Building for the Future
Building for the Future

STEPPINGSTONES

From the Editor
Black Lives Matter
Both of our denominations released long statements on the subject of racism and
Black lives matter in response to George Floyd’s death (they are both very long to

publish so the links are below).
Read the Methodist Church statement here
Read URC the full statement here. There is also a good article on this subject in the
latest Reform magazine which can be read here.
Prayer:
Refugee Week
For many refugees and asylum seekers, the journey they have been on has been
one of hope. Hope for change, hope for refuge, hope to be reunited with those they
love.
During Refugee Week, JPIT highlighted some of these stories. At a time when it can

be difficult to have hope in the future, what do we have to learn from those who
have journeyed across the world to seek safety? Click here to read these stories.

Prayer:
God of Hope,
We worship you as the God of those in exile,
to whom you hold out the hope of finding peace and security.

We pray for those on a journey away from their homes.

For sisters and brothers on the move who are fearful and hungry and tired,
For those in camps, facing the dangers of COVID-19 without a safe place to isolate.
For those separated from loved ones, holding on to the hope of reunion.
For all at risk of exploitation and trafficking.
Eternal God,
deeply troubled by what is happening following
George Floyd’s death,
and by too much other inhumanity that doesn’t
reach the headlines,
we cry to you as the one
whose love was the victor at Easter and
who pours it into our hearts at Pentecost.
As we observe the pain of a fractured world,
use your love to drive us from sadness to compassion;
as we watch the pain of the bereaved,
use your love to move us from pity to companionship;
as we are faced with the pain of marginalised
people,
use your love to point us from complacency to your
commonwealth.
In our praying,
let us not just talk to you,
but yield to your love;
in our anger,
let us not just rail against injustice,
but manifest your love;
in our actions,
let us not just flail about aimlessly,
but build the civilisation of love.
Until none of us are disregarded for who we are
nor any diminished by what we fail to be,
we keep on praying in the name of Jesus Christ,
Amen

 

 

COME AND LET YOURSELVES BE BUILT AS
LIVING STONES INTO A SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
1 Peter Ch.2 v5 (New English Bible)

 



Hymns
During this time that the church has not been open, some people have been
exchanging text messages and have had some very interesting exchanges
regarding hymns. We have considered the content of some and also looked at our
favourite hymns. Some of the beautiful mornings we have been having led us to
read ‘Morning has broken’ and ‘New every morning is the love our wakening and
uprising prove’. We have also looked at some hymns that have not made it into the
modern hymnbooks we use, such as F. Pratt Green’s ‘How wonderful this world of
thine, a fragment of a fiery sun’. Depending on our mood in isolation, our choices
have often been influenced by the current situation and in particular I found great
consolation in a fairly modern hymn in Singing the Faith by Marjorie Dobson, ‘When
our caring love wears thin, when our nerves are stretched and taut and the strain of
our concern fills our every waking thought – God of understanding heart, give us

strength to play our part’. In particular verse 2 stood out for me: ‘When we watch in
helpless love, when all hope of health is past and distress cries out in pain that this
suffering will not last –
God of healing, hold us near, bring your calm and drive out fear.’
It is not just in the Bible that we can find guidance and comfort as our hymnbooks
contain some inspiring verses. I have used some of these as a base for prayer in the
past, including ‘Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom’. Take the time to look
at the words of hymns as they can be real pearls of wisdom through the ages.

Isolation Birthday
Like so many others, my birthday plans were drastically curtailed due to the 'lockdown'. Disappointing but not a big sacrifice compared to the suffering of so many
families during this unprecedented time.
I was expecting a very subdued day for my three-score years and ten! After
breakfast I gratefully opened my cards from friends and family.
However, it was a day of surprises, firstly a visit from my daughter and youngest son
in the morning. This followed by a 'Zoom' with my eldest son, wife and grandchildren
and in the afternoon another surprise visit from my brother and his wife. All
conducted outside in the garden with the recommended 2 metre distance. The day
finished with a delicious Italian meal delivered from our local restaurant.

Another lovely surprise was a gorgeous plant and card from my dear friends at the
Church, so kind. I miss you all and pray that we can all share fellowship back in the
Church building soon. In the meantime, thank you for your love and kindness. I feel
truly blessed. God bless you all.

Tale of an Owl
On a recent visit to our Livingstone Hall, suitably sanitised and protected, I came
across the distressing sight of a Tawney Owl lying dead in front of the entrance, there
was no sign of injury or attack by a predator. Myself and passers-by drew the
obvious conclusion that it had flown into the glass entrance door. Such a sad end
for a beautiful creature.
What to do? I took the bird home in a box and contacted various animal welfare
organisations none of which were available due to the pandemic closures.
I couldn't bear the thought of this lovely bird simply decomposing so I sent some
emails to some Taxidermists listed online. I had an immediate response from a lady
Taxidermist in Suffolk who was happy to accept the owl. She is a licensed
conservationist and animal lover, only taking creatures that have died naturally or as

a result of accident.
I was instructed to freeze the owl in order to prevent decomposition and to post
using an overnight service. However, it was only a one-hour drive and we were glad
of the chance to leave our house for a while!
Krysten (the Taxidermist) has promised to send a photo of the bird when it is
ready. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, this Owl will rise from the ice!

 

Thoughts from a member

We have managed to celebrate two birthdays in our garden, paying attention to
social distancing rules.
The first was for Jacob, our grandson. He was celebrating his eleventh birthday.
Where has that time gone? When I first took him to Twinkles he was about 2 years
old. This was also my introduction to the United Reformed Church.
The second birthday was for my husband, Steve. His birthday present from our
daughter was Cornish Pasties delivered all the way from Cornwall. This idea came to
her because we had to cancel our holiday in Cornwall this year, due to the virus.

They were delicious. We ate them in the garden because if we had gone to
Cornwall we would have eaten them outside. This is a family tradition of ours.
For both birthdays the weather was kind to us and sitting in the garden was a lovely
way of celebrating with family after so long of being apart.
We are keeping ourselves busy doing jobs in the garden, daily walks discovering
Ongar’s countryside and keeping in touch with family and friends by telephone or
Zoom.

 Here is a poem to share with you:
Family Ties
Family ties are precious things
Woven through the years,
Of laughter, love and tears.
Family ties are cherished things
Forged in childhood days,
By love of parents deep and true,
By tradition by family ways.
Family ties are treasured things

And far though we may roam,
The tender bonds with those we love
Still pull our hearts towards home.
A members Diary notes for June
What a mixed month of weather and events. Each day I write a list of jobs to do &
they vary from what has to be done to what would be nice to accomplish. The daily
preparation of meals from whatever has been delivered has to be done plus a bit of
personal care including maybe trying to cut your own hair or toe nails!
Being at home most of the time it’s been noticeable how scruffy the place has
become; so my mission was to tackle some of those untidy corners. Clearing the book
shelves to dust & rearrange took all day as there were so many to consider whether
to keep or not. Do I really need 12 large hardbacked cookery books from Mrs
Beeton’s – Delia Smith as well as the clutter of paperbacks & the answer is yes it seems
so, as they are back on the shelf. Not only that, Amazon have just come with my order
of another 3 books. The most cheerful of jobs was to paint the kitchen walls a shade
of green and to clean some windows badly chocked with field & road dust of many
months. We have also used much energy in de-weeding the pond & relocate water
lilies.
My needlework sessions include a ‘make do & mend’ pile with a new item to attend
to from my daughter-in-law. ‘Please could I repair her delicate blouse’; another job
on the list amongst my continuous patchwork projects for birthday gifts.
As we limit watching the news to just once a day; I have been most disturbed by the
Mobs being allowed to commit such criminal damage to our London street

statues. The thought of having to remove sculptures because of mob rule is just awful.
The highlight of the month for me was being able to go out walking with a dear friend
at last and having a family garden party to celebrate a Grandson’s birthday. It’s so
special to be able to see our young families again in our special ‘bubble’, especially
our 18month Granddaughter.
The scents & flora are such a pleasure while out walking, watching the brambles flower
& the perfume from the Lime trees is quite heady & it’s no wonder the bees get drunk
on the nectar. In the garden we enjoy the Roses & Evening Primrose as it opens up at
sunset – quite magical.
This is the day the Lord has made so rejoice & be glad in it.
I hope you are all being Mindful and absorbing the beauty of the world around you
& don’t work too hard.
I’m off now to enjoy the moment – hopefully with a Magnum Love to you all.

We have had lots of birthday celebrations this month. For those who will have a
birthday in July we would like to wish you a very happy birthday

 

We are located at:

ONGAR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

HIGH STREET

ONGAR

CM5 9EA

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