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    We are a friendly and welcoming Baptist Church in Highams Park, NE London. Our Sunday Morning services start at 10am, last about an hour and are usually led by our Minister, Rosemary Eaton. Our Church Life comprises many events such as Prayer MeetingsCell Groups and Men's/Women's meetings. We also have a BBGA group.

    Our Church Magazine contains various articles about the Church and Highams Park in general. The Calendar contains details of upcoming events some of which can also be found in Church Notices. Please consider joining our mailing list to receive email updates from us about our work. To contact us please use the details on the Contact Us page, particually for Hall Hire enquiries. 


     

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  • Thoughts and Views

    Highams Park Baptist Church
    Thoughts and Views from Highams Park Baptist Church, London, E4

    Thought for the Week - 16th August 2020

     

    Jesus and his disciples had been busy. Wherever they went people came for healing and help. Religious leaders were becoming increasingly anxious as Jesus’ reputation and popularity grew. This travelling teacher and healer who neglected the handwashing rituals central to their faith could not be allowed to continue unchecked.  A deputation of Pharisees and teachers of the law was sent from Jerusalem. The response they received did nothing to allay their fears.

    The tide was turning for Jesus. Although popular with the crowds, his actions and words horrified the religious professionals of his day. According to Matthew’s gospel, soon after this first clash Jesus and his disciples withdrew across the border to Lebanon. Their visit seems to have been brief but significant. Jesus encounter with a local woman is brief but deeply significant. For Matthew, and for the disciples, this is a turning point. As Jesus interacts with the woman it becomes clear that his mission extends beyond Israel.

    This story of a mother determined to get help for her troubled daughter gives just a glimpse of the future. That future that was becoming a reality by the time the gospel attributed to Matthew was written. The movement that began in Galilee soon spread to Europe and Asia. People of all nations were welcome in the emerging Christian church. A brief encounter that showed Jesus engaging with those outside his own community was a sign of things to come. 

    Engaging with outsiders as Jesus did is a challenge to us right now. Across the world the pandemic has forced us to remain at a distance from others. The spiritual contamination feared by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day finds a parallel in the fear of infection with which we now live. Early church believers were also challenged by the radical spirit of inclusion implied by this short story. Tensions within local churches are clear from the letters Paul wrote to some of them.

    One day long ago Jesus showed that race, gender, and language are of no significance to God. All are welcome in the new kingdom of which Jesus spoke. Those who are broken in body or in mind are not to be ignored. Jesus reaches out in compassion to an unseen girl because of the faith her mother showed. In that moment national boundaries and religious restrictions were swept away. God’s kingdom embraces both the lost sheep of Israel and the people of faith of all nations. Healing and wholeness are for all, not just for those already within the Christian community. Those who follow Jesus are called to make that a reality in every time and place.

    Thought for the week - 9th August 2020

    For over a hundred and fifty years the Met Office has issued warnings of bad weather several times each day. The phrase that begins the Radio Four bulletin has become famous. ‘And now the Shipping Forecast’, begins the announcer, before beginning the list of conditions in the mysterious sea areas of Tyne, Dogger, Rockall and the rest.

    Britain is an island nation with a long maritime history. In the days before boats were equipped with onboard technology the shipping forecast was essential to ships of all kinds. Even today the daily broadcast helps seafarers confirm the data generated by onboard systems. The weather can change quickly at sea. The lives and safety of all on board depend on accurate and up to date information about the weather around our coasts.

    At least four of the named disciples of Jesus were fishermen. Simon Peter. Andrew, James, and John knew Lake Galilee well. They would have been all too familiar with the sudden storms that arise in the area. Unlike Britain’s fishermen, they relied only on what they could see and sense of the weather. Crossing the lake after Jesus had miraculously fed a crowd of thousands, they found themselves caught in a storm. Struggling to bring the boat to shore, with their vision obscured by wind and rain, they saw what seemed to be a ghost. They were, understandably, terrified.

    What happened next completely changed their understanding of who Jesus was. Up to the moment when Jesus walked on water, he was in many ways just one in a line of teachers, miracle workers and healers. A character like the prophets of old but still a human being. His ability to rise above the storms of the natural world marked him out as something else. Jesus was not just a messenger from God, he was the Son of God himself. 
    On that day, twelve frightened men in a boat saw their teacher in a new light. As Jesus reached out to prevent Peter being overwhelmed by the waves, they learned that with Jesus, Son of God, anything was possible. They fell to their knees and worshipped God in their midst. As those who follow in the steps of the first believers this message is one that brings both reassurance and challenge.

    In recent months the changes in our world have at times seemed overwhelming.  As the situation evolves in the coming weeks and months there will be yet more uncertainties and changes to negotiate. The promise of God to those who follow Jesus in faith is that the storm need not overwhelm us. Jesus, Son of God,  himself stretches out his hand and raises us to our feet. There is nothing to fear for those who have the faith to follow where he leads.

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  • Something Ventured

    Something ventured

    Forever Autumn




    Autumn has arrived. In the middle of last week, the late summer sunshine gave way to rain, wind and low temperatures. At this time of year the arrival of autumn usually brings with it the celebration of Harvest. In a year where nothing is as it should be, there will be no special service, no harvest display and no shared meal in our church. With the national and international news full of the relentless spread of COVID-19, the traditional ways of celebrating God's goodness must be set aside.

    In the musical version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, a journalist reflects on the invasion of earth by Martians. Many lives were lost in the war. The post-invasion world proves harsh and inhospitable for humans. The journalist sings of a world that is 'forever autumn' with no hope of change with the coming of spring.

    H.G. Wells' story has a hopeful conclusion. The Martian takeover of planet earth comes to an end when the invaders are struck by a virus. Human beings are unaffected but the Martians are wiped out due to their lack of immunity to the pathogen. In due course, earth's people are able to rebuild their lives. The interminable autumn described by the journalist ceases and a new season begins. In the words of the author, the invaders were 'slain, after all man's devices have failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.'

    In the midst of all that surrounds us this harvest time, we know that God will not abandon the created world. With the Psalmist, we look upwards to the One that made all things in hope and in trust.

    I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
    Psalm 121


    One step forward and two steps back

    Jesus Christ is the same
    yesterday and today and for ever 
    Hebrews 13:8

    Change is in the air. Tuesday 22 September marks the turning of summer to autumn. Weather forecasts indicate that the current warm spell will end on Wednesday. The changing of the seasons is reassuringly predictable in these uncertain times.

    As summer turns to autumn in 2020, a rise in cases of COVID-19 brings with it concerns that a second wave of the pandemic is beginning. Gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions over the summer has already ended in some parts of Britain. Changes to daily life now seem inevitable. 

    Christians across the world have faced significant challenges during this year of pandemic. With church buildings closed, other ways to worship were needed and the church moved online. Over the summer it became possible to gather for services but new ways of worshipping were needed due to the significant restrictions imposed. Each new Government announcement was accompanied by lengthy guidelines. Progress was slow and the process exhausting. Too often, one step forward seemed to be followed by two steps back. 

    Autumn 2020 seems likely to be another season marked by constant change for Christians in Britain. At each stage, adaptation and adjustment will be required in all areas of life, faith and worship. Like Moses and the Israelites, our journey may feel like a wandering in the wilderness. In our ever-changing world we walk in confidence knowing that God will guide, sustain, and in time, lead us into a new future.


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