Every Sunday at 11 am we have a Family Church Service. On the first & 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)
September – On behalf of the Elders
Have Faith, Trust in the Lord – He is always there to guide our thinking and our actions. There is nothing that cannot be done if we but call on Him for help. Constant prayer will always yield an answer.
There is a hive of activity amongst the Elders and congregation. Plans are afoot to open the church on Sunday 6 September for our first communion of the month. 25 people have signified that they would prefer to be in church on a Sunday but a further 16 people are not feeling it will be safe enough and will continue to join our services via Zoom.
There will be a number of stewards to open the church, ventilate, greet, take temperatures and usher people to their designated seat/s. The camera, TV and sound system will all be put in place. Sorry, no singing behind the masks, but humming with gusto will be allowed. Thank you to John Wainwright for being the first to try the “New Normal” way of doing
Remember to book your seat before the Service, by Saturday at the latest. We would struggle to socially distance people if everyone turned up on the same day. Please call me, Tony, 01707 661160, and leave a message if I do not answer.
As we get back to a new way of doing things we should all be thinking about what is the right thing for us to do. What will our church be like? What vision do we have and how will we attempt to achieve it? Let’s get more of our members taking an active role in making our church work. Thank you to those who have offered to join the stewarding team for the first time. Thank you to those who have offered to look at the technological side of our services. Together we can do this. Have Faith…. The Lord will show us the way….
We must be aware of keeping our church cleansed. Wiping and sterilising all surfaces which have been touched. Being sure not to leave behind anything which you could take home. Every little effort will help.
Before finishing I would like to pay tribute to David Ramsay and the amazing effort which he has put into keeping our church in order as Church Secretary. At this time he needs to have a little rest and
we must all do our bit to show that we care but not to intrude on his family recovery. God Bless you David (and Chris). Get well and come back as soon as you think it is the right time.
May God Bless us and all whom we love…..
New Beginnings and Our God reigns!
The two-month News of July/August was the last one of our summer ‘’term’’ of Church news-magazines; in past years we have been used to relaxing over the next two months then life starts again in September. The next major event in our church calendar is then looking forward to the
Christmas period and also the solstice – the mid winters day! This current News is the first one of our autumn term – or would be in normal times but 2020 has turned out to be a funny year and we have had this long period of lock down and turmoil. This year September is the month when we could, or might, return to church worship but it will be a different ‘’normal’’ if we do. We still do not know whether Government will allow us to return to a corporate form of living.
Last month I ended by a challenge to you to tell others of what you have ‘’seen and heard at the feet of our Lord’’ during our period of enforced ‘’lock down’’’ Earlier in the year in these News monthlies I have been following Peter through the events of the Easter story, and in one of them, briefly, we went to the mountain, or hill, when Jesus took a small group of the disciples apart from the others for what became a special ‘’mountain top’’ experience, Jesus met with the Father and Jesus was transformed before them and God spoke to them out of the cloud. The three disciples
were Peter, James and his brother, John. This event is recorded in three of the Gospel accounts and if you read them they are remarkably similar. Luke in his ‘’studied and orderly account’’ to Theophilus tells of what happened (Luke 9: 28 to 36). Mark gives a similar account in his Gospel (Mark 9:2 to 8) and so does Matthew (Matt 17: 1 to 8).
Later in the book of Acts of the Apostles – after the Resurrection of Jesus – Peter is called to account for his actions and boldness before the authorities. He uses the phrase ‘’we are telling of what we have seen and heard’’ in that defence and most folks assume that he refers to the resurrection of
the Lord; however he may well be citing the ‘’Mountain top’’ experience. That encounter in the clouds made a very powerful impression on the three of them – although John strangely does not mention it in his Gospel.
I noted earlier that one focal point in my account of the events from Palm Sunday to and through Easter Sunday was to be upon Peter, the simple fisherman who was so dramatically changed both
by his friendship then love of the Lord Jesus and the events of ‘’Easter week’’.
I have just finished reading the two letters of Peter which are near the end of the New Testament and are probably the last accounts to be written down of the New Church in our New Testament. The writer of the letters is concerned about certain heretical tendencies in one church and writes this
statement about the Gospel story:-
“For it was not cleverly invented fables that we followed when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; it was because we were made eye witnesses of his majesty. This happened to us on that occasion when he received honour and glory from God the Father, when this voice was borne to him by the majestic glory- ‘this is my Son in whom I am well pleased’. It was this voice that we heard, borne from heaven, when we were with him in the sacred mountain’’.
Thus Peter cites this ‘’mountain top’’ experience as the authority on which his whole later life was framed, rather than the death and resurrection story of Jesus, although of course both are integral to the whole development of his faith and life. Scholars tell us that this last letter of Peter (2 Peter) may not have been written by him, however his friend and companion thro’ much of his travels was Matthew and Peter would have told Mathew what to write, about his most wonderful memories
of Jesus his Lord.
I leave you with a fascinating thought on the life of Peter and I hope that it gives you a deeper understanding of the Gospel story as a whole. Can you remember a mountain top experience that you have had – a time and an occasion when our God spoke to you? I remember one such in the small chapel at Royal Air Force Calne in Wiltshire. Now, pause and reflect on what a profound effect it had on Peter and on his subsequent life and commitment.
We are shortly to recommence our Church Services as we judge the future progress of the Virus to recede and be less of a threat to us. We are to have a new beginning. This period of ‘’lock down’’ and confinement away from friends and relatives has been a harrowing time for most of us, particularly those on their own. However on the plus side we have been allowed time to think and ponder on matters that perhaps have been passed over prior to March 2020, so time now to tell others of what you have ‘’seen and heard at the feet of our Lord’’.
Be assured that much good will have come out of the lock down, e.g. individually we have had time to think more, and we recognise that our God reigns supreme. There is a song in HON (number 219) which tells us this truth too, its sub title is ‘’Our God reigns’’
Ends of the earth,
see the salvation of our God!
Jesus is Lord, is Lord!
Before the nations,
he has bared his holy arm:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!
In our new beginning,
let us resolve to follow Him more nearly
and closely and recognise that ‘’Our
I wish you a good and blessed month ahead
Philippians 4 v 8-9 NIV
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”.
At the end of January my son, who lives on Hong Kong island, told me of the impact Coronavirus COVID-19 was having on his life. He was able to leave and came to England at the beginning of February, but as he developed a sore throat, he decided to have minimal people contact and we were unable to see him until, for work purposes, he had to go to Los Angeles. He stayed there before returning to Hong Kong at the beginning of March. Then his company imposed homeworking and banned all travel. He advised me that he thought the virus would be in England very soon, if not already present, but I could not really grasp the fact at first. Then lockdown on 23rd March and our surreal lives began. Now fourteen weeks later and as restrictions are loosening we wonder how different life will be for us now and in the future.
How have we coped? Paul wrote the above words to the Philippians from prison and one of the purposes of his letter was to encourage them to rejoice regardless of circumstances. Not always easy. Routine, exercise and lots of phone calls, Skype and Facetime to family and friends I have found to be of great help. I love to read so sitting in the garden in this beautiful weather has been great as well as doing an online course about large country houses. Trying to focus on my blessings rather than worrying about what is out of my control, taking one day at a time and not letting my mind dwell too much on the news.
Churches are now, where it is safely possible, opening up for private prayer, ours is doing this on a Thursday. The Nursery School is about to reopen with reduced hours and fewer children. As yet we do not know when services will restart, but we do know that, with the psalmist we can say that we depend on God alone and put our hope in him.
Paul finishes his letter “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit”
On behalf of the Eldership.
Geoffery Peterson’s Monthly Message
Easter to Whitsun – then beyond!
Dear Friends at Potters Bar United Reformed Church,
Last month I took the period between Easter and Pentecost, or Whitsun, and followed what happened to the Disciples over those ‘’between times’’. After a recap of Holy week then Easter Sunday we developed the intermediate period up to Pentecost. In particular I followed Peter the man and noted that he was very much ‘’an ordinary man’’ in spirit and manner, a fisherman by trade, making a living on the waters of Lake Galilee (or Tiberius). We noted the change in a man who loved the Lord Jesus, yet then denied ever having known him ‘’when the chips were down’. Have you ever ‘’been there’’?
After the Resurrection he was confused and wanted to go back to fishing, then at Pentecost he was changed into the ‘spirit filled’ Disciple and Apostle. What happened next?
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to all the disciples, all 11 of them, and filled them with boldness and the gift of tongues. They were able to speak to ‘’all men’’ in their own language, so that many people who were in Jerusalem were able to hear about Jesus and what had happened to Him at the hands of the Jewish authorities. Peter gives a powerful speech and he ends with this statement (chapter 2 vs 38 to 39). Peter said to them,
“Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will
receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.
For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away – all whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Thus a body of believers, a church, was formed. Notice the conditions, to first believe, then to confess and ask for forgiveness, to be baptised (the sign of belief and commitment); then to be Spirit filled follows and Assurance.
On another day we are told that Peter, together with John go to the Temple and heal a man. Trouble follows in the Temple in that the authorities challenge the source of their power and their authority to teach. A Council of the Temple leaders follows and Peter and John speak of the power of the Spirit within them. The leaders ‘tell them off’, tell them not to speak about the matter and release them. The two disciples leave after making the declaration –‘’that we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard’’.
They return to the larger group of friends and tell them of the outcome of the Council deliberations and the believers are over-joyed. They give thanks in prayer and ask for boldness to continue testifying to ‘‘what they had seen and heard’’ which the Holy Spirit confirms with an ‘’in-filling’’ similar to that first, mighty, one.
Until we re-read the account it is perhaps not so obvious that the Disciples and Apostles take the ‘new faith‘to the Temple and to the Jewish people – not the world at large. This brings about the ‘’head-on’’ collision between the accepted Jewish tradition and the new found ‘’Covenant in my blood’’.
There is more trouble to follow with authority, this time with the Roman governors, the overseers of the Roman Power. Imprisonment follows, a miraculous release at dead of night and repercussions then follow. I leave the story at chapter 8 to follow Peter. I shall skip to chapter 10 missing out the terrible killing of Stephen and the conversion of Saul to Paul – both important steps in themselves. We next find Peter travelling about the province and telling the Jewish people about what ‘’he ’had seen and heard’’. He arrives in Joppa, near Acre and on the coast.
To rejoin the narrative, Peter is praying on the house roof when he has a vision. Do give it a read; start at Chapter 10 vs 9. Two men from a Roman regiment are sent by Cornelius, their officer, to bring Peter to talk with him, he too had had a vision. The read continues to verse 33 at which point Peter realises the message that the angel has for him and its this;-
“I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.
Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to”.
The message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ
The message was the wonderful truth that Salvation is for all –
that is for you and me! Peter is given the wider truth that the Good News is now far all, whereas in the past the Good News had been given to Abraham and then the descendants of Abraham alone. They were intended to follow it themselves and then to impart it to the ‘’Gentiles’’ as they became to understand that God loved his creation, and mankind, and that in return they should love Him for his goodness to them. Love should be the basis on which mankind lived and developed and their understanding of God the Father evolved. This was the Covenant – the old covenant- between man and his God. This first Covenant betwixt man and God ‘’that you shall love the Lord your God’’ led to the New Covenant ‘’in my blood’’ through the person of his son Jesus. Peter then takes this revelation to the church in Jerusalem and the Good News goes truly world wide. This revelation thus confirmed what Paul had been teaching and what he was soon to report to the Jerusalem church.
This Church News is the last one of the current ‘term’, our Summer Term. This last term has been a somewhat bumpy one in that we have been thrown into disarray by an epidemic of corona virus. When we reassemble in September as a corporate worshipping church we can start again with a new fresh term. As a Church we shall be preparing for Advent and Christmas. As always He will be there to welcome us and His Spirit will be with us – that’s the promise. Are you game to trust Him and trust him totally?.
Are you ready to tell to others of ‘’what you have seen and heard’’ at the feet of the Lord ?
I wish you a good summer, however you might spend it!