New Song Network Church commissioning

Tuesday, 24 June, 2014

New Song Network, Warrington, became Methodism's newest church in Britain on Sunday (22nd June 2014) at a commissioning service featuring praise, worship - and much celebratory cake!

Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit Superintendent Lucille Rogers commissioned the church and Jackie Bellfield as its minister. Using a combination of text from the Methodist Worship Book and new material written specifically for the occasion, Lucille prayed for blessing on the new church and for 'fresh ventures in faith, greater commitment in worship, and new acts of service.'

Stephen Lindridge, Fresh Expressions Connexional Missioner for the Methodist Church, spoke of how New Song Network was helping people to hear of God and the journey in faith in a way that was clearly understandable to them. Reflecting on Pentecost and how people from all over the known world heard God speak to them in their native languages, Stephen said New Song Network Church was a

New Song Network - singing

beautiful coming together of the espoused Methodist values of John Wesley's day, singing the faith... and sharing faith in relevant ways. You have captured the very essence of what it means to be Methodists and translated it into a language that people can understand. My simple prayer for you, as the newest Methodist Church in Britain, is that you keep on encouraging others to do the same.

Liverpool Methodist District Chair, Jim Booth, said,

This church, its life, gives me hope.

He encouraged everyone involved at New Song Network Church, including the 43 new members welcomed on the evening,

This is just the beginning, the start of the journey.

New Song Network - commissioningJackie Bellfield, writing of the latest developments in New Song Network, said,

We have walked together and have supported one another on a journey of faith and pilgrimage which continues as we are renewed and challenged to serve God in relevant ways. We seek to be a fresh church community, constantly wanting to find new and vibrant ways to live out and communicate the love of God to others. This begins in our own lives as we grow in our own discipleship.


An amazing night of celebration, music, testimony and commitment. New Song Church continues to explore new ways to show God's love in caring and practical ways and all are made welcome and accepted. It is a privilege to be part of this amazing community and to see God empowering people and enabling them to grow in His grace.

what does this mean wasn't it a church before or do new expressions of church need a formal sanction before being classified as a church.

I'm still trying to understand the challenges of FX and why there seems to be a drive be become a formal church.


Hi anonymous, many thanks for your comment. New Song Network in my mind and heart (and soul) has always been a church. A community of believers meeting, worshipping and growing together in the love and grace of God. We engage missionally, undertake sacraments, are growing in discipleship through small groups and the community is flourishing. Lay leadership is being nurtured, new people are coming to faith and we are giving in time and resources to the life of our circuit and community in mission and service.

Emulating the core values of fresh expressions of church and the true nature and desire and longings of what it means to be church today, those who gathered wanted to become members of the Methodist Church. The love and grace of God shown in our communities, the passion of the gospel for all, singing of our faith, social justice, discipleship, small groups, the desire that every member can make a difference appealed to all at New Song and we feel that in the tidal wave of decline there can be positive voices of inspiration and good news. There is hope and 40 plus new members of individuals willing to be part of the Methodist Church is amazing. That at this moment means a formal recognition as a church before they could be members- there was not other way except being a class of another church (but that would have been false) - our own identification is important.

Sorry this seems a long response - it is good to write it all down though. Every blessing Jackie

I can only echo Jane's comments above - it is a privilege to be part of something so amazing - the people, the worship, the singing, not to mention the cake, all come together to form a perfect situation to worship and praise our wonderful God. Whether we are feeling low or in a great place, we feel comfortable and are truly blessed to have something so relevant to the 21st century. xx

This is great time finding new ways to be a church going back to the roots of the early church, the thing I struggle with is so many fresh expressions want to align to established "churches" which would seem to restrict there ability to constantly follow new options.

As I try and get my head around fx it's the desire to become a formal church to be become part of what we want to move away from that I find challenging as it seems to take away the very flexibility we need to find.

Non the less great to see anything that allows people to find god in ways they can relate to and understand, which is some thing we can all aspire to be part of in our personal ministry

Thanks Malcolm, my honest response is I hope and pray that we won't be restricted by our denomination but that we constantly be fresh in our new church, constantly reviewing what we do and stopping things when it doesn't work. Not being afraid to take risks and try things and learning when things go wrong and hoping that when we fail (which we will at times) we can move on and try again - and that others will allow us to do this.

When we undertook membership classes for the forty plus members of New Song there was a genuine excitement when we looked at the history at Methodism. There was a genuine passion to restore that enthusaism for the gospel, to reach our communities with the gospel of grace and assurance of God's love and to grow in holiness and discipleship (and many other things).

Formal sounds to harsh in some ways though we use that phrase ourselves. Part of the body sounds better in some ways and we want to positively influence the Methodist Church around us. This mixed economy has been a crucuial part of our growth. We are proud to be part of it and hope we can, in small way influence change. Isn't that what FX is all about?

Sunday night was a truly amazing and wonderful experience. It was a huge privilege to become one of the first members of our new church.

When I am there it's as if my heart is unlocked and I am free to worship and come closer to God through song and prayer. In this totally accepting and welcoming community I am encouraged and supported to grow in faith, discipleship and ministry and pray that I will be able to take the good news to others and bring them into His Grace through New Song.

I am blessed to be part of New Song Network Church and give thanks to God for bringing me to such a very special place.

Jackie, I like that "part of the body" allows us to be within a Christian context but free to find the ways of worship that best suit us and those around us, I'll try and use that in future rather than "formal".

That is what FX is all about learning to experiment and try things some of those will work for that group some wont, but those options can be shared with other parts of the body who may find that whilst they didn't work for one part then may for another. The power of FX is freeing people to try to allow them to stop when things don't work or have run their course and most of all encourage diversity instead of all chasing and doing the same thing.

Interesting times, Local preacher training is taking up my time currently but when I hopefully finish that I'm interesting in looking at FX as well as how we encourage "traditional style worship " churches to experiment to see what can happen if we step out even slightly in faith.

Congratulations on the local preaching Malcolm - we would to welcome you to New Song any time if you would like to visit and we can talk you through how we like to do things a little differently. God bless you in your training and enabling of others to worship and draw close to God. Bless you

This is 21st century church. It can be exciting -and reflective; great fun -and calming. It is relevant and empowers us to show God's love to those around us in new and previously unconsidered ways. It is a church where the emphasis is on what we can do not on what we can't or aren't allowed to do. It is just a joy to be at any NSN worship or event.

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