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 firstname.lastname@example.org
On the first & third Sunday of the month Holy Communion is celebrated at this service. Participants in church no longer need to bring their own bread.
An edited video of our weekly Service can be viewed on our Services Page.
September – On behalf of the Elders
‘Welcome back after the summer break!”
Did you have a good holiday? No? You haven’t been away?
Neither have we.’ A conversation to be repeated many times over, I am sure, in future weeks. With Covid-19 still around and protection from vaccines apparently diminishing over time, our generation has to be particularly careful. And yet life has to go on.
Thankfully, following the general relaxation in the rules, we are again able to sing during Church services, even if it is behind our masks, while some activities have resumed such as Bible Study and the Phoenix Group which last month enjoyed an evening of lower arranging with photographs on display in the vestibule to prove it. This month, on Wednesday 15th, Eileen Amabalino will be speaking on ‘Postcards from the past’.
And on Sunday, 12th September we are hoping for good weather for our ‘welcome back’ garden party on the back lawn after Church with a jazz band to lift our spirits. It’s ‘bring your own food’ but refreshments will be provided. We are also inviting members of Brookmans Park URC and Christ Church Hatfield URC with whom we expect eventually to be able to call a minister. We very much hope that you will be able to attend, and of course if you have any friends whom you think might be interested in coming to Church, do please invite them along too!
A Church is a fellowship of people who gather to worship God and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Over the years the attendance at our Sunday morning service has fallen until just before Covid struck we were down to around thirty worshippers. The last eighteen months have taken their toll so some will need to be assisted to return, while more generally we must increase our numbers or over the next few years fade away as a congregation.
But this is not a task that we can leave to others; we each need to do what we can, while at the same time demonstrating that we are a congregation worth joining in terms of Church life, engaging with our community and supporting others less fortunate than ourselves. Nor is it something we should delay, so let us pray that the garden party will be the first step in our stabilising and then re-growing PBURC.
On behalf of the Elders.
In the beginning was…………..
Thus opens ‘’The Gospel according to St John’’ as recorded in my copy of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible of 1946.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
These truly are profound words and ideas, recently we celebrated Trinity Sunday and I thought that this Autumn I would spend some time on the three persons of the Trinity. Over much of this year I have been studying the Gospel of St John and learning how John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) saw and understood the Gospel events. In my study I started with the letters of John, then slowly worked through the Gospel itself. The disciple John wrote his Gospel account toward the end of his life – probably about AD 100 – when he had had plenty of time to ponder on and think about what Jesus told his disciples, what Jesus did, and the deeper spiritual meaning contained in Jesus’ words.
It really is a valuable thing to look in depth at our Bible; to spend time with the Lord and let him unfold
for you the Word.
When I was rather younger, working in industry, and studying for a Degree nights and weekends, I can remember buying a Stellaphone tape recorder -, wow! That was a new toy – I remember showing it to my Grandad, whom I loved very much, and I asked him to record something, then we played it back. Magic! Grandad chose these verses above and I can still recall the beauty and the wonder of his reading. Recently I have repaired and renovated that recorder but currently I cannot find the tape. Some day I will find it and I look forward to just hearing those words again!
So what was ‘’the beginning’’? I don’t subscribe to Richard Dawkins view of chance alone. I am convinced that there is a purpose to life and to Creation. The beauty of the created world; the created universe; the glory of life itself; and then the sheer wonder of the DNA spiral all tell me that there is purpose here. I really cannot agree with Richard Dawkins that it all just happened.
Our Bible gives some accounts of the belief of earlier mankind into how ‘’it all came about’’. In New Testament times John was grappling with the Greek ideas of creation when he wrote his Gospel. So where do we stand today? Now we know so much more about our Universe, of the existence of singularities and black holes; of the physics of, and after, a Big Bang; that the glory of Creation as we understand it now is even more fantastic.
The logic of discovery then leads us to the next question, namely ‘’who made our world, our universe, and life itself’’? The answer again has to be either ‘‘pure chance’’ or ‘’someone that we call God’’. I have to say that in my mind a creator exists, it’s the only rational and satisfying answer for me – and I hope for you, too. Then, in our logic trail, follows the question ‘’what is God like’’? What are his ‘’characteristics’’?
Early man was frightened of Him; the Jewish race learned to placate him with sacrifice; Jesus told us that he, God, loves us – and you – very, very much and wishes for our fellowship, and John showed us how deeply that love ran. No longer frightened by him, we as Christians, give Him praise and glory and call him ‘’Father’ in our love for Him.
Yet God sought us, anyway. The Old Testament is a record of that unveiling of himself. The Torah shows us how God chose Abraham as the father of his special people, because of his righteousness. From Abraham’s race God would reveal himself to all mankind, culminating in the gift of Jesus, his son. Rather than a multiplicity of gods, as envisaged by the Greeks, our God is one god and wishes to be known as ‘’Father’’, an intimate title in itself.
You may recall from the time of the law-giving at Sinai that Moses was told to turn his face away from God and not to look upon him. You may also recall that the people when at Mt Sinai, were told to stay away at the bottom of the mountain lest they saw the face of God. Now, fast forward some three thousand years to New Testament times. In the later part of Johns’ Gospel the disciples wished to see the Father, and Philip ( John 14 vs 8) asked Jesus the question ‘’show us the Father, that is all we need‘’. Jesus’ astonishing answer was ‘’for a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip?’’. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’’. Why, then, do you say ‘’show us the
I remember in an earlier article in the News that I posed the question ‘’is it reasonable to seek to visualise God, the Father?’’, or is this an invalid question anyway? I can remember having this discussion with Dean Geoffrey at St Albans and his answer was a lovely chuckle and the comment ‘’now that really is a powerful question’’.
I hope that my item for this month has given you something to think about concerning the first person of ‘the Trinity’ namely our loving Father, God, the creator of all and who is worthy of all our praise and worship.
I like to have a song to finish with, so the Russian/Swedish song ‘’How Great thou art’’ sums up much of my ideas and reasoning this month.
Oh Lord my God, How great Thou art!
Oh Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Songs of Fellowship no 407;HON 380
To finish, may I challenge you to read the beginning of the Gospel of John from verse 1 to verse 18. It is labelled as the Prologue in the Good News Bible (where it is easy to read) and often referred to as the Logos introduction in scholarly writings. Next month I shall continue with the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, the Son and as you read the above
you will see that the Son was in the beginning, too.
May God the Father bless you as you read the ‘Logos’