‘Changing Places’ August 2021 by Martin Letts

Changing Places

Change is the one certain thing in life and our local Methodist Churches are no exception to change. In September we will welcome a new Minister and a new Superintendent Minister. Our new minister is Revd Phil Griffin and our new Superintendent is Revd John Hughes. Phil will be living within our Circuit and John will be overseeing both the Southampton and Meon Valley Methodist Circuits, comprising some twelve churches and chapels.

Reverend Phil was born in North Birmingham and received a call to ministry aged fifteen, which he says he reluctantly accepted!  He met his wife Catherine when at university in Plymouth and later trained at the Queen’s Foundation, an ecumenical theological college in Birmingham. Phil then went on to Tavistock for his first appointment. Phil and Catherine have two young daughters – Annaliese and Louisa. He says he is looking forward to exploring Hampshire and seeing what work God has in store for him and for us here.

Superintendent Minister John was born in Chester but grew up in Flint, North Wales. John is married to Christine, a local preacher. After a career in the civil service and local government he also trained for the Methodist Ministry at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham and was ordained at Wesley’s Chapel, London. Following a 5-year period in Bridlington on the East Yorkshire Coast he served as Superintendent Minister of the Bangor & Holyhead Methodist Circuit and as a member of the University Chaplaincy Team.

So change is happening and has always happened in church life. Ever since the small beginnings of the Christian Church in the Middle East there have been missionaries bringing the Word of God to different areas. Paul, the writer of several New Testament letters, travelled widely visiting Rome, Athens, Cyprus, Turkey and many other locations. He was shipwrecked, beaten, stuck in prison and occasionally thrown out of town, but continually spread his faith and the Good News of Jesus.  

In England and more directly in our Meon Valley, St Wilfrid, Bishop of York, came down from the north to bring Christianity to us here sometime during the seventh century as well as to Sussex and the Isle of Wight. Much later the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, travelled around Britain bringing Methodism to many of the people. (Apparently John visited Wales over 50 times.) So there has been much change in Christian leadership in Britain. This tradition continues with the movement of Methodist Ministers around the country after occupying a post at a church, or a Circuit of churches or chapels for a few years.

So – we look forward to hearing from both our new Ministers. Their welcome service will be on 12 September at Waltham Chase Methodist Church. And let’s remember – change is here to stay. We are looking forward to their leadership and the work that God is sending them to do here in the Meon Valley.

God bless

Martin Letts

Meon Valley Methodist Circuit Steward

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