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About Stephen

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Stephen and his wife Linda live in Kirkham and for 13 years Stephen managed the Face To Face Homelessness Charity merging it into Fylde Coast YMCA some ten years ago.  As Housing Director at the YMCA, Stephen was responsible for developing various community projects including The Credit Union and Fylde Counselling Service. 
Reflecting on his former appointments in East London and Newcastle-on-Tyne of working as Methodist Minister, Hospital Chaplain and part time tutor with the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, Stephen is clearly committed to encouraging individuals and communities to be honest about their hopes and needs and finding how faith in God can help them be met in Body, Mind and Spirit.

Stephen is our Minister but is already known to us and well known on the Fylde Coast having lived and worked in Fylde for 18 years and prior to that he was a Minister in Blackpool.

Stephen's Message

Hopefully things have been a little calmer as we adjust to a different pattern of life and the initial rush of guidelines, policies and procedures has eased. Not so for the thousands of NHS workers as they not only create the new Nightingale Hospitals but are totally changing Wards and staff roles to be ready to care for those who will need them in the days ahead. Also true for other key workers in food supply and other essential services. We are all in the waiting game, waiting for the pandemic to peak, not knowing when and wondering what life will be like afterwards and when ’normality’ will return. Social distancing is the norm, no such thing as “just nipping to the shops, won’t be long”. Nearly two hours to pick up prescriptions is my record so far.

Time and again these last few weeks the following hymn has been coming to mind.

I do not know what lies ahead, the way I cannot see, yet one stands near to be my guide, He`ll show the way to me. I know who holds the future and He`ll guide me with His hand. With God things don`t just happen, everything by Him is planned. So as I face tomorrow, with its problems large and small, I`ll trust the God of miracles, give to Him my all.
I do not know how many days of life are mine to spend, but one who knows and cares for me will keep me to the end. I do not know the course ahead, what joys and griefs are there. But one stands near who fully knows, I`ll trust His loving care.

I wonder as you wait what this hymn says to you? Do you identify with the sentiments expressed, are there any you struggle with? As you speak with others you may want to discuss what you think and perhaps suggest other hymns that are a particular help to you at the moment. After all Methodism was ’Born in Song’.

As I stood waiting to get our prescriptions feeling frustrated at lost time, feeling colder as the temperature dropped, if only I could get an internet connection I could send some emails.  Then as I thought about waiting, the scripture Isaiah 40 verse 31 came to mind, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,  they shall walk and not faint”. The queue didn’t move any more quickly but I had food for thought. When I got home I looked up different translations, “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”

Waiting is a time to prepare, it is not a holiday nor a waste of time it is a time for renewal. Although we are living in lockdown we rejoice in the renewal of neighbourliness, the development of new ways of being the church, the exploration of our faith in prayer and reflection, the embracing of technology to facilitate worship an in new ways.

We know it will be sometime before we are back to normal. We know we will not be joining together for Communion, but we will be sharing in worship using BBC and internet acts of worship. We are also inviting you to join with Methodist people around the world in using the daily readings in the Methodist Prayer Handbook and on this website.

Each week, on the website and through email and hard copies delivered by hand, as far as restrictions allow, we will be updating information and either Judith, our Lay Worker, or  myself will be writing a weekly reflection relating to the theme of the week. If you know people who are not receiving it please forward it onto them, if they let us have their email address we can send it direct, some people are printing it off and passing copies to others, making sure they stay within current restrictions and observing social distancing of course. If you are receiving it but would prefer not to please let me know.

Remember you are never alone. We are never more than a phone call or email away and best of all God is with us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus speaking with his followers John 14:27

Peace be with you.

Stephen

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