Parish News

News Bulletin for 11 February Next before Lent

Volume 8, Number 11 Friday 9th February 2018

A letter from Capernaum circulated by Richard


I lived in Capernaum when Jesus first came here with his friends – when he taught in the synagogue. People who heard him said he was different – not like other rabbis. He explained things freshly, clearly. He knew his scripture and talked about what people could be, instead of what they mustn’t do. Jesus spoke with passion about bigger and more loving truths about them and God than they’d ever heard before. People said he had "authority – more than the priests. And that irked the priests. One Sabbath in the synagogue Jesus even cured a man suffering with unclean spirits and convulsions. The people loved it and it made him famous, but it irritated the priests even more.

Another time Jesus cured a poor guy who was paralysed. Everyone was amazed of course, but it is what Jesus said which caused the stir. He said to this man, in ear shot of the priests, your sins are forgiven. The priests exploded - "you can't say that! They called it blasphemy and glared like angry camels, but Jesus was calm. He did what he knew was right and wasn’t cowed by what others thought. But the priests started to watch him.


The second time they had a big go at him was when he sat down for dinner with tax-collectors and other undesirables. They criticised Jesus but he had a good answer, as he always did of course. Then another day they caught Jesus’ friends eating on a day of fasting. When they challenged Jesus he compared himself to a bridegroom and his friends to wedding guests. He said it was only right they should feast with him before he had to leave them, and they’d have plenty of time to fast when he’d gone. It was only years later we began to understand what he really meant, but at the time the

Pharisees thought Jesus was getting too big for himself and took it badly.


But what pushed the priests over the edge was one Sabbath when Jesus upset them again, not once but twice. First his friends walked through a cornfield and picked and ate some grain, and second Jesus went into the Synagogue and cured a man with a withered hand. There are complicated rules about what Jews can do on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees said he and his friends had broken them. Now, if you go back and check the scriptures it isn’t at all clear to me that Jesus and his friends actually broke any Sabbath rules, but the religious lawyers who interpret these things said he had, so that was that.


Think about it. Jewish law forbids certain work on the Sabbath, but it is also a day to remember that God liberated the Israelites from Egyptian oppression. It’s a day when we should be generous and caring towards family and slaves and aliens living with us. It is a day to be protected as a sign of the unique relationship between God and Israel. It’s a day which identifies us as Israelites, and we’re proud of that. Did Jesus or his friends do anything which violated any of that? No. By giving a man new life Jesus had fulfilled the Sabbath, not broken it. He was concerned with what people could be, not what some priestly rule said he shouldn’t do.


But the crunch issue was the way Jesus replied. He said "the Sabbath was made for people, not the other way round, so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. That’s like saying "I will decide what is right or wrong on the Sabbath because it is mine to decide! Wow. That was something else we would only begin to grasp years later. But the reality was that from then on the religious establishment was on a collision course with Jesus. They even allied with the Herodians, of all people, to destroy Jesus, and that was ruthless.


I still recall those five or six occasions when Jesus seriously upset the Synagogue, and there are probably more which I don’t remember or I never heard about. Friction was clear and growing from the beginning, but after the disputes about the Sabbath, a line had been crossed and events set in train which led Jesus to the Roman cross.

Looking back now I wonder if I could have done more to support him but the synagogue was powerful and we had to look after ourselves and families didn’t we? But I sometimes wonder. Was I right? That memory is the strongest of all, and it troubles me still.





8am Eucharist Pr Fr Simon Vivian
9:30am Sung Eucharist Pr Fr Simon Vivian

4.00pm TSS Pancakes and Preparation Fr Simon Vivian

6.00pm Evening Prayer Fr Tim Pilkington


First Reading Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work - you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.


Gospel Mark 2: 23 – 3: 6

One sabbath he was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath? And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions. Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward. Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill? But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him





+ Alan, Bp of St Albans +Justin, Archbishop

The Anglican Church of Canada & Bishop Frederick Hiltz




Sick & Bereaved



Long term: Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Yvonne Rix,

Omid Tatiae, Margaret Taylor, Len Bennett, Priscilla Watt, Matthew Baynes, priest, Gordon Hufford

and immediate: Diane Luckraft, baby Archie Brennan and his parents Max and Alex, Ingrid Carding, Sung Hee Suh, Keith Dawson






Teresa Stanley, Brian Walkinshaw








Anthem O Beatae Viae Claudio Monteverdi




Morning Prayer Monday 9:00am; Tuesday 9:00am at All Saints Shrublands Road;
Wednesday 8:00am; Thursday & Friday 9:00am

Eucharist Tuesday 9:30am at All Saints’ Shrublands Road;
No Wednesday 8:30am in St Peters;

Wednesday 14: Sung Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes 8:00pm
Evening Prayer Monday – Friday 5:00pm; Saturday 6:00pm


Eric Brown’s funeral will be on Thursday 15th February at 2pm.



WALSINGHAM PILGRIMAGE Fr Simon will be leading our annual Pilgrimage from Friday April 27th until Monday April 30th. For details, cost etc, please contact Philippa Seldon or 871534, or Fr Simon 864199


LENT COURSE: Following last year’s look at St John’s Gospel, this year Fr Tim will be offering a "Dip into the Old Testament, exploring key passages and some of the historical events to which they give witness. There will be five sessions, each no longer than an hour, starting on 21 February at 8:00pm in the Court House. Please let the office know if you would like to attend: there is a box at the back of church for you to put in the slip from the bottom of Fr Tim’s notice, or email us on Closing date for acceptance on the course is Thursday 15 February.


Cowper Society Presents: ST ALBANS CATHEDRAL CHOIR - a concert in St Peter’s on Saturday 10 February at 7:00pm. Free entry, leaving collection. Do come and support the Cathedral’s Outreach programme.


FILM CLUB: St Peter’s Film Club will be showing Priscilla in the Court House, Friday 16 February, 8:30 pm. Light refreshments. Please contact Uli Grego for further information: 877492.


THE WAY INN is looking for a new Bookshop Manager as Frances Fletcher is retiring at the end of March. We are looking for someone with a love for God, a passion for Christian retail, preferably with bookshop experience, who could head up the team and lead the shop creatively into whatever future God has planned for it!

Please contact Frances at the Bookshop for a job description and application form. Telephone 01442 870768, email ‘’ or just pop in.


INTERCESSORY PRAYER AND HEALTH: There will be a talk looking at the question 'What happens to the human body when we pray for healing?' on Monday 19th February at 7.30pm in the Church of the Resurrection in Grove Hill. This will be a repeat by Revd Prof Nick Goulding, Diocesan Adviser for Faith and Science, of a talk he gave at St Albans Abbey in autumn 2017. Flyers are available at the back of the church. We hope to arrange transport if needed. It is OK to turn up on the day but it would be helpful to know you are planning to come. Ruth Treves Brown (863268)


Please note that the PEOPLE NOT BORDERS FEBRUARY FREEZE is now March Madness. We will be sleeping out all night outside St Peter's on March 9th from 7pm, to finish at 7am on 10th. Please do support us - through sponsorship: or by dropping by to donate/bring sleeping equipment to be sent to refugees/to say hello and drop anything from our Winter Appeal list into the box at the back of St Peter's. And do join us for breakfast at 7am at Caf Epicure. Thank you.

CHRISTIAN AID LENT LUNCHES on Mondays 19 Feb and 19 March from 12.00 noon to 13.30 in the Court House. Home-made soups and fruit crumbles. Donations to support the work of Christian Aid to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty. All welcome. Do Come! Margaret Burbidge tel: 862139


FEBRUARY LENTEN TAIZ SERVICE Sunday, 18 February 2018 St Mary’s Church High Street, Northchurch, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 3QW 6.00 pm A quiet meditation service with chants and silence for Lenten reflections Tea/coffee and cake to be served afterwards. All welcome.


Applications for Victoria School's Nursery for admission in September 2018 is now open, please apply via the school website , clicking on the 'Our School' and 'Admissions' tabs.  Please also complete a Supplementary Information Form which is also available on the website and return to the school office. The closing date is Friday 16 March.   We have an open morning on Tuesday 20 February at 9am for prospective parents - please contact the school office on 01442 865781 to book.











Julian Meeting


Ruth T-B 863268

Meet for about half an hour of quiet prayer. All are welcome. 3 Sherwood Mews, Park Street 11:30am

Wed Feb 14






Little Fishes


Tracy Robinson 863559

No meeting: half term

Fri 16 Feb






Film Club


Uli Grego, 877492

Film Club showing Priscilla in the Court House, 8:30 for 9:00pm

Fri 16 Feb











ABC Prayer Breakfast


Peggy Sear

01296 584530

8:00am at the Way Inn; third Saturday of the month. Prayer requests to Peggy Sear by the previous Monday, please

Sat 17 Feb






PEW LEAFLET notices copy-ready & rota swaps by 2pm Wednesday please

PARISH OFFICE hours: The parish office won’t be open regular hours next week due to holidays





Fr Tim Pilkington

Rector (day off Friday) 01442 879739

Fr Simon Vivian

Assistant Curate (day off Thursday) 01442 864199

Fr John Russell

Team Vicar (Gt Gaddesden, Lt Gaddesden, Nettleden)

Revd Penny Nash

Team Vicar (Potten End and Youth Minister)

Parish Office

Hilary Armstrong and Kate Perera

01442 878227