There was a Church Service on 15 December 2018

The Service was held in St. Peter’s as usual at the later time of 2:30pm, as there was a social following the Service.

The Service began with a Call to Worship using the Hymn By Grace Alone.

The Opening Prayer was given by Phillip Halford

Announcements were given by David Silcox and included:
*Greetings to our visitors including the Wilson family from Australia!
*The Advent Service next week will be back to our normal time of 11am.
*Prayers are requested for Debbie Thomas of the Northampton Congregation
*Andy Anderson of the Edinburgh congregation has died
*James’ update and letter to Pastoral leaders include a list of Pastoral Workers around the UK: “Some have asked me to clarify the areas in which our various pastoral workers operate. I’ve listed below the current configuration although there may be some slight changes in 2019.
Pete and Jackie Mill are our part-time pastoral workers for Scotland, and from 2019 Pete’s duties will also include Lisburn, Craigavon, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and our congregations and groups in the Republic of Ireland, which are Dublin, Galway and Limerick.
 David Gibbs is our recently employed part-time pastoral worker, and both he and Alberta are looking forward to working alongside the elders and pastoral councils of the following areas: Cardiff, Llanelli, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Stoke, Liverpool, and Wesham. David will soon be in touch if he has not already done so.
 Barry Robinson is our part-time pastoral worker for the following areas: London, Camberwell, Watford, Luton, Godalming, Reading, Coulsdon, Lewes, Southampton, Blean and Exeter.
 Tony Goudie is our part-time pastoral worker for Great Baddow and Norwich. Tony plans to take retirement in June of 2019, and there will be an announcement nearer that time concerning how he will be replaced.
With regard to a pastoral worker for Northampton, Peterborough, and Cambridge there may be more news in 2019, but, in the meantime, any pastoral worker needs may be addressed through the church office.”
*David finishes by reading the Thought For The Week, which is from Gavin Henderson this week.

Hymns were led by Nancy Silcox:
Hymn 2.  In The Bleak Midwinter
Hymn 3.  By Faith

This week’s Speaking of Lifewas entitled Expectant Waiting and the Presenter was Michelle Fleming, GCI Elder and Media Director at the GCI HQ in Charlotte, NC

Hymn 4.  Joy To The World

Using GCI President Greg Williams suggested readings from his Update last week on the importance of Scripture Reading in our Services, we had two readings, one from the New Testament and one from the Old Testament:

Reading 1 was Ephesians 5:21-33 (NIV) read by Australian visitor, Cath Wilson

Reading 2 was Psalm 119:9-16 read by two teenagers, Shannon and Bethany

The Readings were followed by a quiet piece of music for personal reflection and meditation, a recorded piece played on the harp by Cherie Finlay.

Intercessory Prayer was offered by Geoff Sole who began by giving examples of Carols that can be used as prayers. One Carol sings ‘Let every heart prepare him room’ which reminds us that even at Christmas time, Jesus can be crowded out:*We come to thank you that we cn come before you in Prayer, God, and we thank you for your goodness, grace and love; that you sent Jesus to be born in Bethlehem to live and die for our sins
*We pray your blessing on this Service and on our winter Social that follows with a theme of Winter Wonderland.  Thank you for the seasons and beauty of the snow in winter.
*We pray for those who do not make room for Jesus in their hearts and we ask that you will open their minds
*Be with the families of Andy Anderson and Ernie Bell, who have died in Scotland
*We remember those who are not well including Roddie Hickson, Debbie Thomas, Pam Maylin, Stuart Powell and Blossom, who are looking to you for healing and comfort.
*Be with the young people here today and bless the youth weekend coming up in Birmingham next weekend.

Hymn 5.  Christ Is Surely Coming

The Message was given by James Henderson, who used words from the Carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and the story of Benaiah the Bodyguard in 1 Chronicles 11:21-23 to illustrate walking in the footsteps of the one who sets the example and makes the way for us to carry on (1 Peter 2:21). We are all involved in helping as we walk in the steps of God who draws us out of the pit and saves us (Psalm 42:2); the righteousness who goes before and makes his footsteps ‘a way’ (Psalm 85:13). To be secure, follow in the footsteps of the Lord who is our righteousness as we make his footsteps our ‘way’.

The final Hymn was Great Is Thy Faithfulness after which the Closing Prayer was led by Irene Wilson

The service was followed by our Winter Wonderland Social. Everyone went through to the Church hall which was decorated as a Winter Wonderland with snowflakes everywhere and even an excellent ‘snow’ machine!  Coffee and tea were served with a Winter Wonderland cake that was cut by James & Shirley Henderson.

Between 70-80 people enjoyed a table quiz supplied by Peter & Dorothy Templeman, Games of Skill provided by Peter Templeman, a snowman building competition, hot buffet with chilli & baked potatoes followed by cheesecake & profiteroles, and the evening ended with a talent show and singalong featuring winter songs! {�z�Q�

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