The Herald

Harry Smith

Sadly our very dear friend Harry Smith died on March 22nd at Catchpole Court. Carol and Vicky were with Harry and he passed away peacefully. Carol would like to thank the members of our St. John’s family for their love, care and support during Harry’s illness, his time in West Suffolk Hospital and in later months at Catchpole Court. Harry was very comfortable there and loved and cared for. Because of the virus we will not be able to attend Harry’s funeral but later in the year there will be a Service of Thanksgiving for dear Harry’s life.Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol and her family.

During this difficult time of isolation and uncertainty if anyone is anxious, fearful or lonely and they need a listening ear please feel free to ring me on 01787 377524.

 Maureen Hearn


The concert by the Mead Singers at Bradfield on Monday 6th April at 7. 30 p.m has unfortunately been cancelled.

Greetings from John and Ann Boardman.

Dear Friends,                              27 Grove Lane, Waltham, NE Lincs. DN37 0HD

                                                01472 822180

We hope you are well and have survived the tremendous wind and rain of the past weeks. Only 4 of our fence panels needed replacing!

It is now 7 months since I “sat down” and we moved from Sudbury to Waltham in NE Lincs. Thanks to Todds and our forward planning, our move went smoothly, and we soon had the contents of cardboard boxes distributed. Though even now, in the kitchen particularly, I wonder where some utensils are.

Our house is a lovely 4 bed detached, a 2 minute walk down the same road as our daughter Jo’s house with her husband Luke and 3 year old granddaughter Sophie. We love living so close to them and we’re able to help each other. This might become more so as Jo and Luke are expecting a baby boy in July!

Ann has become a member at Scartho Methodist Church. It is the church we now regularly attend. We have joined various rotas and I lead a Bible Study group on a Tuesday evening at a member’s house. We were studying the General letters in the New Testament and now, in Lent, we’re looking at “Walking the way of the Cross”. I have begun some preaching across the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Circuit. By way of introducing ourselves and finding where the chapels are, Ann and I have attended worship at 15 of the 16 in the circuit – just Keelby to go!

Ann and I have joined the U3A Table tennis group on Tuesday mornings and we play badminton on Thursday afternoons. I try to swim each week in Cleethorpes pool. We enjoy being in the garden and have made plans for what to grow in our vegetable plots. Sadly, my sister Julie (60) died from a brain tumour in January. My mum also died from cancer in 2008. I have signed up for Race for Life in their memory. Daughter Katie and I will do the run on 26th July in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, near where she lives. About once a month Ann and I go to see Katie, James, John (5) and Charlotte (1), or they come here.

Talking of which, if you’d like a jaunt up to sunny Waltham, you’d be very welcome to come and visit! We keep up to date with some of your news by reading the Herald and other cards, emails and letters.

We send our love to you all, especially our friends in Bradfield, Glemsford and St John’s. We often think of you.

God bless

John and Ann

 Leap Year Day Olde English tea party

 On February 29th over 40 “ St. Johnites “ gathered for a Leap Year day Olde English tea party.

The tables were dressed with pretty cloths and little Spring flowers decorations. Each table had a tiered cake stand laden with every type of small cake that you can imagine. There were assorted sandwiches and sweet and savoury scones and biscuits. We were served tea from a tea pot and had cups and saucers, such a nice change from a tea bag dunked in a mug.

 There were so many cakes that lots of us took doggie bags home and we also enjoyed cakes after Sunday morning worship.

 We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Julie and Peter Rix, Andrew Clare and Gill Phillips for all their hard work in preparing everything and waiting on us. Thank you also to those who brought along contributions of cakes and sandwiches. I believe that Peter is now an expert at serviette fan folding.

 Around £100 was raised for the Benevolent Fund.

 It was a wonderful afternoon of food, fun and fellowship and I hope that we don’t have to wait another four years before we do it again.

 Maureen Hearn 

To (be) or not to (be) that (is) the question

The Rev Dick Jones a previous chairman of the district said “We all worry about diminishing attendance at Church, but always remember “The Spirit never dies””.

It started a line of thought that has stayed with me and has made me question some of our written down statements.

Goodbye is a shortened version of God be with you. Is this a wish that you may find God on your way or a statement of fact.  If it’s a statement of fact would it not be better to say “God is with you” as you go on your way.

Genesis Chapter 1 .In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth. And the Earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

So if the spirit was there at the beginning then the spirit is always available as a constant resource, there - like the internet to be connected to at any time anywhere.


So God “is” with us. It’s more of a question of, are we with God?  It is our choice.

On this basis I would like to change one word in the Grace - especially at the end of a service when we have been moved by the Spirit.

That is to change “be with us all” to “is with us all”.  To me it is a reassuring statement of fact.

Most Bibles have “May the Grace---- be with us all”

The International is different.  Then I looked in my Pershitta that is the New Testament translated from the Aramaic it has “The Grace-----(be) with us all”, the brackets indicating that it is not there in the original text. So I looked for other direct translations and found Young’s  Literal translation which has “is with us all” so maybe it’s all in the translation.

The dictionaries  are not very helpful as they indicate “be” and “is” in terms I do not pretend to understand, but my big dictionary has “is” =That which exists, that which is fact. So I will settle for that and say, The Spirit is with us.   Are you with the Spirit?

Is it worth worrying about? Well I wouldn’t want anyone missing out on The Spirit, The Grace so freely given.

Richard Stanford



 Japanese concept of 'ma'

 I follow an artist’s blog and she has all sorts of interesting things to say besides painting. Recently she had just read what she describes as ;

 “a lovely and thought provoking book called

 World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down 

by Christian McEwen”.


One of the subjects the author talks about is the Japanese concept of 'ma'. This is an ordinary (extraordinary perhaps,) Japanese word which has no equivalent in English. It’s not connected to any religion.

She quotes from the book;


"Ma is found in the silences between words, in the white space on a page, in the tacit understanding between two close friends. The Japanese school of Sumi painting says: “If you depict a bird, give it space to fly.” That ease, that spaciousness, is ma …. From childhood on, we learn to distrust all the varieties of ma, and to replace them, as far as possible, with their opposites. We value action over stillness, light over shadow, sounds over silence. But in Asian cultures, such quiet resonance has value in and of itself. It is seen as generative, sustaining, something one can trust."


I think as Christians we can understand the importance of making time for those spaces in our busy lives, which God may fill with something special for us.


Another quote – from Martha Beck says this;

During the times we think we’re being 'unproductive', the seeds of new worlds are germinating within us, and they need peace to grow."




Three verses from hymn 511


1.    Speak in the stillness , God we pray,

       Come to our hearts and meet us here.

Bring us your peace for each new day -

          The gift of Grace to earth from Heaven


2.     When in the anxious rush of days,

We lose our hold on faith and you,

Reclaim us with your calm embrace -

          The gift of Grace to earth from Heaven


3.   So may we be renewed in love,

Held and sustained by you alone.

Strengthened by you that we may prove -

           A gift of Grace to earth from Heaven


Julie Rix

 Easter   Eggs

Decorated eggs have been found in graves and tombs in Egypt and Sumaria and one or two other places around the world.  

It is thought they were food and a symbol for the afterlife.

It was in Mesopotamia that the early Christians regarded the egg as a symbol of the Resurrection also the opening of the egg related to the opening of the tomb.

As far back as the year 330 it was recorded by Anastasias that the 40 day Lent fast was practised.  Then for the Catholic Christians came guidelines such as abstinence from everything that is killed and also eggs and cheese etc that are produced by any of those animals. By 1230 they were forbidden.  So eggs of course are still laid but they do keep better than dairy products especially when hard boiled.  They became decorated and used as gifts to break the fast on Easter morn. This regime followed through the Eastern Orthodox church and eggs reached the pinnacle with Fabergé eggs. If you’ve ever seen one close up they are absolutely fabulous.

There is of course a Pagan connection in the springtime and the name Easter is thought to come from Estre a Germanic goddess but no authentic studies confirm this.

Of course this also linked to the Easter bunny which was the original subject I was trying to find out about, but you have to travel through all the Easter egg info to get to it. It seems linked to this Germanic goddess, is the rebirth symbol of the Rabbit or more likely the Hare as this was believed to be able to give birth without any male being involved. So I assume in that area when Christianity became widely accepted there was the obvious link with the Virgin Mary.  These customs were carried to the America’s where of course someone saw the chance to enhance Easter egg sales.

The Chocolate egg goes back to the early 1800’s from France and Germany.  It wasn’t until John Cadbury found a way to make it flow into moulds that they could become mass produced.  So by 1872 they became more available.

However I fondly remember decorating a hard boiled egg and taking it to Sunday School to show it off,  but I never liked eating it - I much the preferred the proper chocolate one.   Hmmm it’s amazing I have any teeth left.

Richard Stanford


Birthday of the oldest member at Bradfield

In these uncertain times I thought it might be nice to share a photo of Dorothy Creasy on her 97 birthday on the 6th March.
Dorothy resides at Manson House in Bury St Edmunds, but the home is now in Lockdown, so I am only able to contact her by telephone. 

                                                                                                                Anne Southgate


Prayers during the coronavirus pandemic

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.



Loving God,
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lillies 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 our hearts on 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,


The Revd Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference 

An intercessory prayer

You call us to speak to you in prayer– even when the places we would usually go to are not available.
Help us to know you Spirit’s presence wherever we pray.
Today we especially pray for those who are living in fear – give them your strength.
For those who have not yet realised the urgency of the situation – protect them, and all of us from harm.
Today I especially want to pray for …….
In the name of Jesus.  Amen

 “As we deal with the practicalities of protecting people from coronavirus we continue to remember Our Calling to care for the other whilst always being mindful that is that our call is always to respond to the good news in Jesus. We are a people of hope we need to declare and model good news in these difficult times.”

Revd Paul Wood, Interim Director of the Ministries Team

“Our Calling is to respond in love and service to the needs of our communities. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers around the world who hold us in prayer as we hold them. We should not be afraid “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7.

Head of Mission, Jude Levermore

Taken from Methodist Church website



Letter from Rev Malcolm Hill

Dear Fellow-Members at St. John’s, Just now, we are all, in varying degrees, living at a distance, and anxious about our future. Yet, all of us have endured perilous situations before –and survived! In 1981, I was a Minister in the Rhondda, and contracted glandular fever, a painful ailment at first, and afterwards I was drained of energy. The doctor   advised   me   to   stop   all   normal   activity   (eventually   for   three months). He warned me that to return to work too quickly would risk the illness returning, but that obeying his orders would be a permanent cure. I obeyed, and the advice was correct!  We shall only be able to overcome this coronavirus, if we obey the best advice, whether from our government or our medical experts. But I believe that now is the time to look at our wider situation. – To face three realities of life today. –

·We truly live in a wonderful world, and we share together the ‘home’ God has given us, planet Earth. All our years we have breathed the air around us, been warmed by the sun, refreshed by the rain and fed by the soil, supplying our daily bread – and so much more! The Earth has sustained billions of human beings and other creatures for thousands of years. We are all embraced by God’s goodness and power, Yet, this great world is a complex mixture of positive and negative (like coronavirus) forces, with which we must deal. But overall, God binds us together as one’ family of humanity’, so that we may thrive by caring for one another in one world.

·Within God’s care for all people, each one of us has a responsibility for our actions, and relations with others. God has given us the ability to learn from experience, and then decide the path we take, right or wrong. We can either respect and gently care for others (as so many good neighbours are doing just now), or be selfish and hostile (as too many are stripping shelves bare). The sooner we accept our personal responsibility and its consequences, the better will be the quality of our life.

·All good, happy human relationships, local and worldwide, can be wrecked, if we choose to be violent and warlike. This truth is shown in every knife-attack on the street, violent revolt and war between nations, which wickedness is afflicting people around the world. Violence brings misery to so many of our fellow men, women and children. It is essential for human survival, that we each reject the path of violence and war. Isn’t it opportune for all the nations, suffering from this worldwide pandemic, to turn away from hostility and making weapons of war, and turn to pool all our resources into the search for cures of disease, and building together a whole world, where none go hungry, none are afraid of others and all make friends in the family of the God of love?

Kathleen joins me in the hope that everyone will endure and meet again as soon as possible.

 Malcolm Hill.

Last but not least ..... 

The LORD loves a cheerful giver!  I’m aware that we all have plenty to think about and worry over at present, but I wonder if the thought of your giving to the church has crossed your mind?  Although the church building is closed, the church itself is still running and there are still many expenses to be covered.  If you are part of the envelope scheme and you are able to, please keep your envelopes each week until a time when these offerings can be received.  If you would like to join the scheme then please do contact the treasurer.  New envelopes will be available to collect from church pigeon holes or can be delivered to you as soon as it is safe to do so.If you would consider setting up a regular payment to the church, once again please do get in touch with our treasurer.  At present the church Gift Day is postponed, but if you were planning to make a gift, please do set it aside until we can celebrate our giving together.

Treasurer: Paul

The deadline for the May Herald is Sunday 19th April 2020


Any articles for the Herald would be most welcome

Please email any contribution to either Tricia Campbell  - or to Gill Phillips -

Church Contacts:-

Minister                       Rev Ruth Ridge                07447091182

Senior Steward           Sue Rampling                   01787 377441

Lettings Secretary       Andrew Clare                    01787 372705

Church Office                                                       01787 373185

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