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The musings of a Methodist Minister

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

YMCA update

Posted by mike redshaw on November 12, 2017

It's 2.44 in the morning and for a variety of reasons this is the hardest sleepout of the 5 I’ve done.


Feels claustrophobic in my box; I’m aware of my cold and the snuffling noises it creates (sorry for those around me); first time I’ve had to wear hat and gloves ‘cos the temperature is down.


And I choose to do this for one night a year, what about all those who have no choice and sleep out every night ?


I choose to bring hats, gloves, thick coat, have a box and a pillow, what about those who can’t ?


I sleep safely in the company of like minded souls, what about those fearful of muggers, hooligans or worse ?


I choose to help …………….


Why ? John Wesley spoke of a social gospel, which sought to alleviate need. Coming from an age of philanthropists where it was considered normal for the wealthy to create social conditions which benefitted others, the Cadburys in their creation of Bournville, Barnado, Angela Burdett-Coutts, Florence Nightingale and many others, there is a rich heritage of helping.

Thankfully we have our philanthropists of today, Bill Gates and his drive to eradicate polio, Bono setting up a foundation to help 3rd world people, Elton John supporting AIDS charities, David Beckham offering a years wages to the charities of Paris and many more.

I can't offer such wealth, few of us can, but like Wesley we can seek to do 'all we can' (also the current name of the Methodist Church relief charity), and tonight I'm doing what I can.

The YMCA literally changes lives: so far tonight we've raised over £27,000 and experience shows more will yet come in, which will help to get people out of cardboard boxes, off the streets, away from danger and into safe, secure housing.

I choose to help



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YMCA sleepout

Posted by mike redshaw on November 9, 2017

Only two days and the temperature is plummeting !

What am I referring to ? The annual YMCA sleepout, of course. This will be my fifth year of sleeping out for a very worthwhile charity that does so much in Burton and District (Tamworth to Uttoxeter). I'm proud to be associated with them and this is just a small part of helping them. This year they're looking to establish a night shelter from Dec to March, alongside trying to get the rough sleepers into longer term accommodation and ultimately permanent housing.

As my diary eases off I'm hoping to be able to volunteer to help with that occasionally as well, as part of my circuit brief to be a witness in the town centre, and what better a witness than trying to draw alongside people in their time of need.

Please consider sponsoring me at Http//uk.virginmoneygiving.co./MikeRedshaw



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Time out

Posted by mike redshaw on November 4, 2017

What is most needed in our lives ? So often many of us are running around full of busy, for we live in a culture which is time pressured and task orientated. This weekend we are having our annual time away with good friends, their family and now their grandchildren also, spending time in the High Peaks of Derbyshire.

After the busy pressure of moving house, the full-on task of acting as co-deputy Chair of District as well as Superintendent Minister its good to simply stop, relax and chill.

So why the need to go from this (left) to this (below right) ?

We’ve conned ourselves, as a world, into thinking that business is the be all and end all of our existence and yet we weren’t created simply to burn ourselves out pursuing often meaningless tasks.

When we look at the creation account in Genesis (whether we view it as literal or not) what is clear is that the creation is there to be enjoyed, not missed in the pursuit of materialism. Jesus didn’t speak of the need to be endlessly busy, but he spoke of the building of Gods Temple, our bodies, both physically and spiritually.

AND I’m fully aware that as you read this some of you will be thinking of the old saying “pot calling kettle black” and yes I know that I fall into the trap of endlessly looking for something to do; perhaps taking on the worlds mentality that if I’m not busy then Im failing in some way. I put it own to boredom, what will others think or some other pathetic excuse when in reality its because I haven’t fully learnt the art of relaxation.

This is why I value this time each year, because those around me don’t allow me the opportunity to be busy; the hardest decision lies between where are we going tomorrow and which book shall I read next. The children in the group remove from my mind all things ‘churchy’ because even the Methodist Church can’t compare with Peppa Pig or “in the night garden”although at times Christians could learn so much from these programmes. When I’m with the children I cuddle Anna from Frozen because I’m told to, Im dragged by the finger around this massive house we’re staying in and I’m afforded no time to stop and think of Church.

Even after they’ve gone to bed there are  conversations to be had over a glass of wine, pool to be played, silliness to be shared and good friendships renewed yet again.

Mark 1:35-37 shows that even Jesus needed ‘time-out’ alone and away from those around him; batteries need to be recharged and we all need to get off the treadmill we call life, for if we don’t it will consume us and ultimately be damaging to our spiritual and physical well being. Methodist Ministers are expected, every quarter, to take 3 consecutive days off from work, every 7 years to take 3 months out to do something different.

So, each year, because I don’t always succeed at the quarter days, its good to get away from it all, and take ourselves off to a remote cottage with friends.

This year we’re in the High Peak in a magnificent old house with that many bedrooms and passages that its easy to get lost, and most importantly it seems to be miles from anywhere; wonderful !!





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Climbing the wall

Posted by mike redshaw on September 21, 2017

I don’t know how many of you will remember this balloon, but it was given to me in 2015 when I had my first Acute Pancreatitis attack and I was off work for a couple of weeks. I still have it and Piper loves playing with it when she visits.

Today I hit what I call ‘the Wall’ when tiredness comes on suddenly. As I look back its the cumulative effect of holding down Circuit Superintendency at a time when the Circuit was three Presbyters down, throughout the summer and at the same time a sharp increase in my role as co-deputy chair of District. The former involved more circuit work, in terms of covering services, ladies meetings, church councils, Local Preachers meetings etc as well as pastoral visiting and admin tasks. The latter involved visiting new Presbyters and Deacons to the District and then being a part of their welcome services, District coffee morning and an induction day for folk new to the District. Its involved a round of circuit meetings, District conversations, a trip to London on District business, and so much more.

Throughout the Summer, which is normally battery re-charge time, we’ve also been arranging to move Manses to the other side of Burton and that brings its own stresses in itself. Hopefully, next week !!!!

To top it all yesterday involved an 8 hour trip to Penrith in Cumbria for a meeting. Thankfully I wasn’t driving, but a good colleague, Andy, did all the driving.


And then today tiredness hit; I even found myself having to park the car in services on the A50 and having a 10 minute nap and then a further sleep when I got home.


How do I cope with these moments which, thankfully, are few and far between ?

Firstly, its a matter of sleeping which I’m lucky that Ive never had trouble with. A kip here and there usually keeps it at bay but on a day like this its about a longer sleep. Already Im feeling much more like my old self.

Secondly, its about remembering why Im doing it; I came into Ministry not out of a desire to build the Methodist Church but as a genuine response to a calling from God who wants to use me, warts and all, to further His

Kingdom; a Kingdom of love, acceptance, tolerance and the teachings of Jesus Christ my Lord. A Kingdom, not separate from the world but within the world with all its garbage, shame and delight. A Kingdom of God reconciled with the world He created.

Thirdly, its about holding onto the joys of the moment; the privilege of greeting and preaching at the welcome services; the sense of fellowship with other colleagues, lay and ordained; the opportunity (as I had today) of holding a family through bereavement, and last Sunday (& next) holding a baby for baptism. Its about seeing the beauty around us, both in and in other people. Yesterday before setting off for Penrith a simple meal with Rebecca and Michelle to celebrate Michelles birthday (what a great girl she is). Its about having the love of Alison, even when I’m being grumpy. I couldn’t be half the person I am without her.

These are all the things that hold me, inspire me, comfort and excite me. I am so privileged to live the life I do, and I am grateful beyond measure, to a God who called me in the first place.

So my feeble personae keeps on; wobbling but never falling down. LOL

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……….. and so life goes on

Posted by mike redshaw on June 27, 2017

I was in London last week and after my meeting I strolled down to Hyde Park and relaxed in the hot sunshine.

As I lay on the grass, half sleepily, I reflected on all that has happened of late: the Manchester bombing, the Westminster attack, the Finsbury Park mosque attack and of course the dreadful tower block fire not too far from Hyde Park itself. I prayed for peace and love to dominate our world, knowing that because human beings are involved it's unlikely in my lifetime, and yet believing that for God ALL things are possible.


I looked around me and I saw a group of young people in shorts and bikinis laughing and dancing, I saw groups of people dabbling their feet in the nearby fountain, I saw a young mother and her baby just enjoying time together. Later I walked down through the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street passing through the hordes of shoppers and business folk with little or no time to stop and pause.


In short 'life goes on'. Throughout the terrorist atrocities the constant cry has been “they won't stop us being or our way of life; we carry on” and here I was witnessing precisely that.


I'm now on holiday, still enjoying the sunshine, and getting on with life for that's all we can do; live each moment as God intended us to, not worry about that over which we have no direct control, seek in our own lives to pursue holiness, seek justice for all and, certainly for me, look at the life of Jesus and model my own life on his

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Posted by mike redshaw on June 4, 2017

Never thought I'd be following up my last post on Manchester with a new one responding to the London attacks of last night.


Today is Pentecost; the day the Church marks the coming of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus, the birthday of the Church.


In the light of last night I've just rattled off some notes to replace the sermon I was going to preach this afternoon at our Circuit service. These are incomplete and will change as I preach but below is the gist of what I'll be saying in an hour and a half stars time. No great theological discourse but a simple message of love. I have no doubt others, more academic than me, will be able to pick fault or say it's too simplistic, but I feel that God has called me to leave the traditional Pentecost theme of bursting out if the room etc. for a simple message of love, community, relations etc.


Here it is………….

1). Vs 22. Be doers of the Word, not just hearers.

Many hear scripture read but not many go out and 'do' it.

In summary, many have heard the Word of God, pondered the Word of God, and discussed the Word of God. However, the Word was not primarily given to us for philosophical meditation, but for action. “Do what it says!”

Someone once said (poss C.S.Lewis) “and the word became flesh and theologians turned it back into the word”

2. What are we to do ? “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). The emphasis of NT is that of love “For God so loved the world that he sent his only son…………..not to condemn the world but to save the world” John 3:16-17

3. We are called to follow the command of Jesus “Love your neighbour” “Love one another” “Love the Lord your God” and so on.

4. How do we do this ? I struggle to love everyone. There are people I find difficult. I need Gods help in this.

5. That's why we need the Holy Spirit more than ever; to teach this world how to love; a world that needs love between religion, creed, colour, sex, politics. When Jesus spoke about “building his church” I believe it wasn't about denominational structures but about communities and relationships, and yes I know that sounds as though I'm selling out my evangelical roots and becoming a wooly liberal, but I'm not. I believe passionately that Jesus died for the restoration of Humanity, for each one of us, but we need to accept Him and seek to follow Him. You and I are called to proclaim the love that restores relationships, the love that builds communities and for that we need the Holy Spirit to work in us.

6. Be honest, we live in a broken world, but if we truly believe that Jesus is Lord then you and I are called to put what we hear into action, follow Jesus, be Christlike in our thinking and actions and through the power of the Holy Spirit within us SHOW, not just talk, LIVE, not just pay lip service and BE the love of Christ in the world.

7. Do you want that ? Pray that the Holy Spirit will transform our hearts not tomorrow but today.

8. in a few moments I'm going to play number 1044, an old Vineyard hymn “Sweet Wind”. Follow the words, and join in if you wish. At the same time, as an act of commitment if you wish, come forward and light a candle for all victims and as a prayer for yourself to respond in love to all whom you meet.





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Posted by mike redshaw on May 27, 2017

It’s been a week where we have seen the best and worst of people, and I’m sitting here in the Circuit office reflecting on it all.

It’s taken me almost a week to get to this point, so please forgive these ramblings……….

Last Monday, the terrible news of the Manchester bombing. As a person who has previously worked in the Manchester area and who retains a great love for the City and especially Oldham it has caused great upset and anger within me. However, I too concur with those who speak of the Mancunian spirit, having been there when the shopping centre experienced the IRA bombing on 15 June 1996. Thankfully no one was killed but over 200 were injured.

As a City they will rise up again and the generous, good-hearted people with a strong sense of community will prevail I’m sure.


For the rest of the week it’s hung heavy in the air and affected the mood of the nation. I personally have found it hard to lift myself above an all-encompassing black cloud; yes, I’ve laughed and joked and supported people for that is what I think I’m called to do, but throughout it all there has been a great heaviness in my heart.


I feel for the good, honest, Muslims amongst us who have been again subjected as scape-goats for those who would hijack a peaceful, loving faith for their own twisted ends. I think back to those Oldham days where I got far more respect from the Muslim community than I did from so-called Christians: I think of Mundoor with whom I played football and the only difference between us was our club allegiances.


I grieve at the opportunistic party politics especially from the likes of UKIP and BNP etc who this week have seized on this atrocity simply to push their agenda of hate and division.


I rejoice at my Muslim brothers and sisters all over the UK who have urged their leaders to teach more, teach better and teach about tolerance and love. I urge my Christian brothers and sisters the same.


This week I have seriously questioned the whole issue of organised religion in the face of many (including within my own family) who have added to the hurt by condemning religion. Do I want to be a part of something that is seen and often accused of causing war, division and hatred ? Do I want to be a part of an organisation which decries homosexuality, love between people outside of marriage such as Westboro Baptists in America and similar hate filled groups in our own country ?


Unequivocally, I say NO I don’t and I’m saddened when because of my faith I’m automatically aligned with those of hate and ultimately with those of murder.


I feel that those who trot out the old adage “religion causes war/death/hatred etc” lump those of us who see love, respect, tolerance in our faith together with those who we call terrorists and let me tell you that hurts me to the very core of my being.


I believe in a Jesus who I have met so many times over the years, in so many different ways; a Jesus who proclaimed over 2000 years ago “Love your neighbour” and still says it today. That’s who my faith is based on, someone who knows how imperfect I am but still loves me, a person who challenges me to find the best in others and love them for their potential not for their failings (for I have far too many of this do dare judge others).


It is my love for Jesus and the knowledge of his love for people that has brought me through this week. Yes, the dark cloud is still there but it’s beginning to lift………


I pray that for those families affected by that atrocity the clouds will eventually lift and the light of love will shine again.







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Privilege and Commitment

Posted by mike redshaw on May 3, 2017

One of the privileges to being Deputy Chair of District is to be found in the different roles it’s given me. Amongst the busyness, the hustle and bustle, there are moments of pure joy; working alongside Michelle Sims, our District Fresh Expressions Enabler, visiting and sharing in Worship at various District Churches, getting a glimpse of the wider District work, being a part of the Regional Learning and Development Forum.

Today has been one more privilege; serving on a Connexional group looking at and preparing a Good Practice Guide for Fresh Expressions and Pioneer Ministry with Revd Graham Horsley and two others Kate and Matt (both of whom know far more than me).

So often we imagine Church in decline when the reality is that Christian Faith is simply re-imagining how things are done. Faith hasn’t gone away, it’s simply that it’s re-expressing itself in more culturally relevant ways. In many ways it’s in the stories of new Church models that we find people returning to faith or finding it for the first time; we find people whose faith is reinvigorated and encouraged

And, WOW, what a joy to hear those stories.

But the challenge is to how I, as a Superintendent, both hold the traditional model of Church (which nurtured me and which still speaks to some today, alongside giving permission to others to imagine a different Church.

Worship in a coffee shop, Bible Study in a secular setting, discussion and questions in a pub, sitting in a bench in Burton talking to anyone who sits down and building relationships. These are only a few of the ways in which Church is taking its faith into new areas, and today I’ve heard of plenty more. I want to release Churches, people into dreaming big, challenging perceptions and bringing the love of Jesus to the world once again. However, I don’t want to decry all that’s gone before, nor the faithful commitment and witness of those who’ve brought us to this point and place in time.

And yes it’s time consuming, it’s painful and at times very uncomfortable, but I believe passionately that God is calling us to place our desires on the cross and allow Him to resurrect them as His own desires.

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Passionate Worship

Posted by mike redshaw on April 8, 2017

Synod today was the first in a series of five synods focussing on the five principles of the District mission statement (itself based on the Schnase book 'Five practises of fruitful congregations”)

Beginning with opening devotions (led by Dave Bilborough) he then went on to speak about authentic worship

We worship God not for what we can get out of it but simply because of who He is “
Don't let's be prescriptive on style. Why not preach first and then sing in response to the message ? Why not be more reflective or more charismatic ? As Dave pointed out we all have a tendency to cling to that which is comforting to us, rather than that which is passionate, reaching down into the depths of our soul and led by the Holy Spirit.
The second breakout group was led by Adam Sanders on Jazz Church, quoting from John 4:23b
Spoke about improvisational worship John 3:8,
Hospitable, prepared to let folk 'have a go'
Creative. Genesis 1:1
An encouraging synod chaired by our soon-to-be President, Loraine Mellor involved challenges to our thinking and creative ways of 'doing'. All in all a good day


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“To hear or not to hear, that is the question !”

Posted by mike redshaw on February 9, 2017

Struggled badly tonight. For the first time in my Ministry I had to leave a Church Council part way through, as my hearing just disappeared. One minute it was fine and the next I could hear nothing. Tried everything I could but nothing is working; not sure if it's a damaged tube, moisture in the aid or a move of wax in my ear.

Ear is now swimming in oil and I'm hoping that by the morning there may be an improvement. If not I'll have to wait until Friday to see the audiologist and even though that's just marginally over 24 hours away it'll feel like a long time.

Winshill Chapel were incredibly gracious and supportive in sending me home and that is so appreciated.

However, despite the love and warmth they and countless others on Facebook have offered, I have rather wallowed in self-pity somewhat this evening. Why ? Because it raises fears about how I can help others if I can't hear. All evening I've kept thinking about “what if I'd been with a bereaved family ?” What use would I have been ? The Methodist Church have been brilliant in buying me equipment to help, but tonight it wasn't the equipment that was at fault; it was either the hearing aids or my hearing itself (wax or otherwise). Hence the worry and anxiety. It's the not knowing what tomorrow or next weeks going to bring that is most frustrating.

So where do I go from here ? That's why I've posted the top picture of a glass on top of a book. Several times this week I've shared with folk the old saying about people being like glasses, half-full or half-empty.

Which are you ?

I think that tonight I've rather drained the glass somewhat but I refuse to have a half-empty glass. Several years ago one of my daughters showed me a similar picture with the words “glass half-empty ? YAY, more room for vodka!” What a wonderful positive attitude to have.

Why is the glass on the book ? Well, if you look closely you'll see it's the daily Celtic Prayer book and it reminds me that prayer is so vital in topping up the glass of life. Assuming I'm going to move on from this and assuming I'm going to have to grasp again the God blessing of deafness and deaf Ministry then I can only do that by praying for Gods help to carry out the work of building the Kingdom of Jesus as He has called me to. I cannot do this on my own, but he has already blessed me with a magnificent family, with great friends, and many good Christian brothers and sisters in my circuit and in previous circuits over the years.

Yes, I am deaf: yes, I'm going to have to cope with deafness: yes, I am still a Minister (& I think a decent one) and yes I have far more blessings than sorrows. Forgive me for being 'down' tonight and pray for tomorrow but in all things remember God IS good



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