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The "Redeveloped" Epsom Methodist Church

¡@ If you've visited us before and want to know what's changed, take a look here first.

EMC Celebration Photographs

NEWS that the church is dying did not appear to have reached Epsom where more than 400 people crowded into the newly refurbished worship area for a service of celebration and dedication led by the minister, the Rev David Winwood, and the Co-Chair of the London District, the Rev Jenny Impey. The preacher was the Rev Tom Stuckey and there were special musical items by the choirs of the Chinese congregation and the Brazilian fellowship which are part of the life of the church. In the congregation were civic leaders, circuit ministers, ministers of other Epsom churches, and former ministers, the Revs Michael Meech, David Bridge, Alan Bradley, David Coote and the Rev Dr Peter Graves.

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¡@ It was announced that the cost of more than £1.5 million had already been raised and that the church was now raising money for a new youth hall to accommodate the 500 young people who belong to the church, many of them in the uniformed organisations. The preacher at the two Sunday morning services was the Rev David Bridge. The first was a service of Holy Communion and the second a parade service for which the church was again nearly filled to capacity.

The celebrations will continue throughout the year when special events will include a flower festival, a visit by the National Methodist Youth Brass Band, an international weekend and a ¡§Minister¡¦s Jazz Nite¡¨.

With thanks from the Methodist Recorder

Ministers Message

¡@ Spirit of God among us

Thank you for a glorious celebration weekend. I mentioned, at the time, that to say ¡¥thank you¡¦ does not seem adequate for the generosity, hard work and commitment that has brought us to this point. It was inspiring to see more than 400 people at the Service of Dedication on Saturday and, with the children and young people on Sunday there were well over that number at the morning services. People are still talking about the joyful, challenging and uplifting weekend.

Appropriately, at Pentecost, there was a powerful sense of God¡¦s Spirit among us and recognition that, although we had taken a major step forward in renewing the buildings, this is a new beginning in the life of the church and not an end!

In the next few months we will be seeking to appoint a Youth Pastor to develop our ministry among young people and to invite them to follow Jesus.

In the next few years we aim to build a Youth Hall to improve facilities for the excellent youth work.

But now, our immediate task is to build up the church in loyalty, commitment, personal faith and in zeal to bring others to share in the fellowship and to find faith in God.

You may be thinking that, if we have many more weekends like Pentecost, we won¡¦t know where to put any more people! But it is our calling ¡V gently, but clearly, to share what faith and hope we have, and to invite other people to come nearer to God.

¡§You will be witnesses to me at home, at work, and further away. And you will receive power when God¡¦s Spirit touches your heart. (Acts 1, verse 8)

Pentecost Question

The big problem for us is, ¡§How shall we do that?¡¨ I mentioned the Pentecost Question in the May edition of this newsletter. You will find it in Acts 2 verse 37, ¡¥They asked, ¡§What shall we do?¡¨¡¦ We are asking the same question in an age of scepticism, mistrust of religion, secular materialism and strong media pressure to go with the flow! So what shall we do?

¡@ Well, nothing much will happen without prayer, faithful regular worship, as far as you are able living a true and open Christian life and having the Spirit of God amongst us

At the Service of Dedication, Tom Stuckey encouraged us to talk about God, to each other and in daily life. Richard Dawkins and other atheists have put ¡¥God talk¡¦ into the public arena again, but with all kinds of negative misrepresentations of the Christian faith. He seeks to have the last word by demanding tangible proof. But in our own quiet positive way we can set the record straight about what we know of God in our experience, without claiming that we know everything! We can do it, as Tom said, ¡¥By telling our stories¡¦. Life is full of questions and doubts, but they do not obliterate the truth.

Opportunities for action

The programme of special events in the next 18 months is not being planned simply for our own entertainment, but to provide opportunities to engage with people in the community, of different interests, and to invite them to come closer. Music, art, dance and drama sometimes reach parts of human experience that traditional worship cannot reach. They touch spiritual dimensions in believers and in those who may claim no faith at all. They create platforms for relationship and self expression and they appeal too many in the community. Therefore, a Flower Festival, a Brass Band weekend, a multi-cultural celebration and a Jazz Nite (which are among the first in our programme) provide opportunities for each of us to bring friends to the public events and to the Sunday worship, when we will continue in the same spirit.

Will you make it your aim to bring as many as you can to these weekends and to ensure that you bring at least one new person right into the fellowship of the church in the next 12 months?

Build your Church Lord!

At the Service of Dedication I mentioned that, during the building development, the work of the stone masons seemed like an enacted parable to me.

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Slowly and patiently they reconstructed the windows and, although the stones were of different sizes, they chose each one to fit carefully beside the next, supported by the stones already in place, re-building the wall with care and with a clear sense of purpose. That is the way in which God builds the church. Our part in this will be our willingness to be his witnesses ¡V living faithfully, telling others and creating personal opportunities to discover where they fit into God¡¦s will and purpose. We must let people know how the life and love of Jesus can be transforming, that the fellowship of the church can be enriching and that the Spirit of God has truly come among us!

¡§We will praise him for all that has passed and trust him for all that¡¦s to come¡¨

As always, David Winwood

(David retired in July, 2010).

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