River Methodist Church
in the love of God.
All are welcome.
in the love of God.
All are welcome.
From our Minister
On September 1st at 900am the removers arrived as planned, armed with boxes, to get going with packing up the manse in Teignmouth! With their arrival came the reality that this was actually happening – that I was moving from one side of the country which I have had connections with all my life and know pretty well, to the opposite side of the country which, until our visit in January I had never been anywhere near and knew practically nothing!! What I do know though – is that just as God can be found in the West country, so he is in the East – and all places in between! And as God remains with the folk that I have left behind so I know I will meet him in all of you who I have come to work alongside.
Dover is only my second appointment as a presbyter but I'm not new to the whole ‘ministerial moving’ process. I'm married to Philip who, also starting in September, has been called to be the Superintendent minister in the Bexhill, Hastings and Rye circuit. In 1983 Phil and I went to Queen’s College, Birmingham where Phil trained as a Methodist minister and I completed my local preacher training at last, having started in 1979! Twenty nine years later I was back at Queen’s again, only this time I was the one doing the training! In the intervening years we have lived in a small Norfolk village near to Downham Market, followed by ten years in Harwich in Essex. We moved to Okehampton in Devon in 2001, where my Mum lives and where I worked for 10 years as a Primary Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator before candidating for the ministry. In 2014 I took up my first appointment in the Teignbridge circuit, looking after the churches in Teignmouth, Shaldon Bishopsteignton and Dawlish, and in 2016, the year I was ordained, Phil was asked to move to the South Petherton and Crewkerne Circuit in Somerset. Now we have both been called East…(!) where we are excited to be serving in a new District and Circuits and looking forward to getting to know the folk from the churches that we will serve!
Philip and I have two children – Stephen is married to Erika and they live in Sawston in Cambridgeshire and Rebecca is in Scotland, living in Stenhousemuir, a popular holiday destination for friends and family alike! Our favourite bolthole for holidays is a cottage that we rent in the Lake District at the bottom of Windermere… we’ve holidayed there for so long that we call it our second home!
Taking inspiration from the Wesleys, I am passionate to share the message that the Good news of God’s saving love is for everyone without exception – I long that all should know how precious and valuable that they are to God. God has no favourites, his unconditional love is there for all of us shown supremely to us in Jesus. I’m in danger of giving you a sermon now(!) but suffice to say that this Good News is what drives me and excites me. During the challenging times of the last few months my aim has been to keep folk connected with one another – after all fellowship, along with scripture, prayer and the sharing of Holy Communion, is a means of Grace as Wesley called it, striving for ‘social holiness’ where we share together of the things of God and pray for others as well as for one another – I believe it is the core of who we are as Christian people.
As Methodists we find meaning to our faith, seeking to live out what John Wesley saw as being fundamental, that all can be saved, by grace, through faith, to the uttermost. It’s up to us to keep telling the story, discerning God’s presence and offering God’s abundant love to the world, wherever we are called to do so. I look forward to meeting with you, praying with you and working alongside you as we strive to move forward in mission and ministry together and continue to share the vision of God’s Kingdom in this part of the world.
Rev Catherine Wagstaff.