Hope series

The Junior Church used the colours of the rainbow - the sign given to Noah - to spell out the word Hope

During the first service in this series, the Junior Church used the colours of the rainbow – the sign given to Noah – to spell out the word Hope

At its best, the Church is an extending, community of hope. It envisions the good future God has in store and brings experience of this future into the present, particularly amongst those who have little hope. In doing so, the Church provides a surrogate family that accepts the hopeless into an intimate fellowship and cares for them in ways that awaken hope.
— Russell Herbert, Living Hope

Autumn Series on Hope

What do we mean when we use the word, hope?  It can be nothing more than a vague wish – “I hope you have a good holiday,” or, “I hope you pass your exams,” or, “I hope you get better soon.”  Sincerely meant, but hope in these contexts may not offer anything truly positive. After all, hoping a young person gets good exam results will not happen if a lot of time and effort has not been put in by the student to studying the subject.

What we seek to show in these services is the positive message of Christian Hope, not based on a vague optimism but on an assurance that God cares for each of us and our hope in Him transcends time and place – and the circumstances of life.

The series will include four morning services and four evening services on the theme of hope, leading up to the first Sunday in Advent.

Recordings of these services are being made available on this website –
scroll further down the page to access


Living in hope

Sunday 9th October
10.30 am: All age worship (Barbara Sexton)

Hope in the face of death

Sunday 16th October
10.30 am: Morning service (Michael Howlett)

Hope in a troubled world

Sunday 23rd October
6.30 pm: Evening service (Liz Wood)

Hope in despair

Sunday 30th October
6.30 pm: Holy communion (Rev Katherine Pickering)

Hope and resurrection

Sunday 6th November
10.30 am: Morning service (Esther Woollgar)

Hope in the future

Sunday 13th November
6.30 pm: Evening service (Frederick Obeng)

Hope through adversity

Sunday 20th November
6.30 pm: Evening service (Michael Howlett and Esther Woollgar)

Hope in God

Sunday 27th November – First Sunday in Advent
10.30 am: Morning service (Stephen Atkinson)


“Hope in your pocket” booklets will be available in the church for those who wish to pick them up. You can also download a pdf version or browse the Methodist Church in Britain website for a PowerPoint version and booklets on other themes.

We not only encourage you to join us in worship for these services but to question us preachers if you desire more than we were able to give.  Preachers, too, are learners in the Christian Faith. The more we support and encourage each other, the more we – as individuals and as a church – will grow in our knowledge of God’s love to us.  And, just as importantly, the more we are able to express God’s love to those around us.

We look forward to worshipping with you.


Service Recordings

Living in hope

Sunday 9th October
10.30 am: All age worship led by Barbara Sexton
“God is with us. God sees the wider picture and encourages, strengthens and inspires the hope that powers our living.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (22MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

00:20 Opening prayers and the Lord’s Prayer
03:50 A word – what do we mean by “hope”?
10:35 Junior Church – faith grows
12:15 Talk for all ages – Noah and the sign of the rainbow
16:35 Children asked to make the word “HOPE” using rainbow colours – the result is pictured at the top of this page
18:20 A sign
25:15 An action – Faith, hope and love (this includes a story from when Barbara was caring for her husband)
38:55 Thank you to the Junior Church and prayers of intercession
43:40 Blessing


Hope in the face of death

Sunday 16th October
10.30 am: Morning service led by Michael Howlett with Rev Kevin Jones, the Padre at the Vauxhall Barracks.
“Wherever the situation is, the chaplain would go there. Even if it was a dangerous place, a dirty place, a cold place or a very hot place – that’s where we would be, alongside them there.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (26MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons. There are a couple of brief moments where the recording goes quiet; this is to cut out feedback.

Please also note: Unfortunately Kevin’s microphone was not picked up in the recording; although the best efforts have been made to make his words as audible as possible in the recording, his words aren’t as clear as we would like. A transcript (with some photos) is available here.

00:00 Call to worship
00:25 Opening prayers and the Lord’s Prayer
04:15 Michael introduces Rev Kevin Jones
04:48 Talk for all ages – Kevin goes through his rucksack
13:45 Prayer for the children
14:15 Reading from Philippians 1:12-29
17:45 Reading from Mark 5:21-43
21:10 Conversation between Michael and Kevin about ‘Hope in the face of death’
38:45 Kevin leads the prayers of intercession
46:15 Michael reflects and receives the offering
47:55 Blessing


Hope in a troubled world

Sunday 23rd October
6.30 pm: Evening service led by Liz Wood
“Every time we show the love of God, every time we reach out and act upon our hopes, we make a difference… The world changes.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (20 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

00:00 Call to worship
00:44 Opening prayers
03:13 Reading from Genesis 39:8-23
07:05 Reading from Romans 8:18-39
09:55 Story: “The Little Boy”
14:40 Introduction to the service theme
15:45 Sermon
32:40 Sharing of “From a Distance” by Bette Midler (a YouTube video of this song with the lyrics is embedded below)
34:56 Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer
39:53 Blessing


Hope in despair

Sunday 30th October
6.30 pm: Holy communion led by Rev Katherine Pickering
“We believe in a God who took on human flesh. Who got stuck into the full reality of what it means to be human. He is not someone out there looking down on us here. But God chose to be right here in this world. In the mess of it. In the midst of it. That’s what incarnation is about: God present in our suffering, in the suffering of the world.” 

You can also download the mp3 file here (23 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

00:00 Call to worship
01:13 Opening prayers
04:52 Reading from Isaiah 61:1-4 with comment from Katherine afterwards
07:27 Reading from Luke 24:13-35
11:23 Sermon
34:14 Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer
39:20 Sharing of the peace and offering
41:10 Communion
46:29 Blessing


Hope and resurrection

Sunday 6th November
10.30 am: Morning service led by Esther Woollgar
“The hope of escaping and losing the body is not nearly as strong as the hope of being reconciled with our bodies. And part of what the resurrection hope is about, is having a complete and integrated identity.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (25 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

The sermon of this service presents ideas from the following books and at times quotes from them:
– “Living Hope” by Russell Herbert (Epworth, Kevin Mayhew)
– “Surprised by Hope” by Tom Wright (SPCK)
– “Body” by Paula Gooder (SPCK)
The text of 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 was taken from Tom Wright’s translation provided in “Paul for everyone – 1 Corinthians” (SPCK) 

00:00 Call to worship
01:20 Opening prayers
03:13 Talk for all ages – a new word
07:45 Introduction to sermon
10:23 Sermon and readings part 1: 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
26:45 Sermon and readings part 2: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
45:10 Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer
49:50 Blessing


Hope in the future

Sunday 13th November
6.30 pm: Evening service led by Frederick Obeng
“But our hope is not only on this earth alone – but in our inheritance that our Lord has preserved. And it is being guarded for you and me.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (18 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

00:00 Call to worship
00:40 Opening prayers
1:58 Introduction
2:38 Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-12
5:07 Sermon part 1: an incorruptible inheritance
14:48 Reading: Hebrews 12:1-2
15:48 Sermon part 2: completing the race
27:36 Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer
35:56 Blessing


Hope through adversity

Sunday 20th November
6.30 pm: Evening service led by Michael Howlett and Esther Woollgar
“I’ve spent so long picturing death as the perfect peace, I’m not entirely sold on the whole living again part of the resurrection; so what I take from it is that what we see as an ending, is not one for God. If he can overcome the ultimate end, then what can he do with all the other things we think of as final and impossible and death of sorts?”

You can also download the mp3 file here (21 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

During the service, we heard the reflections and testimony of a friend of Esther’s, who has ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
00:00 Call to worship
01:05 Opening prayers and Lord’s Prayer
03:16 Michael introduces Cluny and gives a definition of ME/CFS
04:41 Cluny’s reflection on living with chronic illness
10:26 Cluny introduces Psalm 88
11:48 Reading: Psalm 88
14:07 First conversation between Esther and Cluny
23:52 Reading: Mark 4:26-29
24:57 Second conversation between Esther and Cluny
32:53 Cluny’s closing reflection on her walk with God
38:00 Michael thanks Cluny, leads prayers of intercession and receives the offering
45:46 Blessing


Hope in God

Sunday 27th November – First Sunday in Advent
10.30 am: Morning service led by Stephen Atkinson

“Here, at one of the darkest points in the Old Testament, we feel the absence of God – even his desertion. But never the slightest hint that we have any option but to go on waiting, expecting, that God will come.”

You can also download the mp3 file here (18 MB) by right clicking and selecting “Save target  as…”, “Download linked file…” or “Save link as…”
Hymns have been removed from the recordings for copyright reasons.

00:00 Call to worship
01:57 Lighting of the first Advent candle
04:56 Reflection (talk for all ages)
07:09 Prayers of praise and confession, and the Lord’s Prayer
11:25 Reading from Matthew 24:36-44
13:27 Reading from Romans 8:35-39
14:40 Offertory
15:32 Reading from Psalm 88
18:34 Sermon
34:51 Prayers of intercession
39:50 Blessing