May 2021 Journal

May 5th

Hello to you all

Well! It’s May now although it’s felt like November lately with the hail and rain and winds! I trust all is good with you and your family and friends. This month, with lockdown easing, I thought it would be good to look at the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.Here Jesus invites himself into Zacchaeus house for a meal. I expect you are all looking forward to opening up your house and inviting friends and family inside for food. It’s been a long time hasn’t it? We can learn so much from this story of friendship, hospitality, welcome, forgiveness, and an openness to everyone whatever their background, race or gender. Zacchaeus was so ready to welcome Jesus into his life and to be changed by the experience. This is a real story of hope and transformation.

Coming this month:-


Jan Kear, our brilliant chef, has sent in a Spring soup recipe for us to try and a delicious zesty lemon scone treat for those tea parties you are going to plan. Maybe after all this time of restrictions and with so many people being on their own, it’s a good time to think about inviting people, maybe those you don’t know really well, into your home for one of Jan’s delicious scones. Hospitality was so important to Jesus in his ministry.

How about having a go at some creative writing too? Barbara has set you a challenge with some hints/ideas for this. It looks fun so do give it a go and send it to us. Your contributions are always so interesting, creative and thought provoking.

Do keep in touch with us as we love to hear your news and how things have been for you during this time. We WILL get together soon.

With love Alex x and Sue x

May 6th

A Creative Writing Challenge!

As we are all looking forward to a face to face meeting our friends face to face for a cup of tea and a good chat, I chose “friendship”, for this month’s activity.

Jesus made friends with a wide range of people, including fishermen, (Matthew 4;18-23) a tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19;1-10), and Martha and Mary (Luke 10; 38-42)

He had many wonderful qualities: so, what do you think makes a friend?

Please will you write about your friends or friendships and why they are important to you. You might include their qualities, how you met, what you enjoy doing together, or a favourite memory you share.

For a real challenge how about putting it into a Haiku or a poem?

I look forward to seeing your thoughts in writing.

Good luck! Barbara

May 11th

A soup for Spring

The colour of this soup is reminiscent of the new green growth of spring and is highly nutritious. It can be adapted for vegans by missing out the cream and eggs, milk or milk substitute could be used in place of cream, or just miss it out. It serves 4.


For the croutons:-
4 slices of sourdough bread., crusts removed and cut into cubes.
1 tbsp olive oil.

For the soup:-
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
1 large broccoli head (350g)
250g spinach
100ml double cream
4 medium eggs
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Make croutons, preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade, or mark 6. Toss bread, oil and seasoning, place on a baking tray. Cook for 10 min or until golden brown. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat and cook the onion for 5 min, add the celery and cook for 5 min. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more.

3. Stir in stock and bring to the boil. Chop broccoli including the stalk and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir through the spinach to wilt. Place in a blender or liquidiser and wiz until smooth. Stir through cream (if using) season to taste.

4. Poach the eggs for 4 mins, test by lifting out with a slotted spoon – the white should feel firm but the yolk remains soft. Drain eggs on kitchen paper.

5. To serve ladle soup into 4 bowls and top each with an egg, croutons and a sprinkling of chilli.

The soup can be cooled and frozen without the toppings.

May 25th

We have a response to Barbara’s creative writing challenge:


Fifty-seven years ago Rosemary and I met on a holiday in Norway. It was a walking holiday and we were both with elderly relatives. Later she told me that she had seen my walking boots tied onto my suitcase. She thought I was an avid walker. She soon discovered that I was no mountain goat, as we both usually took up the rear on walks, while our elderly relatives bounded ahead! That was the start of a very rich friendship, like a piece of colourful weaving.

Rosemary died last year, and looking back over the years I realise we both worked hard at weaving a good picture. We shared friends, holidays (not walking ones!), parents, interests, laughter and all the ups and downs of life. We knew when more caring was needed, and how to cope with each others idiosyncrasies, sometimes a challenge for both of us. The most precious thread we wove was the time we spent talking about the love of God. Latterly we could not visit one another, but long phone calls, and many prayers and poems bridged the gap. We both knew that all through our pains and joys, God was our rock. I so miss her, and still reach for the phone to call her, but I am confident she is now out of pain, and safely with her beloved Lord.

Her death has made me look at friendship more closely, and made me realise that good friends are a very precious gift from God. As in an Advent calendar each door opens onto a different picture, as we are all different, and we receive and give to each other in different ways, helping us towards the person we are. If our sights are on the glorious birth of Jesus as shown in the last door, then the friendship, however complex is rich beyond words.

Thank you, Lord.

© Helen McNichol