© 2013 Banbury Circuit - Reg Charity No:  1135376

Banbury Methodist Circuit

23 / 05

Parson's Piece - Rev Robert Jones

I am delighted to respond to the invitation to write a piece for this month's newsletter and to share with you what is currently on my mind.  I do try to keep my reading going and sometimes that is a struggle but I have just finished 'Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations', a book by Robert Schnase, an influential bishop in the American United Methodist Church.  As is often the case with American books, the applications and illustrations do not easily transfer to the UK church but the five themes are very striking not least because each theme is accompanied by a challenging adjective that encourages us to think carefully about our own situation and experience.

So you do not need to read the book but I invite you to think about the Five Practices and here they are:

1.  Radical Hospitality.  

Jesus says "I was a stranger and you welcomed me … just as you did this to the least of these, who are my family, you did it to me" (Matt 25: 35 & 40).  So we are challenged to greet and treat every stranger we meet or who comes into our church or chapel as if they were Jesus.

2.  Passionate Worship.

We do not need to explore the scripture for long to know that our worship is expected to be a deliberate and wonderful encounter with God in Christ so that our sin is pardoned, relationships are restored and lives are changed.  How superb it would be if we could say that this is the weekly intention of our congregations, worship leaders and preachers.

3.  Intentional Faith Development.

The first Methodists, like the first Christians, committed themselves to daily and weekly study and devotion (Acts 2: 42).  They were on fire with their faith and they knew that they could only be transformed in heart and mind by God's work through the Holy Spirit.  Can we make this the transforming intention of our churches?  What would that be like?

4.  Risk-taking Mission and Service.

Let's face it, we like to play safe.  We would prefer to stick with what we know and who we know.  Outreach is a scary prospect - but Jesus says "Go into all the world and make disciples" (Matt. 28: 28ff).  When we do it, risk-taking can be exciting and it is always attractive to those looking for a vibrant congregation.

5. Extravagant Generosity.

This is not just about what you give to the Church, though that may be important.  It is about an attitude of life, and Jesus is quite clear that acquisitiveness does not foster life rich in God (Lk 12: 13-21).  This is not even just about money, true generosity also includes, time, expertise, compassion and love.


The purpose of all this is that we might be fruitful.  This is what we are chosen for (John 15.16).  So how fruitful might we be as individuals and as churches if we explored our own way of living alongside the business of every meeting, every council and every group within our churches and circuit with these five practices in our mind.  Would it bring transformation? - because that is what disciples of Jesus seek for and that will bring blessings to us all.



Marlborough Road -

Every Thursday 10.00 am Coffee Morning and 11.00 Circuit Communion

Hornton -

Every Friday 10.30 - 12.00

Hinton -

1st Saturday of the month 10.00 - 12.00


List of books in the Circuit Library, kept in the Marlborough Road foyer.  

Sad news

We are sad to announce the death of Rev Victoria Bravette.  

Her funeral will be held at Marlborough Road Methodist Church at 2.00pm on Monday 23rd October, 2017