Building for the Future
Building for the Future

STEPPINGSTONES

 

 

 

From the Minister

There are two kinds of time in human understanding: the Greek words Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos ‘refers to chronological or sequential time’, while the latter, Kairos, ‘signifies a
proper or opportune time for action’. Chronos is usually measured using a time piece, e.g.,
a watch or clock, but Kairos on the other hand cannot be measured – it just emerges or
appears, and one instinctively knows that now is the right time.
The life of faith is filled with kairos or ‘right time’ moments. When they appear, they can
come as something of a surprise. The Christian, however, has been schooled to expect the
unexpected. The Bible is laden with Kairos moments, e.g., God’s choice of unassuming
individuals who were great in the service of God and his people like Samuel and David, or,
with reference to the church, the likes of Paul and Timothy. Of course, the greatest Kairos
moments include the Creation and the Incarnation.
COP26 in Glasgow this November will be the 26
th United Nations climate change conference.
Alongside other activists for climate change, Christians see this as a Kairos moment or a
‘right time’ moment. We know that there are enormous climate pressures facing the planet
and that this crucial conference is a ‘right time’ for nations to come together and find ways
of acting for climate justice. We can all do our bit at home for climate justice, e.g., shopping
and consuming more ethically, recycling, etc., but COP26 offers a bigger platform. That is
why Christian Aid is campaigning for Climate Justice and have many helpful resources to
inform and challenge us to action. I commend their web pages

https://www.christianaid.org.uk/get-involved-locally/scotland/preparing-cop26
Christian Aid is asking the UK government to:
• Increase financial support to the world’s poorest countries and push for their debts
to be cancelled so they can better confront the climate crisis and other urgent
priorities that they face.
• Invest in a green recovery that leaves no-one behind – either in the UK or in the
world’s poorest communities.
• Stop the expansion of fossil fuel energy and step-up support to clean energy.
Check the resources online and watch out for activities both locally and nationally where we
can play our part.
This is the time! This is the Kairos moment!
September 2021

A Prayer:
O God of the cosmos, we humbly ask that you prompt us to care for the creation and in so
doing teach us to be caring towards our neighbours. We pray for the COP26 discussions,
asking that earthly power may come under the sway of your divine influence, whereby
humanity may sing with creation as one, and that the life of all be enhanced and
improved.
We pray through Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of the world.
AMEN.
Prayer Share
for Methodist People

Each Year Methodist Publishing produces the Prayer Handbook. It offers a framework for
personal and public prayer that puts the Methodist people in Britain and worldwide in touch
with one another through prayerful intent. To give the practice of prayer something of a
rhythm during the Connexional Year 2021-22, I have ordered two copies of the handbook
(one each for Epping and North Weald) in the hope that sufficient of us can undertake to
use it for a month at a time, starting in September. All that is required are 12 people to
cover the months September to August. There is a different prayer emphasis for each
Sunday of the year and a structure for weekday prayer. It is over to everyone signing up to
utilize the material in their private devotions for ‘their’ designated month. So, all that is
needed are volunteers to sign up for a month, at the conclusion of which the Prayer
Handbook is handed to the next volunteer on the list. The Minister will be seeking
volunteers from September to maintain this important month-by-month prayer cycle

From the Editor

 

DOING JUSTICE At the end of May both Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Churches together in England have marked the 1st anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. On the 25th May there was a candlelit silence at midday, and at 7pm a service was broadcast on YouTube. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNIGmEEW9_Q, or listen to the service, Doing Justice, on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000wjdh To also mark this occasion, the URC has released a series of praise songs and protests, called Sunflowers and Thistles a book of 36 songs inspired by the global black lives matter protests and the devastating impact of the pandemic. 

 

TOGETHER WITH REFUGEES The United Reformed Church and Methodist Church have become founding members of a new campaign coalition Together With Refugees. The coalition, made up of more than 100 national, local, refugee-led and grassroots groups, calls for a better approach to supporting refugees that is kinder, fairer and more effective, and believes in showing compassion to people fleeing war, persecution or violence. Together With Refugees aims to inspire hope and win deep change in the UK’s approach to refugees. In a statement the coalition said: “This means standing up for people’s ability to seek safety in the UK no matter how they came here. It means ensuring people can live in dignity while they wait to hear if they will be granted protection. It means empowering refugees to rebuild their lives and make valuable contributions to their communities. And it means the UK working with other countries to do our bit to help people who are forced to flee their homes.” Inspired by the refugee nation flag, and the colours of a lifebelt, the coalition’s orange heart logo symbolises hope and compassion. With the campaign slogan #WhoWeAre, the heart is intended to be adopted widely to show support for refugees while underpinning a sense of unity. They represent that together, as a movement, we are larger than the sum of our parts. For more information visit: https://togetherwithrefugees.org.uk/ GREEN ISSUES Environment Sunday (6th June): A special intergenerational service marking environment Sunday produced by the URC’s children and youth team : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCUhcQnrk2N78c89wM9Rhow Climate Justice for all: Climate Justice for All is a youth-led, global campaign that seeks to mobilise the Methodist family worldwide on issues of climate justice. Methodists are invited to take part in CJ4A online events in June, where you can be part of building a ‘call to action’ from the Methodist Church in Britain to the UK Government’s COP26 ambassadors. Open to all ages, come along to this intergeneration event to have your say. More here: https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/our-work-in-britain/environment-and-climatechange/cop26-climate-justice-for-all/ G7 Summit: Ahead of COP26 in November, the UK is hosting the G7 summit in June with environmental issues promised to be one of the priorities. Read more on this from Christian Aid: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/take-action-ahead-g7 URC Eastern Synod Divests from fossil fuels: https://urc.org.uk/latest-news/3820-urc-east

 

 

 

Fresh from the Word 2022
I have now received information about next year’s edition and, if you are interested in
having a copy, please speak to me. It costs £10.99 for a book of readings, reflections and
prayer to last all year. I find it thought-provoking as its format covers various topics relevant
to today through a Biblical perspective, and the different writers from around the world add
a slant to all this from their own countries and cultures. The main Gospel covered will be
Luke but there are also studies on 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, Ezekiel, 1 Corinthians and
Revelation. The fact that topics relate to the world today holds my interest rather than
studying one book for the whole year and I often find it stimulates my own reflections and
sermon preparation.


Each day now we read that infection levels through coronavirus are increasing and the
number of deaths now is equal to, if not more, than at the peak of March when most of us
were unvaccinated. Research has shown that immunity declines after six months to 74% in
the Pfizer vaccine and 67% in the Astra Zeneca, but that we should all expect to be infected
repeatedly over our lifetimes with each infection becoming milder than the previous one.
As most of us will shortly be approaching the six month anniversary of our vaccination, this
emphasizes the need we all have to continue to wear masks, sanitise our hands and sign in
or use the QR code when attending church. A failure on our part to do this may not lead to
us being reinfected but it will deter some people from attending church or exploring their
desire to learn more about God in our company.
We have learned in the past that in times of emergency people turn to God and I am sure
that during the lockdowns many of you, like me, through reading of the Bible or other
books, as well as knowing others were using the weekly worship sheet, found that their faith
was strengthened; we learned more about the nature of Christ and God when we perhaps
thought we knew everything there was to know! Just like the vaccine, however, we lose
that ‘protection’ over time once we are back into the busyness of our everyday lives. We
forget to follow the rules aimed at caring for others and lose the sense of fellowship we
experienced when we were apart through contact with others. We may even drop the
habits of our health protecting measures of Bible reading and prayer, just as we forget to
wash our hands or wear masks. Just like coronavirus, God will not disappear but we know
that we can trust in Him for our protection in the ordinary, as well as the difficult times. We
can get our booster shots of God every Sunday in church as well as through the week in our
daily devotions.

Open House
We are pleased to say that we now have Open House up and running again. It has been
good to get back to some normality and lovely to meet up with our own Church friends,
those from St. Martins and the wider community. We are being very careful to make sure
our church environment is as safe as possible for us all to enjoy some time with friends and
neighbours.
It was lovely to see Janice and Ron with us last week. This meant we could celebrate Cheryl
and Janice’s birthdays, as we have always done in the past.
During September our charity table will be in aid of the Seafarers Mission.
Pam, Cheryl and Joan
We would like to wish “Happy Birthday” to those having a birthday in September

 

We are located at:

ONGAR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

HIGH STREET

ONGAR

CM5 9EA

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