Thought For Today

A mind is like a parachute,
I heard it once proposed.
It’s wonderful when open –
But not much good when closed!

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Music to Lift Up the Heart

When the great explorer, Ernest Shackleton, sailed to Antarctica his plan to walk to the South Pole was thwarted because his ship became trapped in the crushing ice.

Shackleton and his crew were forced to abandon their ship and thus began an epic rescue operation.

Interestingly, amongst the supplies that Shackleton took from his sinking ship was a banjo. Whatever hardships his men were about to face he knew that they would become much stronger with the sound of music to lighten their hearts.

Thankfully, it is very unlikely that we shall ever be trapped in the Antarctic but some some of the challenges and concerns that we face in our daily lives may be very serious and problematic.

And our words, offered by way of love and kindness, can be the music that joyfully lifts up peoples’ hearts and helps to make their journey worth living.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Prayers for the People of Nepal

Call for Prayers for the People of Nepal

Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake this weekend in Nepal that claimed thousands of lives and thousands more injured, the World Methodist Council Social Justice & International Affairs Committee issuedthis statement on behalf of the World Methodist Council.

27/04/2015

A message from Malcolm and Cati Ramsay, Mission Partners in Kathmandu

Dear Everyone,

As all of you will undoubtedly know, Nepal was hit by a violent and prolonged earthquake measuring 7.8 on Saturday 25th April. The epicentre was midway between Kathmandu and Pokhara. Only 24 hours earlier, the entire expatriate staff of UMN had travelled from Kathmandu, Tansen and Okhaldunga to Pokhara for UMN’s annual four day retreat which the two of us were leading.

The earthquake and successive aftershocks, including one measuring 6.7 yesterday, Sunday, have had a devastating effect on the country. As we write (Monday afternoon), the death toll has exceeded 3,000 and is still rising as rescue operations continue. We are profoundly grateful that we ourselves, along with the other UMN staff, are all unharmed physically. However we’re all extremely shaken by what has happened and find the continuing aftershocks both alarming and unsettling. The challenge is balancing our relief at being alive with our heartfelt grief at the catastrophic consequences for so many people here.

UMN has sent two doctors to join a medical camp near the epicentre, while the rest of the Tansen staff returned this morning to the hospital. Even as we write this, UMN is taking part in urgent discussions as to how best to participate in the Aid and Relief work that has now begun. We don’t yet know how many will be able to return to Kathmandu tomorrow, but the two of us have been asked to travel early tomorrow morning (Tuesday), so that we can be in Kathmandu as soon as possible to provide a listening ear to those feeling traumatised by the earthquake.

We are deeply touched by the scores of emails we have already received, expressing people’s concern and prayers. The internet has been unreliable and this, coupled with the fact that we feel physically and emotionally drained, means that we can’t reply to each one individually – for now at least. Every single email has made a tremendous difference. Thank you.

Several texts have also arrived but mysteriously with random UK numbers attached instead of the sender’s name. This has often made it impossible to know who they’re from. If you text us please include your name even if you know you’re already in our Contacts list!

With lots of love and prayers from us both,

Malcolm and Cati

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I am sure that you will all be watching the traumatic news about Nepal, in whichever country you live, and such is the severity of this disastrous earthquake I make no apologies for including regular updates/information in my daily blog.

Please pray for everyone who has lost their homes, their possessions and even their lives…….

May our Father God bless them mightily.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Thomas Coke (1747-1814)

From Brecon to the World

Thomas Coke was one of the founders of Methodism and a major contributor to the globalisation of the movement. Born in Brecon, is travelled widely and initiated the sending of missions to many countries.

Brecon in the 18th Century

When Coke was born, Brecon was one of the most important towns in Wales. It was on the route to Ireland and the final stop for the first regular coach service into Wales from London. It held one of the four Welsh Courts of Great Sessions of a prominent market town and administrative centre. It was also an important social centre for the local gentry and landowners who built many fine houses in the town.

Early Life

Born close to St Mary’s Church in Brecon, where was baptised, Coke was the son of a well-to-do apothecary (early pharmacist), Bartholomew Coke, and his wife, Anne. He was educated at Christ College in Brecon and at Jesus College, Oxford and he graduated from University in 1768. In 1775 he became a doctor of Civil Law. In Brecon he was deeply involved in town life, serving first as a councillor and then as the Bailiff in 1770.

Early Methodism

The Methodist movement began in the 18th century with the teachings of John Wesley, who believed in bringing faith back into people’s everyday lives and that salvation was available to all. He was a charismatic speaker and often preached in the open air. Methodism became popular amongst the working class, although members of all social classes at the time became involved.

Early Ministry

In 1771 Coke was ordained as a priest and became curated in the parish of South Petherton, in Somerset. He first met John Wesley in 1776 and later became an important assistant to him, beginning his lifelong commitment to the newly developing Methodist Church. On Easter Sunday in 1777, to the sound of church bells, Coke was driven from his parish because the local Rector disapproved of his Methodist ways.

Profile and Personality

At only 5’1”, Coke was a short man but he had a youthful appearance that stayed with him throughout his life. He was described as volatile and impulsive but also quick to admit when he was at fault, warm-hearted and honest. John Wesley said of Coke in 1788: ’I creep like Laos and the ground I get I keep; but the doctor (Coke) leaps like a flea and is sometimes obliged to leap back again.’

In America

In 1784, Coke was ordained Superintendent and sailed for the newly formed United States with orders to organise an independent American Methodist Church. In Baltimore, Coke met with Methodist preachers and ordained their chosen leader, Francis Asbury, as a fellow Superintendent; though they were both later styled ‘Bishop’ by the Americans, much to John Wesley’s displeasure. Coke made nine journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, meeting with the President, George Washington, speaking out against slavery and addressing the US Congress.

Father of the Methodist Missions

In 1786, Coke landed on Antigua in the Caribbean. Impressed by the devotion and quiet endurance of the slaves he found there, he was inspired to organise and encourage Methodist missions throughout the West Indies and elsewhere. The costs were high and Coke often financed them from his own pocket. His marriages, late in life, to Penelope Goulding Smith, from Bradford-on-Avon, in 1805, and Anne Loxdale, of Liverpool, in 1811, she died less than a year later, helped fund his work: both women were strong supporters of their husband’s ideals, before their untimely deaths.

Death and Commemoration

Coke made his final voyage in 1814, at the age of 67, leading a team of missionaries to the Indian sub-continent. On Tuesday May 3rd, he was found dead in his cabin and was buried at sea. His loss was greatly felt by the Methodist Church and many memorials were created to commemorate his life’s achievements. In Brecon, a memorial chapel was built in 1835, to which school was later added. Churches bearing his name can be found in the United States, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and even South Petherton, his first parish.

Methodism in the World Today

Since Coke’s day, Methodism has continued to spread across the globe and today claims over 70 million members. Modern day Methodists, such as the late Nelson Mandela, continue Coke’s legacy of ’a life of faith in God lived in service to others.’ In December 2013, the Methodist Church of South Africa said: ’Mandela’s life demonstrated the finest characteristics of the Methodist faith: integrity tempered with graciousness; a strong ethic of industriousness; and honesty with reconciliation.’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Pray For The People Of Nepal, Devastated By An Earthquake

Dear Father God,

We pray for all affected by the earthquake in Nepal:
For those grieving the loss of loved ones,
For those living in fear of aftershocks,
For those trapped awaiting rescue,
and for those who are searching.
Comfort, protect, rescue and strengthen.

We pray for all who are responding on the ground:
For partner agencies coordinating the response,
For those in need of shelter, clothing, food and water,
For those in remote rural areas whose plight is yet unknown,
and for those who are travelling to and within Nepal.
Direct, provide, connect and guide.

We pray for the world as it watches on:
For the media as it tells the full story,
For compassion to overcome despair,
For unity to overcome distance,
and for kindness to prevail.
Inspire, move, unite and reveal.

In your resurrection hope we pray

Please join us in our prayers for the people of Nepal

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Lord, who is our shepherd,
We pray for the people of Nepal in this time of want.
Guide those who grieve to still waters; restore their soul.
Lead those who are searching to the right places.
Comfort those who are trapped in the darkest valley of fear.
May generosity and compassion overflow in response
so that goodness and mercy may follow all
who will live in the shadow of this earthquake.
May they dwell in secure houses and
know healing and protection all their life long.

Amen.

ISLAMIC STATE EXECUTE 30 CHRISTIANS

Islamic State has released a video showing the militants executing 30 ‘people of the cross’ in Libya. The video claims that those who were killed were Ethiopian Christians; the Ethiopian government has confirmed that they were Ethiopian migrant workers, but the Jerusalem Post has reported that three of those killed were from Eritrea.

One contact in Libya has asked us: “Please support us in Libya with your prayers. Especially the Arabic-speaking congregations of migrants need prayer; these churches are mainly attended by Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians… Many of them are becoming frightened, weak, discouraged and disappointed. Pray that the Lord might strengthen us in our faith in this time of trial.”

Please Join Me in Praying:

  • For comfort for the families of those who have been killed
  • For strength for the church in Libya, particularly Arabic congregations
  • For an end to violence in Libya
  • For God to change the hearts of members of Islamic State and turn them to Him.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Attacks on Foreigners in South Africa – Statement from the World Methodist Council

I have a special interest in this issue as my wife, Marlene, was born in South Africa and we both have many family and friends living in Durban and Johannesburg..

The Statement from the World Methodist Council reads:-

In the wake of escalating violence against foreign nationals, refugees and asylum seekers in the Republic of South Africa, World Methodist Council representatives express concern and disappointment at these clear violations of human rights. General Secretary Ivan Abrahams and the Social Justice Committee of the World Methodist Council issued this joint statement today condemning the violence and attacks:

The World Methodist Council condemns these attacks which so clearly undermine human rights and dignity. We applaud the actions of Methodist family members within the Republic of South Africa who have stood up against these human rights violations.  We also welcome the recent statements of President Zuma and senior government officials.

We further support the marches and events held to bring awareness to take a stance against such atrocities. We pray that they are successful in continuing to promote initiatives toward peaceful coexistence.

We implore the South African government to protect the rights of all people as enshrined in its Constitution.  We further call on Methodists and Wesleyans within the neighboring countries of South Africa to stand in solidarity with and aid all those affected by these attacks. We are one human race. Let us all continue to pray and speak out against the injustices throughout our world.

Please join with me in praying against the injustices which are being perpetrated throughout the world.

Let us humbly remember that we are ALL children of our Father God.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey