Category Archives: Prayers

Reflection

Beachcombing with The Teacher

Just four years ago now I took part in a Quiet Day in Bude that was simply titled “Beach combing” and the Bible passage chosen was that most familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3 “There is a right time for everything”
Many times I have found this to be true – that sometimes we humans want everything right now, but God’s timing is always perfect. During that August day I wrote this reflection, a sort of
seaside reworking of the poetic verses that the Teacher wrote so long ago.

How true it is that there is
a right time for things to happen.
A time for the sand to be warmed by the sun
And a time for it to be covered by the incoming tide.

A time for a stone to be lifted up
And a time for water to fill the stone-hole
To create a new environment.

A time to flow like the tide
And a time to accept that the tide may be turning.

A time to be young
And a time to age.

A time to cherish relationships
And a time to accept their ending.

A time for good health and strength
And a time for pain and weakness.

A time to be invincible,
And a time to be vulnerable.

A time to care for others
And a time to allow others to care for you

A time to hang on and give and give,
And a time to give up, let go and let God.

For God arranges everything
to be perfect at the right time
And to be happy in life we have to accept the rhythm
Over which we have no control,
That which is God given;
the ebb and flow of God’s life tides.

Ten days later I decided to “give up, let go and let God”, to retire from ministry, praying that the right place for us to live would come. And I am here, settled at Point in View… God’s
timing is perfect for everyone, everywhere, always.
With love and prayers,
Barbara Bennett

Noel’s Prayer Page – September

HOMES THAT SMILE

This is one of the charities being supported by our Mission Committee this year. The name is unusual, but it is also evocative, and highly appropriate. This is a way in which our church can play an important role in helping young children in Exmouth who need love and help.

Roger Humphries who founded this charity understood that parents whose emotional needs were not adequately met in their own childhood struggle often have continuing difficulties. He believed that, in these times of cuts to social care provision, Christians and churches might wish to help. The charity is funded solely by donations and grants. Most funders will not support the work of seeking to bring people into the family of God while helping them with problems in their family life. Homes that Smile tell us that their greatest source of help is prayer. Recent activities include a Workshop “Help! My chid won’t sleep” and First Aid sessions for parents.

Loving God, we are thankful to know that there are organisations like this, quietly at work in Exmouth. We pray that more volunteers will step forward to offer a few hours of their time to assist with the parenting course, act as drivers or give support to some of the more vulnerable families. We pray for all the volunteers that they will accept the discipline of the training programmes and allow the love of God to flow through them towards all the vulnerable families in this area. May any negative attitudes melt away in the light of the presence of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Amen

Children’s Hospice South West: Little Bridge House, Fremington

A group of 20 members of Glenorchy Church and Withycombe Raleigh WI set off on the 24th June to visit Little Bridge House, where children with life threatening diseases and their families are cared for. It was built after funds had been raised by a husband and wife who had children suffering from a terminal disease. It has extensive grounds enabling it to be extended to meet the needs of so many young people over the years.

The rooms for patients are situated on the ground floor overlooking beautifully kept gardens, with colourful flowers, bushes and trees. The rooms have patio doors and there are many bird feeders attracting lots of different birds, giving pleasure to those watching. Each room is set up with all the medical equipment required for each patient’s care, and items such as favourite books, toys, games, and pictures are made ready for their arrival, according to the individual’s interests.

On the floor above are rooms thoughtfully prepared for the families of patients where all their needs are catered for during their time of respite. All the corridors have lovely pictures and collages and small areas with toys which look so colourful and welcoming. There is a large room with pool and table tennis tables, many computers, television, radios with ear phones, guitars a piano and books for siblings to enjoy.

There is also a wonderfully set up craft room to cover so many different crafts and a play area with climbs and ball pools for great fun. A quiet area has enormous cushions to lie on peacefully, watching slowly changing kaleidoscope like coloured lights on the walls and ceiling. There is also a large pool for patients to lie safely in harness in the soothing warm water. There are also fun play areas and wide paths outside for those well enough to go outside to enjoy the gardens in wheelchairs, with their siblings. It really takes your breath away to see what care and thought goes into all they do, for these precious families.

There are so many dedicated staff providing the amazing care offered. Doctors, specialist nurses, physiotherapists, counsellors and church representatives, none of whom wear uniforms, and an army of volunteers who give freely of their time to make Little Bridge House the wonderful place it is. There is a beautiful Chapel for those who need this peaceful place to share their worries and thoughts with God and a room for those who have passed on to join their Lord, where their relatives can say their last goodbyes.

I am sure our visit made us appreciate the wonderful work carried out at Little Bridge House and to thank God for those dedicated people who show such love and care for others. They were extremely grateful for the £400 donation raised by our Mission Committee for their continued work and for the knee blankets, prepared and taken every 2 years for the comfort of those sitting in wheelchairs. Letters of thanks have been received since our visit.
Sue Densham

Noel’s Prayer Page July

A Poem for our Time

Last month I wrote about the Mission Committee’s focus for 2019 on Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and in the autumn there will be articles about our other charities, the South West Children’s Hospice and Homes that Smile. All these good causes deserve your ongoing prayers. But for this edition, in the light of the Climate Emergency, I am sharing a poem I wrote some time ago, and had meant to read at the recent ECO service taken by Geoff Smith.

THE GIFT and THE VIOLATION

We are one species on this earth.
What other has the gift
to see the context of each tree,
each bush, each flower, each bee?

Yet like the dinosaurs, before,
We tear and we destroy.
We foul this nest in which we’re born
Defile land, air and sea.

Yet we are gifted through our minds
to scan the universe,
through telescope and microscope
we study stars and spores.
We found connections in life forms
to quote and note them – illustrate.
Through Darwin’s book and Marten’s brush
the story was retold –
this interlocking life of worms –
our place in it revealed.

Attenborough is now on screen
in almost every home,
Bill Oddie in the fields.
They show the worlds of birds and fish,
or interlocking life of worms –
our place in this – revealed.

Man’s been here o’er a million years
and lived sustainably for most:
until three centuries ago
when engines were deployed.
Then we sought conquest for ourselves
not caring for this earth.
Then we forgot to share the love
That each child’s loaned at birth.

Note: A blue plaque on the front of Exmouth library tells us that Conrad Martens, the artist who accompanied Darwin, once lived on that site, and painted tropical plants growing in the garden there. The accompanying picture is one of his paintings of Exmouth.

LOVING GOD, We, your children, ask forgiveness for polluting wildlife in the eco-system, the air we breathe, the precious water that sustains us and the soil that is theground of being
for life on this precious planet. Our lifestyles are insensitive and the futures of our children are imperilled. Forgive us our trespasses, help us to behave as Jesus taught us, loving our neighbours and reflecting the gift of your Holy Spirit, which flows around us. Amen.

Noel’s Prayer Page June

BE THE CHANGE

Send us out all over the world, so that everyone everywhere will discover your ways and know who you are, and see your power to save (Psalm 67:2)

One of the charities being supported through our Mission Committee this year is Mission Aviation Fellowship. The quote above is used in their Mission Aviation Prayer Diary for June 2019. It goes on to say “As followers of Christ we are called to be light in the darkness and yet, if we believe everything we see on the news and read in the papers we would be tempted to despair and give up. Praise God for the promise of His Word, which ignited the hope we have in Jesus. We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing.”

KENYA: God’s timing is perfect. While flying to Kargi for East Side Christian Church, Pilot Melvyn Peters, along with a doctor and nurse “who happened to be around” were able to carry out a life-saving medevac for a baby suffering from pneumonia and dehydration. God knows what we need and when we need it, and never fails. We produce care packages for new mothers, They call them “Mama kits”- a blanket and baby-grow, with toiletry for the mums. This season in Kenya is called “the long rains”, mostly downpours. Please pray for safety. Roads often become impassable.

SOUTH SUDAN: People wake daily to political insecurity and the threat of bloodshed. Thousands of dwellings lie empty and refugee camps are bursting with families far from home. Please pray for a lasting peace. Uphold the work of the Holy Trinity Peace Village – an oasis of peace that provides the needs of malnourished children.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Our pilots fly peanuts. Tons are flown from remote areas inti main towns to sell. Proceeds help to pay for school fees, medicine and food. Please pray for a good harvest for the workers. MAF has ten bases spread around this country from the western highlands to the tropical eastern lowlands. It can be difficult for team members living in some remoter areas. Connect Expo is a conference started by MAF to bring leaders of government, NGOs and different denominations together to work for the good of this country. Please pray that they all feel connected to one another and to God and for positive outcomes. Amen.

Noel’s Prayer Page – May

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

One of the saddest things about the busy world we live in is that regular prayer gets crowded out. The media and advertising dominates so much of our thinking. It is so noisy and melodramatic these days that my wife and I can’t enjoy going to the cinema any more. The adverts hit us in the face. Perhaps even worse is the subliminal advertising that gets under the skin and affects our every day thinking. Years ago I read about this possible future in a wonderfully predictive book called “The Hidden Persuaders.” They surround us now all the time and secretly influence behaviour.

When I was a child we said prayers in the air raid shelter constructed under the stairs. The area had formerly been a pantry with a brick coal shed behind it. My brother and I were snug in sleeping bags on the floor and my mother led the prayers sitting on a stool by the door into the kitchen. In the simple mind of a seven-year-old, I believed these prayers prevented the bombs falling on us. I did not question why others were hit, but it helped us to feel safe and get some sleep between the air raids. As a young adult I rejected these childish thoughts and might well have stopped praying, but during my National Service I was introduced to another kind of worship.

The Mission to Mediterranean Garrisons was a lively evangelical refuge, where I found friendship and an escape from the rigours of army life. I was baptised in the waters of the Great Bitter Lake at Fayid, and learned to pray passionately in small groups of people. I was not sure about all this, but it made life bearable. I tried the Anglican church when I was working in the Careers Advisory Service in Solihull, but I was not keen on all their rites, and had growing doubts.

After several years when I rejected church going, I came back to praying with the help of a United Reformed Church in Nottingham. I learned that prayer is a two-way affair. It reaches out to a higher source of Love, beyond our understanding, and it helps our own mood and behaviour. When I joined Glenorchy church I was glad to find that they had a Prayers for Healing Group. For a few years before I lost my leg I joined this loving circle, that gathered each week to pray for the world we live in, the community in Exmouth and for our own church and membership. There is a special focus on those in our congregation who request prayers. Numbers gathering have fallen over the years, from around twelve to four or five now, and there is a question
about the future of the group. It would be very sad if these meetings had to be abandoned. Please pray for the Glenorchy Prayer Group, a precious part of our church mission. If you would like to come along some time and experience it, please contact Jenny Newman.

Loving God, we seek to walk on the path that Jesus taught us and prayer is at the very heart of it. Show us a way forward for Glenorchy, opening our hearts to support one another and strengthening our faith in prayer and action.
Amen.

Eco Church update – April

Jenny Newman and I were at the March Synod meeting at Bridgwater. It included a discussion and resolution on disinvesting at the earliest opportunity the shares Synod holds in fossil fuel companies such as Shell, BP and Chevron. There was an alternative resolution which proposed a more ‘softly-softly’ approach involving working together with other parts of the URC and engaging with the fossil fuel companies as shareholders, to get them to move away from investing in fossil fuels. Voting was very close and so a decision was deferred to the next Synod meeting.
There was another resolution, which was passed – “the Synod resolves to reduce its impact on the environment” by amongst other actions becoming an Eco Synod (Yes, there is such a thing!). We are one of 14 URC churches in the South Western Synod signed up to Eco Church. Hopefully this resolution and the publicity within the Synod generated will help to increase the number substantially. In a break from routine business, there was a series of ‘break-out’ sessions in the afternoon, one of which was an Eco Workshop. Revd Rob Weston from Tavistock URC gave a
lively and persuasive talk on what we can do about global warming as individuals and churches, and there were eco questions and issues explored by representatives of churches not yet registered with Eco Church as well as those like ourselves who are.

Noel Harrower passed on a booklet produced by Christian Aid for Lent, “Rise up against climate change 2019”. We agreed to use this material in place of his “Noel’s Prayer Page”:-
It describes how Christian Aid’s partner ICODE helps small, remote islands in the Philippines to thrive. The Philippines is seriously affected by climate change and more than half the
population live in disaster-prone areas. Work is carried out to restore damaged fishing ecosystems, such as building an artificial reef to prevent illegal fishing and protect fish stocks.
Training is provided to enable fishermen to diversify, including production of seaweed ice-cream (!), noodles and pickles. And they are taught what to do when typhoons hit, such as
Typhoon Haiyan which battered the Philippines in 2013. Let us give thanks for organisations like Christian Aid who carry out such fantastic work to help people “rise up against climate change”. Let us be willing to do our own bit to reduce the effects of climate change and to give back to the environment what we have wrongfully taken. Let us pray that richer nations stop the activities which are destroying the environment and violating the rights of the poorer nations. Let us rejoice too in the beautiful created world which God has given us.

Here is a prayer from Christian Aid’s website written by Katrina Rowland:
You spoke into the silence, llght suffusing darkness
You spoke into the silence, blowing clean life-giving air into the space.
You spoke into the silence, warmth and cold infusing the air.
You spoke into the silence.

Geoff Smith