COME AND LET YOURSELVES BE BUILT AS
LIVING STONES INTO A SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
1 Peter Ch.2 v5 (New English Bible)
From the Minister
New year – new lifestyle!
Resolutions may have already been broken by the time you read this. All good intentions, all new lifestyle choices, from diets to living more frugally, may now be a distant memory. We may now find ourselves in the familiar and predictable
groove of the customary habits of last year.Christian identity is something we all share, and Methodism offers Christians the opportunity of affirming their identity as
believers by turning their backs on former ways and uncreative habits by putting on the new life in Christ. This finds a deep and sobering meaning in the Covenant Service, celebrated in the new year, every year. It gives to the Methodist people a moment to reflect upon the sacrificial nature of Christian discipleship. Others might learn from it
too, for the Covenant Prayer could also offer each of us, irrespective of whether we are Methodists or not, a basis for our Christian existence; namely, to be committed to the Lord who is committed to us – hence the word ‘covenant’. Where do you find yourself at the start of 2019? Will it be another humdrum year of ‘same old, same old’? Is it a year that is going to bring burdens and worry along with duty and service? Probably, the words recited in the Covenant Service by congregations
across the world aims to turn individuals away from a self-centred narcissism towards a life centred on God.
I invite you, therefore, to join me by reflecting upon the
following prayer, and in doing so to commit ourselves to God
for the rest of this year:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Another successful Quiz Night was held in our hall on Friday 22nd February. It was a lovely atmosphere and Martyn Lockwood as always was a brilliant Quiz-master he always gets a good range of questions so everyone has a chance to get some right! So a big thank you to him and our dear friend Brian Herring for his exemplary scoring. Of course a huge thank-you to all who attended, without the teams taking part there would be no quiz. We made a profit off £340 towards our ‘Building for the Future Fund’ thanks to the generosity of our visitors. We are hoping the Autumn Quiz will be in the newly refurbished hall.
Our monthly Coffee Morning & Sale was held on Saturday 23rd February. We need to clear space ready for the renovations to begin so the theme was ‘Pound Store’, everything (including cakes) was £1.00. It was a beautiful day the weather was positively Spring like and brought out many visitors. We made a final profit of £227.50 which is amazing for the space of two hours. Another big thank you to everyone who helped on the day and to our donors and buyers. Jean Woodward had a stall to raise money for the Harlow Food Bank and she was very happy with the money raised Also, this month, we sold the redundant revolving Blackboard from Junior Church on Ebay for £200. It is a vintage item and now has a new home in Shropshire.
Leprosy Mission Box Holders
A big thank you to everyone who has been collecting their spare change in the Leprosy mission collecting boxes for the past year. These were handed in during our Service on 27th January and dedicated to the work across the world in combating this terrible condition.
A wonderful total of £282.34 was raised for the Leprosy Mission and the Council for Word Mission. Please continue the good work for the coming year. There are spare boxes for anyone who would like to join our regular savers. Please see Jean Easter if you would like one.
We had a request from a producer on BBC Essex for our Church to take part in their Essex Quest on 13th January. For those of you unfamiliar with the Quest, it’s on Sunday mornings at 9.00am following Peter Holmes faith show. The format is a kind of Treasure Hunt but without any Treasure at the end, just the satisfaction of beating the Quest Master! The team has to find four mystery locations around Essex by following the clues and listener’s suggestions.
Our Church was the third location. They had to find the way from Brentwood (outdoor Ski Centre) to Ongar. I can’t remember precisely the Clue but it was something on the lines of ‘Not Dead but Heavy – a savoury pie’. Which translated to Living Stone, Cottage. This brought the team to our Livingstone Cottages. Our congregation was waiting with baited breath for the arrival of the BBC Essex mobile broadcasting van. They took longer than anticipated reaching us, which meant our service was delayed by 15 minutes, fortunately our dear friend Brian Herring was leading the service and waited for us!!!
Liana and Barry were very interested to hear of our connection with David Livingstone and spoke to Church members live on the radio before heading off to follow the clue to the next location. Of course we were able to talk about the forthcoming transformation of our ‘Livingstone Hall’ and the ‘Taylor Gallery’ (named for Jane Taylor)
It is a very interesting show to listen to as they visit so many different places in Essex, there’s always somewhere new to learn about. All is not lost if you can’t listen live, as we are attending morning worship; just listen on iPlayer! You may also hear snippets from Stepping Stones on the earlier Faith Show.