The Big Story - Sunday 28th February
The Bible is a big book – but have you ever wondered how it all fits together? Is it really telling one Big Story which makes sense of all its smaller ones?
Join us on Sunday morning, 28th February, as we discover God’s Big Story – and how we can find our part it in. As we explore each part of the story in our Sunday services, we will have a children’s talk and adult sermon on the same theme. If you miss a week, or start late, catch up later in The Big Story playlist on our YouTube channel.
We have downloadable activities for four streams of younger people – infant and junior for primary aged children, and younger and older streams for teenagers. Please visit our Big Story page for the downloads - updated each week.
New! The download for 28th February for 11-14 year olds is now available.
We are permitted by the government and the Church of England to meet in church, but we are encouraging everyone who can to stay at home and participate online.
Nevertheless, the service in the building will be open to those who wish to attend in person, for example those who are unable to participate online or those for whom staying at home is difficult.
The YouTube livestream will start around 9.55am with some music and the service will start at 10am and end around 11am. It includes a children's talk and song near the beginning. To watch, please click this link to go straight to the service or tap on the image above. You can also go to our YouTube channel and set a reminder. Please use YouTube chat to say hello or ask questions. There will also be a chance to chat using Zoom after the service at 11.20; the details are in this week's email notices.
Shrove Tuesday marked the start of Lent. This was the day in years gone past when people would use up the fat and eggs that wouldn't keep during the following 40 days of Lent. It was believed that denying yourself helped in truly showing God how sorry you were for the things you had done wrong.
Whilst many people still choose to give things up for Lent, we know that because of God's grace, we don't need to earn His forgiveness. So, over time, people have found that it has helped their faith more to take up something - praying daily for a particular thing, or studying God's word together.
As we can't meet in person this Lent, we have chosen to take the time to share with you some personal encouragements of how God has helped us, especially over the last difficult year. So over the next few weeks, we will be sharing first hand testimonies from members of our congregation. We pray that these will bless you, encourage you and deepen your own faith as we look forward to the hope of Easter.
These reflections are also being published on our Facebook page. The next one will be published here on this site later today for those who don't use social media.
Today's Lent Encouragement is also a "Meet the new staff member".
My name is Nathan, I am engaged to Gypsey and I moved to Hartford in the beginning of December. Because of moving here during lockdown, I have yet to experience church or life in Hartford without restrictions! My role as Youth worker allows me to work with the 11–18-year-olds in our local community and reach them with the good news of the gospel. I see it as really important to get alongside our young people and properly invest in them, to show them that they have a wonderful God and are loved deeply by him. I came to faith through the youth work at Keswick so I have personal experience of how important this work can be! Things have been challenging starting a new job in lockdown and not being able to meet in person, but I have been really encouraged by the times we have been able to spend online and seeing young people engaging with the Bible.
To see all the Lent reflections so far, please click or touch below.
Prayer Fellowship and Housegroups
For the second part of this term, housegroups will start reading 'Gentle & Lowly'. We will continue the pattern of alternating housegroups with Prayer Fellowships.
Here is the timetable up until the end of March (all meetings are currently virtual):
- 3 March - Prayer Fellowship
- 10 March - Housegroups - Gentle & Lowly study 2: chapters 2-4
- 17 March - Prayer Fellowship
- 24 March - Housegroups - Gentle & Lowly study 3: chapters 5-6
- 31 March - Prayer Fellowship
If you would like to join a housegroup, or to find out more, please contact the Church Office. Information about Prayer Fellowship is sent to everyone on our mailing list before each meeting, again, please contact us for details.
During the current lockdown, the government permits churches to open for services. Therefore, we are still holding services in St John's church building with limited numbers, following strict COVID Secure guidelines. However, our recommendation is to stay at home and participate online if possible.
Booking is not required if you are attending the building. To reduce delays, please use the NHS COVID-19 Contact Tracing App and scan our QR code when entering the building. Otherwise, you will have to complete a track and trace form - ideally please download it and complete it in advance. Paper copies will be available in church too if needed.
We have further increased the spacing between seats. The Welcome Team will meet you with a friendly greeting and help you through the process. Please expect us to be strict about face coverings, hand sanitising, the one way system and not lingering to chat before and after the service. The Welcome Team have little flexibility when applying the rules, for example you will not be able to choose your normal seat.
Of course, everyone must wear a mask throughout the service if they are aged 11 or over. You must not gather in groups to chat before or after the service.
Please take a few minutes to watch our Returning to Church video.