We are open starrting with family services resuming Sunday 25th July 2021 at 11am
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Parkgate & Neston United Reformed Church

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We are a friendly Christian church, based in the small town of Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, midway between Liverpool and Chester.

Part of the United Reformed Church, we meet on Sundays for morning and evening worship and other church groups and activities take place during the week.

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Our Minister

Revd. Hilary Smith

Our Minister, Revd Hilary Smith

News Bulletin

WE ARE OPEN!
Family services will resume from Sunday 25th July 2021 at 11am
COME ALONG AND JOIN US - ALL ARE VERY WELCOME!

Sunday 11th July 2021 – Prepared by Revd Peter Beaman

Call to Worship

Paul says, ‘Find your strength in the Lord, in his mighty power. Put on all the armour which God provides, to complete any task and still to stand.’ Jesus said, ‘Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my heavenly father.’


Prayer

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name. Lord God, you are light; we know we must walk in the light as you are in the light, and so to have and enjoy fellowship with one another. In holy reverence, we bow before your holiness and majesty. Against you and others we have sinned, boasting of our own self- importance and often intolerant of the success of other people. Forgive us and renew us for your love and mercy are far greater than we can fully grasp. May we know your sharing in our worship now and for ever. Amen


Hymn:

Son of God, eternal Saviour, source of life and truth and grace,
Son of Man, whose birth among us hallows all our human race.
Christ our Head, who. Throned in glory, for your own will ever plead,
Fill us with your love and pity, heal our wrongs, and help our need.

As you, Lord, have lived for others, so may we for others live;
Freely have your gifts been granted, freely may your servants give.
Yours the gold and yours the silver, yours the wealth of sea and land,
We but stewards of your bounty, held in trust as from your hand.

Come, O Christ, and reign above us; King of love, and Prince of peace:
Hush the storm of strife and passion, bid its cruel discords cease:
By your patient years of toiling, by your silent hours of pain,
Quench our fevered thirst of pleasure, shame our selfish greed of gain.

Son of God, eternal Saviour, source of life and truth and grace,
Son of Man, whose birth among us hallows all our human race,
In your love you prayed the Father that your people should be one;
Grant, O Christ, our hope’s foundation, here on earth your will be done


Reading: Amos 7: 7 – 15

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb-line,” I replied.Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people Israel; I will spare themno longer.”“The high places of Israel will be destroyed, and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary, and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet or a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel”.


Mark 6: 14 – 29

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like the prophets of long ago.”But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So, Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled, yet he liked to listen to him. Finally, the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.So, he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring to bring john’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Hymn 518

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like the prophets of long ago.”But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So, Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled, yet he liked to listen to him. Finally, the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.So, he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring to bring john’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Reflection

In our first reading, we had words from the Book of Amos. Hespoke of his concerns for the people of Israel, that they will be judged by God for their disregard of God and his purpose, concerned about the widows and orphans, yet most people dismissed. Amos was a crank, an executive who had nothing better to do. The people of Israel had always assumed God was on their side. Not so, says Amos, for God will judge the nation for its moral failings, just as God judges others who fail to keep his commands. Amos challenges wrong and speaks the truth as he sees it, from the conviction that God had called him to a particular ministry, and nothing will deflect him from that track. The passage we heard from Mark’s Gospel is a fascinating story involving people who all had a different moral compass in their lives and how they dealt with other people. It is a story of intrigue and scheming, of courage and martyrdom, which clearly illustrates how power and influence used in the wrong way and for selfish purposes, then leads to the destroying of people, of morals and values, of respect for each other as we live in a complex world. There is Herod, a complicated character to say the least. Herod was a womaniser, who thought he could do whatever he wished, without thinking of the consequences. He was selfish, independent, impulsive, who had a very complicated life with his relationships, yet had, so we are told, respect for John the Baptist and his message. He dreaded John’s tongue and yet he was still prepared to give him a hearing. He was easily tempted and persuaded; he was always willing to compromise if it suited his purpose. Herod was that odd mixture, who could be selfish and sinful and yet had respect for John; who hated John’s message, there was still a fascination with John as a person. Are we so different? Herod acted on impulse, reckless in his promise to Salome without thinking. Maybe it was the drink talking. It is so important to think before we speak. Self-indulgence should never put us in the place where we lack the power of good judgement. Maybe Herod regretted what he had promised to Salome without appreciating the consequences of his words and actions. Add to the mix Herodias. The trouble with Herodias was that she wanted to eliminate the man who had the courage to confront her with her son. Herodias wanted to do as she liked, with no one to remind her of the moral law. Salome, her daughter, was at the party to celebrate the king’s birthday, so she danced before Herod, encouraged by her mother. Herod, delighted with her performance offered her anything she wished. So, Herodias got the choice she had plotted so long, and John was executed. John the Baptist was a man of principle, courage and sincerity which was in stark contrast to all the others in the story. John brought the voice of God as a conscience in others. John was prepared to stand up and be counted; to stand up for truth, right and justice, and not afraid of others, because he believed God had called him to that role in his time. This is the challenge we face today. Today we have many governments in the world, who by their words and actions make life difficult and hellish for their people. We see it around the world and in our own society. The rich and the powerful. We have those who shout loudest and fail to listen to another point of view.It is that power, actual and influential which can and does affect the lives of others around them, for good or ill. But power and influence carries with it great responsibility. It is not about what we want; it is about what God wants us to be in this world of today. The Church has a mission; we have the task of telling the world the good news of the Gospel, with its call to repentance and reconciliation. We who say we are followers of Jesus, servants of God himself, must not be afraid to stand up for what we know God wants for the world today. There are times, when we have to stand up and be counted and never allow others to bully us or shout us into silence. Look at everyone, for we are all made in the likeness of God. If we truly believe that to be so, we should use all the strength which God gives us day by day, to tell of his love, mercy and grace, which are a reality in his glorious Kingdom.


Prayers

Mighty God, we adore you! We thank you that we can come to you knowing that you care about each, and every one of us. Thank you that your power is without limit. We are so small in comparison, but you love us all the same. Powerful God, forgive us when we have not used our power to influence for good, but for our own purposes; when our words and actions have excluded others; when we have allowed greed, fear, and pride to get in the way. Lord God, forgive us. Let our thoughts, words and actions glorify you and reveal your presence and love.Help us to face the reality that Christian loving is challenging. We think of Christians who are persecuted for their faith and the challenges they face. We thank you for the freedoms we are able to enjoy. Sometimes we act like people eager to save our lives and the life of the Church and often we deny our own cross. Let us pray for the good of all and the concerns of your Kingdom. Father God, we thank you for never giving up on us, even when we let you down. Thank you for your faithfulness and love. Thank you that your actions are always noble and selfless, drawing us close to you.Thank you that you love us even when, like Herod, we get it wrong. Thank you that you used John the Baptist to bring many people to you. Help us to do the same. We offer our prayers to you in the name of Jesus, our Lord, Saviour and friend.


Hymn 248

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord, or to defend his cause; Maintain the honour of his word, the glory of his cross. Jesus, my Lord -I know his name, his name is all I trust; Nor will he put my soul to shame, nor let my hope be lost. Firm as his throne his promise stands, and he ca well secure what I’ve committed to his hands, till the decisive hour. Then will he own my worthless name before his Father’s face; and in the new Jerusalem appoint my soul a place.


Blessing

May the blessing of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be with us, and with all whom we love, in this world and the next, today and always. Amen

Why not come and join us?

Why not come and join us for one of our services - you will be very welcome and we look forward to meeting you.

Service Times

Sunday Worship

11:00am

Family service and Junior Church - Holy Communion on the first Sunday of each month.

We offer creche facilities, and junior church activities for school age children.

6:30pm

Evening Service (except August) - Holy Communion on the third Sunday of the month.

Midweek Worship

8:00pm - 9:30pm

Thursday evenings - Praise and Fellowship in the Community Hall Foyer.

Our church and hall are disability-friendly with designated parking spaces, ramp access, and accessible toilet.

Visit Us

Parkgate & Neston URC
Moorside Lane, Parkgate
Cheshire
CH64 6UZ

Parkgate & Neston URC Map showing location of the church