Please find below details of Service times, prayer groups and the prayer for the month.
There is also the Order of Service for this Sunday to enable those who are unable to attend the service to follow and share in our worship.
We regularly hold a discussion group in the hall lounge on the second Sunday of the month from 6.30-7.30pm. See calendar for details.
There will be a mid-week monthly discussion group at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of each month in Abbey Hall Lounge. The group will be discussing contemporary issues and questions affecting the church and Christian people, based on the regular article A Good Question as found in the United Reformed Church denominational magazine Reform (you don’t need to subscribe to or have copies of Reform to take part in the discussion group). The article A Good Question focuses upon a particular question or issue upon which four people have contributed their views – sometimes they are in agreement, sometimes not – but they are always thought-provoking! Do come and join us – everybody is welcome!
Opening Psalm verses: For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is in God … Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your heart before God, our refuge. (From Psalm 62)
Hymn 103: Praise to the holiest in the height [Sung to Gerontuis available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpHUYwHEstk]
Prayers: Most holy, most gracious God, grant to us courage and love, that we may witness to the compassion we find in Christ Jesus - the compassion that offers new ways forward, wisdom to the confused, a feast to the poor in spirit, companionship to the lonely. May the light of your love enlighten our lives, through the mystery of your grace, even amid the darkness we find ourselves in. Amen
We pray the Lord’s Prayer
Gospel reading: John 13:1-17 and 34
Hymn 438: An upper room did our Lord prepare [Sung to Folk song or St Clement both available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHCcAfdVLTo]
Reflection: We find many references to feet in Scripture. How many can you think of? How about, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'” (Isaiah 52:7). In the Gospels, a woman anoints Jesus’ feet with precious oil, reminding us of his anointing at his burial.
Today, on Maundy Thursday, we remember how Jesus laid aside his garments, girded himself with a towel, poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of those closest to him. He washed their feet –the old and young, worn and dirty, men and (probably) women too. Jesus washed their feet, with humility, love and deep sadness, knowing what awaited him in the hours to come.
Perhaps as Jesus held, washed and dried these feet, he remembered where these friends had been with him, and where those feet would take them in the months and years to come. Those feet would take these disciples, evangelists and teachers into the midst of God’s people to be welcomed, and to be rejected; to face times of celebration and times of challenge, as they offered comfort encouragement, prayer and healing. How beautiful, to echo Isaiah again, would be the feet that “bring good news, proclaim peace … proclaim salvation!”
Now, more than ever, we are invited to share in this mission, especially in the challenging times before us. We are finding new ways of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ church these days so that, accepting the commission of Jesus, we may ‘Love one another. As [Jesus] has loved us, so [we] must love one another’ (see John 13:34).
This Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’ act of humble service, we give thanks for it, and we continue to give thanks for all those who, in the NHS and other ‘front-line’ services, dedicate themselves to acts of love, compassion and healing.
If you have internet access, I commend this short film on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhFBX5ZSySo&feature=player+detail+page
Hymn 463: Now let us from this table rise [Sung to Warrington available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkvmZIP17hk]
(please add your own prayers, especially for those at the forefront of this current crisis)
Remembering that in the past God has always been active in seeking the salvation of his people, let us bring to him now our prayers for ourselves and for others.
Living God, we pray for our families and friends and for the communities in which we live and work. We thank you for the celebrations and festivals which we have, and will again, share together. Help us also to look outwards and to care for those who are on the fringes of our society and excluded from our communities.
Living God, we pray for all who are suffering today and carrying the burdens of sickness, grief, anxiety or guilt. We pray that you will guide them towards freedom, wholeness and faith in you as a loving God who seeks to serve us and save us.
Living God, you have always been active in seeking the salvation of your people. Hear our prayers today and use them and us in your saving work both in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we pray in the name of your Son, our Servant and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Hymn 373: Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us [Sung to Living Lord available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA_g98O42Q4]
In February the Explorers explored the Lord's Prayer and on they shared their thoughts with the congregation. They realised that, although they said it every week, they did not know what it all meant. Once they had worked it out, they decided to write it in simple language and rearrange it a little so it made sense to them. Since prayer is a conversation with God, they wanted to sound friendly. Here is their version.
"Dear God - wow, even your name is special
You are everywhere and everything belongs to you
Please make sure we have what we need to survive
We will try to live the way you want us to
but please forgive us when we get it wrong
We will forgive people for what they have done wrong
Help us to make the right choices and keep us safe
You are the ruler of the world, and you are in charge.
Thank you always and forever.
I agree, the end."
Now they understand what they are saying, but they like the traditional version used in church because it is special and it joins them with friends across the world when they say it.
It was lovely the support we had for Carol Singing at local Care Homes and Nursing Homes. Carols were selected by residents from the Bethlehem Songsheet. We sang for about 30 minutes, this was followed by an opportunity to give Christmas greetings to the residents.
The focus for our Community Awareness Service on 7 February 2016 was the work offered by charities for the poorer members of our society, in particular the work of Churches Action on Poverty. The service was led by Revd. Alan Green who has long been a supporter of this charity. Co-incidentally Churches Action on Poverty asked churches to designate 7 February as Churches Action on Poverty Sunday. Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK. It works in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find solutions to poverty, locally, nationally and globally. Further details can be found at http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/ During the service we recognised the work of other charities.