It was our privilege to have Mr Ian White, of Church Lawton, Cheshire, to lead our morning’s worship last Sunday. Ian is the current Secretary of Synod for the Chester & Stoke on Trent District of the Methodist Church. He was welcomed by our steward Keith Harrison. Ian had chosen some Easter season hymns, and to the organ music played by Rod Smith, we sang our opening hymn “Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son, endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won”.

Ian led our prayers of praise, adoration and confession with a congregational response followed by the Lord’s Prayer. There were two bible readings, read respectively by Keith and Jill Harrison. The first was from the first epistle of John, chapter three which, likens Christians to children of God; and the second from Luke, chapter 24, which tells of Jesus appearing to his disciples in the upper room after his resurrection.

“I am with you” was the theme of Ian’s address, or alternatively “Tales of the Unexpected” as Jesus had told his followers what was coming but they did not listen. “How would we have reacted to the news of his death and resurrection on the third day?” asked Ian. It is easy to be clever after the event. At first the disciples didn’t expect to see him but then they recognised him as he broke bread . Ian explored our use of names and pondered over the interaction of Mary Magdalene in the garden after the gravestone was rolled away and Jesus was risen. Did he really say “Mary” or did he use a pet name for her? Either way there was joy when he was recognised and the prophesy was fulfilled that he would rise again from death. He comes to us today in the breaking of bread during the service of Holy Communion. He is in our midst. We are called Children of God after the one who went before us and the one who is with us now.

In the quiet we listened as a choir sang to the music of John Rutter ‘The Lord bless you and keep you” following which we said prayers for others in our troubled world. At the conclusion we sang “Christ is alive! Let Christians sing” and finally a blessing together based on a prayer of St Theresa of Avila to conclude an uplifting service.