Here is an overview of who will be leading our services on specific dates at St James', Chingford and Woodford Green.
The Reverend Ulrike Bell has received a call to serve a Lutheran church in her native Germany.
The churches of the Forest Group were very sad at her leaving and celebrated her six years of ministry with us at a farewell service on 18 July.
At the service, tributes were paid to her special gifts in music, as well as her warm personality and leadership in worship, and her contributions to many other aspects of church life.
Any matters relating to any of the three churches in the Group should be referred to the relevant church secretaries.
Chingford URC lost probably the longest standing member of its congregation with the passing of Betty Clayton on 30 November 2019.
Betty grew up in the Church (then known as Chingford Congregational Church) in the 1930s and 40s, progressing through Sunday School, Brownies and the Youth Club.
It was there that she met Henry and they were married in May 1954, remaining happily together for over 65 years. They lived first in Long Deacon Road and over the next few years were blessed with three daughters, Lindsay, Elizabeth and Fiona, all of whom were baptized at Buxton Road.
Despite having a young and growing family and by now living in Buckhurst Hill, Betty volunteered to help with the 5th Chingford Brownies and in no time at all she had become Brown Owl, then continuing to run the pack for so many years that she probably lost count.
As well as that Betty somehow managed to find time to take charge of the Beginners Department of the Junior Family Church, planning their activities each Sunday and continuing to teach the children and show them the love of God until just a few weeks before the end of her life.
Tributes paid to Betty described her as “the ultimate people person” and “a pillar of the Church” and the great affection in which she was held was clearly evident on 19 December when the Church at Buxton Road was packed almost to above its capacity for a service of Thanksgiving, with upwards of 150 people of all ages each wishing to pay their respects and share their memories of Betty and the way she had touched their lives.
So numerous were the clubs and societies of which Betty was a member and so many the charities she supported that there is not space here to refer to them all, but to name a few there were various badminton clubs, the Scottish dancing group and Pilots.
Also never to be forgotten are the summer parties Betty and Henry used to hold each year in aid of UNICEF at their house in Queens Road, the back garden of which was so long it seemed to stretch almost all the way to Woodford Green!
More poignantly was her association with CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), following the unexpected and untimely loss of her granddaughter Jennifer some years ago.
For her many years of service to the people of Chingford, in particular young people, Betty was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2012. Despite this being an achievement to be proud of she modestly kept very quiet about it.
Notwithstanding her failing health, Betty was still active until the end, helping with the arrangements for the forthcoming wedding of her granddaughter Hannah.
Susan and I visited her in October, after she had become no longer well enough to attend Church, and it was typical that her main concern that day was to see that someone would be able to cover for her in organising the flowers for Church the following Sunday and the subsequent dates on which it was her turn to be doing that task.
Even in her final days, Betty was still interested to hear news of the goings on at Church, and particularly things involving the young people.
If one was to try summing up Betty’s life and work it would be to say that she was patient, helpful and kind, bringing joy to so many people, and was strong in service to Christ.
The money raised at Betty’s funeral and since, amounted to £953, which was donated to ‘CRY’ (Cardiac Risk in the Young) in memory of her grand-daughter Jennifer. Henry and his family would like to thank everybody who donated so generously. The money will be used by CRY to screen young people for undiagnosed heart conditions which occur in twelve cases a week throughout the country.
For many years now, Chingford URC has supported the 1% Appeal for Commitment for Life. Our focus has been on projects in Bangladesh and here is an update on the work being done in that
Bangladesh is a poor and overpopulated nation. Nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in farming. Major problems include land erosion, lack of safe water, cyclones, floods and even drought.
About a third of the country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, making agricultural production difficult.
Many groups of people face prejudice and exclusion. Women are rarely allowed to participate in social or economic life. Indigenous peoples are discriminated against.
Primary education is free for all children from grades one through five. By law, children between the ages of six and ten must attend school. However, the quality of education remains a barrier for education levels.
Access to education remains a challenge for vulnerable groups, particularly working children, disabled children, indigenous children and those in remote areas or living in extreme poverty. Only half of all children living in slums attend school.
In Bangladesh, perceptions of aid are changing. Aid is no longer automatically seen as a good thing among the very economically and educationally strong middle-class.
Moreover, the rise of different extreme groups has meant working in a climate of caution. This means that partners are looking at different ways of working.
Christian Aid is continuing to focus on resilience to natural disasters, the understanding of climate change and how to reduce its effects, helping groups to get the best price they can when selling goods and produce at market.
They are also ensuring that gender and social inclusion work is part of any training they give.
Partners take the role of women in society very seriously. They offer training to empower and promote women to take part in responses to disasters and play a full part in decision making for projects.
From Monday 22 October to Thursday 25 October during Half Term, there will be a play scheme and bible holiday club at Chingford URC.
Morning and/ or afternoon sessions available.
For reception to Year 6 children.
£6 for a three hour session.
Arts and craft, drama, songs, prizes, stories, challenges, construction and games.
Register at www.rbf.org.uk
The Beaver Colony continues to meet at Gilwell Park with a full programme of activities.
Our thanks to Clare Bruce who has led the Colony for two years; she is now handing over leadership to Sara Reboredo and Georgie Mavrakis.
Beavers Jessica Edmunds and Benick de Jongh van Arkel gained the Chief Scouts Award.
Our thanks to Jess Moore who has led the Cub Pack for two years and is now handing over to Caroline Pantling.
Cubs gained a Chief Scouts Award (Billy Ayto) and took part in Mince Pie Rally, Kubadoo, Sailing and visits to Gilwell for special activities.
Scouts attended a winter camp at Gilwell, special activities at Gilwell such as climbing and the District Survival camp.
All sections attended a Group Activity Camp at Tolmers in August.
Thanks to Sarah Kerry and Amy Davies who have led the Scout Troop for a year, but are now having to give up as they have moved away from the area.
Beavers and Cubs have a full leadership team backed up by occasional help from parent helpers so it is expected that each section will be able to run a full programme including camps and outdoor activities.
We are trying to build up a leadership team of parents and volunteers to take over the leadership of the Scout Troop to replace Sarah and Amy.
We need to continue training leaders and assistants in the skills they need for their roles, and there is a need for more leaders with camping certificates
On Saturday 17 March, there will be an evening of Spanish and Latin American music at Chingford URC, courtesy of Adrian Azuelo and Ricardo Curbelo.
Doors open at 7pm.
Tickets cost £12 in advance or £14 on the door. £10 for concessions and £6 for under 16s.
Tickets are available from www.wegottickets.com/event/430781 or call 020 8539 0246/ 07986 589553.
We had a lot of fun at holiday Bible club from Monday to Thursday of half-term. The children were split into three groups according to age.
We had games, songs and a Bible story that was split into smaller parts. The story was about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, so on Monday, we built our own walls up Pole Hill out of branches.
On Wednesday, we went in search of the letters in “Nehemiah” and our group found 9½ full “Nehemiah”s. The main song we sang was “Ace Foundations” and we also sang “Boing” which was good fun.
We made some new friends and enjoyed playing with old ones. At the beginning of each session we had free time when you could play games, do wordsearches or build things like Lego or a marble run.
Some of my friends and I made a massive marble run out of four smaller ones.
By Lydia Haigh
On Sunday 18th September we had our annual Harvest Festival Youth Service at Chingford. We had lots of donations as you can see! Each year we take the items we receive to the Christian Kitchen in Walthamstow. It's a great local charity that looks after some of the homeless people in our borough, helping them to have a hot meal. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
What: Drop-in sessions for babies, toddlers and their carers
Where: Chingford United Reformed Church, Buxton Road, Chingford, E4 7DP
When: Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Cost: £1 per family
Contact: Sandra 020 8529 0071
The toys pictured are a typical set up in our back hall before the children arrive.
(Please note all toys shown gave their permission to be photographed; they did not object when asked!)