Alton Webteam: May 2021
It was so good to know that many of our churches and chapels were open for 'live' worship last Sunday as well as offering the on-line service.
I was privileged to attend the service at Alton where it was a delight to welcome friends back to church of all ages.
It was great to see people make their way from Willow Court (Independent Living) enjoying being back amongst the church fellowship, along with one of our stewards, Judy. (See picture)
Liam Sheridan led the service on the theme of Pentecost, reminding us what the Holy Spirit is like, why he came and the difference he can make to our lives. The example was given of the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 led by Evan Roberts which was one of the most dramatic of the 20th century... and resonated with at least three of our Welsh members
Just after eleven o'clock on a Wednesday evening in 1904, a solo voice rang out with the hymn "Here is love vast as the ocean".
Maybe a thousand people were in Ebenezer Baptist Church, Abertillery at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They'd been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion.
Meetings like it were taking place across Wales night after night, with fervent prayer and passionate singing — and similar disregard for the clock. They both excited and appalled, left many puzzled and some frightened, but it was reckoned that in little over a year a hundred thousand people had made a new commitment to Jesus Christ.
Week by week Abertillery's local paper the South Wales Gazette recorded events with the enthusiastic eloquence of the day.
Drunkards have been soberised, publicans have lost much business, conduct on the public streets has been elevated, and the police and magistrates have had quieter times... The bottom of the pits have been utilised as centres for prayer and praise meetings, and there has been a general raising of the standard of public life.
Sadly, the fires of revival died down after a while, 'respectable religion' replaced Godly enthusiasm, and some slipped back into old ways. A lesson to learn for us perhaps — not to allow the fire of the Holy Spirit and the flames of faith die down, constantly seeking to be renewed and refreshed day by day through as Wesley would say 'The Means of Grace' — prayer, bible reading, meeting together for worship, sharing communion and fellowship.
Emma, Noah and Anna shared in the Alton service through their animated Lego video on the theme of Acts 2, their exceptional reading of the bible passage (with all those difficult place names) and their craft activities created as they shared in the service — Pentecost Kites! (see picture)
Services were also held at Rowledge & 'The Spire' at Farnham in our section of churches. Hale look forward to Rev Chris Blake leading their return to worship this coming Sunday.
This week is known as 'Trinity Sunday' when we reflect on the mystery of God being known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St Patrick famously used the illustration of the three-leaf clover (Shamrock) to help explain that we experience God as the Father who loves us, Jesus the Son who lived among us, died and rose again to save us and the Holy Spirit who, as promised comes and dwells within us.
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning
Our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
The God in three persons
Date for your Diary
Farewell Service for Rev Chris Blake our retiring superintendent minister and Local Preacher Accreditation Service
Sunday July 18
Arrivals & Gathering from 3pm
Service in the Garden 4pm by kind agreement of Paul & Mair Fry (Dockenfield)
And a picnic tea on the lawn!
More details to follow.
(If wet to be held at North Camp Methodist Church)
The On-Line Service this week is led by Liz George
Services in Church will resume as follows:
Alton — 10am led by Liz George
If you are unable to book a seat for this week (co Liz George or firstname.lastname@example.org) and our max. limit of 30 places is filled, you will be added to the front of the list for the following week when Pam Jones is leading our worship should you request it. (Booking is one week at a time to allow everyone the opportunity to come)
Blessing for Trinity Sunday
In this new season may you know the presence of the God who dwells within your days, the mystery of the Christ who drenches you in love, and the blessing of the Spirit who bears you into life anew. Amen
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