Every Sunday at 11 am we have a Family Church Service.
At the moment our Services are a hybrid of Church and Zoom, with worship led either from the church or from home (via Zoom) at the discretion of the worship leader of the day. Our hymns are played and sung from home and those of us participating at home via Zoom can sing along. Those in church can see those at home on a TV screen and can follow the parts of the Service that are “Zoomed” on the TV screen as well.
We distribute an Order of Service and the Service Hymns via e-mail and include the Zoom log-in details which change for each service. If you would like to receive the weekly invitation e-mail, please let us know with an e-mail to email@example.com
On the first & third Sunday of the month Holy Communion is celebrated at this service. Participants in church bring their own bread.
An edited video of our weekly Service can be viewed on our Services Page.
November – On behalf of the Elders
Dear Members and Friends,
Having now taken up the duties of Church Secretary and Elder again, although I think it may still require your endorsement at a Church Meeting, it has fallen to me, again, to write the front page of the Newsletter. So here goes!
November is a month for remembrances and thanksgivings, starting off with Remember, Remember the 5th of November, finishing on 30th November with Remembrance Day for Victims of Chemical Warfare. In between we also have November 15th as Remembrance for Victims of Road Traffic Accidents. Also on that day it is remembered in Germany as Volkstrauertag (People’s Mourning Day) remembering all who have died in armed conflict military and civilian throughout the world, first celebrated in 1952 . In the USA there is Thanksgiving Day when the Pilgrim Fathers landed in America on November 23rd and gave thanks to God for their safe arrival in the New World (400 years ago this month 1620).
However, November is best remembered for the ceasefire on November 11th 1918 when the guns fell silent on the Western Front ending four long years of slaughter. misery and death. It was then named Armistice Day, eventually ending up as Remembrance Sunday, remembering all the casualties of WW11as well, and is celebrated by many other countries throughout the world.
So where is God in all this remembering? Does he sometimes get forgotten as we go through all the formal ceremonies? True, many of these are led by our religious leaders. We remember and ask for God’s forgiveness, which he readily gives us, as he knows the sadness of death when his son was crucified on the cross on Good Friday .We too have had to learn to forgive, and our former enemies are now our friends. Forgiveness comes by the grace of God, witnessed in the sending of his son to our world.
on behalf of the Elders
Difficulties- then and now- both in Philippi and Potters Bar!
Cheer up, friend they said things could be worse, so I cheered up and sure enough things did get worse!
This seems the situation with the pandemic problem at the moment, last month I wrote about a new beginning, and starting again after the effects of the national lock down which started at the beginning of the year and now seems likely to return soon. The peak of the ‘daily infection rate’ that we had in the Spring has passed and it then settled down to a good flat period for the summer. Now it appears to be rising again rapidly. I fear that the exponential law is upon us again.
At the end of October we had our annual flu injections, it’s made up of a mixture of likely derivatives of flu that we might encounter this year- its worth noting that the corona virus is probably going to evolve similarly as it is a similar type and size of entity. Different strains will bring new waves of infection; I fear that we are not free of this threat into the future. Some forms of the lock down as ways of combating coronavirus are likely to continue into the future. Enough of gloom!
As a church we collectively decided to try and meet again on the Church premises, yet for the more elderly the risk appears too great and a home meeting via Zoom is still the best way forward for many of us. I recognise that for ‘singles’ – people living on their own – their isolation is intolerable and they do prefer the Church as a meeting place as it is the only place that they can find company . We, as a church of friends will cater and care for both groups of ‘’at risk ‘’ friends. This is Christian love for each other.
Heather and I still enjoy ‘church’ within our home and meeting and communing via Zoom is still a satisfying compromise. Zoom is a new experience in that we seem to meet up with more friends and folks, and many other folk that live further afield. We are aware that the church reaches further than the building in Darks Lane! However the price is that we depend on technology to do so. A few weeks ago we were reminded of this fact when a power failure disrupted the service. I could have got the generator out – but it still would not have brought back the broadband! Our good friend Richard Osborn was the officiant at the time and he carried the occasion brilliantly. Suddenly he carried the duties of organist Stephen, as well as preaching and being worship leader. Thank you, Richard.
The continuing presence of the corona virus brings with it some other long term planning effects too. Heather and I usually go away over the Christmas period. My feeling is that the Christmas period is for the children to enjoy within their own family group. We then return in time to join with them over the New Year. This year we suddenly realised that if we where in France for Christmas then on return we could be obliged to lock down for two weeks – that is over New Year – and that would be awful! We are truly living in difficult times. This year we shall be in Potters Bar for the Christmas celebrations!
To return to the Sunday of the power-cut. Our visiting officiants tend to use the lectionary reading schedule for the day and Richard did likewise. The Gospel reading was from Matthew and the Epistle reading, a short one, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. I was to have read both but on the day I disappeared into darkness. I had prepared for reading beforehand and was particularly struck by the Epistle reading for that day. It is a well known passage of Scripture; you are probably familiar with it yourself. Let us revisit it.
The church in Philippi was the first church that Paul had established in Macedonia. Paul was in prison at the time of writing and he is writing to thank them for their gift that he had carried to the Jerusalem church on their behalf. The church in Jerusalem was having a particularly hard time. Paul concludes his letter with this exhortation on how the Philippian church friends should continue to conduct themselves in their day-to-day lives and in particular in their difficult times.
Are we living in difficult times right now? The answer has to be ‘’yes’’. The nation has been in isolation in various degrees of severity for most of the year; our Church calendar has suffered disruption in that all its festivals – its important dates have been observed in family isolation rather than corporately. Many of us thought that the ‘’let up’’ in August was very much needed. The Philippi church had different problems in that the Christian fellowship was of necessity living apart from the outside world yet was facing divisions within itself, so they also had difficult times. The letter from Paul applies to both communities, both then and now, both them and us.
Now I return to the Letter to the Philippians. On receiving the letter from Paul they must have treasured every word their friend wrote. The letter would have been handed round the church friends. They would have kept the letter as a treasure in the church ‘Books’. It would have been read to the church on special and spiritual occasions. When others, later, collated material about the apostles and disciples of Jesus it became part of ‘Holy Scripture’. At the Council of Nicea, some 300 years later it was included in the New Testament Canon, and so we have it today because the church treasured its record of its Friend.
What does Paul exhort them to do at the close of that letter, chapter 4?
I copy it below, do read it slowly, thoughtfully.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, and
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is
commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything
worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and
heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
I particularly like the sentiment in the penultimate line, ‘and seen in me’
I wish you well in the month of November. Thereafter we enter Advent and will be celebrating the Good News and the Gift of Christmas tide.
I wish you Gods’ richest blessings, as we continue our New Start,