If you were able to be in church on 15 March you would have seen the video of A Rocha (pronounced “aro shar”) International and the videos produced by the children showing why they decided to support this charity. A Rocha is a Christian environmental charity which has many projects worldwide supporting animal conservation, re-forestation and many other environmental issues. Please go to A Rocha website https://www.arocha.org/en/ to see the breadth of work they do worldwide. During the service a video was played illustrating the beliefs and work of the charity, the link to the video shown in church is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff2MOVruo3I . Thank you to Val who produced the gorgeous cakes, the donations for tea, coffee and cake after the service began this year’s fundraising.
The church is a popular venue for concerts as the acoustics are good. There is a small kitchen from which refreshments can be served during the event.
To view the annual report and accounts for year ending 31 December 2019 you can download the file using the details below.
Romsey Ladies Choir
SUMMER CONCERT IN AID OF PROSTATE CANCER
Saturday evening 9th June 2018, at 7pm in Romsey United Reformed Church.
We are aiming for an enjoyable evening of song and laughter. Joining us will be the Romsey Ukulele Group (RUG), who are always such fun, and if that wasn’t enough, to add even more contrast we have a Barbershop quartet called Southern Electric who will also take to the stage. Tickets at the door £8. School aged children free. There will be a raffle and refreshments. Everyone welcome – especially if you like a bit of a sing-along.
20 June 2021 Morning Service
10.45-11.15 led by Andy Bevan in church and on Zoom
Before opening the Zoom link, we will sing
Opening Hymn: Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? [www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1yndf881Cs]
If possible, you are invited to join the Zoom service. At 10.35am we join for a short social period; the service will start at 10.45am. Please click HERE to join the Zoom service, the Zoom Meeting ID is 880 6118 0122 and the Password is Heiswithus. Please stay 'muted' during the service.
Opening prayer, we say together
Give us, Our Father, a sense of your presence as we gather now for worship. Grant us gratitude as we remember your goodness, penitence as we remember our sins, and joy as we remember your love. Enable us to lift up our hearts in humble prayer and praise, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord God, we gaze in wonder at the beauty found in your world; at your love found in the most unexpected of places and the rich variety of the seasons as we travel through the year. We never cease to be amazed at your generosity towards us and we ask your forgiveness when we fail you, whether in thought or word or deed. May we be worthy to call upon you as our Father and Lord. Amen.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer together, followed by sharing the Grace.
Gospel reading: Mark 4:35-41
In our service last week Mike reminded us of how seeds can grow and yield a good harvest; we reflected on how the transformation of a seed is a miracle at which we can only wonder. It is God who makes it grow, irrespective of the love with which we may tend it.
As one who is most definitely not green-fingered, I have eventually managed not to destroy a small cactus I was given two Mothering Sundays ago by our daughter. Although I re-potted it, even that caused me pain as I took it out of its little pot and its prickles stuck into my fingers. But now it has produced lovely pink flowers to show a different side of its nature, not harsh and painful but colourful and pleasing to the eye. I did not give it such colour, that was part of God’s creation, His plan for that little cactus.
In our reading today, we heard the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm, how he allayed the fears of his disciples and those around him by telling the wind and the waves to be quiet, to be still. Again, we see two sides of God’s creation: one a lake, calm and silent which many have safely crossed, and which holds no fear for the disciples at the start of their journey; the other, that same lake, revealing winds bringing storm conditions to those quiet waters on which the disciples had embarked.
One of the other Bible readings set for today is the story of David and Goliath. We know the story well. A small shepherd boy sent to the battlefront by his father to take food to his brothers fighting with King Saul against the Philistines. Instead of simply giving his brothers their food and returning home, David asked around to find out why everyone was so fearful. His question, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Finally, David takes matters into his own hands. Rejecting the gifts of strong armour from Saul, he takes his sling and some rocks to meet, and defeat, the enemy Goliath, resulting in the Philistine army turning tail and running away.
Here in this church, like all United Reformed Churches, we have a strong history of congregational involvement in how our church is run and what it offers as a witness to our living God. That same God in whom David was prepared to offer his skills and faith and who sent His Son to help calm the storm when the going got tough.
God has sustained us through the challenges of the past 15 months. He has enabled the skills of some to be a medium for ensuring we continue to worship Him and to grow in our faith.
But – the only constant in life is that it needs change. As individuals we grow physically from birth, growing as developing toddlers, onwards towards an enquiring teenager, then come the responsibilities of adulthood, and finally our increasing need for others in our most senior years.
Since Romsey Congregational Church was founded in 1662, when Thomas Warren was ejected from his living as Vicar of nearby Houghton, this church has been the proud upholder of a tradition based on self-determination, discerned through prayer and partnership with our living God.
We are His stewards in taking that witness forward. Life has changed for each one of us in the past few years, Covid has made sure of that. And life has changed around us, not only in this church but in the whole world.
World leaders met in Cornwall last week to discuss how to meet some of those challenges to improve everyone’s lives, Elsewhere, world leaders have met to discuss improving the conditions in Syria so that its inhabitants do not want to leave home and jeopardise security in Turkey and other nations; the people of Algeria are once again raising their voices, this time silently as they decline to vote in elections where political rivals are imprisoned to ensure they cannot stand for election; talks continue with the Taliban in an attempt to improve life in Afghanistan. Around the world the list is endless, and we can only add our prayers for those trying to improve the lives of others, not themselves.
But here at home, we have a greater voice in helping to let the small seeds we sow grow into large oaks or mustard seed shrubs.
As Mike reminded us last week, we have our Annual General Meeting coming soon. Whether you are a formal member of this church, or a friend who feels at home in our midst, we need you to help this church determine its future. We still have some vacancies to fill, whether they are to help with providing flowers in our church or doing small D-I-Y tasks on working parties when they resume, whether serving as an Elder or simply serving the teas and coffees to welcome friends and strangers alike. Do you have a talent you can offer?
After our AGM, we have a Church Meeting in which we are inviting you to share your ideas for this church’s future. Yes, this church may meet your needs now, but will it be meeting the needs of those seeking our living God in 20 years’ time, whether we are here or peacefully in the presence of that living God?
To help us face the challenges we are facing NOW, you have a role to play. Whether it be seeking guidance from God through your prayers or adding your thoughts, inspired by those prayers, to our discussions.
God cannot allow this church to change for the future without you. If you do not help to plant the seeds, there will never be a harvest. The future may not be plain sailing, but, with God’s help and guidance we can each play a part in calming its storms.
I leave you with three questions from our opening hymn:
God asks: Will you let me answer prayer in you?
God asks: Will you use the faith you found to reshape the world around?
Is your reply: In your company I’ll go, where you’re love and footsteps show, thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me?
Prayer for 20 June from URC 2021 Handbook Intercessions (response in bold)
Living God, we come to you in prayer, bringing our prayers for the world and for ourselves, for the role you call us to play in that world.
We give you thanks Living God, that we can live in a relatively calm and stable country. We think of the many countries living under dictatorships, …. Living God through our prayers we ask that a way may be found for us to play our part in your world.
We pray for the countries where COVID is still rampant…. Living God through our prayers we ask that a way may be found for us to play our part in your world.
In this changing world we pray for ourselves and this your church… Living God through our prayers we ask that a way may be found for us to play our part in your world. Amen
Closing Prayer, we pray together:
Be with us, living God and guide us in the changes of this world, strengthen us by the power of your Holy Spirit until, through the death and resurrection of your Son, we may finally find rest in your eternal changelessness. Amen
We listen to our closing hymn (see below)
Please close the Zoom link, then we will sing our final hymn.
Closing Hymn: Take my life [www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN3OaZJaNEE]
COMMUNITY AWARENESS WEEKEND - A BIG THANK YOU
Many thanks to all who attended and helped to prepare for the Variety show on Friday, 10 February. Compèred by Romsey Town Mayor, Mr John Parker, and entertainment provided from various groups throughout the community the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The evening was based on an article from the Romsey Congregational Church Magazine of February 1916 which described the hall decorated with flags, plants and other items loaned from the local community. The hall was similarly decorated with Union Jacks, bunting and red, white and blue decorated tables; along with plants adorning the stage with the piano being brought alongside the stage to set the scene for the re-creation of our Military Social Evening.
Entertainment for the evening included poetry recitals, comedy sketches and songs and everyone enyoyed joining in with the choruses of the war time classics, as they would have done during the original event. A quiz was held during the evening based on Romsey and the war history. Refreshments followed the theme of traditional cakes, breads and jams of the war period, including an authentically made Trench cake, laid out on the table and accompanied by drinks of the time such as ginger beer, lemonade and ale donated by the Tipsy Pig.
In the words of Kitchener, We Need Your Help!
The community events are coming up and we are looking for volunteers to help bring them about and do justice to the spirit of the Church Community in 1917. There are three events that need your help, and we are specifically looking for:
10 February, Variety Show:
around 4 people to help front-of-house on the evening
a gang of people to help decorate the hall
a piano player for the evening (to accompany the acts as they are volunteered)
acts for the evening
June, Summer Fete:
Volunteers to help organise the event both before and on the day
1–5 July, Romsey Festival:
a gang of volunteers to help set up the church, build the exhibits and man the event
volunteers for recitals during the 4 days of the event.
Tickets for the Variety Show will be available nearer the event – watch out for the posters when they go up and, if you are still considering the trip to France, we do still have a few places but final date for inclusion will be Friday 17th February.
Firstly, I would like to share with you something I discovered this Christmas about Jelly Babies, or should I say Peace Babies. Whilst references to a baby-shaped jelly sweet can be found throughout the 1800’s, the first real reference can be found just after World War One when they were launched as ‘Peace Babies.’ Each colour was supposed to symbolise a country that had fought in the war. However, production of the sweets was stopped during WW2 as sweets and chocolates were not essential food.
After the Second World War the ‘Peace Baby’ factory was bought by a Christian who hid secret symbols in each of the babies - a fact that is only now coming out. Below is a guide to the hidden symbols but were you aware that you need to lick the flour off to unveil them?
Black = When you lick off the flour you can see a Heart, which represents the sin in our lives.
Green = You will see the Baby Crying, representing God's sadness that People didn't know the way to Heaven.
Red = You will see a B which represents "Blood" as Christ died to show how much he loved us and to show the way to heaven
Pink = Is a Baby, when we become a Christian we become a "child of God" (or born again).
Yellow = Is wearing a Necklace, representing the riches of Heaven.
Orange = Is wearing a Bum Bag which tells us that we need to be prepared for Jesus coming again.
At the back of the church you will find a tub of small packets of Jelly Babies for you all as a ‘thank you’ for your support on the project.
This year we will be focusing on the community, and how, in the face of everything happening, they remained positive and full of community cheer. We have been using the Church magazine to help with our research and have discovered a few events that our church community and the wider town did get involved with a hundred years ago. We would like to recreate these and I need your help over the last few months of the project to do this.
The first of these events will be our very own Variety Show that will take place in the Church Hall on Friday 10th February and we will be inviting the community to come and join us. We want to take the Hall back a hundred years to reassemble the soldiers Reading and Recreational Room it was back then and we are looking for volunteers to help transform the hall, to provide food and assistance on the night. We need to find a compere for the night as well as someone to play the piano on request. Please let me know if you can help or if you would like to offer some entertainment to share on the night.
For those interested in the trip to France, the date has now been confirmed for 1st - 4th April 2017. We will be spending two days in France around the Somme and Arras area before moving to Belgium and Ypres for a further two days. Places are still available so please get in touch if you would like more information or book your place.
The project will then come to an end in the first week of July when we hold our final exhibition as part of the Romsey Festival. In this exhibition, we will be bringing together all the research found during this two-year project and show just how the Great War affected our church and our town. We welcome any help with research or preparation in putting together some of the exhibition.
For anyone that would like to learn more about any of the events then please come along to our workshop on the 7th January 11am – 1pm in the church where we will be able to share more of the plans. We will also be holding a meeting in the church on the 11th January from 7:30pm to discuss preparations and ensure that we are prepared for our first event.
I write this prayer after celebrating Mothering Sunday: you read this prayer as we remember the death and resurrection of Christ. The origins of Mothering Sunday are linked to giving thanks for Mother Church: the Easter message calls us to give thanks to our Father God for the gift of His Son. Both remind us that we are part of a large family linked on this earth through God, our creator, who cares for us and calls us to care for one another. With this in mind, I offer the following prayer for April.
Father God, who gave us the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, that we may be closer to you, we offer our thanks for this world and all that it offers. We thank you that you were willing to sacrifice your Son for us all. May we follow His example, as we live amongst all your family on this earth.
We thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit, which gives us the strength to follow the path you lay before us, both as individuals and as your Church.
May we always be open to your Spirit, willing to listen to your Word, and ready to be a witness to your presence in your world today.
And so be it.
Creator God, we pray for your guidance and blessing in our lives.
We think of a time when we have seen beauty around us:
A sunset over hills,
A song that had special meaning for us,
blossom appearing unexpectedly in a garden.
Lord, open our eyes to the beauty and diversity of your creation.
We think of a time of change in our lives.
When we saw new promise evolving in a young person,
When we have had a change of heart for ill or good
The change of being locked-down.
Lord, open our minds and understanding when change occurs.
Think of people in many countries facing difficulties
Where corona-virus is rampant,
Where refugee camps are full of families seeking safety,
Where climate change produces floods and fires.
Lord, we pray for those who give aid and comfort.
Think of the pastoral work in Southampton
For the Amber organisation,
helping women involved in the sex-trade.
For Pastor Nicky who came to our service in February.
Lord, we remember the commitment.
Think of our community life at Eastertime
That we may meet family and friends once more
For our church fellowship and it's groups,
For all who lead and support our Christian life
Everything seemed dead but then the resurrection.
Bless to us, O God,
The morning sun that is above us,
The good earth that is beneath us,
The friends that are around us,
Your image deep within us,
The day which is before us.