Last Sunday we celebrated our Covenant Service. From the earliest of days of the Methodist societies, John Wesley invited the Methodist people to renew their covenant relationship with God. The emphasis of the whole service is on God’s readiness to enfold us in generous love, not dependent on our deserving. Our response springs with penitent joy from thankful recognition of God’s grace. The service is usually held once a year in January and so it was that our Covenant Service was led by our minister, the Rev’d Mark Lawrence who was warmly welcomed by steward Keith Harrison.
Our service began with a greeting to our organist and keyboard musicians, Neil and Jill Barnett, who celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 30 January. We sang the rousing hymn “Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne” after which we were led in prayers of praise, adoration and confession. Neil Barnett read our bible reading from Romans, chapter 12, in which St Paul’s writes of life in God’s service finishing with ‘do not let evil defeat you; instead conquer evil with good’. We prayed for others suffering hardship in many parts of the world and in our own country.
Mark spoke of the gospel as being a gospel of hope and “we gather to fix our eyes on Jesus”. He reminded us of the church’s mission statement which is “To know Christ and to make him known”, and to honour one another above ourselves. Mark led us to consider all aspects of life in God’s service as we remain joyful in hope, patient in infliction and faithful in prayer. The Covenant service continued as we shared in the elements of bread and wine, the minister being assisted by Jill Harrison, our pastoral steward. “To God be the glory, great things he has done” the stirring 19th century hymn concluded our special service.
Our Alpha course continues in the Loggerheads Fire Station at 7pm on Tuesdays.