Newsletter November / December 2019

From the Desk

Dear all,
How simple the human heart that rests in you. It's a gift to be simple and true, it's a gift to know how and when you ask yourself; shall I step back now? What am I looking for, or to?

I asked myself this, I found the answer and that was another question, the peace of giving spoke within me. To my thoughts, am I really what you are looking for. Well if only it really was and how would I fathom this.

As we've just had Harvest we were gathered in our celebration of worship, with the Apple Communion. The apple was cut, we passed the bowl to one another and ate a piece. What we thought and felt about it. Though I could see most of all we shared and blessed with our company, in community. As family connecting, all we shared in love and knowing. We reaped that Harvest day, that which we had sowed just moments before. Looking at how we support each other, we probably do it more than we realise.

In the simplest form of our giving however much or little, we connected without, by giving to the Julian Trust shelter. They were very grateful to us. Again that is the giving of our hearts and conscience to what they can afford.

Whilst we journey through the darker days and see the candle light of autumn, I hope that we will always be free and able to give our little today for some one else’s plenty tomorrow.

All we do matters.

Yours with love and care, and in faith.

Karl Stewart.

From our Minister

Look into the darkness and find the flame of community 

For me, when the clocks go back at this time of the year, it feels like quite a jolt into the darkness. Suddenly the evenings fold in earlier and the sunshine seems increasingly fickle and evasive. Heading into winter can feel daunting with the prospect of higher heating bills and dealing with increasingly tricky weather that might get in the way of journeys. Some of us may feel rather bleak about the divided political situation in this country and the idea of a December general election is, for many of us, not the most inspiring preparation for Christmas.

Yet there is a cluster of festivals around this time that help us to befriend the darkness. At Halloween we are invited to dress up in different disguises and cheekily confront our fears. On All Soul’s Day we are offered a safe space to honour our rich memories of those lost to us and at Samhain, the Celtic welcoming in of winter, we are encouraged to light bonfires and rekindle the flame of kinship that will sustain us until the Spring sun returns. I warm to the words of Rainer Maria Rilke:

You, darkness, of whom I am born-

I love you more than the flame

that limits the world

to the circle it illumines

and excludes all the rest.

But the dark embraces everything:

shapes and shadows, creatures and me, people, nations-just as they are.

It lets me imagine

a great presence stirring beside me.

I believe in the night.

(From Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God – translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Rilke reminds us that the comfort of darkness takes us back to our birth and allows everything to be authentic. How can we light fires this winter in our own ways? We can build bonfires of activity in our own lives - following up the causes we feel deeply about or perhaps some of us will get back in touch with an old friend. Also we can create circles of community and light fires of fellowship in our beloved congregations. There are a range of ways we sit in circles and provide insights and hope for each other: Bright Lights (what an appropriate name for our intergenerational workshop), Rainbow Path, Divine Wittering and, of course, our Sunday worship, are just some ways of keeping warm this winter and making friends with the darkness. Wishing you happiness and peace this winter time.

John Harley

A place in the sun. The Candle light of Autumn 

Karl Stewart 

Now it’s autumn, dew on the grass adorning, slight light of the crisp morning the fresh chill. It's coming to meet the tint of the morning light. A prism of red, pink, amber shades. A twist of white cloud threads.
It's the candlelight of autumn.

Now it's autumn, the canopy of the turned leaves falling, as they lose their summer green whilst living above on trees every shade and twist of bark. It lives, hears and holds every passing minute of a story.
The sun shining through the branches as it sits low in the sky.

Now it's autumn, the wind gently passing through the street, I can hear the flowing of the crisp leaves as they blow past the window. Their gathering to stop and rest, just as the past season. The sun falls behind the houses looking at the shadows, in the back lit skyline. It's the candle light of autumn.

It's the fall of evening now, to rest is the day as it passes through until the morning. The dew will once again adorn the blades of the summer green grass. That's a thing to ponder, I'll walk in rain the wind and snow. Most of all I'll have a place in the sun.

This is autumn now. Every day its candle light will change as all the days pass. Autumn is our guest. Soon we welcome winter. May peace be the memory in your candlelight of autumn. It's your place in the sun too.