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Parkgate & Neston United Reformed Church

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Welcome

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

In common with other UK churches our buildings are currently closed for services and other activities. But while our buildings are closed - the church congregation is not! And in the meantime our minister, elders and members are keeping in touch with each other, and each Sunday we are meeting for worship via the medium of Zoom, following a service which is circulated each week. This week’s service is added below and we invite you to join us as we share this together in our own homes on Sunday mornings. If you would like to receive future services, please contact us by email on enquiries@parkgateandnestonurc.org.uk

We are part of the United Reformed Church and you may also like to follow the URC Daily Devotions which you can access through this link - https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ - or on the United Reformed Church Facebook page. The URC page also carries a weekly service in the form of a podcast.

We hope and pray that it will not be too long before we can welcome friends old and new back to regular services in our church, and we are looking forward to seeing you once again!

Sunday 18th April 2021 11 am service - Prepared by Rev Hilary Smith

Call to worship

God of all time, who makes all things new, in this season of Easter refresh our hearts and souls that we may live the reality of re-creation, repentance and revival, as we worship you now and offer ourselves anew in your service.


Hymn

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here;
Come bow before him now with reverence and fear.
In Him no sin is found. We stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.

Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.
He burns with holy fire - with splendour He is crowned!
How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of Light,
Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace.
No work too hard for Him, in faith receive from Him,
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.


Prayer

O Lord Christ, Lamb of God, Lord of Lords, call us, who are called to be saints, along the way of the cross; draw us, who would draw nearer our King, to the foot of the cross; cleanse us, who are not worthy to approach, with the pardon of the cross; instruct us, ignorant and close-minded, with the teachings of the cross; bring us, in the fellowship of your sufferings to the victory of the cross; and seal us in the kingdom of your glory among the servants of the cross. O crucified and risen Lord, speak to each one of us now in a moment of shared silence, about your presence with us and in our lives.

We dare to pray in the name of Jesus.
Amen

Luke 24: 36-48

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood mong them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”


1 John 3: 1-7

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him, or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.


Reflection

When Jesus appeared to the disciplesat the time when they thought he was dead, you can imagine the drama. He had been so badly injured, even to death, and his wounds must have been terrible. And yet his first concern is for his friends, and he makes a point of calming them, with that word, “Peace”. “Shalom.”

Shalom is used as both “hello” and “goodbye.” It means not only peace as in lack of conflict, but also harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity.

It says to the hearer, I wish even more for you than you do for yourself; that in all your trouble and insecurity, in your worries and doubts, you will know the strength and calm of Heaven itself, which is beyond all earthly gifts, and which is yours because you are a beloved child of God.

We too are given this gift, but sometimes it may feel as if we do all we can to resist it, as if we don’t deserve it, and so we conform to the world and its often bruising encounters, allowing our fears to take over, and forgetting that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Our readings are punctuated with exclamation marks; I love an exclamation mark, it speaks of surprise, and hope, often of humour, and of good things that we don’t expect. I bet there were a few exclamations as the disciples met with the risen Lord, as he both shocked and calmed them,and gave them the promises that they needed – as he proved to them that he was fully resurrected,in spite of what evil the world had done to him - by showing them his scars – it was definitely him – and eating with them.

This is our resurrected Lord, caring for us, yearning for peace for us, asking us to believe, calling us to faith, and showing us his scars so that we remember what he has done for us. Perhaps we, too, have scars. Perhaps life has left us with damage. But it has also given us re-creation, hope, comfort and healing.

The world is crying out to be healed of its wounds and scars, and we are sent out to be agents of God’s peace, of “Shalom” in the daily journey of life, just as we know Shalom individually, and personally. We are children of God, turned from sin to good, washed in the blood of the lamb, and strengthened to do God’s work on into the future.


Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that you meet us day by day, just as you met your disciples in the days following your resurrection. We thank you that your victory of good over evil, of love over hate, of life over death continues to make such a difference to our lives, just as it did to theirs. We praise you that even in us, you turn weakness into strength, fear into confidence, and doubt into faith, and that for each of us there is always the assurance of a new beginning when it seems like the end, new hope where there seems only despair. Above all we thank you for the gift of Eternal Life. Amen


Hymn

Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blessed,
Beneath thy contemplation sing heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, o I know not what joys await us there,
What radiance of glory, what bliss beyond compare.

They stand, those halls of Zion, all jubilant with song,
And bright with many an angel, and all the martyr throng;
The Prince is ever in them, the daylight is serene;
The pastures of the blessed are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the throne of David, and there, from care released,
The shout of them that triumph, the song of them that feast;
And they, who with their leader have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever are clad in robes of white.


Prayers of intercession

In this season of Easter, we are reminded of the gift and cost of following Jesus, and of the reality that to live life can also mean battles and scars. In that image of the hurts inflicted on our dear Lord Jesus, we know that he stands with us in distress. We remember before God all who know sadness and weakness; thinking of the Royal Family on the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh, giving thanks for his love and his service, and we hold before God all those thoughts and emotions that have been brought to the surface by this time of national mourning.

Sovereign God, we thank you for the realities of Easter, which we continue to celebrate today, realities that make such a difference to life – the victory of good over evil, love over hate, life over death; the turning of weakness into strength, fear into courage, doubt into faith; a new beginning where it had seemed like the end, new hope where there had seemed despair, and new confidence where there had been confusion.

Teach us to live each day as your Easter people.

We thank you that Easter is not just about events long ago, but about life now, not just about us but about others, not just about one thing, but everything. Help us, we pray to live each day in the light of Easter, with its joy bubbling up in our hearts, its laughter shining from our eyes, and its message always on our lips. So may others, seeing the difference it has made to us, discover the difference it can make for them.

Teach us to live each day as your Easter people, to the glory of your name. Amen.


Hymn

I know that my Redeemer lives – what comfort this assurance gives! He lives, who once lived on the earth, who through his death now brings new birth. He lives, triumphant from the grave; what joy, eternally to save! He lives to bless me with his love, to plead for me in heaven above. He lives to help in time of need; what gifts, my hungry soul to feed! He lives, and grants me daily breath and leads me on to conquer death. He lives, my wise and constant friend, what kindness guards me to end! He lives, and while he lives I’ll sing Jesus, my Prophet, Priest and King. He lives; all glory to his name! what love, unchangeably the same! What joy the blest assurance gives. I know that my Redeemer lives!


Blessing

Deep peace of the running wave to you, deep peace of the flowing air to you, deep peace of the quiet earth to you, deep peace of the shining stars to you, deep peace of the Son of Peace to you, for ever. 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