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Reform Magazine | May 19, 2024

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On the pilgrim way: ‘We are discovering the pleasure of giving’ - Reform Magazine

Sheila Maxey prepares for closing time

I am proud of my little local church because it is managing to be fully alive while it prepares carefully and thoughtfully for closure on 8 July. We have four elders, three of them in their 80s, and one is on duty each Sunday. Two of us, and a local lay preacher, take turns to lead worship on the Sundays our minister is not with us. We always have a good, often weighty sermon. Another six members regularly attend, two brought by their carers.

The elder on duty leads a vestry prayer with the leader of worship and then calls the congregation to stand and carries the Bible in. Our worship is dignified and yet free. Mary and her carer are always a bit late so we don’t begin until they arrive. As church secretary I give out the notices and then, if I am leading that day, walk to the back to come in again behind the Bible.

We seem able to take initiatives without the consultation of previous times. On Mothering Sunday, I thought I would bring daffodils to give a few to each person as we used to do. Eileen had the same thought and so everyone got a nice big bunch. We have a good store of pictures covering the events of Holy Week and Easter. Our building is heavily used by a dance school and also has a good display window onto the street so Jenny put up a full display for Holy Week, changing the pictures for Easter and the resurrection appearances. For Easter, Eileen put a lovely bowl of bright primulas in the foyer and daffodils on the church windowsills. I notice everyone stays for coffee after the service as if cherishing these last months of fellowship together…

Sheila Maxey is a member of Brentwood United Reformed Church, Essex

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This is an extract from an article published in the June 2023 edition of Reform

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