Hertford Methodist Church seeks to serve God in Hertford and the wider world through love and fellowship

Ministers Letter

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’ are Juliet’s words in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. And that is

certainly a phrase I would identify with right now as I write my final letter as your Minister here in

Hertford – and of course, my final greetings as an active Minister of The Methodist Church. What a

strange feeling this all is. A large part of preparing for this ‘ending’, this ‘new beginning’ has been the

giant sort out of resources, visual aids, sermon notes, books etc. etc. that have been my travelling

companions for the last 22 years +. It would be true to say that in parts this has been therapeutic, and yet

also with a great sense of parting and loss. When I said ‘yes’ to God in setting out with him in ministry

(with a little ‘m’) some 26 years ago, which has led me to this moment, I had no idea of the journey I was

to embark on for Him and with Him. A journey of great highs and lows, and all in-between, yet a journey

where I have known beyond all doubt that the God who called me to it, shaped me for it and through it,

and has been my strength and guide.

The sorting of things has not always been as swift as it might, as I have paused to open the pages of a

beloved book, or article written or saved. One such book is ‘The Journal of John Wesley – a selection

from Wesley’s own account of his life and travels’. I recall, when I first read through this and arrived at

the end where his last days is are recalled concluding with the line ‘just before ten o’clock on Wednesday

morning, 2 March,(1791) John Wesley died, after a final audible ‘Farewell.’ a tangible sense of great

sorrow came over me reflecting on the loss of the great founder of our Methodist Faith. The person who,

second to Christ alone, I have sought to learn from and whose example of faith and witness I have sought

to follow as a Christian and more so as a leader of ‘the people called Methodists’. Skimming now again

through his journal my eyes paused on

‘Thursday 24 March 1785 – I was considering how strangely the grain of mustard-see,

planted about fifty years ago, has grown up. It has spread through all Great Britain and

Ireland; the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man; then to America from the Leeward Islands,

through the whole continent, into Canada and Newfoundland. And the societies, in all these

parts, walk by one rule, knowing religion is holy tempers; and striving to worship God, not

in form only, but likewise ‘in spirit and in truth’.

(Matthew 13: 31-32 - Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and

planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a

tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”)

The seed that John Wesley had so faithfully sown for his Lord was already growing and bearing fruit,

across the world. And has continued to do so. Some 230 years later my faith is in no small part due to his

faithfulness to God’s call on his life – A brand plucked from the fire’.

So as I conclude, I urge you then (pinching words from the Apostle Paul) my sisters and brothers in

Christ, ‘do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not

give up’(Gal.6:9). And so the mustard seed planted in faithful obedience, and nurtured by Christ, will

continue to grow and make His name known throughout all the earth, to the glory of God

God bless

Debbie

Minister - Revd. Debbie Hodgson - minister@hertfordmethodist.org.uk