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.
We will be running a free six week course, starting on 30 January, entitled End of Life Matters.
This course is for people of all ages and covers questions to do with the end of life. It is open to people of any religion or no religion.
Each session will have a time of information/ input (sometimes with guest speakers), a time of exchange and learning from each other, a prayer and a time of sharing cake and tea/ coffee.
This course is free of charge. Donations welcome.
Location: St James' URC, Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5NG
Time: Thursdays 10:30 – 12:00
For more information or to sign up, please contact Rev Ulrike Bell on 020 8505 5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday 2 February 2020 at St James' URC, Rev Ulrike Bell, will be reporting on her Interfaith Pilgrimage to Israel/ Palestine (a joint week's spiritual journey with Jews, Muslims and Christians of local/ South Woodford congregations plus Rabbi David Hulbert and Imam Dr Mohammed Fahim).
Rachael Williams of St Albans URC will also be reporting on the joint URC journey into Israel/ Palestine (for Commitment for Life), in search of better understanding of the political situation of the Holy Land.
Date: Sunday 2 February 2020
Time: 4 - 7pm
Location: St James' URC, Buckhurst Hill
Here are a few photos from our Harvest Festival Parade Service at St James' URC on Sunday 15 September.
Rev Ulrike Bell brought a WaterAid message to 90+ attendees and we collected foodstuff for the Epping Forest Foodbank.
A huge thank you to Eileen and Mariana for the wonderful displays.
There was a warm southerly breeze blowing just as it had been on 9th September 1978. The only difference was it ruffled greying hair rather than a long white veil forty years on! And rather than arrive with my father at my family church of Water Lane, Bishop’s Stortford, Peter and I arrived together at St.James’ for what was to be a very special, possibly historic service to celebrate our two-church marriage.
Ulrike and Father Quentin Jackson had generously spent time together planning a service that was to incorporate a permission, granted by Bishop Alan Williams for me to share communion on this occasion. We celebrated together with the attendees at the 9am Mass which is now conveniently held in our church of St.James’.
The Mass began with the entrance as usual of the priest and altar servers, but with the exciting addition of Ulrike, dressed in her Lutheran robes.
There was an air of anticipation within the congregation, amplified when Father Quentin began to introduce the service explaining that we were celebrating “Peter and Margaret’s marriage of forty years” and then went on to make the unexpected comment “we Catholics are extreme”, explaining that within the Christian church there are many expressions of the love of Christ and the ways in which we commemorate His Last Supper; Catholics consider that at the eucharist the Real Presence is manifest, a belief not held in many other churches.
In his homily Father Quentin expanded his thoughts further by using a simile -“imagine the Church is like a garden - some are daffodils, some maybe roses. They are all flowers and beautiful, making up the garden. They are not the same but can live and grow together”.
Ulrike read the Gospel, taking the story of the House built on the Rock, a theme expanded by Father Quentin when he talked about marriage and the importance of firm foundations. We were then given a joint blessing from both ministers and shared an exchange of promises between us.
However long I have been married to Peter and on special occasions been able to share communion together, the immense joy of sharing is never diminished. This occasion was very special indeed, especially when many others in the congregation as they went up to receive communion touched my shoulder approvingly as I sat at the end of our pew.
After the service we had many supportive comments, a suggestion that “we should do this more often” (not quite sure what - marriage, Ruby Weddings or simply worshipping together!) as Ulrike and Quentin stood to shake hands with everyone as they left for home. It felt energising and joyful, just as we should feel after church!
A tea party followed in the afternoon where family and members of both RC and URC congregations shared cake together - no permissions required there - just people enjoying life together, just as Christ would have wanted?
Each year, millions of people around the world take part in WWF’s Earth Hour. It started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and now it is the biggest movement to show support for protecting our planet and stopping climate change.
Lights will be switched off for one hour from 8.30pm - 9.30pm on Saturday 24th March this year.
We will be holding an Earth Hour Service at St. James’ in the Church Room at that time, with all the lights switched off, so if you decide to come, please bring a torch. We might even go outside for a while to look at the stars, weather permitting!
Click here for more info about Earth Hour.
Eighteen people attended this Church Meeting, which was chaired by Revd. Richard Mortimer.
Before the meeting began, we stood in memory of Gale Salmon who had died on 24th April.
We began by exchanging news of the church family: Joanne Sleet, who had fallen and broken her hip, is in a care home in Theydon Bois and Irene Houstoun is now also in a care home and won’t be returning to her flat in The Green. Barbara Blossom had broken her wrist and sent her greetings to Church Meeting. Pam Wells is still suffering from sores on her legs and is finding it difficult to get around. Roger Neville’s great niece, Esther, had been born at the beginning of April. We had been pleased to see Judith Salmon at church that morning. She is receiving lots of help and support from carers and family and Deborah her daughter will come from Australia to visit her again in November.
Three Elders were elected during the course of the meeting, Louise Woodcock and Graham Halliday, to serve for a further three years and Margaret Minoletti was re-elected on to the Eldership after her sabbatical last year. We now have seven Elders and give thanks for all the work they do to for our church and ask God to bless them.
A new boiler has been installed in the manse and now some of the double glazing has to be replaced and some remedial paintwork done in the kitchen. The asbestos survey of the church premises still has to be done and we are also waiting for new church notice boards and our church name to be replaced at the front of the porch.
Church Meeting voted to accept the Church Constitution and Safeguarding and Health & Safety Policies since they had been checked by the Elders. They will now have to be reviewed annually. A Fire Drill had been held before Church Meeting and fortunately no one spilt any coffee and it was a sunny day! Another unannounced one will take place in the autumn.
A Buckhurst Hill Churches Together Meeting was held at the Baptist Church on 9th May 2016 with representatives from the Baptist Church, the Anglican Church and St. James’ present. There are no plans now for a big evangelistic event in the area but it was felt churches should rather make their presence felt at street events such as the celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday on 11th June and at the pre-Christmas festival in Queen’s Road. The possibility of having a pop-up Prayer Tent as well as the usual stalls and activities for children was mentioned. The next meeting will be at the Baptist Church on Monday 11th July.
Buckhurst Hill Money Advice Service, an ecumenical venture in our area, is now being well used, with more advisors needed. Waitrose had donated £320 from their Green Token community scheme to help with the expenses of this service.
We will be having three Summer Garden Parties this year: on 17th July at the home of Simon and Louise Woodcock, on 7th August at the home of Geoff and Eileen Packe and on 25th September at the home of Steven Neville. They will all begin at 3:30pm. It was agreed entrance donations should be given to Loughton Food Bank.
We will be having an Amnestea in support of the work of Amnesty International after our service on 29th May and we await to hear how much we collected for Christian Aid at Buckhurst Hill Station on 20th May. We did collect £145 for WaterAid from the Jars of Change collection, one pound less than last year!
Bradwell Pilgrimage will take place on Saturday 2nd July, with the Bishop of Bradwell, Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell being the main speaker. No coach will run from our area this year, so those wishing to attend will have to go by car. It would be good if some of us can attend this event, and that the weather will be favourable.