It has been agreed that the time has come to close the Jubilee Club which has been running for many years fortnightly on a Monday afternoon.
During that time we have heard many interesting speakers, seen many, many holiday photos, and enjoyed tea and fellowship.
Our thanks go to Janet Wallace who has planned the programme each term and prepared some delicious summer and Christmas tea parties as well.
Don’t forget we have our lunchtime concerts and who knows what other opportunities may arise.
Thanks again Janet, and all those who have helped over the years.
On 6th December, we welcomed two classes from the local primary school into our church building for the Christmas Experience!
With the help of Act4, a group working in the Synod to help churches with their children and youth work, we invited the children to experience Christmas by meeting some of the characters from the Christmas story.
In small groups, they went around the building listening and asking questions and collecting mementoes to take away.
The children met Mary as she did her chores and heard about what life was like for her in a small town in Judea.
Later they met the Angel Gabriel who told them about the message given to Mary.
Then they met the innkeeeper who told them about what was happening in Bethlehem and how Mary and Joseph could not find anywhere to stay.
And in a small side chapel they met a shepherd.
We were lucky to have Eileen Packe to help us as she grew up on a farm and her stories about life for shepherds were very authentic!
Thank you to our actors. We are doing it all again at Easter with a different cast of characters.
In between his trip to Kenya and starting his paramedic course at Portsmouth, we managed to catch up with James Corney for a chat about his recent experiences. It wasn’t long ago that James returned from a trip to the Yukon in Canada where he learned about surviving in a cold climate in a very isolated part of the world. His trip to Kenya was something quite different – a challenge of a different kind.
He spent nine weeks in Kenya. The objective of his time away was to help increase the ability of local young people, women and those with physical difficulties to become involved in the local economy. This project about enterprise was in Wundanyi where Darius was his supervisor and guide. He was expected to come up with his own ideas and so he conducted a needs assessment in local primary schools with 10-12 year olds. He ran sessions on drug use and abuse and also on life and business skills.
James was hosted by a local family – Peter and his family provided a room, breakfast and dinner. This supplemented the family income. The room was separate from their home – 4 x 5m with a toilet in the corner! And a few mosquitoes!
His daily routine consisted of fetching water, first thing each morning, so that he could wash and dress (it was chilly in the morning). Then after breakfast of bread and butter and very milky tea, he would walk into the town to his partner organisation’s office or to get a Matatu (minibus) to wherever he was going that day. He was given an allowance to buy lunch, which typically consisted of boiled maize flour (Ugali) made up into something which looked like a ‘white mass’. Most things included beef in some kind of sauce. Every family seemed to keep chickens and a cow for milk before it went for slaughter.
James felt that he had learned a lot about how to get out of difficult situations, how to stay calm and it gave him lots of opportunities to meet new people.
James found it most difficult to accept the level of corruption that he encountered. Local government officials wanted paying because it is illegal to bribe – so you were expected to pay for their lunches, etc. – bribery under another name. You never knew where you stood with people and the excessive red tape was frustrating.
He expressed some concern that in some cases aid money had been spent on projects but no thought had been given to ongoing costs of maintenance or sustainability so equipment ended up not being used.
Overall, clearly James had found his time in Kenya to be good preparation for his future career, as well as extending his own life and professional skills, and we were encouraged by his example that there are young people today who have much to give and are willing to go that extra mile for the sake of others.
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.
Messy Church will be held at Woodford Green URC on 14 May 2017, 4pm - 6pm.
This month's theme is PRAYER.
There will be prayer cubes, a graffiti wall, fizzy forgiveness, lego and paper people.
Fun and fellowship. And lots of food later on!
Messy Church at Woodford Green URC is on the second Sunday of every month.
Click here for all 2017 dates.