There was a Church Service on 14 December 2019

The Service was held in St. Peter’s as usual at 11am.

We began with a Hymn as a Call To WorshipO Come All Ye Faithful

The Opening Prayer was given by Geoff Sole

Announcements were given by Kevin Harris and included:
*The Churches Together card of the Services available in this area over the Christmas period is available at the back of the hall
*There is a letter from Chris Cottee on the noticeboard if you would like to read it
*Paul Knight of the Norwich congregation requests prayers for various medical problems
*Emily Richards died 4 December in Birmingham
*Joan Millman of the Bristol Congregation died 11 December. The funeral is 2:45 at Westerleigh Crematorium on 27 December with reception following for all who wish to attend
*Phillip Halford is recovering at home after his hospital stay with renal failure. Linda’s arm is betting better with physiotherapy
*The British Legion thanks us for the donation from our Remembrance Service
*Kevin read the  Thought For The Week which is on the noticeboard
*He also read some excerpts from the GCI Update

Hymns were led by Nancy Silcox:
Hymn 1.  I Love To Tell The Story
Hymn 2.  I Cannot Tell

We saw a GCI Advent Video with this week’s theme of Love

Hymn 3.  Immanuel
Hymn 4.  Give thanks

Intercessory Prayer was offered by Winston Bothwell and included:
*This has been a tremendous week including the UK Elections
*Great and merciful God, we bow before you, humbly thanking you that we can meet in peace and safety.  So many Christians are persecuted for their faith and we ask that you comfort, protect and be with them
*Bush fires in Australia are a frightening reality and many are affected not only by the fire but the smoke and ash. Please help them as they struggle to bring these fires under control, and be with those who have lost homes and suffered difficulties
*There has been a disaster in New Zealand with tourists on a volcano when it erupted. We remember those affected and put them and their families in God’s hands
*Many people in this country are affected by flooding in certain areas.  The news coverage moves on to other stories, but the suffering and impact goes on for those whose properties are flooded
*We pray for the country after the election last week, that you would be with people to respect others views and please give the leaders wisdom, guidance and true concern for the people. We pray for our Queen that you would be with her health and faith and give her wisdom to influence for good
*Many bereaved need your comfort and hope. We pray for the families of Joan Millman, Paul Anness, Maurice Forhn, the Edwards and Loveredge families as they grieve.
*Many are sick and ill—Debbie Thomas, David Plumley, Paul Knight and Richard White. Give them strength to face the trials of the future
*We are grateful for the good news of Phillip Halford’s situation improving and Linda’s arm getting better
*It is great to see  Tony Shevlane back and we ask that you help him to continue to recover
*Ron Hitchcock can’t come to Church and is down and lonely, please be with him and help him find hope in you
*The Christmas season should be full of joy and we pause to think of the homeless and those who are in poverty and lonely. Be with the Women’s Refuge at this time
*Be ask your blessing on our church and on our Watford Church Council, and the National UK team. Help us to find relevance in this country with the gospel.

Intercessory Prayer was followed by a piece of music Such Love, for personal prayer and reflection

Hymn 4.  My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

The Sermon was given by Gavin Henderson. He began by telling us about his visit to his brother, Fraser, who helps pastor one of our Canadian Congregations, which is growing dramatically through its refugee ministry.  People are fleeing violence and persecution.  There was a time when Israel were fleeing at the Babylonian Exile. Psalm 137:1-9 tells how they sat by the waters of Babylon and wept. Later they had the chance to return home and rebuild Jerusalem when Cyrus, King of Persia published a proclamation letting them return. Ezra tells the story. The people were moved to give freewill offerings for the rebuilding of the temple of God in Jerusalem. God’s promises had seemed to be lost and forgotten when they were in Babylon, but God gave them hope through the prophets and eventually the people began to see the promises coming about.  God’s faithfulness and love is constant even in the dark and bleak times. The source of our hope and unity is Jesus Christ and our response is worship. Ezra 3:10-11 says they sang praise and thanksgiving for his love which endures forever. They were so moved that they wept and shouted for joy in verses 12-13.  They were restored not because they were faithful but because God was! Luke 2 tells the story of Simeon when he says ‘My eyes have seen your salvation.’ God is with us and for us with the coming of Immanuel, and we look eagerly for his return and second coming.

The final Hymn was Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling after which the Closing Prayer was led by James Esom

Fellowship continued over refreshments in the church hall. 

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The Bricket Wood Bible Study took place on Friday night 13 December at 7:30pm as usual in the upstairs room of the St. Stephen’s Parish Centre. David Silcox led the study with an introduction to the book of 1 Peter. Refreshments follow the Bible Study and anyone is welcome to come along as we look deeply into the word of God. The next study will be in the new year on Friday 10 January 2020.

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