agape love-feast fresco
Early Christian Fresco of an Agape Feast

Love Feasts were originally held by the Moravians and adopted by the early Methodists. The service is based on the Agape feasts held by the early Christians. It consisted of hymns, prayers and testimonies, all based on unity and love. A simple meal of plain cake and water was taken, the water being drunk from a ‘loving cup'.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Methodists were more comfortable with traditional worship, rather than giving testimonies. Yet, on a 1906 circuit plan held by the Circuit's Archivist, John Anderson, a Love Feast is mentioned at Bosley Methodist Church: probably one of the last held in the old Congleton Circuit.

It was only as part of the Reformation of the 16th century that all members of the congregation were permitted to participate in Holy Communion.

laughter

It is said with some justification that ‘laughter is the best medicine’.  I will leave the doctors to say what physical effect laughing has upon us.  I would only get it wrong.  Certainly we often say that we feel better for ‘a good laugh’.

That’s fine as long as we are laughing with someone and not laughing at them.  Some people use humour as a weapon to carve up their unsuspecting victim, to demonstrate their own superiority and sharp intellect.  Laughter at someone else’s expense is cruel.  It is not a pretty sight and certainly not to be encouraged.  Humour should not be used to put anyone down.

chaplaincy in manchester

The Methodist Church has a long history of chaplaincy work, in some surprising places. Chaplaincy schemes may be supported and run by a local Church, Circuit, District or Connexion, but there is always some sense in which the chaplain is 'sent' by the Church.

A group of six Sanctus1 members agreed to take training and by talking and walking the patch, then decided to focus on retail chaplaincy in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

They went to see the general manager of Afflecks Palace, a trendy, quirky retail space in the Northern Quarter, who gave them the green light to begin.

christians and ambition

Is it proper for a Christian to be ambitious? Surely it cannot be wrong to want to improve oneself, whatever that may mean?

My father was, before his marriage, a regular soldier and subsequently a lime drawer in the quarries around Buxton.

He never wanted that for me. He wanted me to be a teacher, to work in an office, to get a ‘good’ job with a built-in pension.  I wanted to be the best I could be, to be ‘successful’ in whatever proved to be my field. It was the 1944 Butler Education Act that opened up for me the path to the Grammar School and University.

methodist bishop : male methodist bishop : female

There is in my view a strange anomaly in the British Methodist understanding of ministry. The Church throughout the world has three orders of ministry - bishops, priests and deacons. The Methodist Church in the British Isles has only two.

We have deacons and presbyters ('presbyter' being a New Testament word, whereas the word 'priest' carries with it, for Methodists, too much unacceptable baggage). 

We normally talk of presbyters as ‘ministers’ although technically ‘deacons’ are ministers too (diaconal ministers). We do, of course, have Chairs of District, a title which unfortunately does not mean anything to the general public.

Coming up soon . . .

Saturday 29 Feb 7.30pm
Concert with Audley Male Voice Choir
Monday 9 Mar 10.00am
CTC Prayer Meetings
Monday 9 Mar 7.30pm - Saturday 14 Mar
Trinity Operatic Society : The Full Monty
Wednesday 25 Mar 7.30pm
God in Love Unites Us -- Consultation
Thursday 25 Jun - Friday 26 Jun
Bible Week 2020: Congleton