home
 
   

Tom Stuckey
01425 270802

 

 Blogs

 

 29th March 2018                               TOM'S BLOG    

 At last a break after a series of travels and presentations of my book.  Since my visits to Bristol and Oxford, instead of attending my own ministerial session of synod, Chris and I went off to Horsham on 8th March where the Methodist South-East Synod was held.  I was given an hour in the afternoon to speak, initiate conversations and respond to questions.

I had again to deal with the usual comments about Babylon and exile.  Babylon, it was pointed out, was not a bad place but one of opportunity for 'fresh expressions'. 'We are the people 'singing the strange songs' we should be finding and singing the songs of Babylon because God is not absent in Babylon.

The word 'repentance' was again challenged but this time described as 'guilt inducing'. 'The Methodist people feel guilty enough already and by using this word I was further demoralizing them.  In any case what have we to repent of?'

  Although I came away with even more questions, I really enjoyed the occasion. I met up with a number of people I knew and also was able to participate in the rededication of vows and in the sharing of communion.

Two days later on the Saturday I was back in the Southamption District leading a study at the Chandlers Ford Methodist Church. Nearly 40 people from the circuit were present.  Having a whole morning to explore themes of the book with people I knew from my days as district chair made made this a more relaxing occasion tjhough no less challenging. It was very different from all the other presentations largely because there were only two ministers present. I chose Ephesians as my starting point. Following presentation and group work our morning ended by focusing on the four dimensions of growth; 'numerical, organic, conceptual and incarnational'. As on all other occasions I sold a number of books.

My last invitation was to Queen's College, Birminham on 12th March. Revd Dr Brian Beck, one time Principal of Wesley House Cambridge and a former Secretary and President of the Methodist Conference had also been invited. Both of us have recently produced books about Methodism. Brian's 'Methodist Heritage and Identity' (Routledge) is series of scholarly essays very different from mine (the price of the books also reflect this difference). The evening was billed as a theological dialogue between us in the presence of the students who were invited to participate through their own comments and questions.

As you might imagine Brian took me to task on my undersanding of  'Babylon' but we found ourselve agreeing on many issues, not least being about ministry and the importance of heritage. It was facinating to see how we each listed what we regarded as the 'defining characteristics of Methodism'. While he assigned more importance to 'connexionalism' than I, we both regarded Methodism as being 'a church in mission', prioritised grace and emphasized our Methodist way of doing 'theology'.

 

 

 20th February 2018                               TOM'S BLOG    

'Jonah' and 'Singing the Lord's Song' have occupied much of my time and attention during the months of January and February.   

Many of you will be familiar with the Methodist Church's initiative for encouraging people to read and study the Bible through BIBLE MONTH. Last year the material produced for preachers, housegroup leaders, Sunday Schools and youth leaders centred on the New Testament book of James. For this year's Bible month,the Old Testament book of Jonah has been selected.  I was asked to write the Notes for the four weeks. An attractive booklet has been produced. Alongside these notes helpful and imaginative study material has been included. It was a priviledge for me to be part of the regional launch at Chandlers Ford on 10th January.

At present I am leading a study on Jonah in one of the churches in the Poole Bay circuit.

I have certainly needed the reprint of my latest book because people keep requesting copies. I have now produced some 'questions' for those wishing to study the book in their housegroups. On January 13th I led a 'vision day' in a nearby church and was able to try out some of the material.

I have had two demanding presentations very recently; the first in Bristol and the second in Oxford. On the 17th February Christine and I were at Wesley's 'New ROOM' Bristol. The Saturday morning consisted of a lecture followed by group discussion and ended with a plenary. Many of the critical responses focused on my thesis that we are living in Babylon. I particularly valued our discussion on 'repentance' with 'lament'.  The 28 people present gave me much to think about.

On 20th February we were in Oxford at the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church. The Chair of the Northampton District, Revd Dr Helen Cameron, was initiating the first of a series of District study days.  I was the speaker. This also proved to be a very stimulating occasion. I was challenged on my critique of 'connexionalism' and the idea of a 'paradigm shift'. The contributions about history, language, metaphor and story have set my thinking off in new directions. 'We need to find a fresh language of engagement as we listen to the echoes of God's presence in the world.' It is all very exciting.

My book is proving to be a good discussion starter; a 'wake-up' call.  I anticipate it triggering even more responses, when next I present in March. Thankfully for now I have a little rest and 'catch-up' time.

 

 

 5th December                               TOM'S BLOG    

The last few months have been very busy with preparation, preaching and book presentations. My last major event was the MET Conference Willersley Castle. The theme was 'The Power of the Cross'. There were five session: 'Possibilities'  'Self-decision', 'Wrath', 'Holy Saturday' & 'The Great Intercessor'. All are now available on CD. Speaking of the weekend I said 'I believe that in today's uncertain world, the cross of Christ can banish fear and bestow hope. The Western Church is trapped within a Babylonian culture of mammon. Only the message of the cross can move us to repentance and re-energise the Methodist people.' Having entered the season of Advent this is even more important.

Christine's experience of Albania has given her a new dimension which is reflected in her preaching.  Both of us have finished travelling around. All are commitments are much more local and there are more spaces in between. Chris is involved in 'Sleep Safe' a scheme of the home-less. We both have a little more time now to read, think and listen to music. We are also  exploring the  'Advent reversed' idea. I recommend it. Now is a time for giving and offering hospitality and of course there are the Christmas cards to write!! In this age when many send email messages of greetings we still persist with our card writing. There is something very special about hearing Christmas card drop through the letter box. Costly in time and money yes, but...!!  

 

 26th October                      TOM & CHRISTINE'S BLOG   

We have been to see the incredible exhibition of tapestries by Jacqui Parkinson at Salisbury Cathedral entitled 'Threads through Revelation'. The exhibition is travelling around the country. If you want to make sense of the New Testament book of Revelation then see it. This amazing presention is totally illuminating 

Christine has just returned from Albania after visiting the offices of the Mary Ward Loreto Youth Project in Tirana. She has travelled around the country seeing how disadvantaged young people are being trained and empowered to function fully in their own communities. The focus of the work of Mary Ward Loreto is related to working against human trafficking. The Southampton District MWiB is raising money this year (September 2017-September 2018) to enable more young people to join the scheme and discover purpose and hope in situations of poverty and abuse.

In mid October we were in High Leigh attending the London Superintendents Residential Conference. My book 'Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land' provided the agenda. It provoked much comment and is proving to be an excellent discussion starter amongst many who are feeling that official Methodism is not really addressing the deeper issues. This was also the response when I presented to our District theological group at Sarum College and later in Southampton to those involved in Pioneer ministries. I am being invited to Methodist Synods in 2018 to fire up the issues and futher explore what the Spirit may be saying to the Methodist Church at this critical time. Nearly all my copies have been sold and I have ordered a re-print.  Rev Ken Howcroft's review in the Methodist Recorder (October 20) may trigger further requests.

 

As some of you will know I have been somewhat incapacitated with sciatic problems since January.  I am really pleased to report that I am at last becoming more mobile. People have prayed, annointed me with oil and laid hands on me. I praise God for this. You may recall that I recently preached at the  Central Hall Westminster for their 105th Anniversary.  You can hear the sermon (Click HERE)

 

 

 17th September             TOM & CHRISTINE'S BLOG   

At the end of August we spent the last couple of weeks in Rome and baked in the heat. It was a delight seeing Tim & Angela Maquiban again and a privelege to have the opportunity to be at the Ponte San Angelo Methodist Church while they were away at the joint Italian synod. Rome continues to fascinate and inspire. Because of my continuing walking difficulties we had to limit our tramping around the streets but got around on buses and the tram.  It was only the second time that I have had Special Assistance at the Airports and was again suitably impressed. 

The sales of my book are going well and opportunites are opening up to speak and explore further. This past Saturday I gave a brief presentation at Synod and on October 11th I have an overnight stay with the Superintendents of the London District at their retreat where my book will provide an agenda for their deliberations.

 Christine is leading her second pilgrimage in the Christchurch area on 27 & 28th September. Last time the weather was perfect. This time??  Please pray for her and the 12 ladies taking part. This will be her last major event as MWiB President of our Southampton District before she hands over to the new incomming President on 7th October.

A couple of weeks later she is going to Albania with three others to see how the church is responding to the problems of 'trafficking'. This is a couragious event for her. A week later we are off to Willersley Castle for the MET Conference.

 Please pray for these events and for us.

On the weekend of the 30th September and the 1st of October the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster is celebrating its 105th Anniversary.  Tom will be the preacher. 

 

 

 14th August                                       TOM'S BLOG   

Since sending my book to bepublished I have been producing study material for the Old Testament book of Jonah. This will appear in ROOTS next year as part of the Bible a Month series.

I am also pleased to report that sales of my book are going reasonably well. I have also had some invitations to speak about it.

In June, Chris and I went to Manchester. It was the occasion of our grandson Oliver's first communion. When we visit the Manchester Stuckeys we often go with them to the Roman Catholic Church. It is always a beautiful worshipful experience and the Church is usually full. This time it was overflowing with many having to stand. There was a special family time for us afterwards.

We went up to Birmingham in June for the weekend of the Methodist Conference. It was a delight meeting up with many old friends. There was sadness too however. Attending the Memorial Service was a reminder of our mortality. The list of those who had died included many ministers I knew.

We spend our Wedding Anniversary weekend with the London Stuckeys. A highlight was going to the roof garden in one of the Cities skyscrapers.

We have just had a few days away and visited the 'New Room' in Bristol to see how Charles Wesley's centre has been redeveloped. If you are in that area go and see the splendid museum.  It will give you a real sense of our Methodist roots.

Christine has moved her Methodist membership to our nearest Methodist Church (Highcliffe). She already has many links with it. When we have not been taking services we have sometimes attended the historic Christchurch Priory. The new incumbant Charles Stewart is bringing new vision and life to this historic Church. I feel it is becoming my spiritual home. I was invited to preach on the Sunday marking the Transfiguration. What a privilege!  It was a delight having our daughter Jo in the congregation.

Christine's visits around the District as MWiB President are drawing to a close. There have been some wonderful moments. We both feel very blessed.

 

 

 1st June                                  TOM & CHRISTINE'S BLOG    

April and May have raced by. Tom still has sciatica which has really limited his ability to get about. On the other hand it has not stopped him from working on his new book. The deadline was the 15th May. It was with a sense of relief that for us both when he finally sent it off. Sitting long hours before a screen has not helped his physical condition. The pressure is now off.  He has also finished his series of articles for the Methodist Recorder. These will appear on this website in due course. He will be starting soon to write a serious of Bible studies on Jonah.

  As you will see the first of Christine's pilgrimages is over. She too is able to relax a little and give time to the garden. April and May have been busy times for her. She has been to Swanwick for the MWiB    Conference. More locally she has led meetings across the District, There have been the Easter Offering Services and the MWiB Road Shows in Bransgore, Southampton, Boscombe, Isle of Wight, Gosport, Basingstoke, Romsey. 

She has Stubbington & Reading coming up soon before we go off to Manchester for the confirmation of our grandson Oliver on the 11th June.

 

 

 4th April 2017                         CHRISTINE's BLOG     

As I write this, the daffodils and primroses on the bank at the bottom of our garden are in bloom. Spring in England is an amazing season, so full of spectacular signs of new life and hope.

 As I have travelled the District speaking at Women’s Meetings I keep discovering similar indications of life and hope.  So many of these ladies are not only faithful in their Christian calling, but work hard caring for each other both within the church and beyond. Some are very elderly yet they continue to impress me with their resilience, faith and their concern for others in spite of their own physical limitations.

 I spoke recently to a lady in her 90s who started the conversation by saying ‘I can’t do very much now’. I asked her what she did do. It transpired that she is involved in a Prayer Chain and spends an hour each day praying for others. I pointed out that what she was doing was a ministry of the utmost importance. She had never thought of that before!  

As District President, it is a real privilege to visit women’s groups and share some of the things I have been doing and discovering. I also value these opportunities of being able to listen to the ladies and learn from them as they play such an essential role within the life of our Methodist Church.  

We now have two District Pilgrimages organised. The first is planned for 24th/25th May and the second for 27th/28th September. Twelve to fourteen ladies have signed up for this on each occasion. At the beginning of May I am attending a course at Cliff College on ‘Pilgrimage Training’ financed by MWiB. As a result of this, I hope to be better equipped so that all of us will have an inspiring and illuminating time as we walk around the Mudeford/Christchurch/Bransgore area ‘Discovering God Moments’.

Our District Road-Shows this year are based on the theme of ‘It’s Amazing!’ I want to discover more about the amazing love of God and the abundant life he offers each of us. Let’s make that discovery together.

 

 

 

 2nd March 2017                         TOM's BLOG     

Back in December I started on my next book 'Can these bones live?'  It was the question I asked over 10 years ago when I was President of the Methodist Conference. While the book focuses on Methodism it does so within the context of what is happening to the whole Church in the Western World. In writing    about the future of the Church I want to be encouraging yet realistic.

Part 1 of the book is entitled 'Vision', part 2 'Reality' and part 3 'Prophecy'. The book will be about 30,000 words. It will not be expensiver nor difficult to read though my conclusions may not make me very popular in some quarters. I am hoping to get the book out in time for the Methodist Conference at the end of July though this may not be possible as I have had some heavy yet enjoyable commitment since Christmas.

The most recent event was the residential I led this week at Sarum College, Salisbury. 25 people booked in for the my study conference on 'Preaching the Atonement'.  They were a brilliant and responsive group; Methodists, Anglicans and a Roman Catholic most of them ordained. As on former occasions even though I go to teach it turns into a wonderful learning experience. I come away with even more questions and issues to be followed up.

I am also delighted to have been asked to write the weekly Reflections to the end of May in the Methodist Recorder.  I will upload some of these.  My theme is 'the cross'. Already you have three of them on this website. I refered them on my Salisbury course.

 

 

 1st December 2016              CHRISTINE's Christmas Blog    

It’s hard to believe it was over a year ago when I was commissioned as District President of Methodist Women in Britain. I have visited many of our churches in the Southampton District, either speaking at Women’s Meetings or preaching at special services.

 I have continued to use my theme of ‘Abundant Life’ but more recently I have focused on ‘God Moments’. These are special incidents when something of the wonder of God breaks into our humdrum lives illuminating them with glory.

When I was in Yeovil at their midweek meeting, one of the men present shared a ‘God Moment’ which took place last Christmas Eve after the Midnight Communion. When he was leaving the church he heard a robin singing! Because the Christmas lights were illuminating the area, the bird thought it was daytime and was happily celebrating with joyful song!

The May Pilgrimage is now full and I am taking names for the September one. We shall be a group of a maximum of 12 on each occasion and will walk 6-7 miles each day and stay overnight in a Travel Lodge.

 

I have spoken several times about my Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne and shared how much that experience meant to me. My intention, as a result of that, is to lead a mini-pilgrimage in the District around the Mudeford/Christchurch/Bransgore area over two days on 24th/25th May next year and again on September 27th/28th.

The theme of the Pilgrimage is ‘Discovering God Moments’. There will be opportunities to reflect, experience silence and share our discoveries about God and ourselves.

I now have a few weeks with no engagements, so will have time for the Christmas preparations and catching up with friends.

v

 

 

 4th November 2016                         TOM & CHRISTINE    

Christine has been busy. Engagements at Broadstone, St Georges, Highcliffe. I had a wonderful circuit service at Shirrell Heath. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit was much in evidence.

We have also been able to celebrate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Martin (our eldest) and Bronwen at Mottram Hall near Alderley Edge.

 

 

 6th October 2016                         TOM & CHRISTINE    

At the end of August and the beginning of September we were in Rome. Revd Tim Maquiban, who is minister of the Ponte San Angelo Methodist Church, and Angela his wife were at World Methodist gathering in Houston. As last year I was again giving Sunday cover for Tim, and their aged cat Piero needed care and attention. We were again staying in their apartment by the Tiber over looking the Vatican. It was a wonderful priveledge to be there and a delight to greet some of the people we had got to know last time.

Since our return Chris has been very busy with MWiB appointments on the Isle of Wight, Yeovil, Holtwood, Petersfield and Broadstone.

I have reviewed more books for the Recorder, started two massive tomes one on the Apocalypse (Revelation) and one on the history of Rome.  I have also started writing a new book 'Can these bones live?' which will be a series of essays on dreams, vision, reality and prophecy.

<

 

 

 30 July 2016                         TOM & CHRISTINE    

On the 16th July we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary.  We were married in Martock Methodist Church in Somerset by the Revd Donald Bradley, who was probationery minister. In those days, because Tom was still a student at Richmond College London, you had to get the permission of the President of the Conference. Our first appointment was to Armadale in Scotland where Martin and Matthew were born. In 1970 we moved to the Bristol Mission Circuit which meant we were within easier reach of our parents. Our daughter Joanne was born. From Hartcliffe in Bristol we moved to Exeter, then to Manchester in 1982 and afterwards we were sent to Reading.

During our time in Reading, Martin, who was working on the Thames Gateway bridge in London had married Bronwen, a House of Commons Librarian and our first grandchild Ben was born. Sam, our second grandson, was soon to follow. Matthew was still working in Manchester as a paramedic while Joanne was finishing her degree in Birmingham.  Christine, who had trained and practiced as a nurse in Manchester, was now training to be a District Nurse and worked in Wokingham, near Reading.

In 1998 Tom was appointed Chair of the Southampton District and we moved to Chandlers Ford. Joanne was now in London and Matthew still in Manchester. Chris continued with her job in Wokingham until 2005. When Tom became President of the Methodist Conference she decided to travel the country with him. These were demanding and hectic years. We were not able to see as much of our family as we would have liked. Retirement in 2006 however and our move to Christchurch created new spaces and opportunities for Chris, though Tom  continued to be very busy. During this time Chris achieved an MA in spirituality through Sarum College. In 2007 Matthew, who was no longer a paramedic and now worked in a school, married Jane.  We were to have two more grandchilden; Oliver born in 2009 and Lucy in 2011.

 

For our Aniversary celebration we wanted to gather our whole family. It is not easy getting everyone together though Chris often went up to London to meet with Joanne and see Martin, Bron, Ben and Sam. Our children live such busy lives and the Manchester is far away. The location for our gathering was the New Hall Hotel and Spa centre in Sutton Coalfield. What a splendid place it turned out to be! We went up on the Friday and the family arrived on the Saturday morning. Pitch and put, walks in the beautiful gardens, swimming, sauna etc and a wonderful celebratory meal in the evening. We were all together for the first time in many years.

God has blessed us in countless ways, our lovely children and grandchildren, a full, purposeful and interesting life. 'We praise Him for all that is passed. And we trust Him for all that's to come.'

 

4nd June 2016                         TOM & CHRISTINE    

Romsey Methodist Church celebrated their Aniversary on 15th May. It is the first time we have been there to take a service since the remodelling of the sanctuary. I preached and Chris spoke about the MWiB logo. Lunch and then off to St Georges for a cream tea and the Poole Bay Circuit Easter Offering service where Chris preached.

Chris returned to Reading on the 17th to the new Emmanuel Church which was proposed when Tom was superintendant of the Circuit back in the 90s. It was their Women's Anniversary Service and a good number attended, some from other churches in the Circuit. 'Living water' was her theme though she is been increasingly led to think and speak about 'God Moments'. This month has been a demanding time for both of us; pastoral needs, funerals, people coming to see us, Tom writing more articles and thinking about another book.

On 22nd We took a service at Trinity United Church Ringwood where Chris again preached and then in the evening we were in Winterslow, a small village in the heart of Wiltshire. This was a long standing arrangement. The folk at the Methodist Chapel were celebrating 150 years of witness. What an occasion it was! Methodists across the Salisbury Circuit gathered to fill the place with their numbers, singing and enthusiasm. It was both a privilege and an inspiration to preach in such a gathering to such receptive people.

There was further icing on the cake because a week later at Andover Methodist Church I had been invited to preach at the testimony service of one of our Distict probationers who I had been mentoring. Again a full church and the exuberance of faith. We have needed these up-beat times because it has also been a sad time as we have sought to be alongside close friends who have recently been bereaved.

Tomorrow 5th June Chris will be at Emsworth Methodist Church for their Ladies Guild Anniversary service.

 

12th May 2016                         CHRISTINE    

I have had a busy time with MWiB engagements. I was at Chandlers Ford on Tuesday 4th for their Women's Fellowship Anniversary, there were about 90 people present. I preached on the Marriage at Cana.  On Wednesday I was at St James Rd Southampton where I spoke about the the Lindisfarne Pilgrimage and Pilgrimage at Home. On Saturday 7th it was Andover’s World Church Supper. They had asked me to speak about the Pilgrimage—Tom did a Power Point of some of the photos.

  On Sunday I was in Yeovil at the Preston Road Church for their WF Anniversary. My subject was  The Woman at the Well.    Tom preached in the evening and lead HC.  

This was the busiest week I have had so far but all went well.  

Tom is working on a Book Review for the Methodist Recorder on Rowan Williams latest  ‘St Augustine.’ Tom says is ‘not for the fainthearted!’  It was his 76th birthday yesterday and our daughter spent time with us. We had a good day in spite of the rain.

I am going to an MWiB Roadshow at Emsworth on 14th. Relaxing for me as I only have to give a brief introduction.

 

 

12th April 2016                         CHRISTINE    

Over the past months I have been travelling to many parts of the district. I value the opportunity to speak at women’s groups or to preach at Sunday worship and appreciate having the privilege of sharing with you in your own churches. I have talked about my Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne and encouraged others to engage in their own personal pilgrimage with God each day

     I have shared my thoughts and discoveries about my theme ‘Abundant Life’, focussing on the    stories in John’s gospel, stories which inspire us to realise the wonder and challenge of the life in Christ we are called to. I have tried to enable people to think about their own lives and the special times when they can become aware of God’s presence with them. These can be very simple things, like hearing a blackbird sing, seeing a bank of wild flowers, having a meaningful conversation with someone, making someone feel good about themselves. I call these times ‘God Moments’ and we all experience them.

I have recently celebrated a special birthday and my present from my family was to have ‘Afternoon Tea at the Ritz’ WOW! It was an incredible time, the food kept on coming and even our eldest Grandson, Ben (who has an enormous appetite) was satisfied. There was even food left over. It struck me that we had experienced ‘abundance’ but it was transient—after 2 hours we had to leave the luxury of the Ritz behind. The abundant life Jesus gives doesn’t have a time limit or any restrictions—it lasts forever

Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, life in abundance’. I pray we might all discover the meaning of those words in the coming days.

 

 

10th March 2016                 TOM  &  CHRISTINE  

. Its been a busy time for both of us. Christine has had MWiB engagements in Bransgore, Bermerton and Yeovil. We have both been preqching locally at Kinson and Victoria Park. The most challenging event for me has been the Lecture I had to give on 'Killing in the Name of God' given in the Gillingham Leisure Centre. This was one of a series sponsored by the Gillingham Council of Churches on difficult contemporary issues. (Click HERE).   I have also completed a series of Reflections for the Methodist Recorder some of which wll appear on my home page.

 

 

 

7th February 2015                    CHRISTINE    

Last week I spoke at the Romsey Women's Meeting. There were 16 ladies present. I told them a bit about myself and my theme of 'Abundant Life' and then talked about the Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne. I then gave them a handout which gave suggestions of how to take part in a 'pilgrimage at home'.

I was inspired by a retired minister in Bournemouth, Rev. Peggy Hiscock, to think about this.  My handout (press HERE)  forges a link between the pilgrimage I physically completed and how each of us, regardless of age or mobility, can make a pilgrimage with God each and every day.

I went on to share this yesterday with a group of young women in our church in Southbourne

 

 

 

10th December 2015            TOM  &  CHRISTINE    

I am conducting a Midnight Communion Service on Christmas Eve at Victoria Park Methodist Church and Chris will be giving a short sermon on 'The Light that has come into the World'. Joanne will be coming to spend Christmas day with us and then later  the rest of family. To read our Christmas letter (press HERE).

16th November             TOM      

This is a picture of the Emmanuel URC/Methodist Church at the heart of shopping   centre in Redditch. I was invited to give a lecture and then preach at the circuit service on the 15th of November. 

The subject of the lecture was 'The Future of Methodism.'  It was ten years ago that I gave my Presidential address at the Torquay Methodist Conference.  In it I announced that we were 'on the edge of Pentecost.' Has the decline of our church and have the events of Friday 13th in Paris made what I said irrelevant?   You may disagree! Why not read my refer to my Presidental Address (press THEN) and read what I recently said in Redditch by pressing NOW.

 6th November          CHRISTINE      

What wonderful opportunities I have had to speak and further cause of MWinB. I chose the theme of sharing based on the story of the feeding of the five thousand in John 6 for a midweek Harvest Celebration with the women at Chandlers Ford before another midweek visit to Broadstone Womens Group for their 89th Anniversary.

Then followed two Sunday services. The first at the Woodley United Church, Reading for their Women's Anniversary service meant a return to a former circuit where Tom had been superintendant and then on the following Sunday we were at Bridge Street Andover.  I have been so well recieved and have felt a growing sense of confidence. I have also been discovered that a lot of people in these churches know little about MWiB or about our partnerships and the huge amount of money the District has raised.

What an excellent 'logo' we have! Helping people to teasing out the symbolism ofs the 'butterflyhas been fun. I went with Tom to the Westbourne Fellowship where there is small group of ladies, many of them in their late 80s and 90's. They remembered the days of 'Women's Work'.  I have also spoken to our local SMILE group at Southbourne and to the ladies at Upton.  People have been inspired by the story of the pilgrimage to Lindisfarne. I am so thankful to God for that experience.   

 16th October              CHRISTINE      

The District celebration and my induction last Saturday was inspirational. Earlier in the week flowers had arrived from Revd Peggy Hiscock, a supernumerary minister now in her 90's and a former District President of MWiB. I had also received messages of support, offers of help, practical encouragement and much affirmation. It was all quite overwhelming, as was the day itself.

I had been worried that only a few people would turn up. Seeing people queuing to get in was unbelievable. There were over 120 present in the church for the morning including several men. When Margaret Oxenham, the retiring President handed me the cross and Bible, the congregation applauded and I could have wept for joy.

 The afternoon Bible study and communion were to be held in the hall - cafe style. With such numbers how were we to squeeze every one in? We just managed it. Here again was that same atmosphere of warmth, joy and togetherness. The Spirit of God was truly present.  TO READ MORE ABOUT THE DAY CLICK HERE.

 

       

 4th October                  CHRISTINE 

I am really looking forward to my commissioning on Saturday 10th October at Highcliffe Methodist Church. Click HERE to see the programme for this day of celebration. It is particularly special because my husband Tom will be preaching. Lots of people from across the District have promised to come. I feel so excited. Please pray for the day and for my speaking engagements which follow. I shall be at the Chandlers Ford for the Women's Meeting Harvest on the 13th, then on the 15th at Broadstone. It is the Christchurch Woodley Women's Annivery on 18th and I have another Sunday appointment at Bridge Street Andover on 25th

 

 

19th September       TOM & CHRISTINE 

We have just returned from two spectacular weeks in Rome. We have been to Rome many times. I even spent a Sabbatical there, preached in the Methodist Church at Ponte Sant' Angelo and, during my Presidency, had an audience with Pope Benedict. We had already visited all the major tourist attractions and some few tourists ever see (the Necropolis under St Peters). We always thrill at the rush, noise and energy of this city where history rushes up to greet you whereever you go and where icecreams taste better than anywhere else we know.

This visit had fewer demands than precious occasions. Revd Tim Maquibban (who is minister of the Methodist Church) and Angela his wife would be away and they needed someone to stay at their flat to look after the cat and preach on Sunday. It was an invitation impossible to refuse. Just look at the views from their roof garden of the Vatican and the Castelo St Angelo (see the bottom of home page).  We made new discoveries, attended some incredible services and were thrilled by a Bach Organ recital on the huge re-conditioned organ at Sant'Antonio dei Portoghesi.

  

   

    23rd July                  CHRISTINE                     

In preparing for my Presidency of MWiB within the Southampton District I sent out a letter explaining that during my year I hoped to speak at Women’s Meetings, conduct Sunday Worship, lead Bible Studies and generally encourage work amongst the women. My theme is to be “Abundant Life” and I shall be reflecting on the message of John’s Gospel. I concluded: 'I believe God is doing wonderful things amongst Methodist Women. I feel very privileged to be taking up this role.  I look forward to hearing from you, talking with you and hopefully being able to share with you and others in this important work'.

T