Christmas and New Year Worship

Christmas and New Year Worship

Sunday 19th December: At 10.30am our Carol Service is led by Rev Helen Penfold, with refreshments served afterwards.

Christmas Day: At 10.30am our worship is led by Mr Paul Rose. Bring one of your Christmas gifts to show.

Sunday 26th December: We are closed.

Sunday 2nd January: At 10.30am is own arrangement worship.

Sunday 9th January: At 10:30am our Covenant worship is led by Rev John Malnut.

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Sunday worship 22nd may

The Choice

Centuries ago in China a teacher would call one of his students to the front of the room. He would hold out both hands and explain to the chosen student that one hand held a valuable gold coin and the other was empty. He would invite the chosen student to choose one hand or the other. If the student chose the coin, he would be allowed to keep it. But if he chose the empty hand, the teacher would strike the boy with his clenched fist. If the student decided not to choose at all, he could return to his seat.

This ritual was practiced each day in the teacher’s classroom. Because the students knew of the teacher’s strength and skill as a fighter, they were afraid to make a choice. They knew that to be hit by him would really hurt.

On the rare occasion that a student would choose a hand, the teacher would ask, “Are you sure?”

As the student looked more closely at the teacher’s hard fist and even harder scowl, he would invariably change his mind and hurry back to his seat.

Finally, Chin was called to the front of the room. Chin’s father had died in the wars five years before and his family was having trouble getting by. Chin needed that gold coin.

The instructor held out his fists. Chin studied both hands for a long time. His classmates stared at him, expecting him to simply return to his seat as each of them had done. Finally Chin pointed to the teacher’s left fist.

“Are you sure?” the instructor asked.

Chin nodded.

“Would you like to forget about your choice and return to your seat?”

Chin shook his head no.

The instructor’s fist shot out and struck Chin squarely on the chin, knocking him to the floor.

Chin lay on the floor looking up at his teacher in a daze. Then the instructor turned both fists over and revealed that each of them held a gold coin.

“You can not expect anything for free,” the teacher told his class. “There is a price that comes with everything.”

The teacher helped Chin to his feet, smiled, and placed the gold coins into his hand. He never repeated the exercise again.

People today are afraid to make choices. Like the students in the classroom, they are afraid of failure. They are afraid of pain. They are afraid of commitment. They are afraid that it might cost them something.

Life is full of choices. And contrary to popular belief, the best things in life are not free. They are always costly—but worth it.

The Bible sets before us some very clear choices:

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).

Do you have the courage to step out from the crowd and choose the way that offers the greatest reward?

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).


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Worship 9th May 2021

A Candle in the Darkness

About 30 years ago (1989) in Timisoara, Romania, Laszlo Tokes became pastor of Timisoara’s small Hungarian Reformed Church. Tokes preached the Gospel boldly, and within two years membership had swelled to five thousand.

But success can be dangerous in a Communist country. Authorities stationed police officers in front of the church on Sundays, cradling machine guns. They hired thugs to attack Pastor Tokes. They confiscated his ration book so he couldn’t buy food or fuel. Finally, in December 1989, they decided to send him into exile.

But when police arrived to hustle Pastor Tokes away, they were stopped cold. Around the entrance of the church stood a wall of humanity. Members of other churches—Baptist, Adventist, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic—had joined together to protest.

Though police tried to disperse the crowd, the people held their post all day and into the night. Then, just after midnight, a 19-year-old Baptist student named Daniel Gavra pulled out a packet of candles. He lit one and passed it to his neighbour.

When Tokes peered out of the window, he was struck by the warm glow reflecting off hundreds of faces. That moment, he said later, was the “turning point in my life.” His religious prejudices evaporated. Here were members of the body of Christ, completely disregarding denominational divisions, joining hands in his defence.

It was a moving testimony to Christian unity.

The crowd stayed all through the night—and the next night. Finally police broke through. They bashed in the church door, bloodied Pastor Tokes’ face, and then paraded him and his wife through the crowd and out into the night.

But that was not the end.

No, the religious protest led—as it always does—to political protest. The people streamed to the city square and began a full-scale demonstration against the Communist government. Again Daniel passed out his candles.

First they had burned for Christian unity; now they burned for freedom.

This was more than the government could tolerate. They brought in troops and ordered them to open fire on the crowd. Hundreds were shot. Young Daniel felt a searing pain as his leg was blown off. But the people of Timisoara stood bravely against the barrage of bullets.

And by their example they inspired the entire population of Romania. Within days the nation had risen up and the bloody dictator Ceausescu was gone.

For the first time in half a century, Romanians celebrated Christmas in freedom.

Daniel celebrated in the hospital, where he was learning to walk with crutches. His pastor came to offer sympathy, but Daniel wasn’t looking for sympathy.

“Pastor, I don’t mind so much the loss of a leg,” he said. “After all, it was I who lit the first candle.”

The candle that lit up an entire country.

With a candle, a nineteen-year-old boy sparked a revolution that is still being felt today. Romania is a free country thanks to the efforts of people like Daniel Gavra who were willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel and for basic human rights.

You can make a difference wherever you are if you are willing to take a stand. Don’t wait for everyone else to do it. Be the first to light your candle.

John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5 ;14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


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Worship Sunday 2nd May 2021

The Golden Fish

                Children in Bosnia-Herzegovina all know the ancient story of the poor woman who caught a golden fish, released it, and in return gained wealth and happiness. This Balkan fairy tale turned into reality for one poor family.

                Before the start of the Bosnian war, the Malkoc family lived next to a small lake in the northwestern village of Jezero. One day in 1990, Smajo Malkoc returned from a trip to Austria with an unusual gift for his teenage sons, Dzevad and Catib: an aquarium with two goldfish.

                Two years passed and then Bosnian Serb forces advanced on Jezero. The women and children fled; and the men stayed back to resist the attacking soldiers. Smajo Malkoc was killed. When his wife, Fehima, sneaked back into the destroyed village to bury her husband and rescue what remained of their belongings, she took pity on the fish in the aquarium. She let them out into the nearby lake, saying to herself, “This way, they might be more fortunate than us.”

                Fast forward to 1995. Fehima Malkoc returned with her sons to Jezero. Nothing but ruins remained of their home and their village. Through misty eyes she looked toward the lake. Glimpsing something strange, she walked over to the shore.

                “The whole lake was shining from the thousands of golden fish in it,” she said. “It made me immediately think of my husband. This was something he left me that I never hoped for.”

                During the years of killing all around the lake, life underwater had flourished. After their return, Fehima Malkoc and her sons started caring for and selling the goldfish.

                By 1998, homes, stores, and coffee shops all over the region feature aquariums containing fish from Jezero. The Malkoc house, rebuilt on its original site, is one of the biggest in the village. Two new cars are parked in front, and the family says it has enough money to quit worrying about the future.

“It was a special kind of gift from our father,” Dzevad Malkoc said.

                One can never underestimate what a gift of love or an act of kindness might produce. Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you” (Luke 6:38). Whenever you give, no matter how small and insignificant your gift might be, God blesses it and uses it to accomplish great things. Jesus took a young boy’s lunch and fed a multitude. Have no doubt that he can take whatever we offer to him and turn it into something magnificent.

                The Malkocs’ story is also a parable of God’s relentless grace at work even in the midst of chaos and trouble. While the war in Bosnia was raging, life below the surface of a small lake flourished. We can rest assured that God’s will is being done—that his Kingdom is flourishing—even when life on the surface is full of trouble and strife.


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Worship 25th April

Sparky, the Loser

Once upon a time, there was a little boy the other children called “Sparky,” after a comic strip horse named Sparkplug. Even though the boy hated that nickname, he could never shake it.

School was difficult for Sparky. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics in high school. In fact, he still holds the school record for being the worst physics student in the school’s history. He also flunked Latin, algebra, and English. He didn’t do much better in sports. He made the school’s golf team, but his poor play ended up costing his team the championship.

Throughout his youth, Sparky was a loser socially. Not that he was actively disliked by other kids—it’s just that nobody paid much attention to him. He was astonished if a classmate even said hello outside of school. He never dated or even asked a girl out. He was afraid of being turned down. Sparky didn’t let being a loser bother him that much; he just decided to make it through life the best he could and not worry about what other people thought of him.

Sparky did, however, have a hobby. He loved cartoons, and he liked drawing his own cartoons. No one else thought they were any good, however. When he was a senior in high school, he submitted some cartoons to the school yearbook and they were rejected. Sparky kept drawing anyway.

Sparky dreamed about being an artist for Walt Disney. After graduating from high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios inquiring about job opportunities. He received a standard preprinted letter requesting samples of his artwork. The form letter asked him to draw a funny cartoon of “a man repairing a clock by shoveling the springs and gears back inside it.”

Sparky drew the cartoon and mailed it off with some of his other work to Disney studios. He waited and waited for a reply. Finally the reply came—another standard preprinted letter telling him that there was no job for him.

Sparky was disappointed but not surprised. He had always been a loser, and this was just one more loss. In a weird way, he thought, his life was kind of funny. He tried telling his own life story in cartoons – a childhood full of the misadventures of a little boy loser, a chronic underachiever.

This cartoon character has now become known by the whole world. The boy who failed the eighth grade, the young artist whose work was rejected not only by Walt Disney Studios but by his own high school yearbook, was Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schultz—creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip and the little boy loser whose kite never flies: Charlie Brown.

We have all experienced rejection and failure in life, but God has gifted each one of us with unique talents and abilities that enable us to make a significant contribution to the world. What are your gifts?

Unless you attempt to use them, you will never discover how God prepared you to contribute. If a Bird can see its wings, Know what they are for but never flaps them, they will never fly.

We need to be like the little boy in The Bible who offered Jesus his lunch—Jesus in turn used it to feed a multitude. (See John 6:9.)


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Worship Sunday 18th April

The Art Auction

                Years ago a wealthy man shared a passion for art collecting with his devoted young son. Together they travelled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Monet adorned the walls of the family estate.

                The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as Mark, his only child, became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

                As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and Mark left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram: his beloved son had died saving the life of a fellow soldier. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son always looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.

                On Christmas morning a knock on the door awakened the old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. At the door was a soldier with a large package.

                “I was a friend of Mark,” the soldier said. “I was the one he rescued. If I may I come in for a few moments, I have something to show you.”

The two were soon deep in conversation. From the soldier the old man learned that Mark had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. The unfolding image of his son’s gallantry awakened a fatherly pride that eased his grief. The soldier then recounted how often Mark had spoken of his father’s love of fine art. Placing the package on the old man’s lap, the soldier told him, “I’m an artist. I want you to have this.”

                The old man unwrapped the package, pulling the paper away to reveal a portrait of his son. The canvas featured the young man’s face in striking detail, though the world would never consider the painting the work of a genius. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier.

Once the soldier had departed, the old man set about hanging the portrait above the fireplace, pushing aside paintings by masters that had cost thousands of dollars. Then seating himself in his chair, he spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. In the weeks that followed, the man grew peaceful realizing that Mark lived on because of those he had touched. The soldier’s gift soon became his most prized painting, its worth to him far eclipsing the value of the pieces in his collection for which museums around the world clamoured. He told his neighbours it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

                The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world stirred in anticipation of the public auction of the old man’s estate. He had stipulated that his collection be sold on Christmas Day—the day he had received his greatest gift. On the appointed day art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on the spectacular paintings. Many who coveted the reputation of owning the greatest art collection waited eagerly for the auctioneer to open the bidding.

                The auction began with a painting not on any museum’s must-have list—the soldier’s painting of the old man’s son. “May I have an opening bid,” the auctioneer requested. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he prompted. Minutes passed and still no one spoke.

                “Who cares about that painting?” shouted a bidder from the back of the room.

                “It’s just a picture of his son,” commented another. More voices echoed agreement. “Let’s forget it and go on to the good stuff.”

                “No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?”

                Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “I’d like to have the painting. I knew the boy. Will you take ten dollars for it? That’s all I have.”

                “I have ten dollars,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher?” More silence. “Going once.” The auctioneer raised the gavel. “Going twice,” he said looking around for any takers. “Gone,” he said at last, letting the gavel fall.

                Cheers filled the room. “Now we can get on with bidding on these treasures!” remarked the man from the back of the room.

Over the microphone the auctioneer said. “Thank you for coming. The auction is now over.”

                Stunned disbelief quieted the room.

                “What do you mean it’s over?” growled an irate bidder.

                “We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son!” said another.

                “What about all of these other paintings?” shouted the irate bidder coming to his feet. “There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what’s going on!”

                “It’s very simple,” replied the auctioneer. “According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

                And that is the will of the Father today. Whoever takes the Son…gets it all. When you take Christ as Saviour, you will have the riches of life to its fullest. (John 10:10, Matthew 6:33) Jesus is God’s greatest treasure, his “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:45-46).


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Worship 11th April


Many of us will have flown in a plane, and one of the things you do after settling into your seat is to check the pocket infront of you , there’ll be the in flight magazine, the sick bag incase of motion sickness and the “Safety instruction card”

Here’s what one United Airlines card said:

If you are sitting in an exit row and you cannot understand this card or cannot see well enough to follow these instructions, please tell a crew member.

Obviously, There’s a slight problem with that. If people can’t understand the card or see the instructions, how can they tell a crewmember about it?

Sounds like a Catch-22.

A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations. The term was coined by Joseph Heller, who used it in his 1961 novel Catch-22.

So before he wrote the book “Catch-22” there was no such thing as a catch-22, which in itself is a Catch-22

Believe it or not, the Bible is a lot like that safety instruction card. Many people read it without understanding it. It makes absolutely no sense to them—not because they lack eyesight or reading ability, but because they lack faith. As Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

In other words, unless you have faith, you won’t understand the Bible. But unless you understand the Bible, you won’t have faith. Sounds like another Catch-22.

That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. When we come to the Bible with a willingness to learn, God sends his Holy Spirit to reveal what it is saying—even “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). Whenever you study God’s Word with an open heart, the Holy Spirit helps you understand it and grow stronger in your faith.

God also uses people like us to explain the Bible. When someone tells you they don’t understand the Bible, that’s like an airline passenger telling a flight attendant they don’t understand the safety instruction card. It’s up to us to make it clear.


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Easter Sunday 2021

Just Some Old Birds.

                Murmurs rippled through the congregation when Reverend George Thomas placed a rusty old bird cage on the pulpit. The church members weren’t used to their Minister using props in his sermons—especially not on Easter Sunday.

                Sensing the congregation’s confusion, Reverend Thomas explained how he had obtained the cage.

                It seems that the day before he had been walking through town when he noticed a young boy carelessly swinging the cage around. Thomas noticed that there were three obviously frightened little birds inside the cage.

                The pastor stopped the youngster and asked, “What have you got there, son?”

                “Just some old birds,” came the reply.

                “And what are you going to do with them,” he asked.

                “Take ‘em home and have some fun with ‘em,” the boy said. “I’m gonna poke ‘em and pull out their feathers and watch ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

                “But those birds don’t belong to you,” said the minister.

                “They do now,” the boy responded. “I found ‘em and I can do anything I want with ‘em.”

                “But you’ll get tired of playing with those birds, son. What will you do with them then?”

                “Oh, I’ve got some cats,” grinned the boy. “They like birds. I’ll give ‘em to my cats.”

                The pastor was silent for a moment. Then he asked, “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

                “You don’t want these birds, mister,” said the boy. “They’re just plain old sparrows. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty.”

                “How much?”

                The boy sized up the minister as if he were crazy and said, “Ten Pounds.”

                The minister reached into his pocket and took out a ten Pound Note. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor set the cage down, opened the door, and gently coaxed the birds out, setting them free.

                The congregation listened quietly as the minister told of his encounter with the boy. Then he told them another story.

                One day Jesus and the devil were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, grinning and boasting. “I just caught me a bunch of people down there. Set me a trap! Used bait I knew they couldn’t resist! Got ‘em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

                “Oh, I’m gonna have me some fun with them. I’m gonna teach them how to hurt and abuse each other. I’ll teach them how to marry and divorce each other, lie to each other, and kill each other. Oh, I’m gonna really have a good time!”

                “But those people don’t belong to you,” said Jesus.

                “They do now! I can do anything I want with them.”

               “And what will you do when you get through with them?” asked Jesus.

                “I’ll kill them.”

                “How much do you want for them?”

                “Oh, you don’t want these people,” said the devil. “They’re no good. You may love them, sure, but they’ll just hate you back. They’ll spit on you, curse you, and kill you. You don’t want these people.”

                “How much?” Jesus asked.

                Satan sized up Jesus as if he were crazy and said, “Your life.”

                The pastor ended his story this way: “Jesus paid the price. And on that first Easter Sunday morning, he picked up the cage, opened the door, and set us free.”

                “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).


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Worship Palm Sunday 28th March 2021

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Weekly Worship 21st March

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