Minister's Message 

Dear friends
By the time you read this Spring will have sprung.  I am going to show my age because I recall the time when Spring Cleaning would take place.  The reason for Spring Cleaning was due to the dust/soot that gathered from the coal or wood fires over the winter months.  In Spring the doors would be flung open to let in the fresh air and you would see curtains hanging on washing lines, rugs being bashed to remove the dust, cupboards being emptied and cleaned out.  This may still occur in some households – not in ours, although my Office is definitely needing a clear out and clean! 
 The Church Calendar in Spring moves us through the thoughtful time of Lent, into the sad time of Holy Week and then the joyous time of Easter Day.  Lent could be described as a time to Spring Clean our lives.  We watch as Jesus issues all the followers with a challenge and choice: 
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:34-35
This is a challenge for us to contemplate what we need to clean out of our lives so as to follow Jesus Christ more fully.  This challenge is for individuals and also the church.  Over the coming months the Stoke South Circuit Leadership Team is going to be carrying out a Review – an opportunity to reflect on where we are as a Circuit and where God is calling us - this will include each Church having a Review.  Longton Central Hall and the West End are already in the process of reviewing their situations. 
Lent a time to SPRING CLEAN our lives;
a time to look and listen to God;
a time to look at what needs chucking out;
a time to listen to what He wants to say to YOU to me;
a time to prepare for a death;
a time to prepare for NEW LIFE;
God bless from Rev Linda