Pastoral Letter – September 2020 East Anglia Chair of the District - Revd. Julian M. Pursehouse
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.’
Thus, begins one of my favourite novels, the Go-Between, by LP Hartley, that tells the tale of a young boy called Leo growing up in Edwardian Britain. An elderly Leo stumbles across a diary at the beginning of the story and he revisits his memories of one fateful summer that would change the course of his life for ever. Whilst staying at the aristocratic home of one of his school friends in Norfolk; he finds himself drawn inexorably into the role of a secret messenger between two elicit lovers, the high-born Marian and the tenant farmer Ted. The love affair is doomed to end in tragedy and of course it cannot survive because of the social conventions of the day – the reader is drawn into the unfolding disaster and one cannot help but feel pathos for the unwitting Leo whose innocence is shattered through the illicit deception of the adult world. As the elderly Leo confronts these memories he is forced to relive these events and return to a place that is strange and unfamiliar because it belongs to a different time in history.
Just this last week I’ve had my own opportunity to return to public worship through my involvement in a number of Circuit Welcome Services; a number of which have been conducted ‘in presence’ with all the relevant restrictions in place. In one sense this has been a return to something ‘strange’ and ‘unfamiliar’ – socially-distanced, masks in place, handwashing and temperature checks, no congregational singing and the inevitable orderly exit without food and refreshments. At one level this is deeply disconcerting and unsettling for it is not worship as we know it or indeed as we remember it! However, alongside these feelings I have also detected something strangely familiar – there has been a deep sense of joy at simply being amongst the people of God once more in a physical and embodied sense. I have felt moved as I preached and sensed the different ways in which people have responded through body language, eye contact and mood. I’ve been touched as I’ve witnessed genuine warmth and care expressed to people in need of consolation as they entered and left our buildings. If I needed any convincing of the value of being physically gathered together as God’s people, in the presence of God who draws near to us in the life of the Son and the Spirit; then I have certainly seen it in the last few days.
I am writing at a time when many of you will be making your first tentative steps to return to public worship as many of our churches open again throughout September. I recognise that this will be an anxious time for many of you and I fully respect that natural sense of caution particularly as we approach the Autumn. For that reason, I offer the words of this prayer that I have written for the beginning of the new Connexional Year that revolves around the virtues of wisdom, courage and grace – please feel free to use it or reproduce it in whatever way is helpful:
Lord God, as your holy and beloved people, watch over us we pray.
As we emerge from our isolation; grant us wisdom in our relating, courage in our venturing forth and the grace to bear patiently with one another; that with all your Saints, in time and eternity, we may rejoice and be glad. Amen.
Peace and Blessing, Julian
Survey on Royston Methodist Church reopening: Thank you to all for your very helpful responses to the survey on Royston Methodist Church reopening. Please find attached a summary of the survey. If you are unable to open the attachment please contact Peter Charlton (peterHcharlton@gmail.com, Tel: 01763 449126), who will be happy to provide you with a copy in a suitable format or hard copy.
Fellowship: following on from the results of the survey we wanted to encourage our congregation to start thinking about how we can join in fellowship with each other in a safe and appropriate way. Are there people nearby who you could meet with for a cup of tea? Would you be interested in meeting to go for a walk with someone from the Church? We hope to bring more plans and ideas for fellowship in the upcoming weeks.
HARVEST FESTIVAL SERVICE – Sunday 20th September 2020
Our usual donations to Royston Food Bank are not required this year, so we are collecting for Jimmy’s instead. For 25 years, Jimmy’s has been providing help to people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge. Working with local people, communities, organisations, and partners they deliver 24/7 emergency help, support and accommodation for those who would otherwise be sleeping rough.
This year they are asking for donations for not only their Assessment Centre, but also their wider support to their houses and those in floating support.
Contributions, based on the list below, should be left in the marked boxes under the canopy beside the front door of 20a Mill Road, Royston SG8 7AE
If you would need to have your contribution picked up please let Mel know on 01763 230091.
Jimmy’s Assessment Centre
Pasta sauces / cooking sauces
Jam / peanut butter / chocolate spread / marmite
Salt & Pepper
Herbs Stock cubes
Ketchup / Brown Sauce / Mayo
Tea / Coffee
Biscuits / Chocolate Bars
Cooking Oil Fruit
Tuna / corn beef / tinned meat
Long life milk
Squash / soft drinks
Meals for one
Meals in a tin e.g. ravioli, sausage‘n’beans, macaroni etc
Men’s Boxers / Socks
Toiletries e.g. deodorant, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner, shaving gel, razors
Cleaning products e.g. laundry detergent, cloths, sprays, wipes
If you would prefer to give a monetary donation instead, cheques should be made out to ‘Jimmy’s’ and dropped off or posted to Paul Harris 20a Mill Road, Royston SG8 7AE.
Join us for our Live service this Sunday!
This week Revd Charity Nzegwu leads us in our Act of Worship which is outlined in these Notices. If you would like some help or advice to join in this week please do get in touch with Pete (see contact details below). Those who cannot or decide not to join us are invited to participate in the same Act of Worship at 10.30am by reading, praying and singing the words as you have been doing in previous weeks - Charity and the Stewards.
Details of how to join the Live service and what to expect.
Date and Time
The service will be on Sunday with a 10.30 am start time. The format will be:
10.20 - 10.30 am: congregation joins service, with time for conversation.
10.30 am: service starts
11.15 am: coffee morning starts
If you are struggling to join, or are late arriving for whatever reason, you can join at any time. It will not disrupt proceedings.
Joining the service
Please contact Peter Charlton (peterHcharlton@gmail.com, 07890 239 557) for details of how to join the service.
During the service
You will be able to listen and join in the conversation with everyone else before and after the service. Depending on whether you are on a laptop, a tablet (iPad), smartphone or computer you may see a greater or smaller number of participants, however you should be able to scroll in the direction of arrows directing you to more faces. If you have an old computer or laptop without a webcam (camera) and if you are ringing in on a landline you will be able to listen without pictures, but can join in conversations.
You are advised (but it is not
essential) to print off a copy of the service. It is the same as the Act of
Worship in the Notices. It will help you to follow proceedings more easily
and give you the hymn words.
From the start of the service you will be muted and only the person speaking will be heard (the preacher, or someone reading or saying prayers, or the pianist playing the hymn tune). It is impossible for us all to sing together at a Zoom service (because of technical problems, it sounds awful). You can, of course, sing to the music in the comfort of your own home.
We will be recording the main service in order to review it technically (how good the sound is – can the piano be heard etc) – this is just for the organisers and not for any other use. You will not be heard, as you will be muted and only those participating will be seen on the recording.
After the service finishes you will be unmuted and invited to stay online for a while and speak to others. You can even go and get a coffee and return for a conversation. You can leave at any time by using the ‘Leave the meeting’ icon. If you are joining by telephone you can simply hang up.
We look forward to joining together for this Church service. If you are used to tuning in to other Church services online or on the TV or radio on a Sunday morning we hope you would be able to listen to this at a later time so that you can join together with our Church family.
You are reminded that the church premises will remain closed, for all but essential reasons. If you consider that you need access for an essential reason please contact Paul Harris (01763 230021 or 07789 121913).
Methodist Prayer Handbooks: The for September 2020 to August 2021 has recently been published, costing £4.50. If you would like a copy then please contact Peter Charlton (peterHcharlton@gmail.com , 449126).
The Fund for Human Need celebrates its 60th birthday! The Fund for Human Need (FHN) is a small Methodist-affiliated charity established to relieve poverty and hunger. Emergency payments are made, irrespective of faith, ethnic origin or social group, to individuals in the UK, most of whom are refugees, asylum seekers or homeless, and to those in other kinds of personal distress. The Fund makes about 60-100 one-off emergency relief payments each month to individuals, up to a maximum of £120. Priority is given to those who are destitute or have no income or benefits, to those who are particularly vulnerable, and to those where a small amount of money will make a major difference. As the charity celebrates its 60th birthday they are making a plea for help. They have had a huge increase in applications for monetary help. Could you donate to help them out? You can donate by visiting or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 01325 244992
Here is an example of how this small charity can help those in desperate need: From an organisation helping those in the asylum system. Jasmine is fleeing forced marriage in her home country and has a protection order to protect her. Her asylum case was refused before the protection order was issued at the High Court in London; her solicitor was in the process of preparing a new application when the Lockdown was announced. As a result, the solicitor’s office closed and this caused a delay in the submission of her fresh asylum application and consequently she couldn’t apply for support. Jasmine was staying with her friend, even before the lock down started, but her friend also has very limited means. Jasmine requested help towards the cost of food, phone credit and traveling to essential appointments and to get shopping. Jasmine has health issues so her food options are limited and cannot always be met through the food bank. Award £70.
Virtual Church fellowship on Wednesday evenings: We will be meeting again next Wednesday (16th September). from 7.30 to 8.30pm as we continue to read and explore the book of Acts. If you would like to read along in your own time we will be reading Acts chapter 17 this week (and referring to this commentary: ). We will be meeting together on Zoom using the same details explained above for the Sunday service. If you have any questions or experience difficulties using Zoom do get in touch with Peter Charlton (449126 or peterHcharlton@gmail.com).
Last chance to buy a balloon - Royston Kite festival may be cancelled - but there's a virtual balloon race instead! Our friends at the Rotary Club are holding a virtual balloon race to raise funds for Home-Start. Simply go on their website to buy a virtual balloon for £3, you can virtually decorate it. Then on the 14th of September the race will begin for one week, Virtual balloon races use satellite technology to map how far real balloons would travel given real-time weather conditions and other factors. The results can be viewed online over the course of the week and the furthest travelled balloon is the winner! Prizes include £500 cash, an iPad and book tokens. To buy your balloon visit: if you do not have access to the internet but would like to take part, do get in touch with Sarah Charlton (449126) and she can buy a balloon on your behalf.
Traidcraft: I still have a few floral, plain navy and patterned facemasks if anyone would like one or more. They are £4 each. I also have instant Machu Picchu coffee, tea bags, ginger cookies, kitchen and toilet rolls and some cleaning products. Let me know on 0777 533 5858 or email@example.com if you would like anything.
As a consequence of Covid, Cruse Bereavement Care are no longer able to offer clients face to face support, so they are setting up some Walk and Talk groups throughout the county. The present situation has caused many people to suffer complex grief and talking about their experiences can help them to cope. They have been continuing to help clients through the phone and Zoom, but some people prefer to receive support in a group. Below are the contact details for the Hertfordshire group.
If you know anyone who could be helped by this, Cruse would be grateful if you could pass it on.
To join a group please call their helpline on 01707 278389 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Their services are free but donations are always welcome.
Notices for next week: to be with Tracy Aggett by Monday, call 01763 243376 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 13th September – Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
An Act of Worship for this Sunday – click here
13 Sept: Exodus 14: 19-31, Psalm 114, Romans 14: 1-12, Matthew 18: 21-35
20 Sept: Exodus 16: 2-15, Psalm 105: 1-6, 37-45, Philippians 1: 21-30, Matthew 20: 1-16
Facebook – we have a facebook page for the Church, search for Royston Methodist church. If you are a facebook user, please go to the page and click on the “Like” button on the main picture at the top of the page.
Church Stewards: Paul & Jennie Harris, Richard Elcock,
Safeguarding Officer: Richard Elcock