Community Musings and News

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