MARCH 2001

This is selected highlights from Lindfield United Reformed Church's monthly magazine, Good News. It is freely available from the Church and Lindfield Post Office. The printed edition also contains useful information regarding local meetings and 'Family News'.
If don't live in the area, and wish to recieve a copy of the magazine, please Email the Editors.

Contents this month:

• Worship in March (Norman Smith)

• Letter from the Minister (Norman Smith)

• BB Boy to URC Moderator (Revd David Helyar)

• The Ryecroft Squirrel writes... (Brother Bushby)

• Can you hear him calling? (dsadsadsa)

• Childhood memories (from an ex-Rugby playing Elder)

• One of THOSE days... (Suzy Jacques)

• COPY DATE for APRIL edition (dsadsadsa)






Worship in March


First Sunday of Lent

9.30am Communion — Peter and Kay McIntosh

11.00am Peter and Kay McIntosh

6.30pm Mike Gardiner


9.30am James Clarke

11.00am Norman Smith and James Clarke

6.30pm Communion and Healing — Norman Smith


9.30am Parade Service Stuart Dew and Mike Lee

11.00am David Walters

6.30pm David Nibloe and Norman Smith


Mothering Sunday

9.30am Clare Nibloe, Carol Walters and others

11.00am Communion — Richard Tucker

6.30pm Service taken by the Young People

Personal prayer is available after every service. Prayer requests and brief statements of praise for answered prayer can be put in the red book on the concourse table. You can ask the minister for personal prayer ministry at home or in hospital.

Lindfield URC Main Site

Why is this happening to me?

I thought I had followed the guidance of God, even tested it by seeking the counsel of others and now I find it has all gone ‘pear shaped’. I can hardly believe it, but its true. I keep going over and over the events in my head and wonder why. I talk to God about it and, so far, have not received a definitive answer.

On the one hand, I go on being convinced that I did get it right, I was being obedient to God’s will, and there must be some explanation for my current circumstances. Other people may even say that God is with me in my turmoil, which I am sure he is, and one day I shall look back and realise the reason! On the other hand, I think that, in spite of all the pointers to the contrary, I must have got it wrong. God was not guiding me in this direction, at that point in time, and he wants me to get back ‘on track’.

That kind of scenario relates to people in marriage, people in communities, people in work and people in church. Many people going through a difficult time, especially if they have tried to listen to God’s voice about past decisions, find it very hard to get satisfactory answers to their questions.

Whatever our predicament, it is always vital to appreciate that God never leaves us, and God never lets us down. If we are upset, angry, hurt, bitter, resentful, he longs to help us cope with the ‘here and now’ and encourages us to forgive any who may have harmed us along life’s road.

During this season of Lent, we will have opportunity for pondering again and again the cruel, unjust suffering and horrendous death of Jesus on the cross. We will remember how the religious leaders despised him and how, eventually, even his closest friends abandoned him. As his situation deteriorated, he wrestled in prayer, in a garden outside the city, and faced the fact that what had happened, and what would happen, was in accordance with God’s will. His courage and steadfastness must have deeply affected those who saw it, especially when he prayed that those crucifying him might know God’s forgiveness. Even one of the soldiers responsible for carrying out the death sentence was moved to acknowledge his true identity.

May God help us, whoever we are, and whatever is happening to us, to go on trusting him and go on forgiving those who, in our experience, have given us so much to be sad and sorrowful about.

Yours in his abiding love

Lindfield URC Main Site


BB Boy to URC Moderator

The Rev. Bill Mahood, BA, MTh, who is this year’s Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC, writes about his Boys’ Brigade roots!

I was a member of the BB from the age of eight until just after my 20th birthday. Just twelve years and yet I believe that it has been one of the most important experiences of my life. It continues to exert its influence on me every single day, even though it is almost 39 years since I finished in the Brigade, and I thank God for it.

I was a member of the 76th Belfast Company and I can still remember the names of most of the leaders during my time. I have at home most of my certificates and all of my badges, including the Queen’s badge. But what is most important is that I remember what I was taught in the Brigade.

My time in BB finished in 1962 when I left Belfast and moved to Nottingham to begin training for ordination. Whilst still at school, I came to believe that I was called to ministry. I left school and worked for two years in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. This gave me the opportunity to experience the world of work in a situation where I was meeting lots of different people. It also gave me time to test my sense of call. Was being a minister of the church really what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? I knew that for me the answer was ‘yes’.

Where did the BB fit into all of this? I believe that it is because I was in the BB that I am a minister today. There, and in the church where it was based, Cregagh Congregational Church, I learned the reality of faith. I learned the importance of the BB motto and that faith is based in a living relationship with God in Jesus Christ. I saw this at work in the lives of the people who were leading me in the BB and in the church. I was challenged to take seriously the implications of being a person of faith and that included how I was going to spend the rest of my life.

I do not believe that I was forced into faith or brainwashed into being a minister. Rather, I think that these are some of the first decisions that I have ever made in my life. But in the making of them and in following them I received full encouragement and support. For that I am deeply grateful.

Now I am set on another big adventure. As Moderator, I am visiting lots of churches in Britain and abroad and represent the URC at ecumenical, national and international events. It is a great privilege to do this. I am expecting to meet BB people and BB companies in my travels. I see it as yet another example of the strange, mysterious and wonderful ways in which God leads us. I learned that first in the BB and I am still experiencing it today."

Lindfield URC Main Site


The Ryecroft Squirrel writes

Hi everyone

Spring is on its way and the regular sight of the old man watching his missus do the gardening will once again be a feature of my week. He just hasn’t a clue how to garden. He certainly can’t tell the difference between a plant and a weed and, when he cuts the grass, the one job he does attempt, the missus has been known to tell him it’s too short! When he appears, I would love to say to him "You are the weakest link, goodbye!" But I guess that is not a particularly Christian remark.

Have you seen that programme on television? I think it is actually called ‘The Weakest Link’. The Smiths have their tea about the time that it is on, so they sometimes watch the programme before the news starts. If I sit on the fence, I can watch too. I am ashamed to say I laugh at that very rude lady who is so sarcastic. I wonder the participants don’t give her a black eye as they do the ‘walk of shame’ when they get voted off! Have you noticed how, at the end of the programme, she turns to we viewers and gives us a sickly grin and a wink? It makes my tail quiver!

Although it is only a quiz game, it does reflect an attitude which is prevalent in today’s society. People revel in being rude to each other and delight in rubbishing their efforts, and criticising their lack of ability.

It happens in politics and industry as well as, sadly, in the church.

I am not sure if we are having any babies this year but, if we do, I must try to keep remembering the damage I could do to them if I shout them down all the time and tell them off. I’ll resolve to be positive, encouraging and affirming because that will bring out the best in them and hope the folk who meet in the building next door pick up a few tips from me, including the old man!

Brother Bushby

Lindfield URC Main Site


Can you hear Him calling?

George was as regular as clockwork. He would arrive at 11.00am each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, then at 3.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. George never dawdled. He would stride in and smile at the reception staff but never stop to chat. He knew the keypad entry-code so there was no need for others to release the door lock. He was always neatly dressed. It was difficult to put an age on him. He may have been a retired army officer or, perhaps, even a country doctor. It was his air of confidence that struck the onlooker.

On the other hand, Angie was so thin. Her dark hair streaked with silver and her dark eyes showing no recognition of life. Her clothes were ill fitting and streaked with whatever food she had last eaten. What age was Angie? Her facial appearance would make most suggest she was in her 70s, but she was only just in her mid-fifties. Over a period of a month, Angie had deteriorated sharply, both physically and mentally. Her balance had gone. Her legs and face showed dark bruises and superficial cuts, not received from any mistreatment, far from it. She just walked into things and fell on the hard floor. So bad was her condition, she slept on a mattress on the floor of her room.

What disease could she have contracted? Was it AIDS or some tropical virus. No, Angie was getting old long before her time. She suffered from premature senile dementia. She could only be looked after in a community hospital for the aged. All others about her were 20 years or more her senior.

George always gave the impression when he arrived that he had few cares in the world, but he covered his personal tragedy well. George was visiting Angie, his wife. It was he who had cared for her, night and day, at home until things had been just too much, even for him and his abundant love for her. George would visit Angie even though there was no conversation. But Angie would become less agitated when he came and she stopped her alarming moans. Although Angie showed no signs of understanding what George said, he would tell her what was going on in the outside world. He often brought a book and would read to his wife even if she didn’t seem to be listening to what he read.

It would be far too easy to blame God for what had happened to George and Angie. Our faith tells us that there must be more to it all than that. Perhaps this is God calling for something to be done? But what? Who is God calling, and to whom, in this true-life situation. Is it to Angie who no longer knows the world, or is it to George who has had so much to bear? George, who has suffered the loss of Angie in mind and is now waiting for Angie to be lost in body too? On the other hand, maybe God is calling the nursing staff to minister to all those like Angie. Or, possibly, God is calling for someone else to give support to the nursing staff who find it so distressing dealing with Angie?

Who is He calling?

Lindfield URC Main Site


Childhood Memories

(by an ex-rugby player Elder)

Oh! for days of yesteryear!
When I was very young.
We’d play in nearby fields of green,
Whilst skylarks swooped and sung.

Those treasured days so filled with fun,
Remain within my heart.
I wish I could re-live them now,
And so I’ll make a start.

No resource did we ever lack,
Anyone we could be!
All came from active limbs and minds,
Not virtual reality!

Span of time nor race nor creed,
Ever held us back.
For we were heroes one and all,
Nothing did we lack.

Soldiers, sailors, cowboys too,
It mattered not at all!
We captured ships and forts galore,
To us they each would fall.

Trees were there to climb with ease,
On every limb we’d swing.
And if some fell at any time,
We never felt a thing!

Limbs were supple in those days,
Our energy overflowed.
Nothing stopped us in our tracks,
Until the homeward road.

Streams and ditches close to hand,
With wildlife hard to match.
Frog-spawn, frogs, newts and fish,
Each in turn we’d catch.

Serious games so good to play,
Of cricket and football.
Each a famous name were we,
At our country’s call.

No TV games or stereo blast,
To keep us in the home.
We had the freedom of outdoors,
With fields and sands to roam.

No fear of grown-ups crossed our mind,
Whilst we our games did play.
No anxious thoughts within our hearts,
On getting home that day.

I loved those days and thank the Lord,
That I could play and roam,
In those times now long ago,
And safely come back home.

Alas! those days have long since gone,
And houses fill that field.
But they will never hide from me,
The memories I’ve revealed.

Lindfield URC Main Site


One of THOSE days

(in the life of Suzy Jacques)

Do you ever have one of THOSE days? The kind when you just want to crawl back into bed and start again - preferably tomorrow? Well, I had one today.

I woke up, still feeling tired, not daring to open my eyes and see the clock, hoping it was still only 3 o’clock in the morning, knowing it was just before 7.00am … and the alarm went off.

I dragged myself out of bed, then spent an age trying to find something ‘smart casual’ to wear to the office, that didn’t make me look like an English pear, but finally gave up and opted for ‘smart’.

I dropped the cereal box on the floor, followed by my chocolate bar for lunch, cut open the passion fruit I’d treated myself to and screwed up my face when I tasted how sour it was.

With the 8.37am in mind, I locked up the flat, went down to the door and realised that the ‘light drizzle’ I had noticed from my bedroom window was, in fact, rather large blobs of rain. Back upstairs for my umbrella — which was nowhere to be seen. I grabbed a hat and walked to the station doing a very good impression of Bill and Ben, got up onto platform 3 and the Thameslink doors bleeped closed — in front of me.

The 8.41am was, mercifully, on time. I got on, settled down and was in mid-wrestle with my computer bag to get it to release the book I was hoping to read, when "Tickets please!" Do they deliberately choose the one moment when you could not possibly get to your ticket if you tried?

It was then that I really felt like going back to bed. And it was also then that I finally heard God shouting at me "Pray to me! Talk to me!"

You see, yesterday I had a job interview and I had what felt like half of England (and a small part of Germany) praying for me and, indeed, I even gave God a few more minutes prayer than usual myself. But today was a nothing day, no huge dilemmas at work, no need to get up incredibly early, so my prayer time had successfully dwindled to a thirty-second Selwyn Hughes "Every Day with Jesus" prayer.

I’m personally beginning to have a lot more faith in the power of prayer, but I’m still very much a crisis pray-er. Oh, not only my own personal crises; I’m very good at being the good Christian, praying for others’ needs too — but I am just beginning to get it into my thick skull that God wants more. If all you ever did was talk to your friends about your own personal problems, or those of your friends, would that be a good relationship?

This morning’s episodes of "Why me?" were not some punishment for not praying — or a reminder to pray when everything was going wrong — it was God’s way of showing me that he wants a relationship, he wants to discuss the good as well as the bad, and he wants me to listen as well as do the talking.

Lindfield URC Main Site



If you have an article for inclusion in the next edition of Good News, please let me have it as soon as possible and, in any event, by Noon on Sunday, 11th March at the very latest. Editor

Lindfield URC Main Site