It seems that I am back again. I have the privilege and joy of serving the Methodist church at Littleport. It looks like a return fixture as I served this church some eight years ago and am doing so again while we wait for the new minister to come.
So who am I? My name is Bernard Arnold and I have been a Methodist minister for forty-eight years. I am married to Ruth who is a Methodist Local Preacher and was a teacher. We have two children. Our son runs his own painting decorating business in London having attending Camberwell college of Art and a daughter who is an Anglican Priest working in Coventry.
What is the Methodist Church? We are of the non-conformist tradition and each church is part of what we call the Connexion (correct spelling) that goes round the world. There are some eighty million Methodists in the world. Many of these churches are growing rapidly unlike the ones in this country.
Two Anglican brothers, John and Charles Wesley who found at the time that the Anglican Church was not reaching all parts the country because of its lack of evangelical preaching started a movement within the Anglican church which was eventually expelled and Methodism was founded. The movement was to spread throughout the country especially in the rural areas and in the large cities formed by the industrial revolution.
I first became a Christian in 1955 when I gave my life to Christ at a beach mission in Sheringham and ever since then I believe that God has guided me. I have served overseas in Jamaica. I have served in Reading, Godalming, Colchester and Chelmsford. I have been a prison chaplain and a police chaplain and a time as a hospital chaplain as well as working in Reading University.
As I said at the beginning of this letter to you it is a privilege and a joy to work in Littleport and I hope I get to meet with you in the short time that I am here.