HERTFORD

UNITED REFORMED CHURCH


347th Anniversary year
 

 

JUNE 2019

 

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             This is currently vacant.

                                     

                               

SUNDAY WORSHIP

10.30 am                Family Worship, followed by coffee/tea

                               Communion is usually celebrated on the

                               First Sunday of the month

WEEKDAY WORSHIP

11.00 am                Thursday there is time of Reflection and Prayer during our "Open House" Coffee Morning

                                       runs from 10.00 - 12.00 noon.

                              

HOT POTATO LUNCH

12 Noon - 2.00pm  Monthly lunch on 3rd Thursday for alll - encouraging visitors.

 

             Please contact your Elder for urgent pastoral needs.

The diary is at the end of this magazine

 

Symbols of God, and the works of Man

For the early Christians, the fish sign was one of the most important symbols of faith. Still familiar today, its origins and meaning are straightforward; the Greek word for fish is ‘icthus’ which incorporates the initial letters of five Greek words which describe the character of Christ (Iēsous Christos Theou Huios Sōtēr - Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour).

Some symbols are easily explained; some are cloaked in mystery, and visitors to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Long Melford will come across an example. This grand 15th century ‘wool church’ contains some beautiful medieval stained glass. One of the most curious features is a small roundel depicting three hares chasing each other in a circle; even curiouser, each ear is shared by two of the hares, so only three ears are visible.

I’d never seen this symbol until we visited the church, but have learned that similar designs exist in medieval churches around Europe, including many in Devon. I was intrigued to learn that an apparently pagan symbol should appear in so many churches and at so many sacred sites. The mystery deepens with the knowledge that it’s also been adopted by other faiths; the link to Christianity is that it symbolises the Trinity.

Our own dear Hertford URC can’t match Long Melford’s antiquity but it too houses an interesting decorative feature; among the carvings on the pulpit there’s a pelican! More erudite readers may be nodding knowingly, but it was new to me. It appears that the pelican has been a Christian symbol since the 12th century. In legend, it pecks at its breast to feed its young with its own blood when food is scarce – and so it symbolises unselfish love, charity and sacrifice.

In my career I was lucky enough to travel around Europe, and visited Milan several times. Once, having a couple of hours to spare, I decided to take a look at Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. I made my way to its location - Santa Marie Dell Grazie - and was deflated by a sign to the effect that the church was closed; I would not get to see the painting! To the left of the church’s façade was another sign, in front of a small building, reading simply: ‘Art Gallery’ - a classic understatement as I would soon discover.

Passing through a series of airlocks I emerged into this ‘gallery’ which was, as perceptive readers will have guessed, the Friars’ old refectory, across the end wall of which Leonardo had painted his masterpiece. I was transfixed; my casual, slightly disappointed demeanour transformed. The painting had begun to decay almost before it was completed and has been in a perpetual state of restoration ever since. But Leonardo’s enduring genius for composition, scale and perspective is such that the viewer is drawn into the great drama which is unfolding; stand in the middle of the refectory, raise your view to meet Christ’s eyes and you are ‘present’ at the Last Supper. The Dominican monks who dined there were effectively seated with the thirteen.

Was theirs, half a millennium ago, and mine, a truly spiritual experience? It felt like it, but of course it’s just a painting. Just as the pelican is simply a carving; the three hares merely a design in stained glass. The cross, the dove, the great cathedrals, the amazing ceiling of the Cistine Chapel, all those symbols are not God, but works of man. But they can help get us closer to knowing His presence as we contemplate what has been divinely inspired or steeped in centuries of belief and tradition.

Church Mag June 19 Mike Excell

 

Mike Excell

 

 

Pentecost is on 9th June, widely considered to be the ‘birthday’ of the Church.

When the Spirit Came

By Lester Amann

For Christmas we have the build-up of Advent, and Easter Day is preceded by Holy Week. But when it comes to Whit Sunday, it just suddenly arrives.  Yet Pentecost is all about the birth of the Christian church and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Surely, that is something to get excited about!

For forty days following our Lord’s resurrection, Jesus appeared to His followers and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Just before His ascension into Heaven, Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Spirit.

Ten days after His ascension, it was the Feast of Pentecost and this was a significant festival for the Jews. It was an annual occasion for people to assemble in the Holy City. The day marked the time when the barley harvest officially ended. This feast day was characterised by religious ceremonies and the offering of sacrifices. No work was done. It was a day of thanksgiving. A time to remember deliverance from Egypt and God’s mercy and reconciliation with His covenant people.

On the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus met together in an upper room. Its location was probably on Mount Zion to the west of Jerusalem. The site can be visited although it’s not the Upper Room. It’s an ancient building dating from the 14th century and built on the site of a church destroyed by the Persians seven centuries earlier.  But the first floor chamber is large with old paving stones, surrounded by stone pillars and arches. According to tradition, this is where Jesus ate the ‘Last Supper’ and His followers received the Holy Spirit.

On Whit Sunday we would do well to remember why the Holy Spirit was sent to us. We are given power to live God’s way:

to lead us into the things God has prepared for us;

to worship and glorify Him;

to enable us to pray;

to lead us into truth;

to give us a desire to share the love of Christ with others and to help us trust God for all our needs.

This Pentecost may our prayer be for God’s Spirit to transform us, for the gentleness of His Spirit to lead us, and for the gifts of His Spirit to equip us. Amen.

 

HERTFORD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

2019 DATES

 

CHURCH MEETINGS – SUNDAYS

14th July, 13th October

 

ELDERS’ MEETINGS – THURSDAYS

13th June 

 

 

 

 

ANNIVERSARY AND GIFT DAY

SUNDAY 9 JUNE 2019

We look forward to welcoming the Rev. John Campbell, Minister at High Cross URC Tottenham, to lead our service.

We hope you will all be able to stay for our Fellowship Lunch that follows.

Please sign on the list at the back of the church to help us know how many are coming. There will be a choice of lasagne – meat, fish and vegetable. Followed by lemon Cheesecake and fruit.

 

Hot Potato Lunch

(3rd Thursday every month)

Our Hot Potato Lunches continue to be a great success with all who attend, church members and our regular visitors.

Come and join us for this great outreach to the town every third Thursday in the month.

Our next lunch is on the Thursday 20th June from 12 noon to 1.30 pm in the Church Vestibule.

 

Make more of your holiday this year, urges Tony Horsfall.

Holidays can be ‘holy days’

No doubt you are beginning to look forward to your summer holidays. Just think about it – sun, sea and sand, time to relax and unwind, no deadlines to meet, no responsibilities to shoulder . . . ah, bliss!

We are fortunate to live at a time when workers are encouraged to take time off from work for the sake of their well being. Most employees are given 4-6 weeks paid holiday each year, plus Bank Holidays. What a blessing that is, and a far cry from the day when the only time workers had off was on church Feast days – the original holy days.

This year, rather than go on holiday and forget God, we might use our time away to become even more aware of God’s presence in our lives. Here’s how:

(1) Thank God for recreation. Whatever helps you relax and wind-down is a gift from God to be received with thankfulness and enjoyed to the full.

(2) Take extra time to sleep and adopt a slower pace. This is how you will recharge your batteries and be refreshed.

(3) Make space for the relationships that matter to you, especially your family and friends. Enjoy each other’s company, talk and laugh together, enjoy unhurried meals.

(4) Notice God in the world around you. Let the beauty of God’s creation fill your soul with wonder. Linger and look deeply at everything you see.

(5) Take a good book with you that will nourish your inner life; listen to music that will help you relax. Breathe deeply and walk slowly, there’s no need to rush.

Psalm 23:2 comes to mind: ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.’

Happy Holidays!

 

David Pickup is a solicitor who here considers a common problem…

 

How to fill in a form 

 

 Solomon took a census of all foreigners residing in Israel, after the census his father David had taken; and they were found to be 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stonecutters in the hills (2 Chronicles 2:17-18)

We can spend much of our working life filling in forms of one sort or another. Sometimes we struggle to complete an online form and have to use the telephone help-line. The young people who help us on the end of the line can leave us feeling that we are obviously idiots.

Do you like filling in forms? No, of course not! No one does. There are a few censuses in the Bible, which are a type of form. The above quotation is about authorities getting information to use for their benefit to get people in work.

Do you always have to give the details they ask for?  No! If you just bought an electric iron does the manufacturer really need to know your name, address, date of birth, number of people in your house and cat’s mother’s name?  If not, then why are they asking for such details?  Always be careful about what information you give out, and to whom.

Sometimes if you are in debt you are asked to fill in a budget form. Again, be careful. Do they really need to know your employer’s name and address and your bank details? On the other hand, do not forget to include every item of expenditure. If you just put down your earnings and the amount you spend at the supermarket it may look as you have plenty of money. Remember bus fares, school meals, rent, council tax, telephones and all the rest.

There is never enough space on most forms, thought they must know email addresses are usually long. Then there are questionnaires asking you to rate the experience. Was the webpage helpful?  Why was it helpful….  and suddenly you may be asked to give away yet more information about yourself… be careful.  As a general rule, try and give as little as possible, just sufficient for the task in hand.

I hope you have enjoyed this article.  Now please complete the 18-page satisfaction survey and include your bank account number, inside trouser leg measurement and bankcard.  Oh, and don’t forget the name of your cat’s mother!

 

                                                   

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

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.

 

 

 

How long can you make £60 last?

 

** That is the latest challenge from Children’s Society, as they seek to highlight the plight of many poor people.

Children’s Society says: “Imagine the worst week. Your car needs repairs, your boiler has broken, you need to get the groceries in, but you have only £60 left until you get paid next week. Can you make it last?”

If you would like to test yourself, to see how you would manage, take the quiz at https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-blog/difficult-decisions-in-a-crisis?

Behind the quiz, however, the Children’s’ Society is deadly serious. “Low wages, poor housing and public service cutbacks have left many families struggling. They have to make impossible choices every single day. One bit of bad luck quickly leads to families not being able to afford the basics.

“To make matters far worse, the council-run emergency funds that used to be there to support vulnerable families are at risk, and have disappeared altogether in some areas, leaving people with nowhere to turn.”

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

INSIDE – OUTSIDE

 AN INTER-CULTURAL – INTER-GENERATIONAL EVENT

To be held at

VINE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

Ilford, IG1 1JH

 

Saturday 26th October 10 am – 4 pm

 

Open to all churches in the North Thames Synod and neighbouring Synods.  The programme will include presentations, videos, and workshops including one run by young people in the Synod, A Gospel Choirs, and resource materials.

 

Organised by the planning group of the Thames North  Church & Society Network and Youth Executive members of the Synod and others

                          

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 

 JUNE 2019

        

 

                                          

 

        

 

JUNE 2019

 

Sun

2

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Marion Cowell-Ward with Holy Communion led by Margaret Colville

Wed

5

10.40 pm

Vacancy Committee – Broxbourne URC

Thurs

6

10.00 am

7.30 pm

Open House in Vestibule with time of reflection and prayer at 11.00

Hertford & District Churches Together Forum Meeting at URC

       

 

Sun

9

10.30 am

ANNIVERSARY AND GIFT DAY Morning Worship led by Rev John Campbell, Minister at High Cross URC, Tottenham. The Service will be followed by a Fellowship Lunch – all welcome

Thurs

13

10.00 am

12.15 pm

Open House in Vestibule with time of reflection and prayer at 11.00.  

Elders Meet in Vestibule

 

     

 

Sun

16

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Margaret Colville.

Thurs

20

10.00 am

12 -1.30

Open House in Vestibule with time of reflection and prayer at 11.00 am followed by “Hot Potato Lunch” in the Vestibule – all welcome

Sat

22

7 for 7.30

Quiz Night – Cheshunt URC

 

     

 

Sun

23

10.30 am

 

Morning Worship led by Geoffrey Williams, Hertford Baptist Church

Wed

26

10.40 am

4.00 pm

Vacancy Committee, Broxbourne

Thames North Synod Church & Society Meeting, Euston

Thurs

27

10.00 am

Open House in Vestibule with time of reflection and prayer at 11.00 am

 

 

     

 

Sun

30

10.30 am

Morning Worship led by Chris Hall

 

 

 

 

Hertford & District Foodbank is open every weekday from

4.00 pm to 5.00 pm.  For queries please contact 07851 708470 or Cheryl or Fran