Stratton Methodist Church

Bill Topping

June 2024


My name is Bill and I am a student Methodist minister. More specifically, I am training to be a Deacon and have been sent on placement to Swindon to work with and learn from Deacon Stephen Roe. While here I have been enjoying leading worship, meeting the good folk of Stratton and Dorcan, visiting care homes, toddler groups, art groups and plenty more. It’s been a privilege to be in Swindon as I continue my learning and to meet the committed community here at Stratton who do so much good for the local area and live out God’s love in a variety of ways. Thank you for accompanying me during this time in my training. My experience here will certainly help inform the minister I become.

Bill leaving

At the end of Bill's café church service on 30th June Jane presented Bill with a few gifts to remember us all by - thanks to Dave for the painting

Summary of Bill's message give to us on 23rd June 2024

Bill began the sermon with a thank you for the warm hospitality he received over the past few weeks. He engaged the congregation by asking questions about their interest in quiz shows, chat shows, and political programs, emphasising the central role that questions play in our society.

Bill focused on Jesus’ use of questions to humanise and dignify others, contrasting this with society's tendency to make assumptions. He highlighted the story of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar ignored by society. When Bartimaeus called out to Jesus, the crowd tried to silence him. However, Jesus stopped and asked Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?" This question did not assume Bartimaeus' needs but empowered and dignified him, providing a profound lesson in compassion and inclusion.

Reflecting on society, Bill pointed out how we often unfairly assume and judge others, which is particularly relevant during Refugee Week. He urged the church to model unassuming hospitality and inclusiveness, following Jesus' example. Bill noted that Jesus' question not only healed Bartimaeus but also enlightened the crowd who had marginalized him. By acknowledging Bartimaeus' worth and insight, the crowd’s perspective was transformed.

Bill called on the congregation to be inspired by Jesus to ask dignifying questions, show sincere curiosity, and learn from those around them. This approach helps to promote growth as a community and embodies the light of Christ. He encouraged everyone to reflect on how they can see and hear those who are often overlooked, continuing to learn and grow together as a community of God.