PALM SUNDAY – 25th March
9.15am, 11.00am & 7.00pm services
MAUNDY THURSDAY – 29th March
8.00pm Communion Service
GOOD FRIDAY – 30th March
9.30am Walk of Witness from Kibes Lane
10.30am Family Service with crafts and hot cross buns
EASTER SUNDAY – 1st April
10.00am Family Communion
7.00pm Easter Encounter
‘Peace be with you,’ is at the heart of the Christmas message and the heart of our faith. The angel proclaimed this to Mary in Luke 1:28 and Jesus promised the disciples that He would leave his peace with them, a peace that the world cannot give, in John 14. Throughout the New Testament many of the blessings include ‘peace be with you’.
In today’s age everything can be seemingly growing faster, harder or uncertain. Jesus wants to connect with us again this Christmas and remind us of His peace, that can come to us and live in us.
As we approach Christmas we can both reflect on all that has been great… the church away day, the baptisms, the confirmations, the testimonies, the Bible readings, the people free from debt and the lives changed to mention but a few. We can also pray and prepare, taking time out to connect with Jesus, thinking about how to bless others and preparing our hearts. We can take the time to invite people to the services or for a cup of coffee or mulled wine just for a chat. We could also be praying for the five people on your prayer cards to come to know Jesus and His peace.
And then… we get to celebrate His peace with us, with our families or with our friends, and thank Him for the good things that He has done for us this year.
Then as we reflect again or as Mary did, treasure the good things in her heart, it encourages us to prepare for the next year, in hope expectancy and joy. Where there is sadness we can invite His peace and comfort to come to us, as Emmanuel God with us, into the New Year.
Let us pray for, invite and welcome, our family, friends and community to connect with Jesus who brings His peace to us this Christmas.
With every blessing this Christmas.
I don’t think anyone would describe 2017 as a peaceful year. It started with a nightclub attack in Istanbul, and has seen ongoing Brexit worry, Donald Trump tweeting, terrorist attacks in places like Manchester, London, Barcelona and Egypt, elections, the Grenfell tower fire, hurricane Ophelia, and abusive behaviour from Hollywood to Westminster.
So through our Christmas services, we want to share with people a blessing –
Peace Be With You.
People in the midst of all the troubles of this world look for peace in many different places. They might think of peace in terms of ‘peace and quiet’ and look for ways of ‘getting away from it all’. They might think of peace as being an end of war and conflict.
But God’s peace is not merely the absence of external trouble, it is the presence of a Saviour who cares about the human condition. Peace isn’t the absence of the dark. Peace is the assurance of God’s presence in the midst of the dark. The Jewish word is ‘Shalom’, which means more than just peace; it means wholeness, completeness and wellbeing.
At Christmas, Jesus was born as one of us in fulfilment of the promises God made to His people: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
In the Christmas story, each person faced their own troubles and uncertainties and lack of peace, from Mary and Joseph, to the shepherds, to the people in Bethlehem. Their journeys show that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you can find God’s peace in Jesus. We want to share this message of hope and truth with as many people as possible, so think about who you are going to invite to one of the Christmas Services this year. Offer them a moment of pausing and the blessing ‘Peace Be With You’. Peace is found in our encounter with Christ. All other things fade away in His presence.
There will be opportunities for you to share invitations and the message using Social Media like Facebook and Twitter. Look out for information on the church social media accounts, and share pictures and messages with the hashtags:
In the closing weeks of this year at Christ Church we are having a sermon series on what it means to be a caring church. The series is also running in parallel with a Life Group course on the same theme. What is called pastoral care in the church is when we look out for, get alongside and make connections, offer practical support, and most especially, pray for those experience challenging times in their lives. It might be relationship issues, unemployment, debt, health issues, or perhaps the death of a loved one or close friend.
Our sermon series and Life Group series quite simply looks to the example and teaching of Jesus and the Scriptures.
This sermon and Life Group series coincides with the publication of the pastoral care survey which was undertaken in July this year. The multiple choice question responses are collectively shown at the end of this article. It does not show the optional written responses which remain confidential. The survey shows our apparent strengths, but also where we, as a church can seek to undertake pastoral care in more connected and co-ordinated ways. It is incumbent upon us all in the “Body of Christ” to do our very best when people have need. To answer the call – who cares?
The members of the PCST (Pastoral Care Support Team) are very grateful for the response to the survey and look forward, as surely we all do, to the future development of pastoral care in Christ Church and beyond.
Norman Richards Associate Minister.
Results of Pastoral Care Questionnaire
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28 vs 19
At the end of the gospel of Matthew chapter 28, Jesus leaves his disciples with the great commission to “Go and make disciples.” It was both an incredible opportunity, and a challenge as they sought to share the message of Christ.
As a Christian, I am convinced that knowing Jesus is the meaning of life, and deeply brings joy, peace and of course, eternal salvation. Whether some have a dramatic conversion to Christianity, or a gentle journey, there is no doubt that the impact of a real relationship with God upon someone’s life is powerful.
Recognising that Christ Church is a growing church, there is a need to think through how we continue to help people to find out more about Jesus, and grow in their discipleship. Over the past eighteen months, a team in Christ Church has been helping to develop its strategy for evangelism. The aim is to embed evangelism into the DNA of the church with each activity and ministry within Christ Church having a part to play in this. To complement our existing ministries, there will be a regular, co-ordinated and well publicised annual evangelism programme. This programme will include a range of different events aimed at people seeking to know more about Christianity as well as follow-up activities for new believers wishing to deepen or refresh their understanding of the Christian faith. The evangelistic strategy team members are Andrew Du Boulay, Chris Evans, Richard Jarvest, June Jarvest and Caz Rolls. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?
For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some. Continue reading
It was at a MADD meeting in the Old Bulls Head, early 2017, that Bob Barker asked if the men of MADD could come up with any ideas for a fundraising event for CCW. It was tentatively suggested that they might be able to organise a ROCK CONCERT!
The date would be September 23rd 2017 the first rock concert to be held at Christ Church. One church member had received a vision two years previously that such a concert would happen and so it came to pass … It was to be called WareReaction.
Much preparation went into the event. The MADD Men became busy selling tickets, Catriona designed a logo for the event. The bands were rehearsing, Sam Woodward was working on various lighting sequences. Numerous people at Christ Church came together to make sure that the event would be successful, until finally, the big day arrived!
At 7.30pm on Saturday night, Peter Wall the Event Manager, gave a warm welcome to an audience of approximately two hundred people. The first band was introduced and INSTINCT got the concert off to a great start with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. Sam Woodward and his tech team were doing a great job with flashing lights, smoke machine and glitter ball. It all added to the great atmosphere inside Christ Church. Instinct’s set finished with a rendition of “Run to the Hills” an Iron Maiden song.
Our own JESSIE DIPPER singer/songwriter was next on the stage. She commenced with “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and then continued with some of her own compositions. “Beans on Toast” was my favourite, and she finished to a great round of applause.
GRACE, TALITHA and ROSIE were the next band to perform, one of their songs being “Barcelona” by Ed Sheeran. Just like the previous performers they received a very good welcome and were cheered off.
SAM & ROBIN gave us yet another musical genre with a lovely performance of “Autumn Leaves” with Sam on the violin and Robin on guitar.
REDEEMING FEATURE really got the place rocking with one of their own compositions “Alright OK”. RF made no apologies for being a Christian band and performed songs about God’s love for us through his son Jesus. Half way through their set Chris Peirce played Tocatta & Fugue in D minor, beginning on guitar and changing to the church organ to finish his tribute to JS Bach.
THE CCW CHOIR were accompanying Redeeming Feature on some of their songs, especially on the reggae version of “Swing Low” and the last song “Together We Stand”. All the performers joined RF for the Grand Finale and made what can only be described as an incredibly loud and joyful sound. Praise the Lord!
I have heard rumours of a repeat concert for next year, we’ll just have to wait and see!
I am so excited at watching and being involved in CAP. We have been running as a Debt Centre and Money Course for four years in January and it has been a privilege to get to know clients and supporters through this amazing work.
As the Bible says there is a time for everything. Unbeknown to me, my time at CAP has rather surprisingly come to a change. I have been asked by Soul Survivor to be their Conference Manager and am going to be working in Watford three days a week. Soul Survivor and Watford have quite a bit of history for both John and me. As many of you are aware John was a youth worker before vicardom and we used to take young people each year to Soul Survivor. It was at one of these conferences that John felt the call to ordination and the Vicar adventure begun for us.
I have worked for Soul Survivor twice in the past, as their Church Secretary when John and I were first married and as PA to Mike Pilavachi when we moved to Ware.
We are delighted that our youth here at Christ Church go to the festival each and every year and are delighted that both our children are going next year – something that we have been praying for even before we had children. (Nothing like praying in advance!!)
Working alongside Sam has been amazing. She is a gift from God to me and working with her in doing God’s work we have laughed, loved, as well as cried together over many situations.
I have made so many good friends in our clients. One client rather proudly brought me her baby at three days old. I hugged her and then proceeded to tell her off as to why she wasn’t in bed. I have giggled with clients who have phoned and had to confess that their animals had eaten their paperwork. I have celebrated clients who have gone from not having anything in their cupboards to eat to bumping into them in Tesco and saying in a very cheeky way – is it in the budget?! I have met with past clients who have gone debt free and started a new job and wanted help with organising their budget.
Sam and I have recently been to ‘The Gathering’ in Harrogate and whilst we were there we were given a wooden disc with “just maybe” on one side and “always hope” on the other.
JUST MAYBE. In my work with CAP I have met people and just maybe their life can change. Just maybe they can go debt free. Just maybe they can get a job. Just maybe life can get better. In my work with CAP I have seen clients whose lives have changed. Clients who have gone debt free. Clients whose lives have got better and in some cases they have met with Jesus and have learnt that there is ALWAYS HOPE.
I’ve seen people get hold of hope in so many different ways. Answer their phones, getting out and about, begin a college course, get a job. In working for CAP I have truly and deeply learnt that there is ALWAYS HOPE.
Footnote – By Sam: I wish to take this opportunity to record my thanks to Heather for all her support in the last four years we have worked together. As she said, it has been an amazing journey and I am immensely grateful for her wisdom, her diligence, her kindness, her prayerfulness and her willingness to challenge and just get stuck in! We have learned a lot together and have been blessed by the opportunities that God has given us to be a part of the lives of others, both clients and supporters and I think we have seen glimpses of what God’s kingdom looks like.
Thank you, Heather, for being you and for keeping Jesus as the focus of all we have done. We pray that you will continue to experience God’s blessing in your new adventure with Soul Survivor.
Hello, from children’s church and big “thank you” to everyone who volunteered to help at this years “Light Party” Our alternative Halloween party.
Halloween is always a tricky (excuse the pun) time of year for parents that do not want their children to be involved in the usual Halloween activities.
My heart for Halloween has always been to glorify the name of “Jesus” and offer children a safe fun environment that has been soaked in prayer and praise. Thanks to your prayers and Jessie Dipper (our music intern) we were able to worship and glorify Jesus’ name on a night where we know there are real spiritual battles going on.
For the “light Party” we encouraged everyone to wear bright colours. Visitors were met by our welcome team accompanied with bubbles. The church centre was the main entertainment room whilst the memorial hall was transformed into a chill out zone, where children wrote their beautiful prayers.
The night was a success, fun was had by all & best of all we were able to glorify God!
The Church God Wants – New Wine Week 1
RT Kendall spoke on generosity and gratitude….and tithing
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Continue reading
The constant refrain of Christmas, in carols and readings, is that God is with us. In whatever situation you find yourself this Christmas, God is with you – you need only turn to Him and ask to know His presence.’ So says the Archbishop of Canterbury, in introducing this year’s Christmas campaign by the Church of England. There is lots to enjoy throughout December, as this year’s campaign has three key elements:
Firstly, there are three videos that tell the story of the joy of going to your local church at Christmas, which are being released throughout December on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
There is also help in finding a church near you, where you can find a Christmas service or event taking place in one of the 16,500 Church of England churches.
Find out more at www.achurchnearyou.com
Finally, you can enjoy Your Christmas Journey, a series of short reflections throughout December and into early January 2018, introduced by Archbishop Justin Welby. The reflections have been written by people who are new to faith and to help us all grow in our love of God. You can receive the messages as texts, emails, on social media and also in a booklet (Church House Publishing). The booklets would be ideal for Christians to give to those attending Advent and Christmas services. So, as December begins, why not sign up and get your friends and family to join the Your Christmas Journey reflections, by texting GodWithUs to 88802.
As we approach the end of the year, we want to thank you for your generosity during 2017 and to give you some more information about the income of the church and also how this money is invested in growing the Kingdom.
It currently costs £5,700 per week to run Christ Church and the vast majority of our income comes from your committed, regular giving. Thank you to each and every one of you who has responded to God’s prompting by giving to the ministry here.
In all that we do, we seek to put God at the centre and to follow where we believe he is calling us. This requires the PCC to exercise faith that God will provide all that we need and this is shown in the above chart as an amount of “unknown” income. If you would like to be a part of fulfilling that “unknown” then do take a look at christchurchware.co.uk/giving for more information or pick up a leaflet at the back of church on giving to Christ Church or speak to the treasurer (Sam Rich e:email@example.com).
The majority of our expenditure is on mission, evangelism and enabling ministries to flourish and grow. We understand this to be investing in the kingdom. We have the privilege of seeing the fruit of this, for example, as we baptise and confirm those who have come to faith through the work at Christ Church.
As we near the end of this year, our income is forecast to be around £10,000 below our budgeted expenditure. There are many reasons for this: from changes in circumstances for some of our regular givers to our activity income from the halls being lower than originally expected due to the building works. Please pray for the PCC as they discern the right way forward and seek to steward our resources well. Particularly, please pray that we discern correctly all that God is calling us to do and that the resources will follow. Thank you for being a part of all that God is doing and for your gifts of finance, time, energy and support in prayer!
Holey, Wholly, Holy!
God is the potter, we are the clay. He can remould, break and repair cracked parts and make them more useful.
Although we may be crack pots or holey vessels He can still use us as we are, but He wants us to be wholly committed to Him as He is wholly committed to us.
We may be holey people but God tell us we are a “holy people, a royal priesthood”, and He can help us become that if we wholly commit ourselves.
God has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to spread His message to those who don’t know Him. As holey people we may, like cracked pots, spill some of it as we journey through our lives, but think how much more we could deliver if we allowed God to remould us, break us, repair us and make us whole.
God gave Himself wholly on the cross for our salvation; the least we could do is live our lives wholly for Him.
We can’t become holy people by ourselves; It is God’s Holy Spirit in us that can change us from holey people to holy people, if we allow Him to do His work in us and through us. We may be holey, but He is still in us, and we can show that not by what we say, but how we live. Then others will see that out God lives.
May we, as HOLEY people be WHOLLY committed to God in order for us to become HOLY people.
I recently decided to switch energy providers – I’ve done it loads of times so surely it wouldn’t be a big deal to sort out. My new provider asked me for meter readings. Simple enough but my current provider decided a while back that I should have a smart meter.
Smart would surely mean better. Smart means I don’t have to submit readings. Smart means a simpler life for me!
The problem was the new smart meter doesn’t actually give you a meter reading and the meter itself was blank. The provider’s app was no help and wanted to direct me towards a web chat thing, which seemed like a pain so I rang them up.
Once through I had to punch in my account number, date of birth and postcode, generally a couple of times as the automated voice kept saying it hadn’t got it. I then got put through to that nice Michael Bubble who serenaded me a song until I got to a real person.
I told the real person that I needed them to give me the reading that the meter was beaming to them but wouldn’t share this with me. He said he would need to transfer me. I got more of Michael and a song about being unstoppable. Continue reading
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
Next year, Christ Church will be 160 years old. For those newer members of the church, it may not yet occur to you to think of those who came before, who funded the stones of the building, the stained glass windows, the fixtures and fittings that surround us each time we visit the church building. Those who have been part of this church for many years may well be able to look back over a lifetime of previous members of the church and remember how much each of them gave of their time and resources as they invested in both the buildings and the people. Yet even those with longer memories would struggle to think back 100 years or more. We might have an impression of those people living in black and white, old-fashioned times very different from our own. But though much may have changed in over 100 years, many things are the same, and humans behave in very similar ways. We would recognise their hopes and fears and struggles as being like our own. They were flesh and blood like us. This can be difficult to realise if all we see left of them are names inscribed in stone that we walk past every Sunday, or an organ, or a memorial hall (who knows anything about Henry Page, in whose memory the Mem’ Hall was built?). Yet what would we do without that hall, without the sacrifice those names represent?
This magazine is our own record of concerns for today, which may be read by those who come after us. In the same way, we can read the concerns of those who came before us, in their church Parish Magazines and Annual Statements.
In 1881, when the vicar Alfred Oates was a year into the job, his annual accounts record: “The break-down of the heating apparatus at the beginning of the winter was the only misfortune of the year. A special appeal for contributions to secure its immediate and thorough repair was generally well responded to. About £60 had to be expended on it” That would have cost us around £3000 today. The heating seems to be a recurring problem at Christ Church!
Rev Oates stayed for more than 30 years, and even when he left, continued his association with the church. The new vicar, W E Daniels, must have felt in his shadow, and faced the challenge of starting his ministry in 1914, as the First World War broke. Rev Oates was invited back to give the sermon on Jan 3rd 1915, which had been declared a special day of intercession for peace throughout the country. In his sermon he says:
It has been a strange and wondrous year. The very elements have been uneasy. A hurricane of quarrelling swept over the land. Even our sport was demoralised. Our religion had fallen from its high estate: many of our people were living without God in the world. It was becoming civilisation without Christ; democracy without an inspired guide-book; secularism without a Christian conscience; a House of Parliament hired to meet and vote. As once on Calvary there was darkness over the land during high day and a cross was faintly seen, and One hung on the cross to whom Barabbas, a robber, had been preferred, so, during the year which has gone, the cross of Him whom the Father sent to be the Saviour of the World was shrouded in the gloom of a deposed faith, a pleasure loving life, an angry self-will, an impaired national character.
Are these sentiments we recognise today? We are fortunate in many ways. The church listening to that sermon, and reading it in their church magazine, were in the midst of a terrible war. Subsequent magazines contained the names of church members who would not be coming back from the front line in France and Belgium, and whose names are now engraved on a plaque beside the altar. Think of the people we know who come and help with children’s church each week on a Sunday, and imagine having to put a note in the church magazine to say that one of our regular helpers has been killed in action so more help would be needed. A 1915 article reported that Private Percy Huggins ‘had been looking forward to resuming his work in the Sunday School on his return. He has now been promoted to a higher Service’. I wonder if those reading that in their church magazine gave thanks for those still able to help, or wondered if they should offer their services?
The day before war had broken out, Christ Church had begun a daily service of Intercession held at noon, which continued through the war and was attended by two or three each day. Rev W E Daniels wondered at this in the church magazine in April 1915: “At such a time as the present, surely the Church should be crowded” he says. He continued the theme in other magazines ‘Intercession ought to have a stronger place in our daily duty’
In spite of the concerns of war at this time, Christ Church still wanted to share the gospel with local people. In 1915 they continued with Open-Air Services. Reverend W E Daniels wrote in the church magazine in May that “There is surely no work nearer the mind of Christ than this. He Himself was an open-air preacher of the Galilean hills and lake.” He concludes by asking the congregation “to support this work with your prayers; where possible with your presence. Give it, at any rate, your cordial sympathy, and I claim it on the ground that we are doing the Master’s Will; second, that we are seeking the lost; third, that our own faith is being strengthened; and fourth, that prejudices may be removed and men and women drawn into the House of God.” In collaboration with the other Churches in Ware we will continue this work with our ‘Escape!’ evangelistic event at King George Field on 15th September next year, so look out for details of that after Christmas.
Christ Church Annual Statements show that, besides repairing and maintaining the church and paying for all the elements of the church (vicar, organist, organ blower, choir, verger, bellringer, heating, printing, washing, etc.) money given was also spent on the school, the Mission Room in Amwell End, a Penny Savings Bank scheme, a children’s shoe club, a clothing club, a coal club (most would still have coal fires at this time), a soup kitchen, and many other ‘parish works’. Behind the figures in the accounts are no doubt stories of children going shoeless, families unable to afford to heat their home, people without enough to eat.
We know from the 1881 census that Amwell End was home to over 1000 people in just six yards with tiny dwellings. There was no National Health Service until 1948, so the church also funded a nurse for Ware. But those unable to support or care for themselves could end up living and working at the Ware workhouse. Life inside was cruel. Families were separated. Everyone was expected to work long hours and do difficult jobs in return for food and a bed, such as breaking stones and scrubbing floors. It may be that the generosity of the people of the church at this time was the only compassion shown to people in need. We may think it sounds Dickensian – workhouses, shoeless children, a soup kitchen. But people need food, clothes, shelter, always have and always will. Christ Church people faced war, loss, shortages of their own, and yet they continued to give to the different parish works, because it was what Christ had called them to do, to share his love. Rev F Hobson opens his Annual Statement of Accounts for 1926 saying that “…they record the result of much self-sacrificing giving for the maintenance of the Church’s work, for the relief of the Sick and Needy, and for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom in the world”.
Hopefully we continue today to meet the needs we see around us, and those needs aren’t so different. Our CAP debt centre helps those struggling with finances, and the Christ Church people support and encourage those who come to us, showing them compassion that the world sometimes seems to lack.
The Bible, as we are hopefully seeing from our Bible Challenge, is one story, the story of God and His plan to save the world through setting apart a group of people whose role is to demonstrate God’s love, holiness and power. Though we see that they cannot do this in their own strength, the centre of the story is how Jesus sacrifices his life to bring them back into relationship with God, and shows them how to live the life they are called to, for the sake of all the people of the world. This is the continuing story of Christ Church, from its founding almost 160 years ago, to the present and on into the future: we are to live for others, to show them God’s love and to sacrifice for them. When we struggle and fail, we are to come back to the centre, to Jesus, and remember the forgiveness he has bought for us and the example he is to us, and how he has equipped us with the Holy Spirit. We are to remember God’s faithfulness, His promises and prophecies fulfilled, from the Bible, from our history, and from our own lives.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”. Ezekiel 36:25-26
So as we have fleshed out what concerned Christ Church people in the past, their struggles, their sacrifices, all that they tried to do in the name of Jesus, do we think about this crowd of witnesses with which God has surrounded us and give thanks – for those from the distant and near past, and those around us now? Do we consider ourselves to be one of that crowd cheering others on in the race of life as they attempt to throw off those things that hinder them? Do we think of how we can continue to bless those who come after us, and be those that Christ Church members of the future might look back on and say “Thank God for their generosity, for all that they gave in time, money and resources, for the way they built up the people of Ware, for the way they proclaimed the name of Jesus in word and deed, for their faithfulness in praying continuously”?