Timothy was a young man who grew up in Lystra, a city dominated by stories of gods and legends to such an extent that when two men healed someone in Jesus’ name, the crowds were convinced that the main gods Zeus and Hermes had visited their city. They dragged bulls through the streets to be sacrificed and brought wreaths to offer sacrifices to them.
A spiritual people then. But a people who were not afraid to beat people to death who failed to live up to expectations. It was a lively place for a young man to grow up in.
A place made more complicated by the fact that Timothy was mixed race.
Some of you might know how this feels. Sometimes I guess it must feel awkward, if other people make you feel that you don’t fully belong to their group. Maybe other times it feels like a blessing.
In an article in the Metro a while ago, one woman, Lauren, explained, ‘For me, being mixed-race is about embodying different cultures, different heritages, being worldly without having to go anywhere.’ And Rob explained, ‘Being mixed-race affords me the luxury of not being defined by one ethnic backgrounds in other people’s eyes.’
It’s not hard to imagine what Timothy’s background might have been. Lystra had been a Roman colony for around 50 years, a place where Rome’s veteran soldiers could settle after the wars. It’s not hard to imagine one such soldier meeting a young Jewish woman, Eunice, and having a child with her.
And that child Timothy didn’t quite fit into society. A Greek father, a Jewish mother, maybe his father had agreed to him being brought up Jewish as long as he didn’t go though what would have been thought of as the mutilation of circumcision. It wouldn’t have made life easier for Timothy. He would have been thought of as Jewish, but not totally.
And if that wasn’t complicated enough at times, he was now a follower of Jesus. His mother, Eunice and her mother Lois had believed in Jesus, and that had led him to faith in Christ.
A pagan father, a Jewish mother, now a Christian. Able to manoeuvre three worlds.
There’s something about Timothy that reflects what it means for all of us as Christians. We live in our different cultural contexts as teachers, volunteers in the community, hands-on grandparents, NHS workers, office workers, warehouse operators but we are there as Jesus-followers. We know these situations. We speak their language, share the culture, know what matters there. But we are also Christians.
Another woman, Ariana, said in that Metro article, ‘Being mixed-race is about duality. Occupying two spaces, often simultaneously. Despite the complexities of maintaining this, it is a blessing.’
Maybe it’s this that Paul saw in Timothy and why he asked him to join his team. He had learnt to be flexible, open, to be able to see the good in different situations, but firm enough to hold his own.
It’s what made a great new missionary then. It’s what makes a great new missionary now. It’s what makes sense of all our experiences you’ve had so far. It’s how God can take you and work through you in all your different situations.
It’s a blessing. You’re a blessing.
You can read more about people’s stories here: https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/04/mixed-up-what-the-uks-mixed-race-population-want-you-to-know-11261607/
This week’s interview is with Lorna. As with many people, part of Lorna’s story is the struggle she has had in the past with food. Her story is both moving and hopeful and a great reminder that we are all in process of being healed and set free.
1. Our Gatherings
The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
In order to make sure that we keep everyone safe, we will use the waiting room option in Zoom. It means that when you connect you will just have to wait a moment till you are admitted to the service. Could you help us by making sure that your Zoom name on the screen has your name – rather than iphone, for example. Thanks
Or you can join us live on YouTube.
2. Prayer Ministry on Sundays
After each Sunday service, the prayer team will be available to pray for those needing support in breakout rooms on Zoom. You can either let Ian know in advance or just wait around after the service.
If you have prayer requests but don’t want to be prayed with, you can also let Ian know and the prayer team will use that time to pray on your behalf.
3. Stay Connected: ‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ – Wednesday 10.30-11.30am
A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz. So, whilst it’s not as good as being together in person, there’s an opportunity to do it all online.
4. Prayer Meeting: Thursday 7.45-9.00pm
The link is here:
5. Non-Zoom prayer meeting
On Friday 10.30-12.00 there’s a prayer meeting in a non-Zoom meeting! Using Whatsapp, contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.
If in doubt
All the links to the meetings are in Church Suite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website: http://www.salfordelimchurch.org/events/
You’re not alone
If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058 but you might also be interested to know about this ministry in the church:
Salford Elim Church and Community Counselling Service
One of the ways we have been able to help people as a church over the past few years is through the counselling ministry of Judith. Some of you might have benefitted from the space that this gives you to explore what is happening in life and how you can respond to the issues you are facing. This is something that has been used by people who don’t worship with us but recognise us as a place that is safe to explore all that is happening to them.
We want to continue this ministry and expand it in two ways:
- It may be that you are a trained counsellor and could offer sometime to help others. If you have been trained to Level 4 (Diploma) or Degree level in therapeutic counselling and would like to be involved, please contact Judith to talk about what might be possible. At the moment the counselling is offered via zoom or phone and we would like to continue with this form of support as well as in person counselling.
- In time we are going to offer a Listening service to those who might just need someone to talk to, but who don’t want or need specialist counselling. Earlier in the year, some of you came on the Listening Course we ran and if you would be willing to be part of this new project, then please contact Judith.
Her mobile number to text or call is 07854 946995
And finally, if you would like to access counselling for yourself, then please contact Judith directly or visit the page for the service.
We are aware of lots of people who are isolated who need someone to listen to them and offer gentle support as they work out what they can do in the face of their own challenges. This is different from counselling but can make a huge difference to people.
We want to begin to offer this ministry in the next few months.
So would you be able to give some time to talk to people on the phone? You will be supported by Judith along the way.
If you want more details about how it will work we will have a training session on Wed 21 October at 7.30pm on Zoom. We would love to invite people who came to the Listening Training earlier in the year to be part of this new venture.
The link for the meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83715752600
Meeting ID: 837 1575 2600
If you want more information, please contact Judith directly.
Thanks to all of you who give regularly. If you want to make a gift to the church you can transfer money direct to the bank account. Here are the details: EFGA Salford Elim: 60-05-16; 18523781.
And if you would like to give to The Vine, the account is The Vine; 60-05-16; 18523811.
Every week you get prayed for!
This is just to remind you that every week the whole church is prayed for – by name. At the beginning of the lockdown, everyone who was on Church Suite was contacted by one of the pastoral team to make sure you had enough support. And in different ways that is continuing. Of course, you may have decided at the time that you would be ok and so didn’t really connect much. BUT… be assured you have been prayed for by name every week by the pastoral team.
I don’t take that for granted. It’s great to know that we belong to a church that supports one another in lots of ways, not least prayer.
From time to time, you might want to thank them!
Links and Resources
1. Kids Resources
Here’s this week’s Kids Resources from Morag, with a variety of videos, crafts and other useful to help your child/ren read and learn from this week’s Bible passage.
2. Learning with Tom Wright
This website is the link for the courses that Tom Wright offers online. Some of them cost money – but this one on the Bible is free. It’s helpful, encouraging and accessible. Have a look: https://mailchi.mp/9c92521c4b9f/heritage
3. Marriage Matters.
For those who are married, it’s easy for things to drift until you find yourselves a long way apart from one another. Marriages that last – but more than that grow stronger take intentional action. They don’t just happen. This article might help you get back on track: https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/family-life/marriage-support/articles/the-unseen-threat-to-marriages