There was a Church Service on 14 March 2020

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

The Opening Prayer was given by James Esom

Announcements were given by Kevin Harris and included:
*Jill Newman is in a care home—see George for details
*Andrew Silcox has serious health issues and requests prayers
*There is an announcement concerning Paignton 3-11 October—see the Notice Board for details
*Gavin’s update mentioning the coronavirus is on the notice board. This contains guidelines on the virus and our activities as well as mentioning the next UK Denominational Conference which will be 14-15 November with Saturday for Elders and church leaders and Sunday for anyone who wishes to attend
*As a precaution there will be no refreshments after Church today

Hymns were led by Nancy Silcox and were chosen to reflect the Christian Journey and illustrated with slides of their recent journey to Australia and New Zealand:
Hymn 1.  Ancient Words
Hymn 2.  For The Beauty Of The Earth
Hymn 3.  It Is Well With My Soul

Intercessory Prayer was led by Geoff Sole who began by commenting on the verse about going to your ‘closet’ to pray and mentioning that the word for ‘closet’ could also mean ‘storehouse’ and included:
*Thank you for your blessings from your storehouse—you send your Holy spirit to lead and guide us and provide your church to encourage and comfort; Your Word, the Bible full of treasures to enrich us
*Thank you for your wonderful creation with spring bringing hope and joy. Help us to respect and help the environment, not pollute and destroy
*Help those with spiritual difficulties, and open the eyes of those in spiritual darkness to your love and grace. Help persecuted Christians to boldly preach and teach of you.
*We bring those in need—Phillip Halford and give him healing; Jill Newman in a care home to give her peace; Margaret Woolston in her 90s; Harry Sullivan needs your comfort and peace; Cliff Neill struggling with his health; Debbie Thomas needs encouragement and hope; Rathel Dickson only 18 years old has a major foot operation this week; David Plumley with severe health struggles; Andrew & Dana Silcox as they face Andrew’s situation; Sueann’s sister, Morgan with a serious health issues. We place them all in your hands, loving father in heaven
*Bless the Board Meeting with guidance and wisdom as they meet tomorrow
*Be with the plans for the conference
*Guide the leadership of the churches around the world in this global health crisis. We pray about this virus that is endemic and affecting the world in many ways. We pray for those who are ill and those who are mounting and those in economic difficulties because of the virus. Bless the keep the nurses caring for the sick and the scientists working on containing and curing this particular deadly strain of the flue.

Hymn 4.  The Lord’s My Shepherd
Hymn 5.  How Great Thou Art

The Sermon was given by David Silcox who began by mentioning and thanking God that Colin Heath of St. Peter’s Church had a successful brain operation to stop the shaking in his hand.  
The original instructions about quarantine are found in the Bible! Mark 7 relates a situation where the Pharisees and Scribes tried to trip Jesus up by asking him why his disciples didn’t wash their hands as the traditions required.  If you look back to Mark 6 you find Jesus performing miracles of feeding the 5000 and walking on water, which attracted public attention and the Scribes and Pharisees felt so threatened by him that they came all the way up to Galilee from Jerusalem to confront him. The Old Testament does not mention Pharisees—they come out of a time between the testaments. After Israel went into captivity for not obeying God’s laws, these sincere men were so determined that they would not make that mistake again that they created books of rules to try to help people better keep the laws. However Jesus points out that some of those rules actually led people to break the laws and gives as an example ‘Corban’ which allowed people not to honour their parents if they declared their income dedicated to God. Jesus does not actually answer their question so we don’t need to worry that he is saying that there is no need for washing your hands—of course there is, especially as we see in the present coronavirus situation!  But Jesus goes straight to the heart—that is, what is in your heart can defile and cause permanent death, whereas the germs and viruses are physical. Washing is a good health principle, but Jesus washes us clean with his blood and the washing of the word, which cleanses us spiritually.

The final Hymn was To God Be The Glory,  after which the Closing Prayer was led by Sueann Henderson

Fellowship continued in the Church as there were no Refreshments this week as a precaution against the virus. 

Young People’s Church took place during the Service and was led by Jean & Geoff Sole.  The young people in the Watford Church discussed the topography of Israel. Various maps, pictures, and books were looked at. The Dead Sea was contrasted with the height of Mt Hermon. Other mountains in Israel were also considered such as Mt Sinia, the Mt of Beatitudes, Mt Carmel and Mt Tabor.

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