I must begin this letter with a word of thanks. I am asked by the Revd. Neil Thorogood, Principal of Westminster College, Cambridge, to pass on the sincere and grateful thanks of the whole College to the members, friends, elders and ministers of the Forest Group for all their help in providing Memona Shahbaz with an excellent placement. I am delighted to tell you that Mona is now writing her personal profile so that she may seek a call.
At the same time I am happy to be able to report that we have now had over twenty expressions of interest, asking for the application pack, in the re-advertised post for a Youth Outreach and Development Worker. Inevitably not all of these will lead to returned application forms, but, even so, I am hopeful of a positive outcome.
Please pray for Mona, Shahbaz and family as she seeks to discern where God is calling her next.
Please pray for all those pondering the Youth Outreach and Development Worker post, and for those who will be involved in shortlisting and interviewing. And, in the Easter spirit of new life, new hope and new possibilities, please pray for all those who seek to maintain our work and witness across all five churches, and who look for ways to take everything forward.
May we take the inspiration of Easter with us,
SERVICES FOR APRIL
(All services commence at 10:30 unless otherwise stated)
- 3 April Morning Worship with Holy Communion and Prayers For Healing led by Revd Kevin Swaine (Monthly collection For Wells for India)
- 10 April Morning Worship led by Mona Shahbaz
- 17 April 9:45 am Service of Holy Communion Morning Worship led by Revd Richard Mortimer (followed by Church Meeting)
- 24 April Morning Worship led by Revd Ann Woodhurst
- 1 May Morning Worship with Holy Communion and Prayers For Healing led by Revd Jane Mortimer
Highams Park URC
- 3 April Morning Worship led by Mona Shahbaz
- 10 April Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd Jane Mortimer
- 17 April Morning Worship led by Steven Neville. 16:00 Messy Church
- 24 April Morning Worship led by Revd Richard Mortimer
- 1 May Morning Worship (leader to be advised)
Ray Lodge URC
- 3 April Morning Worship led by Connie Ware
- 10 April Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd Kevin Swaine
- 17 April Morning Worship led by Revd June Colley
- 24 April Morning Worship led by Revd Ulrike Bell
- 1 May Morning Worship led by Revd Richard Mortimer
St. James’ URC, Buckhurst Hill
- 3 April Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd Richard Mortimer (Sacramental Offertory for Camden Listening and Counselling Service)
- 10 April Morning Worship led by Grace Smith
- 17 April Morning Worship led by Revd Ulrike Bell
- 24 April Morning Service led by Keith Brame (Church Meeting follows this service)
- 1 May Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd Kevin Swaine
Woodford Green URC
- 3 April Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd June Colley
- 10 April Morning Worship led by Revd Richard Mortimer
- 17 April Morning Worship led by Jean Wyber
- 24 April Morning Worship led by Terry Silvey
- 1 May Morning Worship with Holy Communion led by Revd June Colley
FOREST GROUP CALENDAR FOR APRIL
- Friday 1 April Ray Lodge URC 14:00 Knit & Natter Group
- Monday 4 April St. James’ URC 14.00 - 15:30pm Craft/Prayer Group in church room
- Thursday 7 April Chingford URC 19:30 Youth Council
- Thursday 7 April St. James’ URC 19:30 Elders’ Meeting in church room
- Friday 8 April Ray Lodge URC 14:00 Neighbours Club
- Tuesday 12 April Woodford Manse 10:30 Forest Group Coffee & Discussion
- Tuesday 12 April Woodford Green URC 20:00 Elders at the Woodford Manse
- Thursday 14 April Woodford Green URC 20:00 Forest Group Taize Worship
- Friday 15th Ray Lodge 2.00pm Knit & Natter Group
- Monday 18th Woodford Manse 7.30pm Forest Group
- Worship Group planning meeting
- Thurs 21st Chingford 8.00pm Elders Meeting
- Friday 22nd Ray Lodge 2.00pm Neighbours Club:
- Revd Ulrike Bell will lead in song and tell
- of some German customs.
- Friday 29th Ray Lodge 2.00pm Knit & Natter Group
Sunday 1st Woodford Green 2.00pm Forest Group
Council: light lunch from 1.00pm
Tuesday 3rd Woodford Manse 10.30am Forest Group
Coffee and Discussion
Woodford 8.00pm Elders Meeting
Thurs 5th St. James’ 7.30pm Elders Meeting in Church
Friday 6th Ray Lodge 2.00pm Knit & Natter Group
Friday 6th St. James’ 2:30pm BHRS Celebratory Tea
in honour of Queen’s 90th Birthday
FOREST GROUP WORSHIP
On 1st February representatives from each of the churches met together with the ministers to consider ways in which we could offer worship at times and in ways different from our current pattern.
Ideas that came up included:
- using different music: Taize chants, Iona, come with instruments, singing
- using Bible readings in a different way: e.g. read a whole gospel or letter, or have one verse repeated by worshippers many times.
- different settings: Sit in circle, use space creatively, have Holy Communion differently
- have themes, e.g. “water” or “forgiveness”
- have periods of silence
- try new ways, see what we like, and then see how we can draw new people in
-midweek service, evening, always in a different church (depending on the character of the service)
It was agreed that the first service would be on Thursday April 14th, 8pm, a Taize-style service at Woodford Green. It would be held in the sanctuary and candlelit. There would be singing and instruments, Bible readings, and periods of silence. Afterwards there would be an opportunity to talk together in the Meeting Room with refreshments.
The following dates were also agreed:
Thursday June 23, 8pm
Thursday August 25, 11am in Forest with picnic lunch
Thursday October 13, 8pm
Thursday November 24, 8pm
Please put the dates in your diary and come along with your friends on the 14th April to experience something different.
The London Inter Faith Centre Programme
Christian Zen Thursdays 6: 30pm- 8:00pm and Wednesdays 10-11am
The Book Group Tuesdays 12:30pm – 2pm
Texts to Live By:
Attitudes to the Stranger
Sunday 24th April, 6-7:30pm
Engaging with the Other - a Guide to inter faith engagement in the UK:
A ten week course on Monday evenings 7:30pm -9:30pm
London Spirituality Centre, Lombard Street, London EC3
All kinds of Praying led by Rosey Feuell
Monday evenings, 6-8:30pm
Part 2 - 6th, 13th, and 27th June
Cockfosters Centre for Spirituality, 29 Bramley Road, London N14 4HE
2nd April - Exploring the Pain and Beauty of Transformation with Mary Jo Radcliffe
16th April - The Power of Silence: The Role of Meditation in the World’s Religions, with Kim Nataraja
23rd April- John O’ Donohue - a talk and reflection on his writings with Kenneth Boyd Browne
All events are from 10am - 4pm and cost £25.
To book a place : Telephone 020 84496648
Friday 1st July - Sunday 3rd July, 2016
Come and join elders from around the URC
exploring what it means to exercise the ministry of
Eldership today. Enjoy the welcome and hospitality of
Westminster College, the URC’s Resource Centre for Learning in the east. Share experiences, learn new skills,
find resources for you and your church.
Embracing Eldership is an event that enables URC Elders to come together for mutual encouragement, to share experiences and receive refreshment, whilst exploring pressing issues related to the realities of being an elder today. The theme of this year’s elders’ event is “Resourcing our Elders”. We will be considering what it is to be an elder drawing on the material recently designed for the United Reformed Church by Revd Peter Ball (Eastern Synod Mission Development Officer) and Ruth Whitehead (South Western Synod Moderator). There will also be focussed sessions giving guidance on the roles and responsibilities of elders.
As always at Westminster, a key part of the event will be the opportunity to worship together, engage with the bible, and talk in a friendly atmosphere with fine food and relaxed company. It promises to be a lively and interesting time to meet others and offer your own insights and perspectives on this vital ministry within the URC today.
2015 prices frozen!
Resident cost (full board, single room) = £120
Non-Resident participant cost*= £43
*Price includes a lunchtime meal, teas, coffees, materials, resources, etc.
There are 3 double rooms and 11 single rooms still available
Please contact Claudia Rees, Tutorial Assistant at Westminster College on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01223 33 06 32 if you are interested.
Lay Preachers and Worship Leaders
Other Dates for your diary in 2016!
15th - 17th August
17th - 19th August
7th - 9th September
9th - 11th September
All at Westminster College, Cambridge.
LECTURE ON MENTAL HEALTH AND SPIRITUALITY
Monday 9th May 2016 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Mahatma Gandhi Hall, Indian YMCA - 41 Fitzroy Square, W1T 6AQ
The Second Professor Peter Gilbert Memorial Lecture –
organised by the National Spirituality and Mental Health Forum, re-imagining “mental illness”, "dementia" and other seriously misunderstood experiences.
The lecture will focus on the significance of naming things properly. It will explore some of the ways in which we have come to misname the experiences that are associated with certain forms of mental health problem, causing many of us to misinterpret and respond negatively to such experiences. The lecture will offer a spiritual perspective that can effectively help us to re-name such experiences in ways which offer hope and new possibilities.
The guest speaker is John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the University of Aberdeen.
and honorary Professor of Nursing at the university's Centre for Advanced Studies in Ministry.
For 16 years Professor Swinton worked as a registered nurse specialising in psychiatry and learning disabilities, before working as a community health chaplain.
He has published widely in his major fields of interest. His publications include: Dementia: Living in the memories of God and Friendship and the care of people with mental health problems.
THAMES NORTH SYNOD
Saturday 12th March
The Synod was held at Trinity URC, Upminster, and we were welcomed by Revd Ray Adams who was standing in for the Moderator, who was ill. The Opening Worship was led by four ministers from the Heath and Havering Group of Churches, comprising five URCs: Upminster, Heaton Way, Nelmes, Chadwell Heath and Romford. We heard about the history and mission of the Group. It had been formed in 2010 and now each church has two services each Sunday at 9:30am and 11:15am.They have joint activities including evening Communion services, Bible Studies and Elders’ Training Days, a joint website and a Facebook page. Their ministers are Revds. Dorothee Buurma, Jim Dalgleish, Martin Weedon and Ann Woodhurst.
The Minutes of the previous Synod were scrutinised and after a few amendments were accepted by Synod and then we had reports from the three Committees which had been formed after the Moderator’s plan for ‘Revisioning the Synod’ had been accepted at the last Synod. Each committee had met twice. Jane Weedon said the Discipleship Committee were looking for ways to ‘Grow disciples for the Kingdom’. James Fields reported that the Pastoral Committee can see new Local Area Groups working together and supporting each other and John Wise, for the Resources Committee said there was encouraging dialogue across the Synod. He said churches need to confirm their contribution to the M&M Fund so finances can be kept on a regular basis. He also announced that there is now a single form for grants from Synod and applications can be done by email. We then had a group discussion about Local Area Groups and how well they are working.
After a time of Prayer, Revd Shahbaz Javed and Revd Francis Ackroyd told us about The East London Group of Churches which has been newly formed. Three Local Area Groups were then recognised by Synod: The Forest Group, the Heath and Havering Group, and Lee Valley Area. After an almost unanimous vote they were all welcomed by Synod despite the Forest Group and Heath and Havering only comprising five churches each which is smaller than envisaged by Synod.
The new Synod Treasurer, Anthony Obi, then gave the Finance Report saying that the accounts showed a loss for 2015. He then went over the budget for 2016.
This was followed by a number of notices:
• Revd David Skipp told us about an organisation called ‘Through The Roof’ which can give advice addressing issues concerning disabled people in church buildings and about a Gutter Maintenance Programme.Churches can apply to Synod for a grant for a survey of their gutters. Information about this is on the URC website.
• John Campbell from the Urban Churches Network told us about the new hymnbook he has compiled, ‘Songs to Shake Us Up’ which contains 200 hymns which he has written to familiar tunes. Copies cost £29.99 and come with music and a CD.
• Just One, an evangelistic event for Greater London, led by J. John, will take place at the Emirates Stadium on 8th July 2017.
• Simon Fairnington, the Synod Clerk, reminded us about the new website for Thames North Synod. Good photographs of churches and church events are needed for it.
• Pilots are celebrating their 80th birthday with a new badge and song and they will be holding a Synod event later this year. Two booklets, ‘Let Justice Flow’ and ‘Theology of Pilots’ have been produced recently.
• Reform needs more local distributors within churches, we were told by Sue Russell.
• Sandra Ackroyd informed us that the Churches Society Network now has 35 named people on its database and news from churches would be welcomed for the Whitsun Newsletter.
• Simon Rudiger announced that there are still three places left on the Ministers’ Spring School which will take place at Pilgrims Place, East Sussex and there will be a Summer Youth Camp for 11-18year olds at the end of July. The Green Belt Festival is now in partnership with the URC so we were encouraged to attend.
• Our attention was then drawn to a Past Case Review statement which had been agreed by Mission Council earlier in March.
The afternoon session began with a Gathering Song followed by a Youth Assembly Report. The Assembly had taken place in January, at Whitemoor Lakes in Staffordshire and had been attended by 15 young people from Thames North Synod. The new Thames North Representative to Youth Executive, Rachel Southwood, then spoke about her role.
Next, we had a TLS report from Revd. Francis Ackroyd. He told us that there are more students doing TLS courses in Thames North than in any other Synod. He informed Synod that the two year Foundation Course is being discontinued and the Gateway courses are being updated from September 2016. More tutors and mentors are needed and Francis asked us to encourage people from our groups to undertake TLS Lite courses. Applications for 2016-2017 courses need to be submitted by 31st May this year.
A Resolution from West London Area Committee to close Queen’s Park URC on 20th March after 129 years of ministry was overwhelmingly carried by Synod, although expressions of regret were expressed for the closure of a church.
The Synod Clerk then told us a HR Consultant was not yet needed by the Synod. However, within churches, Elders are regarded as employers of casual workers and regularisation of contracts is needed.
Appointments of representatives to General Assembly which will be held in Southport in July this year, to Youth Executive and The Resources Committee were then accepted by Synod.
After some discussion, a resolution from Welwyn Garden City URC about Israel-Palestine was accepted in part by Synod, and this will be brought to General Assembly.
The Synod with Closing Worship It had been an interesting day and as always, good to meet up with old friends and people from other churches within the Synod.
Report from Ecumenical Accompaniment Team
serving in Palestine
It was only recently that movement to and from Ramallah, the political and economic centre of Palestine, was severely restricted after a shooting attack that wounded three Israeli soldiers. Checkpoints were shut down, preventing tens of thousands of Palestinians from entering or exiting the city. This is collective punishment, in clear violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 50 of the Hague Regulations, and an unnecessary disruption of daily civilian life.
When people are treated inhumanely and they feel so much trapped in ‘cages’ and surrounded by concrete walls, there is often that temptation to resort to violence. This is most recently borne by a reminder from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, when he said that:
“History proves that people will always resist occupation.”
Not all checkpoints, however, are places of physical conflict though a checkpoint by its very existence is a serious violation of international law, freedom of movement, human dignity and respect. Checkpoint 300 clearly demarcates Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Coach loads of Israeli and international tourists come and go on the main access road between these two historical cities without having to pass through the checkpoint, seemingly unaware of what life is actually like for countless Palestinians under occupation.
The Israeli ‘Separation Barrier’ hampers the movement of thousands of Palestinians who used to move freely between Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank till about the early 2000s, the start of the second Palestinian uprising, or “Intifada”. In 2004, the International Court of Justice declared the path of the barrier – 80% of which has been built on Palestinian land – to be illegal. Yet it is relentlessly extended daily, cutting deep into Palestinian land in places such as the Bir-Ouna area of Beit Jala and Cremisan Valley (as widely reported in the past year) to the west of Bethlehem. Israel considers this annexed land part of what they call the Greater Jerusalem urban settler development.
Monitoring of CP 300 is one of the Bethlehem Team’s regular duties. Enduring images are of the scramble at the main entrance, the surge (lots of intense pushing, shoving and bone-breaking squeezing!) into the Main Lane especially between 4:30 – 6:30 in the morning when men and women are trying to get to work, and the desperate cutting of queues by those worried about being late.
During my time here, I have never seen the checkpoint’s Humanitarian Lane (for women and children, and older men usually above 60) open despite repeated phone-calls by EAs to the Israeli military hotline in the early hours. The Exit Lane effectively serves as the Humanitarian Lane, but only when a soldier with the authority to check IDs and permits is there; more often than not there is a long wait. It’s difficult to appreciate fully the indignity of checkpoint crossings unless you are there physically. Some foreign delegations have had such an experience guided by EAs on duty.
Imagine the congestion when only two security metal detectors are operating and only 6 or 8 of the 12 ID booths are open. Imagine, too, what it’s like for a worker leaving his thumb impression at a security booth when it doesn’t register because rough manual work could over time erode one’s thumbprint, thereby making identification a little more difficult, time-consuming and queue building. Imagine also that it could take as long as an hour and 15 minutes (as I experienced once in January) to get through the entire checkpoint terminal on a very busy morning with only the Main Lane open. Imagine that at the busiest half-hour period as many as 1300 people could cross the first turnstile at the end of the 150-metre first stage of the Main Lane!
Yet in the midst of all this humiliating experience, I have found the workers to be mostly good-natured and at times good-humoured. It demonstrates their resilience where, for five days a week, month after month, year after year, they have to endure such an unnecessary experience so as to cross ‘to the other side’ (meaning Israel) to maintain a livelihood for the sake of their families and themselves.
In January 2016, the Court rejected Christian Aid partner Adalah's motion for a second hearing on the case of Umm al-Hiran, an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev in southern Israel, which requested that the Court reconsider its decision to approve the state's plan to evict the village's 1,000 Arab Bedouin residents, who are citizens of Israel. Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank, some 60% of the latter but, in accordance with the Oslo Accords, under Israeli civilian and security control are particularly vulnerable. Abu Nwar is one of the 46 Bedouin and herding communities threatened by the government of Israel’s suggested plan to relocate 7,000 Palestinians living in Area C, including in the contentious E1 Area around Jerusalem, in order to allow for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the central West Bank.
The international community has repeatedly called on the government of Israel to cancel the ‘relocation’ plan as it would amount to individual and mass forcible transfers and would threaten the Bedouin communities’ culture and livelihoods. Christian Aid has requested that the UK Government seek assurances from Israel that it will not move communities against their will from their homes. In January, 26 Palestine refugees, among them 18 children, were displaced following the destruction of their homes. The Israeli authorities also confiscated eight donor-funded tents that had been provided to the families as post-demolition humanitarian response.
The Balfour Project
The Balfour Project has made a film to provide an educational resource that should allow audiences to reach their own conclusions about the rights and wrongs of this subject. The film can be seen via the website http://www.balfourproject.org/film-of-britain-in-palestine-1917-1948/ . They have produced a Companion Guide to expand on the points raised in the film. It is available for £10 + postage.
EAST LONDON THREE FAITHS FORUM
The Three Faiths Forum meeting at 8pm on Thursday 10th March was held at St. Anne Line RC Church in South Woodford. The topic for the evening was, The Spirituality of High Places and the main speaker was Rt. Revd. Alan Williams, the new RC Bishop of Brentwood.
He began his talk by mentioning how important mountains are to him, as he spends quite a lot of his free time climbing in Scotland, mainly on the Isle of Skye. Mountain climbing of course is potentially dangerous and so you have to be well prepared for it with the right equipment. You also need encouragement and advice from other people and you have to put in considerable effort to reach the summit. The ascent to God can be compared to going up a mountain, just as Moses had to do when he ascended Mount Sinai. If we want to get near to God we have to prepare ourselves with spiritual exercises, and be in the right frame of mind to do it. We need guidance and encouragement from other more experienced people and as we go on our way, we need to pause and be at peace to see God, just as one does when climbing a mountain. When we reach the summit we might exclaim as the great walker, Alfred Wainwright did, ‘The hills are eternal!’
Mountains certainly have a mysterious quality. St. John of the Cross in The Ascent of Carmel said, ‘You find at the summit the honour and glory of God.’ What happens as you come down from the mountain? As 95% of accidents happen on the way down, you must hold on to God and rely totally on him and he will uphold you and strengthen you.
Dr. Fahim, from South Woodford Mosque, then spoke about mountains and caves being mentioned in the Qur’an and how God created them to stabilise the earth and to make the world beautiful for our enjoyment. Many of God’s prophets went away to mountainous places to be near to God including the prophet Muhammad.
Rabbi Hulbert, from Bet Tikvah Synagogue, then spoke about the number of times mountains are mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures: Noah’s ark came to rest on Mount Ararat and Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain. Moses ascended Mount Sinai and stayed at the top for forty days. While he was there he received the Torah, containing the Ten Commandments. Moses died on the top of a Mount Nebo, from where he could see The Promised Land. Elijah battled with the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel and at the entrance to a cave on Mount Sinai God spoke to him in the soft whisper of a voice. King David built his capital city, Zion, now Jerusalem, on a high place, 3000 metres above sea level. In fact Jerusalem has many hills and the Jewish Temple was built on the highest point.
Many Psalms mention looking up to the hills including Psalm 121. Rabbi Hulbert ended with the Prophet Isaiah’s message that at the end of days, ‘Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low.’
A question and answer time followed, exploring how people are unprepared to meet God. The many distractions of modern life were mentioned, with young people lacking good guides and sometimes lured into sects. The three speakers agreed we all need good spiritual guides and companions and it is the responsibility of mature believers to guide younger people. Perseverance is needed in the spiritual life and there are wolves around. People sometimes fall away from their faith, but by the Grace of God they can get up and carry on.
The next meeting of the Forum will be at 8pm on Thursday 5th May at a synagogue when the topic will be: Preaching in worship – skills and pitfalls.
Elders Meeting 25th February 2016
It was agreed that church notices and uniformed news should be kept as short as possible to avoid intruding on the service
The new pastoral list is on the notice board at the back of the church and a copy will be circulated in the next church news for members and adherents.
Mona Shahbaz will chair the next Chingford Elders meeting as part of her training
A Forest Group Worship Group is being set up to plan additional services offering different ways of worshipping.
It was suggested that the ministers should spend some time training church members to take church services – this could be done at the bi-monthly Chingford worship group meetings.
Arrangements for Lent Groups and Easter services were noted
Future Fund Raising dates: June 11th Quiz, July 16th Barbecue, October 1st Concert.
27th Chingford Scout Group – a search team is being set up to find a new Group Scout Leader.
A review of the priorities and focus of the Forest Group will be considered at an Away Day.
There will be a Forest Group Prayer Walk on Sunday 12th June (there will still be a worship service at Chingford).
Applications from Forest and Heath and Havering to be Local Area Groups to be considered at Synod on March 12th.
Treasurers and Administrators Meeting 30th January
• We have already taken on board registration as a charity, elders acting as trustees, trustees report, annual return, filing of accounts, pension arrangements
• Elders to consider at a future meeting policies on Safeguarding, safe recruitment, Child protection, disclosure and barring clearance procedure, equal opportunities
• Board of Management to review policies on health and safety, fore risk assessment, PAT testing of equipment, electrical wiring testing, gas supply certificate, lightning protection, asbestos survey, risk assessment, property letting issues.
• Manse garden works have been completed
Church Meeting 13th February Open Discussion attended by 15 Members, 1 Adherent and 2 young people, Minister in the Chair
Richard reported that there have been 13 expressions of interest for the FG Youth Outreach Worker position.
The following suggestions were made at the meeting
• Invite all the users of the premises to a social evening with a meal and a presentation from one of the organisations
• Consider how to attract younger people to the church, those on the cradle roll could be followed up
• Review how much the church needs to keep in reserves for maintenance issues and how much can be made available for charitable giving
• Fund raising events not only raise money, but bring people into the church
• Organise a special event such as flower festival, celebration of 90th anniversary of Scout group
• Repeat the auction with a fish and chip supper
• Consider whether to allow children’s parties for church members – referred to elders
Documents available from Church Secretary
Accounts 2015 SORP Charity Accounts 2015
Trustees Report 2015 Budget 2015/16
Dates to June 2016 Pastoral list 2016
Church Life Review 2012 Mission Statement 2016
Vision Statement 2016 Outreach Action Plan 2016
27TH CHINGFORD SCOUT GROUP
Cubs. At the half term badge workshop Cubs gained the following badges 2 Artist, 2 Book Reader, 3 Collector, 1 Digital Skills, 7 Hobbies, 1 Personal Challenge with some Animal Carer and Astronomer badges to follow. After half term we are doing Safety badges, Team work activities, an Environmental project and Skills evening We can now recruit new Cubs aged 8 to 10 from outside the Group as no Beavers will be coming up for at least a year.
Scouts The Scouts are tackling the same parts of the Challenge badges as the Cubs. 3 Hobbies badges were completed at half term, and Chef, Digital and Sports badges will be completed later. After half term we have wide game, night hike, star spotting and creative and skills evenings.
HIGHAMS PARK NEWS
Pam Kay Joyce Richard
Francis Ken Helen Helen
Valerie Bernice Lorraine Margaret
Please speak to your prayer partner and see if there are any
specific things they would like to pray for. Or if possible, why
not arrange a time to pray together during the month.
Please also pray for past members and friends.
If you would like a Prayer Partner please let Helen know so that
you can be added to the list.
Dates for the diary
The Mothers’ Union at All Saints, Highams Park are inviting you to their 60th Anniversary Communion Service followed by tea at 2:30pm Saturday 14th May.
Care Highams Park Commissioning Service
Highams Park URC will host this on Sunday 19th June at 6pm. Revd Ulrike Bell will lead the service.
Churches Together Highams Park Picnic
This will be held at Ridgeway Park on Sunday 26th June from 1pm onwards.
Rosie was telling me about her nephew, who has just been appointed as a surgeon in a top hospital. “He always did well at school,” she told us, “which is why he found things hard when he first went to university”
I looked puzzled, and she explained.
“When you’ve never had to excel, it can be hard to discover that sometimes success doesn’t just fall into your lap. Luckily, after his initial shock, Tim soon realised that perseverance brings its own rewards.”
That story made me think of some words of Joe Girard, a famously successful American salesman, who wisely pointed out, “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs….one step at a time.” Oh, well. It may take more puff, but we’ll have certainly earned that view from the top!
Thanks to The Friendship Book of Francis Gay
In Bangladesh, tackling poverty has become increasingly difficult due to the impact of climate change - increasing numbers of floods, cyclones and droughts are posing considerable challenges. Natural disasters are often accompanied by a heavy loss of life, property, income and household belongings. These events push vulnerable groups and communities further into a cycle of poverty.
As warmer global temperatures melt ice caps and glaciers, sea-level rise is one of the clearest impacts of climate change, resulting in more water flowing into the oceans.
About a third of Bangladesh’s land is in the low-lying coastal zone, which is inhabited by 35.1 million people. So even modest sea-level rise will cause significant challenges to people trying to make a living and support their families.
One partner, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), is committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of marginalised people and communities. Because of rising sea levels, groundwater has become salinised, and this has an impact on local duck farmers whose local breeds often become ill and unproductive.
CCDB provides people with a particular breed of duck, the Campbell, developed in England in the 19th century, which is more resistant to saline water and produces more eggs.
Roban Biswas, a duck farmer from Mitradanga village in Gopalganj district, explains:
'Before CCDB’s support I reared local ducks, but they do not lay many eggs. Local ducks are getting diseases because of the salty water, and they die. They are not resilient to this. But now I have received training, and a different breed of duck. It is a Campbell duck, they lay more eggs and they have been vaccinated so they are less affected.'
From CA website
ST.JAMES’ CHURCH MEETING NOTES FEBRUARY 2016
Nineteen people attended this Church Meeting, which was chaired by Revd. Richard Mortimer.
We began by exchanging news of the church family: Audrey Forrest, Joan Gowlett and June Nugent had been visited recently and they are all being well looked after. Roy Allen had been in hospital and is no longer able to attend church. Stuart Tanner has been selected for the Team GB World Championship Triathlon which will take place in Oklahoma on September 16th and Margaret and Peter Minolettti are looking forward to having another grandchild in August.
One of the chimneys in the manse is to be removed due to recurring dampness in that area, and the old church tower is to undergo an inspection. We are soon to have new church notice boards and our church name will also be replaced at the front of the porch, which will be a big improvement.
We heard from our Treasurer that we need to have Safeguarding and Health & Safety Policies in place to comply with new Synod regulations and we need to review our Church Constitution, so more work for the Elders to see to!
The next Churches’ Together Meeting was due to take place at St. James’ on 29th February, when the pre-Easter Commuter Outreach at Buckhurst hill Station would be among the subjects for discussion.
We heard about plans for a series of five Forest Group Services which will be held on Thursday evenings at different churches in the group, apart from one on Thursday 25th August which will be held at 11am. The first of these services will be a Taize Service held at Woodford Green UFC at 8pm on 14th April in candlelight.
There is also to be a Forest Group Prayer Walk followed by a barbecue on Sunday 12th June, so let’s hope the weather holds out for that.
We heard that Buckhurst Hill Residents’ Society are to have a Celebratory Tea on Friday 6th May at St. James’, in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday and that The Bible Society is producing a booklet also to celebrate her birthday entitled, ‘The Servant Queen And The King She Serves.’ It was suggested we could purchase some of these booklets and distribute them at the Residents’ event.
We won’t be having a Church Meeting in March, as the fourth Sunday of the month is Easter Day when we will be worshipping at Chingford URC, so our next Meeting will be on April 24th and will be chaired by Mona Shahbaz as part of her placement training with the Forest Group. Mona will also be leading our Mothering Sunday Parade Service on March 6th so she is getting lots of different experiences as she prepares to become an ordained minister in the URC. It has been good to have her with us and to help with her training.
ST JAMES’ PRAYER PARTNERS
Val - Louise, Margaret M. – Steven, Isabe l- Marisa, Diane – Graham , Kathleen T. – Eileen
Someetimes faith comes hard. When I am tired or confused; sick at heart or in body; when my best efforts seem wasted; when it apears my prayers have not been heard. I look around and the whole world seems grey, no light, or dark, or purpose or meaning. My soul yearns for you- Where are you, Lord?
God of all times, grant me faith to see that you are always there: near me, around me and within me, my source of strength and my hiding place.
Praise be to you!