What's New?

Lockdown changes 17 May

Lockdown restrictions will be eased from 17 May in England as Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap. Below is a summary of what will be allowed. For more detailed information and for regular updates, it is advisable to check the official Covid Response summary at gov.uk

Family and friends

Groups of up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, and outdoors groups of up to 30 people can meet. Clearly, it is safer to meet outdoors where possible, and sensible to open a window when inside. Overnight stays will also be allowed with people who are not in your bubble.

People will be given the choice of whether to socially distance with close family members or friends, but they will now be allowed to sit closely with one another and hug. Though caution is advised if the person you want to hug has not yet been vaccinated.

Among wider society

People will still be expected to socially distance when mixing with members of the wider society, including shops, bars, restaurants, businesses, adult social care and medical environments. In care homes, residents will be allowed to see up to five named visitors.

Indoor entertainment, including museums, theatres and cinemas will be able to open, as well as indoor play areas and bowling alleys. Indoor parties must still be kept small – six people or two households, and outdoor parties are restricted to 30 people.

Weddings and funerals

Up to 30 people can attend weddings with indoor receptions in Covid-secure venues. More than 30 people will be able to attend funerals.

Travelling

People in England will be able to take holidays abroad to the small number of countries on the green list. Any travel will also need to meet the requirements of the destination country. Not all of the countries on the green list are admitting tourists.

Churches

Churches continue to be encouraged to take all steps necessary to limit the transmission of the virus.

Whilst some churches have been able to open for prayer and worship, following Covid-secure requirements, many are continuing to provide online access to services for those who cannot attend, or would prefer not to mix in groups for the time being.   

Connexion churches online broadcasts

  • The Lockdown Band website has been hosting songs, video and audio recordings, put together during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Link: www.wormleylockdownband.com
  • Copthorne Chapel is posting a weekly services on their website. Link: www.copthornechapel.org.uk
  • Wormley Free Church is posting Sunday services each week, which can be accessed though their website. The services are followed by a Zoom get-together for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat. Link: www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk
  • Rosedale Community Church has a selection of Sunday messages available on their YouTube page. Link: Rosedale Community Church
  • Bolney Village Chapel is streaming Sunday services on their Facebook page. The services begin at 10.30am for approximately 45 mins and include worship, Bible readings and teaching. Link: Bolney Village Chapel
  • South Street Free Church has also been posting Sunday services on their YouTube page, including Bible readings, hymns, songs and sermons. Link: South Street Free Church
  • Goring Free Church is streaming Sunday video recordings on their YouTube page. Each week there is a playlist of worship songs to accompany the series of sermons. Link: Goring Free Church
  • The Countess Free Church, Elyhave Livestreams of their whole church zoom gatherings, which occur roughly fortnightly on YouTube at Countess Free Church. They also create weekly messages that are available via their podcasts; to access these, go to their website: www.countessely.co.uk 
  • It's a great way to keep our strong community together during these challenging times, and our churches welcome you to join in!

Online Connexion Services

Restrictions are gradually lifting, but not all churches are able to open, and many people still feel more comfortable accessing Sunday services from their living rooms, rather than venturing out.  

A number of our churches are continuing to stream online services and messages to help to connect people in worship, prayers, bible readings and more.

It has been an extremely popular initiative that has really helped to keep our communities in touch with each other - and enabled members to make new connections and friendships.

Below is a list of regular online services that are available to all, with relevant links. Please feel free to share with your family and friends who may also wish to join in.

 

Regular online church broadcasts

  • The new Lockdown Band website is hosting songs, video and audio recordings put together during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Link: www.wormleylockdownband.com
  • Copthorne Chapel has begun posting a weekly services on their website. Link: www.copthornechapel.org.uk
  • Wormley Free Church is posting Sunday services each week, which can be accessed though their website. The services are followed by a Zoom get-together for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat. Link: www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk
  • Rosedale Community Church has a selection of Sunday messages available on their YouTube page. Link: Rosedale Community Church
  • Bolney Village Chapel is streaming Sunday services on their Facebook page. The services begin at 10.30am for approximately 45 mins and include worship, Bible readings and teaching. Link: Bolney Village Chapel
  • South Street Free Church has also been posting Sunday services on their YouTube page, including Bible readings, hymns, songs and sermons. Link: South Street Free Church
  • Goring Free Church is streaming Sunday video recordings on their YouTube page. Each week there is a playlist of worship songs to accompany the series of sermons. Link: Goring Free Church
  • The Countess Free Church, Elyhave Livestreams of their whole church zoom gatherings, which occur roughly fortnightly on YouTube at Countess Free Church. They also create weekly messages that are available via their podcasts; to access these, go to their website: www.countessely.co.uk 
  • It's a great way to keep our strong community together during these challenging times, and our churches welcome you to join in!

Welcome Marie and James

We are delighted to welcome Marie and James to Bethesda as replacement staff for Aminata and Sallay, who are now moving on. 

Bethesda Orphanage supports a large number of children in need who live on the streets of Sierra Leone, and also provides a safe and loving home for orphans whose family cannot be traced.

Aminata joined the orphanage at the beginning in 2013, and has been known as the 'house mum.' She cooked for the children and was there for them as a friend, confidante, nurse and Christian example. Aminata has now gone to live with her son to help look after his child. She was finding her work at Bethesda increasingly more difficult in her advancing years. She rose early every morning to prepare meals for the children, and found the heat of the fire very intense, also visiting the market each day to buy food and make sure that every child had their needs met.

Sallay started working at Bethesda in 2016. She is a trained teacher and each day after school she would continue the children's education. Sallay was very much 'in charge' and took responsibility for the general discipline and good behaviour of the children. She has recently taken up a new teaching post that is away from Bethesda, but her son Andrew has chosen to remain.

Their commitment to the children at Bethesda was exemplary, giving 100% to their work, and putting their personal lives on hold to care for the children. They are two wonderful Christian ladies who will be greatly missed.

As Marie and James take up their new posts, we send them our best wishes and prayers for a rewarding and happy future at the orphanage.

MIND

Every year one in four people experience a mental health problem, and hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling.

This has been further exacerbated during the past year with often severe difficulties in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

The mission of the charity, MIND, is to provide advice and support to help anyone who is experiencing problems associated with mental health and wellbeing. Their website mind.org.uk provides a raft of information and sources of help, including a broad section on issues relating to the pandemic, and the knock on effects of periods of lockdown and isolation.

If you are finding things hard, or you know somebody else who you feel is struggling, it may be worth accessing the site to source help and more information.

MIND: Coronavirus and your mental health

 

Philippians 4: 6-7

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Prince Philip

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Queen and the royal family following the passing of Prince Philip on Friday 9 April, aged 99.

The Duke was described as 'an extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life' and he will be greatly missed by many. 

The Church of England have set up a link to an Online Book of Condolence and if you would like to contribute a message, words or prayer, please click on the link below to access:

Online Book of Condolence: HRH Prince Philip 10 June 1921-9 April 2021

The funeral will be held at St George's Chapel on Saturday 17 April at 3pm. Attendance is limited to meet the Coronavirus restrictions of 30 people, but the service will be televised. A minute's silence will also be held at 3pm nationwide, in memory of the Duke.

 

Recorded Services

If you were unable to attend your church over the Easter weekend, there is still a chance for you to visit a service online.

A number of our Connexion churches have posted recordings of videos and sermons that took place on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These are streamed through YouTube and Podcasts, and are easy to access using the links below, which will take you to the correct page.

From 'Lip Service or Sacrifice' to 'Resurrection Life' and 'Christ is Risen', there is a broad selection of reflective and inspiring messages available for all Connexion members and website visitors.

Goring Free Church

Countess Free Church, Ely

Bolney Village Chapel

Rosedale Community Church

Wormley Free Church

South Street Free Church

 

 

Origins of Sierra Leone Mission

selina countess article

Young members of The Connexion, Charlotte and Esther, have created some inspired recordings, focusing on the history of the Countess of Huntingdon's outreach and early churches in Sierra Leone.

Click on the links below to view their videos (parts 1, 2 and 3) about the origins of the mission:

Part 1

sierra leone 18c     

Part 2

sierra leone 18c

Part 3

sierra leone 18c

Today the Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) supports a wide range of projects as well as helping to provide education through Connexion schools, including funding assistance for teachers’ salaries and training. SLM also gives support to the work of our churches in Sierra Leone: contributing to ministers’ wages, providing funding for ministerial training, and building and maintaining churches. 

To make a donation to support our work in Sierra Leone

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

 

Wanted Trustees!

We are looking for 4 new Trustees to join our existing friendly team.

About us

The Connexion includes 22 churches spread across the UK. Each church has its own style, and all are bound together with a shared love of Jesus.

Our background

The Countess of Huntingdon established The Connexion in the 18th Century, using her resources to build new churches and train preachers to spread the Gospel as far and wide as possible. She was highly respected by people from all levels of society, and she had the courage to challenge and break the rules of an intensely patriarchal and prejudiced social system. She became a good friend and confidante of John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitfield, who were celebrated advocates of the Methodist Revival and she dedicated her life to spreading Christ’s mission.

Today, The Connexion is a strong family community that is dedicated to continuing The Countess’ legacy and love of Christ, with a strong emphasis on outreach, friendship and caring. Our collective aims to welcome, network and support are deeply embedded in our culture.

What's involved

Our agendas vary, but our main focus is to help our ministers and congregations to share their love of Jesus with their communities. Resources are limited, so one role of the Trustees is to help us to use our assets and modest income in the best way to support our churches.

Time commitment

4 Trustee meetings a year, either held in London or at one of our churches (and currently via Zoom). Between meetings we keep in touch by email, phone and online platforms. 

The amount of work you are able to contribute entirely depends on your personal circumstances. All of our Trustees are volunteers and some also have full-time professions. 

What's needed

No formal qualifications are necessary, but each of our Trustees regularly attends one of our Connexion churches. 

To apply

To apply, please email our Chair of Trustees, David Lockett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. David will be pleased to provide you with more information or answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, please get in touch with your minister or another of our Trustees.

We'd be delighted to welcome you to our enthusiastic, friendly and happy team!

Bethany Green - Trustee

‘One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.’ (Psalm 27:4)

The beauty of this verse never fails to take my breath away. It is as though the world stops spinning and everything pauses as I realise the deepest longings of my soul – to enter into the holy place, the temple of God and His presence. 

Yes, I know that God is omnipresent. I know that we come to Him in faith and His presence is always with us no matter where we go or where we are. But my love of history and sense of being part of the ‘great crowd of witnesses’ (1) means that I seek out those places where God has been worshipped for years, centuries and even millennium. I love to tread the ancient paths that lead to abbeys, cathedrals and chapels. The worship that I offer today in my generation mingles with the eternity of voices crying, 'Hallelujah!'(2) to the Lord God, creator and sovereign of all. This is my small part in the endless praise of my Heavenly Father and what a privilege it is.

This, then, is why I love the church. God’s people, whom He has called to be holy and set apart for Him; the people He loves, the folk we will spend eternity with. And since my mid-teens when I grasped the picture of the body of Christ given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, I have made a commitment to do whatever I can to contribute to the ‘common good’ of the church.

Over the years this desire has led me to different areas of ministry in different countries and parts of the UK. Aged 18 I helped with humanitarian aid trips to Eastern Europe supporting churches and ministries that were serving in the new opened countries of the former soviet block. And then I headed to California and spent some time with the Vineyard church. Aged 21 I moved to Belfast and worked for a mission organisation called Logos Ministries whilst also living and ministering in a very rough, paramilitarily controlled area of south-west Belfast. After meeting my husband we moved to Stoke-on-Trent where John worked for UCB and we helped a church that had lost their leaders. In 2008 John was called to pastor at Rosedale Community Church and this is now ‘home’.

It is my love of God’s church and the desire to encourage its health and growth that causes me to serve the Connexion at present as a Trustee. The role is a voluntary one and we all bring our own gifts and contributions (like the ‘members of the body’ that Paul talks about), our own peculiarities and personalities. But we are all followers of Jesus and genuinely care about the people in the Connexion, those who make up our past heritage, those who are members today, and those who will follow on after us.

My prayer is to faithfully serve in my time. Perhaps you too feel a passion for God’s people and have gifts and talents to offer that will be invaluable? Please do consider joining us and experiencing the joy and privilege of working in partnership with God and others for the sake of His church, His people, His bride.

Bethany Green, Trustee and Pastor at Rosedale Community Church

(1) Hebrews 12:1

(2) Revelation 19:1

New Churches Sierra Leone

New church at Mile 91

The congregation at St Marks Cathedral joined a service with the community at Mile 91 for worship in the new church building (not yet completed). 

mile 91 service

With St Marks providing the majority of support, construction of the church began last year using local materials and the roofing has also now been completed.  

New nursery and churches in northern villages

The new Christian nursery school at Kamakontheke, a Muslim dominated village in the north of Sierra Leone, is now up and running and has the regular attendance of a small fellowship of children. With the nearest primary school being three miles distant, it is the first time children have been able to attend a school in their own village.

new nursery kamakontheke

Last weekend also saw the laying of foundations for a new church building at Kamakontheke. Local materials and labour will be utilised for the development, and the village Imam joined in prayer for the dedication of the land and building. 

church foundations

In addition, work has begun on the construction of another new church at Mathoir, which is also a Muslim dominated village in north Sierra Leone.

Message from Magnus

‘We are so thankful for your prayers. It takes faith and passion to step out, mobilise and venture. These villages are poor places with some of the poorest people, and so many things become a blessing for them. For instance, food provided for workers clearing the land, is what they depend on for their daily meal. We have no option but to provide as much as we can, hoping we can feed a whole village each day with relatively decent food.

‘Also some of the shipment tablets we have received, eg cocodamol and a few others that I buy, are taken to serve the many village people who do not have access to good medicine. We have a lot of fake medicine in Sierra Leone. 

The children are so happy with encouragement that we give them, because many cannot find this love elsewhere. I know that our country has always had these problems, and also that we can't do everything. It takes a well-organised system to prioritise what is needed in addition to our focus on major projects like the Health Clinic.’

 

How to make a Donation

Click on the Donations button at the top of the website page. This will take you through to the SLM donations account. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project, please state.

By Bank Transfer: 

Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission 

By cheque: 

To: Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ 

All donations received go to support our communities in Sierra Leone. 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4