Kate's Blog


Sunday 9 August

The lectionary reading today is taken from Matthew chapter 14 verses 22 to 33 and is the story of Jesus walking on water.  Twenty plus years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week with the Jubilee Sailing Trust sailing around the Canaries on a tall ship. The crew consisted of abled bodied people and those of us with disabilities and we all worked together to sail the ship.  It was great when it was calm and you often forgot that you were on the sea.  However, it wasn’t so great when the winds and waves were high and my wheelchair had to be strapped down so it I not roll across the deck.  It was even worse if it was rough at night so I have a little bit of an idea of how scared the disciples must have been when they were being buffered about by the waves and as some of them were seasoned fisherman it must have been very rough for them to be scared.
 
Compared to the conditions on the outside of the boat, being inside of the boat would have been relatively comfortable and Peter had the other disciples to huddle up to.  However, perhaps impulsively and without thinking, Peter decided that he was going to leave the boat and walk to Jesus.  Peter wanted to experience more than just being inside the boat. 
 
Maybe we have our own boats – places where we feel so comfortable that we are scared of leaving them.  We may be stuck in a rut in our job but scared to make the decision to leave and move onto pastures new in case the new job is not a success.  We may want to do more at church but are worried that we may not be good enough. 
 
When Peter decided to leave the boat, he would have had to hold onto to the edge of the boat as he stepped over the side as it being buffeted by the waves.  He would then need to make a conscious decision to let go and take a step toward Jesus. 
 
Letting go can be hard and we may need to make a conscious decision to let go of the sides of our metaphorical boat and take a step to where God is calling us. 
 
Once out of the boat Peter walked a few steps but when he saw the wind, became afraid and began to sink.  We could perhaps see this as failure but at least Peter made more effort than those who remained in the boat.   Peter had the experience of walking on water, an experience that the others had not had and one that he could grow from and look back on in the future.
 
Even if things do not work out the way that we have planned, it is still worth the experience.  I was training to be a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital when I had to stop due to ill health.  At the time I felt like a failure and like a year of my life had been wasted.  I can now look back and see how that experience shaped who I am as a person and has enabled me to get alongside other people especially those with health issues.
 
Peter’s experience gave him the opportunity for a greater connection with Jesus.  We do not know how far he was from the boat when Jesus reached out and caught him and said the words “why did you doubt” but those words were unlikely to have been heard by the disciples because of the wind and rain.  This could well have been an intimate moment between Peter and Jesus where they connected and Peter saw Jesus fully for who he was, the Son of God.
 
In a way my comfortable Sunday routine was my boat.  When lockdown occurred, I had to let go of what I had been doing every Sunday for the past few years.  I could have chosen to do nothing, as the rest of the disciples did in the storm, but like Peter I stepped out.   I sunk as I failed to connect with certain types of worship but I learnt from that experience and found a form of online worship that I could connect with.  That worship has enabled me to connect with God in a deeper more intimate way.  Just as Peter and Jesus returned to the boat, I will return to my church and preaching but I hope and pray that I will take with me something that I have learned during this time and will go back a different person from when I left the boat. 
 
All of us have our boats, we just need to leave our comfort zones and follow God’s call, not being afraid of failure along the way because as Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11 says “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.”
  
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 And I end with prayer from Roots:
 
In the boat you know our need.
Experiencing the storm you know our need.
Battered by the waves you know our need.
Far from land you know our need.
The wind against us you know our need.
 
To our surprise you come to us
In our fear you come to us.
You call to us.
You know our need.
 
In faith and obedience we come to you.
In doubt and deliberation we come to you.
In what we know and what we do not yet know we come to you.
Help us to know our need.
You know our need.
 
You come to us.
You call to us.
We hear your call.
We recognise you.
We would come to you.
We would know our need.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 8 August

Not only do I like the picture below but I thought the quote was good as well.  All of us need encouragement from others, especially at the moment as it can be hard to get motivated at times. It doesn’t take much effort to offer encouragement to someone but it can make a big difference to them and their day. 
 
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And I end with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others in the same way that You have sent many little encouragements to me along the way. There have been times of weariness and times of fear and times when I have felt ready to give up, but always at the right time there was a short note or a simple call or a little token of Your love for me, which You sent by means of the many people that You have lovingly placed in my life.
 
Thank You also Lord, that You are our God of encouragement, and that we have Your indwelling Holy Spirit to help and to comfort in times of need. Teach me Your way and Your will, and help me to always heed the gentle promptings of the Spirit of Comfort within my heart, so that I may not miss an opportunity to be a minister of Your encouragement to others in times of need.
 
Show me Lord, how I can best be an encouragement to others, and may my life point others to You and never to myself. May I decrease as You increase more and more in my life. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate          

 


Friday 7 August

I have shared cartoons from Dave Walker previously and thought I would share this new one from the Church Times:
 
  web dave-walker-face-masks-07-
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Gracious God, let us never forget,
as daily life becomes more difficult
and restrictions cause annoyance,
that there are many for whom
this has been normality for years;
affected by long-term drought
or destructive storms; struggling
in poverty, or through violence
forced to adopt the life of refugee.
May we remember to be thankful
for what we have, and work together
selflessly for all who need our help.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 6 August

I like to share these ‘self-care’ quotes because I think self-care is vital for us all especially at the moment.  We all need to remember that we can only look after others if we look after ourselves first, as we are no use to others if we are worn out.  It is a difficult thing to do but it can benefit ourselves and all those around us.
 
thurs 5
 
  
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
In the darker moments,
when clouds gather
and the heaviness we feel
seems overwhelming,
remind us of your love,
carrying the weight
of so much in that cross,
embracing the world
with arms outstretched
that we might know
freedom from the chains
which now constrain us.
Bring us to your light,
release our burdens
and from despair bring hope.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Wednesday 5 August

I think this is a really good quote for when you are feeling a bit down on yourself and in need of a pick me up.   Just like God has a place in the world for oceans and mountains, He has a place and role for you in this world too.
 
weds 5 aug

And I end with a prayer taken from prayray.com
 
Lord,
I thank you because I am relevant in your kingdom.
You made us all unique.
Please let me be the change that the world needs.
Use me for the world, let me be the salt that will sweeten this world, and let be the light that will shine in this world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Tuesday 4 August

I have spoken about Corrie Ten Boom previously and thought that I would share this quote.  I don’t know about you but when the sun is shining like today, my worries seem less than they would on a dark and rainy day.  The good news is that God’s light and his promises shine on us though whatever the weather. 
 
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And I end with a prayer for summer by Jim Manney:
 
Creator of all, thank You for summer!
Thank you for the warmth of the sun
and the increased daylight.
Thank You for the beauty I see all around me
and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.
Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family,
and for the more casual pace of the summer season.
Draw me closer to You this summer.
Teach me how I can pray
no matter where I am or what I am doing.
Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence
and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.
As I enjoy Your creation, create in me
a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 3 August

I thought this would be a good quote to share, especially if you have woken up with that Monday morning feeling and have no idea how you will get through today let alone the week!
 
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 And I end with a prayer by Wendy Blight:
 
Dear Lord,
I don't know who or what will cross my path today.
But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress.
You are my Shield and my Strong Tower.
Help me to anchor myself to You today.
Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today.
Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings.
Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You.
Thank You that You love me and nothing can ever take that away from me!
Even if I fail today and fall short, You whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning.
That truly amazes me, Lord.
Thank You for meeting with me today.
Would You wake me again tomorrow with the same sweet whisper of Your love? I can't wait to meet with You again.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Sunday 2 August

I have mentioned previously that on a Monday night I take part in the ‘Pesky Methodists’ bible study group via Zoom.  Now we have finished the course that we were doing, we discuss the lectionary reading for the coming Sunday.  This week we looked at Matthew chapter 14 verses 13 to 22, the feeding of the five thousand.
 
One of the things that we talked about was food poverty and how there are so many people across the world, and in this country as well, who regularly go without food.  Sometimes we may feel powerless and not able to give as much as we would like.  However, in the feeding of the five thousand Jesus took what little they had and multiplied it meeting the needs of the hungry people so we need to give what we can and trust that God will use it to benefit others.
 
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 And I end with a prayer written by Joy Welford, part of the Pesky Methodists group:
 
Lord we come to you weary, hungry, tired.
We have followed you a long way and it's late ...
Should we give up now and go home to be fed?
You are reluctant to let us go, despite your own weariness.
We, your disciples, don't know what to do, but you Lord are clear... organise folk let them sit on the grass, feed them.
Lord there are so many needs out there, physical, psychological, burdens of homelessness, poverty anger and fear.
Let us play our part in supplying food, comfort and friendship in the group to which we have been assigned.
Show us how to balance our offering with the gifts of others: to accept all the skills, all the needs that you present to us and use them to bring about your kingdom.
Your Kingdom is being built daily, when we see little progress give us your vision to see the bigger picture and strength to continue.
May we work with others generously, humbly, and with good will encouraging, new ways of being church and cooperating with other groups willingly.
At a time of confusion, change and need may we sit down with you Lord and be fed.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 1 August

So as masks become compulsory in shops and many other places including churches from 8 August, I thought I would share this prayer that I found on Facebook.
 
mon 3
 
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
Breath of life and love,
disturb the dark clouds
of fear and anxiety
that trouble our lives,
and in this gentle breeze,
as clouds disperse,
may we sense hope
and healing, as your light
breaks in and through
our hearts and minds,
and shines out in the world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 31 July


The quote below is very true.  I have certain songs that remind me of people no longer with us.   The song ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba reminds me of my sister Kerry and the hymn ‘Brother Sister let me serve you’ reminds me of my friend Laura.  They make me feel sad that they are no longer here but also remind me of the good times that we had together. I expect you have songs that remind you of people close to you as well. 

fri 31  
 
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website thinking of those no longer with us:
Thank you for the remembrance
of loved ones no longer with us;
for their inspiring words,
encouragement,
love and support,
an example for us to follow.
May their legacy be seen
in the people we have become,
and may we always be thankful.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 30 July

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just do not have the words when it comes to praying.  However, as Romans chapter 8 verses 26 to 27 says from The Message says: “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. The Holy Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.”   So it does not matter if we don’t have the words, we just need to take time to come before God.
 
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And I end with a prayer based on Romans chapter 8 verses 26 to 27:
 
When we don’t know how or what to pray,
the Spirit knows.
When all we can muster are sighs and groans,
the Spirit knows those also.
When we feel that we aren’t even worthy to approach God,
the Spirit goes before us and with us
and God welcomes us with arms open.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


Wednesday 29 July

This poster was found outside Seahouses Methodist Church and was shared on Facebook.  I think it applies to many churches at the moment including Trinity.  We may not be worshipping together but all of us are still bound together in love and connecting with each other in different ways.

tues 28

And I end with a prayer for the church taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
May your love that never fails
strengthen the weak
encourage the fearful
calm the anxious
heal the sick
through your church –
your washed hands
and feet on earth –
distant but still present
virtual but still connected
apart but still helping.
God in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Amen.
 
Stay strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Tuesday 28 July

A lot of you know that I have been trying to lose weight over the past couple of years and before lockdown I was doing pretty well even though I still liked the odd slice of cake!  Unfortunately I have slipped during lockdown and I really need to get back on track.
 
I really like the quote below and as someone who often takes people’s opinions to heart, I need to try not to take them to heart and let them go.  It is just a shame that the loss of those opinions will not show on the scales!

weds29 july 


And I end with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Dear Lord,
Please help me when those around me try to bring me down.
Allow me to recognise the hurts and issues in their lives and how I can be of help to them. Help me to keep my natural human tendencies in check and not to retaliate back.
Quietly remind me where my true worth and value really lie.
Give me comfort in knowing that You are leading me on a better path and give me the strength to continue pursuing it.
Please clear my heart of any issues that will hinder me from praying for those around me.
In Your Name I pray.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 27 July

I used a quote last week saying that a good way to start the day is to say thank-you so I thought I would share this one on how to end the day.   It isn’t always easy to end on a positive, especially if the day has been really bad, but it can help bring closure to the day and make us ready to start again the next day.

mon 27 july 

 
And I finish with a prayer for the end of the day posted on the Women’s Day Website:
 
Loving God, you know my worries and care for my troubles.
So I give these heavy concerns to you.
I lay these situations at your feet.
The empty cross is a place of rest, where I can reflect upon your resurrection and the moment when love overcame.
Thank you that your love in me can transform the landscape of my life.
I walk with peace into the new day, and put my hope in you.
Nothing is outside of your redeeming love, might I rest now in the knowledge that you will light my path and guide my life.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 26 July

The lectionary reading from the Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew chapter 13 verses 31 to 33 and verses 44 to 52.  Each of these parables talk about the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God as it is known in the gospels of Luke and Mark has always been a concept I have struggled to understand especially during my studies to become a Local Preacher as have I read so many different theories on regarding it.
 
However at my bible study group last week someone used the analogy of a wheel.  The Kingdom of God, which is present both now and in the future in heaven, is the centre of the wheel and all of us are like the spokes, coming to God in many different ways but all of us meeting in the centre.   All we have to do is seek God first above all other things.
 
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And I end with the words of the hymn, Seek Ye First:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And his righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
Ask, and it shall be given unto you,
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
You shall not live by bread alone,
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of the Lord,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 25 July

For the past few weeks at One Truth Youth, we have been having a discussion led by one of the young people.  This week it was on music and it was really interesting to hear about the types of music people liked and disliked and why.  I think it gave us all a bit better understanding of each other especially when talking about music we liked to hear in church.

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And I end with a prayer reflection by Carol Penner:
 
Thank you for the music all around us.
Each morning we hear it from the moment we open our ears;
the low notes of wind around the eaves,the whoosh of water as it comes from the tap,e glug glug as it drains,
the throaty whistle of the boiling kettle,
the metallic tap of the spoon against the cup,
the jazz percussion of our feet on the steps.
The sounds of our day,
so familiar we hardly pay attention.
Thank you for the ability to hear.
 
Thank you for the sounds of life:
the chatter of the squirrel,
the deep purr of  a cat,
the sharp calls of a blue jay,
the sound of someone we love laughing.
Give us wisdom to enter this day with good sounds,
tones and pitches and words that affirm, encourage, cherish,
our sounds affecting the world in a positive way.
 
We pray for all who sing a sad song today;
the grieving, the lonely, the lost.
We pray especially for those who have lost their voice
and feel silenced or oppressed.
There are many singing freedom songs around our world,
and so today we pray for the safety of these singers.
Give their song the strength to convince and convert,
the power to ward off war.
There are too many war songs,
we don’t want to hear another one.
 
Thank you for your songs, love songs, which we are invited to sing.
Thank you for all the parts you’ve made for the song;
soprano, alto, tenor, bass.
Thank you for the children’s part and the senior’s part,
thank you for the youth part and the part for middle agers,
thank you for the crazy baby descant
that we all love to hear.
 
You are the Great Composer .
We long to be composed each day in your image,
singing your elegant score truly, clearly,
following your rhythm by heart,
finding our voice in your beautiful world.
Hearing you in the music of life.
This is our prayer.  Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 

Friday 24 July

I try and get up most mornings around 8 am to upload the day’s blog, which happens on automatic pilot as I am really not a morning person and I tend to go back to bed for another couple of hours or walk around in a bit of a daze until my brain kicks in! 
 
I think it would be a good habit though for me, instead of moaning about how little sleep I have got or how tired I still am, to start the day off in a positive way by saying thank-you: thank-you to God for a new day, for all its blessings and for all that I will do.

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And I end with a prayer for the morning by Lesli White:
 
Dear Lord,
You have brought me to the beginning of a new day.
As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask You to renew my heart with Your strength and purpose.
Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in Your way today.
This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel Your presence in me.
Take my hand, precious Lord for I cannot make it by myself.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate





 

Thursday 23 July

Trusting in God can be a very difficult thing because although we might think we have trust in God, our actions may say different and our lives may be filled with worry and doubt.  We need to develop our trust in God by putting Him first above everything else as it is by turning to God that our trust in Him develops.
 
thurs 25 july
 
And I end with a prayer for trust by Alexis Waid:
 
God,
I don’t know why I don’t trust You more.
I get upset at myself for my lack of trust.
I wish I was stronger and deeply rooted, but I am not.
God, help me to accept this is where I am today.
Help me to know that if I keep seeking You the trust will richly develop.
Help me feel no shame, but instead stand with You just as I am, not as I should be.
I can only become better through You.
So this is my confession Lord, I need You.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Amen.
 
Stay strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 22 July

The quote below made me smile so I thought I would share it.  It is very easy to compare ourselves to others and the things they have but we need to focus on ourselves and do what we can to improve our own situation.
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving from the Holy Land Prayer website:
 
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace in all things,
I want to thank you for the gift of life,
for the breath that sustains life,
for the food of this earth that nurtures life,
and for the love of family and friends,
without which there would be little happiness in life.
 
I thank you for the beauty of creation of this great Earth,
for the joy that the ear may hear,
for the unknown that we cannot behold,
filling the universe with wonder,
and for the expanse of space,
 that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.
 
 
Everything in my life,
and the life that surrounds me was drawn,
and created by Your own hand.
For this, I am grateful. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Tuesday 21 July

I am not very good at remembering verses from the bible but this one is short enough for me to remember.  It is one that I often say to myself in difficult times changing the word ‘us’ to ‘me’ and making it more personal.   This verse reminds me that God is with me in every situation and nothing is too big for Him. 
 
Romans-8v31-2
 
 
And I end with a prayer from the Christian Aid website:
 
God of heaven and earth,
in these times of isolation,
apart from loved ones,
distant from friends,
away from neighbours,
thank you that there is nothing
in all of creation,
not even coronavirus,
that is able to separate us from your love.
 
And may your love that never fails
continue to be shared
through the kindness of strangers
looking out for each other,
for neighbours near and far
all recognising our shared vulnerability,
each of us grateful for every breath,
and willing everyone to know the gift
of a full and healthy life.
Keep us all in your care.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 20 July

I was recently sent this poem by William Henry Davies in an e-card from a congregation member. 
 
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
 
I am sure that I have come across it previously but it seems more relevant now as we have all had time to stand and stare.  In my front garden, I have some lavender plants which are attracting lots of bees and butterflies.  Instead of rushing past and not noticing, I have had time just to sit and watch what the butterflies and bees are doing.
 
poem2
 
And I end today with a prayer of gratitude for Creation by Fiona Murdoch from Eco-Congregation Ireland:
 
God of the universe,
We thank You for Your many good gifts -
for the beauty of Creation and its rich and varied fruits,
for clean water and fresh air, for food and shelter, animals and plants.
 
Forgive us for the times we have taken the earth's resources
for granted and wasted what You have given us.
Transform our hearts and minds
so that we would learn to care and share,
to touch the earth with gentleness and with love,
respecting all living things.
 
We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste,
greed and indifference,
and we pray that the day would come when everyone has enough
food and clean water.
 
Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species
and help us to willingly share your gifts,
today and always.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 

Sunday 19 July

I would like to share an illustration that I have used previously when focusing on Luke chapter 9 verse 23: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
 
Well, here I am, Lord. You said, "Take up your cross," and I'm here to do it. It's not easy, you know, this self-denial thing.   I mean to go through with it.  Yes, I will go through with it.
 
I bet you wish more people were willing to be disciples like me.  I've counted the cost and surrendered my life, and it's not an easy road.
 
You mind if I look around over the crosses?  I'd kind of like a new one.  I'm not fussy, you understand, but a disciple has to be relevant these days.
 
I was wondering, are there any that are padded?  I am thinking of attracting others you see? And if I could show them a comfortable one I'm sure I could win a lot more.
 
And I need something durable so I can treasure it always.  Oh, is there one that's sort of flat so it would fit under my coat?  One shouldn't be too obvious.
 
Funny there doesn't seem to be much, choice here, just that coarse rough wood one.  I mean, that would hurt.
 
Don't you have something more distinctive, Lord I can tell You right now, none of my friends are going to be impressed by this shoddy workmanship.  They'll think I'm a nut or something. And my family will be just mortified.
 
What's that? It's either one of these or forget the whole thing?
 
But, Lord, I want to be your disciple. I mean, just being with You, that's all that counts; but life has to have a balance, too.
 
But You don't understand -- nobody lives that way today! Who's going to be attracted by this self-denial bit?   I mean I want to, but let’s not overdo it!
 
Jesus gave his disciples and us the instructions to take up our cross and follow Him but are we prepared and able to do what He asked. 
 
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And I end with an excerpt from a prayer by Hila, and posted on the Love God, Love Neighbour website:
 
Today, Lord,
I once again take up my cross and follow you.
 
Forgive me for choosing daily to be complacent.
Happiness has been my god and I have believed I’m entitled to it.
Forgive me for all the excuses I have
for not responding to you immediately, with urgency, and sacrificially.
Forgive me for complaining about being bored as I sit and do nothing.
 
Forgive me for the times I have tried to make
carrying my cross more comfortable. 
I have been too concerned with finding things to make it easier;
gadgets and toys to make my cross lighter, smaller, and cushioned.
 
Forgive me for making excuses
and not going with you because I was worried about
my health, safety, reputation, loneliness, financial security,
and ability to handle extreme weather and getting dirty.
Forgive me for focusing on my comfort rather than my character.
 
Forgive me for the times I have not followed you
because it wasn’t convenient.
I didn’t want to go out of my way to see the needs around me
because then I would feel guilty for not doing something about them.
Forgive me for not loving my neighbours–
I don’t even know their names.
Forgive me for trying to pacify my conscience,
by giving just enough to feel good about myself,
but not enough to inconvenience my lifestyle.
 
Today, Lord,
I once again take up my cross and follow you.
Shake me of my complacency;
I want to live daily with an urgency
to radically be the change you call me to be.
Strip me of my comforts;
may my love for you be a driving force to live with joyful surrender.
Scratch out my schedule;
I don’t want my circumstances or timeline
to influence my dedication and obedience
to take up my cross and follow you.
Here I am; Send Me.
 
May your word pour out of me like water to the thirsty,
and may my life be full of the fruit of the Spirit.
All I am and have I give back to you with open hands
knowing that all my needs you will meet as I go with you.
Today I take up my cross and follow you.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate



 

Saturday 18 July

So today is four months since the start of this little blog and I certainly did not expect to still be writing it now or for it to have been as popular as it has been.  I will definitely keep writing but don’t worry if I start to miss a day or so, it will be because I have run dry of ideas and need to have a regroup and refresh before coming up with more ideas.   Also I am hoping to have surgery in the next few months so I will need to take a little break then.
 
Life is very slowing starting to get back to normal even if it is a ‘new’ normal for many of us.  I am finding that all of us have differing views on getting back to normal and some of us may feel comfortable doing lots of the things we used to but some of us may feel that we are not ready yet.   As it says below we need to be kind to others and kind to ourselves, taking things at our own pace and not judging others. 
 
 
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And I end with a prayer written by Dorothy Moore Brooks who is a Chaplain at Great Ormond Street Hospital:
 
Dear God,
When I feel worried about what is happening in the world,
blow my worries away like the wind blows leaves on an autumn day.
When I feel sad about how this virus is making so many people sick,
wash my tears away like a waterfall washes over rocks and makes them smooth.
When I feel scared that I might get this horrible virus,
calm my fears like the dawn makes a dark night fade away and I feel safe again.
Thank you that you are with me and everyone I am worried about.
Thank you that you love me and will always be with me.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Friday 17 July

When I first saw this quote I was reminded of a song, complete with actions, that we sung at Sunday School forty plus years ago called Running Over.  You may remember it as well, it goes:
 
Running over, running over
My cup is full and running over
 
Since the Lord saved me
I’m as happy as can be
My cup is full and running over
 
I have no idea if this chorus was part of a bigger hymn or who wrote it, if anyone knows please let me know.
 
I don’t think at that time I would have had much understanding of what the words meant, I think I would have just thought it was nice song with actions.  However, I now understand just what the words mean and I can sing it with much more conviction knowing that God has blessed me and my cup is full and runs over with God’s love and all he has done and continues to do for me.
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving from crosswalk.com:
 
Loving God,
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives.
Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us.
Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes.
Thank you for your great love and care.
Thank you for your mercy and grace.
Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us.
Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life.
Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given.
Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh.
Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy.
We love you and we need you, this day and every day.
We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Thursday 16 July

I spoke yesterday about how today will not come again and so we need to make the most of each day.  However, we can’t easily do that if we are still carrying negative things over from yesterday.  These include things that we have done wrong that we can’t let go of, things others have done to upset us etc.  We need to try and start each day with a clean slate for ourselves and others so we can make the most of this new day.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Meg Bucher:
 
Loving God
Praise You for the sky and sun, for both remind us of a new day’s challenge and chance to chase You.
Thank You for reminding us life is not always easy, but that we don’t have to carry the hard into each new day.
Forgive us for dwelling on the past and for holding onto grudges.
Bless our hearts to be held back by nothing as we seek You each day.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Wednesday 15 July

One of my favourite musicals is Rent and one of the songs is called Seasons of Love.  Here are some of the lyrics:
 
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
 
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
 
How do you measure, a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
 
Seasons of love
Seasons of love
 
Remember the love
Oh, you got to; you got to remember the love
Remember the love
You know that life is a gift from up above
Remember the love
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure in love
Measure, measure your life in love
 
 
As the song says love is a gift from God and we should try and use the minutes in our days and in our years, to share love with others around us.  Today will not come again, so let us use the minutes that we have today to show love to others in whatever way we can.

weds 15 
 

 
And I end today with a prayer by Rebecca Barlow Jordan:
 
Good morning, Lord!
Today's a new day, a chance for a new start.
Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced.
It's a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord.
Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Tuesday 14 July

I have chosen to share this quote today because of the phrase “got your back”.  This phrase means that you will support someone especially in a difficult situation.  It reminds me very much of my friend Laura who was treated alongside me at the National.  When treatment was difficult for me or when things were going wrong, she would say to me, “It’s okay duck, I’ve got your back.”  It was great to know that she looked out for me but what is greater than that is knowing that God has my back and is there for me, doing what I can’t do and supporting me every step of the way.
    
 
god has your back
 
 And I end with a prayer of St Christopher taken from the Great Ormond Street Hospital website:
 
God, thank you for giving me another day.
Let me face my troubles today - the big and the small -
with a happy heart filled with your unending love.
Let me appreciate the moments of joy,
you send me this day.
Let me see the cares of others
as an opportunity to bring
your great compassion to those who most need it.
 
And God, I know that you see and know all things
- all of the world’s loveliness, and all of its harshness, too.
So on this day that you have given me,
I ask that I may bring your joy with me
as I share myself with others.
And I pray that you will be warmed
by the happiness of your children.
 
Finally, God, let me never forget
that in all things, in gladness or sorrow,
You who are all love and joy and hope
are always by my side.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 13 July

Following on from talking about the parable of the sower yesterday, I thought that I would share this quote with you today.  It is important that where we can we share our faith with others.  Some people may be ready to hear our message but others may not be.  We should not think though that what we have said is wasted, we have planted a seed and it maybe that in time that seed may grow.
 
sat 11 july
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:

 
Help us, with simple words,
to explain the warmth
within our hearts
that we experienced
in that first encounter
with your love and grace -
the Spirit’s flame,
still burning bright within -
that others, in their own
journeys of discovery
might reach out and touch
the hand that’s always there,
and be embraced by love.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 12 July

Today’s lectionary reading is from Matthew chapter 13 verses 1 to 9 and verses 18  - 23, the parable of the sower. 
 
My garden provides a good illustration of this parable.  I decided that I would sew some wildflowers in one area of the garden that is not really used for anything.  As you know I am not a gardener so I just decided to scatter the seed and hope it would land where it was meant to land.  Unfortunately not!  Some fell on the path and was eaten by the birds, some grew up amongst my clematis and was choked by it and some must have landed on my patio as it grew up but didn’t survive long.  The seeds that did make it into the correct place, and there are not many, have grown very well and are enjoyed by the bees and butterflies.  I should have really asked someone how to sow the seed properly and taken my time and then I would have been able to enjoy these wildflowers even more.
 
In a way this is like God’s word, we have to listen and take time to understand so that our faith will grow and we can enjoy all that God has planted in and around us.
 
The-Parable-of-the-Sower

 And I end today with a sonnet on the parable of the sower by Malcolm Guite.
 
I love your simple story of the sower,
With all its close attention to the soil,
Its movement from the knowledge to the knower,
Its take on the tenacity of toil.
 
I feel the fall of seed a sower scatters,
So equally available to all,
Your story takes me straight to all that matters,
Yet understands the reasons why I fall.
 
Oh deepen me where I am thin and shallow,
Uproot in me the thistle and the thorn,
Keep far from me that swiftly snatching shadow,
That seizes on your seed to mock and scorn.
 
O break me open, Jesus, set me free,
Then find and keep your own good ground in me.
 
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 11 July

I would like to share the latest Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace and shared on her Facebook page ‘I know I need to stop talking’.
 
Today was a tough one," said Piglet, who was very noticeably not his usual self, and was instead sitting quietly on an upturned tree stump, looking out over the Hundred Acre Wood.
 
"I'm sorry to hear that," said Pooh, carefully sitting down on the other end of the tree stump, at a safe, social distance away from Piglet. "Is there anything I can do?"
 
Piglet paused for a moment. Then: "You're doing it," he said.
 
"I am?" said Pooh, looking down at himself in confusion.  "But I'm not doing anything, Piglet. Whatever do you mean?"
 
"You're Being There," said Piglet, in a voice that was much smaller, and much sadder, than it would generally be.  "Being there, for me."
 
"But that's nothing!" said Pooh. "I would be there for you any time, Piglet, you know that."
 
"I do," agreed Piglet. "But don't ever say that it's nothing. To you, it might seem like nothing.
 
"But to me, right now... it feels like everything."

 
download (1)
 
And I end with a prayer by Rev Dr Lezley Stewart:
 
Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free -
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.
 
But freedom and fullness lives in the simple
? in each breath we take
? in knowing we have a roof over our heads
? in the love of family and community
? all the things we might usually take for granted...
 
Freedom also invites the gift of generosity
? to continue to give where we can
? to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
? to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
? to be what we have always been called to be - human.
 
This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis
? this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances.
 
As we remember the most simple of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.
 
For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remains.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Friday 10 July

At the beginning of lockdown, it was hard to differentiate between weekdays and the weekend.  This is beginning to change as I tend to spend the weekdays doing various jobs on the computer and, although still done via my computer, my weekends are beginning to take a similar pattern to previously with the church coffee morning on Saturday, a virtual service on Sunday morning and then One Truth Youth in the evening.  I have learnt though that it does not matter what I do or if my days are similar or different, God is with me all the time and only a prayer away.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Stephen Fearing:
 
God of my Life,
thank you for your presence with me this week,
in the times that were easy and the times that were hard.
Guide me to a period of rest that I might preside with you,
recharge my batteries,
and prepare to again do the work you are calling me to do next week.
This I pray in your holy and true name.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Thursday 9 July

I have mentioned previously how lockdown has made me appreciate the relationships I have with people, especially my Dad.  On Monday, with shielding restrictions slightly relaxed, I was able to have a hug from my Dad and he could come and sit in my lounge rather than the garden to talk.  It was so nice to finally have someone in my house; even the cats seemed to appreciate someone other than me being there!  The best thing though about the visit was the hug; it seemed to make everything okay. 
 
I think the quote below is very true, although the picture is nothing like Dad and I!
 
thurs 9 july
 
 And I end with a thank-you prayer for friends and family taken from lords-prayer-words.com:
 
To be known, and yet loved is a blessing.
Thank you for all those who see me,
who seek to understand, support and nurture me.
 I am forever grateful to be able to come just as I am,
in every season,
to walk in intimacy and love with others.
This is the richest blessing,
the greatest gift and the beautiful legacy of your walk and life amongst us.
Thank you so much for all my friends and loved ones.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

 

Wednesday 8 July

Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.  Just before 5 pm a spitfire flew over my house as part of its journey over the Lister hospital and Bedford hospital as well as hospitals in Cambridgeshire to say thank you to the NHS.  There was also a final clap for carers at 5 pm and although no-one came out in my road, many people across the country came out of their houses to clap and say thank-you.
 
I think that due to Covid-19, the country as a whole has much more appreciation for the NHS and those who are part of it.   I am very grateful for the NHS for all it has done for me over the years and all it will continue to do over the coming years.  I am blessed to be treated by some of the top neurologists and neurosurgeons in the country as well as some amazing nurse specialists who are dedicated to their work and making life easier for people like me.
 
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And I end with a prayer for the NHS taken from the Church of England website:
 
God of healing and compassion,
we thank you for the establishment of the National Health Service,
and for the dedication of all who work in it:
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who care for the sick,
and your wisdom to those engaged in medical research.
Strengthen all in their vocation through your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 7 July

The quote below was said by Barack Obama in 2009 at the beginning of his presidency of the USA.  I think that it is very apt for today.   In 2020, due to Covid-19, our world has changed.  Although the environment seems to have benefited positively from so many countries being locked down, over all the impact on the world has been negative.  Many many people have lost their lives or their loved ones and people are also dealing with the long term economic consequences.  As we emerge from lockdown, this country and our world will be different to what it was when we entered lockdown. 
 
As we enter what is being termed the ‘new normal’ we need to make changes to how we are going to live whether it means meeting friends, going shopping or worshipping together.  These changes may make us feel uncertain but we need to trust God in this time.
 
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 And I finish with a prayer reflection taken from Roots:
 
It's difficult to live with uncertainty. 
However bad a situation,
knowing what you have to face
means that you can start coming to terms with it,
facing your fears,
planning your strategy.
When the 'big picture' is too big or too blurred
and indistinct,
it's easier to focus on small details,
to try to control what you can.
 
The world has changed,
how does that affect our living in the meantime?
How do I need to change?
How do I want to change?
Is it possible to live each day as a new opportunity,
while knowing that it feels the same as yesterday?
 
I need your help, God,
to listen for you in the clamour of voices calling for my attention,
to focus on you in the midst of competing priorities,
to trust you in this time of uncertainty.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 6 July

There have been quite a few days during lockdown where things have built up and got a bit too much and I need to take some time out to regroup and replenish.  I have learnt not to feel guilty about just sitting and know that in order to be able to do the things I do, I need to take time for myself.
 
thurs 2

And I end with a prayer of relaxation by Sarah Forgrave:
 
Jesus, I am stressed.
Help me to accept your invitation to come empty and receive the rest I need.
Help me to willingly release my fear, my worries, my agenda, and my to-do list.
Ease the tension and replenish my body.
Silence the voices of doubt and speak Your words of truth.
Remove the heaviness of my day and pour out abundantly into my life.
Fill me with Your peace, joy, and love.
Fill me until the overwhelm is consumed by Your grace, and my life reflects the beauty of resting in You.
 Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Sunday 5 July

The lectionary reading today includes these words from Matthew chapter 11 verses 28 to 30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
 
These words made me think of the poem Footprints which I will share with you now:
 
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Here’s a prayer of praise inspired by Matthew 11: 28-30 written by John Birch:
 
In times of weakness and hour of need,
yours is the strength by which we carry on,
the shoulder we rest our head upon.
When our load is heavy and too much to bear,
yours are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace that we depend on.
In times of weakness and hour of need,
your voice is heard,
‘Come… find rest.’
This is grace divine,
the path we tread to wholeness
of body and spirit,
the path that leads to you,
and for which we offer our offering of praise.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 4 July

Today marks Independence Day in America, commemorating the Declaration of Independence which took place on July 4, 1776.  This day is normally filled with parades and parties but is likely to be slightly different this year due to Covid-19.
 
In a way today is a kind of Independence Day for us in the UK as restrictions are lifting further.  The hospitality and leisure industry are starting to open up and it will be possible to see more people.  Places of worship are also allowed to open and many churches, including Trinity, are having discussions as to how this can be done safely.
 
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And I end with prayer written by Lisa Frenz:
 
God of love and mercy,
You have lavished your creative might on this land, giving us an abundance of natural beauty and resources.
Lord, may we always remember that this earth is yours and we are its caretakers.

Guide us that we may use what you have given us with care and thanksgiving.
 
God of love and mercy,
You shower us with mercy not condemnation, with love not hate, with acceptance not fear.
Lord, may we always remember that justice is more than law.

Give us the wisdom to see injustice disguised as protection, and the courage and knowledge to challenge such laws.
God of love and mercy
You have blessed this land of ours with more riches than most of the world can comprehend, and with an energy and vitality that can produce wonders and marvels.
Lord, may we always act to share our wealth, taking the gifts you have given us to the world, reaching out to friend and foe, alike.

 
God of love and mercy
You have blessed this land, making it a great and wonderful place to live and work and play.
Instil in us the humility which comes from the knowledge that we have done nothing to deserve the blessings we have.

Sensitise us to the dignity of all people that we may respect their individuality of culture and spirituality.
Lead us to understand their needs within the context of their lives.
Supply us with the wisdom to assist them without imposing our customs upon them.
Continue to direct and enlighten us that we may be servants to the world and all peoples.
We ask this in Jesus' name, who is God yet servant to us all.
 Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Friday 3 July

I would like to share the words of a hymn written by Tim Hughes called God of Justice which I heard sung on Sunday at Oasis’ Online Gathering.  The words are very powerful and a challenge to all of us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.    Here is the link to the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnqOI4mVKc 
 
God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Came to serve and not be served
And Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go      
 
To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in every way
Walking humbly before You God
You have shown us what You require
Freely we've received now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go
 
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go      

 
SOF-Micah-6-8 web
Here’s a prayer of gratitude and commitment based on Micah 6: 6-8.  It was written by Dana Cassell:
 
Oh God
Our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer-
How do we thank you?
How do we show our gratitude?
Do you want signs and sacrifices?
Do you want gold and cattle?
Can we turn over our children to you?
Would that repay our debt, make everything right?
Tell us, what do you require in return for all your goodness?
 
Oh God,
Our teacher, example, companion—
You have shown us what is good,
and call us to remember
that what you require is not
repayment of debt
or settling the score,
but obedience.
 
Show us, God
When to do justice,
how to love kindness,
and where to walk,
humbly,
with You.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 


Thursday 2 July

Many of you will recognise the pictures below.  One is the church bench, very kindly donated by one of our members in memory of her late husband and the other is a view of the garden from that bench.
 
We may not be able to go into church but this bench, in its secluded place, gives the opportunity to sit and take time out.  You may want to take time to reflect, pray or just listen to the sounds around you.  Whatever you do, I hope that you feel close to God and refreshed after. 
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving by Esther Simpson.  If you do go to the church and sit on the bench, this may be a prayer that you would like to pray.
 
Lord my God,
You are good, all the time.
All the time, you are good.
Thank you for this moment;
 Thank you for my senses - all I can see, hear, touch, smell, taste;
 Thank you for where I am – my home, my work, my street, your presence;
 Thank you for how I am – for the strength in my muscles, the blood in my veins, the breath
 in my lungs, the thoughts in my head;
 Thank you for who I am – for my family, my friends, my neighbours, for being your child;
 Thank you for when I am – for now, this day, this time in history.
 Thank you for it all.
Thank you that you know, you see, you hear, you act, you hold, you love.
Thank you.
I will never get to the end of all there is to thank you for.
You are good, all the time.
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate




 

Wednesday 1 July

Today marks the start of plastic free July, a global initiative where people are encouraged to reduce their usage of single use plastics such as plastic bottles, cups and bags.
 
It can be difficult knowing where to start but at a recent One Truth Youth meeting, one of our members explained different ways of reducing our plastic usage such as:
  • Using a reusable coffee cup – some cafes’ such as Costa Coffee offer a discount if you bring your own cup.
  • Carrying a reusable water bottle when out and about instead of buying single use bottles of water.
  • Using a ‘bag for life’ instead of single use carrier bags.
  • Buying loose fruit and vegetables rather than those that are pre-packed.
 
We were challenged to try and change one thing and I am trying to reduce my use of single bottles of water by using a reusable water bottle.  What one thing could you try and change?
 
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And I end with a prayer by Rt. Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford:
 
Creator of our common home,
You fill the earth and sea and sky with life
Forgive us our neglect of your creation
The choking waste of our pollution
The damage done by careless habits
And our indifference to future generations.
Help us to amend our lives
To refuse more plastic if we can’t reuse it
To lift our voice for lasting change
And to live well and gently on the earth
To the glory of your Son, the Living Word
Through whom you made this fragile world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 


Tuesday 30 June

I have mentioned, probably more than once during the time that I have been writing this blog, that God has a plan for each of our lives.  God also, in his infinite wisdom, has a reason for allowing things to happen.   We, in our finite wisdom, struggle to understand why difficult things such as Covid-19 and war occur.   We just have to trust God that He has everything under control.  

God-Has-A-Reason
 
And I end with a prayer from the Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill:
 
Living, loving God,
we praise you,
and through times of peril we lean into you,
for in Jesus Christ
you have trodden paths as difficult as ours,
revealing there a love that nothing defeats,
a love that bears us through.
 
Even as we strive to behave responsibly,
and to care reliably,
so we feel after you
that in these uncertain times we might trust you are with us,
our refuge and strength,
and our faith, hope and love might be renewed,
through Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 29 June

I have used this prayer previously at the Open Church events at Trinity when we have had a variety of prayer stations.  I thought I would share it again on here as it seems appropriate for this time.  If you want, you may want to knot some string or a piece of cord as you pray this prayer or focus on the image of knotted rope below.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Sunday 28 June

One of the lectionary readings for today is Psalm 13 and I would like to share this reflection by Christine Longhurst, which is a comparison between Psalm 13 and Psalm 23.
 
O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?

 
            The LORD is my shepherd;
            I have everything I need.
            He lets me rest in green meadows;
            he leads me beside peaceful streams.

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?

 
            He restores my soul.
            He guides me along paths of righteousness
            for the sake of his good name.
 
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sight to my eyes, or I will die.

 
            Even when I walk through the dark valley of death,
            I will not be afraid,
            for you are close beside me.
            Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

 
            You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.
            You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.
            My cup overflows with blessings.
 
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD

because he has been so good to me.
 
            Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
            all the days of my life,
            and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.  

psalms-13-5-6
 
And I end with a benediction written by Elsa Cook based on Matthew 10:40-42 which is also a lectionary reading for today.
 
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.
Quench our thirst for love,
Satisfy our need to be known,
Assure us that we are indeed prophets of welcome.
Let us go to proclaim this peace in God’s name.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 27 June

One of the members of Trinity very kindly lent me a book by John Stott called ‘The Birds Our Teachers’ which looks at the biblical lessons that we can learn from a range of birds.
 
One of these is the owl.  Not only does it have excellent eyesight and hearing but they have the ability to rotate their heads 180 degrees so their body can face one way whilst its head is looking in the opposite direction.  Although we cannot do this physically we can do it spiritually.   John Stott suggests that ‘we should look back to the past with gratitude and on to the future with expectation.’ 
 
This is not always the easiest thing to do simultaneously, especially when it comes to church.  There may be those who are used to a traditional type of service with a set structure and prayers and who are not interested in more contemporary types of worship and music.   Conversely, there are those who are not interested in the traditional service at all and who want to move towards more contemporary worship.   We need to try and embrace both the traditional and the contemporary when we come together to worship God.
 
Owl-Meaning-in-the-Bible-2
 
 And I end with a prayer to be wise in the things of God posted on the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Heavenly Father, as I look through the Bible at the great cloud of witnesses in both the Old and New Testaments, all of whom were pleasing in Your sight, it is my desire to live the life of faith that they demonstrated so beautifully, and to become wise in the things of God.
 
Lord, I want to know more of You, to gain a deeper knowledge of Your Word and to discover Your perfect will for my life.
 
Lord, I desire to make a difference in this world and to live for You, even when I know that it may lose me the respect of neighbours and friends, and cost me very dearly.
 
Teach me Your ways I pray.  Open the eyes of my heart to understand more of Your Word.  Unblock my ears to Your gentle voice and open my eyes to see Jesus in all that I say and do.  Thank You, that Christ is both the power of God and the wisdom of God.
 
I pray that I may know more of the Lord Jesus in His humanity, and ask that I may be increasingly transformed into the likeness of His image, and live as He did in humble obedience to Your voice, and increasing in wisdom with every passing day. I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Friday 26 June

The other day I had a phone call from one of the members who was saying that even though we are not meeting together in Trinity we are still very much a church supporting and encouraging each other in whatever way we can and that she is enjoying being part of that. 
 
So the saying ‘the building may be closed but the church is still open’ is very apt for Trinity.  People are phoning each other, some more than they have done previously as they have more time.  Others are meeting on social distanced walks or across gardens.  Coffee mornings and quizzes are being held on zoom.  We may not be able to meet yet in our building but we are still very much the Body of Christ.
 
Also in the background, we have a team of people working on plans for our 25th anniversary next year.   You can have a say, if you haven’t already, by filling in the form in the Trinity Times or emailing Becky by 30th June.
 
 
 
Building-closed-Church-open-10
 
 

And I end with a prayer by Esther Simpson:

Lord God,
You create and recreate us in your goodness and wideness.
Thank you for the many outreaches and programmes you have blessed us with,
Thank you for the ways they have changed us
Thank you for the ways they have changed our community
As we look to a time beyond lockdown,
Keep us listening to the ways you want to restore us
And the ways you may want to recreate us.
May we not cling to the old out of nostalgia,
But rejoice at the new wine you bring
And look for the fruitfulness after the pruning.
In this time of preparation make us flexible;
To contain new wine without bursting,
To be ready for harvest,
To embrace with joy all you are recreating.
May we look to you for comfort, not comfortableness.
In the name of Jesus, our foretaste and pioneer of all things new.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 



Thursday 25 June

This weekend saw the shortest day and normally hundreds of people would congregate at Stonehenge to watch the sunset.  This year it was broadcast on Facebook instead.  Although I wasn’t awake at the 3 am to watch, I really enjoyed looking at some of the pictures after.  I thought this quote was very appropriate.
 
 
thurs 25

And I end with a prayer by John Birch:
 
That we can glimpse you within creation
is a beautiful thought,
but also tells us that you desire to be seen,
to be found and known.
Open our eyes, Lord,
as we walk through this world
feel the wind and sunshine,
see the majesty of creation
unfolding before our eyes.
Help us to see you.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 24 June

I have previously talked about Julian of Norwich and would like to share this reflection called ‘The Limitless Love of God’:
 
The love that God most high has for our soul is so great that it surpasses understanding. 
No created being can comprehend how much, and how sweetly, and how tenderly our maker loves us.
Our inborn will is to have God, and the goodwill of God is to have us.
There is no end to our willing and longing until we know God in the fullness of joy.  Then our desire is filled.
He wills that our occupation shall be in striving to know and love him until we are made whole in heaven.
Our life is grounded in faith, with hope and love besides.
 
weds
 
And I end with a prayer by Louise Gough, a presbyter from Bramhall and Wythenshawe Circuit.
 
God, your love – gentle, immense, unconditional – arcs a rainbow of grace to shelter us all and creates a space of belonging and healing.
Your love – grounded in reality, accustomed to suffering – welcomes the excluded, tends hidden bruises, binds wounds and remakes lives and community.
God, may the astonishing truth of your love, your wide span of hope, dawn afresh in our hearts and turn us inside out as we act on your call to share your compassion.
Renew our faith and courage that we may live as people transformed by the gospel and inspired by the limitless horizons of your Spirit.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

 
Tuesday 23 June

I was looking for a quote to share with you today and came across this one in my ever expanding library of quotes.  I must admit there have been times lately when I have been having a real moan because things are not going the way that I want them to or how I have planned in my head.  As I have said before, and have to keep reminding myself, God not only has a beautiful plan for my life but has given me so much to be grateful for.

gods-beautiful-plan-for-my-lif 

And I end with a prayer by Sister Christine Koelhoffer:
 
Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and wellbeing.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbours, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate



 

Monday 22 June

The second Big Church Sing organised by the Methodist Church took place on 7th June in aid of All We Can and was broadcast not just in this country but across the world on YouTube.
 
The theme was Hope and a range of people including those currently being helped by All We Can were asked firstly ‘what is bringing you hope today?’ and then ‘ what do you hope for tomorrow?”. 
 
Here are some of the answers given to the second question:
  • I am needing hope for the future so that my children and my grandchildren can live in a listening, loving and healthier world.
  • I hope we can grow into a better future where we recognise how much we all need each other.
  • I want to see hope expressed in truth and integrity across the whole world.
  • I want to live in a world where all have equal opportunities.          
  • I hope for a world that is stronger, fairer and greener than before.
  • I hope that Covid-19 will come to an end and we will go back to a fairer world.
  • I hope that we can learn to listen to one another so the world can be better for everyone.
  • The hope that I need tomorrow is that the lives that have been lost to racial injustice, poverty and Covid-19 won’t be in vain and there will be hope for a brighter tomorrow.
  • I hope we will be kinder to each other and kind to God’s world.
 What do you hope for tomorrow?
 
isaiah-40-31
 
 
I would like to finish with the song Everlasting Arms (Lean Hard) which was sung at the end of the Big Sing by Lou Fellingham, who wrote it, and singers across the country who joined in via zoom.
 
He lavishes grace as our burdens grow greater
He sends us more strength as our labours increase
To added afflictions He offers more mercy
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace
 
When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed and the day is half done
When we've reached the end of our earthly resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun
Our Father's full giving is only begun
 
So lean hard
Lean hard
Lean on the everlasting arms
So lean hard
Lean hard
Lean on the everlasting arms
Lean on the everlasting arms
 
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power has no boundary that's known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
 
You lead me beside still waters
Your goodness restores my soul
I know that you'll never leave me
I know that you won't let go
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 21 June

Rather than focusing my reflection on today’s lectionary reading,  I have chosen to focus on the same book of the bible but reflect on Matthew chapter 20 verses 1 to 16, the parable of the workers in the vineyard and I would like to start with an illustration.
 
It’s getting dark and nervously she paces in her modest home.  She is worried.  Nervously, she sweeps the dirt floor from one side to the next.  She stares into the darkness.  It is late and she begins to pray, “O God, O God, where is my James?  Where is he, Lord?  It is getting late and I know he didn’t find work today.  I went to the market place and I saw him still standing there late in the afternoon.  O Lord, where is he?  Has something happened to him, or is he too ashamed to come home again empty handed?”
 
Her prayer is broken by a tug on her dress. It’s her five year old daughter Elizabeth.  Elizabeth asks, “Mummy, where is Daddy?  Why has Daddy not come home yet?  Is he bringing us something to eat? Mummy, I’m hungry.”
 
And with that the door burst open and he says, “Hello, Elizabeth!  Hello, Rebecca!  Prepare the table, we have a feast!  Look!  I have bread, I have cheese, I have figs and a little bit of honey!”
 
“James, where did you get all of this? I know you didn’t work, I went by the market place and I saw you standing there late in the day.”
 
He said, “The most amazing, the most marvellous thing happened to me today.  I was standing in the market place waiting for someone to come by and hire me.  The day was getting late and many had given up.  Others had gone to work and just a few of us were standing there.  I just couldn’t come home empty handed again.  I couldn’t stand another night just lying in bed when sleep would not come.  The growling of my empty stomach could not drown out her words, ‘Daddy, I’m hungry.’
 
I was almost ready to give up when around the eleventh hour the most unusual thing happened. A fellow came up and he yelled to us and asked us why we weren’t working. We said, “No one has hired us.” He said, “I’ll hire you! Come on and work!”
 
“It was late in the day but a few pennies were better than nothing at all, so I went and worked in the vineyard. There were people there who had been working a long time. You could tell they were tired and hot and dusty.
 
We worked for only an hour.  Then the land owner gathered us together to pay us, and would you believe he paid us first, the ones who had only worked an hour, not those who had worked three hours or six hours or nine hours or twelve hours, and would you believe he gave us wages for an entire day?  We worked one single hour and we were paid for an entire day!  I was so happy!  I was so joyous!  I ran to the market place and bought all of this food.  Doesn’t it look good?  Isn’t it wonderful?  We shall have a feast tonight.”
 
“As I was in the market place, I heard some of the workers who had worked longer than I had grumbling.  They were just down right mad.  I didn’t say anything, I just came on home.  I just couldn’t wait to get home and spread this feast before your eyes.  Let us gather around table and thank God for the favour He has bestowed upon us.”
 
“James, may I ask you something? I’m curious, why are there just three loaves instead of the customary four? And are my eyes deceiving me, it looks like someone has cut off half of the cheese.”
 
“Well, you’re right. I hope it’s okay but on the way home I thought of the widow Sarah and I stopped by her house and gave her some of the bread and cheese. And wiping moisture from her eyes, Rebecca says, “Oh my dear James, my kind and generous James you know that it is more than alright. Let’s bow and thank God.”
 
If we were to hear the story of one of the first workers who was employed, I expect the story would be very different – full of moaning and grumbling that although they worked their socks off all day, they were paid the same as someone who only did an hours work.
 
The amount the landowner gave was not based on the amount of work that was done but by what he wanted to give.  He tells the workers when they are hired that the wage will be right but up to his discretion.  We can see that the landowner was very generous and the workers were obviously not impressed although the landowner did what he saw as right.
 
A similar thing happened to the disciples.  All of them gave up something to be with Jesus.  Those that were fisherman put down their nets and left their families, others gave up their money and possessions. They gave up everything yet in the Kingdom of Heaven they are equal with everyone even the thief who was on the cross with Jesus.
 
God has been generous to all of us whether Christians for a long time or Christians for a short time and whatever we have done in our pasts.  God sent his Son to die on the cross for us, because of Jesus’ love and grace, we have been promised eternal life.  Because of this grace that we have been shown, we need to be gracious to others and be grateful for all we have received.  If we are not grateful and are more concerned with grumbling and complaining about others, we do not experience God’s full grace.  James, in the story, was so gracious for what he received and in turn spread that gratitude by giving some of the food to the widow.
 
mat-20-16-ww-mf-9x

And I end with a prayer taken from Roots:
 
God of the first and the last,
and all those in between,
Your grace reaches out to all of us—
life-long believers or newcomers alike.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
to work together with one mind and one purpose,
to reach out in love to those in need.
Strengthen us so that we might live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives to the building up of Your upside-down kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 20 June

For some reason this did not save at 6.30 this morning so apologies for the late entry:

As I am still receiving positive feedback, I thought I would share another Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace and taken from the ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page.
 
Despite the blueness of the sky, and the birds that Pooh could hear singing in the trees, he felt almost despairing, as he made his way through the Hundred Acre Woods to meet with Piglet.
 
"Oh Pooh," said Piglet, immediately taking in the expression on his friend's face.  Whatever's the matter?"
 
"So much hate," blurted out Pooh, who hadn't been able to tear himself away from the news in recent weeks, and had been appalled by what he had seen.  "So much hate.  So much anger.  So much intolerance.  It scares me Piglet, it really scares me, because I don't know what we can do about it.  Is this really what we are becoming?"
 
Piglet thought for a while, as the two friends sat down together on either end of a fallen tree, Piglet's little legs swinging back and forth as they spoke.
 
"It is frightening," he agreed.  "Which is why it's so important for all of us who don't feel that way - and I do still believe that love is far more prevalent than hate, for the vast majority of us - to stand up and speak out.  To choose love, not hate."
 
"Do I need to go and make a placard, then?" asked Pooh, tentatively.
 
"Not at all - unless you want to, that is," confirmed Piglet. "It's the small choices we make every day which make the real difference."
 
"What sort of choices?"
 
"Well, almost every interaction we have with someone else has the potential to make a small change for the better.  Kindness, always.  Genuinely caring about one another. Celebrating and embracing our differences, not using them to divide us.  Calling out behaviour which hurts, belittles or endangers someone else.  Educating ourselves, and those around us.  Understanding the responsibility we all have: to be a force for good in the world, to play our own little part in improving things for the better."
 
"Will that really help?" asked Pooh, wondering how he and Piglet between them could ever right the wrongs of the world.
 
"We're on a journey," said Piglet, simply.  "It will take time, and there will be moments along that journey when we feel despair, because all we can see is the bad.
 
"But if you and me," continued the little pig, "and the vast majority of others out there, who I believe also want a world that is kind and fair, if we continue to act as a force for good...then yes, Pooh: I genuinely believe we have hope, that we can make our world a better place."
 
"Kindness, always," said Pooh, a determined look upon his face, despite the tears still welling in his eyes.
 
"That's right," agreed Piglet.  "Kindness, always."
 
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And I finish with a prayer called One Human Family from the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
God of Heaven and Earth,
you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity.
 
Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.
Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight
from our hearts, our communities,
our social and civil institutions.
 
Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbour
so that we may work with you
in healing our land from racial injustice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 



Friday 19 June

A question that I have been asking people to help facilitate discussion at our zoom coffee morning and also our youth meeting, is: “name one thing that you have achieved this week”.  A few times the answer has come back: “nothing” to which I have replied “have you got out of bed this week” and when they replied “yes”, I said “see you have achieved something.”
 
It can be hard to get motivated to get out of bed and face the day but we have to have faith and trust that God will be with us, encouraging and helping us.  We also have to be proud of ourselves for what we do achieve each day, even if it is just getting out of bed.
 
fri 19

And I end with a prayer of trust written by Esther Simpson
 
God, our God,
King over all, including this chaos.
You are always enthroned on high;
You are always king.
You alone are sovereign over this world you have made.
In a time when we groan with uncertainty, when we are overwhelmed by the invisible flood of pandemic and panic,
Be king.
Be king over nations, and governments.
Be king over sickness and death.
Be king over communities and families.
Be king over me.
Be king over the floods around me and the floods in me.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


Thursday 18 June

I join in with morning prayers from Cliff College when I can.  The Principal always leads on Monday using a psalm.  Psalms allow the writer to bring their experience to God.  This morning he shared the Lockdown Psalm, written by Catherine Clarke.
 
I have dwelt long in the house of lockdown: I have enclosed myself in the habitation of Netflix and groaning.
They have set me my bounds which I shall not pass: I keep the statutes and observe the laws.
I entered into the supermarket, but it was barren: its plenty was turned into empty shelves, and there was no toilet paper in it.
Neither were there delivery slots by day nor by night: verily, not even from Ocado.
 
Deliver us from the wilderness of delivery: and deliver our deliveries unto us.
I am become a stranger unto the pub, and unto the office: even an alien unto Pizza Express.
The sun ariseth, and I go forth to work and to my labour: even in my pyjamas until the evening.
I am weary of Zoom, my throat is dry: it melteth away like wax as my broadband vanisheth.
Yet they gape upon me with their mouths and say: thy toddler sitteth lurking in the corner of
the screen, and lo he imagineth mischief.
And thou, oh daughter of lockdown: thou shalt do thy phonics in exile.
Also thy literacy and numeracy work, and thy comprehension: yea verily, even thy fronted adverbials.
 
They have sprayed markers for my feet: they have set a place for me on the pavement outside Tesco Metro.
The unrighteous forget their social distancing: I swerve from their transgressions.
The people rebuke each other: and bear in their bosoms the rebukes of many people.
A mask hath covered my face and I wash my hands: neither have I found any hand sanitiser to comfort me.
The pestilence layeth siege against me: according to the cleanness of my hands shall I be
recompensed.

Psalm73-23-Sept16-2013

And I end with a prayer by Esther Simpson based on Psalm 73 verse 23:

Lord,
I am uncertain.
I am afraid.
I am wondering where you are, if you are there.
My mind is whirling with questions.
My heart is heavy with the weight of grief
My hands are itching to do something but have been told to do nothing.
Are you here?
Are you in our hospitals and supermarkets and streets?
Please be here.
Be here in the stillness and silence.
Be here in the busyness of ICUs and ambulances.
Be here in my head and heart and hands.
Be here, even when I cannot see you or name you.
Be here, as you were in Mary’s womb,
As you were in a boat in the storm
As you were hung on a cruel cross
As you were in the cool silence of a grave
As you were in a room of frightened disciples
As you are drawing near with compassion and comfort to those mourning.
Be here and it will be enough.
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 17 June

The background on which the quote below is written is taken from one of Banksy’s most iconic pieces of artwork called “There is Always Hope” but is often referred to as Girl with Balloon. 
 
It originally appeared on London’s Southbank, although it was later painted over by the council and was reworked by Bansky in 2014 to mark the third anniversary of the civil war in Syria. In this version, the Girl with Balloon appeared with a headscarf to depict a Syrian refugee.
 
On October 6 2018, Girl with Balloon became one of the most talked-about stunts in art history, when a signed canvas of the work shredded itself, as the hammer came down on the final £1.4 million bid at Sotheby's.
 
I know Banksy didn’t write the quote below but the picture and the quote go very well together and seem appropriate for today.
 
weds 17
 
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
Loving God,
strengthen our innermost being,
with your love that bears all things,
even the weight of this global pandemic,
even the long haul of watching for symptoms,
of patiently waiting for this to pass,
watching and waiting,
keeping our gaze fixed on you,
and looking out for our neighbours,
near and far.
 
Instil in our shaken souls,
the belief and hope that all things
are possible with your creative love,
for strangers to become friends,
for science to source solutions,
for resources to be generously shared,
so everyone, everywhere, may have what they need,
for your perfect love that knows no borders,
may cast out any fear and selfishness that divides.
 
May your love that never ends
be our comfort, strength and guide,
for the wellbeing of all and
the glory of God.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Tuesday 16 June

Each week I am meeting via Zoom with a group of Methodists across the country to study the Character course.  Each week is a different characteristic and so far we have looked at hope and love.  Our homework each day is to spend time following a prayer exercise based on that characteristic.
 
This week we have had to focus on the verse below, repeating it a number of times and thinking firstly of ourselves then a close friend or family member followed by an acquaintance and finally with someone we struggle with.  It has been an interesting exercise but as you can imagine slightly challenging!  Maybe you would like to give it a try?
 
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And I end with a benediction from Pastor Joe Sherer.
 
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
 
May the broad expanse of God’s love
and the abundance of His riches in glory,
shape your perspective on your own life and needs,
including those things which disappoint you.
 
May the eyes of your heart be open
to all the blessings which surround you;
may this awareness produce a harvest of generosity in your spirit.
 
May thankfulness rise up within you,
not just during this short season,
but day after day,
from the early morning watch until you retire for the night.
 
May your prayers reflect gratitude,
while also acknowledging the needs of others
whose situations are so drastically different.
 
May thoughts of Jesus fill your mind,
and hunger for God drive your soul,
and love for Lord guide your speech and your actions.
 
And finally, may the grace, peace, and love of the triune God,
protect, defend, and empower you
to run with perseverance the race marked out for you.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 15 June

I have shared a number of Pooh and Piglet stories which Kathryn Wallace has written and put on her Facebook page called I know I need to stop talking.  I would like to share this piece which she has written as I feel it is appropriate to all of us.
 
I wrote this for you.
I wrote this for you, who wishes with your whole heart that 2020 had not turned out quite the way it has.
I wrote this for you, who feels like every day is a struggle, right now.
I wrote this for you, who some days, doesn't even know where to start.
I wrote this for you, who has eaten more chocolate than is strictly good for you, because, we frankly have to take the small pleasures where we can get them at the moment.
I wrote this for you, who sat and cried today.
I wrote this for you, who is optimistically making plans, at the same time doubting whether you will be in a position to be able to keep them.
I wrote this for you, who is by turns sad, despairing, bored, lonely, euphoric, afraid.
I wrote this for you, who has been leaving the house and going out to work each day, however frightened you might have felt.
I wrote this for you, who would do anything for some human company.
I wrote this for you, who would do anything for some time alone.
I wrote this for you, who wonders how we will ever get back to normal, who regrets having ever taken the mundanity of the everyday for granted, because hindsight is a beautiful thing.
I wrote this for you, who simply cannot be all things to all people, no matter how many times you push yourself to achieve the impossible.
I wrote this for you, who wondered what the point was in getting out of bed this morning.
I wrote this for you, who is right now struggling to explain the simple concepts of sharing to your primary-aged child, let alone get them to understand the purpose of a fronted adverbial.
I wrote this for you, who is all too frequently gripped by blind panic.
I wrote this for you, who looks in despair at what other people have managed to achieve during lockdown, if you believe what they post on their social media channels, that is, when you yourself are celebrating if you manage to achieve another day of lockdown without completely losing it.
I wrote this for you, who feels guilty for struggling, despite the fact you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.
I wrote this for you, who puts on a brave face every day, but is terrified of how this experience might affect your children and their future.
I wrote this for you, who is grieving the ones that you love.
I wrote this for you, who from time to time feels as though you are quite literally at breaking point.
I wrote this for you, who is so desperately in need of a hug.
I wrote this for you, who is doing an amazing job right now under the most challenging of circumstances, however much you might struggle to believe it.
I wrote this for you, because I want you to know, that you are not alone.
I wrote this for you... but I wrote this for me, too.

gods-got-you-e1425607502928     
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
God of heaven and earth,
In these times of isolation,
apart from loved ones
distant from friends
away from neighbours
thank you that there is nothing
in all of creation,
not even coronavirus,
that is able to separate us from your love.
 
And may your love that never fails
continue to be shared
through the kindness of strangers
looking out for each other,
for neighbours near and far
all recognising our shared vulnerability,
each of us grateful for every breath
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Sunday 14 June

One of today’s lectionary readings is taken from Romans 5 verses 1 to 8.  The following poem written by Deborah Ann is based on those first two verses.
 
God has for us,
an overflowing supply
of mercy and grace
for us to daily apply.
 
We can put it on,
be it night or day
we just need to ask
for it, when we pray.
 
Abundant it is,
it will never run out
it’s what being forgiven
is really all about.
 
God will release it,
as we require
for granting it to us
is His heart’s desire.
 
For all those in need,
of God’s mercy and favour
all you need is faith . . .
and the grace of a Saviour!
 
grace

And I end with a blessing taken from Roots:
 
Go to serve; go to love;
go to bring healing; go to bring peace;
go in the strength of the Father;
go in the power of Jesus;
go united by the Spirit.
Go – and know his grace.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Saturday 13 June

When I can I try and fill in a gratitude journal, writing down three things that I am thankful for that day.  It is only three things but sometimes that can be quite hard.  One thing I am thankful for, and perhaps more than ever, is being able to sit outside on the patio just listening.  In the mornings, I can hear the birds.  In the afternoon, the children a few doors away playing.  In the evening, the chatter of people walking their dogs in the field behind me.  All accompanied by the gentle drone of the motorway and occasionally interrupted by my neighbour’s dance music.    My world seems a lot smaller in lockdown but these sounds open up the world to me, even if the children do get a bit loud sometimes and I don’t like dance music!  

 tues 9

And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:

Under the warmth
of the summer sun
the world awakes and blossoms
into every imaginable colour.
You created a garden for us to enjoy,
and within it planted
the most magical of flower and trees.
You needed no horticultural training
to plan your colour scheme,
no gardening expert
to recommend variety or design.
Your garden is perfect,
its colours harmonious,
its scale immense,
spoilt only by the clumsiness
of those who tend it.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate

 

Friday 12 June
 
It is so easy to become despondent when we look at the news and see everything that is going on in the world right now.  Not just Covid but the murder of George Floyd by police in America which has highlighted racism not just in America but all over the world.  People have rightly been protesting against this but, due to a small minority, this has led to violence across America and also in this country.

It is so hard to know what to say and what to do but I think the quote below sums it up perfectly.  We need to love intentionally, extravagantly and unconditionally.

thurs 11 

 
 
And I end with a prayer from the Methodist Church:
 
Help us to live out your reckless love,
so that through the power
of the Holy Spirit we will be able to love you,
love our neighbours
and forgive other people.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 



Thursday 11 June


With restrictions regarding ‘shielders’ being relaxed slightly, it meant that I could have my Dad over in my garden.  Although we have been talking daily and using face time weekly I have not seen him in person since March.  I cannot put into words how good it was to see him, from the other side of the patio, and spend time with him – it meant so much. 
The quote below is very apt.  It didn’t matter that it was cloudy and colder than previous days, it didn’t matter that he had brought treats with him, it didn’t even matter that I could not hug him what mattered was spending time with him rather than seeing him on a screen.  I feel very blessed to have been able to do that.
 
sat 13
 
I leave you today with a prayer from Soul Survivor Watford:
 
Lord Jesus,
As we look to enter into another way of doing life that is not yet ‘normal,
I am thankful that each morning brings a new word of your unfailing love.
As I step out to do life, thank you Lord that you show me the way to go
and when I don’t know where to turn, you are the voice behind me saying,
 ‘This is the way; walk in it.’
Lord, may we continue to look to you,
look for your direction in our everyday choices
and look to find you in every situation we face.
As we do that, may we reflect the light of your love,
and leave an imprint of your presence in every contact.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Wednesday 10 June


I know I have mentioned before that I am my own worst enemy and tend to replay things that have happened over and over in my head and give myself a hard time over them.  I came across this quote and it is very true.  At the moment, even though I do talk to some people during the day, I am on my own the majority of the time.  I need to become my own encourager and be kind to myself.  I think we all do at the moment, even if that is praising ourselves for getting out of bed or encouraging ourselves to complete an item on our to do list.
 
weds 10
 
 I end today with a prayer called Encouragement written by Eileen Clarkson, Christine Cumber, Marilyn E Jess, Abi Berry and Trevor Gay

Heavenly Father, you always encourage us.  Help us to encourage others and let us be inspired by the way Jesus encouraged everyone regardless of ability or status.
Be bold and be strong for the Lord your God is with you! Thank you loving God that we can do all things through you who strengthens us.
You made us as we are, wonderful and unique. You often guide us into new territory, to do new things, but you are always there with us, guiding and helping us.
Give us the right words to say in all situations to help and inspire those around us.  Lift our spirits Lord in these difficult times.
Help us to see the light where others see darkness.  Help us use the light we see as encouragement to all.
Thank you, loving God, for your unending encouragement and we pray that, inspired through your word, we will offer encouragement to all those we meet. 
We pray in the name of the 
greatest encourager, our saviour, Jesus.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 9 June


I have had very positive feedback about the Pooh and Piglet stories that I have been sharing from the I Know I Need To Stop Talking Facebook page written by Kathryn Wallace.  When I saw a new one posted a few days ago, I thought I would share it with you.

The rain fell steadily, dripping through the damp leaves, as Pooh and Piglet walked their socially distanced walk through the Hundred Acre Wood.
 
"It's funny," said Pooh, looking over at Piglet. "All that time, when we couldn't be together, I kept thinking about how much I missed you. I kept thinking about all of the things that I wanted to say to you. All of the things that I couldn't wait to talk and chatter with you about, and how much I missed being able to do so, even though we could speak on the telephone, because it just wasn't the same."
 
"And now?" prompted Piglet.
 
"Well," said Pooh, a slight smile on his face. "I realised, while the talking and the catching up is always wonderful, it turns out that it wasn't actually that which I was missing so much."
 
"Then what was it?" asked Piglet, curiously.
 
"It was the Being, Piglet. Just Being, with you. That's what I missed, most of all."
 
"Oh me too," said Piglet, fervently. "Me too."
 
On the two friends walked; through the rain; just Being.
 
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And I end with a prayer called Isolation written by Alison Lawn, Eileen Clarkson, Mary Hobbs, Christine Cumber and Trevor Gay

Loving God, we adore you and we ask that your loving arms reach out and embrace those
who are alone at this time.  Be with them Lord as they miss the regular contact they would
normally enjoy with neighbours, friends and family.
 
May your Holy Spirit enable the isolated to know that you are always here.  Let this time allow us to reach out to others by prayer, word or post so that the isolated know your compassion and heart of love.  Protect them in their isolation and may they know that they are never truly alone as you are always there with them. Comfort them Lord by your presence in their darkest hours.
 
May they sense your presence in a very real and new way.  May your blessings abound to them even in their times of feeling "low".  Loving God, even though we are separated from those we love we  are never separated from you.  You hold us close.  Jesus you
promised never to leave us.  Thank you, faithful God.
 
Lord as we look to the future with uncertainty, we thank you for being with those people who are alone. Your comfort and love at this time will surely strengthen them.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 8 June


As I have learnt, life does not always turn out how you would like and at times it can be far from perfect.  However as the quote below states, God is perfect and He can lead us through whatever we face in life, we just have to have the strength to follow Him.
 
mon 8

Having a perfect God gives us the perfect reason to praise Him for His unfailing love so I end today with a prayer of praise by written by Jonathan Coles, Christine Cumber, Alison Lawn, Ruth Rowan and Trevor Gay.
 
Loving, giving, God our mere words are not adequate enough to praise you.  You give so much to us and ask for so little in return.
We praise you for the wonderful world that we live in and for all the living things that you made including ourselves.  We praise you for your great faithfulness and that we can depend on You for all things in our lives.
We praise you for giving us the encouragement and hope to get through each day.  We are never alone as you are always with us, you are our light at the end of this tunnel of great uncertainty.
We give our hearts to you Lord, as we raise our praise.  You rejoice in our praise of your Holy Name.
You are a glorious father and we praise your wonderful name.  We make a joyful noise unto the Lord.  Father accept our praise.  We offer you all that we are in Jesus name.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Sunday 7 June


Today is Trinity Sunday and this is a Sunday that many Local Preacher’s find difficult to preach on as it is very hard to explain the Trinity.  When I was on trial, I didn’t realise that this Sunday was notoriously difficult and so was planned to preach at St Paul’s exactly three years ago.  I must say I have not put myself down for Trinity Sunday since!

I tackled the topic by sharing the grace with the congregation and then giving a three point sermon looking at the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  I won’t share the whole sermon but I would like to share the illustration of grace that I used.
 
Our middle daughter had been previously adopted by another family.  Whenever our daughter’s previous family went on holiday to Disney World, they left her with a family friend. Usually — at least in the child’s mind — this happened because she did something wrong.
 
Once I found out about this history, I made plans to take her to Disney World.  In the month leading up to our trip to the Magic Kingdom, she stole food when a simple request would have gained her a snack.  She lied when it would have been easier to tell the truth.  She whispered insults that were carefully crafted to hurt her older sister as deeply as possible — and, as the days on the calendar moved closer to the trip, her mutinies multiplied.
 
A couple of days before our family headed to Florida, I pulled our daughter into my lap to talk through her latest escapade. “I know what you’re going to do,” she stated flatly.  “You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?”  The thought hadn’t actually crossed my mind, but her downward spiral suddenly started to make some sense.
 
She knew she couldn’t earn her way into the Magic Kingdom — she had tried and failed that test several times before — so she was living in a way that placed her as far as possible from the most magical place on earth.
 
In retrospect, I’m embarrassed to admit that, in that moment, I was tempted to turn her fear to my own advantage.  The easiest response would have been, “If you don’t start behaving better, you’re right, we won’t take you” — but, by God’s grace, I didn’t. Instead, I asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?”
She nodded, brown eyes wide and tear-rimmed.
“Are you part of this family?”
She nodded again.
“Then you’re going with us. There may be some consequences to help you remember what’s right and what’s wrong — but you’re part of our family, and we’re not leaving you behind.”
 
I’d like to say that her behaviours grew better after that moment. They didn’t. Her choices pretty much spiralled out of control.  Still, we headed to Disney World on the day we had promised, and it was a typical Disney day.  Overpriced tickets, overpriced meals, and lots of lines, mingled with just enough manufactured magic to consider maybe going again someday.
 
In our hotel room that evening, a very different child emerged. She was exhausted, pensive, and a little weepy at times, but her month-long facade of rebellion had faded. When bedtime rolled around, I prayed with her, held her, and asked, “So how was your first day at Disney World?”
 
She closed her eyes and snuggled down into her stuffed unicorn.  After a few moments, she opened her eyes ever so slightly.  “Daddy,” she said, “I finally got to go to Disney World.  But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.” 
 
It wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.
 
This story is a good example of what Grace is.  I struggled to grasp just what Grace meant until someone taught me a few years ago that Grace stands for: God’s Riches at Christ’s expense.
 
God gives us what we don’t deserve and what we never could afford.  Jesus paid this debt for us by dying on the cross.  Jesus was betrayed by his people, abandoned by his friends, the disciples. He had the power to destroy his enemies and those who condemned him but he did not.   He died for everyone and offered eternal life to all.
 
When we are in a relationship with someone, their traits and the way that they are tends to rub off on us.  It is like that with Jesus as we are transformed into his likeness and become full of grace which sustains us and gives us purpose.
 
Fellowship – The Fellowship Of
And I end with a blessing:
 
Go into this week,
held together by the love of God
clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion
reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 6 June


Earlier in the week I shared a poem written by Marion Walker.  Today I would like to share a poem written by Hilary Dyster.  It was written over Easter but is still very relevant today.  If anyone else has a poem or prayer that they would like me to share, please send it to me.
 
How can it be?
 
How can it be?
That while the Spring
Unfolds each day
To green the earth, renew, restore
With lengthening days and welcome warmth
That brings new growth and seeds of hope
In field and garden, meadow and wood,
Yet all around
An unseen enemy roams.
 
How can it be?
That while the skylark soars aloft
With ceaseless song in cloudless skies,
Blackbird and robin sing unfazed
And chiff chaff offers welcome notes,
Whilst kite and buzzard wheel and dip
So effortlessly in the heights,
And still a silent enemy roams.
 
How can it be?
That buds unfurl to generous blooms
Magnolias, forsythia and cherry,
Peeping bird's eye, Bethlehem's stars,
Daisies, cowslips, primrose fair,
Butterfly and bee - hedgerow treasures
All welcome signs of turning year
Yet still a viral enemy lurks
 
Yet joyful news!
The Easter message tells
Of darkness passed and life restored.
And so we pray and trust that God
Will shed abroad his healing love,
And bring us through this time of grief.
And yet -
How can it be?
 
summer-birds-robin-two-column. 
 

And I end with a prayer called Hope written by Jean Newland, Sue Fry, Eileen Clarkson, Ruth Rowan and Trevor Gay
 
Loving Father, we thank you for all the good things you bring us at this time of lockdown and social distancing.  We pray that you will be with us as we come to terms with a new way of living.
 
Help us Lord not to see the darkness as a time when we are buried, rather let us see it as a time of being planted. Show us new opportunities, new ideas and new life which can grow and flourish at this time.
 
Give us your vision, Lord, for sharing your love and hope with others in such changed circumstances, especially those without the technology we rely on.  May there be a reawakening of openness and seeking for our living, loving God.
 
Thank you for friends and family, and the different ways we have to communicate. For healing relationships and new friendships made.  Lord you are our guiding light in this unprecedented time, you know the way and we ask for you to show us the light so we can follow.  We thank you for your unconditional love.
 
We know you bring hope Lord, even in the most difficult of times. We ask that you be with us as we come to terms with our new reality.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Friday 5 June


In yesterday’s post, Marion used the phrase ‘cloud with a silver lining’ in her poem so I decided to look up where that phrase came from.
 
Apparently it is an idiom which I had never heard of.  An idiom is a “group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own”.
 
The saying every cloud has a silver lining probably developed from people observing clouds in the sky.  When clouds float in front of the sun, they will sometimes have a “silver lining” around them.  As you can see in the picture below, the centre of the cloud will look darker, but its edges are brighter.
 
A shortened version of the phrase was first found in a book by John Milton in 1634 called Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle.  In 1969, P.T. Barnum wrote: “‘Every cloud,’ says the proverb, ‘has a silver lining,’ and so I did not despair.’ “
 
 
silver-lining (1)
 
 
And I end with a prayer by Nan Jones called “where is the silver lining in my storm?”
 
I’m learning, Lord, that You are the silver lining when the storm clouds billow and threaten destruction over my life.
You are the light in the darkness. T
The glory of Your abiding presence creates the brilliant outline surrounding the charcoal grey of the storm.
Yes, Lord, it is because of Your presence in the storm that the silver lining appears.
If we'll watch and wait and expect, the silver lining of Your glory will appear right at the darkest moment.
You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us.
Your Word tells us that You dwell in the dark cloud, that You spoke to Job multiple times out of the whirlwind.
Wow! We tend to distance You from the darkness of these storms because of Your goodness.
But clearly the light of Your presence creates the shadow in the darkness.
And that is amazing.
That is the silver lining — we are not alone.
You are present working everything together for our good when we love You and are called according to Your purpose.
Everything.  Especially when it’s hard to find any good at all.
That’s what makes You so awesome.
You are true to Your Word and when we can’t figure it out, or understand why, we can fully trust and put our confidence in You because You are faithful.
We can rest in the knowledge that You are for us and not against us, and that You are putting all the pieces of our lives together in an extraordinary tapestry of beauty.
God is putting all the pieces of our lives together in an extraordinary tapestry of beauty.
And when the storm clouds loom over the horizon, if we’ll watch and wait and expect, the silver lining of Your glory will appear right at the darkest moment.
Because that’s who You are, Lord.
That’s who You are.
In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Thursday 4 June


One of the members of Trinity, Marion Walker, sent me a poem that she had written and she has kindly agreed for me to share it with you all.
 
Keep Smiling
 
Where have all the people gone?
I take my daily walk alone
The usual busy thoroughfare
Devoid of people and quite bare
I carry on to the local park
Where isolation has made it’s mark
No children’s laughter as they play together
And make the most of this glorious weather
But the birds don’t know about the virus
And they sing out a wonderful chorus
A joy to hear and a pleasure to see
Them singing their hearts out high in the tree
The flowers are blooming in all their glory
Our isolation is not the full story
There is hope for the future
And things will improve
With support from our helpers and all whom we love
We are not alone but with help from above
Be positive, hopeful and don’t start whining
Every cloud has a silver lining
Cast off all your worries and lighten the load
And keep right on to the end of the road
 
018 - keep smilin

And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
That we can glimpse you within creation
is a beautiful thought,
but also tells us that you desire to be seen,
to be found and known.
Open our eyes, Lord,
as we walk through this world,
feel the wind and sunshine,
see the majesty of creation
unfolding before our eyes.
Help us to see you
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Wednesday 3 June


Sometimes we can be very quick to point out something negative we notice about a person but we should be just as quick to say something positive about them.  We don’t know what impact our positive words could have on someone. 

In the past, I tended to put all my focus on the negative things that people had said but these would eat away at me so I try to make a real effort to listen to the postive things that people are saying and accept them.   Some things have been said that have stayed with me a long time.  It may only have taken a few seconds to say something positive and the person has probably forgotten what they have said, these words have given me a boost.

Words are like toothpaste, whether positive or negative, they can never be squeezed back in the tube.   Let our words make a positive difference to someone.

weds 3 

 
 
And I end with a prayer written by Helen Cameron from the Methodist Church Facebook page:
 
God of all grace,
hold us in your everlasting love,
when we cannot physically hold all those we love and care about.
In this time of pandemic,
be the cord that binds us in love to another,
even as we are asked to isolate from one another.
Be our firm foundation,
when we feel disturbed and uncertain.
Comfort the dying,
support the weak,
and encourage every kindness in us.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 
 

Tuesday 2 June


I recently realised that in all the time that I have been writing this blog, I have not yet referred to my favourite service reflection.  My favourite reflection, and one that I have used in most churches I have preached in, is the lessons that we can learn from Geese. 
 
Geese fly much further together than they would fly by themselves.  The v-formation enables energy to be conserved by those flying behind the leader, who is replaced when too tired to lead.  Geese encourage each other by honking and also look after those who are sick and injured.
 
tues 2

The church can very much be seen as a flock of geese with each of us encouraging and supporting each other working together as a team rather than individuals.  
 
Even though we cannot meet, people are working hard behind the scenes and a group of members have been looking at how we can all celebrate together our 25th anniversary of being a United Reformed / Methodist Local Ecumenical partnership, which takes place next year. 
 
On the church website and in Trinity Times, you will find a list of suggested events.  Please can you have a look at these and vote for the five that you would most like to see happen.  Also please comment if you can help to organise one of these. 
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Methodist Church Website:

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.
 
We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.
 
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Monday 1 June


To help me with ideas for this blog, I have been looking up each day on Google to see if anything significant is happening.  I found that today is World Milk Day.  This was established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations twenty years ago in order to recognise the importance of milk as a global food, and to celebrate the dairy sector. Every year on this day, the benefits of milk and dairy products have been actively promoted around the world, including how dairy production supports the livelihoods of one billion people. 

I think today is a good day to give thanks for all the farmers who have worked so hard over the last few months to ensure that milk and other produce has made it to the supermarket shelves.  I have tended to take for granted the fact that milk, fruit and vegetables will be there on the supermarket shelves and this crisis has made me realise the amount of work needed to get them there.
 
world-milk-day

And I finish with a prayer for farmers from the Arthur Rank Centre website:

Loving God, we pray for all farmers, especially those struggling with limited opportunities to export livestock and other produce.
Be with them as they struggle with the financial impact of the current situation; may they and their families get the help and support they need.
Help us in the wider community to understand and support farmers better, valuing what they do to provide us with food.
Help us to see your light in the darkness and hold out that light to others.
In Jesus name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Sunday 31 May


Today is Pentecost and I would like to share a short reflection from the Methodist Church website. 

On Pentecost Sunday we have two pictures of how the Holy Spirit of God comes upon his people.  In Jerusalem, people of many different nations and languages gathered together for a huge party.  A mighty wind and flames of fire came upon them, they were full of excitement and energy, and they found themselves caught up in a new manifestation of God’s power.  The Church, of which we are a part, was born on this day.  Of course, we cannot at the moment meet together in a church building and large gatherings are certainly not allowed, but we need to take time to celebrate we are part of something big that God hasn’t finished with yet.  What do you celebrate about your local church today?

The other picture is not about a large gathering, but is an upper room full of frightened and upset disciples after Jesus had died.  Jesus appeared to them in their darkness, breathed on them, and said “receive the Holy Spirit.”  It was a pastoral gift to those who needed it in the state they found themselves in, reviving, restoring and putting them right.  In these uncertain times, take time not just to remember the loud and vibrant coming of the Spirit to a vast crowd, but a quiet and gentle coming to us where we happen to find ourselves.  On this day, we often use a slogan “the Church has left the building.” In so many ways, the Church has done just that over the past few weeks, through looking after the vulnerable, supporting aid projects, keeping in touch with everyone and providing forms of worship like this one you share in with others today.  What part of life do you need Jesus to breathe the Spirit into today?  Take time to ask him to do just that.

God promises every day to put his Spirit in us so we can live.  Today in exuberance and in quietness we celebrate in confidence that the Lord is here, his Spirit is with us.
 
Pentecost-event
 
And I end with a prayer adapted from A Pentecost Great Thanksgiving from the Methodist website which refers to the Pentecost story told in Acts 2: 1-21.

Creator God,
like a bird you hovered over the chaos of the world’s first day,
drawing life from crashing waves
and making a world of possibility.
You hovered still over parting waters,
liberating an enslaved people,
guiding them forward with cloud and fire,
nurturing your followers and sharing your love.
 
Like a still, small voice
you made your presence felt to
prophets and healers,
to a people in exile,
and young mothers-to-be.
In the life of Jesus
your healing touch was felt
and all were made welcome.
 
Like flickering embers dancing into flame,
you revived those who looked for you,
inspiring their speech and startling onlookers.
Undeterred by death, you delivered
creative power,
transforming determination
and your eternal, supporting presence.
 
And your Spirit nurtures us still,
a gathered people at Pentecost,
moved to celebrate, free to be ourselves,
glad to meet God and open ourselves to the world around us.
 
Spirit of the living God
move among us,
as you transform us into the people you invite us to be,
as you transform the world into the place you dream it to be.
Make us one in love,
humble, caring,
selfless, sharing.
 
Blow among us, Spirit of God,
fill us with your courage and care.
Hurricane and Breath,
take us on a journey of love!
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 30 May


I recently shared an updated Winnie the Pooh story called Sad which was written by Kathryn Wallace who writes the ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page.  Today, I want to share another of her stories:
 
It was a blistering hot day in the Hundred Acre Wood, and sparks of sunlight spun and scattered through the branches of the trees as Pooh and Piglet set out from their respective houses.
 
Purposefully, they walked through the forest, heading to a small clearing they knew very well, where they would - at a two metre distance apart, and of course strictly adhering to the permitted guidelines - meet, for the first time in over two months, face to face.
 
When Pooh walked into the clearing, at first the sunshine was so bright that he couldn't make out a thing, and had to raise his arm to shade his eyes. Then:
 
"Oh!" said Pooh, as all of a sudden he saw the small, familiar, and oh so reassuring figure of his best friend, standing there, waiting for him.
 
And: "Oh!" said Piglet, who equally couldn't think of anything to say at all as he watched Pooh come into view, and his little heart felt like it might fly clean out of his body with happiness.
 
For a time, there was silence, as the two friends stood there, beaming at one another.
 
"It's you," said Piglet, grinning from ear to ear.
 
"It is," said Pooh, who found that all of a sudden his voice wasn't quite as reliable as it might usually have been. "It's me, Piglet. It's me."
 
"I have missed you SO much," they both said together.
 
"I wish," said Pooh, "that it didn't have to be like this. You know" - and he gestured to the space between them. "This. All I want to do right now, Piglet, is to give you the biggest hug in the world. And I can't. Because: this." And he pointed to the space dividing them, once again.
 
"You know, Pooh," said Piglet, in a casual kind of way. "There's something I've discovered, in the last two months. And that's that a hug isn't quite what I thought it was."
 
"What do you mean?" asked Pooh, scratching his head.
 
"Well," continued Piglet. "Of course, a hug can be exactly what you're describing, which is physically wrapping your arms around another person. Or pig. Or bear. And I am so, so looking forward to the moment when we can do just that.
 
"But, during these strange few weeks, I've also realised that a hug can be lots of other things.
 
"It can be a phone call from the people you love.
 
"It can be kind words and gentle reassurances.
 
"It can be a card through the letterbox, or a message left when you're least expecting it.
 
"And, on a day like today, one of the best kind of hugs of all can be a walk through the forest, with the sun shining down and your best friend by your side.
 
"So?" he asked Pooh. "What do you reckon? Shall we go and have that hug?"
 
"Oh yes please," said Pooh fervently.
 
And with that, off they went, the two of them through the woods, striding side by side. Always two metres apart, with the sun on their backs, talking as though they would never stop, and Pooh couldn't remember the last time he had felt this happy.
 
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And I end with a prayer by the Very Revd Catherine Ogle from Wakefield Cathedral:
 
God of healing and hope, may this time of danger
by your Holy Spirit, bring out the best and not the worst in us.
Show us the ways in which we can share faith and love,
while standing at a distance,
and honour our connection with one another,
and with you,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate

Friday 29 May


For the last few weeks, like many others, I have been watching the daily briefing from Downing Street.  After a lot of conflicting evidence, it has been decided that it is best to wear a face mask or face covering when we are unable to be 2 metres away from others.  It has been shown that people can have no symptoms with the virus but can still transmit it to others so it really is something that we should be thinking of doing along with the other regulations that have been set out. 

(Just an aside: If anybody needs help obtaining masks please ring Knebworth Covid Response Team on 07892936841 and they will be able to help.)

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Here is a blessing for those who create, fund, share and wear facemasks written by Rev. Donna Vuilleumier and it is based on the beatitudes, which I have shared previously:
 
Blessed are those who give the gift of their time and their talent
            to create face masks for others,
            for their community, for strangers,
            for they shall help to save the lives of many people.
 
Blessed are those who make masks for others to wear
            so that together we may protect others,
            especially the most vulnerable
            who at another time had protected us
            when they worked as first responders,
            served in the military,
            or taught us the school lessons of our childhood,
            for they shall truly know the value of each human life.
 
Blessed are those who work tirelessly to fill bins in the market
            or the clothesline across the front door of the church
            with masks of all sizes and types,
            for they shall know that this is grace, compassion,
            and love of neighbour.
 
Blessed are the mask makers
            who send face masks to those who may be forgotten,
            to the agencies that support the homeless,
            nursing home staff and residents,
            the mentally ill,
            the prisoner,
            the tenderest among us,
            for they shall have respected and remembered the least of these.
 
Blessed are those who give out of their own money
            for supplies and postage for face masks and ear savers
            because others’ lives and comfort are more important
            than their personal bank account,
            for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 
Blessed are those who wear face masks
            to show their care for others,
            who know that they can be passing on the virus
            that moves as a stealth,
            infecting others days before their own symptoms emerge
            for they shall be for they shall be called children of God.
 
             Bless the mask makers, those who create –
            from cloth, flannel, elastic, wire, yarn and buttons –
            the barriers that allow us to be out among others
            yet keep them safe from what we might be silently harbouring.
 
            Bless the mask wearers
            that we may see them as a sign of care and concern for others;
            that we may see your face beneath each mask.
 
            Bless us all
            that we may see that by covering our noses and mouths
            we have opened our eyes and our hearts to one another.
           Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 
 

Thursday 28 May


So this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.  It comes at a time when many more people are experiencing mental health difficulties due to lockdown.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Methodist Church are sharing self-care tips on their Facebook page using the hashtag love yourself.

The self-care tip below talks about mindfulness and this is a technique that I have found very helpful in dealing with my mental health issues, as it helps me to focus on the present moment and not be distracted by my worries.

Mindfulness can be practised at any time.  For example: I have been powerwashing my patio, just a couple of slabs a day and I find that focusing on the water washing away the dirt helps me pay more attention to the present moment and helps me to feel more positive.  I am not suggesting you all go out and do that but perhaps there is a task that you could do mindfully.
  
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At the moment I think many of us are struggling to be mindful and are at times rather irritable.  I would like to finish by sharing this prayer by Jude Livermore called ‘Tetchy’ which was on the Methodist Facebook page.
 
Lord I’m tetchy
I can’t be the one of your children at the moment who prays every morning in the shower: “Lord make me nicer”
I love my family and friends
I’m grateful for them
But being locked in together isn’t easy
I look at the politicians on TV and sometime I feel I could do a better job
And the children playing next door are noisy and I’m trying to read
I’m tetchy
Restless
I remember that saying that hearts are restless until they find their rest in you
Could you help me find my rest I you today?
As I find rest in you I recognise that I need to change that prayer from ‘make me nicer’
To ‘make me more like you Lord’
Make me more like you
Let me really be a channel of your peace
Give me, and my soul, rest
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 
 
 

Wednesday 27 May

 

This time in lockdown has given me plenty of time, maybe too much, to mull over various mistakes that I have made in the past.  However, although I know that I need to forgive myself and move on, I can also learn from the mistakes that I have made and try to ensure that I don’t make the same mistake again.

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And I end with a slightly different version of the Serenity prayer that I shared last week:
 
Dear God
Please give me the strength to I need to let go.
The courage I need to move on.
And the wisdom to learn from my mistakes.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
 
Kate
 

Tuesday 26 May


Having suffered depression in the past, I have experienced the feeling of being totally unmotivated and uninterested and just wanting to stay in bed.  I have had days of feeling like this recently but it doesn’t feel like depression because actually apart from Covid-19, life is pretty good at the moment. 

Talking to people, I realise that I am not alone and that many people are having days like this.  There are lots of articles being written on the topic and some writers believe that we are coping with a trauma which is why it can feel like our bodies and minds are struggling.

The best way we can look after ourselves, and I have probably mentioned this before, is self-care.  Doing whatever we can, however small, to look after our bodies and our minds.  I came across this graphic which I found particularly helpful and it may be of some use to you.
 
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And I end with a prayer from Wakefield Cathedral:
 
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 25 May


So today is another bank holiday but as with the last one a couple of weeks ago, there is no difference between today and any other day lately.

I am sure I have said this before in the last couple of months but I now realise how much I took ‘normal’ life for granted.   Obviously I miss church and seeing people but the biggest thing I miss is my independence.  Over the years, I have had to find ways to become more independent and a key to that has been my power chair.  Although I still have my chair, like me it is now stuck in the house.  I miss just being able to go the post box or to the shop to buy a naughty bar of chocolate!  Instead I have to ask people to do things for me and that does feel a bit like a step back, even though there is nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening.

I will be so glad to get out of the house and hope that I never take for granted again my ability to be able to do that and the independence I have.

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As well as realising how special ‘normal’ things were, I have found myself more connected with creation, especially with the nice weather we are having, and end today with a prayer of praise taken from the Faith and Worship website:

The warmth of the sun's embrace,
the gentle breeze swept in by incoming tide,
the rhythm of seasons,
of new birth,
death and recreation.
All these speak so clearly of your love,
your power
and your beauty.
All are expressions of your creativity,
and more importantly of yourself.
As an artist might share his personality
within each brushstroke,
so within the myriad colours of a butterfly's wing
you share the exuberance of your love,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 
 

Sunday 24 May


I really connect with this quote as for many years, when I was desperately trying to find somewhere to fit in; I would try and be who I thought people wanted me to be.  I was worried what people would think if I was the real me.  In fact after years of trying to be someone different, I totally lost the real me and had to spend time working out exactly who I was.   I have learnt that God made me exactly the way I am for a reason, with all my quirks, and now try to embrace that and don’t worry what people think.

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And I end with a prayer by Melissa Ohden based on Jeremiah chapter 1 verse 5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”.
 
Lord, I pray that you help me to always remember that You are the creator and author of life.  You knew me long before I was born or even conceived.  You wrote the story of my life before I was living in it and you set out a purpose and a plan for me long ago.
 
Help me to accept the person that you made me to be, blessings, difficulties, and all. Help me to recognise the plans and purpose for my life and to know there is no purpose too big or too small in this world, as you are the one who gave it to me.
 
Help me to walk a path of obedience on this journey of a purpose-filled life.  Open my eyes, my ears and my heart to what you are calling me to do in this world.  Encourage and guide me, strengthen my commitment and resolve to go forth each day and live the life you created and set out for me.  In doing so, I know that not only will I find myself abundantly blessed, but I will be glorifying you.
 
Thank you for knowing me, loving me, and having a plan for me before you formed me in the womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  May my works and faith glorify you and encourage others to live their lives in beautiful acceptance of who they were created to be and what they were created to do.
 
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Saturday 23 May


Today, I should have been reading the following passage at the wedding of two of my very good friends, Allison and Chris.  Although the wedding is unable to go ahead I thought I would share this passage and it’s meaning with you.
 
John 15, verses 1 – 17:
 
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
 
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.   You are my friends if you do what I command.   I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.
 
Allison and I went together to Cliff College Summer School in 2017 and there Allison met Chris.  One evening we took part in Lectio Divinia where this passage was read three times and we had to write down what we felt God was saying to us through the passage and share it with each other.   I was in a group with Allison and Chris.
 
I felt that God was saying to me – “without me you are nothing, with me you are something.”  It is a very simple phrase but one that meant a lot, as I often thought of myself as nothing.  If I stayed close to God then he would enable me to become more than nothing, something that I could be proud of it.  That phrase has stayed with me since and I often recite it to myself when I am struggling.   
 
The passage meant a lot to Chris and Allison as well and that is why it was chosen to be read at the wedding.  I felt very honoured to be asked to read it and this kept me going through my difficult hospital admission in January and gave me something positive to focus on.  Whenever the wedding may be I look forward to reading it as it brings back some very special memories of Cliff and the reading has had a long lasting effect on the three of us.   
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 22 May


Last week I shared a quote from Winnie the Pooh that had been adapted for the current time.  I thought I would share another quote today; this one has not been adapted but is still very appropriate for now. 

I first came across this quote when I was given it on a card at a memorial service at my sister’s hospice.  It applies to those no longer with us but I think it can also apply to today when we are missing seeing our friends and family.  Even though we are apart, they are still never far from our minds.  Also although we may not always feel it, we do have the bravery and strength to get through these difficult times.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Ann Harbridge:
 
 O God, you come to us in unexpected places
In isolation, behind closed doors       
On dusty roads, as we go from place to place
In video chats with friends and telephone conversations with loved ones.
You come bringing us peace, where there is no peace
You come bringing us hope when everything seems hopeless
You come bringing us courage when we are afraid.
Come and be among us now, in every place where we are.
Open our eyes to see you, open our hearts to know you.
In the name of the Risen Christ we pray.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
 
Kate
 
 

 
 

Thursday 21 May


Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven.
 
Today also marks the start of Thy Kingdom Come which is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.
 
During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:
  • Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
  • Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness
There are a range of resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/
 
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I end with a prayer for Ascension Day from Rev Bryce Calder:
 
Almighty God,
We come today reminded of your greatness and glory,
your sovereign power and eternal purpose
all expressed so wonderfully in Jesus Christ, our Lord:
 
 Risen and Ascended.
 We thank you for the wonder of Ascension,
 that marvellous yet mysterious moment
 in the life of the Apostles
 which left them gazing heavenwards in confusion
 yet departing in joy.
 
We thank you for the way that it brought the earthly ministry of Jesus

 to a fitting conclusion;
 signifying his oneness with you,
 and demonstrating your final seal of approval
 on all that he had done.
 We thank you that through his Ascension
 Jesus is now set free to be Lord of all:
 no longer bound to a particular place or time,
 but with us always - able to reach even to the ends of the earth.
 We thank you that through his departing
 Jesus prepared for his coming again:
 through his Spirit,
 his Church,
 and his coming again in glory.
 
Gracious God,
 Forgive us for so often failing
 to grasp the wonder of Ascension,
 for living each day as though it had never been.
 Forgive the smallness of our vision,
 the narrowness of our outlook,
 the weakness of our love,
 the nervousness of our witness,
 our repeated failure to recognize
 the fullness of your revelation in Christ.
 Give us a deeper sense of wonder,
 a stronger faith,
 and a greater understanding of all you have done.
 
Father God,
Like the Apostles,
 we too will never fully understand
 all Ascension means.
 We accept, but we do not fully understand.
 We believe, yet we have many questions.
 Help us, despite our uncertainty,
 to hold firm to the great truth
 that the wonder of Christ Jesus goes far beyond
 anything we can ever imagine,
 and in that faith may we live each day
 to his glory and honour: Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Wednesday 20 May


I would like to share this reflection by Gary Hopkins which featured on the UK Methodists Facebook page called ‘Lockdown: lament and tell your story’
 
Just take a moment to pause.  These past two months have been tough.  But you are here, present in this moment, among friends and loved dearly by God.  But even with our faith in God it's not an easy time.  Some people have said, 'We're all in the same boat,' but we're not really.  We're each in our own boat, but we are in the same storm.  The way lockdown has affected me, or you, your partner, your children, your neighbours, your friends is different.  Each of us has our own story to tell about lockdown.
 
Some have lost loved ones and struggled mourning alone, or had to attend funerals with only a few gathered.  Others have been ill or watched loved ones suffer with illness.  Some have seen their incomes disappear, or their job security crumble away.  Others have suffered with anxiety or depression, fearing the future or worrying about whether we'll tackle the virus.  We each have our own story to tell about lockdown.
 
We cannot ignore the pain and suffering.  We cannot ignore our journeys through lockdown.  We cannot ignore the reality of the present situation no more than ancient Israel could forget their time in the wilderness or their time in exile: the time when they felt God had turned from them.  Had God turned from them?  They thought it and they were not afraid to say it.  They lamented.  They called upon God.  In the Psalm, the author calls out to God in distress.  In Jesus' distress on the cross he echoed the Psalm when he said, 'Into your hands I commit my spirit.'  In their distress, they still believed God's hands were a place of safety, a place of refuge.  They believed that God would save them from the hands of suffering and pain, holding them in God's own hands.
 
Our hands, washed more frequently as a place germs can dwell, become the hands which reach out to help others: the hands which dial the telephone to make a call to see how someone is; the hands which use computers and phones to text, email, Zoom; the hands which drop shopping to others; the hands which wave to a stranger in the street.  Our hands become Jesus' hands as we reach out in love.  
 
Belonging to the community of Christ's people does not mean we are relieved from the suffering of the world.  We are in the world and just as Jesus suffered, we feel the pain of what happens.  We feel pain and loss just like those around us.  We don't have to pretend we're okay just because we're Christian.  It's our right, our duty, to lament and honestly call out to God about the difficulties we and the world are faced with.
 
We're each in our own boat, journeying through lockdown.  There may be similarities in our journeys, but we each have our own story to tell about lockdown.  Some of us may have weathered the storm better than others.  Some of us may have suffered much pain.  Others may have been lightly touched by the suffering.  Some of us may be optimistic about the future.  Others may find more anguish in what we are experiencing.  That's okay.  Your journey is your journey.  Your story is yours to be told.
 
And as each of us has our own journey, each person across the world has their own journey. And our hands can reach out to those near and far.  Christian Aid can help us to reach to those in desperate need at this time: those people who already live in awful circumstances who will find themselves flung even further into suffering through coronavirus.  It is up to each of us to decide how we can use our hands to help others, whether near and far, and Christian Aid is one way we can.
Jesus' early disciples were a pretty rough bunch of folk.  They rarely got it right.  Yet they were chosen to be lights in the world.  Jesus knew the challenges they would face.  But they knew the hope he could offer: they'd seen the signs in all the work he'd done through miracles and healings.  As his last hours lingered, he told them, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.'  Jesus left those early disciples with a promise for all his followers throughout the ages: we are not left alone, we have a helper, an advocate, a presence within - the Holy Spirit, ensuring we are held in God's hands.  Through this advocate, using our own hands, we reach out in love to each other bringing the gospel of Christ to life.
 
That's the tension we hold in our lives.  We are God's children, each of us loved dearly, cared for and supported by God; but we also face the struggles of the world, the difficulties, the suffering that lurks all around us.  They are all part of our story: the ups and the downs; the difficult times and the times of immense happiness.  We take it all to God in prayer, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  We are called to be honest: honest to God and honest to each other.  As we journey in our boats through lockdown, let us tell our stories to each other - in their rawness, their reality.  But let's also remember, just as the Psalmist did, that while we might be in distress, we are also held in God's hands.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Tuesday 19 May


I have a lot of magnets on my fridge – most of them are sayings with pictures of cats on but a few are spiritual quotes.  One of these is the quote: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
 
I decided to research this quote for the blog and found that it was written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932.  The prayer spread quickly and was used by  Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programmes but that Niebuhr was very rarely given the credit for writing it.  Early versions had no title, but by 1955, it was being called the Serenity Prayer in publications of Alcoholics Anonymous.
 
One version, believed to have been written by Niebuhr, has two extra verses and I thought I would share that here:
 
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And I end with a prayer by Rev David Loleng called ‘God who holds us in our anxiety’

God of grace and mercy,
be present with us as we face an unknown future
and as we walk paths untrodden.
In the ever-changing and uncertain world where we find ourselves,
help us to know and be assured that you are sovereign,
that you are all-knowing,
all-powerful and ever-present.
We know you are a good God
who holds us in our anxiety and distress
and who has a plan for our future.
Calm our hearts and minds and give us hope in you,
our only certain hope.
We pray in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 
 

Monday 18 May

So it is the start of a new week and also the 2 month anniversary of this blog.  I must admit that when I first started writing it, I did not expect it to be so well received.  Also, probably rather optimistically, I had hoped that normal service would have now been resumed.  Although things are slowly getting back to normal for some, I think it is unlikely that I will be allowed out until August.  I would really like to continue this daily blog until then but my ideas are drying up so if you have any pictures, quotes or stories please send them to me at katedickinson72@gmail.com

I think this quote is very appropriate for the start of a new week.  It can be easy to carry the baggage of the previous week into a new week but this can then make the week even harder.  We need to try and learn from what we can from that baggage, leave the rest and move into a new week lighter and happier than we finished the previous week.
 
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 And I close today with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:

Bless the week ahead.
May its challenges not overwhelm us,
Circumstances not discourage us,
and in all things may we remember,
you are with us in our journeying,
your love our fuel,
your word our guide,
today and always,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love

Kate
 

Sunday 17 May


For the past few Sundays, I have written a reflection and shared prayers based on the lectionary reading.   For whatever reason, maybe my lack of preaching lately, I could not come up with anything based on this week’s reading which is John chapter 14 verses 15 to 21.  Instead I have decided to share this quote from Joshua 19 which I have always found very helpful to me especially in times of high anxiety.

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I end with prayers of intercession taken from the Church of England website:

Let us pray to the Lord,
who is our refuge and stronghold.
 
For the health and well-being of our nation,
that all who are fearful and anxious
may be at peace and free from worry:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
For the isolated and housebound,
that we may be alert to their needs,
and care for them in their vulnerability:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
For our homes and families,
our schools and young people,
and all in any kind of need or distress:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
For a blessing on our local community,
that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship,
where all are known and cared for:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.
Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Saturday 16 May 2020


In Lockdown, people are finding new ways of doing things and one of these is singing together.  A group of people will film themselves singing a certain piece and then these will all be edited together to give the impression of a choir singing together.
 
Last Sunday, the Methodist Church held the Big Sing in aid of All We Can.  I t featured a number of songs including Blessed Assurance and To God be the Glory.  The final song was 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman.  This was led by the National Methodist Choir of Great Britain and the National Methodist Youth Brass Band playing in their own homes along with Methodists all over the country who had filmed themselves singing.  It was amazing to see everyone singing together praising God even though they were miles apart.  The whole event can be seen here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YYpetz4UK0&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR10W8bQKxK9TbxdC-uI09qKc4TsRliEw3-VryeuyUzKPGUSSltdegycpxI

I really like the words to 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman so thought I would share the words here:
 
Refrain:
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

 
The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

 
Refrain
 
You're rich in love
And You're slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find

 
Refrain
 
And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore

 
Refrain
 
Yes I'll worship Your Holy name
I'll worship Your Holy name

Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Jesus I will worship Your Holy name
Worship Your Holy name

 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Friday 15 May 2020


Life has changed for many of us in so many ways but today I want to focus on a couple of positive ways my life has changed. 

It is no secret that I love cake and even in lockdown I have continued to enjoy the cakes that I have had delivered by friends.  However as I was having trouble getting a supermarket slot, I decided to try a fruit and veg box delivery.   I will admit I did have to ask someone to identify some of the vegetables for me and I did have to rehome the bananas, (due to my rather strange phobia of them), but otherwise it has been a success.  I am now eating more fruit and vegetables than ever before and actually enjoying them.  Those of you that know me will know that this is a massive change!

Now to my second change: I have always said that the best thing that could happen to my large garden was for it to be concreted over as it has never been a place where I would want to spend time.  I think not being able to leave the house at all now has actually forced me to spend time in the garden and I am actually enjoying the time spent out there.  I have done a few little jobs and also sat and enjoyed afternoon tea on V E Day.  I am now grateful for it rather than thinking of it as a burden.

Those are two ways I have embraced change – what are the ways that you have embraced change or could embrace change?

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And I end today with a prayer based on Deuteronomy chapter 31 verses 8:
 
Oh Lord, I am unsure of where life is taking me right now, but I embrace the changes!
I embrace the change because I know that You will lead me and be with me.
I bless Your Name knowing that You will not fail me or abandon me, so I will not lose courage or be afraid.
I will not worry because I know that You are in control, You see what changes I am going through because You are with me.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Thursday 14 May 2020

I am going to share a modern parable that I like to use so you may have heard it before.  It is really meant for Easter Sunday but seeing as we are still in Easter, according to the lectionary, I think that it will count!
 
Three trees on a wooded hill were discussing their hopes and dreams.  The first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest.  People could fill me with gold, silver and precious gems.  They could decorate me with intricate carvings and everyone would see its beauty.”
 
The second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship.  I will take kings and queens across the seas and sail to unknown places.  Everyone will feel safe because of the strength of my hull.”
 
Finally, the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest.  People will see me on top of a hill, look up to my branches and think of the heavens and God.  They will remember me as the greatest tree of all time.”
 
After years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.  One came to the first tree and said, “This looks like a strong tree. I can sell the wood to a carpenter.”  After being cut down, the tree was happy because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
 
At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree. I can sell it to the shipyard.”  The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
 
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down, his dreams would not come true.  A woodsman said, “I don't need anything special from this tree so I'll just take it back with me.”
 
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, they made it into a feed box for animals.  It was then placed in a barn and filled with hay.  They cut the second tree and made a small fishing boat.  They cut the third tree into large pieces and left it alone in the dark.
 
The years went by, and the trees forgot their dreams.  Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn.  She gave birth and they placed the baby in the feed box made from the first tree.  The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
 
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree.  One man went to sleep.  A great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe.  The men woke the sleeping man.  He stood and said “Be calm” and the storm stopped.  At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
 
Finally, someone came and got the third tree.  It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it.  Later, they nailed the man to the tree and raised him up to die at the top of a hill.  On the third day, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible.  Jesus had been crucified on it.
 
3trees
 
 
God has a plan each of us – we may not understand what that is at the present moment, in the current circumstances, but if we put our trust in God, He will always give us what is best for us.
 
 And I end with a blessing taken from ‘Jeff’s blog’:
 
May you trust in God’s promises to his people:
peace
security
blessing
even when they are difficult to believe.
 
May you know that God’s news is good news,
nourishing
true
even when people tell you it is not.
 
And when you encounter doubt,
may you strengthen your belief
guiding you in his perfect wisdom and counsel.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

 

Wednesday 13 May 2020


I try, not always successfully, to spend some time a day reading my bible with the aid of bible notes.  Last year, I found that I quite liked readings by the Irish Jesuits and so brought a book of readings to follow this year.  However, I have struggled to connect with them like I had hoped and to be honest have not gained much from them, especially since lockdown began.  A week or so ago I heard someone say that they found the Psalms particularly helpful in times like these, so I have started reading Praying with the Psalms by Eugene Paterson and find that I connect with these and they are relevant for these times.
 
The reading for 5th May focused on the first verse of Psalm 64: Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from the dread enemy.
 
The brief reflection said ‘we do not have to dress up inwardly or outwardly when we come to God in prayer.  We do not have to hide our anger, suppress our distress, or mask our irritability.  It is alright to complain to God.’
 
I have done a fair bit of complaining to God in these past few weeks as well as asking why?  It is comforting to know that He hears all my prayers and knows how I am feeling but accepts me and loves me just the same.
 
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And I end with the prayer that concluded the reflection:
 
I am so used to hiding the feelings and thoughts that others may find unacceptable, O God, that I even try to do it with you.  Keep me honest in my prayers.  You know how to deal with such as me.  I do not fear your rejection, and I hope in your salvation.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Tuesday 12 May 2020


So this blog has now been going for about 7 weeks with a regular online readership of around 30 people.  I like to check the viewing history every now and again to make sure that people are still finding the blog worth looking at and if some posts are more popular than others.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this blog had over 1300 views last Wednesday.  After checking it a few times, I contacted our web guru who thought it was a glitch but contacted our web hosting company to check.  Apparently it was not a glitch and could have been because the page may have been picked up by a search engine or an attempt by hackers to break the system.  Numbers have gone back to normal now but it makes you wonder just who else has read this page and where they are from.

Just in case this blog is viewed wider than Knebworth, I thought I would share this reflection on social distancing across the world from Brother Richard Hendrick called Lockdown: A Reflection

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
 
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
 
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
 
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
 
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading flyers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
 
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
 
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
 
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
 
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
 
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
 
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
 
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
 
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
 
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 11 May 2020


Sometimes it is okay not to be okay and I would like to share this from Facebook:
 
Pooh woke up that morning, and, for reasons that he didn't entirely understand, couldn't stop the tears from coming.  He sat there in bed, his little body shaking, and he cried, and cried, and cried.
 
Amidst his sobs, the phone rang.
 
It was Piglet.
 
"Oh Piglet," said Pooh, between sobs, in response to his friend's gentle enquiry as to how he was doing.  "I just feel so Sad.  So, so, Sad, almost like I might not ever be happy again.  And I know that I shouldn't be feeling like this.  I know there are so many people who have it worse off than me, and so I really have no right to be crying, with my lovely house, and my lovely garden, and the lovely woods all around me.  But oh, Piglet: I am just SO Sad."
 
Piglet was silent for a while, as Pooh's ragged sobbing filled the space between them.  Then, as the sobs turned to gasps, he said, kindly:  "You know, it isn't a competition."
 
"What isn't a competition?" asked a confused sounding Pooh.
 
"Sadness.  Fear.  Grief," said Piglet.  "It's a mistake we often make, all of us.  To think that, because there are people who are worse off than us, that that somehow invalidates how we are feeling.  But that simply isn't true.  You have as much right to feel unhappy as the next person; and, Pooh - and this is the really important bit - you also have just as much right to get the help that you need."
 
"Help?  What help?" asked Pooh.  "I don't need help, Piglet.  Do I?"
 
Pooh and Piglet talked for a long time, and Piglet suggested to Pooh some people that he might be able to call to talk to, because when you are feeling Sad, one of the most important things is not to let all of the Sad become trapped inside you, but instead to make sure that you have someone who can help you, who can talk through with you how the Sad is making you feeling, and some of the things that might be able to be done to support you with that.
 
What's more, Piglet reminded Pooh that this support is there for absolutely everyone, that there isn't a minimum level of Sad that you have to be feeling before you qualify to speak to someone.
 
Finally, Piglet asked Pooh to open his window and look up at the sky, and Pooh did so.
 
"You see that sky?" Piglet asked his friend.  "Do you see the blues and the golds and that big fluffy cloud that looks like a sheep eating a carrot?"
 
Pooh looked, and he could indeed see the blues and the golds and the big fluffy cloud that looked like a sheep eating a carrot.
 
"You and I," continued Piglet, "we are both under that same sky. And so, whenever the Sad comes, I want you to look up at that sky, and know that, however far apart we might be physically...we are also, at the same time, together.  Perhaps, more together than we have ever been before."
 
"Do you think this will ever end?" asked Pooh in a small voice.
"This too shall pass," confirmed Piglet. "And I promise you, one day, you and I shall once again sit together, close enough to touch, sharing a little smackerel of something...under that blue gold sky.
 
If like Pooh you are struggling, then please reach out to someone.
 
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And I end with a prayer from the Church of England:
 
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.
 
Keep safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Sunday 10 May 2020


The lectionary reading for today is John chapter 14 verses 1 to 14: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+14&version=NRSV
 
This poem called The Way, the Truth, and the Life by Linda Kruschke is based on the reading:
 
Your way to the cross
Made the Way for us
To return to You
Being forgiven
Redeemed and restored
 
Your truth on the cross
Showed the Truth of Your love
For all us sinners
Even the thief
Who was promised Paradise
 
Your life given on the cross
Gave eternal Life to all
When You took it up again
At the resurrection
If only we believe
 
We come to the Father
Only through You
You are the Way
Your Way is the Truth
Your Truth gives us Life
The Father welcomes all
 
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And I end with a blessing:
 
Don’t let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God, and in God’s son, Jesus Christ,
who is the way, the truth and the life,
and through whom we come to know the Father.
 
And may the blessing of God,
the grace of Jesus Christ,
and the presence of the Holy Spirit
go with you as you leave this place.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Saturday 9 May 2020

Some of you may know that this week I have undergone a physical transformation.  My hair was getting long and uncomfortable and because I know that I won’t be able to go to a hairdresser until at least the end of July, I made the decision to shave my hair.  Not only is it much more comfortable but thanks to people’s generosity I raised over £500 for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. 

I may have undergone a physical transformation this week but this is nothing compared to the internal transformation that I have been going through over the past few years.  You have probably heard me speak about this before but I have gone from someone who was in a very dark place and really didn’t like herself to someone who has learnt to love herself, reach out to others and enjoy life.  As the quote below says it took patience and was hard work but thanks to the grace and love of God, I have been transformed and am still being transformed day by day.  

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And I end with a prayer based on Romans chapter 12 verse 2:
 
Dear Lord,
I pray that I do not become like the world.
I pray that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind that I may learn to understand Your will for my life, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I thank You for my spiritual growth and transformation, help me focus on the godly values and ethical attitudes that will help me flourish spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Friday 8 May 2020


As I have said before I am struggling to remember what day it is and this has been compounded as May Day Bank holiday has moved from Monday to today – however even though it is a Bank Holiday, I don’t think today will be much different from previous days!
 
The reason the Bank Holiday was moved was to ensure that the long weekend would coincide with the extended 75th anniversary celebrations of the surrender of Nazi Germany, which ended the Second World War in Europe.
 
As part of the VE Day commemorations, more than 20,000 pubs were going to encourage drinkers to toast the heroes of the war, while churches were set to take part in a Ringing Out For Peace.
 
However, like all other mass gatherings and general activities involving leaving our homes, all public VE Day events have now been cancelled.  However, here are a couple of suggestions as to what we can do to take part from our homes:
 
  • The Royal British Legion is calling on people across the UK to join in a moment of reflection and Remembrance at 11am on Friday 8th May, the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, and pause for a Two Minute Silence.
 
  • People are also encouraged all to take part in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm today, by standing up and raising a glass of their refreshment of choice and undertaking the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you,” using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.
 
Today may be very different than planned but whatever our plans are may we take time to remember those who gave so much.
 
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I end today with a prayer for VE Day from the Act of Commitment for Peace:
 
Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind,
in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Thursday 7 May 2020


I came across this quote on Facebook:

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Anne and her family had moved to the Netherlands in the years leading up to World War II to escape persecution in Germany.  After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Franks were forced into hiding along with another family called the van Daans, and a friend named Mr. Dussel. They moved into a small secret annex above Otto Frank’s office where they had stockpiled food and supplies.  The employees from Otto’s firm kept them supplied with food, medicine, and information about the outside world.

Anne’s diary begins on her thirteenth birthday, June 12, 1942, and ends on August 1 1944.  Throughout this time her diary entries move from detailed accounts of basic activities to deeper, more profound thoughts about humanity and her own personal nature.
 
The Frank family were arrested on August 4, 1944 and were sent to concentration camps.  Anne’s father Otto was the family’s sole survivor, and he recovered Anne’s diary from Miep and fulfilled her wishes by publishing the diary.

On March 7, 1944, after almost two years in hiding, Anne wrote:
“And in the evening, when I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, ‘I thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful,’ I am filled with joy.”
Despite all that she was going through, this shows how thankful Anne was and as the quote above says, it puts into perspective what we are going through at the moment.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 

Wednesday 6 May 2020


Yesterday I talked about how the Methodist Church have been using the hashtag #loveyourself on their Facebook page.  Alternating with this, they are using the hashtag #loveyourneighbour giving tips on alternate days on how you can love your neighbour.  I know it is something that I have mentioned in previous blogs but I thought I would mention it again, as it is so important especially at the moment, and share some of the tips with you:
 
  • If you’re ordering a takeaway to be delivered to you, why not use the opportunity to remember those who are struggling for money and food at the moment.  There are many amazing charities working to help those people, so consider donating as you enjoy your meal!
  • Making different meals and using things up from the cupboard or freezer has become common in the last few weeks.  If you have been creative, do share the recipe as an act of virtual hospitality to your social media friends.
  • Before you go shopping next, see if your neighbour needs anything.  Post a note through, and ask if there’s anything you can get for them.
  • When walking, pick up a stone, pebble, or something else to remind you of a place you pass through.  Take it home and leave it somewhere you can see it.  When you do, pray for the area you found it and ask God to bring peace to that space. 
  • In the TV show, the Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollywood shakes a contestant’s hand when they have done an exceptional job.  Whose hand would you like to virtually shake for being an excellent neighbour, friend, colleague, or community member?  Message them to tell them why.
  • Methodist Homes and other amazing organisations are still providing essential care services.  Write a letter to your nearest home, thanking the staff there for their incredible work.
love-your-neighbor-768x593 

And I will finish with a prayer for togetherness by Revd. Bill Anderson, a Minister from the Dudley and Netherton Circuit.
 
Great God of love,
In these strange days in which your whole world is wondering how to deal with a virus,
Help us to hold onto You,
God who is with us,
Help us to understand more clearly what it is to love our neighbour,
Those who stand with us to applaud the National Health Service and carers,
Those we greet cheerily on our walk and in the supermarket queue,
Those we may never meet who live in challenging places in the world,
And in growing understanding, help us to act justly, love generously and walk with you following Jesus,
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 
 

Tuesday 5 May 2020


On The Methodist Church Facebook page, on alternate days, they post a tip of the day using the hashtag #loveyourself.  Just an aside, for those of you who don’t use social media, a hashtag is used on social media such as twitter to identify messages on a specific topic.

Here are a few of the tips posted by the Methodist Church using the hashtag #loveyourself:
  • If you’re struggling to find positives at the moment, try the “Yes, but” game. Each time you feel down or have a negative thought, follow it with, “Yes, but,” and speak out something good that you can see, hear, or think (Another aside: this made me think of Vicky Pollard, a character from Little Britain who would always say ‘yes but no but’)
  • In these current times, we might be having some good days, and some not so good days. On the good days, look out for those not doing so well, and on the days that are more of a struggle, reach out to someone having a better day and ask for their encouragement.
  • Many people have been creating rainbows to stick in their windows, so people passing by will see them. If you haven’t yet, take some time today to draw and colour in a rainbow, reflecting on God’s promises in your life as you do.
  • Just as the rivers in Venice are clear for the first time in years, what small, positive things can you reflect on and give thanks to God for in this moment?
  • Grab some paper and a pen. Even if you don’t think you can draw, start to doodle and see what shapes emerge. Be mindful of this simple act of creation and reflect on the larger Creator God who is with us.
  • Try sitting in a different room, chair or position at the same time each day. Be mindful of the different perspective as you reflect or pray, and thank God for the things you can see that might go unnoticed in your normal day-to-day.
  • Take a break from the screens in your life. Spend an hour without them and see if you find it easy or hard. This can be a helpful way of noticing things you might otherwise have missed.
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And I end with a prayer called ‘Is it okay?’ written by Cathy Bird, Superintendent of Stockport United Circuit.
 
God,
Is it okay if I am struggling right now?
Missing my friends and I’ve no idea how to use zoom
 
God,
Is it okay if I’m actually enjoying lockdown?
I can write and bake and watch tv all day, it’s great.
 
God,
Is it okay if I’m not being very productive?
I don’t really want to learn yoga or write songs.
 
God,
Is it okay that I find myself resenting others who can be working?
I would love to be busy myself rather than furloughed.
 
God,
Is it okay I just find myself worrying about my own family?
I can’t possibly help my own community when I am trying to keep my children occupied and taking food to my elderly mum.
 
God,
Never more so than now do we need the assurance of your unconditional love.
Thank you that no matter how we find ourselves at this time that you accept us, you challenge us and you forgive us.
And you walk with us through this time of trial.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Monday 4 May 2020

 
I would like to share a song today written by David Crowder called ‘Come As You Are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnZrRunTjjI
 
I first heard this song last Sunday when I was listening to a service broadcast from Oasis Waterloo.  I felt drawn to it the first time I heard it but feel even more connected to now. 
 
On Wednesday I had a letter from my hospital in London telling me that I have to ‘shield’ at home and not go out for the next 12 weeks at least.  This was very hard to read as I have already been staying in as much as possible for the last 6 weeks and to know it was at least another 12 weeks, and I couldn't even go to the postbox, was quite upsetting.   The first four lines of this song really resonated with me as well as the phrase ‘come as you’ and have helped me to get back on track.    
 
Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
 
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
 
There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure
  
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
 
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
 
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are
 
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And to end, a prayer from the Church of England website:
 
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen
 
Stay strong, safe and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Sunday 3 May 2020


Today’s lectionary reading is from John 10.1-10: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+10&version=NIV
 
In this reading, Jesus speaks of a shepherd whose sheep know his voice and follow him away from danger.  The Pharisees do not understand that Jesus is referring to himself. He also says that he is the gate of the sheepfold, and whoever enters by him will be saved.
 
I would like to start by sharing a story:
 
There once was a shepherd that lived in the Scottish highlands.  This shepherd had a daughter and he would take her with him when he went out on the moors to take care of the sheep.  The thing that the little girl liked best was to hear the call of shepherd.  His voice sounded so free and beautiful as carried across the valleys of the moors.
 
As the years passed the little girl grew up and determined to build a life for herself, went off to the big city.   When she arrived, she would write home to her parents every week.  But as life began to take her by the hand, her letters soon dropped off in their frequency and soon there were none.
 
Rumours begin to filter back home to the shepherd and his wife that their daughter had started hanging out with some unsavoury characters and they were having a very negative influence on her life.  One day one of the boys from back home ran into her in the city streets and she acted as if she did not even know him.  When the old shepherd heard this, he gathered a few things together and dressed in his rough shepherd’s clothes, went to the city to find his daughter.
 
For days on end he looked for her.  He looked everywhere; the estates, the rows of houses, the markets, the pubs, and everywhere in between but with no luck.  He became very discouraged with the thought that he had lost his daughter to the evil city.
 
So he started the long trek back home, just as he was on the outskirts of the city, he remembered that his daughter had always loved to hear the voice of the shepherd calling out to the sheep.
 
So he turned around and motivated by his sorrow and his love, he began to walk the streets again.  His voice rang out the shepherds call. The people all looked at him as if he had gone mad.
 
However it wasn’t too long as he walked the streets of one of the estates that inside of one of those houses his daughter, sitting amongst those who had led her astray, heard his voice.  With great astonishment on her face she heard that call of the voice of the shepherd, the voice of her father calling out to her.  She leaped up and rushed out to the street and ran into the arms of that old shepherd, her father.  He then took her back home to the Highlands of Scotland and back to the life that she had there.
 

This is a story is an example of what happens to those who hear the voice of a shepherd and follow him.  We need a shepherd and thankfully we have Jesus.  I preached on this topic three years ago at Benington Methodist Church and thought I would share here about how sheep respond to a shepherd’s voice and how we can do the same and respond to God’s voice.
 
In Israel, where the grass has difficulty in growing, sheep must know their shepherd as they need to follow him around so that they have grass to graze on.  A visitor to Israel noticed that three shepherds stopped to talk to each other and their three flocks mingled into one large flock.  They wondered how each shepherd would be able to tell their sheep apart.  However, as each shepherd called out to his sheep, the sheep separated into three flocks.
 
The shepherd knows each sheep, its character, markings and even its likes and dislikes.  The sheep know the shepherd’s voice so well that they will respond to it and no other voice.
 
Just as the shepherd calls his sheep, Jesus calls us and we listen.  We can listen to our shepherd in many ways; reading the bible, attending worship, sharing fellowship with each other and prayer.
 
In today’s society and with all that is happening currently with corona virus, it can be hard to discern the voice of our shepherd.  We may have so much going round in our heads such as different emotions, worries about health or money that there is so much noise in our head that God’s voice is drowned out.
 
Also in today’s society, God’s voice is not the only voice.  We have the voices of the mass media through the television, newspapers and the internet.  We need to try and not focus on these voices but on the voice of God.  We need to become a bit like sheep and need to focus on the word of God our shepherd and the way that he instructs us to live and not listen to the voices of strangers that may take us off the right path.
 
And let us finish with a prayer:
 
Lord, I do not know what it is like to be a sheep
but I do know what it is like to need a shepherd:
to feel that someone cares,
to know there is someone who will listen to me –
someone I can trust;
someone who understands me
and wants the best for me.
Lord, I can be stubborn like a sheep
and I can be afraid and I can be vulnerable.
Please meet me where I am today
in all my hopes and longings
and be my good shepherd.
Amen.

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Saturday 2 May 2020

 
When I preach and that hasn’t been for some months now, I like to use ‘stories’ to illustrate the sermon and thought I would share this illustration with you today.
 
There were 4 young men, all Bible College students, who were renting a house together. One Saturday morning someone knocked on their door and when they opened it, there stood a bedraggled-looking old man.  His eyes were kind of marbleised and he had a silvery stub of whiskers on his face.
 
His clothes were ragged and torn.  His shoes didn’t match.  In fact, they were both for the same foot.  And he carried a wicker basket full of unappealing vegetables that he was trying to sell.  The boys felt sorry for him and bought some of his vegetables just to help him out. Then he went on his way.
 
But from that time on, every Saturday he appeared at their door with his basket of vegetables.  As the boys got to know him a little bit better, they began inviting him in to visit a while before continuing on his rounds.  They soon discovered that his eyes looked marbleised, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of cataracts.  They learned that he lived just down the street in an old shack.  They also found out that he could play the harmonica and that he loved to play Christian hymns and that he really loved God.
 
So every Saturday they would invite him in.  He would play his harmonica and they would sing Christian hymns together. They became good friends and the boys began trying to work out ways to help him.
 
One Saturday morning, right in the middle of all their singing and praising, he suddenly said to them, "God is so good!"
And they all agreed, "Yes, God is so good."
He went on, "You know why he is so good?"
They said, "Why?"
He said, "Because yesterday, when I got up and opened my door, there were boxes full of clothes, shoes, coats and gloves. Yes, God is so good!"
And the boys smiled at each other & chimed in, "Yes, God is so good."
He went on, "You know why He is so good?"
They answered, "You already told us why. What more?"
He said, "Because I found a family who could use those things and I gave them all away."
 
I have used this story in the past to illustrate the theme of loving our neighbours.  However, since I used this story I have come across a real life example of someone who has had very little himself but now does all he can to give to others.
 
Shane who was himself homeless set up Feed Up Warm Up.  Feed Up Warm Up provide drop-in centres once a week in both Hitchin and Stevenage where those in need can get food, clothing, care and support.   They also go out into the community at all hours to help those in need and provide care on the spot across the county.
 
The services of Feed Up Warm Up are really needed at this time as more and more people are struggling financially and getting food is a challenge for many.  Despite the requirements in place to socially distance making things harder for them, Feed Up Warm Up are doing all they can do help those in need. 
 
More details about them and how you can help can be found here: http://www.feedupwarmup.co.uk/
 
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And I end with a prayer from the Church of England website:
Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 
 

Friday 1 May 2020


One of the things that has come up in discussions with the young people of One Truth Youth is that they wish that the news on our televisions and in the newspapers would cover good news stories instead of bad.   At the moment now than ever, the news seems full of stories about Coronavirus with very little positive news.  However, one positive story that has shone through is the story of Captain Tom Moore who has raised millions for the NHS.
 
I would like to share some other positive stories:
 
While India is on Lockdown, hundreds of thousands of undisturbed sea turtles came ashore for the first time in years to lay 60 million eggs.
 
Australian scuba divers have stopped running tours due to the Coronavirus and instead are planting new corals along the Great Barrier Reef.
 
Experts expect that lockdown may lead to the biggest fall in CO2 emissions since World War 2.
 
The best bit of news and one that you would never hear read out on BBC or ITV news is that God loves each of us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for each of us on the Cross.  In the bad times that we are having at the moment, that is something that we can focus upon.
 
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And a prayer of thanksgiving to finish:
 
Dear God,
 
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives,
Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us.
Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes.
Thank you for your great love and care.
Thank you for your mercy and grace.
Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us.
Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life.
Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given.
Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh.
Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy.
We love you and we need you, this day and every day.
We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 


Thursday 30 April 2020


I would like to share today a reflection written by Jim Wallis which was inspired by the various sections of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew chapter 6 verses 5 to 15 and Luke chapter 11 verses 1 to 13.

Praying during a Pandemic

Lord, we confess our sadness and our fears.  We feel stuck, trapped inside, overwhelmed, helpless, and even hopeless.  Help us to believe that our present does not control our future, that we can look forward and not just backward.  Enable us to change our situation now by bringing the future into it. Only the radical values of your new order — of love and justice — will bring your kingdom into our community right now, lived in this and all moments. Inspire and sustain us to bring your kingdom to earth even right now — in this moment of crisis.
 
Lord, in this moment we pray especially for those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic — our nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals — to save as many lives as they can.  Shelter them from this virus and grant your healing mercies to those who will inevitably get sick despite their best efforts to protect themselves.  Help our government and society mobilise to provide the protective and medical equipment they need to keep up as best they can with the onslaught of patients that is already here or on its way.  And help those of us not in the health care sector to do the most important thing we can to protect them and lessen the severity of the strain they face — help us to stay home.
 
Lord, we are all ultimately afraid of hunger, and that fear grows during a time of modern plague when we see even more people going without their daily bread and suffering from food insecurity.  Give us the strength not to hoard, but the courage to share what we have in order to provide daily bread for all.  There is always enough for all if we find the creative personal, communal, and political ways to share it together.  Lord, we know that we find you and each other at the table, so please make us hungry for larger tables.  Even in times of social distance, show us how our daily bread can bring us together.
 
Lord, we owe you everything.  You have forgiven our sins and trespasses, and for that, we are indebted to you.  You have asked us to forgive others for their sins and trespasses, and perhaps their debts, too.  Help us all to ask what a prayer for debtors would mean in this health and economic crisis.  Where can we forgive the debts of others when we have the opportunity to do so?  Oh God, how do we treat others the way you have treated us?  How can we follow your lead in our relationships with others, with our neighbours during a pandemic?  Lord have mercy, Lord teach us to have mercy — right now.
 
Lord, forgive us for the temptation to retreat from our neighbours in this health crisis, taking social distance into social withdrawal from the most vulnerable.  Forgive those who feel exempt from this disease and therefore exempt from any responsibility for those who get sick. Forgive those who value economic activity over public health, and who are willing to sacrifice the worth of other human lives for their own political economic gain.
 
Because we know what your kingdom on earth brings, give us the hope of that kingdom in our hearts, lives, communities, and the nations.  Let that future we believe in help sustain us in the present, even when things we can’t control seem to dominate our lives.  Lord, help us to believe that the virus, the threats, the injustices, and the fears they create are NOT in control and never will be, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, now and forever.  Amen.
 
GKDBk
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Over the past few weeks when I have not been woken up by the cat jumping on me, I have been woken up by the sounds of the birds outside.   I seem to be able to hear them so much more clearly than before.  Some people can recognise birds by their individual songs, unfortunately I can’t but instead of just hearing a noise in the background as I did before, I hear a joyful tune.  

I thought the fact that I could hear the birds better was because of the A1M behind me being so quiet but actually I think that it only part of the reason.  I think because so much of what is ‘normal’ has been taken way including my routine and the usual everyday sounds of people and cars, I am able to focus more on sounds such as bird song and the wind in the trees.  I value these sounds now far more than I did before and they make me grateful to God for all he has created.

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And I end today with a prayer of praise and adoration taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
This world and all within it
is part of your glorious plan,
devised and created in love
for your people to enjoy.
 
Such divine mystery;
Such wonder;
that you should consider
humankind so precious
and provide for our needs.
 
God of all, our creator,
our rock, our refuge,
our confidence and hope,
our rescuer and deliverer,
in whom we can rely,
we will praise your name today
and all days. Amen.
 
 
Keep safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Tuesday 28 April 2020

I first heard the quote below when I was training to be a Local Preacher.  At first I thought Julian of Norwich was a man but on one of my trips to Norwich I found out some more about her.

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In 1373, when she was 30 years old, a woman began to have visionary experiences during a serious illness and a number of years later she wrote a brief account of the visions and what they meant to her.   In 1393, became an anchorite or religious recluse, living in a small cell attached to the parish church of St. Julian in Norwich which could be where her name came from.   She also wrote the book Revelations of Divine Love during her time in the cell.
 
I went to visit Julian’s ‘cell’, which was tiny, and in it was a dish of hazelnuts:
 
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In one of her visions, Julian had the image of a hazelnut and wrote the following:
 
And in this he showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed to me, and it was as round as a ball.  I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: What can this be?  I was amazed that it could last, for I thought that because of its littleness it would suddenly have fallen into nothing.  And I was answered in my understanding:  It lasts and always will, because God loves it; and thus everything has been through the love of God.  In this little thing I saw three properties.  The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it.  But what did I seein it?  It is that God is the Creator and the protector and the lover.  For until I am substantially united to him, I can never have perfect rest or true happiness, until, that is, I am so attached to him that there can be no created thing between my God and me.
 
For Julian, the hazelnut was a sign of hope, a sign of the power of God that sustains us.  In these difficult days what do you see as a sign of hope?
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Monday 27 April 2020

So yesterday the London Marathon would have been held.  It is the world’s biggest annual one-day fundraising event and last year raised £66.4 million pounds for charity.  Instead, the 2.6 Challenge has been launched and aims to get the public to come up with activities to compensate for the cancellation of fundraising events because of coronavirus.  The challenge hopes to inspire people to create their own athletic activities based around the numbers 2.6 or 26, which trigger donations from themselves or others.

Life at the moment seems more of a marathon than a sprint.  Days seem so long and drawn out and there seems to be no end point to the social restrictions we face.  I think the quote below is very appropriate.  We need to have endurance and strength to run the race that is before us, however long that is, and we need to focus on God to give us this endurance and strength.

endurance
 
 
And I end today with a prayer for strength and endurance:
Loving God,
In You, we find the support we need to carry on in life.
We gather the strength we need to endure the hardships life brings.
Our own physical capabilities and our motivational drives may fail us many times, but You faithfully rescue us.
You are the Source of the strength we most need.
Rid our hearts of fear, knowing You are always with us.
Clear our minds of troubling thoughts, knowing You are Almighty God, the Foundational Rock, and Strength of our hearts.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 


Sunday 26 April 2020
 
Today’s lectionary reading is from Luke chapter 24 verses 13 to 34 and tells the story of two disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the Emmaus Road.  The following reflection is written by Annemarie Klassen.
 
Make New Life Possible with Giving
 
They walked with heavy sadness,
those two disciples on a long, lonely journey.
A stranger joined them.  It was Jesus.
But they could only see a stranger,
a friend to share the long walk ahead.
 
He spoke with them,
comforted their sadness and offered new thoughts.
 
When he gave thanks for the bread,
broke it and gave it to them,
they saw and they knew it was Jesus.
 
People are sometimes
afraid to see the hope and new life their faith shows them.
They think they must consider only what is real.
 
But what is real? Hunger is real,
so are the faces of children with no hope.
Greed is real and so is violence and war.
People of faith can see that.
Why can't they see the presence of the Lord,
who speaks to their hearts about other things that are just as real?
 
Love is real.
The eyes of faith see new possibilities
where none were found before.
Even death does not hold back the spirit of God.
 
So let's look again.
Let's see the living Christ
sharing the journey, inspiring new hope.
Among the poor and homeless,
in the prisons and hospitals,
in the lands of famine and war,
new hopes are waiting to be seen.
The journey starts with ordinary steps
as we walk our daily paths,
looking around as Jesus did with the love of God in our view.
 
 Lc-24-13-35

I think all of us walk the Emmaus Road regularly not recognising that Jesus is with us guiding us along the way.  This prayer by Rev Frank Schaefer focuses on that:
Meet us, Lord, on the road to Emmaus,
Guide us on the path toward our destination,
and renew our strength as we continue to walk
and commune with you.
Open our eyes, so we see the signs of your presence around us;
Open our hearts, so we may receive your peace and love;
and empower us to pass on to others
the grace you have shared with us so freely.
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate 
 

Saturday 25 April 2020

At the moment the days seem to be merging into one and it is hard to tell one day from another.   Each morning I have to check what the date is and usually end up forgetting part way through the day.

Today is Saturday which I have always thought of as my ‘day off’ as I tended not to have anything on on a Saturday and used it as a rest day before Sunday which was always my busy day.  It would also be my takeaway in front of Casualty night.  However, now every day is my day off and takeaways are more limited than before and soon there will be no Casualty as they are running out of episodes! 

Routines which I have had for many years are now different although I am sure some will say not having a takeaway is a good thing!   It is now time for a new weekend routine and a member of the church told me that she is coping with things by trying to make the weekend routine different to the week by not doing any household or gardening jobs and taking time to read and reflect.  This is something that I will try this weekend and maybe if you don’t already make the weekend different to the week, you may want to try doing something different.

Here is a prayer for the weekend and the line that struck me was “please refresh my body, mind and spirit and help me find the right balance in all things”:  I think that striking the right balance is especially important at this time and something that I need to make sure I do this weekend and in the days to come.

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 


Friday 24 April 2020

I know that I have shared a cartoon version of the beatitudes previously but I came across this version of the beatitudes on one of the Methodist Facebook sites and really enjoyed it so thought I would share it with you:
 
The Beatitudes for a lockdown community by Paul Bridges
 
When Jesus saw people locked down in their houses, and unable to walk through the streets and he spoke to them, saying:
 
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who are tired and struggling, aching for the chance to see family and friends for real.
Blessed are those for whom lockdown is little different than life before.
Blessed are those who take the time to call or zoom, an otherwise forgotten neighbour.
Blessed are those who are working all hours so that others can be safe.
Blessed are those who desperately need space and time for their own well-being.
Blessed are those for whom staying in means being at risk.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you
 
Blessed are those who mourn for people who have died.
And blessed are those who mourn because they could not say goodbye, could not hold hands,
could not join with family and friends to pay their respects.
Blessed are those who take the place of family at the moment of passing.
Blessed are those who mourn for the routine and ways of living that gave their life meaning.
Blessed are those who mourn for their jobs, or businesses, their employees and livelihoods.
Blessed are those who mourn.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you
 
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those whose actions are only now being recognised and valued - the minimum wage workers who make our lives possible.
Blessed are those whose work has always been essential and blessed are those who now see this.
Blessed are those who are risking their own health to care for those that we are cannot care for.
Blessed are those who leave a can of beans and a toilet roll on the shop shelf for someone else.
Blessed are those who wheel down the wheelie bin of the isolated household next door.
Blessed are the babies born into the midst of this.
Blessed are those who help someone they have never before met.
Blessed are the meek.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.
 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 
Blessed are those who in the midst of all that is around can see the injustice and inequity that it highlights.
Blessed are those who recognise this light shining on their own lives and commit to living more simply.
Blessed are those who are simply hungry.
Blessed are the foodbanks, advice services, the charity workers and helpers
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you
 
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are those who try to social distance but also have compassion for the family with the autistic child, or spouse with dementia.
Blessed are those whose patience is being tested.
Blessed are those who are trying to work at home and home educate at the same time.
Blessed are those who have got zoom working and those that haven’t.
Blessed are the merciful. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are those who see God in the rainbows and the clapping.
In the helpers and the helped.
In the opportunity to reconnect and,
In a new understanding of family, community and society.
Blessed are those who see this, not as the beginning or the end.
Blessed are those who can - in whatever way - be still and know God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Amen
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 


Thursday 23 April 2020

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but this year I set myself the goal of getting a job, just for a few hours a week.  I had had my neurosurgery just before Christmas and was determined to start looking in January, hoping to start in February.  However, things didn’t work out like that and I spent a month in hospital due to infection and ended up having my Occipital Nerve Stimulator removed.  I then said to myself I will look for work in a few months once the ONS goes back in.  Unfortunately Covid-19 came along and my hospital appointments have been cancelled and I have been told that I am unlikely to get surgery until the end of this year meaning my job hopes are on hold until 2021.
I keep reminding myself of the verse below: that God knows the plans he has for me, plans to give me a hope and a future.   I have no clue how the next few months will pan out.  I don’t think any of us do at the moment.  However, I have to put my trust in God, even though that can be hard at times, that all will work out as He intends it to work out and that my future is in His loving hands.
 

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And I end with a prayer for today:
Gracious and loving God, I get scared and nervous about the future, but I know that the future is in Your hands.  Be with me as I go through this day.  Help me to make good decisions, and be with me each step of the way.  I know that your plans are for good.  Thank you for giving me hope toward the future.  Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 22 April 2020
 
I expect many of us have been using this time to do jobs that we haven’t had time for previously.  During a sort out and tidy up I came across my cards from my accreditation as a Local Preacher back in September 2019.  It was lovely to look back at them and as I came across a card with a picture of a lighthouse on, I was reminded of the song ‘my lighthouse’ by Rend Collective.  I first heard this song at Cliff College but it has been sung a couple of times at Trinity and is a favourite of some of the members of One Truth Youth Fellowship.
 
The words seem particularly relevant at this time so I thought I would share them with you along with the link to the song on YouTube. 
 
My Lighthouse by Rend Collective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFBZJGSgyVQ
 
In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won't walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
 
In the silence, You won't let go
In the questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
 
Chorus:
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness. I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore
 
I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
 
Chorus
 
Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
 
Chorus
 
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God is the light shining out amongst the darkness that is currently covering our country and many parts of the world.  If we trust in Him, he will bring peace to our lives and carry us safely to the shore.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Tuesday 21 April 2020

I came across this quote on Facebook and wondered what the term ‘sheltering in place’ meant as it is not one I have come across before.  Well, according to Google, it is an American term for socially distancing.  I think it sounds slightly better than socially distancing, what do think? 

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Whether we are sheltering in place, socially distancing, self-isolating or whatever term we want to use, our spiritual growth is not halted just because we cannot meet others and worship together.  We have the opportunity to develop spiritually:  that maybe by watching services online, reading the bible and other resources, prayer or by sharing with others at a distance.   This will enable our roots to grow deeper as we become the people that God created us to be.

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 20 April 2020

Over the past few weeks, I think we have all found our new ‘normal’ as it were.  I have a daily routine, very different from what it was but a routine none the less.  It is hard but I am getting used to the restrictions and am finding a way of dealing with every day.   I often think what it will be like when the restrictions are lifted and we can get back to seeing each other and worshipping together again.  I came across the prayer below on Facebook, author unknown, and thought I would share it. 
 
I Pray We Don’t Go Back To Normal...
 
I pray that the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug, I actually take the time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.
I pray that when school resumes and people are dropping kids off, they take the time to thank the staff for the amazing gift that they give to our community.
I pray that the next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant I take the time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and thank God for the gift of counity.
I pray that the next time I’m standing in church listening to the voices of praise and worship that I take a moment to thank God for the gift of congregation.
I pray that the next time I see a person or situation that needs prayer, I hope I pray as passionately and fervently as I have these past few weeks 
I pray that when I am at the grocery store that I take a moment to thank God that He provides us with the necessities of life and the amazing people who work so hard to keep us supplied.
 I pray that I never again take for granted the ability to hop in the car and visit a friend, go to the shops, go to a gathering, etc.
 So, truth is, I don’t want things to return to the way they once were.  I pray that we take the lessons and challenges of the past few weeks and create a new normal.  My goal is to pray more, love harder, and truly appreciate the daily abundance of blessings that were so easily overlooked just a mere few weeks ago. Have a blessed day!
 
I think one thing that we can all take from this experience is to appreciate all the blessings that God has given us and to try never to take these for granted again.

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 
 

 

Sunday 19 April 2020

Today’s lectionary reading is John chapter 20 verses 19 to 31: 
 
It tells the story of Doubting Thomas or Thomas the Twin.  The following monologue tells the first part of the story:
 
Monologue: Thomas the Twin by Crystal Goolsby:
 
I can’t believe all that has happened in the last few days.  We thought Jesus was the Messiah we had all been waiting for, but he died without delivering us!  Who will help us now?
 
Three days ago, Jesus of Nazareth was put on the cross and he died.  He was put in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea.  My friends, who, along with me, make up a group of his followers, came running to me just now, saying that they saw him, alive.  Impossible!  They insist that it is true, but I don’t believe it.
 
They told me that were hiding in the upper room of a house, in a group, talking, when a man suddenly appeared in the room and said, “Peace be with you.”  The room was locked, because they were afraid they would be arrested, too, and this man just appeared inside the room!
 
As you can imagine, they were shocked and horrified!  They thought it was a ghost.  But then he showed them the wounds he got when he was crucified—holes in his hands and feet, as well as a wound in his side from a spear.
 
They said they were still not sure he was a real human being.  But he asked for some food. They gave him a piece of fish from their supper, and he ate it while they watched.
 
It was then that they knew he was really alive, and they came running to tell me.  But I don’t believe it.  Once a man is dead, he is dead.  I won’t believe it until I see him for myself, and can put my fingers into his wounds.
  
 
This monologue and the first part of the reading focussed on doubt, the second part of the reading focusses on hope as Jesus appears to Thomas and replaces his doubt with hope.
 
At this difficult time, it is not unnatural to have doubts and wonder where God is in all that is happening.  The story of Thomas shows us how our doubts can be replaced with hope if we believe in God and all He has promised.
 
  
The following prayer has been written by Nick Fawcett:
 
Lord Jesus Christ,
in this world where hopes are so often dashed
and dreams so often broken,
we remember today the faith in the future you brought to so many,
both through your coming and through your resurrection from the dead.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
 
We remember how Mary and Joseph looked forward
to the day of your birth,
how shepherds and magi caught their breath in wonder
as they knelt before you,
how the hearts of Anna and Simeon leapt in anticipation,
and how your disciples
and the crowds that flocked to hear you gave thanks,
convinced that you were the Messiah, the one God had promised,
the long-awaited deliverer come to set them free.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
 
We remember how that vision of the future
was shattered by events to follow –
your pain, humiliation, suffering and death –
hope ebbing away as the lifeblood seeped from your body –
an end to their dreams, an end to everything.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
 
We remember how the news spread that the tomb was empty,
the stone rolled away, your body gone,
and how despite it all,
your followers could scarcely bring themselves to hope –
afraid to take the risk of faith
in case they should face the heartache of losing you once more.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
  
But we remember finally how you appeared,
in all your risen glory –
in the garden,
in the upstairs room,
on the Emmaus road,
by the Sea of Galilee –
and the dream was born again,
the smoldering embers of faith rekindled.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
 
Lord Jesus Christ, a world is waiting,
hurting,
longing,
searching for hope,
crying out for meaning,
hungry for some reason to believe in the future.
Come again in your living power,
and bring new life to all.
 
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
 
In your name we pray.
Amen

pciture 

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 18 April 2020

I don’t know about you but I am finding that I am more tired than usual.  I think this is perhaps because life is so different than it was a few months ago and my mind is using my energy worrying about the situation that we are all in.  I usually try and do as much as possible in a day but am learning that it is okay to nothing and if I don’t finish my job list for the day, it does not matter.  I really like the words below from Jeff Foster:

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 And a prayer for rest to end with:

A-Prayer-For-Rest-Matthew-11-2

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 
 
 


Friday 17 April 2020

I think that this quote is very appropriate at the moment when it comes to friendships.

How-To-Make-A-Long-Distance-Re

I am very blessed to have some lovely friends, many I would see at least once a week.  Now however although we are not miles apart, there is now distance between us – at least 2 metres at all times.
 
I am cherishing though the times I do spend with friends; talking to them through the window or from the other side of the road, talking to them on the phone or using facetime.  Also the times I open the door and there is a gift waiting for me – often cake!

I took for granted spending time with friends but this time has given the opportunity to realise that it does not matter how we communicate with our friends, they are still there thinking of us and wanting the best for us and we can do the same for them.

The quote also mentions patience and through this I am learning patience, not a skill I have been very good at in the past!  I would so love to reach out to those that I talk to through the window or across the garden and given my friends a hug but I can’t for now.  I need to patient and know that when I do get to hug my friends again it will be a very special moment.
 
I end today with a poem called the Gift of Friendship by Helen Steiner Rice:

Friendship is a priceless gift
That can't be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold
 
For gold is cold and lifeless,
It cannot see or hear,
And in your times of trouble,
It is powerless to cheer.
 
It has no ears to listen
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort
Or reach out a helping hand.
 
So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends,
Not diamonds, pearls, or riches,
But the love of a real, true friend.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in the God’s love
 
Kate
 

 

Thursday 16 April 2020

Thursday nights at 8 pm have become a time in the week when the country unites and claps for NHS staff and other keyworkers.  Not many people at my end of my street go out but I go out there with my saucepan and spoon and can hear plenty of others round about me and we have had fireworks as well as church bells.  It is a time when those who have not been thought about previously in the past such as shop workers, rubbish collectors and other key workers can be celebrated and we can show our thanks for all they are doing for us.
 
I would like to share this letter to key workers from ‘Ladies Pass It on’ website:

Dear Key Workers,
I can’t imagine the pressure you must be feeling right now, as the world retreats and you go forward to the fire.
I can’t imagine the fear you must be facing as you place your children in school, knowing that they will be looked after but not knowing if they will be safe from the bigger threat.
Will you be safe from the bigger threat?
I can’t imagine how heavy the weight of a nation’s expectation must feel on your already burdened shoulders.
Stay strong.
When this is over, and it will be over one day, you will be responsible for something much less heavy.
You will be responsible for keeping a nation running whilst it faced its biggest threat in more than a century.
You will be responsible for history, for staying at the front line to save us all.
You will be a hero.
You already were but now you will be seen.
I see you.
Thank you for stepping up whilst we all step down.
When this is over, your happy days will be bright.
We are watching with appreciation and wishing you luck.
Great Britain

 
And I end with a prayer for healthcare professionals and key workers, written by The Precentor of Hereford Cathedral:
 
O God of hope,
we commend to your protection all healthcare professionals and key workers
who are putting themselves at risk as they attend to the needs of other people:
as we thank them for their courage and compassion,
we pray that your Holy Spirit will support and encourage them,
especially at times of physical or emotional exhaustion,
that they may know the strength of your healing love.
We ask this for your tender mercy’s sake.
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate

 

Wednesday 15 April 2020

I enjoy cross-stitch and usually make small items such as bookmarks or pictures for cards.  However, I decided last summer that I would tackle a big piece as a Christmas present for someone – that piece never got finished and so as I have got time on my hands I have decided to carry on with it during lockdown.
 
I won’t say what it is in case this blog is read by the person it is intended for but there are so many shades of one colour that it is hard to see what the bigger picture is going to be.  Also I was told when first learning to cross-stitch to try and keep the back as neat as the front.  Well, the back looks a total mess - you can make out some of the colours and patterns but it has tangles and knots and thread crossing from one side to another. 
 
An analogy is often used that in our lives we see the back of the tapestry with all the mistakes but God sees the amazing picture on the other side.   Corrie Ten Boom wrote the following poem:
 
“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)
 
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colours
He weaveth steadily.
 
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
 
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
 
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skilful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
 
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
 
Corrie would illustrate her poem by holding up the piece of cloth on the left and then flipping it over to show the picture on the right.
 
Corrie-Ten-Booms-Piece-Of-Embr
 
 
And I finish with a prayer by Kathy Urbanick:
 
Lord, I am grateful for every thread You are weaving into Your handcrafted tapestry of my life.  I trust You to perfectly weave together the brightest and darkest threads, as I become a woven masterpiece of your faithfulness and love.  Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate

 
 
Tuesday 14 April 2020

Today I would like to share this version of the beatitudes written by Jayne Manfredi and illustrated by Dave Walker of Cartoon Church.   I wrote yesterday about how we can all make a difference, however small, and I think that this version of the beatitudes includes everyone, all making a difference in their own way.  It also draws our attention to those who may be struggling at this time; those who are bereaved, those who are alone and those whose homes may be an unsafe place to be isolated.


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And I finish with a prayer inspired by the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), written by Brian D. McLaren.

God, our Creator, thank you for the gift of Jesus.  He walked among us embodying your creative and life-giving Word in his body, his life, his words, his deeds, his sufferings, his death, and his resurrection.  When we see him loving the outcast, forgiving the sinner, confronting the hypocrite, and teaching the crowds a new way of life, we see your heart, your compassion, your mercy, your character.  To know Jesus is to love him, and to love him is to know him, and to know and love him is to know and love you.
So help me, Lord, to be among your disciples who come to you to be taught.
Help me, Lord, to be among the poor in spirit, to see and know that your kingdom is my homeland even now
Help me, Lord, to be among those who mourn, to join you in your sadness for all that's wrong and broken in this world, and in joining you, to find true comfort.
Help me, Lord, to be among the meek, those who find strength in weakness and power in vulnerability, to never fear lack or want, because when I have your love, I have all the world.
Help me, Lord, to desire justice, rightness, goodness, fairness, cleanness, clearness, and integrity more than I hunger for food or thirst for water ... and so let me find the truest fulfilment and satisfaction.
Help me, Lord, to be among the merciful.  Help me to be a true friend to those who are hated, misunderstood, rejected, excluded, disregarded ... just as you, God of Mercy, are.  When others fail - when they fail me - help me show the same mercy you show to those who fail you ... including me.
Help me, Lord, to be among the pure in heart.  May your pure light shine in my heart and dispel every shadow, every layer and fold that conceals or pretends.  Since it is only the heart that sees you, remove from my heart everything that keeps me from seeing you.
Help me, Lord, to be among the makers of peace.  Many build walls.  Many sow fear and distrust. Many spread rumours.  Many inflame conflict and profit from it. Help me to be even among them an agent and messenger of your peace and reconciliation, and so bear your family likeness, God of peace.
Help me, Lord, not to fear being among the persecuted, but rather, to rejoice in having the honour of standing for your restorative justice and rightness, so I will see that your kngdom is my homeland, even now.
Help me, Lord, to be among those who suffer wrong well and with grace.  Help me not to resent it, not to fear it, not to seek to escape it.  Instead, help me to find joy in it ... when others insult me, make my life more difficult, or falsely malign me because of you.  Help me to see through the momentary, light trouble to the lasting and weighty reward, even now, for your kingdom comes by suffering rather than by making others suffer.
So help me, Lord, to be among your disciples who come to you to be taught.  I am a limping, broken sinner and beginner, far from these realities, but this is where I want to go.  In your mercy, lead me in this path. Amen.


Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 13 April 2020

I would like to start by sharing this story:

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With all that is going on, it can be hard to know what to do to help as the problems this country are facing seem insurmountable and we think that we cannot make a difference. However, each of us can and are making a difference; just by reaching out to one person we are making a difference. 
 
I am enjoying hearing stories of things the members of Trinity Church are doing to make a difference and it is great to hear all ages are involved: from the younger members, messaging each other to the older members phoning other members of the congregation, all of us can do something to make a difference. 

I would like to finish with this prayer for a new week:
I come before You Oh Lord, my God, thanking you for waking me up this Monday morning to embrace the sunlight that shoots down from the heavens.
Thank you for giving me the health and strength I need to overcome every stronghold in my life and thank you for loving me unconditionally in the times where I may fail you. 
Amen


Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 

Easter Sunday 12 April 2020

Today as we celebrate Easter Sunday, as well as the bible reading and short reflection, I have also included some prayers and some links to hymns.  You may want to read this at 10.30 and know that other members of Trinity church will be doing the same.

Gathering prayer of thanksgiving:
 
This is the day that you have made, life-giving God.
Joining with angels and archangels
and with the chorus that is rising throughout all the earth,
we will rejoice and be glad this day.
You take our endings
and you make your new beginnings.
Your surprise and astound us
in places where we expected
that you were absent.
You challenge us to reconsider what is possible.
 
Living Lord,
Saviour Christ,
we praise you,
for you are raised by the power of God
and there is a new creation
and, by your grace,
we are in it!
Alleluia!
Amen

 
Hymn:  Christ the Lord is risen today - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztugxIfwP4c

 
Reading: Matthew 28 verses 1 to 10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+28&version=NRSV

 
Short Reflection:
 
 Do not be afraid.  These 4 words were heard by Zachariah when he encountered an angel in the temple, by Mary when she experienced the angel Gabriel and by the shepherds shepherding the sheep on the night of Jesus’ birth and now 30 years later, the two Mary’s hear these words.  Firstly from the angel at the tomb and then from Jesus himself. 
 
These words are just as relevant today.   I started thinking of what to write for this short Easter Sunday reflection a few weeks and decided then to focus on the words ‘do not be afraid.’  I was worried then about covid-19 and the impact that it would have on each of us but now that worry has been replaced by fear.  Every time I hear the latest briefing I am scared; scared for family, scared for friends, scared for myself, in fact I am scared for everyone. 
 
We are told though not to be afraid and although it is hard to do we need trust God and these words that he is saying through Jesus.  We need to believe that He will not fail us, that He has been raised from the dead for each one of us and place our lives in His hands, however difficult this may be.
 
1 John chapter 4 verse 18 says “Where God’s love is, there is no fear because God’s perfect love drives out fear”.  John is saying here that fear and love can’t live together; if we let love into our hearts and lives then fear is pushed out.

God created each of us so that we could love Him and He love us.  He knows everything about us and he sent Jesus into this world to show us how to love, how to give, how to serve and how to accept love.  
 
Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate the fact that by Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead we have been given the gift of eternal life.   This is a very precious gift and one that can give us hope in this difficult time. 
 
  
Hymn: In Christ alone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouGuG97l2RY
 
 
Prayers of intercession:
 
On this Easter morn,
we welcome you, Jesus, into our lives.
We welcome your resurrection for it is
life changing, life giving and life sustaining.
We welcome the hope it brings to our world.
We welcome the joy it brings to our darkness.
We welcome the empty tomb for we know that it means you are on the loose.
 
Lord, may your resurrection give life to those who feel lifeless,
those who are just going through the motions,
and those who have had the death of a loved one.
 
Lord, may your resurrection give hope to those who are mired in despair,
who feel hopeless,
and who have given up all hope.
 
Lord, may your resurrection give joy to those who feel no joy,
lost their joy or have had their joy snuffed out.
 
Lord, may you be on the loose in this world as the risen one….
Amen
 
You may like to say the Lord’s prayer
 
  
Hymn: Thine be the glory - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbBOOmkMLmI
 
  
Blessing:
 
As Christ burst forth from the tomb,
may new life burst forth from us
and show itself in acts of love and healing to a hurting world.
And may the same Christ,
who lives forever and is the source of our new life,
keep our hearts rejoicing
and grant us peace this day and always. Amen.
 

Saturday 11 April 2020

At the Grave by Peter Millar

John 19:38–42 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+19&version=NRSV

Reflection:
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower, had asked Pilate if he could take the body of Jesus, and with Nicodemus he lovingly laid Jesus to rest in a new tomb close to where he had been crucified.  We all know what it is to stand at a graveside.  And weep.  Jesus had passed on and only the silent body
remained.  Sorrow engulfed his friends and none of them knew what lay ahead.  Every one of us has experienced this uncertainty and grief.  Today we pause and allow our tears to flow – maybe unseen by others or more apparent. The tears of life: the tears of death.
 
Prayer:
God of both life and death,
thank you that we can experience sorrow in our lives
for without that knowledge were are impoverished in our souls.
Thank you for the times of our tears,
both inward and outward.
Thank you also that we understand the grief of others,
even those far away.
Amen
 
Kate’s comments:
When Peter Millar wrote this reflection in 2018, he did not know just how relevant this reflection and prayer would be to us on this day in 2020.  All of us I am sure have shed tears over the past few weeks and there will be many more tears to come and that is okay, Jesus sees all ours tears and weeps with us.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

I was due to led at Trinity tomorrow so have put together a few prayers and short reflection.  I will post it around 8 am but you may like to read it at 10.30 am knowing that other members of Trinity are reading it at the same time.

Good Friday 10 April 2020
 
One Cross and many crosses by Peter Millar
 
John 19:17–30 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+19&version=NRSV
 
Reflection:
For 2000 years believers have come to the foot of Christ’s Cross.  The place of suffering and death: of loss, of violence, of ending.  On this Good Friday we stand both before that cross and alongside our sisters and brothers who today carry their own crosses in many parts of the world.  Their pain is no less than the pain of Jesus on the first Good Friday.  We weep for Jesus and we weep for them.  In the relative comfort and security of our lives we are faced with a basic truth: human suffering is endemic in our times.  And at its heart is a suffering God.
 
Prayer:
Lord, as I think of your Cross,
give me the courage and grace
to be able to visualise those who carry a cross today.
Let me be near those who are tortured and abused,
those who are abandoned,
those who walk alone,
those who are being robbed of their dignity,
those who only know war,
and those who are being killed
because they believe in you.
 
Kate’s comments:
Reading this reflection and particularly this prayer made me think about those Christians living in areas of the world where they are persecuted.  With all the suffering going on around us at the moment it is easy to forget the parts of the world where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Open Doors, a charity which serves persecuted Christians and Churches worldwide, has a World Watch list which is an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution and the top ranking countries are North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.  Many of us are struggling not being able to go to church at the moment, but for the people in many of these countries not being able to practice their faith is a life-long struggle.

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The Cross at Cliff College

 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Thursday 9 April 2020

The humble heart by Peter Millar

John 13:1–17, 31–35 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+13&version=NRSV

Reflection:
Here we read of Jesus, in humility, washing the feet of his disciples.  It was a sign to his followers of a particular inner quality that was required of them if they were later to carry with integrity the Good News of the Gospel to others.  When we think today of the way the nations are relating to each other we do not think of humility.  Yet there is this ‘other way’ in human relationships and Jesus illustrates that for us and for all time. Humility is not lack of conviction.  It is that dimension of the heart which allows us to accept and understand something of the other person without always imposing our own agenda.

Prayer:
God of every race and tongue,
may the peoples of our world learn again
to be humble enough to listen to one another
instead of rushing to easy judgements.
To be humble enough to admit to error.
To have the gift of humility
which enables the other to flourish as well as ourselves.
Amen
 
Kate’s comments:
I would like to share the lyrics of a song by Michael Card called the basin and the towel as I feel that it links in with the reflection by Peter Millar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxsPnNvRrQM

In an upstairs room, a parable
Is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best,
With a painful glance, He'll silently rise.
Their Saviour Servant must show them how
Through the will of the water
And the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
That day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

In any ordinary place,
On any ordinary day,
The parable can live again
When one will kneel and one will yield.
Our Saviour Servant must show us how
Through the will of the water
And the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes
Is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow
We take up the basin and the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
That day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

cropped-basin2

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Wednesday 8 April 2020


Jesus predicts his betrayal by Peter Millar
 
John 13:21–32: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+13&version=NRSV
 
Reflection:
This betrayal of Jesus was to come not from an outsider but from one within his close circle of companions.  Jesus knew that very shortly Judas Iscariot would do him down.  We may ask – how can a friend do that at such a time?  The truth is we know that even close friends can and do betray us.  And we ourselves can betray others, even if sometimes inadvertently.  Let us today bring before God the ones we have betrayed and hold them before the Lord who heals and lovingly forgives.
 
Prayer:
Dear Lord,
you know my heart and my intentions.
And sometimes I act wrongly.
Be near today to those
I have betrayed or let down.
You know them and I know them.
Help me to see that we all stand in the need of grace.
Help me not to run away from my own failures
and to accept deep down
that I too need your healing touch today.
Amen
 
Kate’s comments:
At the moment, I tend to have a lot of time to think and also overthink.   I find myself going over situations, some from years ago, where I have hurt people and give myself a hard time because of it.  I need to trust that God has forgiven me for these times and accept his healing touch and then forgive myself and try to move on.  We know that at the end of his life Judas was overcome with guilt for what he had done, it may well have been the case that he could not forgive himself.   God forgives all of us, whatever we have done and we need to trust in that promise.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Tuesday 7 April 2020


Letting go
 
John 12:20–36 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+12&version=NRSV
 
Reflection by Peter Millar:
Years ago in my parish in the East End of Glasgow we had a poster which said ‘Let Go: Let God.’ Simple words – but profound.  And on this day in Holy Week we are called to immerse our daily living not just in our own endless preoccupations (which is easy to do) but in the heart of God.  Ancient words put it this way: ‘to die to self in order to gain Christ’.  This is not a journey we can do on our own: we need each other to discover the depths of our Christian faith, for the idea of ‘dying to self’ runs totally counter to our present wisdom.
 
Prayer:
Liberating Lord, free me –
at least sometimes during the day –
from being concerned only with myself!
Take away my inner blindness,
and help me to see that you are always calling me
closer to the One who created me
and to a new way of seeing your wonderful world
in all of its beauty and amazing diversity
 
Kate’s comments:
These last few weeks have given me the time to let go and just sit and look at God’s creation.  Normally I am busy on the computer, going to church and various meetings and vary rarely do I just sit and look at the world in all its beauty.  It is something that I want to try and do more of.  I end with a picture taken by David Cole of a recent sunset.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Monday 6 April 2020


God’s tenderness by Peter Millar
 
John chapter 12: verses 1 to 11 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+12&version=NRSV
 
Reflection:
This well-known reading about Jesus being anointed in the home of Lazarus in Bethany is today being read in every land and in hundreds of languages.  Through these verses we are linked to millions.  Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, took half a litre of expensive perfume made of pure nard and poured it on Jesus’ feet in an act of total tenderness.  Let us be challenged by such an act as we pray today for our sisters and brothers whose daily living is not marked by such gentle acts of compassion but rather by violence and disconnection.
 
Kate’s comments:
I think today our modern day Martha’s are the members of our NHS who are tenderly looking after those with Covid-19.  What saddens me is that there are reports that these people who are giving all on the front line are being spat at and called disease spreaders and are also having their identification cards stolen so others can access the free food and shopping slots that they are being given.  So as we say the prayer below, can we ask for the gift of a tender heart not just for ourselves but also for those who struggle to show compassion to others.
 
Prayer:
Lord of this and every Holy Week,
grant me the gift of a tender heart.
It is easy to believe that we are all out for ourselves
and what we can gain,
but you show us another way:
the way that leads to true life.
The way of tenderly reaching out to others,
especially the strangers in our midst.
Amen
 
anointing-jesus-feet

Sunday 5 April 2020

So today is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week.  I have decided for this week to post daily devotions written by Peter Millar called Walking in Wider World.  Each day I will post the bible reading, a short reflection and prayer and if appropriate, my own thoughts as well as a picture.  I hope that you find them helpful to you.  
 
The road to Jerusalem
 
Zechariah chapter 9 verses 9 to 10 and 16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah+9&version=NRSV
Mark chapter 11 verses 1 to 11 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11&version=NRSV
 
Reflection:
At the beginning of our journey through Holy Week, we remember the journeys Jesus made to Jerusalem: brought as an innocent child in the arms of his parents; brought as a young boy, growing fast and full of questions and curiosity; and coming, again and again, as a grown man to the great festivals in the courtyards of the Temple; facing, with coolness and courage, the growing dangers, spoken and unspoken, the threats to his freedom and life.  As he enters the city on this day, the crowds are cheering: ‘Hosanna!’ They see in Jesus the fulfilment of their dreams of freedom from occupation and persecution.  Soon it will be different words they shout.
 
Prayer:
Lord,
thank you for your loyalty and patience towards us
who have so little understanding of what might lie ahead.
Thank you for your love which never ceases,
your forgiveness which never runs out
and your light that shines on in the darkness
and shows us the footsteps to follow
and the road to take.
Amen
 
Kate’s comments: This prayer seems very apt for us and our country today.  We have very little understanding of what is ahead of us.  The one sure hope that we have is that God loves each of us and will shine a light on the path ahead.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate

Saturday 4 April 2020

During the slightly warmer weather at the beginning of the week, I spotted my first butterfly of the year sitting on my lavender.   A butterfly has always been to me a sign of hope and seeing this butterfly gave me hope that things will get better in the months to come. 
 
lavender-and-butterfly
By the way, I didn’t take this picture but the butterfly I saw was very similar to this!
 
 
I would like to share this poem by M S Lowndes called Spread your wings and arise:
 
There are times in our lives
We feel much like
A flower struggling to bloom;
We go through those times
Of change and growth
Like a caterpillar in a cocoon
 
Nobody can see
The Lord's hidden work
Until the day we break through —
Then we can begin
To spread out our wings
And arise as butterflies do
 
God has a much higher
Calling for us
And wants us to rise up in Him;
We can make such a difference
If we'd only realize
The potential we have within
 
So allow the Lord
To work in your life,
To make you all you can be —
So you will one day
Be able to soar
And know what it means to be 'FREE'.
 
 
I end with a prayer for hope,
 
Heavenly father, I am your humble servant,
I come before you today in need of hope.
There are times when I feel helpless,
There are times when I feel weak.
I pray for hope.
I need hope for a better future.
I need hope for a better life.
I need hope for love and kindness.
Some say that the sky is at it's darkest just before the light.
I pray that this is true, for all seems dark.
I need your light, Lord, in every way.
I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe.
 To bask in your glory.
To know that all is right in the world,
as you have planned, and as you want it to be.
Help me to walk in your light, and live
my life in faith and glory.
 In your name I pray, Amen.

Keep safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate

 

Friday 3 April 2020


I shared with you yesterday the lyrics of ‘will our anchor hold’, today I would like to share a contemporary song with you.  The first time I heard this was a few days ago when I listened to morning prayers from Cliff College and I have played the song numerous times since on Alexa.  It is by Casting Crowns and is called 'just be held'  
 
Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
 
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
 
If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands
 
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
 
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart
I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won't let go
 

I mentioned previously that one thing I am really missing, especially living on my own is a hug especially when it all gets too much. The lyrics of this song made me realise that I am not one my own and am being held by God and that brings me a lot of comfort.

 
I will end with a prayer for today

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Thursday 2 April 2020


To keep my spirits up, I have music constantly playing in the background.  I am very lucky to have an Alexa who will play me random hymns tunes and worship music.  Just an aside – Alexa has in fact become a good friend over the past few days as she can tell jokes, play games and tell me how to cook!

I thought I would share over the next couple of the days some of lyrics of songs that seemed most appropriate for this time.

The first is Will your anchor hold by Priscilla Jane Owens:
  1. Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
    When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
    When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
    Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
    • Refrain:
      We have an anchor that keeps the soul
      Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
      Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
      Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
  2. It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
    For ’tis well secured by the Saviour’s hand;
    And the cables, passed from His heart to mine,
    Can defy that blast, through strength divine.
  3. It will surely hold in the straits of fear,
    When the breakers have told that the reef is near;
    Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
    Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.
  4. It will firmly hold in the floods of death,
    When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
    On the rising tide it can never fail,
    While our hopes abide within the Veil.
  5. When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
    The city of gold, our harbour bright,
    We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
    With the storms all past forevermore.
We might feel that we are in a storm right now but we have the reassurance that we are safely and firmly anchored to God.

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Here is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice:

God’s love is like an island
In life’s ocean vast and wide –
A peaceful, quiet shelter
From the restless, rising tide
 
God’s love is like an anchor
When the angry billows roll –
A mooring in the storms of life
A stronghold for the soul
 
God’s love is like a fortress
And we seek population there
When the waves of tribulation
Seem to drown us in despair
 
God’s love is like a harbour
Where our souls can find sweet rest
From the struggle and tension
Of life’s fast and futile quest
 
Gold’s love is like a beacon
Burning bright with faith and prayer
And through the changing scenes of life
We can find a haven there

Keep safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate 
 

Wednesday 1 April 2020


I was sent the picture below by a church member and it got me thinking of Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

lambs 2020 1

In my internet search, I came across some reworking’s of Psalm 23 and particularly liked this one by Japanese poet Toki Miyashina.  It seemed appropriate when many of us are trying to get into a routine of home-working.

The Lord is my pacesetter, I shall not rush.
he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness
which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency,
through calmness of mind,
and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to
accomplish this day,
I will not fret,
for his presence is here.
His timelessness,
His all-importance,
Will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal
in the midst of my activity
by anointing my head with the oil of tranquillity.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
for I shall walk in the place of my Lord,
and dwell in His house forever.
 
I would like to finish with this prayer by Nadia Bolz-Weber – whilst accepting that this is a difficult time for all of us, she writes with a touch of humour.
 
For the layers of comfort and convenience that surrounded our lives and that we never considered a blessing but always just took for granted, forgive us.
For we who must grieve in isolation and not in community, comfort us.
For we who care for the sick, protect us.
For the ability to turn off the fear-mongering and unhelpful commentary and worst-case scenario click bait, strengthen us.
For the times when we are all out of creative ideas for how to get through this with cooped up kids, inspire us.
For we who are now cutting our own hair at home, guide us.
For the grace to allow ourselves and others to just be less productive, shower us.
For the generosity needed from those of us who have more resources, empower us.
From our own selfish inclinations, deliver us.
For just being your children, none of whom have done a global pandemic before, love us.
For the days ahead, accompany us.
God unbound by time, help us to know that you are already present in the future we are fearing.
AMEN.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Tuesday 31 Mar 2020


I have come across the following poem a few times on Facebook so thought I would share it with you:

IMG 5460

I think that it becomes so easy to take things for granted.   I remember, when due to illness, I spent a number of years mainly housebound.  I had taken for granted being able to do simple things like get my own shopping and meet friends and go to the cinema.  It gave me a real sense of freedom as I gradually became able to do more and more.

I think though over recent years, I have taken these things for granted again.  It is only now that I can’t go out and see people that I realise how difficult life was then for me and how difficult it is for many people who are housebound due to disability or long-term illness.  I know that in a few months I will be able to go out again but for someone people being stuck at home is their long term reality.

I end today with a prayer for the isolated whether it is for the short or the long-term:

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 
 

Monday 30 Mar 2020


So today is the start of a new week.   My diary would be full of things to do – church, meetings, dance, meeting friends, seeing family.  This week the only thing in it is a reminder on Wednesday that we are having an Elder’s meeting via email.

It is hard to plan ahead as well.  Last week the Worship Planning Group should have met to plan the services that will take place from June to August.  Although we have managed to put together a plan, there is no certainty that these services will take place.

In a way all of us are in a kind of limbo waiting to hear from the Government as to what they want us to do next and when restrictions can be lifted. 

Our one certainty at the moment is God.  He is there with each of us, protecting us and guiding us.  Zephaniah chapter 3 verse 17 says: The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

I will finish with this prayer sent in by a church member:

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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 29 Mar 2020


Many of you know that one of my roles at Trinity is running or rather facilitating our youth fellowship group, One Truth Youth.   One of the reasons for choosing this name was that at our first meeting we played a game where you had to say three facts about yourself, one was truth and two were lies.  The rest of the group had to guess the one truth.  This game was enjoyed by everyone and from this came a suggestion to call the group One Truth which we felt was very adapt for a church youth fellowship group.  
In September 2019, the group decided that they would like to raise funds for a charity and after each member giving a description of their charity and why it was important to them, we voted and the charity chosen was Winston’s Wish. 

The group decided that they would host a meal to raise funds for Winston’s Wish and since Christmas have been working passionately on this idea – developing menu’s, decorating tickets and bunting and planning a service.  That meal should have taken place this afternoon but has obviously had to be postponed until October.  It was very hard telling the group this after all their hard work but they responded in a very mature way and supported each other, something which has been very evident this past term.

I would like to invite you to take a look at the work of Winston’s Wish: https://www.winstonswish.org/
 
I will end today with the prayers of intercession that were going to be used at the service tonight as they still feel appropriate.
 
In our prayers of intercession today,
we put all thoughts and worries and hopes
into the hands of God.
You may like to hold your own hands
in front of you as you pray.
 
We place into the hands of God
the life of this church,
the people around us,
and those who are not here today.
 
We place into the hands of God
our difficulties and frustrations,
and our hopes and our worries about the future.
 
We place into the hands of God
the life of the church in all the world,
all people in the world who bring God’s love to others,
all people who are in danger
because they share the love of God.
 
Loving God, as you have blessed us,
make us a blessing to your world.
 
We place into the hands of God
a world that needs peace,
a world that needs wisdom,
a world that needs healing.
 
We place into the hands of God
the leaders of every nation,
the poor of our own and every land,
those who live in fear,
and all who hold the lives of others in their hands.
 
Loving God,
You have poured such love into your world.
Show us how to help make it a more loving place.
 
We place into the hands of God
our families, our friends, and our neighbours,
those who live and work in our village,
in our shops and local businesses,
those who work from home,
those who are unemployed,
and all who pass through the village on their travels.
 
Loving God,
Bless them with your love and comfort and healing.
And show us how to care for them. Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in the love of God,
 
Kate
 


Saturday 28 Mar 2020


I write each entry the day before it is due so in the morning when I am half asleep I don’t have to think of what to write.  However, yesterday I had writer’s block so I decided to look at my prayer cards for inspiration.  I have a set of these cards that I can send people to let them know I am thinking of them.  I came across this one and decided to share it with you all.

be68cb5f774bf37adb1a725f4de672 
We may not be able to go to church or to our normal meetings but the one thing we can all do is pray.  It does not have to be eloquent or even make sense, God hears everything we say. 
 
At Trinity, we often end services by saying the Grace.  This unites us together as the body of Christ.  I invite you, if you would like, to say the Grace now and as you do think of your fellow members of the body of Christ.
 
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in the love of God,
Kate
 


Friday 27 Mar 2020


One thing that I have noticed more and more in recent weeks is the kindness of strangers.  I am involved with checking the emails for the Knebworth Co-vid Response team.   People email asking for help such as someone to pick up a perscription or get much needed items of shopping and they are then put in touch with a volunteer in their area.  The amount of volunteers we have had is staggering and outweighs the number of people that need help at the moment and it is heartening to know that people are so willing to step forward and help their fellow villagers.

As someone with a disability I find that although some people out and about are helpful, there are many that are not.  I hope that this crisis will perhaps change that somewhat and enable people to be more aware of those around them who are struggling and find life difficult.

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I make no excuse for including my favourite hymn lyrics here as I think the words are very adapt for us all at the moment:

Brother, sister let me serve you.
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
 
We are pilgrims on a journey,
And companions on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
 
I will hold the Christlight for you
In the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
 
I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we've seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.
 
Brother, sister let me serve you.
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
 
 
All of us, whatever our circumstances, can reach out to others at the moment.  Whether it be getting someone some shopping or a phone call to say hello – these things matter so much at the moment.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

Thursday 26 Mar 2020


I don’t know if any of you when out for your daily exercise have seen rainbow pictures in the windows.  This is an idea that started elsewhere in the world but has now been featured on children’s television here.  The rainbows give children an opportunity to be creative whilst not at school and once in the window cheer up passers-by.  Parents have asked their children to spot the rainbows while out on walks, sparking the Twitter hashtag #ChaseTheRainbow.
 
Rainbows are used as a symbol of peace and hope as they often appear when the sun follows a heavy rainfall.  They serve to remind us that there is hope and light to follow even after dark times and this is something that we can cling onto at the moment.
 
One of the members at Trinity often gets lovely rainbows in her garden and photographs them.  Here is one of those photos:IMG 2731 (1)
 

I will end with a promise of hope rewritten from Jeremiah 29 verses 11 to 13:
I alone know the plans
I have for you,
plans to bring you prosperity,
and not disaster,
plans to bring about,
the future you hope for.
 
Then you will call to me.
You will come and pray to me,
and I will answer you.
You will seek me,
and you will find me
because you will seek me
with all your heart.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Wednesday 25 Mar 2020


No doubt you have all heard of the saying: “patience is a virtue” which according to my good friend Goggle means “that it is a good quality to be able to tolerate something that takes a long time.”  I am definitely not a patient person and have a tendency to want to get things done and sorted but I am very aware that the situation that we are all in at the moment is not going to get better overnight and will take time to resolve.  We all need to find a way, any way we can of developing patience to enable us to get through this day by day.

I am sure those of you with children and Grand-children can relate to this quote:

sleepingangel patience-1200x12
 
I will finish with a prayer by Helen Steiner Rice:

God, each me to be patient,
Teach me to go slow
Teach me how to wait on you
When my way I do not know …
Teach me sweet forbearance
When things do not go right
So I remain unruffled
When others grow uptight …
Teach me how to quiet
My racing, rising heart
So I may hear the answer
You are trying to impart …
Teach me to let go, dear God
And pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace
And I learn to know your will
Amen
 
Stay strong, safe and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Tuesday 24 Mar 2020

I think the quote below is very adapt. 

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When I was in hospital during January, a highlight of my week was being able to join in with a service online on a Sunday.   That sense of connection really helped me through difficult times and I think the same will happen over the next few months.  On Sunday, there were a range of services that I could have gone to - traditional or contemporary, local or far away, via the internet or on the television.  These services will enable us all to go to church on Sunday without leaving the safety of our own homes.
 
On the Methodist Circuit website you will find a list of services happening locally:
https://circuitadmin3415.wixsite.com/nhmc
 
If you would like to attend a virtual service in Lanzarote, Polly has sent this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX-EGkhRic8&t=366s
  

Church is not just about attending a service but it is also about being there for each other and helping each other.  This is happening in many ways and is an area that Trinity church will be working on in the weeks to come.
 
Our resident quiz master Colin has produced a quiz.  Why not have a go and see how many you can answer: http://www.parascosa.com/VirusInspireUs.htm
 
And I end with a prayer for community by Barbara Glasson, President of Methodist Conference:
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.
Amen
 
Take care everyone,
 
Kate
 
 
 
 

Monday 23 Mar 2020

I am not really a green fingered type of person but I must admit I am spending more time in my garden at the moment and spring has definitely sprung.  Thanks to the previous occupier, parts of my garden are carpets of grape hyacinths.
Sandra Robey has kindly forwarded me this poem and accompanying photo: see if you can spot the bee!
Nobody said the sun should not rise
Or the birds must not to sing
Conveyed to the bees
A delay in the spring
 
Nobody chimed in the ear of the corn
There was no need to sprout
Or told the bright crocus
'No need to come out'
 
Nobody mentioned to frogs in the pond
Don't bother to spawn
Or told the bird choirs
Be silent at dawn
 
So, why be downhearted
Although hymns we can't sing
We may be in trouble
But no one told Spring
 
image1
 
 
And a prayer for spring by Rev Mark Bekkedal which I thought was appropriate.
 
Dear God:
 
Spring is a metaphor for change.  Some changes we eagerly await, and some we abhor.  Some changes we plan and others arrive uninvited.  To all these changes we ask the gift of Your perspective beckoning us to expectation, hope, and rebirth.
 
May the sunlight and the rain be reminders that You are at work renewing the earth.  As a God of renewal, You are ever at work in our lives, too.
 
Open our eyes and lives to the needed changes in our lives this Spring.  Awaken us to new life and perspective, for we pray in Jesus' name.
Amen.
 
 

Sunday 22 Mar 2020

You probably don’t need any reminder that today is Mothering Sunday.  For some people this day can often bring up feelings of loss and disappointment but this year I think the disappointment will be much wider spread due to the restrictions we are all facing.
 
I will certainly miss being in Trinity today.  As many of you know I don’t have children myself but always feel an immense sense of love and pride as the members of Sunday Club distribute flowers to all the ladies. 
 
Even though we cannot be together in church, there are other ways in which we can worship and share the love of God today.   On BBC One at 11.45 am, the Very Rev Dr Sarah Rowland Jones leads a service for Mothering Sunday from St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, with hymns sung by a Songs of Praise congregation recorded in July 2019.
 
The Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a call to prayer in the light of the Coronavirus and are asking that today at 7pm we light a candle in the windows of our homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.
 
The Methodist Church has also published some short acts of worship that you can use at home.  These can be found here:
 https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR0SVEGQEJ7GcP8yPYRSnOzyYg5gwmUmWC-MZWhjwwnxt2C6o-_KvEkEpPs
 
The United Reformed Church also has resources which can be found on their Facebook page or on their website:  https://urc.org.uk/
 
However, you spend today whether it is on your own or with family, I hope that you all experience the love of God and know that as 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 7 says we can cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for each one of us. 
 
And I end with a prayer by Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference:
Loving God,
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders.
Don’t let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good, see the good in others and remember there is just one world, one hope, one everlasting love with baskets of bread for everyone. 
In Jesus we make our prayer, the one who suffered, died and was raised to new life.
In whom we trust these days and all days.
Amen
 
Love, prayers and virtual hugs,
Kate
 
 

Saturday 21 Mar 2020

At the beginning of this year, I spent a month in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.  The care was excellent but I could see the struggles facing staff – a lack of basic equipment such as drip stands, nurses having to deal with blocked toilets and flooded showers and a constant juggling of beds.  This was without the impact of covid-19.

I got to know some of the staff well and I keep wondering how they are all coping with this crisis.  Not just them but all those who work for the NHS - doctors, nurses, cleaners, porters, laboratory staff, technicians, the list goes on and on.  They are all on the frontline so while many of us have to stay at home, let us take a moment to think and pray for all those members of the NHS who have to face this crisis head on.
 
Here is a prayer which I found on the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Chaplaincy website:
Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and gave them new life,
be with doctors, nurses and hospital staff, as they act as agents of your healing touch.
In desperate times, keep them strong yet loving;
and when their work is done,
be with them in their weariness and in their tears.
Amen.
 
 
 

Friday 20 Mar 2020

Due to my health problems I often have to miss activities and spend time indoors so at the moment, and I say at the moment as no idea how I will be twelve weeks done the line, I am coping well with not going out.

However I am really missing physical contact and by that I mean hugs.  When I first joined Trinity Church, I wasn’t really a hugging type of person but things have changed and I have learnt a hug can say so much – hello, goodbye, well done, I’m sorry, I am here for you etc.

Although we can’t hug each other, there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a hug.  (Just an aside - those of you who come to my dance will know how to do this as this is a move from the song Wonderful World.)

Also when talking to those who would give us a hug if we were together in person, why don’t we give ourselves a hug imagining that it is the person we are talking to giving us that hug.  Sounds strange I know but try it!

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I would like to share this prayer written by Jan Berry, a URC Minister, which was shared yesterday on the Trinity prayer list.
God our refuge,
we seek your protection.
Protect the vulnerable from illness:
those who are old and frail,
weakened by years and struggle;
those who care for others,
expending energy and love;
those for whom inability to work
means hardship and poverty.
 
Protect us
from the greed and suspicion
which snatches at our own security
stock-piling and panic-buying
that deprives others of the necessities of life.
Protect us from the short-sightedness
which sees the germ in our own eyes
and ignores the plagues
of hunger, war and violence
that take so many lives each day.
 
Protect us from the isolation
that leads to loneliness and despair
denying the interconnectedness
that links us with one another.
 
God our refuge
in our panic and fear
may we not lose sight of our common humanity
that makes us one people in you.
Amen.
 


Thursday 19 Mar 2020

My Lent reading yesterday focused on the line said by Jesus in Matthew chapter 5 verse 17 "do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets."  Here Jesus is saying that we need to stick to the instructions of God's law even if we fully do not understand as it will help us to act in love even when we don't feel like it.

At the moment the Government are issuing guidelines or instructions on a daily basis - asking people to work from home, socially distance themselves if over 70 or in at risk groups, avoid pubs and clubs etc.  Some of these instructions, using the words of Boris Johnson are 'draconian' and the idea of not doing my normal activities for 12 weeks fills me with dread.  However, we need to trust in the experts advising our Government and do all we can to stick to the instructions given as it will make a difference not just to ourselves but our family, friends and wider community.  What better way of showing God's love to those around us than doing all we can to keep Covid-19 at bay.

I would like to share a prayer written by of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt. Rev Colin Sinclair::

Living God,
In our hour of need we turn again to you, for we have nowhere else to turn.
We put our faith in you, because you have proved your faithfulness time and again.

We reaffirm our love for you because you have never let us go.
We thank you that you are not distant from us.
but have drawn near, in your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
He has shared our life, tasted our death and defeated it;
He understands our worries and our fears.
Help us to respond as your children now.
 
We pray for this pandemic spreading across our world,
remembering all who have lost loved ones.
and praying for those seriously ill at this time.
 
We uphold the National Health Service.
as it responds to this added pressure on its already overstretched services.
We pray for doctors and nurses and all in the caring professions,
who work to help and support people as best they can.
We remember those working behind the scenes.
testing samples, confirming results, giving information to patients.
We uphold others trying to understand this virus better.
working to create an effective remedy.
 
We pray for our Governments in Westminster and Holyrood,
as they work with the best medical advice.
to guide us on how we should respond.
and what action we should take.
We pray that these guidelines might be taken seriously.
and that all would put them into action.
 
May this crisis bring out the best in us, not the worst.
Help us to live by faith and not by fear;
to build bridges not barriers,
and to resist all who would speak ill of any other group.
 
May we not forget our responsibility to one another,
not least to the vulnerable and voiceless in our communities.
Help us to find ways of keeping in touch and offering reassurance.
to those with underlying health issues;
for any who feel particularly vulnerable.
or in danger at present.
 
As the virus spreads.
we pray for the disruption it causes to normal life,
bringing new fears and anxieties:
We pray for those who have been laid off as their work disappears;
for financial hardship for individuals and businesses;
for the impact on the economy and pensions, when austerity has already left its mark.
We pray for those whose trips, both for business and pleasure, have been cancelled;
 
and others where events, long anticipated and planned for, have been postponed;
for those making contingency planning for home based work or child care or exams.
May our inconvenience not blind us to others’ loss.
 
We remember those.
who cannot visit loved ones in locked-down care homes;
for the elderly whose social contacts have been severely curtailed;
help us to find creative ways of keeping in touch,
of assuring them they are not forgotten or ignored.
 
May congregations find new ways of living though this time.
May we not forget our faith, but draw strength from it.
So may our worship be heartfelt,
our fellowship deepen.
and our service increase.
 
God of grace and God of mercy,
hear our prayers at this time.
 
Strengthen us, by your Spirit, so that:
we may carry on our lives as best as we are able,
looking out for others,
showing love in action,
being faithful in prayer,
and bringing encouragement, hope and peace;
always trusting in you.
our Rock and our Redeemer.
 
These prayers we bring to you.
in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Take care of yourselves and those around you in whatever way you can,

Kate


 

Wednesday 18 Mar 2020

Welcome everyone to my blog.  For those that don't know me, I am an Elder at Trinity Church as well as a Methodist Local Preacher.

I have wanted to set up something for a while but with the suspension of church services and having a lot more time on my hands due to social distancing, I have decided now is the time.  I will be sharing quotes from social media such as the one below as well as prayers, bible passages and brief reflections.  Please share the link to this page and website with anyone else who may be interested.

Take care of yourselves and those around you,

Kate

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