Building for the Future
Building for the Future

STEPPINGSTONES

 

 

 

From the Minister

 

I am delighted to say that our churches are now in a place to come together for public worship once

again. Re-opening on Sundays is now in view and it will be good to see one another in a familiar

setting once again. We have been learning much since the initial lockdown in March, but now it is

time to step out in faith.

Having said that, I must make it clear that no one should feel coerced in attending worship, neither

should anyone feel guilty if they decide to stay away for the foreseeable future. Here, though, are

some things to remember as we think about returning to church:

1. If you display any of the following symptoms then DO NOT ATTEND:

Raised temperature

Cough or sore throat

Difficulty breathing

Loss of taste or smell

2. If, though, you are feeling well enough to attend then on arrival please ensure that you are wearing

a face covering and do not remove it until you leave the building. You will be recorded as attending by

the door steward for Test and Trace purposes. This attendance register is kept for 21 days.

3. You will be asked to sanitise your hands and then you will be directed to a seat (it might not be your

normal seat).

4. Please place your offering envelope in the plate when you enter the church, otherwise consider

making your offering via a standing order with your bank; speak to your Treasurer for details (North

Weald, Christine Deacon; Ongar, Brenda Hall; Epping Methodist, Pam Griffin; Epping URC, Janet

Wallace).

5. You will not be permitted to sing, but you may follow the words of the hymns in silence using the

hymn book on your seat.

6. Although you might be invited to stand in worship you are asked not to move about from your

designated spot.

7. At the conclusion of worship you will be asked to file out (those nearest the doors first). All must

sanitise their hands on leaving.

8. Please, wherever possible, maintain the 2-metre distancing rule.

9. No refreshments will be served. Bring a drink along for your personal use should you wish.

If you feel unable to attend, then be assured that the weekly Home Worship paper is still planned to

be produced and distributed to the end of the year. Services using the Zoom platform shall no longer

be transmitted.

Having spoken of a hopeful re-emergence for our church post-lockdown, it may be that Government

advice changes and things therefore will have to be reconsidered. If that is the case then be assured

that I, along with the elders and stewards, will keep matters under review and inform you of changes.

In the meantime, may God bless you as you continue to walk this wonderful journey of faith in such

challenging times. I leave you with the words of St Paul from his letter to the Romans, chapter 5:

‘And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,

because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4

perseverance, character; and character,hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’

 

 

From the Editor

 

Homeless Sunday

Sunday 11

th October is Homeless Sunday. At this time of change, how do we pray, speak and act in

solidarity with those who are homeless, and call for change in our housing policy? Find out more here:

http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/poverty-and-inequality/endhomelessness/ and here:

http://housingjustice.org.uk/homeless-sunday-2020

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We pray today for all women and men, who are homeless this day.

For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations outside high street

shops and many other inappropriate places.

For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime. For families broken

because they could not afford to pay the rent.

For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.

For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are.

For those who are afraid and hopeless.

For those who have been let down by our social safety net.

For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.

We pray that those of us with warm houses not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.

Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every person experiencing homelessness who we meet.

So that we may be empowered through word and deed, and by your grace, to bring justice and peace

to those who are homeless.

Amen.

 

Justice Matters

The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) are about to launch their bold ‘jubilee’ campaign in response to the

debt crisis caused by the unavoidable impact of Covid-19 on many in our communities. Expenses have

gone up for many, especially food bills for those who have had workers and children at home all day.

The pause in eviction proceedings and debt recovery ends this week and this is likely to cause even

greater hardship. It is worth remembering that most working people aren’t more than a month or

two’s salary away from getting into rent or mortgage arrears, even in normal times. By contrast many

people have found themselves better off and have been able to pay off debt as their expenses have

gone down during this time: it is estimated that around £8billion of credit card debt has been paid off

in the last 6 months. We clearly live in a very unequal society. Visit the website, Joint Public Issues and

/ or follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with the campaign and find out how you can get

involved.

Epping Forest ReUse

The charity Epping Forest ReUse is looking for two new trustees and volunteers with experience of

marketing, making grant applications and to keep the website (www.eppingreuse.org.uk) up to date.

Other volunteering opportunities exist and some can be for a time limited period. For information

please contact Janet Whitehouse janet.whitehouse7@gmail.com or 01992 812503.

Epping Forest ReUse is an Epping based charity which provides furniture, household appliances and

other goods to people in need. This is done by selling donated goods at low prices, with a discount for

people on income related benefits and giving goods free of charge to people in exceptional need

referred by agencies or identified by staff. However, it is open to all to use. The other charitable

objectives are to care for the environment by diverting goods from landfill and to provide

volunteering opportunities for everyone including those who are marginalised.

The charity used to have volunteers who were long-term unemployed but the agency that referred

them has closed. We have volunteers with autism and other learning difficulties and two came with a

carer or tutor. However, we also need community volunteers with specific skills and just now we need

someone with marketing experience, someone to keep our website up to date, a book-keeper with

knowledge of Sage and an appliance engineer who could repair electrical goods which are donated

but which have a fault. We need trustees with knowledge relevant to running a small business.

Some of the people Epping Forest ReUse (EFRU) helps are victims of domestic abuse who are given

the tenancy of a flat but have nothing to put in it. This also applies to some homeless people. The

Discharge Team at Princess Alexander Hospital often refers to EFRU asking for a bed or other

furniture to enable patients to be discharged from hospital. EFRU responds quickly and I've been told

this saves the NHS £300 a night. We receive wonderful Thank you Letters and emails from people the

charity has helped.

 

Eco Tips

 

Avoid using single use disposable masks, gloves and wipes

Disposable masks, gloves and wipes contain plastics which pollute water and

harms wildlife who eat them or become entangled in them. Some of these

plastics can’t be recycled, and waste centres can’t separate the components,

so most throwaway plastic masks put in household waste will end up in landfill

or incinerators and there has also been a considerable increase in the numbers

left as litter in streets. Moreover, disposable gloves do not provide any benefit

in preventing the spread of the virus and could actually spread it more, it is better to just wash your

hands and don’t touch your face. Reusable fabric masks are perfectly adequate for general use and

there are eco-friendly masks available made from second hand or recycled material or alternatively

you could make your own. When washing your reusable mask- and you should do so after every use,

it is ok to use a lower temperature to save on energy as it is the use of detergent which is important

(there are also environmentally friendly detergents available).

 

Continue to use video conferencing

It’s hard to compare the value in meeting in person to meeting over the internet; the joy of being able

to see someone in person, being able to read each other’s body language and even at some point

sharing a handshake or a hug. For those who have been connecting with churches, workplaces, family

and friends digitally, you might like to know that the current estimate of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

emitted is 1- 6 grams per hour you spend in video calls. 5km (perhaps a return journey to church for

some) in a petrol car emits on average 640 grams. That puts video conferencing at about 100 times

more efficient. So, perhaps when we meet in person, are there times when a video call would be

better to protects God’s Creation?

 

Thoughts from a member

Another month has gone by. Although we are not doing our normal weekly activities, the last 6

months seems to have gone by very quickly, I find this very strange!

We are still visiting our National Trust properties. All the ones around Cambridge so we don’t have to

travel too far. During the past week we have managed to meet two sets of friends, one at Anglesey

Abbey and the other at Icworth House. It has been lovely to catch up with friends we haven’t seen for

a while. The weather was kind to us on both occasions.

Before Covid, a big part of our week was looking after our grandchildren after school. We are not

doing this at the moment, which is very sad but we are all adjusting to the situation. One piece of

good news is that Jacob, the eldest, has settled into senior school quite happily so we are all very

relieved about this.

Another bit of good news for us is that they are getting a Border terrier puppy in a few weeks time

and we are going to be involved in puppy walking and training so we are looking forward to that and it

will keep us busy during the Autumn and Winter months. You might see Steve accompanied by a

puppy on his morning walks!

Puppy Love

A hairy ball of energy

Who loves to run and play,

Whose tricks and tomfoolery

Would brighten any day.

Almost hyperactive,

Without doubt lively,

Incredibly inquisitive,

Exploring constantly.

Chewing on everything,

Weeing everywhere,

Not fond of house training

But slowly getting there.

Extremely mischievous,

Just wants to have fun,

Loves to get pets from us,

Each and everyone.

This lovely little puppy

Right from the start

Became one of the family,

Captured every ones heart.

 

From a member

During spring time this year, I made a visit to my husband resting place at Love Lane Cemetery.

As I entered the cemetery from the Love Lane entrance, I was greeted by a beautiful row of daffodils

that had been planted by the groundsmen.

They gave me great pleasure and I just had to write to Ongar Council to express my appreciation.

On my next visit the cemetery, two groundsmen were there attending a plot, observed that I was the

person who had written the letter of appreciation and expressed their gratitude to me.

Whilst tidying/pulling the weeds on the pavement in front of my bungalow, a small white van stopped

by, a gentleman got out and asked me if I would like some help. Of course, I said ‘yes please’, I got the

necessary tools and he proceeded to do the weeding far quicker and more efficiently than I could do.

Of course, I did not observe that this was one of the groundsmen that I had conversed with at Love

Lane, he tidied up for me, putting the weeds into a rubbish bag in his van ready for disposal.

His closing comment was ‘you see what a nice letter does for you’.

Ever grateful

 

Covid-19 and the church

By the time you read this, you will be aware that the church will be re-opening on a fortnightly basis in

October, with services on 11th and 25th. Cecil will be sending details of what has been done to make

you as secure as possible, but he and the Elders wish to stress that you have to feel safe returning to

church. No-one is forcing you to attend and the weekly sheet will still be available and circulated until

at least the end of the year. The Elders will be reviewing matters at their next meeting in October,

with a view to opening fully in November.

However, as you know, things change very quickly at the moment and any future Government

restrictions have to be considered, often virtually within a matter of 24 hours. As I am writing this,

these guidelines have again changed this week and many people are uncertain as to what they can or

cannot do. Until yesterday I was unaware that any service in a church garden is restricted to six,

whereas a church service indoors is only restricted by the number that can be safely distanced!

Christmas this year will certainly be very different, even under the current restrictions, with no carol

singing! As it is now, we are all asked to consider other people and respect our distance from them.

This reminded me of the greatest commandments that Jesus gave, which should apply to our lives

today regardless of the Government restrictions as. in fact, they are very similar to them. In Matthew

22: v:37-40, Jesus says, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all

your mind,' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your

neighbour as yourself'". We should remember both of these at this time, continuing to worship and

pray to God, trusting in Him whether we are able to come to church or on our own in lockdown, and

we should love and respect our neighbour as ourselves by obeying all the restrictions as we would like

others to do for us to keep us safe. If Jesus were here today he would be sure to repeat the

Government's mantra - Wash hands, Cover face, Make space. That is what loving our neighbour is all

about. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

 

Balance Sheet of Life

The most destructive habit ……. Worry

The greatest joy ……...Giving

The greatest loss ……….. Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work …..... Helping Others

The ugliest personality trait ……………Selfishness

The great ‘shot in the arm’ ………..Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome ………. Fear

The most effective sleeping pill ………. Peace of Mind

The most crippling failure disease ………. Excuses

The most powerful force in life .......... Love

The most dangerous act ........ Gossip

The world’s most incredible computer ........ The Brain

The worst thing to be without .......Hope

The deadliest weapon ............ The Tongue

The two most power-filled words ......... “I Can”

The greatest asset ........... Faith

The most worthless emotion .......... Self-pity

The most beautiful attire ........... The Smile!

The most prized possession .......... Integrity

The most contagious spirit ........Enthusiasm

The most powerful channel of communication ....... Prayer

Author unknown

 

A members Diary notes for September

September, to me IS Harvest and Thanksgiving. The activity in the fields around me have been as

busy, noisy & dusty as ever; as the monster machinery is so huge. I have watched the tractors &

trailers heaped with potatoes dashing along the road and wonder what they’ll be made into. But for

us it is time for apple pies/crumbles along with bramble jelly jam making & storing as much as

possible for some winter treats.

It’s been a pleasure to see friends’ gardens with such a variety of food to harvest. Although I’m not a

gardener in the true sense I do enjoy finding a few raspberries to eat or picking some Curly Kale for

dinner. Harvesting one’s own fruit & veg is so much more tasty & to share or swap surplus vegetables

has been a good way to keep in touch with the neighbours.

Our children have got ‘stuck in’ you might say to making sure the bees have enough room in the hives

to store any surplus honey, then brave enough to take it from them & bring the heavy boxes of wax

comb frames of honey (called supers) home for the beekeeper to extract. This is our main harvest &

it’s been a very tiring month; but the liquid gold is ‘heaven’ sent especially yummy with some homemade bread.

We spent a lovely sunny afternoon celebrating another Grandson’s 19th birthday, in their garden with

lots of home-made goodies & plenty to talk about as he’s soon to join the Army!

My weekly highlights are always the walks with daughter & granddaughter to the park. I always take a

gift for Mummy, usually flowers from the garden, a gift for Daddy, honey or jam and cake for Snow;

hence I’m now known as Grandma Cake!

Happy Harvest to you all.

 

 

A member would like to share the following with you:

 

I wish there was a staircase, a staircase shining bright,

To lead us from the darkness, to take us to the light,

To guide us ever onwards, right up to heaven’s door,

To meet again our loved ones and hold them close once more.

If sighs could make a staircase, I’d build it without fail,

If wishes could achieve it – but wishes are too frail

Yet somehow deep inside me, faith cannot be dismissed

That bonds ‘twixt earth and heaven’ most truly do exist.

For love can make a staircase; a bridge that will not break,

And love can keep us hopeful, however hearts may ache.

And when at last the day comes I, too, have reached my time,

I know I’ll find that staircase, and then with joy, I’ll climb.

Maggie Ingall

 

We are located at:

ONGAR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

HIGH STREET

ONGAR

CM5 9EA

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