What's New?

Lockdown updates

Lockdown restrictions will now remain at Step 3 until 19 July, with only some changes from 21 June.

There is a short summary of what is allowed below. For more detailed information and for regular updates, it is advisable to check the official Covid restriction page at gov.uk

Family and friends

Groups of up to six people or two households can 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 are also be allowed with people who are not in your bubble.

People are given the choice of whether to socially distance with close family members or friends, but they are now allowed to sit closely with one another and hug. Some caution is still advised if a 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 were allowed to see up to five named visitors from 17 May. For full details of regulations, check Guidance for Care Homes, which is updated from 15 June.

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.

A limited number of large pilot events will be running from 21 June. This will include some UEFA EURO matches at Wembley and a small number of other sports, arts and music performances.

Weddings and funerals

From 21 June the limit of 30 people attending weddings has been lifted. The number of people who can now attend is determined by how many people a Covid-secure venue can accommodate with social distancing measures in place. More than 30 people will be able to attend funerals, but again gatherings must be held in Covid-secure venues with social distancing measures in place..

Travelling

People in England are 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!

Connexion in Brighton 1761

The first of the Connexion churches was founded in North Street, Brighton in 1761. 

The Countess bought a house in North Street, Brighton in 1755, and added a small, private chapel to the grounds. Her reason for coming to Brighton was that she hoped the sea air would be beneficial to her son, who was suffering from ill health, but sadly, both of her sons died from smallpox.

The early church 1761

Returning to Brighton in 1760, the Countess invited Rev George Whitfield, a well-known Methodist leader, to preach. And as popularity for the ‘new faith’ increased, she opened her private chapel to the public in 1761. 

Over the coming years, the congregation continued to grow and the chapel was enlarged many times. In 1822, to accommodate further growth, her former residence was converted into a long gallery with a Doric entrance on North Street.

The church rebuild 1871

In 1870-1 the church was entirely rebuilt in flint and grey stone by John Wimble, having a triple-arched entrance and a tall, graceful spire. The interior had stained glass windows, a marble pulpit and galleries on all sides, with space for 900 congregation members.

The church opened on 20 March 1871 and was initially very well attended. Over time, however, congregation numbers began to dwindle, making it difficult to raise funds necessary to keep the building in good repair. The church closed its doors in September 1966 and the spire, which became a safety hazard was taken down in November 1969. The North Street church was finally demolished in February 1972, which is a great shame, and has since been replaced by office blocks and shops.

The Countess

Selina Shirley, who became The Countess of Huntingdon, was born on 24th August 1707. She founded the Connexion following her conversion in 1738, beginning a legacy of gospel influence that continues today in 22 churches. She faced innumerable challenges throughout her life and retained a personal interest in every one of her chapels until her death. She died in London on 17 June 1791, aged 83. 

Sources for information and images include: My Brighton and Hove

Read more about The Countess of Huntingdon’s life and works: The Elect Lady

The photograph of the church's interior was taken before its demolition in 1972

Donate

The support we give to our UK churches is to enable them to flourish and continue The Countess of Huntingdon’s mission. This includes funds to preserve church buildings, sponsored theological education, trips to Sierra Leone communities, financial and legal assistance for our chapels, resources and pastoral support for our ministers. With limited funds, we rely on donations to fulfil our purpose. If you are able to help by making a gift or regular donation, we'd be very thankful. To make a contribution, please click on Donations

 

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

 

 

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

Voice - Spring 2021

Another great issue of The Voice covers a wide range of topics to keep you informed and entertained!

The spring edition includes reports and updates from the Sierra Leone Mission, including news from Bethesda Childrens' Home and the new Health Centre at Brama, which is making excellent progress.

There's a Bible Study from Nigel Gordon-Potts at Goring Free Church, a message from Simon Allaby at Bolney Chapel Throwing the nets on the other side! and a 'glimpse' of the young Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon, and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Stauton Harold, where she attended as a young girl, by Robert Webb.

Paul Woodbridge outlines details of Pastoral Support, provided to our Ministers, and Ben Quant gives us an insight into the role of our Trustees, with a request to join the team!

Click on the link below to read in full - and enjoy!

The Voice - Spring 2021

Lockdown Services

Our Lockdown services are continuing, with many of our churches streaming online gatherings and messages to connect our communities in worship, prayers, bible readings and much-needed support and inspiration.

Below is a list of the online services and gatherings that are being broadcasted. We will publish and update details of all available recordings with links for you to access.

We look forward to reaching even more of our church members, some of whom do not currently have a service to join.

 

Available 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!

Reaching out at Zion

Despite not being able to open their doors during Lockdown periods, Zion Community Church in St Ives have come up with a range of initiatives to continue to engage and support their local communities.

Online Quiz Nights

Zion has been holding online Quiz Evenings to help to build a sense of community, welcome new people and generally have some fun! The evenings have been accessible to young and old, church family and guests, as well as friends and family from further afield.

Monthly Evangelistic Meetings

Once a month Zion has been hosting a visiting speaker to be interviewed online, followed by a short talk and time for Q&As. Topics discussed have ranged from "Where is God in hard times?” and “Where is history headed?” to hearing about God’s work in East Africa, featuring an online guest from Kampala.

Leaflet Distribution

Prior to the most recent lockdown, members of Zion distributed 1,000 leaflets in the local area to offer people hope and support, with advice about how they can make contact with the church if needed, either in-person or online.

The Future

Zion is currently praying and thinking through what new openings there might be once the Lockdown restrictions start to be eased. They are acutely aware that this pandemic is taking its toll on people in many different ways. Their collective aim is to serve their neighbours, one another and the Lord.

For more information about Zion Community Church, visit their website

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