HERTFORD

UNITED REFORMED CHURCH


349th Anniversary year
 

 

JULY / AUGUST 2022

 

MISSION STATEMENT

We aim to be an active Christian Church open to all, meeting together for worship, teaching and prayer and offering loving care and support to all.   We work alongside other Christian Churches reaching out into the community with love.

 

 

MINISTER            

                                    REVD MARK ROBINSON

                        

                                     

The church is following the URC Guidelines on Safe distancing and operating Covid Secure Precautions

                               

SUNDAY WORSHIP 

10.30 am                Morning Worship,.with Holy

                               Communion is usually celebrated once a month on the

                               First Sunday of the month. - please check the diary.

                                      A time of fellowship is held after the Service with coffee or tea - all are welcome.

 

WEEKDAY WORSHIP 

11.00 am                Thursday there is our "Open House" Coffee Morning

                                       runs from 10.00 - 12.00 noon. 

 

Please see the monthly magazine for an update on what is happening at the Church throught the month.

                              

 The Minister's Day off is Monday so,

             please contact your Elder for urgent pastoral needs.

The diary is at the end of this magazine

 

Dear friends,

Do we remember God’s Spirit during this ordinary time of the church? Every year after Pentecost and before Advent, at this time of year that we in the church call ordinary time, I remember my maternal grandmother. And you may not believe why. You see as a child, almost every year my parents took their children to visit family in St. Vincent. A small Caribbean island, where my grandmothers and many of my cousins lived.

One morning, my grandmother was sitting outside in the garden of her house, and we, some of her grandchildren were running around and playing. She was smiling, encouraging and enjoying our play and in the midst of our game, I went to her and gave her a hug, and she hugged me back, she said nothing. But her silence was comforting, was reassuring, the hug, the holding was enough.

This could have happened on any day, in any year. An ordinary event, but it has remained with me. A simple snippet, is an enduring memory, that I carry it with me, even though for most it would not have been a memorable event at all, but for me it is. For me it was extraordinary. Maybe it remained with me because it was the very last time I saw her ... or maybe it is because it was a moment of sheer joy. That unspoken moment, was exceedingly special.

Are there little things, small events, everyday occurrences that have remained with you? Maybe an ordinary day with special people, an ordinary moment or time that you always remember?

I think about that special event whenever I focus on God’s Holy Spirit. And of course especially at Pentecost time. When God’s Holy Spirit came, sent as our advocate, our guide, our comforter, our encourager. So even now, I see a picture of that unspoken moment. And I imagine the Holy Spirit, observing us as we God’s children run around doing what we do on a daily basis. I imagine God’s Spirit smiling, encouraging and enjoying us, loving us and present in the midst of our daily lives. And when required God’s Spirit will hug us, even in silence as nothing is said. But in the silence there is comforting, there is reassuring, the hug, the holding is enough. But we so easily forget, because the Spirit appears to be silent, not intruding, but in the background. So very easily overlooked and taken for granted.

But the truth is that the Holy Spirit isn’t always quiet and silent ... far from it ... we know that when we remember how God’s Spirit entered the place where the disciples were gathered at Pentecost. ... The coming of the Spirit was certainly not an unspoken, ordinary moment. The Spirit did not come in silence. Instead, God’s Spirit made a grand entrance, bursting into the house where the disciples were gathered, bursting into their lives with power and might. The disciples could do nothing but shout praises to God and proclaim the Good News to all the earth in the languages of the earth. And you know what, nor was my grandmother always quiet and silent. She made her presence known and felt when necessary. But only when necessary.

May we remember that it is only when necessary that God’s Spirit comes bursting into our lives, because on most days, the ordinary days, it is the quiet strength, grace and comfort of God’s Spirit that holds us.

God Bless you and keep you today, tomorrow and every day.

Mark

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News of the Fellowship

Thank you everyone for your contributions of cakes for the Concert on Saturday 25th June, it was a great success and thank you so much to Mike Excell who put a great deal of effort into organising the event. We are delighted to announce that £730 was collected in donations for Save the Children with an emphasis on the money going to Ukrainian children. This sum will increase with the Gift Aid Donations so may reach £1000.00 which is a magnificent amount. Our thanks go to the excellent soloists and choir of Mill Mead School, the Fuller Bells, Diane Croston and Mike Excell. All acts were delightful and varied and together made a really wonderful afternoon’s entertainment.

Anniversary 1 2022

Anniversary 2 2022

Broxbourne URC have invited us at Hertford and at Cheshunt  to a Coffee Morning on Saturday 2nd July from 10.30am - 12 noon. 

They are hoping the weather will be fine and that they can have this outside on the grass.   There will also be £1 stall available that morning. They hope as many of their friends within the Group will be able to join them.   Lifts can be arranged, please speak to Fran or your Elder.

We have arranged another Coffee Morning here at Hertford for Saturday 13th August, so we do hope you will be able to come along.   We will have our usual cake stall and if you have a couple of current reading books to put on the table, please bring them along too.   All contributions will be welcome, it does encouraged visitors to come and have a chat when buying cakes.   Hopefully the weather will be as good as last time.

Laurence Dixon is still in the Snowdrop Home in Ware and on a recent visit he expressed to us his best wishes all and holds us in his prayers, as we do of course for him.

Pam Holliss - Quite a few of us have been fortunate to be able to visit Pam recently. It is a joy to share time with Pam who is as bright and delightful as ever.   We miss her so much (and not just her washing-up skills!) but she is making the best of her time at Westgate Care Home from day to day

We give thanks that Heather has recovered well after her recent accident at Stansted Airport and that she was not more seriously injured. We continue to pray for her and her family for their peace and healing.

We lift Jan and Dave Carter in prayer as they continue to face ongoing problems with their health both physical and mental and with Dave’s poor mobility.   We pray that they find peace and comfort and healing.

Pray for Kim and Phil as they try to help Kim’s family members that

Have several on-going health problems at the moment. We pray for Kim and Phil to have the strength to help various ways.

We pray for Margaret Beeston recovering from a fall and for the discomfort she is experiencing as a result. We pray for a quick and complete recovery and that she will be back with us soon.

We also think of Pam Watters suffering adverse effects from a recent Covid vaccination and that she will be able to be back with us soon.

 

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From Holy Trinity Church, Bengeo

Just to let you know that Hertford's oldest building, St Leonards, Bengeo, continues to host Tuesday evening Quiet Time, an opportunity to take time out for a blend of reflective silence, poems, prayers and readings in a place and space that has for over 800 years hosted Christian music, worship, prayers and fellowship.

Quiet Time in St Leonards is every Tuesday in July and August at 8:00 pm. for about 45 minutes, all are welcome.

 

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From the URC web-site:

The United Reformed Church 50th Anniversary

We are still here after 50 years. What does that say to us? And what is God saying to us? What opportunities does it give us to reflect on our story, on who we are, on what we stand for, on who we follow – and to share that with others?

As local churches and as the URC, marking our 50th year can help us to plan for the future – not only to keep pursuing our ecumenical vision, but also to plan for how we will continue to be an active, engaged and faithful Christian presence in our communities and in new ones. Not least, marking our Jubilee will be an opportunity to give thanks.

50th anniversary tickets available

Free tickets to the URC’s 50th Anniversary Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving are now available. On the afternoon of Saturday 1 October 2022, in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, where the Uniting Assembly of the URC took place in October 1972, a chance to give thanks and to celebrate the five decades of the United Reformed Church. We want as many people as possible from across the denomination to attend.

Several venues, including United Reformed Church House, local URCs and buildings of ecumenical partners, will be available for people to visit during the day, to offer activities, information, workshops, reflection, discussions, singing, catering and other support for visitors before the service.

This is a free event and we will be asking nearer the time for a confirmation of numbers. Book your tickets through the Eventbrite booking system here: bit.ly/urc50.

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Having just read the June Edition of Reform, I have included a couple of items, I thought we could connect to.

The Editorial from “Reform” magazine by Stephen Tomkins

One Friday night in 1983, aged 13, I was cycling back from my church youth group. Not being the most confident cyclist, when I had to turn right on London Road, I dismounted and pushed my bike across the road. A speeding car hit the back wheel of my bike, and my bike then hit me at about the same speed.

I limped home with my wrecked bike and my mum opened the door ready to tear a strip off me for being so late. When she saw me covered in blood she changed tack, called the minister, and we went to hospital.

It was another minister who, not long after, told me that it was impossible for a Christian to be racist. I thought: Oh. Right, OK then. I realised I’d have to stop calling my friend Chana by his nickname.

Much later in life, the morning my dad died, another minister was the first person I picked up the phone to. Unsurprisingly, a minister married me and my partner; another baptised me.

A minister wrote one of my favourite songs and sang it at my 50th birthday party. A minister gradually re-engaged me with the possibilities of the Christian faith when I had had enough of it; she built a community where my battered faith thrived and grew.

A minister gave my teenage self a space to try out music and drama in public with my friends. One day a minister will stand near my coffin and say something that helps to draw all these threads to a conclusion.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the United Reformed Church’s Ministers’ Gathering (see ‘Digest’, page 2), though being incorrigibly lay, I felt a bit of an imposter.

Many things struck me about it. One was how great a hall full of clergy singing hymns sounds. Another was how deeply happy a hall full of clergy seemed at being led in worship and not having to lead anything.Another was the phenomenal collective burden they bore – all the second-hand grief and anxiety and pain, all the first-hand stress and exhaustion.

And then there’s the immeasurable scale of the collective impact they’ve had – the lives gently steered, nurtured, challenged, helped on to the next bit, confronted with love, picked up and put back on the rails – often without ever knowing what they’ve done.

Serving is a pretty small word for such a big deal. Thank you, folks. God bless you.

Stephen Tomkins, Editor of Reform

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Postcard from paradise

Dear Reform,

It’s good to have safely arrived in Fiji after a journey of more than a year. The two 11-hour flights, three days’ isolation in a hotel and a short flight in a tiny plane were the final stages of a journey that has taken us from our roles as minister in six local United Reformed churches in Enfield, North London, to be Partners in Mission though the Council for World Mission (CWM) at the Pacific Theological College (pictured) in Suva, Fiji’s capital. All this happened through Memorandums of Understanding between the URC, CWM, the college and ourselves, work permits and medicals requirements, sorting out pensions, life and health insurance, not to mention organising what we would take with us, and emptying the manse in one way or another. Now, after all of that, Melanie is the Director of the Women’s Centre and Mark is assisting with marketing and fundraising for the next four years.

The college is on the south coast of the largest of Fiji’s 330 or so islands – counting them is becoming more difficult as erosion and flooding are changing the face of the Pacific region. For churches that are still full on Sundays, climate change is the biggest issue facing congregations. Pacific Theological College, owned by 20 churches from 16 different countries, representing Anglican, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian traditions, is at the forefront of promoting leadership for justice in the Pacific region.

We’ve already seen issues of privilege and justice being played out, knowing we have health insurance while the wife of a student has been refused medical care in India, meaning that Randini Taniela Ratawa and her family have only basic medical treatment, prayer and fasting.

We ask for prayers as we settle, but mostly for Randini and the unequal access to healthcare even in a place that calls itself paradise.

Melanie Smith and Mark Meatcher

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Do stay for tea coffee – by Paul Kerensa

‘Will this summer see the much fêted return of the fête?

I wonder if your neck of the woods will be returning to outdoor gatherings of old this summer? No, not that old. Not druids at henges or ye ancient maypole.

I mean 2019’s summer schedule. When every other weekend brought a church fête, a car boot sale or a dog show. When classic cars rubbed metaphorical shoulders with overpriced ice cream vans. Tombola drums were spun and coconuts were likely nailed down. I wonder if this summer will see the much fêted return of the fête?

The last few years have seen many events vanish, but for some reason I’ve particularly noticed the absence of the classic British fête. 2020’s summer couldn’t risk bringing too many people together. That year, there was no fête accompli.

Last year brought a few events back, though not as many as usual, and with a few changes. Masks and hand gel were common sights. I saw that one village fête advertised itself as ‘for villagers only’ – no incomers were welcome here.

Our own church’s ‘Summer Fête’ became an ‘Autumn Fayre’ that year, after a several month postponement. (I don’t know why a change of season turns a ‘fête’ into a ‘fayre’. I think in spring it becomes a ‘fair’. No wonder Europeans think us Brits are odd.) The strawberry stall was gone with apple-bobbing taking its place, although I’m not sure how Covid-secure that could have been, unless everyone wins the first apple they touch.

So will 2022’s summer be a chance to fill the diaries again with these seasonal excitements? I’m not sure it entirely will be.

It’s trickier to return after a gap. For some, this pause may become a stop, purely because the annual momentum may not be there for everyone. Previous organisers may have moved on. The paperwork may be a barrier for some. The cost of living crisis may make us ask: Will people show?

But I think in a world of pricey festivals and pricier theme parks, the classic British fête can offer something more affordable. Keep it small, and a few pounds entrance fee could give locals a chance for a mingle and a meander, a pootle to the Punch and Judy and a browse of the bric-a-brac. Bigger summer dos are fine, but the commercial traders can up the price of things (those burgers are how much?) as well as deplete the local input (Marjorie’s handmade loganberry jam is far more affordable).

Clearly I’m a fuddy-duddy who wishes he lived in the village of Dibley in the county of Midsomer, but there is a vital aspect in all this. I think the need to gather and connect, especially after a time when we haven’t been able to, is pretty crucial.

They make memories but they also make connections, and if the event is local and community-based, we may plant conversational seeds that grow through the year. At last year’s rescheduled Summer/ Autumn Fête/Fayre, we met some neighbours who’ve lived metres from us for years, but we only properly talked to them across a secondhand book stand. Now we’re on nodding terms. Who knows, a chat over a hook-a-duck this summer, and we might graduate to cheery comments about the weather.

Want some community outreach this summer? Then reach outside. Don’t be shy like the coconuts, be hooked like the ducks. Roll up, roll up – tombola tickets here...

Paul Kerensa is the author of books including So a Comedian Walks into a Church and Noah’s Car Park Ark. He is on tour recreating the first BBC broadcast (paulkerensa. com/tour)

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Open House

Open House Feb 22

We look forward to welcoming visitors and friends to our drop-in coffee mornings held every Thursday Morning from 10.00 – 12 noon. Refreshments are free and it is a great opportunity to just sit and chat

Kiwoko Hospital

 

I just want to highlight an article I saw in the last Newsletter from Kiwoko which Megan kindly circulated.   If you are placing an order from Amazon UK, the hospital can get commission!! Visit www.kiwokohospital.org and on the bottom right there is a link, which if you click will take you to the usual Amazon website.   Anything you buy could earn up to 10% commissison!!

 

Fran                                                                                                                                                                       

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Showers of blessing

St Swithun’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St Swithun’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain na mair.

Ancient rhyme

According to British folklore, if it rains on 15th July, then we can expect 40 days of showery and stormy weather. This myth arose after the buried remains of St Swithun (Swithin) was removed from its original site in a church garden and taken into a Saxon cathedral.

Swithun was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester. During his decade in office, he was known for his devotion and passion to build new churches and to restore old ones.

Before he died on 2nd July 863 AD, he didn’t want any veneration of his tomb and requested that his body be simply interred in the church grounds. He wanted people to pass by his grave and for it to be touched by the weather.

So far so good. But – a century later, it was decided to move Swithun inside, into the refurbished basilica. From that day it rained every day for nearly six weeks – as if this was his displeasure at being moved!

The Bible mentions rain (and water) many times. These include the great flood and Noah’s Ark (Genesis 7); Ezra’s open-air public assembly in Jerusalem in the pouring rain (Ezra 10:9) and the parable by Jesus about two houses in a rainstorm (Matthew 7:24-27).

Over the centuries, hymn writers have also used water and rain to describe our need for God. They’ve used such phrases as I need You ….like refreshing summer rain and Father, like rain from the skies send Your word into our lives. Some hymns include rain as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit to come and refresh, restore and revitalise us; to cleanse us of our sins or to wash away our sorrows.

Here are two verses and the chorus from an old hymn written by Daniel W. Whittle (1840-1901) that reminds us that when overwhelmed with gloom and despair, God can and will pour new hope into our lives.

There shall be showers of blessing, this is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Saviour above.
There shall be showers of blessing, O that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing, now as on Jesus we call!

Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need;
Mercy-drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead. 

 

Nigel Beeton writes:  This is the month of St Swithun. We all have rainy days. But after a rainy day often comes a sunny evening, and there’s a peculiar clarity to the air after rain. You can hear the birds singing from miles around, and you can pick up the scent from flowers that sparkle in the evening sunlight, the droplets of water on the leaves shining like jewels. At times like that we can feel really close to God!

 

Evening Sun

After a day of cloud and rain
The evening sun comes out again.
Forget the gloomy day that’s gone,
And listen to the robin’s song!
In the sunshine’s golden glow
See the garden’s floral show!

And nature, freshened, can rejoice
In sparkling colour, scent, and voice.
If your day is damp and grey
Know the cloud will go away –
The pouring rain will soon be done

And then will come the evening sun!

 

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Editor:  The Revd Richard Higginbottom looks at the seashore.

A sermon in sand 

If you are fortunate enough to get to the seaside this summer, then you might like to wriggle your toes in the warm sand, and consider the following:

It has been said that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. More recently, as the estimated number of stars has increased, then even the grains of sand in all the world’s deserts have been added to the comparison!

The Sun, vast though it is, is a fairly ordinary star, 93 million miles away. It is not easy to grasp that sort of a distance, but here’s a measuring stick: if you were to fly in a fast passenger jet at 600 miles per hour, then it would take you about 17 hours to fly from London to Sydney; about 17 days to reach the Moon, and about 17 years to reach the Sun!

As for how long it would take to fly on to the next nearest star to us – Proxima Centauri – it would take about 4.2 light years, as the distance is more than 24 trillion miles! And that is just to the next nearest star after the Sun.

How many stars are there in the Universe? Astronomers recently estimated that there are about 70,000 million, million, million stars.

As you sit there you might care to pick up a couple of grains of sand. Let the first grain represent our Sun, the second grain the next nearest star to us. Then look at the whole beach and after that consider all the beaches on Earth, with every grain of sand representing a star …. then it gives some meaning to the phrase “God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”

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Hertford & District Churches Together


The Carnival for Life is planned to be a coming together of all community groups and individuals concerned about climate change and its various consequences. The parade will visit 6 different towns around the East of England across 3 weekends in July, including Hertford on Sunday, 24th July 2022.

The particular theme for the parade when it takes place in Hertford is RIVERS due to the prevalence across the county of chalk streams, and the confluence of four of them in Hertford.*

The parade will start from Hartham car park at midday, process around the town and finish back at Hartham Common, where the plan is for some stalls to be set up, with the event ending c. 4pm.

It really feels like one of the stalls should be a HACC (Hertford Action on Climate Change ) stall as this seems like a great opportunity both to repeat past good work re-using materials from our September event, and for recruitment of new members. Participation in/help with the carnival parade and the event generally also seem very much in line with the group’s aims.

                                                       Dave Stokes 07747 687394

 

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Prayer Request Book

 

 The Prayer Request Book is always available on the table at the back of the church for any prayers for people and situations you would like to be included in our Prayers of intercession.   Please ask a Steward if you are not sure where it is.

 

Hertford URC ‘s History

 

As David has mentioned in his opening letter of this edition of the magazine, we look forward to the launch of an historical booklet giving a brief overview of the amazing history of our church from its very beginnings in the seventeenth century.

 

This is available at the back of the Church, and to cover the printing costs we hope a donation of £2.00 could be made for each copy.  You will find it fascinating and inspiring to know how our church roots have been established not only by the leadership of ministers but by so many church members that have gone before us.

Used Stamps

 Shirley Sloan is still collecting used stamps in the plastic container on the church desk in the Vestibule. Shirley now takes them to the Isobel Hospice Shop that will take all used stamps.

 

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CHURCH DIARY FOR 

 JULY & AUGUST 2022

 

                                          

 

        

 

JULY/AUGUST 2022

Fri

1

All day

Foodbank Tesco Collections

Sat

2

All day

10.30 am

- 12.00

Foodbank Tesco Collections

Joint Coffee Morning at Broxbourne URC

       

 

Sun

3

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by our Minister Rev Mark Robinson

Wed

6

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

7

10.00 am

2.00 pm

Open House Coffee Morning

Elders Meeting - Vestry

 

     

 

Sun

10

10.30 am

Worship led by Mrs. Janet Bird – All Saints Church

Wed

13

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

14

10.00 am

2.40 pm

3.00 pm

Open House Coffee Morning

Foodbank Trustees’s Meeting – Church

Foodbank Management Committee

 

     

 

Sun

17

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Carolina Davey

Wed

20

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

21

10.00 am

Open House Coffee Morning

 

     

 

Sun

24

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Rev Mark Robinson with Holy Communion

Wed

27

8.00 pm

On-line prayer gathering with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

28

10.00 am

Open house Coffee Morning

       

 

Sun

31

10.30 am

Morning Service led by Rev. Martin Legg

 

AUGUST

 

     

Wed

3

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

4

10.00 am

Open House Coffee Morning

 

     

 

Sun

7

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by our Minister Rev Mark Robinson with Holy Communion

Wed

10

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

11

10.00 am

Open House Coffee Morning

Sat

13

10-12noon

Church Coffee Morning

 

     

 

Sun

14

10.30 am

Morning Service led by Rev. David Ronco

Wed

17

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

18

10.00 am

Open House Coffee Morning

 

     

 

Sun

21

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Margaret Colville

Wed

24

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches

Thurs

25

10.00 am

Open House Coffee Morning

 

     

 

Sun

28

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Carolina Davey

Wed

31

8.00 pm

On-line Prayer Meeting with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Churches



        

 

        

Hertford & District Foodbank is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings

between 10.00 and 11.00   

Ware Foodbank is open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at St. Mary’s Church, Ware

between 2-4 pm

Any Queries please contact 07851708470