Stotfold Methodist Church - 150th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

... the friendly local Christian community

Thought of the Month


Natural Buoyancy

I am writing this on Battle of Britain day. In his final book "Fare Well in Christ", W. H. Vanstone wrote about his experience learning to be a pilot in World War Two: Far too many pilots were dying, some because they couldn't swim when they came down in the English Channel. So when he began training, all pilots had to learn to swim. He'd had the good fortune of learning at a local swimming baths, but most hadn't, so he had to teach. They had a very few days to succeed or face disciplinary action, so they immediately set to work. But after several days of intensive training, progress was poor. The students kept sinking! Eventually he realised that they were concentrating so hard on moving their arms and legs correctly that they were contracting their bodies, resisting natural buoyancy. So, the next day Vanstone tried a more relaxed approach, with races, messing about, chasing. The students were worrying less about how they moved and thus found themselves floating easily. They all learnt to swim that day.

Vanstone remembered this when explaining that God's grace, God's unconditional acceptance, is like natural buoyancy. By worrying too much about living or looking "right", a person can struggle to "stay afloat". But by trusting in God's love, revealed in Jesus, a person can learn to float naturally.

Learning to swim was a slow process for me. My "doggy paddle" style was enough to get me a certificate for a width of the pool but no good for anything else because it was so exhausting to keep afloat. As an adult, I eventually allowed someone to teach me how to swim more naturally, so that swimming became a joy. It can take time to trust in the acceptance offered to us, by God or anyone else. By accepting another person, just as they are, anyone can pass on the gift of acceptance to another. In an age of criticism and judgement, online and other media, my hope is that we can learn something of the healing power of acceptance and bring some natural buoyancy to each other's lives.



We are situated by the crossroads right at the heart of Stotfold. We extend a warm welcome to everyone, whether local residents or those 'just passing through'.

The present building was built in 1869 and still serves the local community.

Our Sunday morning services usually take place at 10am, although a couple in the month start at 9.30am. Check on the 'Sunday Worship' page to make sure.

One of our monthly services is based around the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

See the 'Sunday Worship' page for details of our Services.


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This Month's Quote
Let us love not just with words and in speech, but with actions and in truth.
John 3:14-20.