Joseph Scriven was born in 1819 in Banbridge, Ireland. He graduated with a degree from Trinity College, Dublin in 1842. His childhood friend who became his fiancée accidentally drowned in 1843, the night before they were to be married.

Joseph Scriven was so emotionally down as he turned to God for strength. He decided to leave Ireland and settled in Ontario Canada in 1845. There Joseph dedicated his life to helping the poor and the weak in cutting wood.

In the cause of dedicating his life in bringing joy to the weak, Joseph fell in love with a young beautiful woman. As they planned to settle down in Marriage, his newly found love fell ill and died of pneumonia. Being the second time of such devastating experience, Joseph wrote to his mother in the words of the Hymn. ” What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!”

One lesson from Joseph Scriven’s story is: He did not see God as being far, very big, scary and judgmental but he saw God as a personal friend to carry his burdens and ease his pains. The Holy Spirit is that friend that sticks better than a brother. Jesus says “I will never leave nor forsake you”. Get up from that grieve, that pain,that sorrow… Talk to Jesus as a friend for he hears and he will bear all your grieve.

The story above is not one I have written myself but was one I heard from the Vicar of Sutton Hill Church Revd. Hugh Scriven many years ago. Hugh was a distant relative of Joseph Scriven and told us this same story.



This got me thinking about the situation we find ourselves in at the moment and how we need to pray with each other so I offer up these prayers in Spirit and Truth.

Jesus, our friend, be with each one of us as we endeavour to deal with the present situation of the coronavirus.

Be with the courageous NHS workers and all those involved in caring for the sick, be their friend when life seems too hard to bear, when they no longer feel they can carry on. .Be with all the workers in the various services who are making sure that life can go on as normal as it is able

Jesus, our friend, be with those who are sick and their families and be with the bereaved mourning their loved ones.

Be with our loved ones, those with us and those apart from us, enable us to speak of our love for them

Jesus, our friend, among this community in this time of isolation, be among the family feuds and arguments that can erupt, guide them into the path of peace.

Whatever situation may be before us. Let`s take it to the Lord in prayer.


By Pat

It was such a coincidence that I was asked to write and say why I think prayer is important because for the last few months I have been re reading some of my old bible study notes, “Every Day with Jesus”. Selwyn Hughes who started publishing these notes, chooses a theme, giving us bible reading notes then he would then share a meditation, and finish with a prayer. There are readings for every day for two months. The other coincidence, although I prefer to think of it as a God incidence, (and I’ve only just spotted it), is the date, the time of year January/February issue. The theme for the first one I started reading is, The meaning and importance of prayer. I started reading it this year in January. The next one I followed it with is “Building a more effective Prayer Life”.

I have Passionately believed for a long time how important prayer is, although like many others I feel it is something I’m not good at, but do you know what I’m discovering, you don’t have to be good at you just have to do it. I have a lovely poem which reads like a letter from God it is called ‘just talk to me’. It talks of all the things we don’t have to do , you don’t have to wear your best clothes, you don’t have to put on funny voices, etc. and after everything he mentions he says, “Just talk to me”.

I think the most important things I have learned is that God just wants us to talk to him, to spend time with him, He wants to be in our daily lives. I have read many books on prayer trying to understand more, one I have found particularly helpful is titled Personality and Prayer. Because we all have different personalities our needs and ways of praying will be different and that’s ok, there is no one size fits all.

One of the things Selwyn Hughes says is,” Prayer is an act, but it is more than an act it is a life attitude”. It is a necessity for the Christian, the rest of the notes go on to talk about what is prayer? And how we can build a prayer life.

Prayer is so much more, our loving heavenly father wants to spend time with us, isn’t that amazing!


by Gwen




Sutton Hill Church

Mrs Beckie Dotson

Intergenerational Missioner

07563 382 752


104 Southgate



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Hi all.


Another day and the rain is here again.  You can tell the school run is back with that one.  Always seems to happen on the way there or the way back.  Back to the early mornings and days’ work before the daylight sets in.  We have continued to enjoy once upon a time and got to the last and final season.  There have been many moments that have seen light overcome darkness and yes, I know it’s only a TV show and totally made up but my goodness, what a journey we have been on with these characters.   If you knew me when I was little,  there is no way that I would have watched anything like this at all.  Way to dark and scary, however, we all change over time.   I’m not the same person that I was last year, let alone the person that I was 20+ years ago.  Not giving you any more than that, otherwise you’ll work out my age. Maybe.

On a Sunday afternoon as girls and family,  we would watch a show on a Sunday afternoon,  Little House on the Prairie was a favourite – one show since watched and enjoyed by my girls.  Anne of Green Gables and other pretty shows like that.  I will be honest and say I love a good classic.  A fairy tale story of true love (not how it is shown in the movies and glamourised).  Do you remember the BBC adaptations of C.S.Lewis’ classics “The Chronicles of Narnia?”  I may shock you now but the only one that I have read is “The Magicians Nephew” and that was it.  Sunday went from pretty, to well, not sure how to describe it.  For me,  it was awful.  I found them scary but the worst one of them all was “The Silver Chair.”  I was so scared of the white witch that I would hide behind anything that I could.  I never read the books because of that.  I have decided, that now as an adult, I am going to read them  - all of them.  I have started again with the first one  - which I never understood why it had never been made into a film. 

I am sure that my blogs may well, begin to take a Narnia turn but anyway, back to Once Upon a Time. We have been to Neverland, the enchanted Forest, Storybrooke, Boston and Wonderland.  The darkest of all of these though was the underworld.  It’s their interpretation of a space called Limbo where people who have died are waiting and have unfinished business.  A place where they wait till they have completed their unfinished business where they then pass on.  Please remember, this is a story and I am in no way saying this is a belief of mine – just in case you wondered, but it did make me think about Heaven and Hell.  I think we should be challenged by things, because it is in these moments that we learn to grow. 

If anyone knows anything about Greek mythology, you have read about the underworld, and Hades and all of those characters and you can imagine how dark it is.  No sense of hope, dreary and not a place you want to go.  When we go through really rough and hard times, it feels like there is a no sense of hope and a sense of foreboding.  We have to hold on to that small glimmer of hope, the promises from our Heavenly Father that He has us in His arms.  We need to look for the light in the dark times.  When there was no hope in the underworld – the goodies enter in – they are no dead themselves but they got there one way or another.  They began to bring hope to the underworld and out of the darkness and hopelessness, in the corner of a dark crevice, there was a flower beginning to bloom.  This made me think of the verse in John 1 v 5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”  When there is light, how we live our lives, there is hope.  We can choose to focus on the positive and the promises. These are the things that can help us to focus on the light of a situation. 

The challenge that we can set ourselves is to  think of a verse that has helped you through a difficult time in your life and write it out.  Place it somewhere that you can regularly view it and reflect it on.  If there isn’t a specific one, maybe you could find one that you could use. Maybe we could become a community that shares these verses.  A place to encourage one another with our words.  A place that we can build each other up.  I would love to hear what verses have spoken and helped you.

If anyone would like to follow along,  I have started a blog and can be found at

Rebecca St James – Battle is the Lord’s.

Hope that you are managing to keep safe.

Take care

Beckie Dotson

Intergenerational Missioner

Sutton Hill andWoodside & Diocese of Hereford

07563382752 |

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