People

5th July 2020

A Compulsory Purchase Order?

It seems to me that our spiritual journey is about being pilgrims on a journey and foreigners in our own land (Hebrews 11.13, 1 Peter 2.11).  But as we journey, we have to live out the Good News in the place in which we find ourselves, seeking to become the people God intends us to be right there.  At each stage of the journey, we make a place to stay, a home, hopefully built on the rock (Matthew 7.24-27).

Most of us have experienced house moves in our lives.  Sometimes these are chosen – to a house of more appropriate size, to a preferred area, nearer to family, good schools etc.  Sometimes a move is forced upon us – a change of financial circumstances, a job change, the need for more support from or for family.  When we move, even if we have chosen it, we feel disoriented, concerned about how our cherished possessions will fit.  We begin to adjust once we start to feel safe, to know how to access our desired activities and interactions with others and to fit our possessions in and know where things are.

On 22nd March, it was as if we were all served with a Compulsory Purchase Order on our homes with very little warning. On 23rd March we were evicted from those homes and forced to move to a new property we had not even had a preliminary viewing of.  A few people could immediately see benefits in the new property – less responsibilities, more time to pursue hobbies.  But for the vast majority of us, it was a huge upheaval and we’re still trying to adjust.  Even those who had severely restricted lifestyles before lockdown have less (if any) visitors, less other outlets.  It is increasingly clear that we can never return to our old homes.  And whilst we are being allowed to see more of our friends and family (how many get togethers have you had in the garden in the rain?!?) and to pursue more activities, lots of longed for improvements still seem quite a way off (the kids back in regular schooling, shopping a less stressful experience, indoor groups able to meet, services in the chapel).  If you’re shielding because you are “extremely vulnerable”, or living with someone who is, then the freedom to come and go as you would like to may still seem a very long way off.  It’s still quite hard to see how we can fit into the new house, just what its boundaries are and how safe it is.

We tend to judge the suitability of a new home on whether we believe it meets our needs, enables us to do what we want to do and see who we want to see.  If we do not feel this is the case, we feel trapped within the walls, stuck in longings to go back.  What we actually need is to experience within our homes the heights of God’s love, the depths of his mercy and the width of his grace.  Can we learn to see our new homes in those terms?  Because they may not feel safe based on other criteria any time soon!

I write this not as one who has got it sorted in any sense.  Far from it.  But this further analogy helps me to have another perspective on how to move forward in this particular, challenging bit of the journey.

Barbra Depledge


3rd July 2020

A lifetime adventure

It was fifty years ago today, 3rd July 1970, that we finally, slowly, pulled away from the quayside at Southampton docks at the beginning of a lifetime adventure.  We say finally because it was more than a year since we had had a sharp shock with an incredible answer to prayer that God used to uproot us from a very pleasant job and surroundings.  We say slowly because it is incredible how slow it seems when you have family on the quayside waving you off.  After a couple of years of uncertainty about what was happening, but certainty that God was moving us along we were now on board the Windsor Castle, flagship of the Cunard line, heading for South Africa on our way to Malawi.  We were going to drive from Cape Town to Malawi.  The first problem was that the brand new car, which had been earmarked all the way down the production line for us and Africa, was not on board with us.  They had fitted the extra springs and the sump shield, essential for African roads but local strikes meant that the windscreen and starter motor were not available.  The garage, through whom we were working offered to send a starter motor from their stock to enable the car to catch the boat a week later, but sent the wrong one so the car missed the next boat and whilst the car was ready for the following week dock workers went on strike and no boats sailed for a further three weeks.  A great start to a new life. 

 Actually God used even that.  It meant that we had to spend 5 weeks extra in South Africa waiting for the car.  We had previously been students at the University of Makerere in Uganda and worked in Kenya and Uganda gaining very positive relationships with our African peers and those we worked amongst. We were going to Malawi where a lot of mission work was still in the hands of South Africans.  This was the height of apartheid with South Africans holding very different views than our East African nurtured views.  Those five weeks helped us a lot.  We could never agree with the South African views, but by living (and working) amongst them we did begin to see how their views had developed.  This gave us insights which helped us  when we eventually got to Malawi and had to work alongside Afrikaaners with different ideas.

Ralph and Jane Hanger


29th June 2020

And this time, something completely different …

Since the start of lockdown, I have been enjoying an early morning cycle ride each day in lieu of my previous swims.  Early on, I had two quite difficult encounters with HS2 protesters who were blocking my route along a minor country road and who proved quite reluctant to move sufficiently to enable me to pass at a 2 metre distance.

This is absolutely not a discussion on the rights and wrongs of HS2 (new high speed rail line initially from London to Birmingham and thence onwards).  Suffice it to say that I was not in favour of the construction of HS2 in the first place and expressed this (in a rather tame way, perhaps) via a couple of online petitions.  However, HS2 has for some while been a “done deal” and construction has continued unimpeded throughout lockdown.

As time has gone on, I have had several interesting chats with HS2 construction workers who have told me interesting things about their work and how it fits into their lives and about the progress being made.  These have included chats with a couple of those tasked with maintaining 24/7 the security of the perimeter of the site.

This morning I had quite a different encounter.  I got chatting to two of the protesters, residents of the “….. Protection Camp” (names of places, gender and age of people met deliberately omitted).  They told me about their involvement in the protest and I gained an insight into how it had given two (perhaps quite troubled, disaffected and socially disadvantaged) individuals a cause, a purpose and a “family” of sorts.  These particular individuals were polite and respectful – it was a pleasure chatting with them.  They were keen to tell me that within the camp, they maintain social distance and as proof of this, not one of the residents has contracted the virus.

The conversation was not a long one.  It is my policy never to ask questions and never to express a view - but as the conversation progressed, I was aware of God gently rebuking me.  I had developed quite a fixed perception of a group of people ('the protesters').  The pattern was the usual one.  During those early encounters, I had become very anxious about whether I had in fact managed to stay a sufficient distance from them.  Over the next hours, my anxiety turned to anger.  I found myself thinking “if I get the virus, it will probably be their fault” and I lumped them all together and held a very negative, judging view of them.  This morning’s encounter challenged that.

As I said, this is not about my attitude to HS2.  It’s about my attitude to people.  God challenged me once again to see them as individuals!

Barbra Depledge


29th June 2020

What do missionaries look like?

Following Ian’s comments on Tim and Roddy in ‘Word for the Day‘ on what a missionary looks like and Neil’s comments on Sunday about how some people judge us by our exteriors, we thought you might like to hear of something that happened to us many years ago when we were ‘on leave’ from Malawi.

We were young missionaries, still in our late 20's and visiting folk in Belfast.  We travelled by ferry on a crowded boat.  As we arrived at the docks, the boat emptied with folk being greeted by friends and family, but we were eventually left on our own on the quayside.  We were working for Scripture Union at the time and so had our SU badges well displayed but no-one came to meet us.  At last someone came running up the quayside.  "Are you Ralph and Jane Hanger?" they said.  We were relieved! "We have just realised what we have been doing." they went on. "We have been standing at the end of the docks looking for a couple of missionaries, but we suddenly realised we don't know what missionaries look like!"

There certainly is no accurate stereotype for Missionaries!

Ralph and Jane Hanger


28th June 2020

Places of Passage:  further reflections on how we grow spiritually and emotionally through a period of transition and change!

I started to write this a few days ago – and then the latest announcement was made with a new raft of changes to what we will and will not be able do – mainly from 4th July.  And, as ever, I was so conscious that what brings improvement for some and hope that life will become more bearable before too long, brings little or none for others coping with a different set of circumstances.  Like everyone else, after each shift in this whole period of change, I have to try to grasp its implications for me and then let my world settle back onto some sort of level plain again.

In my last piece, I drew on one of the books I am reading at present.  It is entitled “The Other Side of Chaos: Breaking Through When Life is Breaking Down” and is by Margaret Silf.   In another chapter, Margaret lists 8 different forms of passage – means by which we get from one place to another – but not simply everyday journeys – those which involve a significant transition, a degree of risk or potentially fear.  These passageways offer wonderful pictures, images of our experiences as we journey from our lives as they were before the pandemic, through chaos, uncertainty, and loss towards life as it will be afterwards, the “new normal”.

The routes or places of passage Margaret suggests are:

  1. Tunnels
  2. Mountain passes
  3. Tidal causeways
  4. Flight
  5. Rough sea crossings
  6. Cliff tops
  7. Jungle trails
  8. Desert crossings

I find these really pertinent images because each of them will impact each of us differently.  I’m not keen on tunnels but am not nearly as uncomfortable with them as David (my husband).  As a keen hill walker, I love mountain passes but I’m not so keen if there is a very steep drop on both sides (not for me Striding Edge or Sharp Edge for Lake District enthusiasts!); others may experience serious vertigo on any narrow pass.  Tidal causeways take me to much loved places like the Holy Island of Lindisfarne; I understand the tide times and feel very comfortable that I know when it is safe to cross the causeway and when it is safe to cross the pilgrims’ path across the sands.  Others may fear the rising tide lapping at their backs, swallowing their opportunity for retreat.  Some love flying; others are terrified of it.  I love rough sea crossings; others hate them.  I love cliff tops and cliff paths but can't look when I see how close some people get to the edge – or worse let their children get to the edge!  My experience of jungle trails is limited to a handful of occasions when I’ve had a knowledgeable local guide; my experience of desert crossings is zero!

So some of these images reflect welcome transitions from one place to another, an adventure perhaps; others we will undertake only if we very badly want to get to a destination approached only by this route (a flight across the world, for example, to visit family).

With the pandemic, we have been thrust inescapably into a period of intense change and transition.  For a few this has brought positive benefits – a welcome respite from responsibilities and routine for example; for many there have been experiences of receiving exceptional kindness, discovery of new local places, beauty in unexpected places.  But mostly it has been difficult and unwelcome – and some of the consequences are not going away in a hurry.  We are still in or on those passages, journeying to a less than certain destination.  So much accumulated wisdom about our spiritual journey teaches us that growth comes through unasked for pain.  For Celtic Christians, passages have always had the potential to be “thin places” – places where the presence of God is especially tangible and easily felt.

You may like to reflect on each of these places of passage and see how you experience each image.  Which particularly resonates with you?  How far along or through those do you feel you have come? How is it changing you? I leave it with you!

Barbra Depledge


26th June 2020

This is a response to our questionnaire which you can find here if you would also like to contribute. 

Name (not necessarily your full name or real name)

Peggy

Is this a shared response and, if yes, who with?

Not shared

Some things that have affected you most in the crisis

The fellowship. So grateful for the contact via I Pad or telephone. Story received written by great grandchild

The hardest thing of all

Missing contact e.g. Big hugs from Friends and family.

Have there been some good points to come out of the crisis?

Being able to share photos of Friends and relatives

Any comments about the spiritual response of yourself and others

To be able to pray with members, at times like this, sharing a prayer helps such a lot.

Are there additional things you would have liked QRBC to do?

Have some traditional hymns included in the service

Anything else you would like to say?

May the love Of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all now and evermore.


22nd June 2020

We asked people to send us a photo (as it says in these notices) and Rev Ian Macnair did. Thank you and thanks to Ian and others who have contributed to our Word for the Day series which this Wednesday reaches 100 days of publication.

21st June 2020

Further lockdown musings

Much is being said and written at the moment expressing the hope that we will come out of this present situation BETTER – as a society and communities - where there is more kindness, more help and support for one another, more awareness of the needs of others.  The achievement of this aspiration clearly rests, not on wishful thinking, but on a significant proportion of individuals being better – kinder, more thoughtful etc.

Clearly the question we each need to be concerned about is “Will I (me, myself!) come out of this a ‘better’ person?”  Not just kinder, but more resilient, more mature in my faith? 

One of the books I am reading at present is proving particularly helpful.  It is by Margaret Silf and called “The Other Side of Chaos: Breaking Through When Life is Breaking Down”.  Margaret is one of my current favourite authors. With an earlier career in business and technology, she is now a Retreat Leader and Spiritual Director and writes from an Ignatian Spirituality perspective.  In the chapter I read this morning, she used the analogy of the story of Noah (Genesis 8).  Noah clearly followed God’s leading during a period of unprecedented chaos and transition.  He and his family were cooped up on the Ark (imagine the smells!) for months on end (ring any bells?).  Eventually the end seemed to be in sight but there were a few false starts before the dove went out and did not return.  Margaret points out that when the Ark comes to rest, it does so on Mount Ararat (conjures up for me wonderful images of the Ark wobbling precariously on some steep mountainside!).  The interesting thing is that this was a much higher place than where they set off from.  Not only quite geographically removed but at a higher altitude, one they might never have reached without the Flood.  This was of course no guarantee of coming out perfectly renewed people as the second half of Chapter 9 of Genesis tells us.  Coming out of this pandemic ‘better’ people – individually or as communities – is by no means guaranteed.  But the opportunity exists.  All of Noah’s friends, his former home and possessions have been stripped away and a new beginning HAS to be made – there is no going back.  For us too, despite our inevitable longings to “go back to normal”, this is not going to happen.  Most of what we long for is to be able to see different people, to do different things.  These are very natural hopes.  But what about who we are?  We will not be kinder, more thoughtful unless we become more spiritually and emotionally resilient.  Challenges there for each of us perhaps?

On a day to day basis, the situation remains horrible for many – painful, lonely, full of daily struggles, pleasures harder to find and to hold on to.  Each new “easing” of restrictions brings joy and improvement for some – and little or none for others.  We are all needing to find joy in small things that are accessible to us and contentment in new routines.  But growth and maturity will not come by denying that it is hard and unwelcome.  Resurrection and new life only follows death.  Death cannot be short circuited.  And one of my passions for now is that we give one another permission to be real about the struggles.  For me that is one of the most important ways in which we need to practice more kindness.

Barbra Depledge


8th June 2020

An appreciation of Jenny Caudwell

As you may have read on this website over the weekend, our member, Jenny Caudwell, died on Friday evening.   She and her husband, Brian, had been part of Queens Road for around 50 years and their three sons grew up with us.

Jenny suffered back and neck problems throughout her adult life following an accident as a young person but she nonetheless contributed much to the life of the church over the years.  Perhaps most notable was all she did to establish, sustain and adapt the Prayer Network as a vital part of the life of the fellowship.  How many of us have cause to be thankful that requests for prayer have been circulated quickly and efficiently, initially by telephone and latterly mainly by email?  Jenny was also a wonderful listener and was a faithful and supportive friend to many.  I was very blessed to have her as my Prayer Partner for many years and she was an absolutely indispensable, totally confidential support in my counselling work with the Light House and subsequently in other settings.

A couple of years ago, following a period of serious ill-health for both of them, Brian and Jenny took the very difficult decision to leave all their friends at Queens Road and move to Hexham where their son, Simon and his wife, Lynn, live.  They moved into a lovely bungalow in the grounds of a care home.  Sadly before long, Jenny needed more practical care than could be provided in that setting so she has been in different care homes whilst Brian remained in the bungalow, visiting her faithfully every day until lockdown started.  Jenny has been very poorly for several months and was ready to go and be with her Lord.  Brian, Simon and Lynn were able to be with her in her final hours.

Brian and Jenny’s other sons live in Canada and Switzerland respectively and their grand-daughter in Liberia.  Thankfully they have all been in close contact via video calling, but nonetheless being so far apart at such a time is hard.

Jenny was not someone who sought the limelight.  She suffered a good deal over her lifetime but she was sustained by her faith in our Lord and is a fine example to us of quiet trust and service.  We rejoice that she is now at peace with her Lord and pray the family will know his peace, his strength and his comfort.  We hope to share details of the funeral service in due course so those who wish, can share in their own homes in this remembrance of Jenny.

Barbra Depledge


27th May 2020

I was reading the story of Martyn Cook who was a member at our church in the 1970s & 80s. (see story on 25th May below). He recently came across some posters of the Evangelist Billy Graham whilst sorting his garage out and was asking about any members who had memories of Billy Graham’s ministry.

Well this is my story :-      My sister Lorraine Mills received an invitation from Queens Road church to attend a Mission England crusade at Villa Park led by the preacher Billy Graham. We both accepted his invitation at the end of his service to get out of our seats and onto the football ground to ask God into our lives.

We both attended a nurture group and then a baptismal class at Queens Road church. In March 1985 we were both baptised and we would both say it is the best decision we have taken in our lives, knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savour and best friend, and I imagine it’s the same for millions of other people around the world that Billy Graham led to Jesus.

There’s lots of quotes of Billy Graham but this is one of my favourites:-

  “The cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for he took them upon himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

    From the cross God declares “I love you, I understand the heartaches and sorrows and the pain that you feel, but I love 💗 you.

    The story does not end with the cross for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the cross to the empty tomb, it tells us there is hope, eternal life, for Jesus Christ has conquered evil and death and hell, YES there is hope.

As we look forward this weekend to the celebration of Pentecost, I pray that many more people will experience God's Holy Spirit poured out upon their lives.

God's blessings

Gail Shineton


26th May 2020

Beyond Ourselves……!

LOCKDOWN and SELF-ISOLATION have by and large reduced our horizons to the four walls of our sitting rooms.

Increasingly, we feel the pain and heartache of the loss of that most basic of human needs -------- to be together!  It is, of course, most keenly felt where families are unable to gather, but it also applies to our church family.

*not being able to be in church together

*not being able to sing together, to worship God together, to hear from His Word together

*not receiving/sharing a smile, a handshake, a hug as we greet one another…

*not being able to gather around the LORD’s table together

*not being able to share coffee and a natter afterwards in the servery…

*and, not being able to come together as a church family to celebrate and give thanks for the lives of those we’ve so recently lost and hold most dear.

Whilst many churches, our own included, are doing a magnificent job enabling us to ‘meet and worship’ virtually ___ it is just NOT the same as actually being with one another.  I was sharing this thought recently with a dear friend who lost her husband to cancer just 3 days after Lockdown was imposed and who herself was only 3 weeks post-op following a hip replacement at the time. This was her response:

Yes, it is not the same as really worshipping together. At least we have something ….. unlike our persecuted brothers and sisters. Just been praying for Iran and Algeria this morning. How do they survive?”

As I read her text I felt deeply ashamed and convicted!   There was I bemoaning the loss of being together as church, and she, a newly widowed lady still in the early stages of recovering from surgery, was faithfully praying for fellow believers in Christ who CANNOT MEET TOGETHER as church for fear of the authorities.

The title I gave these few thoughts is “Beyond Ourselves…” because my friend’s wonderful attitude challenged me to think BEYOND myself and my little woes to people who have been suffering much much longer than our 8-9 weeks of Lockdown. We know that ultimately we WILL GET BACK to being together to worship God; to share communion together in freedom. Our friends in Christ in Iran, Algeria and many other countries may never have that privilege or may live in constant fear should they try to meet!

Whilst digital technology may allow persecuted Christians to access Christian material on line or even ‘‘meet virtually’’,  it can also be used by the authorities to identify and discriminate against believers. Attacks against churches , including enforced closure, has risen by 500% in the last year. (source: opendoorsuk.org)

Open Doors (opendoorsuk.org)  is an International Ministry serving persecuted Christians and churches worldwide.  Barnabas Fund (barnabasfund.org) stands alongside Christian brothers and sisters where they suffer discrimination and persecution by providing aid through partners on the ground and speaking out on their behalf.  These two organizations are an excellent resource to feed our prayers…

So, let’s look “Beyond Ourselves …!” and pray in earnest for our fellow believers in Christ.

“Bear one another’s burdens , and so fulfil the law of Christ”  (Galatians 6 v2)

Ruth Jess

 

26th May 2020

This beautiful Red Admiral came into our garden yesterday evening & stayed for about 15 minutes on our choysia. The REAL  group helped me to identify what type of butterfly it was. I also learned that this delicate, but obviously very resliiant creature has flown all the way from North Africa. How incredible is that. I'm also told they like nettles, thistles & budleas, lavender& rosemary, none of which we have in our garden. I feel very privileged to have had this beautiful butterfly spend time in our garden & thank you REAL group, it was a REAL team effort. 

Margaret Newby

 

25th May 2020

Martyn Cook, one of our members in the 1970'and 80s, has been spending his lockdown clearing out his garage. He came across some old pieces of hardboard (never throw things away that might be useful later), turned them round to find what you see on the photo. It brought back memories and wonders if any others remember visits to Aston Villa football ground in 1984, or were otherwise influenced by Billy Graham's ministry?  If so, you might like to share them in Our Stories.

Martyn is also threatening to send his memories too. He & Donna send their love to any who remember them. They are both involved in their local church in Swindon.

 

23rd May 2020

Sarah White's contribution to Our Stories is a video which you can see here. If you wish to contact Sarah about what she says, email us here and we will pass it on.

 

21st May 2020

Ascension Day reflection

I started to write a reflection about Ascension Day last weekend but was then delighted to hear that Ian Macnair was writing his Word for the Day on the subject.   I share the view that this is an under-acknowledged date, most particularly in the Free Churches (Anglican churches do often – in “normal” times at least – have a service to celebrate it).

Coming at it from a rather more subjective angle (as ever), I was reflecting on that gap between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension.    It seemed to me that the apostles needed that 40 day interval to properly “get” that Jesus was indeed not dead but risen and alive.  Had Jesus simply ascended to heaven straight after his resurrection, the apostles would have had much more difficulty grasping the very extraordinary nature of what followed his death.  The resurrection appearances of Jesus in that 40 day period were much quoted by them subsequently as evidence of the resurrection – and continue to form a big part of our thinking about it.

And then there was another gap – between the Ascension and Pentecost – a 10 day gap – when the apostles must have felt seriously left in the lurch – Jesus had gone but they had still not received the promised “power from on high”. 

It all made me think about those gaps which we experience on our Christian journey – between periods when we feel clear and certain about God’s love and purposes for our lives and periods when we feel all at sea and lost and unsure – or worse.  And currently we are in a gap between “normal” life as we knew it when we could go about our tasks and responsibilities – duties and pleasures – freely, without hindrance – and whatever the “new normal” will be as and when we ever arrive at it at some unknown and still fairly far distant point. 

Just like the early disciples, we can only “hang on in”, trust (in the certainties we have previously experienced), obey (they were told to “wait in Jerusalem”) and stick together (they were “all together” on Pentecost Day).   The “gaps” can be puzzling, confusing and sometimes just horrible but the light has not been quenched just because the sun has gone over the horizon or behind a cloud –  we can reach for it in different forms and in memory.

Barbra Depledge

 

20th May 2020

News from our Mission Partners in Liberia

Acts Chapel Churches Reopen - With Social Distancing

The government in Liberia has allowed churches in Liberia to reopen with special measures and there was an overflowing of joy and thanksgiving in the three Acts Chapel churches.

Pastor Roberts and the 12 members of the Leadership Team from the 3 Acts Chapel churches spoke last weekend (10 May) and planned multiple reduced sized services. Some key preparations included the use of contactless thermometers installation outside the church as well as the hand washing stations, everyone wore face masks and the Pastors wore Face shields. Everyone went directly to there seats and worshipped and danced in place. 

The Service was one of Thanksgiving for God’s protection in these tough times. The Bible reading Isaiah 40:28 proclaims God never gets tired or weary and the people were encouraged to trust in Him and follow his wisdom which cannot be measured.

The worship was full despite there being a third of the people - people wanted to make a joyful noise!  Each of the 2 services in each location were attended by 42 people - according to the size of the buildings and was an adult only service. 

Pastor Roberts said that people were “most disciplined, the service was so wonderful, people wanted to be in church together but followed the strict code which had been shared with them beforehand by Leaders in group chats on their phones”. 

The children - Miracle Kids are meeting separately on Thursday with 2 sessions to keep the groups smaller and they will follow all the safety protocol as they continuing their youth discipleship programme. 

Bible Study takes place on Wednesday and people are hungry to learn and grow - to be together and worship.

There is excitement and caution as the church continues its plans to meet while maintaining safety and care for all the people. A new way to serve, worship and grow in our constant ever faithful strong loving God.

Prayer points for Acts Chapel 

Keeping safe as a congregation and a country - for people to follow the rules and peace and calm to remain - for the virus to end and for God to be thanked and praised.

 

19th May 2020

John Pither says  "I thought I would share the short House Group Study we did by Zoom last week in case others would like to use it. It includes our QRBC verse for 2020, Hebrews 12:2."

Short Bible Study on Hebrews 12: 1 -3 & 14 -17.

Read the passage in at least two versions - below is the JB Phillips Translation which is particularly helpful

We should consider these examples and Christ the perfect example
12 1-3 Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage.

In times of testing be especially on your guard against certain sins
14-17 Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”. Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others. Be careful too, that none of you falls into impurity or loses his reverence for the things of God and then, like Esau, is ready to sell his birthright to satisfy the momentary hunger of his body. Remember how afterwards, when he wanted to have the blessing which was his birthright, he was refused. He never afterwards found the way of repentance though he sought it desperately and with tears.

Questions to Discuss (Adapted from Max Lucado - Just Like Jesus)

Why does Paul call the Christian life a race instead of a walk or jog or some other activity?

What kind of things hinder you from racing effectively? Do you know anyone who has quit?

How can we continue to look joyfully toward the end?

How do we sometimes lose sight of the goal?

Why are you in the race? How can you overcome the urge to stop, rest and take it easy?

 

18th May 2020

I recently came across these meanderings, written during the first two weeks of Lockdown and reflecting a real roller coaster of thoughts and feelings.  

Thank God for the good memories and training when growing up.  I find it helpful when times are tough to turn to bible verses and songs and hymns committed to memory many years ago, as well as memories of people who have been an influence for good. 

I have hesitated about sharing this earlier as some of it sounded negative.  However, despite my initial hesitation to share these feelings, I have decided to send it as written.  As someone said recently “It is sometimes OK not to be OK.”

WHEN THIS ENDS WILL LIFE BE BETTER?? 

The sense of shock & bewilderment

That sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach;

The frenzied activity: -

A deluge of phone calls, emails, texts & letters

T.V., What’s App, Zoom & Video

A never - ending pound, pound in my ears, in my head;

The need to go to ground; the desire to get away from the pound

Of the sound going on and on and round & round.

The thoughts, the memories, feelings & emotions

Crowding in relentlessly.  People to contact, tasks to fulfil

No time or reason to stand still.

 

There is a sense of sadness, of grief,

Of beauty around us of searching deep

Catching up; Clearing the clutter,

Concern for each other;

 Aching, choking, sobbing

Laughter or sighing

Joy at birth & grief for those dying.

WHEN THIS ENDS WILL LIFE BE BETTER?…………………………

Coral Lynes

 

17th May 2020

You may be aware that this morning's service had its technical difficulties and one or two of you may wonder just what was going on. 

When we needed, at short notice, to put services online, we had a number of choices. At one end of the scale we could have had one person doing everything spoken and provided a separate YouTube playlist of the songs that went with the service or we could have pre-recorded all the bits, linked them together and put them out on Sunday morning. We decided to go to the other end of the scale. We are very keen to keep the community feeling in our worship so we got lots of people to be involved. They could not come together so they have to be linked electronically. We use some live input and some pre-recorded pieces. Sometimes, for example during the initial welcome, you will see on screen those who are participating in the service as a gallery. This morning the usual Zoom app was not functioning so the technical team had to switch to using Microsoft Teams, something we had not used before. They did brilliantly and the service went ahead half an hour after the original scheduled time. Then the sound from the person doing the reading wasn't audible and Liz Martin had to step in to do the reading. The piece I do at the end was pre-recorded but we couldn't use that as it talked about the after service chat groups which couldn't happen without Zoom, so I did that live.

And yet, through all that, we were able to worship God and share communion together. Thank you to all who joined in. Thank God for the wonders of technology - without it the lockdown would have been much harder to bear for many.

David Depledge

Some of the congregation preparing for communion

 

16th May 2020

A Letter To Glenys Brown  

Dear Glenys,

So your new adventure has now begun - heaven is the richer.  Behind you are the visits to hospital, the chemo, the home visits to attend to your personal needs, the anxiety - how much longer, how much pain?

Boy, we are going to miss you. You've simply always been there - QR and you are intertwined, you've been part of us since you were born, you've been involved in so much of our family life. You've been a good friend to so many.

You just got on with things - like sorting out our Gift Aid tax reclaim. Boring stuff; someone had to do it......and it was you....probably for 40 years.  

But of course you came from good stock.  Your Mum &  Dad, Gwenfa & Stan Adey - they taught you - don't make a fuss - just get on with it - organised, reliable, trustworthy, full of integrity, faithful.

But maybe the thing we will remember you for, most of all, is the way you handled your daughter Nicola's and your own terminal illnesses.  Nicola, still a young Mum - 'it should have been me not her',  you must have said that over and over again.  Your faith and that of your friends, carried you through. 

You didn't hide it , pretend it wasn't happening; you talked to us about it, before and afterwards.

Then it came to your own illness. By your nature, you had times of worry and anxiety. But, when you knew what was wrong, you seemed to change.  You approached it positively, you were open to talking about it, you let us in to share your journey, you smiled and joked, you seemed to bounce back from every set back.  You encouraged others going through it too.

Then came all these restrictions.  We couldn't visit, we couldn't fling our arms around you, we had to care from a distance. But we were comforted to know that Don was able to care for you in the peace of your own home.

Glenys, you've taught us so much about coping with adversity.  How can 'thank you' be enough?  But we can thank God for you and for being the person you were. We can rejoice that your physical ailments are now no more and that you are now at peace with the Lord you worshipped so faithfully.

It has been a privilege for us to have you walking with us in our journey of faith -  all of us are the richer for it.   You are now on a new journey with the One you love and serve.

With love from from all of us who are your QR family.

Anon

 

11th May 2020

 THE REAL THING                   

Christian ladies form our Group.

We REALly are a feisty Troup.

Some are of a certain age,

Some it is quite hard to gauge.

Young ones too have joined our throng,

We want all sorts to come along.

The point is that we want to share

The love we have and lots of prayer.

 

Swapping clothes is what came first.        

To change our wardrobe in one burst.

Nothing now will go to waste.

“There’s something here to suit your taste.”

“I cannot think that this is true,

You bought this dress in 62.”

“I think it came from C & A,

A trendy find back in the day.”

 

A walk at Combe was such a treat,            

A really special place to meet.

The summer saw our next REAL date,

Held at the Russell-Yarde’s Estate.

We ate a tea of scones and jam

And talked about their long lost lamb!

We shared the plants we all had grown

From cuttings and the seeds we’d sown.

 A charity shop is what came next.                  

It rained all day but we weren’t vexed.

We shopped and dropped and dropped and shopped,

Then into Almanacks we popped.

We looked at what each one had bought,

A bargain was the thing we sought.

A box of sticks made Chris’s day,

But what it was, she couldn’t say.

 

But now the world has changed so much          

And all must miss the human touch.

We stay at home as we are told

Each one within our own stronghold.

But we don’t feel in isolation,

We are part of a congregation

That send by Whatsapp power and love,

Which only comes from God above.    

By Julia Yeomans

 

11th May 2020

Granny musing again …..

On a morning when we woke up to knowing small children may be able to return to school after half-term and we may be able to go to some pubs and cafes from July, BUT STILL NOT KNOWING WHEN WE CAN PHYSICALLY SEE AND HOLD OUR LOVED ONES – whether close family or dear friends, I was reminded of some words that have spoken to me a few times over the years.  In Jeremiah 6.14, we read of the Lord saying “they act as if my people’s wounds were only scratches” (Good News version) or “not serious” (NIV).  “’All is well’ they say, when all is not well” (Good News); “ ‘Peace, peace’ they say when there is no peace” (NIV).

It is the spiritual leaders of the day who are being condemned here.  I don’t know about you, but I have found the unremittingly upbeat nature of some of the material offered by Christian leaders and circulated via Facebook and other media, hard to take.  (I am NOT referring here to our own leaders).  For many of us, lockdown (however convinced we may have been that it was necessary and justified) has been and is horrible, miserable, wretched and at times unbearably heart-breaking - whether on our own behalf or on behalf of those known to us - in ways too numerous to list.    Of course, God is doing some amazing stuff, the churches have risen magnificently to the challenges and there is much to learn in the present situation.   God is indeed sovereign and will sustain us through it - but I’d still rather he enabled us to see our family members and friends physically, not just technologically, SOON, quick quick pronto.  Things are never going to be the same again – and there will be much for the churches to think about in terms of how they go forward.  But I long to get back most of our usual activities, routines and interactions.

Personally, I find that I can receive encouragement better if the negative stuff has been acknowledged and VALIDATED first.   And for me, this verse in Jeremiah assures me that God understands our pain and does not expect us to underestimate it or play it down.  Scripture in fact contains lots of outpourings of negative emotions – sometimes raw and brutal.  It is the inspired Word of God and it is all there for a reason (2 Timothy 3.16 ,17).  So, let’s encourage one another, by all means, but let’s also be real about the struggles.

Barbra Depledge

 

5th May 2020

Love greetings from Uganda

Paul and Christine Kyalimpa are our Mission Partners in Uganda. Paul is a Pastor and leader of the Kyenjojo District Baptist Association and also a teacher/trainer in agriculture. His wife Christine runs the family farm and has a teaching ministry, especially amongst the women. Since the photo was taken in 2018 they have a baby grandson, Matthew, who is 14months old. When the virus began to spread Paul had just arrived in Tanzania to do some training for Operation Agri. He had to return home quickly before lockdown. He sent us this at the end of April.

As a family we are all now living on our farm here at Rwamukoora, in Kyenjojo district of Western Uganda. We do farm work daily; pray daily and worship together as a family on Sunday. I do go out on a motorcycle to buy necessary items for the farm and medicine for us. We thank God we have not had a Corona virus sick person in our district.

Here in Uganda the Lord Jesus Christ has been good to us in that we have had 63 Corona virus cases, and no deaths, so far so good, and 38 have recovered from Corona virus disease.

One measure that we took when we were still at zero Corona virus cases was to go into lockdown. Schools, all public gatherings, worship places, shops that sell non-food items, public transport, private cars, except lorries that carry food were stopped. There is also a curfew from 7.00pm to 6.00 am. Boda-boda motorcycle taxis are not allowed to carry passengers but only goods and that is food. Shops selling drugs for people, livestock and farm items are allowed to open. Lorry drivers infected now from neighbouring countries are the ones coming with the new Corona virus cases into our country.

This has resulted in movement of people from one place to another being heavily restricted now. People in in towns and in rural communities who depend on buying food have run short of money to buy food, treatment of sick, etc. because they are not working and have to stay at home. The government has mobilised to give out food but this is reaching only a few people in Kampala.

We are praying that the lockdown be shortened, but now we are hearing of increasing Corona virus cases in neighbouring countries numbering to 300 people infected with the disease and the number is rising each day. In some of these countries there are reported deaths.

Recently we have heard and seen so many cases of African people greatly mistreated in China by the Chinese just because they are black. Africa is now bleeding by the actions of China and the Chinese.

My prayer is that Africa will forgive China for these evils and the Chinese repent of these evils.

Please pray for us as we pray for you, calling and crying up to God to end this Corona virus epidemic.

Thanks so much for your friendship and more especially in times of need like this.

Sincerely yours

Pastor Paul Kyalimpa

 

4th May 2020

More musings of a Grandma

Last Sunday l received a request to proof read my eldest grandson's dissertation. He's 23 and in his final year at Preston University studying formula racing engineering. l apologise now to any petrol heads reading this, but formula racing! I just don't get it. However, I was not about to turn down an opportunity to support my grandson in his hour of need!

Having spent a good 4 hours trawling through the dissertation, I have to admit, I was not a lot wiser. Words like "aerofoils" (that's surely to do with a particular brand of chocolate!), "downforce," "iterations" (isn't that a skin complaint?) and others which left me feeling quite dizzy. I did gleen that it was something to do with designing, making and trialing a wing for a racing car to help it go faster and analysing the results.  Apart from the words, the dissertation was littered with graphs and diagrams with different coloured lines going up and down, a bit like the ones we get at our daily briefings from the government on corona virus. Also, various mathematical equations. Well, I wouldn't know if they were right or wrong!

Despite this, my grandson and I had a lovely couple of hours together going through his dissertation looking at mainly the need for capital letters, full stops and slight adjustments to grammar and spelling. The crunch came, however, when he asked me if I understood what I had read and had I found it interesting. If I recall correctly, a bit of bluff and bluster came from my mouth at this point! He then told me that he was concerned that there was not enough technical information and might be too simplistic! I tried my best to reassure him!

Having completed this rather daunting task, it made me think about how I sometimes might approach God's word. The Bible says that ALL scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives.......God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."  (2 Timothy 3 v 16 & 17) NLT     

I believe this deeply, but have to be honest, there are some parts of the Bible l find more difficult to read and understand. For example, Numbers.  Well,........its got a lot of,.......... numbers in it. I guess that's where the title comes from. Also, the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles is mainly a list of names, most of them saying who they were the son of. However, there is a little gem in there, Chapter 4 v 9 & 10. Jabez gets a special mention ........ 

I confess, I do feel guilty at even being tempted to skip over these passages in order to move to what l might consider to be more "interesting" reading. However, they must be there for a reason or they wouldn't be there. I know one of the reasons was that it was important for the children of Israel to know, remember and recall their genealogy and for that to be written down. To remember their roots and whose they were in God's plan and design for all mankind. 

2 Timothy says God's word is for teaching. Therefore, John Ortberg writes,

"I must invite Jesus to be the personal Teacher of my life. I must trust that He is right.....about everything. And therefore, where I disagree with Him I  must either be wrong or not yet understand what it was He was saying." Love Beyond Reason, page 79.

I may have understood very little of my grandson's dissertation, but I trusted him to know what he was talking about. He designed and made the wing for the racing car, he tested it and evaluated the results. He knew what was required and how to communicate the results. God is our creator, He designed and made us for His glory and His honour. His Word is the Maker's manual which shows us how we should live.  And that means all of it.

I don't see a lot of my eldest grandson since he flew the nest, but would not have missed this opportunity to sit with him a while, via FaceTime, and share in something which is of great interest to him, even if l don't understand it all. I think that's what God wants us to do too, to sit with him a while and listen to what He has to say to us from ALL His Word, even though I may not fully understand why it is there, but thankful that l am fully understood. 

God bless and still missing you all to bits.

Margaret Newby

Ps My granddaughter is studying dietetics. Now that's much more up my street, so watch this space!

 

4th May 2020

From Chris Headon

"My sister sent me this a while back. It is a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake. 

Sometimes I find it helpful to pray it as a personal prayer, replacing the 'us' with 'me'".

Disturb us Lord - Francis Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, 

When our dreams have come true 

Because we have dreamed too little, 

When we arrived safely 

Because we sailed too close to the shore. 

 

Disturb us, Lord, when 

With the abundance of things we possess 

We have lost our thirst 

For the waters of life; 

Having fallen in love with life, 

We have ceased to dream of eternity 

And in our efforts to build a new earth, 

We have allowed our vision 

Of the new Heaven to dim. 

 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, 

To venture on wider seas 

Where storms will show Your mastery; 

Where losing sight of land, 

We shall find the stars. 

We ask You to push back 

The horizons of our hopes; 

And to push into the future 

In strength, courage, hope, and love. Amen 

 


1st May 2020

Musings  - this time from a Granny!

Every morning for the past year or 18 months, I have sent one of our granddaughters a WhatsApp message with an encouraging message from Scripture.  I do this because she appreciates it greatly.  I do it whether I feel like it or not because I have made a commitment – but it has become a valuable spiritual discipline.  To start with, I kept a record of the verses I sent.  More recently I haven’t bothered but I know there have been few repetitions.  This is absolutely NOT because I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Scripture.  It is because there are such a lot of promises and encouragements in Scripture … and because Google is absolutely brilliant at finding the reference from even the briefest half-remembered phrase or for those “I know it’s in there somewhere but I’ve no idea where” verses!  .  (Older readers of this piece will remember Concordances and the confusion around which version you remember the phrase in!  I haven’t bothered with one for some years now!)  Sometimes what I send arises from one of my morning readings.  Often I have to trawl a bit deeper for inspiration – but, with the help of Google, it always comes.

This morning I shared with her that I felt I was in a deep, dark pit in which there was very little to do and very little certainty when and how I would be able to get out.  (She and many of you may feel like that too).  I told her that God had reminded me that in Psalm 18.19, we are told that God rescues us and brings us out into a spacious place because he delights in us.  Further on, in verse 33, we are told that he makes our feet like the feet of a deer and enables us to stand on the heights.  (Aficionados of wildlife programmes like myself will know that several species of deer and mountain goat are able to scramble up near vertical slopes at remarkable speed to escape predators or access grazing).  If we will allow him, God will help us to ascend to those heights in our minds (access your memories and your dreams!) and in our spirits. 

Barbra Depledge


29th April 2020

Musings of a Grandma

For me, as for many others, not being able to see family and friends is the hardest thing to cope with during our current isolation. I am used to seeing my youngest daughter and my 9 year old grandson very regularly, but because of various health issues, he will have to be in total lockdown for the full 12 weeks. 

To help things along, my daughter has bought him his own mobile phone with WhatsApp & facetime. This has made a huge difference.

So, every morning, anytime after 7am, but before 8 am, I get a message saying "Grandma, are you awake? Do you want to call me?" (No one else is awake in their house at that time of the morning!) For the next 20 -30 minutes, we chat together about this and that. At the same time, he's usually playing a game on the Xbox or TV. Every now and again he looks up to check I'm still there and he can still see me. It's as though, if he can see me I'm there with him.  While we are chatting I sometimes get washing ready for the machine, put dishes away, prepare my breakfast or sit with a cuppa.

I really look forward to these early morning "get togethers" and they certainly make not being able to see him a lot more bearable. 

Over breakfast today, I was reflecting on the new morning routine that he and I now share and began to think about how it could influence and challenge my relationship with God. Here are some of my musings.

Is tuning into God my first thought of the day? Is He the first One I want to talk with?

The conversation I have with my grandson can be two way, but quite often he does most of the talking. Do I stop to listen to what God might want to say to me? Or do I do most of the talking, hardly stopping to take a breath, with a long list of requests, with a few moans and grumbles added in?

Sometimes, my grandson pauses the video link so I can't see him or he'll turn off the sound so I can't hear him.

Do I think I can do that to God when I'm tempted to step away from the way He wants me to live? Thinking he won't see or hear me?

I often carry my phone from room to room so I can still, see and hear him and he can still see and hear me while doing my jobs. 

This seems a lovely picture of how God manages to do everything and be everywhere at once and all the same time. He is able to manage the whole universe 24/7 and at the same time, meet with me face to face. Amazing.

Just as my grandson looks up from time to time to check I'm still there and he can see me. How often do I look up and check that I can still see my heavenly Father and haven't lost sight of or connection to Him.

Finally, after our FaceTime this morning, my grandson sent me a voice text saying that he loved me more than garlic bread, pizza and sausages. Considering that's almost all he eats, I thought that was pretty special. It made me feel happy, it made me laugh, it made me feel special, it made me feel loved, it made me cry. 

I began to wonder, how often do I say to my heavenly Father. " I love you more than...................

When did I last make Him feel loved by me.  When did I last make Him feel special or make Him laugh by doing something funny for Him.

Maybe other thoughts will come to me during the day, I do hope so, because I have so much to learn about growing in my relationship with God.  Maybe you will too.

One last thought, my grandson did not say that he loved me more than chicken nuggets!  Perhaps that's just a step too far! 

So, are there limits on my love towards God? What might they be?

Thank you for listening to the musings of a Grandma.

God bless and lots of love. I miss you all to bits.

Margaret xxx 


23rd April 2020

In the care of God

Recently I was reading  Barbra’s Lockdown Reflection on here (16th April, below) and her pictures during a meditation of walking across sand and it reminded me of a dream I had years ago that I have found helpful to reflect on when life feels quite scary and out of control. It occurred at a time in my life when I was struggling with various situations, ill elderly parents, difficult teenagers at home and a lot of stress at work. In my dream I was walking across a beach and fell face down in wet sand. I initially tried to get up and found I couldn’t. I then realised that I was actually being held face down in the sand by a tremendous weight. I couldn’t turn to see what was holding me but I knew it was Jesus and instead of feeling scared I felt a huge relief that I couldn’t move and my only choice was to totally relax into the sand and be still. It felt wonderful and once awake I became aware that my  body and mind were no longer taut and tense but relaxed and peaceful with a sense of real calm. I had a greater emotional and physical understanding of what it means  to cast our cares up on Christ let him carry some of our cares and troubles.

At a homegroup, also many years ago, one of our senior members Audrey Gibson shared with us that during a time of great worry and shock within her family she had been praying and had experienced the sensation of being wrapped in a warm blanket. It was comforting and reassuring and she felt so aware of God’s presence within such a difficult time.I spoke with Audrey this week by phone at St Andrews Home and she explained that at the moment all of the residents are confined to their rooms and of course cannot have visitors. We spoke about her experience all those years ago and she commented “I have that blanket with me now and it is helping me through this” 

We have our Bibles where we find inspiration, guidance, challenge and comfort. We can also experience  God’s presence in different ways and as we recollect them, share them with each other and draw upon them, those encounters can give us strength, courage, comfort and hope through this and other challenges in our lives.

Sandra Hobley


21st April 2020

We have produced a questionnaire to offer a way to share your story with us all. This is the first reply.

Name (not necessarily your full name or real name)
Kay Hamer

Is this a shared response and, if yes, who with?
no

Some things that have affected you most in the crisis
concern for my daughter and grandaughter working in hospital and another grandaughter working in a a respite situation

The hardest thing of all
'Down' days

Have there been some good points to come out of the crisis?
Loads. the support, encouragement, love and care shown to me and my husband. Amazing neighbours, loving family. my garden is such a blessing. I am so very thankful for all this and more.

Any comments about the spiritual response of yourself and others
There is a heightened awareness of the richness of God's provision and beauty in nature. The love shared in the REAL group, opportunities now that there is time to pray alone or with friends via Zoom. I am finding that God is speaking in so many ways which in previous busyness I had not noticed

Are there additional things you would have liked QRBC to do?
The Church leaders especially the ministers and officers have gone so so much more than the extra mile. What more can we ask.

Anything else you would like to say?
Thank you Lord for the many many blessings in this awful time.


17th April 2020

Samuel David brings a Jordan Well Project Update

Due to the current situation with the lockdown, we have moved our weekly activities online. Previously we met on Saturdays for bible study at church but now we are utilizing Zoom for this purpose. Therefore, any student or young person who wants to be part of this group should feel free to contact me and I will add them to the invite list.  

As some of you who (use to) attend the evening service know, we normally have our music session on Sunday afternoons but that has been halted since the lockdown. However, we are currently working on a plan to continue practicing songs together through an online means; this will kick off after university exam week which is this week. If this is something you are interested in as a young person or student do contact me.

Most importantly, if you know any young person or student who wants to get involved in any of our activities to keep their faith growing do share their information with me and I will be more than happy to contact them.

Finally, I want to thank those who have been supporting me by constantly praying for me, checking on me and financially supporting me. May God continue to bless you and give you your heart desires.

Those who are supporting me financially and wants an update about how I'm coping with my financial situation should drop me an email with the subject Intern/Sponsor.  And if you want to know what to pray for use this subject - JWP/Prayer/List

Samuel David: 07466305663, email


16th April 2020

A lockdown reflection

Arising from one of the morning meditations I use, I had two pictures this morning:

In the first, I was walking along a vast area of sandy beach.  The sand was firm, mostly easy to walk on and it was not hard to avoid the few obvious soft bits.  It all looked much the same, stretching as far as the eye could see.  Suddenly though, my foot sank deep into an area of quicksand.  It had looked just the same as the rest, but now my foot was firmly stuck, deep in a seemingly bottomless hole.

In the second I was leaping from rock to rock in an area of shallow water – perhaps stepping stones across a river – perhaps the rocks at the edge of a beach.   I was moving steadily and confidently when suddenly one of the stones wobbled and then tipped (in some countries it might be that I had actually stepped on an alligator lurking quietly!!).

In both pictures, the scene changed completely unexpectedly from one of pleasurable progress and enjoyment to one of fear and possibly real danger – trapped by the rising tide, a broken limb, mauled by an alligator – but at very least severe discomfort.

Both these images evoke powerfully for me the situation we find ourselves in at present.  How often do we find ourselves thinking:  “if we’d known even 6 weeks ago what was coming, we wouldn’t have ……”.  Despite mostly trying not to set our hearts on any specific hope of “unlocking”, we find ourselves wondering, longing, dreaming of what we will do when …..

But more significantly perhaps, what are the things we are currently denied which this situation reveals we have come to rely on for our sense of well-being?  The physical presence of family and friends?  Hugs with them?  The freedom to pop to the shops any time we want for that forgotten or longed-for item?  The freedom to pop to a coffee shop to cheer ourselves up?  The freedom to hop in the car for a trip to the countryside, the seaside.  The familiarity of our normal daily, weekly or monthly routine.  None of these are bad things in themselves.  And it is natural that we miss them – desperately, agonisingly at times.  But what are the things we are feeling wobbly and insecure without??  Maybe this is a time when we would benefit from talking with God about what we have become too dependent on.  It is too easy to say simply “we should rely on God and God alone”.  Of course that is true. But he blesses us with many relationships and activities.  Holding these in the right balance is a lifelong part of our journey – which this present situation has thrown a very big boulder on the path of.  How we personally will get past it – or over it – will be seen in the years to come.

Barbra Depledge


14th April 2020

 

Strange Time or Spring Time

Everything is silent;

All the world perplexed:

Signs of Spring around us,

Through chaos and unrest

And each and every person

Is reaching out this day:

Trying to find some comfort

In finding ways to pray.

So, help us count each blessing,

Not be negative and whining.

As sun peeps through the cloud Lord,

May we experience its silver lining.

 

Coral Lynes     March/April 2020


12th April 2020

 

Shared by Iain Colville

Welcome to the real world

I’m beginning to understand.

I saw a sign once

outside a church. It said

'Are you really living

or just walking around

to save the expense of a funeral?'

I didn’t know

that Love is real life,

and everything else

just a more or less entertaining way

of dying.

And I didn’t know

that Love is like nothing on earth.

Love isn’t what you fall in.

It’s what pulls you out

of what you fall in.

Love isn’t a good feeling.

Love is doing good

when you’re feeling bad.

Love means hanging in

when everyone else

shrugs their shoulders

and goes off to McDonalds.

Love means taking the knocks

and coming back

to try to make things better.

Love hurts.

It’s its way of telling you

that you’re alive.

And the funny thing is that after all

Love does feel good.

People say Love is weak.

But Love is tougher than Hate.

Hating’s easy.

Most of us have a gift for it.

But Love counts to ten

while Hate slams the door.

Love says you

where Hate says me.

Love is the strongest weapon

known to mankind.

Other weapons blow people up.

Only Love puts them back together again.

And everything that seems real,

that looks smart,

that feels good,

has a sell-by date.

But Love has no sell-by date.

Love is Long Life.

Love is the ultimate preservative.

I don’t know too much about Love

but I know a man who does,

up there on the cross

loving us to death.

Love is the key

to the door of the place

he’s prepared for you

in the kingdom of God.

If you’re beginning to understand

then welcome to the real world.

© Godfrey Rust, www.wordsout.co.uk. Used with permission: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0, all rights reserved.

 


12th April 2020

An Easter video made by the Boxer family is here


11th April 2020

Alone, triumphant

Long, long ago the earth was changed,

A man walked through the land. 

By so called holy men disdained,  

He formed a little band.

 

This band supported Him until

The going got so tough

They stayed until they’d had their fill,

They’d clearly had enough

 

Authority crept up at night

And took Him off for trial

They cheated; beat him, bloody sight,

He walked the lonely mile.

 

He hung alone, His friends had left

It’s finished was His cry

His mother stood and looked, bereft,

And watched her loved son die.

 

He rose triumphant from the grave

And challenged His small band

To go throughout the world and save

All people by his hand

                                 By Don Brown


11th April 2020

And if you would like to try a slightly different approach to praying during the pandemic, the attached 'cartoon' might help you in your thinking.  The text for 'Beatitudes for a Global Pandemic' was written by Jayne Manfredi, based on Matthew chapter 5 and the illustrations are by Dave Walker.

Graham Parsons


10th April 2020

These times are weird. Lots of jobs getting done that have been put on hold for ages.

But as I sit & reflect on the awesome Good Friday Service we've just been blessed with; I also think back to Good Friday 10 years ago. Having been lying flat on my back (following a brain haemorrhage) for 3 weeks I was finally allowed home. I was fortunate in that I'd been given a time scale (3weeks). Many who are currently in hospital have no idea how long their stay will be. I recall the song "God will find a way, when there seems to be no way" helped me through - that and the many many cards that the good folk of QRBC sent me & their wonderful acts of kindness. God did find a way for me then & He will for us all today.

So back to today. I praise God for modern technology which enables us to stay in touch whilst isolated. Please keep in touch & stay safe. May God bless you richly this Easter tide.

Nicky P.


10th April 2020

The Darkest Hours

Death not yet defeated

Victory still to be completed.

You hang in unrelenting agony

In love for all humanity

Upon that cross

In the unnatural darkness of those day light hours

As ‘night’ blots the sunlight of God’s love

And heaven roars

And wars

Against the powers of sin and death and hell!

 

And in that darkness ‘My God, my God, WHY…’

We hear Your agonising cry

In those dark moments of abandonment

God –forsaken!

Isolation!

Separation!

Dislocation!

You bear our pain.

Our wanton shame

The weight of all our brokenness

Our sin, our failure

Upon you fall,

Our awesome sacrificial Saviour!

And heaven roars

And wars

Against the powers of sin and death and hell!

 

Then with the curtain torn

Gasps from Your breath

The victory cry!

‘It is finished!’

Sin and death defeated…

Your work on earth completed!

Now Lord for all whom in THIS moment

Bear the pain

Of grief and loss,

Of sin and guilt and shame,

Of gnawing fear 

Of future days unclear

Questioning WHY?

Draw near

And in Your Love -embrace enfold them

Secure and safe to know

Death defeated!

Battle done!

Love has won!......

And glorious Light will dawn

On Resurrection morn


Reflections on the last three hours of Jesus life

and His Cry from the Cross

‘My God, My God, WHY have you abandoned me?

 

By Judith Brazier


10th April 2020

A Mother’s Love

I felt His love, this Babe of mine;

This Child of God, this Christ divine.

I held sweet Jesus to my breast,

“My Lord, your servant you have blessed”.

Yet in my heart I feel such pain –

A future where a Son is slain.

Could He not know what he must do,

That He must die for me and you.

 

I felt His goodness touch my heart,

This travesty tore me apart.

As I looked up towards the cross,

How could I bear such futile loss.

They’d crushed His body, seared His skin,

And yet they knew He had no sin.

Oh Son of God, my special Child

I weep to see you so defiled.

 

I felt His Spirit fill my mind,

My eyes became no longer blind.

“He’s gone from here.” The angel said.

“Your Child, Christ Jesus, is not dead.

The Son who nestled in your womb

Has left the darkness of this tomb.

So from your sin no longer hide,

But by God’s grace, in Him abide.”

                                      By Julia Yeomans


10th April 2020

‘Just seen a news report about the stresses and strains of self-isolation. It reported that people are going crazy from being in lock down! It was strange, actually, because I had just been talking about this with the microwave and the toaster and all of us agreed that things are getting bad. I didn't mention anything to the washing machine as she always has to put a different spin on everything, and certainly not to the fridge as he is acting cold and distant. In the end the iron calmed me down. She said everything will be fine, which surprised me because she’s usually the first one to apply unnecessary pressure and get steamed up over nothing!!!’

Anon.


9th April 2020

Its Not Just Key Workers Still Working

When people ask me "how is lockdown for you?", my usual answer is "way too busy!" - even though my "day job" as a Finance Manager for Jaguar Land Rover isn't a "key worker" role during the current crisis - I'm not caring for the sick, sorting out food in a store, or delivering people's essential supplies. 

But I'm still hard at work, from my converted box room - working getting close to 50 hours a week, even though the business is currently not producing cars.

Why are we bothering? Well, although we have furloughed a number of staff to keep costs down, there are a number of key activities that need to continue now, to make sure that the region's biggest employer (and the UK's largest manufacturer, at least by value) is still around after this crisis. 

Working full time from home is an odd experience. I've had to get used to holding meetings by video conference, to co-ordinating a team who are now geographically spread from Ayrshire to Leamington Spa, via Birmingham and Scunthorpe, and to working in the same house at the time as the family are around. We're blessed to have a decent internet connection so I work even while other forms of entertainment are in use, and enough space to create a small office for me to work in, but being on top of each other still causes some tensions! 

And I've had to deal with some difficult business decisions as well - including telling a temporary member of staff that his contract was being terminated early due to the virus, and helping my remaining team balance their work commitments with their home struggles and difficulties, all without the benefit of being able to sit down face to face to talk things through.

So next time we're "clapping for key workers", and remembering those who are doing such vital work on the frontlines, perhaps we can spare a thought for the small army who are still hard at work in the spare bedrooms, keeping our "non essential" businesses alive so that there is a functioning economy for the rest of the world to go back to once this is over.. I know I'd appreciate people's prayers as it’s not easy - I'm having to make difficult decisions in difficult circumstances, day in, day out, and I'm sure there are many others in the same situation too!

Thanks,

Jon W.


9th April 2020

Alan and Margaret Betteridge are reported to be well and have shared the following:-

"Starting on Palm Sunday we have been reading through the Gospels the account of Jesus's last earthly days. (In addition to their normal bible readings morning and evening). These readings are based upon Mark but parallel passages in Matthew Luke and John are read as well. It is interesting to think about the differences and to take hold of the common thread, as Jesus moves towards the cross. Some days are quite long like Tuesday and Wednesday, when Jesus does a lot of teaching and faces a lot of controversy. Obviously the climax will be Good Friday to be followed by Easter Day. " Alan & Margaret Betteridge.