Special Services and Events

Welcome to our Gallery page which you can find photos and descriptions of our recent special services and events. Coming soon, an archive gallery of photos associated with Ashley Methodist church collected over many years. If you have any photos that you would like to offer as a contribution to our historical archive, please use the contact form to get in touch. If you would like to use any photos from our gallery or those included elsewhere on our website, please use the contact form to request permission.
The Queen’s 70th Platinum Jubilee 5th June 2022
Following our Service on June 5th we all enjoyed a splendid bring and share Platinum Jubilee lunch.
Mark welcomes Sheila into membership
Mark welcomes Sheila into membership
Mark welcomes Sheila into membership
Mark welcomes Sheila into membership
Mark welcomes Sheila into membership

Organ Recital 

On Friday evening, 25th March, our church was well supported by friends from
the surrounding churches, to share in a splendid evening of music, when
Jeremy Meager ARCO, LRSM, of the Cotswold Organ Company, gave us a
demonstration and recital on a new organ we had tentatively agreed to
purchase to replace our existing church organ which was giving us problems.

Neil Barnett gave everyone a warm welcome and introduced Jeremy, who after a
short response gave us a detailed demonstration of the many aspects of the
organ which was right up to date with modern digital technology. Jeremy’s
range of music played was from JS Bach to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of
the Opera”, and we thrilled to sing the great hymn “Love Divine all Loves
Excelling” and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” both played
fortissimo by Jeremy. The singing was sung fortissimo by an appreciative
audience.

Lasting an hour, it was an evening of great delight and Jeremy was thanked
by Rod Smith to great applause. Church Secretary Ron Lucas made the
proposal that Ashley Methodist Church proceeded to purchase the organ, this
proposal was seconded and received unanimous support.

Such a convivial evening was rounded off with tea/coffee and cakes, plus a gift stall run by
Jill Barnett, and some £370 was received in donations towards the cost of
the new organ.

Mark welcomes Sheila into membership

Welcome Sheila!

On March 13th Mrs Sheila Hendy was formally admitted into membership and welcomed into our fellowship by Rev. Mark Lawrence. Welcome Sheila!

Carolyn Lawrence – An Abundant Blessing

When Rev. Mark Lawrence became our new circuit minister last September he brought with him an additional and wonderful blessing, his wife.  Carolyn supports Mark in every way she can as part of “Team Lawrence.”

Carolyn’s Christian journey began at a Dick Saunders crusade when she was 15.  Her relationship with God enabled her to overcome her teenage angsts so that a fun-loving girl became a vibrant, warm hearted, passionate follower of Christ.  When she married Mark four years later they discovered that he had been converted at the same crusade.  Family is very important to Carolyn,  so she was a full-time mum for most of the time before their two daughters were in full time education.  She now has three grandchildren and another one on the way and rejoices in being with them all whenever possible.

Mark’s decision to enter the ministry in 1995 meant that she had to leave her roots in Bedfordshire as they moved to Wesley College, Bristol.  While Mark was training Carolyn became involved with the George Muller Foundation helping in schools and toddler groups in areas of great social need.  During Mark’s ministry in the Isle of Wight & then Lincoln her involvement with children continued.  She undertook a degree in Education at Portsmouth University followed by a postgraduate course and then taught in schools for nine years.  In 2012 came a big move to Guyana where her teaching skills were really needed while Mark undertook church and circuit roles.  This was a testing experience for them both; they learned to rely deeply on God’s provision and sustenance.  This venture also aroused Carolyn’s interest in the global community.

Back in Devon in 2014 opportunities for teaching were lacking so Carolyn turned her attention to Methodist Women in Britain where she had a national role and gained international experience representing the UK on the World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Women.  This led on to working with the Global Relationships Team at Methodist Church House, linking with partner churches across the world through prayer support and hands-on action.  The next step, following promptings from God, was to allow her name to go forward for Vice-President of the Methodist Conference.  She was duly elected and began her year of office in June 2020.

This was not the best of times to be involved in activities on a national scale.  What should have been a year of personal visits, travel and exciting events became a time of zoom meetings, radio broadcasts, lecturing and preaching remotely.  Sadly she missed out on several once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as a Buckingham Palace garden party, COP 26, meeting refugees in Dover and a visit to Malawi for All We Can.  Hours spent in front of a computer screen were probably more taxing than a busy travel schedule.  However, a very different modus operandi meant that her recorded sermons could be shared simultaneously by several churches.  Working from home she could spend more time with each community she “visited,” joining in with small church groups via zoom thus getting to know many more individuals.  She and the President, Rev. Richard Teal, held regular live Facebook sessions and, for those without access to the internet, they recorded prayers and reflections on a phone line.

The responsibility of being called upon as a national leader for her opinion on all manner of topics was challenging but also a great privilege and Carolyn used every opportunity to bring glory to Jesus and to encourage ordinary Methodists in their walk with God.  Carolyn is particularly conscious of the negative and discouraging impressions a congregation may give, however unwittingly, thereby discouraging rather than welcoming newcomers.  She has long campaigned against abuse and bullying in church so one of her most satisfying achievements was the inclusion of an anti-bullying section in the Methodist Church’s safeguarding policy.

In the short time that Mark and Carolyn have been with us in the Market Drayton circuit we have come to appreciate their powerful preaching skills, the importance they give to prayer and their genuine interest and care for our community.  In addition Carolyn, very much a people person, thoroughly enjoys social occasions; they are a generous and hospitable couple.  Under their leadership we have an enjoyable as well as challenging future to look forward to.  Thanks be to God!

 

 

Special Services

The pictures below show some of the special services that have taken place this year, including infant baptism and the annual Christingle Service.

Ashley Methodist Church at Easter

The pictures below show the Ashley Women’s Institute garden on the corner of Wesleyan Road and the A53, is the setting for our three crosses. In the front windows of the church is a display specially crafted by our Junior Church with Rainbows and Crosses.

“Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk”

World Day of Prayer Service – Friday 6 March 2020

Prepared by Christian Women of Zimbabwe

Ten Flame Lilies, the National Flower of Zimbabwe, in a simple clay jug on the communion table, became the focal point for a World Day of Prayer Service held on the evening of Friday 6th March 2020. The Service was prepared by the Christian Women of Zimbabwe.  It was led by our own senior steward June Hodgkins, with support from Jill Harrison and Margaret Maxwell, along with representatives from the Anglican Churches of Ashley, Mucklestone and Croxton, plus the Ashley Roman Catholic Church, sharing the lead.  The ecumenical congregation of around 40 joined in the liturgy of prayers, songs and readings, the Bible reading taken from John 5: 2 – 9a which told of Jesus healing a man who had been lame for 38 years by saying to him “Stand up, take your mat and walk”.  The display of Zimbabwe memorabilia, arranged by Cynthia Lucas and the audio visual images, which were shown using our new system, proved to be most helpful in setting the scenen and atmosphere for a most uplifting service for those who were present.

ASHLEY METHODIST CHURCH FUNDRAISING 2020

A campaign to rause funds for a new Audio Visual System and a new Organ was launched recently. Norton in Hales Village Hall hosted a Table Top Sale, which we attended on Saturday 15th February 2020. We got off to a good start, raising over £100. All the goods on sale have been donated by members of the church and their families for which we are very grateful. Donations are still being welcomed by anyone wishing to support this important campaign.

Visit of the Chair of the Chester & Stoke District
The Rev’d Helen Kirk – 5th January 2020

Helen led our Annual Covenant Service on Sunday morning 5th January in what was her first service at Ashley since her appointment last September after succeeding the Rev’d Peter Barber who has now ‘stood down’ upon retiring.  Bible readings from Deuteronomy, chapter 29 and Jeremiah, chapter 31 were read by Ron Lucas and from John, chapter 15 by Richard Lucas.  Helen’s sermon theme was “Who do you think you are?” and Jill Harrison assisted with the Holy Communion serving of the elements of bread and wine.

JUNIOR CHURCH NATIVITY SERVICE – 22nd December 2019

CHRISTINGLE SERVICE – 1st December 2019

HARVEST FESTIVAL & JUNIOR CHURCH ANNIVERSARY
22nd September 2019

It has become a tradition in recent years that our church has combined our Harvest Festival with the Junior Church Anniversary and on Sunday, 22 September 2019, we had a large congregation to celebrate God’s goodness in the harvest with his blessing on our young people of the Junior Church and those who teach them Sunday by Sunday.  Our senior steward Bunty Hodgkins welcomed Mrs June Aldcroft as our preacher, one who has been twice Market Drayton’s Mayoress, and one whom we are always glad to be leading our worship.  Church members had worked hard to decorate the church with flowers and produce demonstrating God’s providence for another year.

The children led our worship explaining that the theme was “colour”.  The children taking part were Olivia Marson, Isabel John, Francesca John, Holly John, Isla Cameron, Isobel Donlan, Henry Marson, Finley Cameron, Lucy Manning, Penelope Lomas and George Holland.

THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR DEREK DURANCE

1st September 2019

On Sunday afternoon, 1 September 2019, our church was filled to capacity as we held a service to the memory of one of our former members, Mr Derek Durance, who died in his home in Spain on 12 June.  The service was led by our minister, the Rev’d Ruth Jeffries and the organist was Rod Smith.  Derek was a much-loved part of the Marson family having been formerly married to Kathleen Marson, the former wife of the late Bernard Stanley Marson.  Kathleen died in 2015 and Derek returned afterwards to his Spanish home for the last four years of his life.  Memories of Derek were given by his step-grandchildren, Tracey Marson-Holland, Victoria Marson and James Manning.  John Marson read the lesson from John’s gospel, chapter 14.  Peter Marson delivered the eulogy from Derek’s brother Christopher and son John with his own contribution and the Rev’d Ruth gave an address and the final prayer and blessing.  Afternoon Tea was later taken at Tern Hill Hall Hotel.

THE BAPTISM OF EMMA VIOLET LOMAS

14th July 2019

THE BAPTISM OF OLIVIA EDITH MARSON

23rd June 2019
On Sunday 23rd June 2019 our church was filled with the family and friends of Olivia Edith Marson, the 13 month old daughter of Richard and Laura Marson. Olivia was baptised by our Minister the Rev’d Ruth Jeffries. It was such a happy occasion and everyone was warmly welcomed by our Steward, Sue Fox. Rod Smith on the organ provided the music. Ruth reminded us that we were present to worship God and to thank Him for the precious gift of a child.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

12th May 2019

John Marson, seen here with his wife Yvonne, celebrates his 75th birthday on 20th of May.  At our service on Sunday 12th May, John was given a full-throated rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ by our congregation.

John’s family have had a very close association with Ashley Methodist Church stretching back over several generations.

THE BAPTISM OF LUCY MANNING

NOVEMBER 4th 2018

RALPH & DANI KILBY FAREWELL LUNCH

NOVEMBER 4th 2018
A lunch was given on 4th November 2018 in honour of Ralph and Dani Kilby who devoted almost 20 years of loving service to our church and community. Sadly, ill health prevented Dani from attending the event. Ralph preached regularly throughout his time here at Ashley Methodist Church but circumstances led to the devoted couple relocating to Stoke on Trent to be closer to their family.

The Reverend Ruth Jeffries thanked Ralph for his commitment and service since joining us all those years ago from Bedfordshire. Dani and Ralph Kilby will be sorely missed by our regular congregation but we look forward to seeing them from time to time in the future.

VISITORS FROM AMERICA – OCTOBER 2018

The American cousin of Cynthia Lucas, Susan Hirst Read from Arkansas, her daughter Amy from California,  and son John, from Texas, made a welcome visit to our church on Monday, 8 October 2018, as they began a five-day visit to the home of Cynthia and Ron Lucas who joined them as they explored their family roots in West Yorkshire, from where their ancestors departed for Rhode Island, USA, in 1906.  

On their return home afterwards Susan wrote ” A lovely church – bright and welcoming – and the perfect start to our week with our dear host-cousins!  I whispered a quick prayer of gratefulness and thanks before we stepped back out into the autumn air.  Let the journey begin!”.

MUCH LOVED FORMER PREACHER MAKES A SURPRISE VISIT ON 12th AUGUST
Ross McEwan, his wife Lesley and their three children were very much a part of our church family in the 1980’s 1990’s. They left us some 23 years ago. Ross became a local preacher during his time with us. They live near Cambridge and Ross joined us for worship on 12th August on his way home from wedding in Wilmslow. Here he is flanked by two old friends John Marson and Ron Lucas after the service.

THE BAPTISM OF BABY GEORGE HOLLAND JULY 1 2018