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St Peter's Parish News
Volume 10 Number 52
Friday 20 November 2020
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From Richard

Today we celebrate Christ the King. When Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus, he asked a straight question; “Are you the King of the Jews?” The answer, of course, depends on what we mean by a “King”. Jesus answered that he came into the world to “testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth, listens to my voice”. Jesus is king of all who hear his voice and belong to his truth. And that depends on what we mean by “the truth”.

The world-views of Pilate and Jesus have no overlap. Pilate was a politician, a warrior, a survivor in the Roman Empire. He couldn’t conceive of Kingship based on slippery and relative ideas about “the truth”. For Pilate, “the truth” was flexible. It was whatever protected him and kept the Emperor Tiberius Caesar in Rome, happy. Pilate only understood the Roman ideas of “power by conquest” and “peace through domination”. To Pilate, the idea that the reign of a king could flow from the power of God’s love, and “peace through God’s mercy and justice” was utter nonsense.

Over the last 2000 years there have been many “Pilates” – powerful people for whom the Christian faith is only relevant if it helps them further their own agendas. Perhaps, like me, maybe you can think of some powerful people today who follow in Pilate’s example.

Pope Pious XI was in office between 1922 and 1939. He was aware of a few “Pilates” in his time.

In 1922 the USSR became first state determined to eliminate all forms of religion, and to replace them with state atheism. Christianity, a different truth, didn’t fit the Soviet version of truth or its agenda. Between 1922 and 1926 the USSR confiscated all church property, and executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests. Many more were persecuted. In 1924 Joseph Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (and stayed until 1952).

In 1919 Benito Mussolini created the Italian Fascist Party. On January 3rd 1925 he declared himself Dictator. He aligned the Fascist party with the Roman Catholic Church because he wanted the influence and power of the church on his side. Mussolini only tolerated the church because it was useful to his agenda, and for no other reason. (He was executed in 1945.)

On 18th July 1925 Adolph Hitler published the first volume of Mein Kampf. In it he wrote “Today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Hitler ruthlessly twisted the Christian truth to suit his ambitions, and ignored the parts which didn’t. (He also died in 1945.)

Against this background, on December 11th 1925, Pope Pious XI issued his encyclical creating the Feast of Christ the King. It is a clear statement of faith standing against all the Pilates of the world, wherever and whenever they appear. Pious also understood passionately this wasn’t just a matter of formal High-Church festivity. He especially wanted the laity – us – to understand that Christ is the King of all that we are and do, and that it really matters in the world and for the world. He wrote this.

If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all people are subjected to his dominion, and if his power embraces all people, then Christ must direct everything we do and are. Christ must reign in our minds, which should assent to the truths and doctrines revealed in Christ. Christ must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws of God. Christ must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things. Christ must reign in our bodies which should serve as instruments of justice unto God.

This Sunday, Christ the King, is the last Sunday of the church year. All our worship, all our prayers over the past year, are brought into focus in Christ at the very hearts of our beings, King of all we are and King of all we aspire to be as Christians.

Every Blessing



Sunday Services

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Reading :  Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24

A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel.

Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

Gospel:  Matthew 25:31-end

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.'


    + Alan, Bp of St Albans   + Michael, Bp of Hertford   +Justin, Archbishop

Pray for the Church of Bermuda (Extra-Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury) 

The Rt Revd Nicholas Dill – Bishop of Bermuda 

Sick & Bereaved
  Long term: Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Len Bennett, Lorna Sargaison, Alex Evans, Julie Painter, Alice Jullien
and immediate: Diane Luckraft, Keith Dawson, John and Philip Jennings, Bill Stead, Nigel Halsby, Jeanette Hopkins, Eric Ward

Gladys Cousins 


Send a Prayer Request


News from our church schools
The governors' annual statement for Castle Federation is now available on the website
This is a review of the year and objectives for next year. 
There are vacanices for new governors from St Peter's.  If you are interested in finding out more about what the governors do, please see  or contact either school or

It's National Anti-Bullying Week and at Victoria we call this Kindness Week. On Tuesday we all wore odd socks to celebrate diversity and promote kindness to all, regardless of the differences between us. Adults and children have been using kind words and deeds all week long to boost each other's sense of wellbeing. All of which fits in very nicely with our new value of Trust, which was introduced in Collective Worship on Monday. The children have learned about the importance of trust in friendships and on Wednesday, Father Joe shared the story of how Jesus healed a paralysed man, having noticed the trust and loyalty between him and his friends.  

   At Thomas Coram, the value for the next five weeks is Trust.  This week we have been reflecting on knowing that our friends will support us. Mrs Cutler and the Year 6 Reflective Leaders introduced our new value during Monday worship with a poem and a demonstration of how friends can support each other.  Fr Joe led worship on Wednesday using the story of Jesus healing the paralysed man to illustrate how the man’s friends helped and supported him and how the man had to trust his friends.  4RP concluded our weekly worship on Friday by thinking about friendship and how we need to trust our friends.  They included examples from well-known stories, including the trusting relationship between Sophie and the BFG.
This week has been Kindness and Anti Bullying Week.  On Monday both pupils and staff celebrated our differences by wearing odd socks.  We have all made pledges about how we are going to be united in supporting one another and standing up to bullying behaviour.
Church Notices

Sunday Morning
Churches are currently closed for public worship, but the service on Sunday morning will be streamed on Facebook and the website at 9.30am by Fr Stuart.  The service booklet and instructions for viewing will be sent out on Saturday.

Weekday services and opening times
During the current period of lockdown St Peter's will usually be open during the day Monday - Friday.  Exact opening times vary each day, so please check the twitter feed on the website or phone the parish office if you're making a special trip.  Please do pop in if you see the doors open.  
Morning and Evening Prayer are available on Zoom.  If anyone would like to join Fr Stuart by Zoom, please contact him or the church office for the meeting code.  
Mid-week Eucharist on Tuesday at 9.30am and Wednesday at 8.30am will be streamed on the website and Facebook.

Twitter St Peter's is now on twitter! @stpeterberko

Advent Course
It's not too late to join Richard's Advent course.  Details below:

Online shopping 
St Peter's is registered with both Easyfundraising and Amazon Smile.  If you're shopping online please consider supporting us through one of these websites:
Easyfundraising (John Lewis, Debenhams, Waterstones, FatFace and many more).  For information on how to set up an account see

Amazon Smile Simply shop at or with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app

Laptops and tablets for Thomas Coram
The donations that were received in September have made a huge difference to individual children and families at Thomas Coram. If you, or anyone you know, has an old (but usable) or spare device at home could you donate this to Thomas Coram to enable children to be equipped for remote or blending learning in the event of a Coronavirus confirmed case in their group. If you have a laptop or tablet please contact Olivia: to arrange a safe collection. The IT team at Thomas Coram will wipe the device and set it up on the school system. 

 Berko Community have launched a 'Cards of Christmas Hope' campaign:

Open Door and Berko Food for Friends are providing meals again during lockdown.  Please pass this information on to any who may benefit.

Notices for the Parish Email Bulletin
Please send your notices copy-ready & rota swaps by 2pm Wednesday.
Send your notices
Full Parish Calendar



Contact us

Fr Stuart Owen
Team Vicar (St Peter's)
01442 879739
(day off Saturday)

Parish Office
Hilary Armstrong  
01442 878227

Fr John Russell
Team Vicar (Gt Gaddesden, Lt Gaddesden, Nettleden)
01442 214898

Fr Joe Roberts
Team Vicar (Potten End)  Director of Schools' Ministry
01442 865217
Who's Who at St Peter's
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Parish Office

 01442 878227