Weekly notices May 21st
Notices May 14th
Lent is a time of waiting, of change, a time of refinement. It follows winter when all seems to have died but in spring there starts to be the hint of something new, a bud here or there, a bulb starting to poke through. In John 7:33 Jesus said that he was here for a short while later but he promised that when he went to heaven he would leave his Spirit.
John 7:37-38: ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’
He told us that his death, like winter, had to come, but then his resurrection welcomed in a new season, just like spring. In fact, he said that streams of living water would come up from within you. Not just something that touched the outside but something that brought inward transformation, life and flourishing. He said stop, come to him and drink deeply.
One of things that is always so noticeable about spring is the warmth of the sun on your face. In one of the earliest blessings, it is about the Lord shining on us.
Numbers 6:24-26 ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’
In a world that is fast, let us take moments to stop, on the train, as we walk, as we pray, to allow the Lord to shine on us. To receive from him and be transformed by him. As we see the bud of a flower, as we see the days lengthening, as we feel the sun on our face. As we see spring coming let’s recognise that the night is over and the day lies open before us. As we travel through Good Friday, let us remember what it cost Jesus for us to be able to know forgiveness, no more guilt and shame, and as we see remember the resurrection let us see the smile and experience the hope and joy that the Lord gives. May we always be expectant for his living water of the Holy Spirit, to flow through us transforming us from the inside out, bringing new buds, in our lives, in the church and world around us. If you wish for more of the Lord, just ask Him!
Let us always give thanks for the buds that the Lord is bringing and that we are seeing.
With our prayers for you.
Hello!!! I’m John. John Bell. Many of you will have seen me around over the last few months, with my wife Rebecca, and our two children – Sophie (8) and Daniel (5). I have spoken to quite a few of you but I know there are still many others I haven’t yet had the chance to talk to. We live in Stevenage and started coming to Christ Church at the end of September last year.
Originally from Durham, I spent five years in and around Farnborough, Hampshire obtaining a degree in Aerospace Engineering. It was there I met a friend who led (dragged?) me to Christ. In 2001, work brought me to Hertfordshire, and God led me to St Paul’s in St Albans where I met Rebecca. In 2010, we felt called to move to Stevenage (back to Stevenage in my case), and began worshipping at St Peter’s Church, in the Broadwater area.
So how did we end up here at Christ Church? Well in 2013, after a number of years trying desperately hard to ignore God’s prompting, I started exploring a call into ordained ministry. I embarked on this journey of discernment, learning more about the Church of England, more about myself, and more about what it would mean to be ordained as a Priest, all the while listening for God’s direction through
In March last year, I went to a Bishop’s Advisory Panel and was recommended for training. I looked into the options and courses and opted to train through the Eastern Region Ministry Course (ERMC). Some call this a part-time course (although often it feels more than full-time), some call it non-residential (yet we have 6 residential weekends and a full week too each year). Studying on a Regional Course, such as ERMC, means that I continue with my full-time paid employment in Aerospace Engineering, while I work and study towards ordination in my ‘spare’ time. Normally, with these Regional Courses, I would stay under the supervision of the incumbent at my home church (i.e. St Peter’s). Unfortunately (or fortunately?), my incumbent (Tim Horlock, some of you may know him!) moved to St Andrew’s Chorleywood leaving our church in vacancy, and left me needing to look for somewhere willing to take on an Ordinand (cue Christ Church, and a certain Revd Hookway).
Before Christmas I spent a bit of time finding out more about some of the activities Christ Church do, getting along to Seven, Messy Church, Encounter, and even PCC!! I hope to see more of what we do here at Christ Church over the coming weeks and months, as work, studying, residentials and life in general allows.
When I have time (not often with all that’s going on), I love spending time on my allotment growing (or trying to grow) a variety of fruit and veg – some of which have proven to be much more successful than others so there may be an abundant supply of courgettes at the back of church in the summer, and Brussel sprouts in the winter. I enjoy reading – anything fantasy, sci-fi, or crime based but Lee Child novels are a particular favourite. I also love walking/hiking when I get the chance (real hills only please) and I’m an avid fan of Sunderland Football Club (someone has to be and at the time of writing we’re still in the Premier League!!).
So, here I am, with Rebecca and the children, and for the next two and a half years we hope to be here worshipping with you at Christ Church, where I will be leading, preaching, and doing my best to be a general nuisance. If we haven’t had the chance to speak to you yet then please come and say hello.
All the best,
On Saturday March 4, as part of our expression of Christ Church as an Eco Church, we organised a Litter Pick in conjunction with The Great British Spring Clean run by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.
It allowed us as a church to make both a contribution to the Town community and to support the principle of environmental responsibility. Nine volunteers collected twenty bags of rubbish from the streets and walkways around Ware. Our photo shows four of us with some of our efforts, a bit tired but grateful for public encouragements of car horn blasts and thanks from passers-by!
This reflection was written during the Holy Week retreat at Launde Abbey last year, when we were invited on Maundy Thursday to focus on one of the ‘characters’ in the gospel narrative and to try and see the events from their perspective. So these are Nicodemus’ reflections after the trial before Caiaphas (which Nicodemus, as a member of the Sanhedrin, would have attended) and before Jesus’ crucifixion.
What I have written is based on John 3:1-21 (in verse 14, Jesus refers to Numbers 21:8-90). The only other reference to Nicodemus comes after the crucifixion, when he brings burial spices as he and Joseph of Arimathea prepare Jesus’ body for the tomb. John 19:38-42
‘The wind blows wherever it wants’,
that’s what you said-
that night, after dark.
It’s blowing now,
gusting across the court of the Gentiles,
Can you hear it?
howling for your death.
But you know why it blows, this wind,
indeed, you turn to face it –
You knew it then,
you warned me.
All that talk about Moses
and his bronze snake.
I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
And I, ever the cautious sceptic
with my academic questions
and my wanting to remain in good standing with my peers –
I am come but lately to believe
your heavenly truths
in this, my earthly heart,
to stop the priestly juggernaut,
its greedy game
of cat and mouse with Rome.
You will be lifted up….
But if I’ve heard you right,
will somehow be redemptive…
So not a tragedy?
the cost will be brutal.
Everything shouts to me now
that you’re indeed God’s Son –
So how will the Father tolerate
what’s coming – (too soon)
to his beloved child?
(Still the one with the questions, you notice).
Yes, my mind reels
but now my heart reels too –
my ‘newly born’ heart.
My helplessness to make a difference
as is my shame
at my withholding
to the so-called ‘King of the Jews’.
I give it to you now –
too late perhaps I walk in the light,
praying that the memory of that unwavering illumination
will sustain us both in the hideous darkness ahead…
Christ Church, Ware
For supporting Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child at Harlow during the 2016/17 campaign.
Ware Drill Hall, Amwell End
Saturday June 17th at 7pm
A selection of popular, classical and
original music, with guest appearances by:
BARBARA MANNING (violin) and
LIZ KIRKWOOD (cello)
FEATURING MORE THAN 30 RINGERS WITH
OVER 300 BELLS AND CHIMES
Tickets: £12, £10 and £3 from 01992 504991 or on the door
Burns Night Supper – Saturday 4th February 2017
“your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions“. Joel 2:28
With the vision of our Church Development looking as though it is about to come to become a reality – firstly we give thanks and praise!! Those of us who have been supporting this project over many years with coach trips to other Churches who had successfully carried out work to their premises to visits from architects, etc. are breathing a sigh of relief. We have all ‘hung in there’ knowing that in God’s time (which is not ours!!) all would be revealed. Continue reading
When there were only a couple of billion of us, it wasn’t too much of a problem to assume that resources were infinite and the planet was more than capable of coping with our activities. Unfortunately, that is no longer true with over 7 billion of us on this rock floating through space. There is no umbilical cord; we get a (very useful) daily allowance of fresh sunlight, but the physical resources we have are, well, all we have.
Why does all of this matter? As the above headlines show, we’re trashing the planet at a frightening rate and causing all sorts of irreversible damage (but at least we’ll have High Definition pictures of rainforests and wildlife to show our grandchildren what they looked like). Climate change is wreaking havoc on communities around the globe with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns ruining crops and livelihoods and steadily rising sea levels threatening coastal settlements. Many predict that the wars of the coming decades will be fought over fresh water – even the current carnage in Syria was substantially triggered by severe droughts. And through all of this it’s the poor who will suffer the most. Continue reading
Do you know the connection between polio and purple croci? (Classical scholars tell me that is the correct plural for ‘crocus’!
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease which Rotarians the world over have been working hard to eradicate globally since 1985.
Now for a few statistics:-
In 1985 there were 125 polio epidemic countries. Last year just two remained – Palestine and Afghanistan. In 1985 350,000 cases were reported. In 2015 it was reduced to 74. (A reduction of 99.96% for any mathematician.) In that time 2.5 billion children have been immunised at a cost of 20p per child. I must mention the outstanding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who contribute £2 for every £1 which Rotary has raised.
At several locations throughout Ware, including Wodson Park, The Priory, Fire Station and the garden in the front of Christ Church, a colourful display of over 6,000 crocus plants will be on display. (Thanks to Heather for her planting skills on our behalf}.
So why purple?
Those involved in the process of immunising children found it impossible to decide which child had been treated because they received a small sweet after treatment and proceeded to re-join the queue! The solution was to dip one of their fingers in purple dye. Hence the colour ‘purple’ has become the worldwide emblem for our campaign. The Crocus has the potential to become the instantly recognisable symbol of Rotary, representing their greatest achievement, conquering Polio.
Two thoughts for you. We are now 32 years into the campaign. Many, many people have both practically and financially supported this project. The ‘finishing line’ is in sight.
Are there any clues here for the challenge of refurbishing our facilities for future generations?
Mike – Rotary Club of Ware
14th February; Valentine’s Day. It’s the day when every seat in every restaurant is full and when couples who don’t care for restaurants will be preparing nice meals for one another. Flowers will be delivered to offices, gifts will show up in mailboxes, cards will be exchanged, supermarkets sell copious boxes of chocolates and petrol station flowers run out.
I am something of a sceptic when it comes to fabricated days that tell us to tell someone they are special and I feel for all those who for whatever reason are excluded on the 14th. I am very fortunate to have been married to Jane for more than 25 years now and it is so easy to take her for granted so I embrace Valentine’s Day, not for the commercialisation but as a time to say thank you and that I do still love you. Continue reading
I have gradually been working my way through a huge pile of shredding which landed on my desk at the start of January. The minutes of old meetings didn’t capture my imagination, however, there was an old envelope full of bills paid by the church in 1929/30 which caught my eye.
All the bills were handwritten, onto printed letter head paper, but on much smaller sheets of paper than we currently use. Mostly the church shopped locally, only one supplier was from Hertford (the piano tuner) and only two were from London – for Commercial Stationery 1,000 envelopes and from a separate printer a new account book, presumably not available locally.
So what did the church pay for 86 years ago? Continue reading
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Although it is the smallest of seeds, yet it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree so that all the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32)
As with all of Jesus’s use of images and parables, there are many things that we can understand from this! I believe it has a fairly direct application to the work that we do through our CAP Debt Centre, here at Christ Church both in what we do on a local level and also the impact we can have on a national level.
Locally, we have the immense privilege of meeting people, face to face, in their homes. It’s all about the importance of one life, one person, in God’s economy where each and every person has immense value. After all, we were created for eternity! The blessings we receive (yes, really) through being able to spend time with anyone who is burdened by debt are difficult to describe. The amount of debt doesn’t matter as the worry, stress and pressure it causes is often the same. The joy of being able to bring hope and light into the darkness of worry, fear or despair is immensely rewarding. And the greatest joy of all is seeing someone grasp the truth that Jesus is the real source of that hope and light and that we were made for a relationship with Him, with each other, and for eternal life. Wow!
So I think the local work is our mustard seed. Continue reading
Litaniae de venerabili altaris
sacramento in E flat (K243) Mozart
Choral Fantasia Beethoven
Conductor: Julian Williamson
Piano soloist: Barbara Manning
and other soloists
Saturday 10 June 7.30pm
The Drill Hall, Amwell End, Ware SG12 9HP
Tickets: £15 reserved £13 unreserved
available from Cannon Travel, Society Members,
at the door or phone 01920 462346
Book the date now! Come as a group.
Paul Watson and Diana Perkins will be happy to get tickets for you.
A fundraising concert will be going ahead at CCW during the evening of September 23rd 2017. A choir is needed to perform with rock band Redeeming Feature. Chris Peirce reckons it is too long to wait for Christmas for the next performance of the CCW Choir, so how about members airing their lungs at this really worthwhile event. If you are interested in being involved in this Flashmob type choir please let Chris know or send him an email.
Advertising material and tickets will be available for the concert in the near future. As well as Redeeming Feature and the CCW Choir there will be other musically talented people including a youth band, an organ slot and solo artists. Book the date now in your diary, this should be a great Musical Extravaganza.
This will be a MADD Production!
I see the desert and the wilderness as areas in our lives where God wants us to become fruitful and to show people there is a way out of the desert that is easier than going down into the valleys or climbing mountains.
It is a highway for our God (v3), in order for Him to guide us in the right way. Continue reading
on The Way
1. The Way of Holiness
Reflecting on the recent sermon I felt that sometimes my Christian walk had been more a Way of Pot-hole-iness rather than Holiness. Like many of our roads there have been pot-holes along the way: times of sadness, doubt, anxiety, fear and even times of going off the road completely. Continue reading
Weekly notices Jan 29 2017
Weekly notices Jan 22nd 2017
Weekly notices Jan 15th 2017
Weekly Notices Jan 2017
dec-11-2016 Weekly News
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dec-18-2016 Weekly news
Christmas Services 2016-a4-poster
‘Joy To The World, the Lord has come’, is a line from the famous carol. It is also the declaration of the angels at Jesus birth (Luke 10:2) ‘I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’.
It is a theme that runs through the Christmas season in the hearts and minds of many. There are many moments that can bring us Joy, yet in the rush of Christmas we can easily miss them. Moments that cause us to stop, to pause, to smile and laugh. Different things bring Joy for different people. Maybe it’s the warmth of an open fire, the laughter of a child, our team winning the match or a crisp bright winter’s day. Maybe the company of family or the children’s Christmas performance, or the connection with a long lost friend. Sometimes the joy is in remembering a Christmas past, or the anticipation of this Christmas.
Throughout Scripture God is a God of Joy. Joy is a gift that He wishes to give us and it’s contagious. It is a gift that comes from the inside and is so often connected with peace eg. in the song of the angels at Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:14). When we look at the life of Jesus we see His Joy, in His parties, in His humour, in His friends and above all the relationship with His heavenly Father.
When the shepherds heard of this Joy they hurried to Bethlehem to see what it was about. When they encountered Jesus, they were full of Joy, wonder and amazement. This Christmas, let us find times to celebrate with Joy, in parties, gifts and friends. But let us also take the time to look up, to worship and to see the one from whom all Joy comes, the giver of eternal life, our Lord Jesus Christ. May He be born in our hearts this Christmas and may His Joy be contagious in and from us.
With our prayers for you this season.
Well – Christmas is nearly here! A day to celebrate the coming of the King! The day the Saviour was born! Our Lord, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a baby and brought hope to the world and the promise of salvation! What better news could there be?! But advertising agencies would have you believe that the only thing that matters is how much you spend on gifts and whether you can be the perfect host of an extravagant party! Kind of missing the point….don’t you think? This artificial “perfect Christmas” so often puts huge pressure on families and the associated expense can very quickly spiral out of control.
“That was a very happy breakfast, though they didn’t get any of it. And when they went away, leaving comfort behind, I think there were not in all the city four merrier people than the hungry little girls who gave away their breakfasts and contented themselves with bread and milk on Christmas morning. “That’s loving our neighbour better than ourselves, and I like it,” said Meg.” (LM Alcott, Little Women)
We would love to spread something of the joy of Christmas to our CAP Debt Centre clients by blessing our clients with a Christmas hamper. And we would love you to experience the blessing of being a part of this too! As the Lord blesses us, may we be inspired to bless others also! Our debt centre has seen 58 clients in total and 24 clients are now debt free!! It has been a privilege to journey with them as they go through a very difficult process but we celebrate with them as they enter the freedom that comes when the chains of debt are broken.
So there are some very practical ways you can get involved with this, if you are able, to help collect together some items we need for the hampers for our clients. Some ideas of what you could contribute are below, though please feel free to be creative! (Please check use by dates are at least January.)
Hats or scarves
Gift voucher for a meal
Stocking fillers for children
The items can be delivered to the box at the back of church or to Heather Hookway or Sam Rich. Any questions phone Heather Hookway. Thank you in advance for being a source of blessing, prayer, encouragement and enthusiasm for serving others in our community who are going through a difficult time. We thank God for each and every one of you and we pray God’s blessing on you all in this advent season.
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from free debt counselling please call 0800 328 0006.
What is happening?
We will set off from Ware on Friday morning (either in a number of cars, or in a coach if we have sufficient numbers) and head down to Reims in Champagne (northern France). Upon arrival, we will check in and leave our cars (if we are driving) at our 4* hotel in central Reims and head across Reims to Champagne Veuve Clicquot for a tour of their historic cellars, followed by tastings of their Champagnes. There will be an optional dinner on Friday evening for those that want to eat as part of a group, or guests are welcome to choose from another of the many excellent restaurants in the city. Continue reading
At half-term I had the privilege of joining a group of 35, including 18 youngsters and 4 teachers from a secondary school in Fleet (team 1), who went to work with a charity called Ocean Stars, based in Batticaloa in east Sri Lanka. I was part of team 2, who visited the 15 pre-school groups funded by the charity in remote areas where there is otherwise no provision for free early schooling.
The Ocean Stars Trust was started after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, when the whole of the east coast of Sri Lanka was affected by this while still suffering in the Civil War with the Tamil Tigers. More than 5000 people lost their lives in Sri Lanka in the tsunami. Team 1 worked in secondary schools, bringing fresh ideas, enthusiasm and laughter to lives devastated by events. In 1 school half the students were left as orphans and 1 teacher lost the whole class. The school had to be rebuilt and a counsellor is always on duty. Continue reading