Worship

We gather for worship every Sunday.

8.00 Holy Communion Service

9.45 Holy Communion service (except 2nd Sunday when there is an All Age informal Family Service)

9.45 Footsteps for children (except 2nd Sunday as above)

6.30 Evening Worship

Worship is varied in style and normally led by one of our Ministerial Team.

Prayers are held in the Church Monday - Friday mornings at 8.30am.  Evening prayer is held on Friday evening at 6pm.                                       

 

SEE UNDER THE ACTIVITIES/SUNDAY WORSHIP MENU FOR MORE DETAILS (and check on the Church calendar!)

A Message From The Minister

 


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Dear Friends,

 

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of programmes on BBC Radio about the Reformation and its legacy. This is a topic of some interest this year because it was back in 1517 that Martin Luther announced that he would defend “95 Theses touching on questions of grace, repentance and forgiveness”. Tradition would have it that he nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. There is some discussion about whether they were actually so nailed – but there is no doubt that his 95 theses became well known and that he defended them vigorously.

 

 

His views were in opposition to the church leadership of his time who were content to be involved in a system where, famously, indulgences might be sold which could shorten a person’s time in purgatory and enable them to enter heaven more swiftly. The church, of course, benefited from the funds so raised. Luther stoutly defended his view that human salvation could not be earned by any human works and certainly not by the sale of indulgences. Human salvation was a gift of God’s grace alone and must be accepted through faith. 

 

As two sides became more entrenched in their own positions the rhetoric and the accusations became ever more heated. The debate was a significant part of the great split that arose in the Church between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

 

 

We still live with the legacy of this split and some of its saddest and most painful manifestations are only too well known in the history of tensions and violence in Ireland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The shoots of peace in Northern Ireland are fragile and must be carefully nurtured.

 

I have described in far too simple a manner the divisions in views between Catholic and Protestant over how men and women may finally find their way to heaven.  It is, hardly surprisingly, a very deep and profound debate. Interestingly, however, there was something of a reconciliation between Roman Catholics and Lutherans back in 1999 with the adoption of a “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification”. Some say that this essentially resolved a debate that had caused conflict for 500 years. Calm heads and big hearts came to a resolution which would have seemed impossible in Luther’s day. It seems almost incredible that Roman Catholics and Lutherans can now say that agreement has been reached on an issue which divided the Church for centuries.

 

 

Perhaps there is a lesson here in what can happen (and how long it might take to resolve) when we let hostile rhetoric get out of hand, when we create a caricature of those who disagree with us, and when we dig ourselves too deep into one position without sufficient sensitivity to the subtleties of the debate or openness to the views of others. In church and state there are very likely other areas of disagreement today where the same principles apply!

 

Andrew Maguire