Sunday December 13th Worship at Wesley Chapel

On Sunday December 13th Mike Greenberg, a local preacher and worshipper with us at Wesley Chapel led worship at Wesley Chapel. The Advent Candle was lit for the Sunday of Joy the 3rd Sunday in Advent. Our opening hymn was ‘Longing for light we wait in darkness.’
Following the prayers Geoff Weber told us about how the minister of Wesley Chapel 21 years ago, Rev. Gordon Lister saw the homeless people behind the Adelphi Hotel and knew something must be done. He got on to the council and the churches to get something set up, which resulted in the provision of two night shelters and a hostel for the homeless. They provided a homeless drop in centre, but having lost those premises, our caretaker’s cottage at Wesley Chapel fell vacant and our chapel offered it to the homeless project for a day centre. Initially they paid no rent so they could refurbish it with showers and facilities for the homeless, with advice and support; it has now been providing much needed services for homeless and marginalised people in our area. The church garden has been used to help train homeless people and give them gardening skills as well. We had been asked as our Christmas gifts to bring in warm clothing for those passing through the hostel and day centre or give money towards the provision of no second night out; we try to make sure that no homeless person has to spend more than a night on the streets, by providing temporary accommodation whilst more permanent help is sought. Meals are provided as well as washing facilities from Monday to Friday. Many of the clients hang around outside our chapel; drug addicts, alcoholics and those who are seriously mentally ill and have no provision made locally in our NHS following funding cuts. Springboard is a point of contact, with open access for help and advice and it is able to point the clients on to the right resources to meet their needs. The centres in Harrogate are there to help the vulnerable back to a normal life; they are not given a hand out but a hand up to get back on their feet. Sometimes the help succeeds, but not always but it is always offered.
After the gifts and cheques were brought forward we sang, ‘Cradled in a manger meanly,’ before we heard the readings from Zephaniah 3.14 onwards, a song of Joy that God will restore their fortunes; Philippians 4.4 onwards and Luke 3.7 onwards which proclaimed the good news to the people.
Mike commented about how often only a few passages in the Bible are read regularly. Zephaniah preached in a different age and time. During Advent we are concerned about the second coming of Jesus. Though Jesus is alive and here today he will come again. What does that mean to those outside the church? Mike wondered. How could we truly care as Jesus did? We sang ‘Jesus is the heart of Christmas’ before Mike preached.
Mike felt overshadowed by the preaching of Rev. Steve Wild, who is so obviously a man of charisma, a one in a million person, when we heard him the previous Sunday, as it made him feel inadequate as he led worship. Steve had encouraged us to tell the story to reach people. Mike wondered what story we should tell. He had enjoyed the article 50 years ago in the Methodist Recorder written by Pauline Webb, describing how Jesus had come down to earth and she wondered how we should address the needs of the world? How do we respond to the rhetoric that there is no more room for immigrants, the same problem Pauline had been discussing 50 years ago? Practical action is needed in the community, love and self giving sacrifice. The message of the Baby at Christmas is relevant as it is totally dependent on others in particular his parents. When we open ourselves in love to others, it can cause trouble and suffering, and we are at risk of being hurt. Jesus was totally self giving no matter what the cost and where it led him. We are called to make ourselves more vulnerable and love not just those who are easy to love, but we need to remember how we too have fallen short and I often think that there but by the Grace of God I could have gone. Let us continue to share our resources with those who are less fortunate.
We sang ‘Brother, sister let me serve you,’ before the prayers of intercession. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Where can we find you, Lord Jesus, our master.’

This entry was posted in Bible, Charity, Faith/Personal, Food and drink, Miscellaneous/Personal, Music and Musicals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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