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St Peter’s Parish News

St Peter's News - find out more about our 800th celebrations this Sunday.

St Peter's Parish News
Volume 11 Number 45
Friday 8th October 2021
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  From Richard:

We’ve recently heard a lot about the idea of “levelling up”, particularly this week from the Conservative Party Conference. This is of course a church weekly email, not a political commentary, but I do find myself reflecting on what it might mean for our country to “level up”. It could mean many things - possibly whatever one wants it to mean. We occasionally hear the complaint that religion has no business commenting on (or “interfering in”) politics, and I often take this to mean that the complainant disagrees with a religious viewpoint. But of course, politics is our business. Amongst other things, Christianity is about the relationships between people across society, and that is decidedly to do with politics.
But perhaps I’d prefer a sharper term than “level up”. The bible offers some suggestions, especially the Old Testament. I think sometimes we pay the Old Testament less attention than it deserves. Someone once suggested to me that we should ignore the Old Testament completely – “it’s only of historical interest, cut it out, shrink wrap it and put it away on a shelf – and concentrate on the New Testament instead”. But that would be to overlook the depth of wisdom and insight it contains. If my theologian friends would forgive me being so off-hand about the Old Testament books, they are full of stories of ordinary well-intentioned folk trying to make sense of the world around them, and the place of God in their lives. Sometimes they screw up or suffer misfortune, and write about what they’ve seen and learned. And much of the wisdom they have gained is reflected in the word “justice” – a much better concept I think than “level up”.
One of my favourite OT books is Amos. Amos lived in Judah in the eighth century. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel were relatively prosperous and Amos was a successful farmer. Today we might think of him as a successful businessman. His society was very different to ours, but the issues Amos chose to speak about, and the way he confronted them, seem to me as pertinent to our world as they were to his.
Amos was concerned about responsibility for social justice – the responsibilities of individuals and the corporate responsibility of society. He made some powerful points. He said, for example, that those of us who enjoy the fruits of prosperity share responsibility for how that wealth is created. If the creation of our wealth entails the suffering or exploitation of others then we are guilty to some extent for that suffering no matter how far removed it may be from our daily lives. Amos was getting at the affluent ruling classes in Israel who had grown fat and happy at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged. He said that by allowing such injustice to flourish the Israelites had betrayed their God and the gifts God had bestowed upon them.
He went further. He said that there can be only one standard of justice in the world. The Israelites had seen great injustice and cruelty carried out by other nations against their enemies. Israel had seen whole societies destroyed and populations sold into slavery for the profit of one nation over another. They deplored these injustices perpetrated by others, but they conveniently overlooked the injustices they allowed within their own society. Or worse, they chose to tolerate it so long as the powerful – the law makers and the rich - benefited.
Amos famously wrote “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” - in other words justice is as essential to life as running water, and should be just as available to all. If that’s what we mean by “levelling up” then I’m all for it. I hope it does.
I leave these thoughts with you to ponder as we listen to the daily news. I wonder what Amos would say to us today.
PS In case you’re wondering, another reason I’ve thought about Amos this week is that he comes up in the Lectionary for this Sunday. Amos is a good guy and his book is not too long – worth a read.

Richard Hackworth,
Notices St Peter's News and Notices:

800th anniversary meeting:
on Sunday 10th October, following the Parish Mass, there will be a meeting in the Lady Chapel to share updates on planning for next year's 800th anniversary celebrations and to discuss the next steps forward. If you'd be interesting in helping with our 800th celebrations there are plenty of different ways to get involved, so please do come along!

The Children's Society Boxes
Could boxholders please bring boxes for counting to the 9.30am Mass this Sunday or any of the following Sundays in October.  If you would like Kathie Lally to collect your box please phone her on 863526 to arrange a suitable time.

Choral Evensong with Benediction, Sunday 10th October, 6pm.

Treasurer Needed.
On Sunday 17th October, Richard Hackworth will give a brief outline of his role as PCC Treasurer as part of the Notices. Following the service, Richard will be available to have conversations with anyone who would like to discuss the possibility of taking on this role at St Peter's. Please think about whether this is something that you, or someone you know, might be being called to.

All Souls' Requiem Mass, Sunday 31st October, 6pm.

BerkoFest Book Festival at St Peter's.
This year, for the first time, St Peter's is going to be involved in the BerkoFest Book Festival. On Sunday 7th November we will be hosting children's and young people's authors throughout the day, including Vashti Hardy, Blue Peter Book Award Winner 2020. You can find out more about the Book Festival here: BerkoFest Book Festival
Volunteers are needed to check people in, serve refreshments, and help to ensure the smooth running of the day. If you can help with this, please contact Fr Stuart. 

St Peter’s Ladies Club
We are a friendly group of ladies who have been meeting for the last 48 years in the Court House mostly every month.  We have a varied programme ranging from talks on travel, history ,local community projects plus social events.
We desperately need help as sadly our chairman is stepping down and we will be unable to continue unless a kind person joins the group, bringing fresh ideas to take the Club forward and encourage new members.
Is there anybody who can help please?
If you would like more information or a chat please contact Barbara McKenna 01442 871159 or Rosslyn Laidler 01442 879992.

Little Fishes Parent and Toddler Group
Our parent and toddler group has resumed meeting on Friday mornings. If you would be willing to join a rota to set up the Court House before sessions, provide refreshments during sessions, or with packing away afterwards, please contact Tracy Robinson - 01442 863559

News from our church schools:

We had a wonderful service at St Peter's on Wednesday this week, for our annual Harvest Festival. The church was full of children, their parents, grandparents, and friends, giving thanks for the harvest. Children from Reception to Year 2 stood up and sang songs, performed poems or showed their artwork. The whole event was extremely uplifting, not least because it was the first time we had all been in church together for a long time.
In school, we marked the start of Black History Month with a special assembly on Monday. The children will be learning about and celebrating the achievements of black people in history and the present day in a number of ways during October. Thursday was National Poetry Day and each class learned about the work of a black children's poet.

This week, our whole school worships have been led by Mrs Cutler with the Year 6 reflective leaders, Chloe and 4KS. We have been reflecting on ‘Giving our time’ as this week’s theme for the value of Generosity. In particular, we have considered how much can be achieved if everyone gave a bit of their time and we all worked together, just as the families helped to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the story from the Old Testament.


News from the Deanery, the Berkhamsted Team and the wider community:

Berkhamsted Deanery Lecture.
On Wednesday October 20th at 7.45pm, the Rev Simon Reed will be giving the Berkhamsted Deanery Lecture at St Mary's Northchurch. The Lecture is entitled: "Celtic Wisdom For A Post Covid Church.”   Simon is an Anglican minister with two churches in Ealing, West London. He is also one of the three Guardians of the Community of Aidan and Hilda, an international and cross-denominational network of Christians who draw inspiration from Celtic spirituality for the renewal of today's church. He has been a seminar speaker at New Wine and Spring Harvest and also involved in leading their reflective worship stream. He is the author of "Creating Community: ancient ways for modern churches," and "Followers of the Way: ancient discipleship for modern christians." Parking is available at St Mary's Primary School, New Road, Northchurch.    

People Not Borders

This month's donation list is below:

Notices for the Parish Email Bulletin
Please send your notices copy-ready & rota swaps by 2pm Wednesday.
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First Reading: Amos 5.6-7 & 10-15.

Seek the Lord and live,
   or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
   and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
   and bring righteousness to the ground!

They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
   and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
   and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
   but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
   but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions,
   and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
   and push aside the needy in the gate.
Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
   for it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil,
   that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
   just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
   and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
   will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Gospel: Mark 10.17-31.

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’

Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’


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

The Church of the Province of West Africa.


Sick & Bereaved

  Long term Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Len Bennett, Lorna Sargaison, Alice Jullien, Keith Dawson, Bill Stead, Marion Crawley
and immediate:  Jeanette Hopkins, David Cooke, Baby Cody Goldthorpe, John Malcolm, Douglas Hill, Margaret Wood, Joy Reynolds, Kathleen McMorran and Anthea Lepper.

(next four weeks).


(next four weeks).

  Rupert Noad and Harry Miles.
RIP   James Payne.
Memorial   Bryan Wright, Audrey Rothwell and Ian Sworder.
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Dates for your diary

See what's happening in the Parish this month with our online calendar.

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Contact us
Fr Stuart Owen

01442 879739
(day off Saturday)

Parish Office

01442 878227
Fr John Russell
Team Rector and Vicar of Gt Gaddesden, Lt Gaddesden and Nettleden
(day off Wednesday)

Fr Joe Roberts Team Vicar of Potten End and Director of Schools' Ministry 01442 865217

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