We are delighted to be hosting a Harvest Barn Dance at St James' URC on Saturday 27 October 2018 from 7pm to 10pm.
Tickets costs £10 for adults, £5 for children and £25 for a family.
Ticket includes dance and organic ploughman's supper.
We will be having a raffle in support of Epping Forest Foodbank.
Please contact Margaret Minoletti to find out more or to buy tickets:
020 8505 3883
Our September newsletter is now available to read.
Click here to download the newsletter as a PDF or contact Rev June Colley on email@example.com for a paper version.
The Old Testament not only tells the history of the nation of Israel, but also contains visual-aids both for the Israelites and for us to help us to understand what God is like.
The ceremonial laws are a case in point.
Just reading through them, there are so many ways that the people could become “ceremonially unclean”, and so many steps to perform to become “clean”.
Only the high priest could only enter the “Holy of Holies” once a year, and that only after a sacrifice.
Touching the Ark of the Covenant could result in death, unless you were properly appointed as a priest.
All of these spoke of the “separateness” of God and the purity of his holiness.
The things of God could not be mixed in with the grime of everyday things because they were fundamentally incompatible.
To further underline the seriousness of this was the requirement for animal sacrifices, but this was also a visual-aid, pointing us to Jesus and His sacrifice.
What all this serves to illustrate, is the situation in which we find ourselves.
We are sinners, and God is utterly holy.
Would contact between God and us contaminate God? Or would it instead destroy us?
We are finite creatures, and God is the infinite creator, so I think I know which it would be.
So, what happened when Jesus became human and lived among us?
He allowed Himself to come into contact with the grime of everyday life, whilst remaining pure, and on the cross identified Himself with us to the point of carrying our sin for us, so that we would not be destroyed by the holiness of God.
This is the length to which God went to save us.
What a summer we had – too hot for some, too cold for others (we got the jumpers out in Scotland), too short for some, boringly long for others, full of new adventures for some, burdened with sad news for others.
Our journey goes on. We go into September, into late summer days and autumn, into a new school year with new teachers, classes and friends and back to work, picking up on our lives. We go into the season of Harvest celebrations, of ever shorter days, of worldly associations with “Christmas” being forced upon us in the shops.
Many rocks on our way. The tides of life go in and out, and we walk with them, adjust our lives around them, in the name of our Lord.
As God’s church we do not drift. We walk steadily onwards towards our aim, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Ps 91,11f)
And: “Teach me your way, o LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps 86,11)
Walking into September, may the angels guard you, and may the Lord teach us all His way for us. And so, may we walk in the light of the Lord!
Please hold in your prayer all for whom something new will start in September, as well as all our serving and non-serving Elders who will gather on September 15th for a joint Elders Day on next steps into the future of the URC/ of the Forest Group (with guest speaker Revd Martin Camroux).
Yours in Christ,
10:00 Worship and Introduction to the day - Brian Ball
10:15 Responding to HATE CRIME – Rhian Samuda (A Police Officer in Tottenham)
11:00 Children on the edge – William Jagessar (Childline volunteer)
11:45 Tea/ coffee break
11:55 Opportunities/Challenges – Young people and the church - Lorraine Downer (Youth Worker at High Cross URC
12:25 A Taster session from ‘Conversations on Diversity’ – Lorraine Downer, Sandra Ackroyd and Alex Bediako
1:15 Lunch is provided
To book a place, please contact Sandra Ackroyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Wonderful Wildlife’ was the theme of the week I signed up for at Othona, Bradwell-on–Sea this summer. It was led by Hayley-Marie Kenney, a bee-keeper from Rugby. Around thirty people had come for the week, including some children of different ages, who enjoyed exploring the beautiful Othona ecosystem.
It was a family-friendly week, with excursions down to the seashore, looking for tiny crabs on the first morning.
The next day we collected seeds in the peace garden and along the sea wall to later be mixed with mud to make into seed bombs, which would be thrown into an area of grassland near the chapel.
Another day we looked for creatures in a pond among the reed beds and one evening we went badger-spotting in the woodland near the community site and some of us did see a flash of black and white crossing the path after some time of waiting, which was quite exciting.
One of the things I enjoy most about being at Othona is going to St. Peter’s Chapel twice a day to attend the services led by different people. There is no electricity in the chapel, so in the evening it is lit by candles, and walking there in the evening, watching the sun set with a panorama of sea and sky all around is amazing.
Inside the chapel, founded by St. Cedd in 654AD, there is a beautiful cruicifix designed by Francis William Stephens, installed there over sixty years ago and St. Cedd is depicted at the foot of it, holding his bishop’s crook. Three stones are set into the altar, one from Lindisfarne, where St. Cedd was trained as a monk, one from Iona where St. Columba founded a monastery and where the Celtic mission of St. Cedd began. The third stone is fom Lastingham, where St. Cedd died of the plague in 664AD.
It is over seventy years now since Revd Norman Motley set up the Othona Community, hoping to promote reconciliation between German and British people after the Second World War.
He encountered considerable opposition and derision, but he was a very determined person and his vision bore fruit with many German people still coming to spend time at Bradwell each year along with people from many other countries.
While I was there there were eight VAPS (Volunteer Action for Peace) students from France, Spain and Italy who helped out with various tasks during their two week stay. They all got on very well together, considering they had never met each other before.
Another of the good things about being at Othona is seeing old friends and making new ones, meeting a diverse mix of people, old and young, able and disabled and gifted in different ways.
If you have never been to stay there, or even to visit for a day, I would recommend it.
Check their website at www.othonaessex.org.uk to find out more about the community and its programme of events.
August 10th is Adam Day as celebrated by the Sufi Community where they invite members of the religions whose religious teaching is that they are descended from Adam (and Eve) to celebrate together as children of ADAM regardless of our race ethnicity, faith belief, creed or lifestyle. For unity in diversity.
Through an introduction to members of the Sufi community who attend East London Three Faiths Forum, we have attended this event last year and this.
We hear speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths (not a lot of representation from the Jewish community this year as August 10th was a Friday, but one scholar was able to attend) and other organisations involved in community cohesion (this year it was an Inspector from the Newham police who asked us to work together for the good of the whole community) and the religions are asked to provide entertainment.
For the Christian entertainment, Sally Barton from St Mary’s Woodford bravely volunteered and with her guitar and sang “If I had a hammer” and “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain” which went down very well.
The Jewish community was not able to provide anyone this year but last year they found an Irish fiddle player who played jigs and reels.
A father and son from the Sufi community demonstrated Sufi Whirling which starts off very slowly and becomes mesmeric. I understand the participants are in a trancelike state to be able to make so many turns – far far more than the 32 fourchettes of the Sleeping Beauty - without falling over.
The Sufis also provided a couple of young singers whose song, if the name of God had been changed from Allah, would have been welcomed in any Christian gathering.
My husband spoke last year on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and this year on the Psalms which have their place in all three Abrahamic faiths.
And then we had a very enjoyable meal (the curry was very mild and I got to taste Irn Bru) and didn’t have to wait too long for the 101 bus to take us back to Wanstead.
Visiting East Ham Town Hall was quite an experience – late Victorian and definitely there to make a statement of civic pride.
On Saturday 30 June, I went on an Interfaith Pilgrimage arranged by Waltham Forest Women’s Interfaith Network. The theme was Forgiveness and Reconciliation and involved visiting seven places of worship of different faiths, in the borough of Waltham Forest, walking from one to the other.
We were joined by Sally Littlejohn, the Mayor of Waltham Forest, for part of the walk, and around twenty five people, mainly women, participated, with some joining and others leaving at different points.
The pilgrimage began in the chapel of Whipps Cross Hospital at 9.00am, with a welcome, intoduction and prayer given by Sue Diplock, curate at St-Peters-in–the Forest Anglican Church, who was our leader for the day.
We then walked to the Marian Misssionary Sisters of the Poor Community in Colchester Road, not far from the hospital. This Community had been set up by a Roman Catholic nun from Nigeria in 2000 and seven nuns live in the community house in Walthamstow at present. Their aim is To serve the poor and needy for the love of God. Their leader told us about their work with children who have special needs in the borough of Waltham Forest and how they are trying to raise funds to update their premises.
Next we walked on to Abbots Park where some members of the Bah’ai Faith had set up a table laden with delicious fruits and drinks for us to enjoy on this blazing hot day. The Bah’ai faith is one of the newest world faiths, originating in Iran in the 19th century. In the UK, Bah’ais are few in number, worshipping in each others’ houses and believing in world peace and that all religions will at some time in the future unite and that their prophet, Bahullah, is the final one.
They sang some worship songs to us before we moved on to the Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu Mandir in Whipps Cross Road. After removing our shoes, we went into the temple area, filled with very ornate statues of gods and goddesses. We listened to some more singing and one of the leaders of the temple told us about some Hindu beliefs. We then moved into a side room and were served with some delicious vegetarian food.
In the afternoon we walked on to the Wanstead Quaker Meeting House in Bush Road, a beautiful circular building with lovely gardens. Inside we sat in silence for ten minutes, which I found challenging, although Quakers normally sit for an hour in silence in their meetings.
Again we were served with refreshments before proceeding to a Muslim place of worship, the Leytonstone Masjid in Dacre Road.
I left the pilgrimage at that point, but some others continued on to the Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue and the final stop was at the Sikh Gurdwara in Francis Road.
I had enjoyed walking alongside people of other faiths and sharing stories with them, realising how much we have in common despite our different beliefs and ways of worshipping.
This Interfaith Pilgrimage is now an annual event, so I hope to go on it again next year. It is certainly a very interesting and enriching experience.
On Sunday 29 July, a large congregation of some 70 people gathered at Ray Lodge URC for their final service before amalgamation with Woodford Green URC.
They included previous ministers as well as others who had preached at Ray Lodge over the years, and those representing churches in the area.
In all there were eight ministers present, including June Colley who led the worship and Ulrike Bell, the current Forest Group minister, who gave the blessing!
The organ was played by Grace Morten who had been married at the congregational church on Snakes Lane, and other music was provided by Margaret Lineker who has been playing the piano for services at Ray Lodge for many years.
Cynthia Hodges was pleased to welcome back Janet Jackson, the previous church secretary, who had travelled from Shropshire to be with us. And there were representatives from the Seventh Day Adventist Church who will continue to meet at Ray Lodge for their Sabbath services.
In her address to the congregation, June pointed out that the current building was the third to be used for worship. The first was a little chapel in Ray Lodge Road, before the big congregational church was built at the end of the 19th century on the corner of Snakes Lane.
That church in turn was superceded by the current smaller church attached to the church hall. All of these changes were very well illustrated by the exhibition of photographs put together by Margaret Woolmer in the church hall, where a splendid tea had been prepared by Cynthia Hodges.
Although it was a sad occasion for those who had worshipped at Ray Lodge for very many years, those present made it a time of celebration of witness and service in the locality.
The building will remain in use, and a new congregation originating from Zimbabwe will worship there on a Sunday morning.
Midweek meetings of Rainbows, Brownies, Yoga classes and Karate, Trefoil Guild and the Wine and Beer circle, will continue to take place in the building, and the Neighbours’ Club will continue to meet every Friday afternoon.
Our July/ August newsletter is now available to read.
Click here to download the newsletter as a PDF or contact June Colley for a paper version.