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  • Services at Highams Park Baptist Church are suspended for the duration of the current lockdown.

    To contact us by email (contact@hpbc.co.uk)

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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 - 24th January 2021

     


    Come, follow me, said Jesus, first to Simon and Andrew, then to James and John. Simple words that might be considered either an invitation or a command. What do you hear? ‘Come, follow me’ – an invitation to share in the life changing work of Jesus? Or ‘Come, follow me’ – a command to take on a duty that could prove difficult or even dangerous?

    From what we know of the time that these first four disciples would spend working with Jesus both readings of that simple phrase are valid. In the early days, when Jesus became popular as a preacher and healer, the work was rewarding and exciting. As opposition from religious leaders developed things began to change. By the end, being associated with Jesus was risky and challenging. The easy response of the four fishermen to that first call was something they could well have lived to regret.

    Generations of Christians have now heard that same call from Jesus. The familiar words come to us each time we read any of the four gospel accounts of the early days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Each writer tells the story in their own particular way. Mark’s version is short and simple. The author of what is thought to be the earliest gospel provides a rapid overview of the key events in the life of Jesus. Later writers would add detail and, sometimes, correct what seem to be small mistakes. All agree that one way or another, when Jesus started out he gathered together twelve committed followers to work with him. 

    Hearing the words again today perhaps we recall the time when we first heard and responded to that same call. For some, the response will have been easy to make. For others, perhaps the response will have required much thought. Either way, that response to the initial call of Jesus is just the beginning. As we continue in the life of faith there will be occasions when the call to follow in a new way will be heard. Like the first response, the decision to follow may prove easy or might require much thought.

    In our challenging times the call of Jesus comes to each of us again today. Come, follow me, he says. The words are, for those living the life of faith, both an invitation and a command. What do you hear as you listen to those words today? ‘Come, follow me’ – and share in the life changing work of Jesus? Or maybe, ‘come, follow me’ – and embark on something new that might prove challenging or difficult?

    Come, follow me, said Jesus to Simon, Andrew, James, and John. And, at once, they left their nets and followed him. Are we ready to do the same?


    Four prayerbooks and a rosary

    2020 has been a most unusual year. A global pandemic and two lockdowns have turned our lives upside down. Churches have faced many challenges in the face of everchanging Government advice and restrictions. Life as we knew it in the approach to Christmas last year seems a distant memory. In this year like no other, much has changed for us all. 

    Alongside the challenge of negotiating Covid-19 restrictions there have been other life events to manage. My mother’s death at the beginning of May shaped the year. As many of you know from personal experience, there is much to be done at such moments. One early task was to remove personal items from my parents’ bungalow in Somerset. Among the various boxes of photos, cards, and letters were several prayerbooks, each with a story to tell. 

    Prayerbook number one is part of a black leather presentation set. The inscription inside reads ‘with best love from Arthur to May 28.2.98’. The books were a birthday gift to my great-grandmother from her future husband. May’s only son, Eric, died on the Somme. My grandmother, Lilian, was the eldest of her seven daughters. 

    Prayerbook number two is a ‘Manual of Devotions’ entitled ‘Nearer to God’. A card inside the book indicates that it was given to my grandmother at her confirmation in February 1927. The service took place at an Anglican mission church in Canning Town just a few months before she married my grandfather John.

    Prayerbook number three is part of another presentation set. The inscription reads ‘Enid Ellson, Christmas 1939, from Nanna & Aunties Phyllis & Freda.’ At the age of eight, in the year that war broke out, my mother received the gift of a prayerbook from her grandmother.

    Prayerbook number four is a gilt-edged book bound in white leather with a simple cross embossed on the front cover. An inscription reads ‘wishing you every happiness’ for this prayerbook was a gift to my mother from her work colleagues when she married my father. She carried it on her wedding day in 1959 and loaned it to me when Ray and I married in 1982.

    I am intrigued by what the collection of prayerbooks suggest about the life and faith of the three generations of women to whom they belonged. I am puzzled by the presence of a rosary and a small devotional book entitled ‘Bible Lilies’ that were with them. Was great-grandmother May, who came to England from Ireland as a child, perhaps brought up a Catholic? My grandmother’s confirmation at the rather late age of twenty-five is another mystery. These, and many other questions, will remain forever unanswered. 

    In this year when the world seems to have been turned upside down and inside out, the continuity of a faith handed down through the generations has been reassuring. I never met my great-grandmother and have few memories of my grandmother but am glad to have encountered them through the four prayerbooks and a rosary that are now in my keeping. 


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  • Something Ventured

    Something ventured

    Puase, pray and remember

    Photo by Eyasu Etsab on Unsplash
    This week Britain became the first country in Europe to record more than 100,000 COVID-related deaths. Politicians and medical advisors spoke of a 'grim milestone' for the nation. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York noted that the number of deaths is not just an abstract figure. Each number represents a unique human individual whose death leaves many thousands of others grieving. 

    Reflecting on the sad news my own thoughts turn to those not numbered among the 100,000. Most, if not all, of who died during the year were in some way affected by the consequences of the pandemic as were their families and friends. They too will be remembered by those who knew them.

    Beginning on 1 February, Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cotterell invite us to join them in pausing to reflect on the enormity of the pandemic and to pray for each other at this time. Their message is one of consolation but also of hope. Because of Jesus, death doesn't have the last word. In God's kingdom, they remind us, every tear will be wiped away.

    Gracious God,
    as we remember before you the thousands who have died,
    surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion.
    Be gentle with us in our grief,
    protect us from despair,
    and give us grace to persevere
    and face the future with hope
    in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.
    Amen.

    To everything there is a season


    Photo by Mohamed Mohassi on Unsplash
    This Wednesday Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the new President of the United States. Many months of campaigning and several weeks of wrangling over the result will finally come to an end. With concerns over violent protests already overshadowing the event the inauguration of the 46th President seems set to be like no other that the 'land of the free' has known.

    Since the election in November, Senator Biden has spoken often about the need for a healing process to begin. 2020 was a difficult year for Americans. As elsewhere in the world, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic heightened tensions over social inequalities and ingrained prejudice. Conspiracy theories and mistrust led to rioting in many cities las summer. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris face significant challenges as they seek to heal rifts and the nation in this new season of political life.

    Similar challenges lie ahead in Britain, in Europe and across the world. Few countries have escaped the impact of COVID-19. Businesses and public services alike have struggled to manage the consequences of the pandemic. Either unemployment or extreme pressures in the workplace have affected millions of individuals and families. Existing inequalities and longstanding resentments continue to produce social tensions in many local communities. Healing rifts and rebuilding nations could be the most significant worldwide challenge in 2021. 

    As Wednesday's inauguration takes place many will be praying that 20th January 2021 marks not just a new presidency but also a commitment to healing and rebuilding in the season that is just beginning. 

    To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3)




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