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 May
Letter from the Minister
Feeling let down
Lyn and Richard
growing up (Lyn & Richard Tucker)
Balcombe URC Speakers
Spring Harvest reports
Hospitality of the heart
Take a banana on your
way out (David Tingley)
News from Carpe Diem
Boys Brigade (Geoffrey
Marys musings (Mary
Sussex Christian Camps
9.30am Richard Walters and Norman Smith
11.00am Norman Smith
6.30pm David Nibloe and Norman Smith
9.30am Richard Walters and Barry Piper
11.00am Graham Campling
6.30pm Communion David Nibloe and Norman Smith
9.30am Communion Norman Smith
11.00am Michael Davies
6.30pm David Nibloe and Norman Smith
9.30am Richard Walters and Norman Smith
11.00am Communion and Healing Norman Smith
6.30pm David Nibloe and David Walters
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.
More Jottings from Elsewhere!
"To buy or not to buy, that
is the question!"
These misquoted words from Shakespeares Hamlet
have been much in my mind just recently. With retirement looming
over the horizon and the need to move from our tied cottage
in Haywards Heath, we have plunged into the turbulent waters of
house purchase. It has been a steep learning curve and not least
in exploring the world of the estate agent. It has amazed us how
every property that comes on the market is such an attractive purchase!
Indeed, the houses are all such wonderful residences that I am surprised
anyone should want to sell them!
We are quite sure, however, that, in Gods good providence,
just the right house is waiting for us and it will come at just
the right time.
The issue of retirement has also challenged us to seek Gods
guidance in other matters. Those who have been through the experience
will know what I mean. There is a host of decisions to be taken
and some of them may affect life for many years to come. Yet, the
seeking of Gods guidance is something that touches every aspect
of life all the time, not just at retirement. All our decisions,
all our choices, should be made with the desire to fulfil Gods
purposes. So, a basic question for every Christian is: "How
do I know what God wants me to do?"
There are standard answers to the above question. I discover what
God wants me to do by prayer and the study of the scriptures, in
worship and meditation, through fellowship with other Christians
and listening to the still small voice within me. These are honoured
channels of Gods guidance and I am wise to give them quality
time in my busy life. However, they are not the complete answer.
If they were, there could be the temptation to sit back and say
to "God, "Can you please tell me simply and clearly exactly
what you want me to do? In your own time, of course, but hopefully
sooner rather than later."
Thankfully, it doesnt work quite like that. Something more
is needed and that something is a life that is close enough to God
to be able to hear what he is saying. Our lives must be increasingly
in tune with Gods life so that our spiritual reception (perception)
will recognise his guidance for what it is.
In the early church, the Desert Fathers sought to grow closer to
God by long solitude and deep meditation in wilderness places. They
emphasised the importance of being and not doing.
But, for most of us, a spiritual life of that kind is not possible.
However, they do challenge us to set the priorities of our lives
in such a way that we can deepen our relationship with God as we
know him in Christ. As our relationship deepens, we will see more
clearly what God is asking of us the choices he wants us
to make. The choices may not grow any easier. The pressure of deciding
may stay with us but we will know that God is sharing the pressure
Now, where did the estate agent say that house was? That looks
very good! What do you think about it, God? Should we make an offer?
Feeling let down
I hadnt made it to badminton in weeks. Working
late had put a stop to that. But that night, I was going to make
it. I got up especially early to get a train up to London to start
work at 8.30am so that I could leave bang on the dot of half-past
five without feeling guilty. And thats just what I did.
With a smile on my face, I nipped over to Blackfriars
and waited for the train. "Come on little train" I thought
to myself, quite cheerily, as the clock ticked nearer to, and then
past, 5.45pm. I wasnt even put off by the announcement that
the Beckenham Junction train would actually be coming first - what
was a five- or ten-minute delay? Id still be home before 7.00pm.
"Im sorry to announce that the 5.45pm
to Brighton has failed at Farringdon. Customers are advised to use
My good mood was gone in a flash. I could have screamed.
The past few months had been filled with landslides, floods, cancellations,
staff shortages, delays
and here was one more. Why should
I have been so surprised? Why on earth did I place any faith at
all in the idea that our railway system was going to get me home
on time? Did God not want me to get to badminton?
Hang on? Where did God come in? Since when did God
run the railway system? Now, granted, it could be argued that he
had his part to play in the floods and landslides but, the last
time I read my Bible, I didnt find any reference to God being
in control of electricity at Farringdon. (Well yes, he is in control
of everything, but Im pretty certain that he wasnt playing
with his train set that evening). What right did I have to blame
God for this?
Now that Ive had time to cool off, I can see
that, although I dont believe it was Gods intention
to ensure that I didnt have a good time by making it home
in time for badminton, he still used the situation to teach me a
When things are out of our control, we shouldnt
automatically blame God. God is good. God wants whats best
for us. However, all human choices and decisions, whether made by
us, or others, affect our lives as much as what God may allow to
happen to us.
God never lets us down. There is no point in putting
our faith in the trains their past history has shown that
they will fail us. But we can put full faith in God his perfect
love will never fail us. We may not understand why he has let these
things happen to us, but he never stops loving us.
My university friend, Louise, and I have a similar
dislike for the glib use of Romans 8:28 usually by married
people trying to be encouraging at our singleness. "And we
know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose." But its
words are true. Though God does not make bad things happen to us,
he will still let us go through them. We cannot become immune simply
because we are Christians. But he does work for our good
even if its just teaching us a lesson in faith.
Are you planning to go to Ashburnam with our church,
in November? Have you been thinking about it and cannot decide?
May I try and help you make up your mind.
In March, I went on a Christian Writing course
at Ashburnam Place. I had seen it advertised in my Writers
Magazine. As I had already put my name down for November, I thought
I would go and see for myself what it was like. The last time I
went was about twelve years ago when our church went for a weekend
conference. I can honestly say I was amazed at the transformation.
So much has been done since I was there. It has virtually been rebuilt.
I found the facilities excellent. The Head Cook and her chef husband
make an excellent team. They also cater for special diets. Much
of the fruit and vegetables are grown at Ashburnam. There are little
areas near the bedrooms with constant boiling water, coffee, tea,
milk etc., night and day. There is a delightful conservatory where
coffee and tea is served morning, afternoon and evening. There is
a well-stocked bookshop selling a wide range of Christian books,
tapes, gifts and postcards.
There are prayer rooms for private prayer and a
delightful scented prayer garden available to guests at all times.
Ashburnam is set in 220 acres of landscaped grounds, with woods,
lakes and beautiful gardens. As the brochure says: "It is the
ideal location to be refreshed in Gods presence." I do,
indeed, thank God for the experience.
LYN AND RICHARD ARE "GROWING UP"
AND HAVE TAKEN "ONE STEP FORWARD"
"One Step Forward" was the name of a training day set
up by the Sussex East District, at Hassocks URC, at the end of March,
and we joined in. It was very good (free hot dinner) and we shared
our thoughts and visions with all sorts of people.
"Growing Up" is the plan of the United Reformed Church
in a call to mission and bringing all Districts together to engage
in prayer and planning is the first Step Forward.
There were ten workshops covering many aspects of church life and
mission. Workshop sounds dull and a bit like hard work. They were
not dull because of those who took them and the people who made
up the groups, but our brains and spirits were certainly challenged.
Lyn took part in a group looking at "The Church and Children"
and shared in examining the "Churchs Image in the Community".
Richard wrestled with "Understanding our Culture, Post Modernity"
and then joined the group on "Developing a Mission Strategy".
The sessions all together developed our understanding of the whole
vision behind "Growing Up".
Did the churches come alive? Was the world changed? We achieved
the objective of taking one step forward. The sharing, listening
and worship helped us to see more clearly the challenge of bringing
the unchanging gospel to a changing world. The churches have to
develop that vision given or we shall begin to take a step backwards.
Another step forward will be a District Day of Prayer for revival
and renewal. For Lindfield URC, the weekend in November? Let us
Lyn and Richard Tucker
Balcombe URC Preachers
6th May Donald Nisbet Hymn Choice
20th May Frank Mugridge
Services are normally held on the first and third Sunday of the
month, starting at 11.00am and usually lasting about an hour.
This is held on the second Sunday of the month, at 1.00pm.
We extend a warm welcome to everyone, whether or not they are connected
with a church. There is no charge we just ask people to bring
some food to share. From time to time, we have a speaker who will
give a short talk, or watch a short video following the lunch.
Before the lunch, we hold an informal family service, at 12noon,
to which you are also invited. We are pleased for people to come
to one or other, or both.
REPORTS FROM SPRING HARVEST 2001
From Janet Kent:
"It was my first time of going to Spring Harvest. Packing
on the Friday night, my emotions were running wild. Could I face
leaving my 16-year old son at home on his own for the first time.
What would the house look like on my return? Would Janet and Ron
put up with my funny ways for five days? Would I be brave enough
to phone Ron and say I could not go.
Saturday night in the big top was amazing a tent filled
with thousands of Christians celebrating the Lord. The most moving
moment was on Sunday night, at the Kaleidoscope celebrations. The
story of Matthew was told, a story I had heard many times but, this
time, it hit home. Jesus wanted the most unlikely people to follow
him, people that others rejected. A drama of how a street-girl found
the Lord. It struck me then that I am forgiven, my past forgotten,
I am special to Jesus. The whole week at Spring Harvest, from then
on, was so amazing. I felt so close to God. It was the most precious
time that I have spent with Jesus.
Janet and Ron managed to put up with me, as well. I thank them
for all their support."
From Tom Elphick:
"WAS SPRING HARVEST READY FOR ME'
After suffering the deep and agonizing trauma of being up and moving
before twelve oclock, things started to come into focus that
I was going to Spring Harvest. What better way to start a trip than
to have your friends (Katy, Elena and Sam) spend a couple of hours
cracking jokes at how much luggage I was taking. Just because I
had more luggage than all of them put together only adds up to one
thing I was probably the best-dressed person at Butlins.
The first evening venue I attended really started my week off with
a bang. In that session, I admitted to myself that my faith was
failing and, however hard I had been trying to hide it in the last
nine months, I couldnt carry on like that. By the end of that
evening, I could have been described as an emotional wreck!
Every morning, for the next five days, started, at around 7.00am,
with the wonderful visit from Ron Goodenough who decided to start
the day with a coffee, which is fine but, when you are sleeping
in the front room, which is joined to the kitchen and the kettle
sounds very similar to a low-flying Boeing 747, it kind of puts
a dramatic halt to a teenagers sleep pattern.
I usually started the days at Spring Harvest by attending a Bible
reading session, lead by Jeff Lucas, (who had a slight obsession
with the Butlins ducks but thats another story). Next
on my list was another morning workshop, followed by lunch then
two more workshops which, for me, tended to be something arty and
After this, we returned to our chalets for a nice, cooked dinner
Okay, basically pasta and different sauces. Personally, I
found the evening celebrations the most effective. Before Spring
Harvest, I was feeling like a bad Christian because I dont
talk to God enough. I make lots of mistakes and I take in peoples
problems and hold them to my heart I usually think of them
as my responsibility. But the second night at this celebration,
I felt so close to God that I put all my problems at the foot of
the cross, which just felt fantastic, a massive weight taken off
my shoulders and then personal prayer that made me weak at the knees.
People walking across the room and putting their hands on my shoulder
and praying for me etc. So much happened that night!
Probably the most important event of that week was when I actually
renewed my faith. I asked God back into my life. People around me
knew I did it because I wouldnt shut up about it. It was amazing!
Finally, Im just going to say that I had a life-changing experience.
My faith is stronger than ever, I worship harder and deeper than
ever before. Everyone should go (to Spring Harvest) next year because
there is something for everyone and what better way is there to
HOSPITALITY OF THE HEART
I read the following startling comment in a book about spirituality:
"Many churches are not safe places in which to have major spiritual
experiences, whether negative or positive." Thought-provoking,
It set me wondering how much we, as Christians, have really learned
about rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who
mourn which means not only those who have passed an exam,
celebrated a wedding anniversary, fallen ill or been made redundant.
It includes being able to enter into the joy of someone "caught
up to the third heaven" (to use the words of the Apostle, Paul)
or to stand alongside someone passing through a spiritual wilderness.
It needs, perhaps, something that has been called "the hospitality
of the heart" another arresting phrase. I interpret
it to mean having enough of the peace of God not just for my own
needs, but with sufficient to spare for others.
Im learning that this sort of spiritual resource comes only
by spending time with God and by feeding my soul on what is good,
sound and wholesome. There are no short cuts. Lord, help me to be
big-hearted enough to have space to spare for fellow-pilgrims, be
they rejoicing or despairing!
TAKE A BANANA ON YOUR WAY OUT!
I have to say, it is not a typical holiday! Life at Spring Harvest
is never quite what you expect. By definition, it is a short break,
staying at an out-of-season Butlins site, utilising all the
venues as part of a huge and varied Christian-specific programme.
However, the whole event inspires even more when you go and develop
friendships with your own church.
On 12th April, nearly 30 of us returned from sunny Minehead (yes,
it was actually sunny most of the time). Six days of getting used
to calling days numbers, instead of names, and sharing our locality
with nearly 9,000 other Christians and a goodly number of rampant
ducks! I know there are some reading this who reckon this to be
more like their idea of Hell than Heaven but being with so
many like-minded individuals does have its encouragement. As well
as huge corporate worship in a Big Top, there were opportunities
to hear from speakers on a range of practical subjects and to experience
worship in different forms.
With our accommodation being self-catering, plans were made prior
to leaving for Somerset to ensure that we didnt over-stock
our supplies. As someone once suggested, it is the best-laid plans
that go wrong. Well, they didnt so much go wrong as a little
off-kilter! Little, for instance, did we know that we would end
up cooking a whopping 9lb Ham joint (there was only four of us in
SS106!) and spend the rest of the week thinking of ways to
make ham sandwiches look interesting! Similarly, in our chalet,
we were overrun with fruit. Only in the East End had such a large
variety of fruit previously been seen. If we thought our mammoth
fruit bowl was the end of it, we only had to reach into a cupboard
for a saucepan to chance upon a secondary supply of the green-skinned
dessert! In the end, we had to introduce a rule that anyone who
entered our chalet was to leave clutching or eating at least one
banana! Firm but fair!
Some other amusing incidents that you find yourself experiencing
first-hand are such delights as the necessity to hang towels with
equal drop-distance over the rail. The fascinating holiday regime
of defrosting (at 7.30 in the morning) the supplied Fridge/Freezer.
Oh yes, the hum of a hairdryer is normal in most households but,
when it is coming from the kitchen, serious questions of health,
safety and work well above and beyond the call of duty have to be
When leaving Butlins, we left not only inspirational biblical
teaching but experiences of immense value from being with our church
and getting along in a way that just isnt possible on a weekly
basis! On your way out, dont forget your songbook and a banana!
NEWS FROM THE CARPE DIEM GROUP
Carpe Diem, the Junior Church group for 1114 year olds,
is a very lively group!
Along with most groups in the Junior Church, we have started following
the Childrens Ministry Teaching series for our Sunday morning
meetings. As well as bringing the Bible to life, enthusiastically
acting out the suggested scripts, we try to remember the memory
verse and consider how we can apply what weve learnt to our
everyday lives. Other activities, such as the chocolate game, the
generation game and visual mimes, have all made this very successful.
We always finish with a time of prayer and sharing.
This group really enjoys having fun so we also meet regularly for
other activities. Food is favourite so, one wet Saturday evening
in March, we invaded Pizza Express in The Broadway. Much enjoyed
by everyone (even the adults!) the comments speak for themselves:
"It was a great evening and the meal was excellent"
"I had a great night out. I ate a full Pizza even though
I had had dinner two hours before. But I only had one piece of Chocolate
Fudge cake, unlike Melissa who ate two pieces and chatted up the
waiter!" Jessica Elphick
"La Reine was my chosen Pizza which followed a well-battered
piece of Garlic Bread. Just managing to eat all this, a chocolate
ice cream came my way. This was a really good evening."
We have continued to be on the up since our last report.
Our Juniors are a lively and noisy crowd but we still
have a nearly full attendance every Friday and the boys have a lot
of fun. They won the Battalion Spring Competition, at Portslade,
at the beginning of March and are now preparing for a Five-a-Side
football tournament at Burgess Hill.
The Company section continues to grow as boys have brought friends
along to join. The excellent spirit of the lads helped us to win
two Battalion competitions the Squad Medal for drill and
the Scripture Cup, the latter by just one mark over the 26th Brighton
The reconstruction of the Band continues and we have been fortunate
to obtain the services of Peter Swann as bugle instructor.
Anchors are a little low numerically, at present, although they
have a faithful nucleus and did well at the spring competition a
week after the Juniors.
Some folk may feel that competitions figure a little too largely
in BB reports but we have to point out that most boys are very competitive
and are strongly motivated by competitive activity it usually
helps us to get the best out of most of them. Competitions are,
however, only the highlights of a programme that includes much else
that cannot be mentioned for lack of space.
For the staff, the most important task is to take the devotions
that begin each meeting and we have had the help of some of the
Elders in this. We have been supported and encouraged by many church
members and we would ask you to give practical support by coming
to our Display, at 7.00pm, on Saturday, 19th May.
After reading the suggestion in the recent service sheet that someone
new might make a contribution to Good News, I set out to find items
of some interest, with a few personal thoughts on certain events,
as I saw them.
My feelings of humbleness when I read that the citizens of
Mozambique had sent a contribution of £40.00 (a huge sum for
some of them) towards the Yorkshire flood relief fund. This reminded
me of the widows mite.
It was inspiring to read Eddie Stobarts book "Only the
Best Will Do". We cannot fail to notice his vast fleet of over
700 trucks and lorries on our motorways. Eddie made a personal commitment
of faith in Jesus as a teenager and has built his business and his
life around that faith. Incidentally, he is a relative of Ann Blake.
Our Wedding Photos
When I showed my granddaughters a picture of our wedding, it was
an intriguing thought that, if that event had not taken place, they
and their father and two uncles would not be around and we would
be missing the joy that our grandchildren have brought to us.
At the Hairdressers
A challenging thought was her daily reading, which she showed me.
"Give God the first part of each day, the first day of each
week, the first portion of every pay packet, and the first consideration
in every decision." (from The World for Today).
I was glad to read in our Good News of a possible day of prayer
for revival and renewal in the URC.
Our Low Point
Our low point, last month (apart from the weather) was being caught
in a traffic jam on the M25 and realising that we were stuck in
the wrong lane and unable to reach our planned exit.
My high point was joining 8,000 fellow Christians in The Royal Albert
Hall, singing Charles Wesleys hymn "And can it be that
I should gain". This was the hymn I sang in 1947 when I first
became a Christian and its still true!
Children under your feet? Not sure what to do?
SUSSEX CHRISTIAN CAMPS
Ages 9 to 13 catered for Sunday 29th July to Friday 3rd August
Fully equipped and safe site in the Sussex countryside, just south
of Uckfield, closely supervised by experienced personnel. It is
a Christian camp with an emphasis on leading and helping young people
to accept Jesus Christ as their own personal saviour.
There is also a Youth Camp, for 14- to 19-year olds, from Sunday,
5th August, to Friday, 10th August.
Both weeks offer an exciting and varied programme
We also need lots of help!
2. Tent leaders (male and female) for the first week. Are you a
Christian, young and active, looking to work with young people?
Heres your opportunity
3. Cooks and general kitchen staff (complete teams welcome!)
4. A backroom couple (to stay on site full-time as odd-job, maintenance
and general welfare people)
5. Friday, 27th, and Saturday, 28th, help to erect marquees and
6. Saturday, 11th, help to pack everything away!
More information, application forms and costs from:
Peter Trump 01444-451572