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.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Holy Spirit, Come, O Come

John 14:15-16 'If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. Jesus answered him, 'Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’

When we recall the words of Jesus we are reminded of what he said, the Holy Spirit is at work. We should pray that we may be more aware of the quiet working of God's Spirit in our lives. We pray that our thoughts, inspirations and desires be open to the prompting of the Advocate.

We could  think of ourselves as Temples of the Holy Spirit or we might consider Jesus' more domestic image as he says that God is ‘at home' with us. Just rest with this thought - that God is comfortable and available in our being.

Creative God, revealed to us in many ways,
we celebrate your transforming love
shared for all
as Jesus, on the night before he died,
shared bread and wine
with those who understood him and those who didn’t,
with those who would deny and betray him,
with the deserving and the undeserving.
He took bread.
He blessed it, broke it and gave it to them saying,
“Take this and divide it among yourselves. This is my body
which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way
he took the cup.
He blessed it and gave it to the disciples saying,
“Take this and divide it among yourselves. This cup which is
poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Spirit of the living God
move among us all,
for you transform us into the people you invite us to be,
for you transform the world into the place you dream it to be.
Make us one in love,
humble, caring,
selfless, sharing.

Blow among us, Spirit of God,
fill us with your courage and care.
Hurricane and Breath,
take us on a journey of love

Singing the Faith 372 v3

And so the yearning strong, 

with which the soul will long, 

shall far out-pass the power of human telling; 

for none can guess its grace, 

till Love create a place 

wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Holy Spirit, Come, O Come.

John 16:13 (J B Phillips) “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes—the Spirit of truth—he will guide you into everything that is true. For he will not be speaking of his own accord but exactly as he hears, and he will inform you about what is to come. He will bring glory to me for he will draw on my truth and reveal it to you. Whatever the Father possesses is also mine; that is why I tell you that he will draw on my truth and will show it to you.

Each one of us must, at some point, come face to face with the truth. To do this we need to identify and distance ourselves from the impulses and addictions that drive our attitudes and actions. We are not left to tackle this most difficult of tasks on our own. Through the Spirit of truth, Jesus continues to speak to us. But he can only help us if we seek that help.

What particular grace will I ask from the Spirit today?

We continue today with a prayer found on the “Singing the Faith Website”.

God of new beginnings,
because you come among us to make us whole,
we approach your table with delight and trepidation:
glad to be comforted,
ready to be challenged;
knowing your personal touch
and your generous love for all.

We come
with those who have nothing and need more,
with those who have all they require and look for nothing,
with those trapped and suffering in the gap dividing rich and poor.
May what we receive be shared with all,
food for bodies and nourishment for souls.
May your sharing and our sharing
show what is good for your world –
a way of being for nations and leaders, communities and individuals.

“At the table of the world,
some have plenty, some have none.
At the table of the our God,
all are plentifully fed.”

We come to your table
as individuals who know what it is to be vulnerable,
with worries that grow big in the night time,
and fears that diminish our confidence
but we are welcomed by you
with all who are vulnerable and scorned,
whose value is dismissed,
who are made to feel less than they are.

May the gifts we recognise in each other
draw us closer into community.
May we be changed by our neighbour
and see you active in all we meet.

Singing the Faith 372 v2

O let it freely burn, 

till earthly passions turn 

to dust and ashes in its heat consuming; 

and let thy glorious light 

shine ever on my sight, 

and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Holy Spirit, Come, O Come.

John 7: 37-39 ‘On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. ‘

Having celebrated Pentecost yesterday, we commence this week focusing on prayers that encourage us to become a-tuned to the promised comforting Spirit. We start today with a prayer found on the “Singing the Faith Website”.

“God’s Spirit is approaching
Through time, across continents, soaring over creation
God’s Spirit is speaking
Whispering and comforting, roaring and challenging
God’s Spirit surrounds us
Beyond touch, warmly embracing
God’s Spirit transforms us
Making our horizons wider
our faith stronger
our hopes possible

Here, now, God’s Spirit is working.
Through bread and wine,
through our hands and our lips,
all things are made new.

Creator God,
like a bird you hovered over the chaos of the world’s first day,
drawing life from crashing waves
and making a world of possibility.
You hovered still over parting waters,
liberating an enslaved people,
guiding them forward with cloud and fire,
nurturing your followers and sharing your love.

Like a still, small voice
you made your presence felt to
prophets and healers,
to a people in exile,
and young mothers-to-be.
In the life of Jesus
your healing touch was felt
and all were made welcome.

Like flickering embers dancing into flame,
you revived those who looked for you,
inspiring their speech and startling onlookers.
Undeterred by death, you delivered
creative power,
transforming determination
and your eternal, supporting presence.

And she nurtures us still,
around the table made for sharing,
offering bread and wine
to celebrate, to be ourselves,
to meet God and listen to the world around us.”

Well might we pray:- (Singing the Faith 372)

1 Come down, O Love divine, 

seek thou this soul of mine, 

and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; 

O Comforter, draw near, 

within my heart appear, 

and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing. Amen

Saturday, 27 May 2023

What does the Spirit say to the churches?

Acts 2 1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

The first Christians best image of the Spirit  was human breath: if a person is breathing, they are alive. If they are not breathing, they are dead. So ‘breath’ was understood as the great source of life. Thus, God is said to breathe the breath of life into the nostrils of Adam, so that he becomes a living being (Genesis 2:8). When Jesus wants to give his disciples the Holy Spirit, he breathes on them (John 20:22). This indicates that now God is within us, like life-giving air, enabling us to live the life of God.

But how about Pentecost in Practice in our age and time. I recently found this helpful description

When you feel an inner urge to be kind, constructive, forgiving or compassionate, 

that’s the Spirit at work in your heart.

When you settle down to pray, 

that’s the Spirit bringing you into the world of God.

When you take up a demanding task because you feel it is the right thing for you to do, 

that’s the Spirit.

When you’re searching with others for the best thing to do in a difficult situation, 

that’s the Spirit using you as a spokesperson.

When you find yourself watching out for the needy, 

that’s the Spirit.

When you protest against injustice or falsehood, 

that’s the Spirit protesting in you.

When you stand for gospel values and try to be inclusive , 

that’s the Spirit.

When you experience deep-seated joy without any special reason, 

that’s the Spirit.

After all, we have high connections, we belong in the best of company. 

We are VIPs who truly share God’s DNA!

Once you begin to catch on, you find that the Spirit is everywhere. You begin to attend to your inner promptings, asking, ‘Is this a nudge from the Good Spirit?’ Life takes on new colour, and ceases to be boring and predictable. You become free to dance with the Spirit. 

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Friday, 26 May 2023

What does the Spirit say to the churches?

I wonder if we were to ask the same question that the book of Revelations posed to the Devon churches of our church, what answer would we find.

In a musical written by John Gowans he asks the same question in the context of the present age.

Here are the lyrics

What does the Spirit say to the churches? 

What does the Spirit say to you? 

If you have ears then hear from the Spirit, 

Do what the Spirit tells you to!

You love me less than you used to love me, 

I know your strengths and your weakness too; 

Love me again as you used to love me, 

Do once again as you used to do.

You have a wonderful reputation, 

Far and away how your fame has spread! 

True, you are always so very busy, 

No-one would guess that in fact you’re dead!

You are so proud and suppose you’re clever, 

I know you’re neither cold nor hot! 

Luke warm! That’s you and it makes you useless, 

You think you’re rich but you’re not! You’re not!

You are afraid of the Spirit’s leading, 

I set before you an open door, 

No man can shut what the Spirit opens, 

What in the world are you waiting for?

What does the Spirit say? 

What does the Spirit of God say to you? 

There's two huge things we can take away from what the Spirit said to the seven churches; not to forsake our first love, and to persevere through the tough times.

The refrain which Jesus says over and over again through the New Testament is: "He who has an ear, let me him hear what the spirit says to the seven churches.

This is the challenge Jesus lays down, to listen. In our times this is becoming more difficult, surrounded as we are by so much noise, so many different voices calling for our attention. Isn’t it interesting that the word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. Perhaps we should  pray for an open ear and an open heart, for knowing how to seek and find silence in our daily rhythm is surely what it means to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Dear heavenly Father,

Here lam

In your presence.

Speak to me Lord. Fill me with your Spirit

And transform me. Give me the gift of hearing

And obeying your voice. Let me be in tune With your Holy Spirit,

That I may hear his call. Let me not hesitate

Or be afraid, For when the Lord speaks,

His will must be done. Let me listen to

And trust your voice. Teach me to depend

Completely on you. Let me abandon myself, And present myself, As a living sacrifice

To almighty God. All for the glory and honour

Of the King of kings.

Accept my prayer, Oh loving Father, In the name of your beloved Son,

Jesus Christ.


Thursday, 25 May 2023

What does the Spirit say to the churches?

To the church in Laodicea - the complacent church - Revelation 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! - earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

How would you define complacency; one wag suggested that it was a question of ‘Mind over Matter; id you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” It is often framed in terms of being pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect.

Complacency is so often  a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. “Good enough” becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course-downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.

Imagine if complacency were a person in your life.  Mr. Complacency would come up beside you, admire that shiny gold star of yours, and then whisper smugness-inducing flattery like:

  • “People think you’re so great.  Lucky you—you’ve got it made without even trying.”
  • “Everything is going just fine.  Why accept a new challenge where you might fail?”
  • “You’re okay just the way you are.  Why work to improve yourself?”
  • “Compared to some people—cough—you’re not that bad!”
  • “From what I hear, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates never got a gold star.”

Listen to Mr. Complacency long enough and he’ll convince you that what you really, really need is a nap.

But don’t kid yourself.  The cost of complacency is real, and it can be tragic.  We slide into habits of mediocrity and excuse making.  Life gets boring, and we’re not sure why.  We know, or at least suspect, that there’s a lot more we could do or be.  But floating along, there’s no way to be sure.  Might as well take another nap.

Loving Lord, help us. We pray not to be complacent in any way. Not self-satisfied in any way, unfeeling or smug. We want to live lives that glorify you, help us to love you with all our heart and soul and mind and strength today.

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

What does the Spirit say to the churches?

To the church in Philadelphia - the Church with opportunity - Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. - 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Do opportunities depend on our point of view; from the place we view things or even our perception. It was Elisabeth Elliot who said,  "If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.  It is we, of course, to whom things look 'little' or 'big'."

The root of opportunity is port, meaning the entryway by water into a city or place of business. In earlier days, when the tide and winds were right and the port opened, it allowed entry to do commerce, to visit, or to invade and conquer. But only those who recognised the opening could take advantage of the open port, or opportunity.

A piano sits in a room, gathering dust. It is full of the music of the masters, but in order for such strains to flow from it, fingers must strike the keys… trained fingers, representing endless hours of disciplined dedication. You do not have to practice. The piano neither requires it nor demands it. If, however, you want to draw a beautiful music from the piano, that discipline is required.… You do not have to pay the price to grow and expand intellectually.

The mind neither requires it nor demands it. If, however, you want to experience the joy of discovery and the pleasure of plowing new and fertile soil, effort is required. Light won’t automatically shine upon you nor will truth silently seep into your head by means of rocking-chair osmosis. It’s up to you. It’s your move; it’s your opportunity.

Dear Lord, I thank you for all you have done in my life, it is a day full of opportunities. I believe you have set before me an open door, open my eyes to see and to take advantage of every opportunity that may come my way today. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

What does the Spirit say to the churches?

To the church in Sardis - the sleeping Church -  Revelations 3:2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. & 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

“I hope you didn’t take it personally, Reverend,” an embarrassed woman said after a church service, “when my husband walked out during your sermon.”

“I did find it rather disconcerting,” the preacher replied.

“It’s not a reflection on you, sir,” insisted the church goer.

“Arthur has been walking in his sleep ever since he was a child.”

In today’s reading the writer of Revelations is concerned about the church at Sardis sleepwalking to the extent that they are missing the opportunities to share their faith. In Luke we find Jesus saying. “Be on your guard—see to it that your minds are never clouded by dissipation or drunkenness or the worries of this life, or else that day may catch you like the springing of a trap—for it will come upon every inhabitant of the whole earth.“You must be vigilant at all times, praying that you may be strong enough to come safely through all that is going to happen, and stand in the presence of the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 - J.B. Phillips New Testament)

Another story tells of a Minister, who while preaching, noted most of his congregation was asleep. He stopped the sermon and asked a deacon to pass the offering plate. The deacon woke up red-faced and reminded him the offering had already been taken.

His response; “Never mind, take up another one. I intend to make them pay for lodging as well as spiritual food.”

By the time the second offering was taken up the congregation was wide awake. We may well ask, “how awake are we?”

Lord grant that I stay awake, remain watchful, stand firm in the faith, out of my love for you. 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.