Every Sunday at 11 am Family Church is held. On the third Sunday of the month Holy Communion is celebrated at this service. (Please note that occasionally services take place at Brookmans Park URC – check our Calendar page)
As we are a joint pastorate, our Minister leads us in worship on the second and third Sundays of the month.
On other Sundays we benefit from welcoming to our pulpit a wide range of preachers all of whom have strong links with our church.
A Message from our Minister (June 2019)
There are two events that I am looking forward to greatly as I write. There is an induction of Elders on the 19th of May and Ali’s baptism on the 26th. Both of
these are opportunities for the Holy Spirit to make itself present.
The increase in the number of serving Elders from three to six is very good news indeed and the conducting of a full immersion baptism along with the Baptist Church is a very positive development.
These new beginnings are a great cause for celebration. Join with me in praying for Gods blessing on them.
Geoff Peterson’s Monthly Message.
(Geoff is an adherent of our Church, who writes a regular message for our magazine The News)
You are not alone!
When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will be filled with power!
In the Church’s Calendar for this month we have two events to look forward to, there is Whitsunday, or Pentecost, and Ascension Day. To be precise Ascension Day is right at the end of May on Thursday 30th however I shall include it here as it is closely linked with Whitsuntide. Much depends on when you receive and read the June News! John does not mention these two events in his Gospel account so we shall have to look elsewhere, and Luke the Doctor is as good as anywhere. First, in the Acts of the Apostles (which I sometimes refer to as Luke’s second Book!)
Luke records that………..
`For forty days after his (ie Jesus) death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him and he talked with them about the kingdom of God. ‘
Now turn to Acts chapter 1 and read verses 6 to 11 and read the account of what happened on Ascension Day. To read this quietly in your Quiet Time is to understand His ascent to the Father and the relationship this has to the sending of the Holy Spirit to them, and to all believers, and to the reason for His sending a Comforter.
Following the ascension of Jesus to the Father we progress to Pentecost or Whitsun. This year we celebrate Whit Sunday on Sunday 9th June and in earlier times we used to have a Monday holiday to celebrate, too. You may remember that, during our lifetimes, the secular world decreed that Labour day and Trafalgar day and Whitsun holiday made for too many May breaks and was disruptive of our working lives, particularly since Whitsun was variable and depended upon Easter, which in turn was also variable, hence the change. Do you remember who the PM was at the time? Now we have a fixed early spring and a spring break.
What, then is Whitsun? To the Jewish nation Pentecost was the festival that occurs 50 days after Passover. It celebrates the wheat harvest — one of the two important harvest times of their land. To the Christian it is a time to celebrate the promised gift of a helper in our lives who enables us to live and persevere in the Christian life and in our set task of passing on the Good News of Jesus and his love for those who believe in Him.
I suggest that now you set aside a Quiet Time to read the Pentecost story; you will find it in Acts chapter 2, just after the ascension story. Jesus had promised his friends that when he had joined the Father then he would send them a Helper. The account is in the first 16 verses. The sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples was dramatic and the resultant effect on Peter and his friends was electric – no longer are they frightened men, but they are emboldened to tell the world of the Saviour. This power is for you, too.
What did Jesus mean when he promised a ‘helper’ or a ‘comforter’? -well one answer is that ‘it’ would help his followers to follow the Christian way and then to spread the Good News of Jesus and the way to Salvation to all mankind. Nowadays we use the term the ‘Holy Spirit’- as I have done above – but John in teaching his Greek friends and converts uses the Greek word ‘parakletos’. The first English translation of John Wyclif, made in the fourteenth century, used the word ‘Comforter’ and this has continued into the AV and to modern times. Sometimes we use the Latin word ‘paraclete’ and this turns up in some of our older hymns. Comforter has changed its meaning over time and more modern translators use ‘Helper’ as also does my GNB. William Barclay tells us that a paraclete is someone called in to help us in our hour of need, like a witness in Court, like a person to plead our cause, like a person to instill braveness in us, like a person to help us cope. In our more modern times the idea of the Spirit of Jesus, or Holy Spirit makes more sense in our understanding, and in our experience of what is happening when we make that confession of faith in Him. The `called in’ part of the description is important, as William Barclay says the Holy Spirit never gate¬crashes a person’s life, he waits to be received.
Over recent News letters we have followed a Bible study in the Gospel of John, and I trust that you have enjoyed the reads in your own Quiet Time. In February we followed the Lord into 2019 and into his early days of ministry. In March, being Lent, we prepared for the Easter story. In April we devoted four separate day reads for the Easter story of Holy Week. In May we visited the four chapters that were skipped prior to Easter and looked at Jesus’ teaching on ‘love one another’ and on `the work of the Holy Spirit’. This month – June- we have left Johns’ Gospel to enjoy Pentecost. The Holy Week study in the Gospel of John concluded at the end of chapter 20, at the point where John tells us why the Gospel was written. For a final read this month I would like to guide you to Chapter 21, read it quietly, it is a wonderful story and tells of the third appearance that Jesus made to his friends, whilst they were tarrying in Galilee, as he had told them to. Not knowing what to do, seven of them had decided to go fishing, they caught nothing all night and then returned to find a fire on the beach, breakfast prepared for them and Jesus there waiting for them. Do read the account in those first 14 verses. It’s a wonderful beach – we have stood there, too and wondered. The remainder of the chapter has to do with Jesus instructing Peter and John about their part in the mission work to follow. That concludes our study of the Gospel of John. If you have followed this series of readings diligently with your Bible, then you will have read the whole of the Gospel of John – well done. Too often we take selected portions of scripture to read either in church or by ourselves and yet it is so important to read and know the whole account because you then get a much better and fuller understanding of the Word.
I wish you a great Pentecost, Oh, and remember to ask the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God – into your life, you will find your life enhanced beyond measure. Are you ready for that Pentecost power?
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, is unseen like the wind yet at Pentecost it empowered Peter and John and the other ten to be bold beyond measure – and thereby brought you and I the message of Truth.
Spirit of God, unseen as
gentle as is the dove;
teach us the truth and help us
show us the Saviour’s love!
You spoke to us long,
gave us the written word;
we read it still, needing
through it God’s voice
Without your help we fail
we cannot live His way;
we need Your power, we need
following Christ each day.