unity how are we showing Christ’s welcome to other Christians?
  • What are people hungry for in your community?

Go and Do


Global: Take time to engage with global news stories today. Take action in response to the story that most moves you with compassion.

Local: Contribute in any way that you can to a foodbank, food growing scheme or community meal initiative in your area.

Personal: Reflect on and identify who ‘the other’ is for you. How might you connect with and offer a welcome to them in your next encounter?

Friday, 22 January 2021

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Abiding in Christ


Day 5 Letting oneself be transformed by the word

“You have already been pruned by the word…”

(John 15:3)

  • Deuteronomy 30:11-20 The word of God is very close to you
  • Matthew 5:1-12 Blessed are you


The Word of God is very close to us. It is a blessing and a promise of happiness. If we open our hearts, God speaks to us and patiently transforms that which is dying in us. He removes that which prevents the growth of real life, just as the vine grower prunes the vine.

Regularly meditating on a biblical text, alone or in a group, changes our outlook. Many Christians pray the Beatitudes every day. The Beatitudes reveal to us a happiness that is hidden in that which is unfulfilled, a happiness that lies beyond suffering: blessed are those who, touched by the Spirit, no longer hold back their tears but let them flow and thus receive consolation. As they discover the wellspring hidden within their inner landscape, the hunger for justice, and the thirst to engage with others for a world of peace, grows in them.

We are constantly called to renew our commitment to life, through our thoughts and actions. There are times when we already taste, here and now, the blessing that will be fulfilled at the end of time.

“Pray and work that God may reign.

Throughout your day

Let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest.

Maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ.

Be filled with the spirit of the Beatitudes,

joy, simplicity, mercy.”

[These words are recited daily by the Sisters of the Grandchamp Community]


Blessed are you, God our Father, 

for the gift of your word in Holy Scripture. 

Blessed are you for its transforming power. 

Help us choose life and guide us by your Spirit, 

so that we can experience the happiness which you want so much to share with us.


  • What does it mean to you that “God may reign” in your life? Is there anything you could change or adjust?
  • If your church(es) were to live the “Beatitudes” each day what difference would this make to the communities they serve?
  • What does it mean in our world today to be blessed by God?

Go and Do


Global: Find out more about the Just Scripture initiative and help organise a session connecting the churches in your area with a community across the world.

Local: What one act of kindness could the churches in your area take together to be a unified blessing in your wider community?

Personal: Read the Beatitudes through slowly (Matthew 5: 3-11). Which of the actions described in the passage are you encouraged to take today?

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Abiding in Christ


Day 4 Praying together

“I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends”

(John 15:15)

  • Romans 8:26-27 The Spirit helps us in our weakness
  • Luke 11:1-4 Lord, teach us to pray


God thirsts for relationship with us. He searches for us as he searched for Adam, calling to him in the garden: “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9)

In Christ, God came to meet us. Jesus lived in prayer, intimately united to his Father, while creating friendships with his disciples and all those he met. He introduced them to that which was most precious to him: the relationship of love with his Father, who is our Father. Jesus and the disciples sang psalms together, rooted in the richness of their Jewish tradition. At other times, Jesus retired to pray alone.

Prayer can be solitary or shared with others. It can express wonder, complaint, intercession, thanksgiving or simple silence. Sometimes the desire to pray is there, but one has the feeling of not being able to do so. Turning to Jesus and saying to him, “teach me”, can pave the way. Our desire itself is already prayer.  

Getting together in a group offers us support. Through hymns, words and silence, communion is created. If we pray with Christians of other traditions, we may be surprised to feel united by a bond of friendship that comes from the One who is beyond all division. The forms may vary, but it is the same Spirit that brings us together. 

“In the regularity of our common prayer, the love of Jesus springs up within us, we know not how. Common prayer does not exempt us from personal prayer. One sustains the other. Let us take a time each day to renew our personal intimacy with Jesus Christ.” 

[The Rule of Taizé in French and English, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Great Britain pp. 19 & 21]


Lord Jesus,
your entire life was prayer,
perfect harmony with the Father.
Through your Spirit, teach us to pray according to your will of love.
May the faithful of the whole world unite in intercession and praise,
and may your kingdom of love come.


  • Jesus lived as an example of what it means to “live in prayer”. If prayer is the foundation of our relationship with God how much time and attention could you give to your personal prayer life?
  • What have you learned from praying with other Christians? What might God want you to learn from the practices and traditions of others?
  • What specific need in your community can you commit to pray for over the coming year?

Go and Do


Global: Commit to praying through the WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle this year.

Local: Unite with others in your community to pray together this week, in person, online via Zoom or similar platform, or at a set time when you know others will be joining in prayer.

Personal: Consider how your prayer practices inform and influence your action in the world.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Week of Christian Prayer for unity - Abide in Christ


Day 3 Forming one body

“Love one another as I have loved you”

(John 15:12b)

  • Colossians 3:12-17 Clothe yourself with compassion
  • John 13:1-15; 34-35 Love one another


On the eve of his death, Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his disciples. He knew the difficulty of living together and the importance of forgiveness and mutual service. “Unless I wash you,” he said to Peter, “you have no share with me.”

Peter received Jesus at his feet; he was washed and was touched by the humility and gentleness of Christ. Later he would follow Jesus’ example and serve the fellowship of the faithful in the early church.

Jesus wishes that life and love circulate through us as the sap through the vine, so that Christian communities be one body. But today as in the past, it is not easy to live together. We are often faced with our own limitations. At times we fail to love those who are close to us in a community, parish or family. There are times when our relationships break down completely.

In Christ we are invited to be clothed in compassion, through countless new beginnings. The recognition that we are loved by God moves us to welcome each other with our strengths and weaknesses. It is then that Christ is in our midst. 

“With almost nothing, are you a creator of reconciliation in that communion of love, which is the Body of Christ, his Church? Sustained by a shared momentum, rejoice! You are no longer alone, in all things you are advancing together with your brothers and sisters. With them, you are called to live the parable of community.”  [The Sources of Taizé (2000) pp. 48-49]


God our Father,
you reveal to us your love through Christ
and through our brothers and sisters.
Open our hearts so that we can welcome each other
with our differences and live in forgiveness.
Grant us to live united in one body,
so that the gift that is each person comes to light.
May all of us together be a reflection of the living Christ.


  • Can you think of a person in your life who you would identify as being “clothed in compassion”? Can you recall a time when you have been the recipient of compassion?
  • How does your church community need to be more compassionate with members and visitors?
  • What would it look like for the churches in your area to be more compassionate within your community? Where is compassion most needed in the world today?

Go and Do


Global: What action can we take in response to the compassion needed in the world?

Local: Consider making a banner or quilt together as churches and the wider community to demonstrate the things that thread and weave you together.

Personal: Consider the clothing in your wardrobe and the lives and hands that have touched them. Have these clothes been made with fair pay and good working conditions?

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Abiding in Christ

Day 2 Maturing internally

“Abide in me as I abide in you”

(John 15:4a)

  • Ephesians 3:14-21 May Christ dwell in our hearts
  • Luke 2:41-52 Mary treasured all these things


The encounter with Jesus gives rise to the desire to stay with him and to abide in him: a time in which fruit matures.

Being fully human, like us Jesus grew and matured. He lived a simple life, rooted in the practices of his Jewish faith. In this hidden life in Nazareth, where apparently nothing extraordinary happened, the presence of the Father nourished him.

Mary contemplated the actions of God in her life and in that of her son. She treasured all these things in her heart. Thus, little by little, she embraced the mystery of Jesus.

We too need a long period of maturation, an entire lifetime, in order to plumb the depths of Christ’s love, to let him abide in us and for us to abide in him.

Without our knowing how, the Spirit makes Christ dwell in our hearts. And it is through prayer, by listening to the word, in sharing with others, by putting into practice what we have understood, that the inner being is strengthened.

“Letting Christ descend into the depths of our being … He will penetrate the regions of the mind and the heart, he will reach our flesh unto our innermost being, so that we too will one day experience the depths of mercy.”

[The Sources of Taizé (2000) p. 134]


Holy Spirit,
May we receive in our hearts the presence of Christ,
and cherish it as a secret of love.
Nourish our prayer,
enlighten our reading of Scripture,
act through us,
so that the fruits of your gifts can patiently grow in us.


  • The Bible tells us very little about Jesus’ youth and early adulthood, when he seems to have lived an ordinary life in Nazareth. How are you conscious of God’s presence with you in the everyday things of life?
  • In your church or group of churches how do you nurture your children and young people to walk with God in their everyday lives, and how could you do this better?
  • What does the churches having a ‘presence’ together in the community look like in your area?

Go and Do


Global: As people of faith think about how you can work together for the day when all can know a full and abundant human life.

Local: Consider how the churches in your area can be more child friendly spaces.

Personal: Give thanks and pray for the children you know.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Prayers for Christian Unity - Abiding in Christ

This week we follow the prayers prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. The theme that was chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.

Day 1 Called by god

“You did not choose me but I chose you”

(John 15:16a)

  • Genesis 12:1-4 The call of Abraham
  • John 1:35-51 The call of the first disciples


The start of the journey is an encounter between a human being and God, between the created and the Creator, between time and eternity.

Abraham heard the call: “Go to the land I will show you”. Like Abraham we are called to leave that which is familiar and go to the place that God has prepared in the depths of our hearts. Along the way, we become more and more ourselves, the people God has wanted us to be from the beginning. And by following the call that is addressed to us, we become a blessing for our loved ones, our neighbours, and the world. 

The love of God seeks us. God became human in Jesus, in whom we encounter the gaze of God. In our lives, as in the Gospel of John, God’s call is heard in different ways. Touched by his love, we set out. In this encounter, we walk a path of transformation - the bright beginning of a relationship of love that is always started anew. 

“One day you understood that, without your being aware of it, a yes had already been inscribed in your innermost depths. And so you chose to go forward in the footsteps of Christ….

In silence in the presence of Christ, you heard him say, ‘Come, follow me; I will give you a place to rest your heart.’”


Jesus Christ,
you seek us, you wish to offer us your friendship
and lead us to a life that is ever more complete. 
Grant us the confidence to answer your call 
so that we may be transformed
and become witnesses of your tenderness for the world.


  • Have you ever been aware that God was asking you or someone you know to begin a new journey in life – whether literally moving to somewhere else, or ‘changing direction’ in some other way? How did you respond?
  • What changes could your church or group of churches make to empower God’s people to walk more faithfully the path God has set for you, or to discern God’s guidance more clearly?
  • What are some of the stories of the ‘new’ members of your community, whether they have crossed a county boundary or journeyed across continents to get there?

Go and Do


Global: Get informed about and take action on global refugee and asylum issues and campaigns.

Personal: Spend time exploring what is unfamiliar to you in another Christian tradition and which might help lead you to greater understanding and unity.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Epiphany Journey

Saturday 16th January Matthew 2: 13-15 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

According to this narrative, Jesus, Mary and Joseph went through a period of being – like tens of millions today – ‘displaced persons’. Joseph was the one taking instructions on how to respond as events unfolded. We could say that each move was a leap in the dark – but of course none of the messages was anything like the first utterly unique and earth-shattering announcement that the spirit of God had intervened in Mary’s life. Some of us may know people with family responsibility today who admit that, in a rapidly changing society, they never know ‘what’s round the corner’. Joseph’s willingness to ‘fly blind’ under heaven’s bidding could provide a model for them.

We see that on a number of occasions, angels direct Joseph in his dreams. But we also find that he uses his own common sense! He is cautious that the son of Herod will be as bad as the father and so takes precautions. Joseph is a model of protection and devotion as a husband and a father. Lord, may I be as caring of others as he.

Like any newly-married couple, Mary and Joseph had their dreams and hopes. He was a skilled carpenter, so their future seems secure. Suddenly everything falls apart – the birth in a stable, the flight into Egypt, the long wait till they could return to Galilee. But in all the mess they stay faithful to one another, and they rear the Son of God. Is there a lesson for us midst the continuing pandemic, as to how we remain faithful midst the current uncertainty.

A Prayer: We pray for your love and compassion to abound as we walk through this challenging season. We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load of making decisions with widespread consequences. We pray for those who are suffering with sickness and all who are caring for them. We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable to not succumb to the risks of the virus. We pray for misinformation to be curbed that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds.  As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide, may we also approach each day in faith and peace, trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us. Amen

Friday, 15 January 2021

Epiphany Journey

Friday 15th January Matthew 2:12 “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

If you have a SatNav in your car like mine you will often hear the words come over the speakers, “recalculating route”. Sometimes this is because I have ignored a previous instruction or find myself travelling off piste. At other times, the SatNav linked to the latest traffic news, will sense an obstruction, traffic jam or even an accident on my planned journey and will calculate and advise a new route.

I can either ignore the instructions and plough on only to inevitably find my pathway blocked and the frustration of becoming trapped in a traffic jam.

It’s interesting that prior to arriving at Bethlehem the Magi took their own initiative that found them in the almost precarious position of being duped into conspiring with the tyrant Herod’s wicked plan. Yet having arrived and worshiped the new born king, they now find their minds attuned to heavenly directions.

Is there something for us here too, that left to our own resources we are in danger of conspiring to overturn that which as Paul put it,  the “things that are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good.” However, by entering the holy presence of Christ, we can become malleable to his purpose and follow his leading.” 

A Prayer: We thank You for this day. Father, You are the same today as You were yesterday, and as You are tomorrow. Since the beginning of mankind, You sought to have a relationship with Your creation, to instruct us in the way that we ought to go. Father, today we pray for discernment. We pray that the Holy Spirit that indwells within us with give us a peace beyond understanding to know precisely when something is You, and when something is not. Father, we want to be obedient to Your call in our lives. We pray for such discernment to not only make wise choices, but in the course of it all to know we can trust Your guiding hand. In Jesus Name, Amen

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Faith in Times of Crisis

Psalm 100:1-5 New Revised Standard  Version (NRSV)

A Psalm of thanksgiving. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Meditation by Dr J P Hunter

In these troubled times it is good to know with this Psalm of thanksgiving that God is our creator and that we did not make ourselves. During lockdown, living in a much smaller individual world, it is easy to see ourselves as the centre of our own little world, leading to self-centredness. But we are His, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. He knows where his sheep are, he knows how hemmed in we are. The Lord knows the way through and will lead us there. He continues to feed us; his steadfast love endures forever. As we come to realise this nearby love and faithfulness enduring towards us, we will be able to endure as well, step by step, day by day. Then we will worship, with praise and thanksgiving. And that will come from our heart.


Living in my own limited world, I come to seek your presence. I seek you day by day. You know where I am and how restrained I have to live. I have come to ask you for your guidance, your care and love.  I have come to rely on You. Guidance for the day, care and love to receive and in turn to give to others. Then I will return to you again and Thank You and praise your holy name. Amen

Hymn – Singing the Faith 79 verse 2

Happy are they whose hopes rely

on Israel’s God! He made the sky,

and earth and sea, with all their train

his truth for ever stands secure;

he saves the oppressed, he feeds the poor,

and none shall find his promise vain.

                               Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Epiphany Journey

Wednesday 13th Matthew 2:11 “Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

It is interesting that a number of people during this Epiphany season have posed the question, “I wonder what happened to the gold?”

Over the years there have been a number of suggestions and questions.

Was the gold used to ensure safe passage to Egypt to escape the blood thirsty will of Herod and fund the Holy Families stay in what some scholars suggest would have been for three years. Others suggest that it was also used to establish Joseph’s Carpentry business. More outlandish suggestions are that the thieves crucified with Christ actually stole the gold or that Judas misappropriated the treasure during his three years as treasurer to the three year mission project.

Could it have been used to support Jesus education? Who knows; the bible simply does not say. However, imagining what happened to the wise men’s gold ought to spark our own moral imagination about what will happen with our own gifts following Christmas. What do we do with our own abundance?

In the end, what matters is perhaps there is wisdom in not giving us such information in the Scriptures. As such, looking at the rest of the gospels teaching, are we being guided to focus away from things, and away from satisfying curiosity for curiosity’s sake. The gifts of the magi are not about the gifts; they are examples of human beings sacrificing their wealth, their time, even their lives to worship Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Someone suggest that the magi we will see in heaven; the gifts we will not.

A Prayer: Loving Lord, may the gospel continue to do its work in our hearts that we might bow quicker, lower, and with more joy than ever before you. Open the eyes of our hearts a bit wider to behold the great hope to which you’ve called us in the gospel. Deepen our adoration of you, Jesus, and loosen our grip on our so-called treasures. What do we have that you have not given us—whether it’s gold, frankincense or myrrh, or a warm bed,  or daily bread? Continue to free us for a life of caring and generosity in your most wise and worthy name we pray. 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.