Community Musings and News

Sunday 13th September 2020

Dear Scargillians

We are still hoping to open in October and there will be another MailChimp coming out next weekend with further details – so watch out for this! We are so much looking forward to welcoming you back. You can be sure of a warm welcome in a place that is ‘Covid-secure’. Each programme event will have limited spaces available to book.

We are doing two ‘Renew, Refresh Restore Quiet Days’ on Zoom either this Thursday 17th September or Saturday 26th September (10am to 4:30pm). We will be looking at the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this will be led by Philip and Phil. These are bookable through our website (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book these events).

This September we still have open the opportunity to make a Day Visit. For details of how to book please go to here.

We value very much praying for you so please send any prayer requests to: prayer@scargillmovement.org

Here is Di’s latest reflection. Since she wrote this, Phil has managed to spectacularly break his glasses and so is waiting eagerly to receive a new pair! :+)

Diane writes:

Phil had to go for a regular eye test last week. Which is fine except we couldn’t find his glasses. We searched everywhere, under every table and chair or so we thought, looking but apparently not seeing. As my Nan would have said “You can’t see the Wood for the trees!” although for us she may well have said ‘You can’t see the glasses for the toys, the mess and the washing!’ Our only excuse being that it was the day after a fortnight of having our children and grandchildren here – in distanced dribs and drabs, which was great.  Oh, and we did find the glasses, just in time!

An interesting fact – I have discovered that the origin of this phrase comes from Bath, in England. It refers to a concourse of houses that were designed by the architect John Wood. There was a tree planted directly in front of these houses, and it grew quite large. So people began to exclaim: “You can’t see the Wood for the tree!”
This adage also speaks about being so involved and concerned with all the small details (the trees) of a situation that we are unable to get a clear overview of the whole situation (the wood) and so often lose perspective.  And as autumn approaches, or has it already settled itself in, with the ever changing COVID guidelines and the differing information we are receiving I am beginning to ‘lose the plot’. I can’t see clearly anymore, the negative seems to have overtaken the positive and instead of noticing the special moments, the kind words, the thoughtful acts I find myself complaining, complaining, mainly over details that effect ME!

So today in our morning meeting as we sang:

May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King
‘Cause you are beautiful in all your ways
You are beautiful in all your ways
[‘Wonder’, written by Amanda Cook, © 2013 Bethel Music Publishing]

I realised that I had begun to lose the wonder of God, perhaps a little like in Corinthians 4:4 where we read, ‘In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’. Today we have uncertainty, the world is in a state of fear because of uncertainty, we feel helpless and out of control. But we can turn to the One who is fully in control and perfectly able to help in our times of need. Psalm 62 says, ‘For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy’.  We can turn to a God, who wants to meet with us, who is involved in the heaven and earth he created, who takes his material world so seriously that he became a part of it, embodied and embedded, in Christ. (Paula Gooder – ‘Heaven’)

When visiting Hungary for Kata and Greg’s wedding several community stayed in a wonderful Airbnb and there on a shelf was a heavy, metal statue of Mary sitting peacefully holding Jesus in her lap. It felt as if she was offering Jesus to me. The statue was heavier than expected and suddenly I realised Jesus was separate, that I could hold him. It was astonishing how I felt holding baby Jesus. So many memories came flooding back, of cradling each of our four children newly born and oh so precious. As I held each one, time seemed to stop; I gently held their small fingers and toes, sensed their vulnerability with a deep sense of responsibility. I remember a warm stillness, there were just the two of us – A moment of wonder. I gently returned Jesus to his mother and took this photo.

Mary offered me, offered the world the gift, of her son Jesus, a gift given by God.

Can we today accept that offer and offer ourselves back to God? Perhaps then we can see the wood AND the trees – the gift and the wonder of God within the mess of these uncertain times.

This comes, as always, with much love and prayers

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Saturday 29th August 2020

Dear Friends

We hope this finds you well as we all navigate through these disorientating and strange times.

We are still hoping to open in October. We will let you know what we are doing, and how to book, sometime in September. We are so much looking forward to being able to welcome people back again through our doors.

If you are unaware, we will be doing a Scargill Forum on Zoom on Wednesday 9th September (8-9:30pm).  We will let you know soon who our guest speakers will be for this.  This is bookable through our website here (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book onto this event).

We are also doing two ‘Renew, Refresh, Restore’ Quiet Days on Zoom on either Thursday 17th or Saturday 26th September (10am to 4:30pm). They will be led by Philip and Phil, and also involve other members of the Community. These are bookable through our website here (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book onto this event).

As we pray for you, please do pray for us. September is going to be a busy month as we prepare to receive guests again in the COVID world that we are living in.

I hope you enjoy Di’s reflection. I just want to highlight the bit that we are actively looking for new Community to join the Scargill Adventure, particularly those who would like to do a gap year.

As a Community we would love to pray for you so please send any prayer requests to: prayer@scargillmovement.org

We are delighted to be able to welcome Day Visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and have released dates into the middle of September.  It will be lovely to see you.  For details and how to book please go to here.

All these events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

Diane writes:

In my last reflection I talked about being ‘half-empty / half-full’ people and was sent this – ‘The optimist says this glass is half full, the pessimist says this glass is half empty and the engineer says this glass is twice as big as it needs to be!’ which made me smile, thank you.

When we closed due to COVID Scargill Community was in many ways ‘twice as big as it needed to be’. We stopped inviting guests and Working Friends and began the slow process of saying good-bye to Community, including very recently 5 over a period of two weeks. We are indeed now half the size we were! Ironically in the hope of opening to a small number of guests later this year I am on the verge of recruiting a small number of Community!  And with all the news concerning universities and gap-years I am also hoping to recruit two or three gap-year students – so if you know of any – honestly, let me know. As for all you Working Friends, you are not forgotten, we just need to see how all the logistics pan out. Please continue to be patient and continue praying for us. We’ll be in touch

The artwork below, ‘Camels in the Eye of a Needle’, isn’t ‘photoshopped’. These are actual tiny, sculptures that fit in the eye of a needle! Russian artist, Nikolai Aldunin, using syringes, toothpicks and superglue keeping his hands perfectly still, in order to build these extraordinarily microscopic artworks. I find this absolutely amazing especially as I have been making face masks for Phil and I and in the process I have struggled to even thread the needle, time and time again I have squinted with poised thread to no avail, until at last for no apparent reason, hey presto, the thread slides through the eye of the needle, reminding me of Matthew 19 where Jesus says to his disciples, ‘I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ When the disciples heard this they were astonished. ‘Who can be saved, then?’ they said. Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he told them ‘this is impossible; for God everything is possible.’

The image of a camel going through the eye of a needle, even if it was a very small gateway, is a great description of our planning meetings, where we have discussed many practical issues, trying to cover every guideline we can read about to prepare for guests, but we also need to ensure we can provide – A WARM WELCOME, a FRIENDLY STAY and a feeling of being WANTED and VALUED notwithstanding social distancing and family units. As Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, on ‘Thought for the Day’ this week said, “if society remains so gripped by fear of illness and death that we think of nothing but physical safety we risk losing sight of other virtues that make us human in the fullest sense. Virtues like compassion, kindness, sociability, community, to name but a few.” She went on to say, “We are more than physical shells we are soul and spirit too.”

At times this all feels like an impossible, uphill task, so I hold onto the fact that Jesus said. ‘For men this is impossible; for God everything is possible.’

With love and prayers

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 

 


 

Sunday 16th August 2020

Dear Friends

This comes with all our love and prayers. As it is true for all of us, the Community are working out how to live through these disorientating times. To be honest, it can really drain the life out of us! We are praying that you may know the mystery of God’s presence each day. I hope you enjoy Di’s reflection on ‘half empty/half full’.

As a Community we would love to pray for you so please send any prayer requests to: prayer@scargillmovement.org

We are delighted that we can now offer you some forthcoming Scargillian online events. It will be a joy to connect with you.

Our next Scargill Forum will be on Wednesday 9th September (8-9:30pm) on Zoom.  We will let you know soon who our guest speakers will be for this.  This is bookable through our website (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book onto this event).

We would love to welcome you to one of our ‘Renew, Refresh, Restore’ Quiet Days on either Thursday 17th or Saturday 26th September (10am to 4:30pm). They will be led by Philip and Phil, and also involve other members of the Community.  These are bookable through our website (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book onto this event).

We are delighted to be able to welcome Day Visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and have released dates into the middle of September.  It will be lovely to see you.  For details and how to book please go here.

Also, watch out for some ‘Fun on Friday’ dates that we will announce soon.

All these events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

Diane writes:

Since I last wrote I have been swimming in a ‘proper’ pool and not the river and I HAVE HAD MY HAIR CUT! Yes!! Curiously they were both ‘life-giving’ and ‘life draining’. There I was in the hairdresser’s, a solitary customer with my solitary hairdresser in an otherwise empty room. All very friendly and we had a little laugh towards the end when I was asked if I wanted my hair any shorter? The trouble was with my comely, flowery mask across my face I had no idea. So I furtively lowered my mask had a quick peek and said no – next time I may say yes!  Likewise, when I went swimming I was allocated my lane, the fast lane, unfortunately no one was booked into the slow lane so here I was again all alone. Now I have always treasured those swims when I have had the pool for a few minutes all to myself, but soon I began to feel very lonely, fit but lonely. Both had given me life but there I was dwelling on the negative. Have I become a ‘half-empty’ person, are we becoming ‘half-empty’ people – I do hope not.

For some reason this caused me to remember a poem I’ve had tacked to my office bulletin board ever since our son Matt sent it to me a couple of years. It still fills me with ‘the gladness of living’ every time I read it. The poem has been translated from the Turkish of Edip Cansever and is called Table.

Table
A man filled with the gladness of living
Put his keys on the table,
Put flowers in a copper bowl there.
He put his eggs and milk on the table.
He put there the light that came in through the window,
Sounds of a bicycle, sound of a spinning wheel.
The softness of bread and weather he put there.
On the table the man put
Things that happened in his mind.
What he wanted to do in life,
He put that there.
Those he loved, those he didn’t love,
The man put them on the table too.
Three times three make nine:
The man put nine on the table.
He was next to the window next to the sky;
He reached out and placed on the table endlessness.
So many days he had wanted to drink a beer!
He put on the table the pouring of that beer.
He placed there his sleep and his wakefulness;
His hunger and his fullness he placed there.
Now that’s what I call a table!
It didn’t complain at all about the load.
It wobbled once or twice, then stood firm.
The man kept piling things on.

Here is a ‘half-full’ or even a ‘brim-full table if ever there was one. Sarah Robyn (August 19 2000) has written very expressively about this poem, capturing, for me, its very heart.

This poem ‘speaks to me across cultures because it is a poem about being human — anywhere, any time. The delight of it hinges on the turn the poem makes, beginning in line 5, where the table — which starts out as an ordinary piece of furniture — begins to metamorphose into a magic table, one whose capacity seems limitless — a veritable groaning board, but one that doesn’t groan.

At first the table is a convenient surface for a man to put things down on, presumably the things he is carrying: his keys, fresh flowers, the groceries he has brought home. But in the enthusiasm of the moment, the man doesn’t stop. Onto the table goes the light from the window; then, some ambient sounds; then, some pleasing textures; then — pell-mell — his imaginings, his hopes, his relationships. And then (“Three times three make nine”) the tally of what he has already put down.

This man is putting all his cards on the table, so to speak. Before we can stop him, he has “reached out” and “placed on the table endlessness,” or his right to reach for the sky, to put anything at all on the table … our man’s next move is homely: he longs for a beer. He places on the table — not the beer itself, but “the pouring of that beer,” the frothy moment of promise.

Next, as if they were equal in weight, the paired opposites of sleep and wakefulness, hunger and fullness: even life’s privations, the poem seems to say, are part of its bounty — for what would fullness be, without hunger?’

We leave the man still happily “piling things on”; the table standing firm, despite a wobble or two. I love this poem because it reminds me that my own “table” is sturdy, too, and will hold as much as I have the heart and the gusto to heap on it. Here is a poem speaking of abundant life within the everyday, of the glass ‘hall-full’ rather than ‘half-empty’ or perhaps that even an honest ‘half-empty’ glass is just as meritorious of going on the table.

Have another read of the poem (read it perhaps a couple of times) then think about what you’d like to put on the table. Perhaps even make a list – you may be pleasantly surprised.

With love and prayers

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Monday 3rd August 2020

Dear Friends

We do hope this finds you well as the easing of lockdown is stalled at this moment. In this newsletter we have Di’s reflection on ‘trust’, and to begin with a short message from Lucy, our Chaplain, who leaves us next week. It is has been a joy to work with Lucy, and we have very much appreciated her valuable contribution to Community and our guests.

Our next Forum is on Wednesday 5th August (8-9:30pm) – please book via our website by 2pm on Monday 3rd August.

Also you can book a day visit to Scargill via our website. We would love to see you!

And don’t forget to e-mail us at prayer@scargillmovement.org if you would like us to pray for you.

Lucy writes:

I wanted to share a few words with the extended Scargill family before I move to parishes in Cambridgeshire on 10th August.

My three years living and serving in the Scargill community have been a fertile and fruitful experience.  I have certainly grown through the experience and I trust that you have found your stay(s) here to be enriching.  The first event I led here was a ‘Renew-Refresh-Restore’ weekend on Life Balance.  As a group we explored “Time to Pause & Rest, Laugh & Play, Rejoice & Celebrate.”  From my own story, I know that Scargill is a place where we can grapple with these possibilities and begin to embed them in daily life.  Thank you for joining me on that journey through your companionship.

This February, a matter of weeks before lockdown, I preached in Scargill Chapel on Romans 8:16-27.  Groaning was the theme of the talk: Creation groaning in labour pains; Christians groaning inwardly; the Spirit interceding with groans.  Many of us may have groaned inwardly and outwardly in recent months amidst the changes, restrictions, questions and concerns we have faced.  I am heartened that creation is perhaps groaning a little less in the wake of severely reduced travel and a slightly smaller environmental impact.  I believe that the Spirit of God has faithfully interceded for us and will continue to do so throughout the age of Covid-19.

As I say farewell, I do so with thankfulness for all that has been at Scargill and in anticipation of all that will be.  With Paul’s words in Romans 8 in mind, may we look to the future waiting eagerly, hopefully and patiently for our redemption in all its fullness.

Diane writes:

Welcome once again to my short reflection.

I have several cousins, one of them, when very young developed a congenital bilateral blindness. As she grew older she wanted more and more independence and one day asked her mother if she could walk down to the corner shop on her own. Knowing this need for independence her mother said yes, but then followed her daughter along the opposite pavement there and back again. On her return my cousin told her mother off for following and not trusting her! Was my auntie wrong to have followed her daughter?

Why have I told this story? Because Phil and I have recently been thinking about trust. We agreed (a rare thing indeed!) that trust is such a fragile thing. It’s relational; always relational and it grows love and forgiveness. We also agreed, to be trusted is very affirming and can nurture responsibility, whereas not to be trusted can be quite soul destroying. We also felt that trust allows for the possibility of failure, which is a healthy thing, but failure can also lead to hurt, a hurt which will not always easily mend.

And yesterday (28th July) I heard Hannah Malcolm an ordinand at Durham speak on Thought for the Day. She spoke about how for many lockdown kept us safe from uncontrolled encounters but with restrictions being lifted “we face a wider challenge concerning our sense of collective belonging and public trust. We are (now) negotiating the anxious spaces shared by those who have returned to all but normal life and those who remain at home … We are treading murky waters away from our tight circles” towards others “containing potent danger … As we negotiate the growing pressure of constantly counting risks, the temptation to become more suspicious rather than less generous is not one we can ignore … To be in communion, to be in common with each other we have to relinquish some control leaving our interests behind.”

This felt very near to home and resounded with how I see Scargill today. At the beginning of this pandemic Phil spoke about us all being in the storm but not necessarily in the same boat. Some boats have been travelling along troubled waters, others going right through the eye of the storm, whilst we have steadily meandered along in the relative calm, only now venturing outwards into the murky water as we prepare to once again welcome guests, friends and family. For some this has been challenging and exciting, for others fear–provoking and disquieting because possibly deep down, like many, we want to keep control, we don’t want to steer through murky waters!

Proverbs 3 says “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow”.  Of course the prerequisite is to trust Jesus, but that is not nearly as easy as said. Take the calming of the storm. All the pictures I have seen have Jesus sleeping whilst the storm rages. If I was in the boat I like to think I would ‘stay calm and trust Jesus’, but in reality I’m sure I would be scared, very scared.  We do need to trust Jesus to clear the road ahead but we also need to trust each other as we travel along it. Trust, responsibility and forgiveness should all walk alongside allowing relationships to grow and friendships to deepen, generosity to develop and hospitality to be given with an open heart that welcomes all – when the time is right.

With much love and prayers to you all as we negotiate this challenging landscape together.

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Tuesday 21st July 2020

Dear Friends

Thank you for you continued love, support and prayers, it means a great deal to us.

Below are details of how you can book on to our forthcoming online events. We are in the process of changing the way that you can book! Please bear with us.

We would love to welcome you to one of our Renew, Refresh, Restore Quiet Days on either Friday 31st July or Saturday 1st August. The theme will be around Jesus – the Light of the World and the Bread of Life. They will be led by Lucy and Phil involving other members of the Community. If you would like to be involved in either of these days then please e-mail us at: hello@scargillmovement.org

During what would have been our Summerfest Programme, we are hosting ‘Fest Teas for all ages’. We hope to have some fun together on Zoom! These Teas will start at 4pm and the dates are:

Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th July

and then Monday 3rd, Tuesday 4th, Wednesday 5th, Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th August

To be a part of these Fest Teas, please e-mail us at: hello@scargillmovement.org

Our next Scargill Forum will be on Wednesday 5th August (8-9:30pm) on Zoom. We will let you know soon who our guests will be for this forum. This is bookable through our website (please do not use the hello@ e-mail to book onto this event).

We are also delighted to announce that starting in August we are able to welcome Day Visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It will be lovely to see you. Further details and booking is through our website.

All these events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

Diane’s reflection this week is on ‘Love and laughter’.  Enjoy!

“I love to laugh … Loud and long and clear … The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee.” (Mary Poppins – Film). Hi, I hope you are now all singing away with Bert!  A question – When did you last laugh, really laugh out loud? I asked that question when reading a quote from “Loving God Whatever” (reflections by Sister Jane) on July 11th “Humour is near to holiness, and love to laughter”. I was initially drawn to the book by a comment on the back cover which says “This selection of her writings reveals not only her spiritual wisdom but also her great capacity for friendship and understanding, her down-to-earth sense of humour and fun and her ability to meet people where they were, making them feel special.”

Does this remind you of anywhere? It did remind me of the time when the small initial core community were thinking about our Community Promises and we unanimously decided to include the promise “Love, laughter, and a generous spirit are foundational values in our life together. We see Jesus taking great pleasure in receiving and giving unexpected treats to other people. Are you willing to do likewise?” Oh Yes! We all replied loudly and with broad smiles on our faces.  Since that day Scargill really has been a house of love and laughter. Each morning after prayers we now meet together and start with ‘HUMOUR’. Phil asked us all to send in something to watch that would make us laugh. Why? Because it’s good to laugh. Medical science says “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.” Wow!

My sisters now regularly send me a joke or a funny video, something that made them laugh, which they want to share, and over the last few months this has become a life-line for many. But it really isn’t the same as seeing them in person. One of the reasons why many of us have found lockdown, isolation and distancing so hard is because we naturally want to be in community. We were not created in isolation, but within the Trinity of God – Father Son and Holy Spirit, and we were created to reflect that community within our human communities. Sophie Scott, explains that people are thirty times more likely to laugh if they’re with someone else. In other words, people are more apt to laugh in community than isolation, the very place most of us are! So what can we do about that? Nothing, but when meeting or passing someone by, even if wearing a mask, love and laughter can come over in a smile, the inflection of your voice or seen through your eyes.

To finish with – Did you know, one reason I married Phil was to have fun and laugh? Although I yearned to, I was not very good at either, but instinctively knew I should, and there he was! Also, many of you will know that we have a Munsterlander (dog) – but did you know Munsterlanders really want their owners to have as much fun as they do! I can’t think why Phil decided this was the dog for us.

We look forward to welcoming you whether it is online or through a booked Day Visit.

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Saturday 4th July 2020

Dear Friends

Today, 4th July, has many associations, and for us as a nation it is a further easing of the lockdown.  Later on you will be able to read Di’s reflection on patience which is so relevant for us in these days.  There are many ‘ifs and buts’, and the future is unknown, but if the momentum keeps moving in the right direction, we are hopeful we will be able to re-open sometime in the Autumn.  We are not taking any bookings at the moment, but be assured, we will keep you well informed.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming you through our doors, even if it may start by being a limited number.  Thank you for your continued support and prayers, especially as we plan to re-open.

The Community continue to be in good spirits, truly entering in to a daily rhythm of prayer which has sustained us during this time.  Please do get in touch with us at prayer@scargillmovement.org if we can pray for you during these strange times.

On Thursday 9th July (8-9:30pm) we will be having our second Forum, and my guests will be: Lucy Cleland (currently our Chaplain); Andreas Andersson (Zooming in from Sweden – a former Chaplain); and Bishop Chris Edmondson (Chair of Council).  A rather esteemed group and I think we can look forward to a good evening together.  These Forums are an opportunity for us to continue to learn about God and ourselves through these disorientating times.  If you would like to be involved in this Zoom event please send an e-mail request to hello@scargillmovement.org so we can send a link.

Thank you for the very positive feedback for the Zoom Quiet Days that we shared last week.  We will be doing some other stand-alone Quiet Days on Friday 31st July and Saturday 1st August which will involve a range of Community.  Please book for one or the other of the days.  Each will begin at 10am and finish around 5pm.  Within the day there will be a couple of reflections, an opportunity for a Zoom discussion and tea and cake together at the end of the day with some worship.  Again, if you would like to be part of either of these days please e-mail us at hello@scargillmovement.org

These events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

If you wish to listen to our morning prayers and the Sunday morning sermon they are to be found here on our website

We are delighted to be in partnership with ReSource where I have just written a blog.  If you wish, you can read it here

So here is another reflection for us from Diane Stone:

Recently when sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine I mentioned I wasn’t sure about what to write this week and Phil quickly responded, partly seriously, partly ‘tongue in cheek’ (I hope!) that I should write on patience, hopefully because he is thinking about a sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit.  Well, I rose to the bait and replied I consider myself very patient although I did appreciate that others may find me a little impatient.

After a little naval gazing I recognised that I can be, and was, patient when working with others in my teaching and SENCO role, nursing, midwifery, motherhood and now my Scargill personnel role, especially when I have enjoyed supporting one or two community members BUT I have to be honest and say yes I AM impatient particularly when waiting; waiting for someone, waiting for something to happen and now waiting to play with, read to (side by side) and cuddle our grandchildren.

Everyone can be impatient for right and wrong reasons and you could argue that every day as individuals our patience is tested.  This could be something trivial like waiting in traffic, to something vital like waiting for a friend’s COVID-19 test results.  We though are called to be patient, it is one of the Fruit of the Spirit but I fear most of us need to practise patience.  There is a lovely scene from the film Evan Almighty, where a modern Mrs Noah has become exasperated by her husband building the ARK outside their home and wishes she had more patience.  Now Mrs Noah happens to be mentioning this to God who is sitting next to her in a burger bar (in the disguise of Morgan Freeman) where he is working!  And God suggests that if we ask for patience surely we would be given situations in which to practise patience.  Don’t you sometimes wish you hadn’t asked the question?  But I am sure the answer is worth mulling over and as we look back there may well have been many opportunities where we could practise patience, though I wonder how many we recognised at the time?

Interestingly Faith sent in a poem that is also about, yes, you are right, patience.  Faith said this poem spoke very powerfully to her and she thought it ‘very apt for us all in these times’.  It is by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin SJ (1881-1955).

Patient Trust
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown,
something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually –
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time;
that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will,
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit
of believing that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety
of feeling yourself in suspense
and incomplete.

In these bewildering times it takes patience to know that we are on the right path, and while we may not be exactly where we would like or want to be, we can recognise it’s only for now.  This won’t be forever.  I’m still learning how to be more patient, but at least I know I will get there eventually.

Well I hope so anyway!

Please be assured of our love and prayers

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Saturday 20th June 2020

Dear Friends

We hope and pray that this latest newsletter finds you well.  Thank you so much for your continued love and support.  It means a great deal to us, and we are very much looking forward at some stage to welcome you again through our doors.

The Community is in good spirits.  We have just had a couple of days retreat which has strengthened our life together.  The Community continues to reduce in size as we will be saying goodbye to Carolin and Annette over the next two weeks.

Please do get in touch with us at: prayer@scargillmovement.org if we can pray for you during these strange times.  We continue to have our rhythm of prayer and within this we have a time for intercession.

We have just had our first Scargill Forum, which was a very rich experience.  Someone wrote afterwards: ‘Thank you for all the thoughts, the wisdom, the laughter, the prayer, the gathering us together into community again.’

We are planning our second Scargill Forum for Thursday 9th July (8-9:30pm), as we continue to learn together about God and ourselves through these disorientating times.  If you would like to be involved in this Zoom event, please send an e-mail requesting to be involved to hello@scargillmovement.org so we can send you a link.

It is still not too late to join one of our Quiet Days through Zoom on Friday 26th or Saturday 27th June.  The theme will be: ’Waymarks for the journey’.  Each will begin at 10am and finish around 5pm.  Within the day there will be a couple of reflections, an opportunity for a Zoom discussion and tea and cake together at the end with some worship.  Again, if you would like to be part of either of the days please e-mail: hello@scargillmovement.org

These events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

If you wish to listen to our morning prayers and the Sunday morning sermon they are to be found here on our website

Here is another reflection for us from Diane Stone:

A while back I had a dream that woke me.  Influenced I think by the fact that our daughter, staying with us, (for now!) has strongly encouraged us to de-clutter, and throw away three items a day!  In my dream I am in a post war railway station, quite dark and dingy.  I have lost my suitcase and my best coat, not sure about the coat!  But I am extremely anxious, asking people to help.  No one can find either the bag or the coat and eventually I have to travel on leaving both behind.  Thinking about this I was reminded that Jesus sent his disciples telling them not to take a money bag or a travelling bag or sandals.

So was I being asked to travel light when we so often, if not all the time, carry things that are not necessary, things that only weigh us down, slow us down, keep us from being and doing what God intends for us.

Just before the dream Hilary led a lovely morning prayer during which she talked about how our sin/mistakes block our relationship with God and demonstrated God’s total forgiveness by emptying a household rubbish bin onto a sheet then, gathering it all up before throwing the sheet away, out of sight.  I know I need to accept the abundant GRACE given by God and travel on renewed in hope and faith.  But as she was throwing the rubbish away I saw several items which would or could be recycled.  Surely, I thought, some of my sins/mistakes could be recycled?  I’m always saying we learn by our mistakes and although in my head I know that God forgives, I do not forget so perhaps I could channel my sins/mistakes into memories, into cue cards, preventing the same mistake again.  Well why not?

‘…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ Romans 8:28

As we journey, we often desire to meet with God!  But we often fail to give time to God!  We are full of excuses – too busy, too tired, too many burdens!  Philippians 4 tells us to ‘be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’

Here at Scargill, we are perhaps travelling alone, travelling light, unable to welcome guests has created a void, a void that is, I hope, encouraging us to seek a deeper relationship with God and each other.  Perhaps now is the time for all of us to set aside time – no excuses, not even for me!!  Now is sacred – now is where God is to be encountered, not tomorrow, not next week but here in the middle of this pandemic God wishes to be met.

To finish, a poem by Robert Frost.  It is an ambiguous poem that allows us to think about choices in life, whether to go with the mainstream or go it alone. If life is a journey, this poem highlights those times in life when a decision has to be made.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Please be assured of our love and prayers

Phil, Diane and the Scargill Community

 


 

Saturday 6th June 2020

Dear Friends

We hope and pray that this latest newsletter finds you well.
Thank you so much for your continued love and support it means a great deal to us.  As I have mentioned before, please do get in touch with us at: prayer@scargillmovement.org if there is anything we can pray for you during these strange times.

We are glad to say that on Thursday 18th June from 8 to 9:30pm I will be chairing our first Scargill Forum, and be joined by Rev’d Mike Leigh (currently Vicar in Scarborough and a Scargillian); and Jo Penn (current Community Member) to talk about what we are learning about God and ourselves through this pandemic.  If you would like to be involved in this Zoom event then please email: hello@scargillmovement.org so that we can send you a link to join in.

We will also be doing two separate Quiet Days through Zoom on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th June.  The theme will be: ’Waymarks for the journey’.  Each will begin at 10am and finish around 5pm.  Within the day there will be a couple of reflections, an opportunity for a Zoom discussion and tea and cake together at the end with some worship.  Again, if you would like to be part of either of the days please e-mail: hello@scargillmovement.org

These events are free but if anyone would like to donate then please visit our website here which shows how you can do that.

Here is a reflection from Diane Stone:

A couple of weeks ago Phil asked me to head-up this two-weekly ‘keeping in touch’ letter.  Possibly like you, Community seem to either have too much time on their hands or too little time, either way it has struck me that this is a waiting time, a time for us to wait on God.  And two poems, both about time, have come to mind, perhaps because although I will be asking other members of community to contribute this week, alas, I ran out of time to ask anyone!

The first poem, really the opening sentence, is a song from my childhood by Bing Crosby on the soundtrack of the film ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ (1949).  To be honest it’s really the first line which seems to sum up life at the moment, well not quite for me, but for many.  This song may seem trivial but I think there is a lot of honesty in it.  And it makes me smile, I hope it does the same for you.

We’re busy doin’ nothin’
Workin’ the whole day through
Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do.
We’re busy goin’ nowhere
Isn’t it just a crime
We’d like to be unhappy, but
We never do have the time
I have to watch the river
To see that it doesn’t stop
And stick around the rosebuds
So they’ll know when to pop
And keep the crickets cheerful
They’re really a solemn bunch
Hustle, bustle
And only an hour for lunch

The second was a poem I found when preparing for morning prayers by William Henry Davies entitled Leisure.  Wikipedia told me that this poem written in 1911 warns that “the hectic pace of modern life has a detrimental effect on the human spirit.  Modern man has no time to spend free time in the lap of nature”.  And not so long ago we may all have agreed, but now, for our physical and mental health, we have been encouraged to spend time outside ‘in the lap of nature’.  I have never walked so consistently I don’t think in my entire life and this poem encourages us to look and see!

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

So where do we go from here?  Let’s turn to Ecclesiastes 3 where we read ‘Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.  There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping, for killing and healing, destroying and building, for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing, for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting.
There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving, for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace.’

This ‘song’ is followed by the heading ‘Life isn’t always fair, so live wisely’ and soon we are reassured that ‘God makes everything happen at the right time.’  The chapter confirms ‘We can never know the future.’

As a community we have promised to meet with God, to set aside time throughout the day to refresh our relationship with Him.  So let’s use this waiting time wisely, whether we are busy or not, working or at home, can we rest as well as walk trusting in our God.  A God who will not abandon his world but plans on redeeming it.  Recently I heard, and have mentioned before, the phrase ‘God is not elsewhere’, a phrase which helps me feel very close to God, you see if God is not elsewhere then He must be HERE, here with you and me.  Here in the midst of our waiting…

Please be assured of our love and prayers

Phil and Diane & the Scargill Community

 


 

Saturday 23rd May 2020

Dear Friends

During these strange times, familiar relationships can be even more important than ever.  Whilst we are unable to welcome guests to Scargill, one of the ways we would like to stay in contact is to write a fortnightly letter.  These will include reflections and encouragements from different Scargill folk, news of upcoming online Scargill events and other community updates.

We are very thankful for the donations and messages of encouragement that we have received in recent days.  Thank you so much for your generous support.

We continue to hold a rhythm of prayer and it would be a privilege to pray for you and the situations you are facing.  You can e-mail us at: prayer@scargillmovement.org

We would very much value your prayers for us as we journey through this unfamiliar and challenging landscape.  Please pray for the Community as we discover what is to be our ‘voice’ during this time.

If you would like to connect with us during this period, then we also have: hello@scargillmovement.org.  For all booking related correspondence, please do continue using admin@scargillmovement.org

Audio recordings of our Morning Prayers and Sunday talks are now on our website (available for 7 days)

Generosity is a ‘Kingdom Value’ that we keep learning about at Scargill.  Here are a few thoughts from Phil:

What we love about Jesus is that he shows us the heart of the Father.  In John’s gospel Jesus says ‘I can only do what I see my Father doing’ (John 5:19).  And we see that Jesus is always generous, always giving more than enough, some would say he is gloriously extravagant, others would say over the top.  I mean water into wine (John 2) is a miracle of transformation and such generosity showing the heart of God – isn’t that just wonderful!  And again, in Luke 5, enough fish that boats began to sink, and then later plenty of bread and fish to feed thousands (John 6).  Jesus shows us the nature of God, who always has been generous, never more so than in wilderness situations.  A wonderful example of this was the giving of manna (Exodus 16), where the people of God surprisingly found abundant grace.  I photographed this art installation at St Anne’s, Manchester, portraying the wonderful gift of manna.

   

Our current situation has forced us into a wilderness, and it has been heart-warming to hear the stories of generosity from many people.  I heard of a family who put a table at the bottom of their drive with toilets rolls and packets of pasta on it with a notice saying ‘please take one’.  Walter Brueggemann points out:

‘That journey from anxious scarcity through miraculous abundance to a neighbourly common good has been peculiarly entrusted to the church.’

Our narrative is shaped by Jesus who calls us to be generous.  What would that look like for you?  In what ingenious way might the Holy Spirit be asking you to show the heart of God?  Where can you bring hope in these wilderness days?

Gracious God,
Confront us with your heart of generosity,
Your extravagant love.
Unlock our hearts, free us from our anxious ways,
Show us through your Spirit how to be a generous offering.
In Jesus’ name – Amen

With our love

Phil, Diane & the Scargill Community

 


 

Thursday 30th April 2020

Dear Friends

This comes with much love and prayers from the Scargill Movement during these very challenging and disorientating times.  The coronavirus has truly turned all our lives upside-down.

Since our last guests left, followed then by the National lockdown, the Community have taken specific precautions to protect themselves from the virus and we are glad to say that the Community are well.  To mitigate any risk, the Community are living under restrictions which go beyond those being asked by the Government.

As we pray for you, please pray for us as many of our overseas Community are unable to go home, even if they wanted to do so. Community life during this time is challenging and when the lockdown is eventually eased we will be finding ways to make the Community gradually smaller for now, which will help us to manage the situation in many ways.

From a Council perspective, we are enormously grateful to Phil, Di, Dave and others in the Leadership Team, for the pastoral care and support given to the community during this time, along with all the attention to detail which has gone into navigating different aspects of this unchartered territory.

As for all of us, the situation we find ourselves in has huge financial implications.  We are very grateful for the financial support that we have received from many Scargillians. People have been wonderfully generous, and we know that others are planning to support us in this way.  This will sustain us for we know it is going to be a considerable time before we see guests again.  Thank you for this practical expression of your love and commitment, and you can be assured that the Council and Leadership Team are, as always, working closely together, as we monitor the financial and business aspects of Scargill’s life at this challenging time.

As we go forward in a landscape which is so unfamiliar we would like to connect with you.  In these times we need the support of one another more than ever.  The Community are keeping a rhythm of prayer, and if you have anything that you would like us to pray for please do e-mail it through to prayer@scargillmovement.org

We are also hoping, in the relatively near future, to try our hand at some on-line retreats, and we are beginning to keep in touch with people through the wonders of Zoom and other means.  Again, please be in touch (hello@scargillmovement.org) if these are ways that you would like to connect.  What we have treasured always at Scargill is relationships, our relationship with God and one another, and maybe through all this we are learning how we may nurture this deep truth, which may be reflected in the ‘new normal’ when we come out of this crisis.

Our doors will one day be open again to be God’s hospitality, but in the meantime let us stay connected, with encouragement, compassion, humour, love and prayer.

To finish, a short reflection from John’s gospel (John 20:19) where the disciples are locked for fear in the Upper Room.  The risen Jesus comes amongst them and they recognise him through the wounds of love.  It is love that dispels fear, as St John in his letter reminds us (1 John 4:18).  Jesus speaks twice the words, ‘Peace be with you’ and breathes on them that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit.  During these times, when difficulties and dark days can envelop us, may we hear and know these words from Jesus for ourselves.

Here is one of our prayers from our morning prayer sheets:

Spirit of peace
Quiet our hearts
Heal our anxious thoughts,
Free us from our fretful ways,
Breathe on us your Holy calm
So that in the stillness of your presence
We may open ourselves to trust and be transformed.

With love and prayers

+Chris and Phil

Bishop Chris Edmondson (Chair of the Council) and Revd Canon Phil Stone (Director and Community Leader)

 


 

Monday 23rd March 2020

Dear Friends

This comes with much love and prayers to you all as we continue to be in these bewildering and unknown times.  Please continue to look at our Facebook page and website where we will do our very best to give hope through prayers, reflections and no doubt some humorous stuff that will make us smile.  We do see the priority in physical distancing but our intention is to be very social for we will need each other.

The last few guests left last week and we are now in to a 14 day ‘lock-down’ where we will be living in small household groups.  This is to make sure that if any of us are carrying the virus we have a plan to contain it.  During this time we will be continuing our rhythm of prayer, and please do e-mail us if there is anything that we can specifically pray for you.

As we pray for you, please pray for us as many of our overseas community are unable to go home, even if they wanted to do so.  As for all of us, the situation we find ourselves has a huge financial impact but we are committed to continue to support the Community in regard to allowances for the long-term future.

Our doors will one day be open again to be God’s hospitality, but in the meantime we are becoming a Community with a focus on prayer.  This is a wonderful opportunity to develop our relationship with our gracious God as well as to learn to truly listen.

To finish, a short reflection from John’s gospel (John 20:19) where the disciples are locked for fear in the Upper Room.  The risen Jesus comes amongst them and they recognise him through the wounds of love.  It is love that dispels fear, as St John in his letter reminds us (1 John 4:18).  Jesus speaks twice the words, ‘Peace be with you’ and breathes on them that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit.  During these times, may we hear and know these words for ourselves.

So here is one of our prayers from our morning prayer sheets:

Spirit of peace
Quiet our hearts
Heal our anxious thoughts,
Free us from our fretful ways,
Breathe on us your Holy calm
So that in the stillness of your presence
We may open ourselves to trust and be transformed.

Phil Stone