It was our joy to welcome the Rev’d Helen Kirk, Chairman of the Chester & Stoke on Trent Methodist District to lead our morning’s worship last Sunday. Bunty Hodgkins was our steward. “God is the God of the Unexpected” was Helen’s theme for the service. She began with a greeting and expressed joy in turn for being with us. After a short opening prayer we sang a lovely opening hymn “Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.” Neil and Jill Barnett accompanied us on the organ and keyboard.

There followed Prayers of Praise and Confession with congregational responses. We had two bible readings. The first was read by Neil Barnett, from Genesis, chapter 18 which told of three men arriving at Abraham’s tent and Abraham and his wife Sarah being promised a son by the men even though they were of great age. The second reading was read by Jill Barnett from Romans, chapter five, which speaks of becoming right with God.

Helen related the story of Abraham and his wife Sarah’s being told by the three men they hosted in the desert, that they would have the gift of a son in their great age and Sarah receiving this news with great incredulity. The focus of the story was the interaction of Sarah with the strangers. Because of the culture of the age, Sarah was always in the background preparing the meals with the help of her servants. She was on the margins of society. Yet the conversation was all about her. In the Old Testament the word of God is often to be seen on the margins and we find the same in the life of Jesus, yet God is the God of the unexpected revealing himself in unexpected ways. The story of Sarah is one of a woman whose laughter at the notion of giving birth at her great age was most probably a prayer for the grace and love of God and indeed she did give birth to Isaac at a later time. “God works in unexpected ways through unexpected people, said Helen.

We said prayers for others before we moved into the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the elements of bread and wine being administered by Helen assisted by Jill Harrison and after our closing hymn, we blessed each other with the Benediction. We had experienced an uplifting service.

In our photograph, Rev’d Helen Kirk is seen with our regular organists Neil Barnett, Jill Barnett and Rod Smith.