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St Peter's Parish News
Volume 11 Number 14
Friday 5 March 2021
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From Richard

Would we demonstrate in protest against an injustice or wrong? Would we go beyond civil disobedience and even break the law to try to change something that we are convinced seriously and urgently threatens our society and our future? Our Lent group, discussing faith and threats to the natural environment, asked that question last week. Would we join an Extinction Rebellion demo, for example, in protest against perceived government inaction to protect the environment? It’s not a straightforward question. It asks about the balance and synergy between our ability to change our individual behaviour, and government’s power to change what is beyond our personal control. It asks about the balance between individual freedom of choice, and government’s responsibilities to curb that freedom.

In our reading from John this week Jesus is angry. He was doing all he could through his personal ministry to change individual and public understanding of what the love of God really means, and why it is so important for individuals and for society as a whole. But the Temple management who held power and influence at the heart of religious and civil life, didn’t get it. And one day Jesus had enough and staged a demo.

There is no suggestion in the gospels that Jesus injured anyone (except for their pride perhaps) but in some sense Jesus clearly broke the rules to make his point. Jesus took a risk (and according to Mark and Matthew he left Jerusalem afterwards, I imagine to avoid further trouble). Our reading presents us with the simple question - if our Christian faith requires us to protest, to make a fuss and not take no for an answer for an important cause, would we? Over the years, many have said “yes” for many causes. Tragically, some have died as a result. And we all appreciate our answer might be more difficult if we were living in Myanmar, for example, rather than in Britain, and for that we are all profoundly thankful.

Sometimes making a stand for Christ is a very simple thing. I remember a friend at school who over heard a teacher say quite loudly “Oh my God! Whatever now!” My friend, a smart talented guy but who was normally pretty quiet, turned to the teacher and said, quite audibly and firmly, “Sir, do not take the Lord’s name in vain!” “Sir” muttered some excuse but retreated. All of us watching were in no doubt who had scored the point. And as someone mentioned in our Lent group meeting on Monday, if Luther hadn’t made a stand and nailed his complaints about the church to a church door, where would our church be now?

Every blessing


         Vaccines - get one-give one
Like many of you, I have, along with Bishop's Richard and Michael, been vaccinated. I urge you to share two messages in your congregations and communities:
when you are offered a vaccination take it!
as 'none are safe until all are safe,' consider giving a donation in thankfulness for our own vaccinations  so that either vaccines can be purchased for countries that need then or to support people living in communities that have been severely affected by the pandemic.
Those who wish to give can do so to:
The COVAX fund which is buying and delivering vaccines to countries around the world – you may have seen their first work taking place this week in Ghana. COVAX is being generously supported by the UK Government but individuals can contribute too

Notices News from our church schools

 We're looking forward to welcoming all the children back to school next week and have been getting our classrooms ready for them. Everyone's been enjoying the lighter days and better weather, getting outside to learn where possible. We celebrated World Book Day on Thursday, dressing up as our favourite book characters and doing lots of lovely book-related activities. Father Joe and Mrs Crozier talked about making wise decisions in collective worships on Monday and Wednesday, further exploring the value of Justice.  

 This week, our whole school worships have been led by Mrs Cutler and Father Joe.  We have been reflecting on making wise choices.  Deciding the right thing to do can be difficult. Sometimes life is complicated and there can be two sides to an argument: that is when we need ‘wisdom.’
Deciding the right thing to do may take time; we need to learn all that we can about a situation and think carefully about a wise solution.  We also reflected on the qualities needed to make a wise decision: empathy, keeping a cool head; not taking sides or jumping to conclusions; allowing everyone to have their say and asking the right questions.
This week, we celebrated World Book Day by dressing up as a story book character, by listening to authors reading their books aloud and completing a World Book Day quiz.  The staff produced a video, ‘The Masked Reader’. They read aloud from their favourite book and the children had to guess who was behind the mask.

Church notices

World Day of Prayer 2021 - Vanuatu 
An online service led by Christians across the Berkhamsted area with songs, stories, prayers and reflections prepared by the Christian women of Vanuatu

Lent Courses have started, but it's not too late to join:
On Monday afternoons at 2.30pm, there will be an opportunity to join in this year’s  York Course for Lent, ‘Caring for Creation.’ The course is an opportunity to learn more about the realities of climate change and the damage being done to God’s Creation. The course seeks to end with a message of hope, which whilst taking seriously the enormity of the challenge we face, helps us to recognise the changes we can make and the difference we can make. As some of you will know, St Peter’s Church Council agreed recently to start exploring the possibility of becoming an Eco Church, and so this is an excellent time for us to be reflecting prayerfully on these issues.  If you'd like to know more, or to sign up please contact Richard Hackworth
You can find out more about the York Course here:   
You can find out more about Eco Church here:
On Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm, there will be a course on the theme, ‘Faith in the face of a global pandemic.’ During the course of Lent this year, we will reach the first anniversary of the UK going into a lockdown, and as you’ll be aware, this week saw us pass the figure of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in this country. Over the past twelve months we’ve found ourselves repeatedly having to react to difficult and frequently changing circumstances, but there has been very little time and space to stop and reflect.  It seems to me that this might be the right moment for such reflection, and so this course will aim to offer us all an opportunity to reflect in faith on what we have experienced, how we have been changed, and what we might have learnt.   If you'd like to know more, or to sign up please contact Fr Stuart 

Stations of the Cross – Lent 2021  Please join together on Facebook Live (either the Holy Trinity page or the Berkhamsted Team page) or by visiting ( on Wednesdays at 7pm as we journey through the Stations of the Cross. Each week we will visit three stations, hear from scripture and have time to reflect on an image accompanied by original music specially composed by Daniel King Smith and Andy Smith. The services will last approximately half an hour and should be available to view afterwards to watch in your own time. If you don’t have access to view online, then you are welcome to join us in person at Holy Trinity. Please try and contact Fr. Joe ( if you would like to attend. Let us all have a holy Lent and take time to pray on the immense sacrifice of Christ’s redemptive act on the cross.

Rosary Fr Stuart will be praying the rosary in the Lady Chapel at midday during Lent.  If you would like to join him or are interested to know more please contact him (email or telephone 879739)

Pandemic Week of Prayer Tuesday 23rd March marks the first anniversary of Prime Minister Johnson announcing that the country would be going into a time of 'lockdown', in an attempt to counter the spread of the Coronavirus. The past year has been a strange and difficult one for all of us, and it will have affected us all in different ways.

In the hope of giving people space to respond in faith to what we have been through, and are continuing to go through, we will be keeping a week of prayer at St Peter's, from Sunday 21st to Saturday 27th March, and the church will be open from 9am to 6.30pm daily.  
It will be a time for us to pray for those who have suffered as a consequence of the pandemic, and also a time of thanksgiving for those who have been our key workers: staff on intensive care wards, staff who kept the shelves of our supermarkets stocked, teachers, people who kept the trains and buses running, and countless more.

I'm sure that we will all have particular people for whose service we wish to give thanks to God. Our 8.30am Eucharist on Wednesday 24th will be offered in thanksgiving for the service of those key workers, and if there are any people whom you would like prayed for by name on that occasion, please contact Fr Stuart or the Parish Office with their names.

All bereavements over this past twelve months have been especially painful, with people unable to say goodbye to loved ones in the way that they would have wanted to, and with so many of our usual sources of support in such times of loss no longer available to us. On Tuesday 23rd March at 7.30pm, there will be a Requiem Eucharist offered at St Peter's for all those who have died in the past twelve months. Again, please do contact Fr Stuart or the Parish Office if there is anyone you would like to have prayed for by name.
I hope that you will join me in making this week a time of mourning for what has been lost, and yet also of thanksgiving for all that has been given over this past year.

PCC Update
The first PCC of the year was held last week. The minutes will be available on the St Peter’s website in due course but here are a few updates which you might find interesting:
  The south transept roof has been replastered and will be painted soon. We are awaiting final quotes for replacing the Court House toilets. We hope to undertake work later this year. A shortlist of charities we’d like to support as a church in 2021 will be circulated soon so you can vote on your favourite. We are investigating professional video streaming so we can keep broadcasting services virtually after the pandemic is over. We are working towards securing our Bronze eco church accreditation. More details soon. A new roof alarm has been fitted to the church. Finances are a little down from where we’d like them. Please do consider joining our planned giving scheme or use the tap to donate card machine following a visit to St Peter’s. We continue to comply with all Church of England Safeguarding procedures. If you are interested in knowing more, contact Hilary Elliott.  
800th Birthday Update Thank you to everyone who contributed to the consultation on the churchyard. We are drawing up plans for some simple work to improve the planting and ensure the space is more accessible to all in the community by the inclusion of easier access and a new path. If you have any ideas for events you’d like to run during our 800th year in 2022, please email
MOTHERS’ UNION’S Make A Mother’s Day gives the opportunity to purchase a “virtual gift” for Mothering Sunday. “Gifts of Togetherness” will empower other women to gain confidence and give opportunities to fulfil their potential.
Details of the virtual gifts, how to donate and receive a card of appreciation can be found online at  or by phoning MU on 020 7222 5533
Also please contact me if you have any queries: Margaret Burbidge on 01442 862139, or at

People Not Borders are launching March Marathon Month as a way to raise money.  The idea is people, adults and children, can run a marathon during the month of March, whether they do it in a day, a week or across the whole month.

Notices for the Parish Email Bulletin
Please send your notices copy-ready & rota swaps by 2pm Wednesday.
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Sunday morning services are normally videostreamed live on the St Peter's Facebook page and on the Parish website.

✚ View the Worship Calendar

COVID-19: In the current pandemic situation, we must ask everyone who wishes to attend worship at St Peter's to book your space in advance:

✚ Book your seats online

♡ COVID-19 information

Readings Old Testament:  Exodus 20:1-17 

Then God spoke all these words: 

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. 

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 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, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. 

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 

You shall not murder. 

You shall not commit adultery. 

You shall not steal. 

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. 

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. 

Gospel    John 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


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

Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo


Sick & Bereaved

  Long term Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Len Bennett, Lorna Sargaison, Alex Evans, Alice Jullien, Keith Dawson, Bill Stead
and immediate: Nigel Halsby, Jeanette Hopkins, Marion Crawley


  Eric Ward


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Dates for your diary

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

📅 View the Parish Calendar

Contact us
Fr Stuart Owen

01442 879739
(day off Saturday)

Parish Office
Hilary Armstrong
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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Parish Office

 01442 878227