To you, O Lord, we bring a treasure, greater than the mountains, deeper than the ocean and more glorious than the sun; a gift outweighing all creation, even the gift of our heart, to be laid at your feet, to be placed on your breast, to be embraced by your Spirit. Amen.Mechtild of Magdeburg (c. 1210-1280)
Prayer for our church
God of love, we pray for this church
where your love has been known for many years.
We pray that we will welcome everyone in Jesus’ name
and that, as your love pours in,
it will overflow to our neighbours.
May each person come to know that they are loved by you
and to love you in return.
May all grow in faith as we learn and pray together,
and may our faith be seen in action. Amen.
Rev. Abe Konadu-Yiadom joined the Circuit on 1st September 2017 and has responsibility for Anerley and Upper Norwood Churches. Abe is a Ghanaian-born British citizen and mother of Matthew who is studying at University. Abe describes herself as a ‘cut through Methodist’. She has a background in the voluntary and statutory sectors, working for organisations including Diabetes UK, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and as Leysian Missioner (Lay Worker) at Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission, City Road, London. She’s an avid fan of Jane Austen, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and she also enjoys watching comedy with son Matthew.
As I put my thoughts together for this Lent edition of our newsletter, there is a an uncanny feeling of not being fully recovered from Christmas!
But the reality is, that Christmas is now a distant memory and we must make preparations for Lent. During Lent, the Church sets before us Jesus’ reflections on the three great cardinal works of the spiritual life: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are invited to become involved in all three, so it is only right that we should reflect on Jesus’ advice which is the word of God for us today.
Before speaking on any of the three, Jesus first gives an opening warning about practising piety in order to be seen by people, about being publicly pious while keeping a wandering eye alert on audience reaction. Jesus’ position is unambiguous: he’s against it. He’s not against people sharing their light with others, for the point of that is to give glory to God. He’s against people using religion to direct attention to themselves.
The Jews were required to pray at set times of the day: at nine in the morning, at noontime, and at three in the afternoon. Wherever they were, they were supposed to stop, stretch out their arms with hands facing heavenwards, and bow their heads. But some people would make sure that it so happened that they were on a top step or at a busy street corner on the stroke of noon, so that they could do a muscular demonstration of fidelity in public, ensuring that their prayers were loud and long. Jesus doesn’t think much of posturing prayers which stop the traffic and which are calculated for home consumption, when people might confuse length with fidelity, or confuse fluency with sincerity.
The point about prayer is that it is addressed to the Father, not to those who have their tape recorders switched on. And Jesus gives the test of true prayer: that it is an activity that goes on in the secret places of our lives, when the audience has all gone home, when the tape recorders are off, when our doors are closed, and when our hearts are open to the Father who loves us. As one of the great rabbis put it: “God says to Israel, pray in the synagogue of your city; if you cannot, pray in your bed; if you cannot, commune with your heart and be still.”
Like prayer, fasting was an important part of the spiritual tradition and was a sign of repentance. Fasting was always linked to repentance: if it is not, it can be reduced simply to the theology of weightwatchers. Jesus criticises those who make sure that their faces look sufficiently collapsed to leave nobody in any doubt that their owners are on the job. In Palestine the two days of fasting were Monday and Thursday, which also happened to be the market days. People could use the market place to advertise their religious fervour. Jesus says no to this. Undertaker faces are no guarantee of authentic Christianity. Your face should look as if you have rented the sun. Again, what is important is that God knows what you do.
What are we to fast from? St John Chrysostom wrote: “I tell you it is possible to fast while not fasting. Is this a riddle? By enjoying food while having no taste for sin. That is a better kind of fasting.” We are first obliged to fast from sin. There is no point in missing dinner and spending the evening demolishing our neighbour. We must starve our sins before we starve our stomachs, and that will keep fasting linked to repentance.
When it comes to giving alms to the poor, Jesus thinks little of those who make sure that the trumpet sounds first, that people are
paying attention before the gift is given. Jesus gives the maxim: “your left hand must not know what your right hand is doing”. In the Temple there was a room called the Chamber of the Silent, where people could atone for their sins by making offerings anonymously, from which those living in poverty could be helped secretly. This is the kind of giving approved by Jesus: it is quiet and it is for the benefit of those who suffer in poverty.
What can we give? We should share the most precious gifts we have received: love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. That is what forgiveness is for – it is for giving. “With all his giving, he never gives himself.” We are asked to give ourselves, and in that we have the marvellous example of Jesus. He gave generously of himself: he was at great pains to share with others his time, his energy, his many gifts. In the end he gave himself away and shares with us his body and blood.
The Church asks us at the beginning of Lent to renew our own lives in the great spiritual works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and to heed Jesus’ advice. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, we will begin the season by receiving ashes. This is a sign that we are willing to undertake the Gospel way of life. When we receive the ashes we hear again the first words of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel: “Repent, believe in the Gospel.” So let us look forward to our Lent in faithfulness.
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
That Lent will be a time of truth, a time of peace, and a time of justice for all peoples. We pray to the Lord. Turn to us with mercy, Lord.
Revd Abe Konadu-Yiadom
Anerley is one of nine Churches that make up the Blackheath and Crystal Palace Circuit of the Methodist Church. We are a small but thriving Congregation that works hard to meet the needs of our local Community.
Our premises are well maintained and adaptable and we hope that you will find our friendly welcome as warm and welcoming as the premises themselves.
The Church has around 50 members and in addition to our regular Sunday Services we run or provide facilities for a wide range of different activities. These include, other Faith Groups, Bible Studies, The Penge Community Pre-School, Dance and Drama Groups for young people, A Social Group for the older members of the Church, Dog Training and Keep Fit. Our Halls are also available to hire at competitive prices for parties, clubs, associations and community activities.
Children and families are always welcome at Anerley and we have a Junior Church for the young people. However, on the fourth Sunday of the month we have a special family service when children, their parents and carers are particularly welcome to a family orientated and relaxed style of ‘All Age Worship’..
Baptisms, Weddings and, Funerals can be arranged with our Minister.
A full list of our weekly activities can be found on this website together with contact details for church officers and the leaders of groups who meet on the premises.
We are a small but thriving Church in Anerley/Penge, South London, to the North of the London Borough of Bromley and close to the Borough boundary with Croydon. We are part of the Blackeath and Crystal Palace Methodist Circuit, which is made up of 9 Churches in South East London. The other Churches are Burnt Ash, Eltham Park, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Lewisham, Sunfields, Upper Norwood and Wesley Hall Sydenham. Anerley has a membership of about 50 people of all ages from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Anyone of whatever Denomination, Faith or no Faith is very welcome at any of our Services or events.
The spiritual life of the Church is focused on Sunday morning worship and a Junior Church that are well attended by both members and adherents.
WEEKLY MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES
Morning Service 11am
Evening Service (2nd & 4th Sunday) 6.30pm
Junior Church 11am
Link Fellowship 1pm
Salvation Deliverance Ministry 2pm
MONDAY to FRIDAY
Penge Community Pre-School 9.20am to 4pm
Jumoke After School Club 3.30pm to 6pm
Harlequins Theatre Group 4pm to 6.30pm
Dog Training 7pm
Amaze Penge 9.30am to 12noon (term time only)
Hill Dance Academy 4.30pm to 8.30pm
Only Believe Assembly 7pm
Community of Faith (Brazilian church) 7pm
Wednesday (Social) Club 8pm
Prayer and Devotional Meeting 10am to 11.30am
Tai Chi 7pm
Campbell School of Dance & Drama 4pm to 6.30pm
Hill Dance Academy 11am to 3pm
Community of Faith 5.30pm
Go to the 'Regular Activities' tab for contact details and more information about groups and organisations meeting at Anerley Methodist Church