During this time when we are unable to meet together as usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are exploring alternative ways to share fellowship. This is the outline of a service to share in together at our computers (or phones, tablets etc.), starting at 10:30am on Sunday morning 22nd March 2020, but you are also welcome to use it at other times. We suggest working your way down the page, reading out the prayers and playing the videos, singing along with the songs and following other directions given below. As this is our first attempt there may be some teething troubles so please be patient; after the service, constructive feedback would be welcome.
Welcome to Penrallt, to the new, "improved" Penrallt this lovely Sunday morning or Friday night or whenever you (and we) have managed to get the technology working. A special thanks to Wendy and Magnus and the technical team for arranging this service. Everything went smoothly, eventually, when they tested it in the dry run but when everyone tries to sign on to our website at the same time! Well we will have to wait and see.
We will improve week by week as we move to an online church and give up meeting together physically in one place. Usually half the Penrallt congregation arrives at 10:45 for the 10:30 service so I do no not expect us all to be together and in sync but we are together in the Lord.
Jesus said that where two or three are gathered together in his name he is with us and even though we are not together in one place we can rejoice in the fact that we are joined to the true vine and that God is with us and will never leave us.
We come to praise God. Psalms 95 and 96 tell us to Sing to the Lord. If, like me, you cannot sing then sing in your heart and rejoice with those who rejoice as we listen to the songs this morning. And do share with one another. Bear each other's burdens. You will hear of new ways to do that but if it does not work why not revert to the old adage "Phone a friend". For those of us who have been confined to barracks for several weeks but for no particular misdemeanour the voice of a fellow Christian brings renewed joy.
As an old Latin grace says, Benedictus benedicat per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. — May he who is blessed, bless.
You can be a blessing too.
And now, let us join together in praising God.
We gather together to worship
our loving, nurturing God,
who, like a mother,
knows us intimately,
loves us unconditionally,
teaches us the way we should go,
and comforts us in times of need.
the Source and Sustainer of life!
After you have played the game, you may want to check your answers against this list (we trust you not to cheat!)
In case you are unable to view the video, or would prefer to listen to or read the talk, here are alternative versions along with a set of slides to accompany the talk:
Here are links to the colouring sheets and posters that Wendy mentions in her talk:
Bless every mother and every grandmother with the finest of your spiritual blessings today. Confirm in her heart and spirit the work of her hands and the love that she has so freely given to those children under Your care. Validate her worth daily so she has no reason to doubt whether she is loved, valued, and cherished in the eyes of her Heavenly Father.
Create in her a deep sense of your protection and trust, so that worry and fear will disappear as she places her loved ones into Your care. Let her know that every prayer she has prayed and every encouraging word she has spoken on behalf of her children/grandchildren has been transformed into sweet, fragrant offerings before Your throne.
Whisper deep within her spirit the sweet words she longs to hear from You — that nothing can ever separate her from Your love. Help her to nestle daily into the promises of Your Word, standing with faith on the things You declare are true. Let her know that You reward faithfulness, but that true success doesn't lie in her accomplishments or accolades. Let her rest in the knowledge that she has done all she can, and that she and those she loves truly belong to you. Bless her with a servant spirit so she can teach her own the joy of hearing one day.
Remove any guilt, false or real, and replace them with Your amazing grace and forgiveness. Help her see her children or grandchildren through Your eyes, knowing that in Your hands is the safest place they can ever be. Calm every doubt, and strengthen her confidence in the Only One who can bring good out of any situation.
Teach her that she cannot meet every need of her child's life, but that You can. Give her wisdom and guidance to train those precious children in Your path, and then to leave the results to You, Lord. Help her to love without limitations, to pray without ceasing, and to live without regrets. Bless her with such a sweet dependency on You that she will acknowledge her inadequacies, yet recognize and accept Your reward of praise — and Your sense of pleasure in having her as Your own beloved child.
Where prayers may still seem unanswered, and dreams are not yet realized, open her eyes to see beyond this world to a Hope that never disappoints, and to a Father who will never leave or abandon her. Give her courage to persevere even in the most difficult moments of her life. Bless her with honesty, integrity, and a playfulness that shows her children she is human, yet unswerving in her desire know You.
Let her joy be contagious; let her passion be pure; and let her life overflow with all the blessings she deserves — on special days, and on every day of her life.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
In future we weeks we hope to be able to provide a chatroom for a post-service chat over tea or coffee (you will need to make your own drinks!) but this has not been possible to arrange for this week. Why not phone some other members of the congregation, or contact them using your preferred communications technology, to see how they are doing and discuss what you have learned in the service?
As a special bonus feature, especially for Owen (but everyone else is welcome to watch too), here is a video of Magnus, the church administrator, playing a little tune called Baptist Shout:
Today has been declared a National Day of Prayer and Action by Cytun (Churches Together In Wales) as well as the sister organisations in England and Scotland. As part of this the Baptist Union of Great Britain will be holding a live prayer broadcast this evening at 7pm. A link to join can be found on this page (on the BaptistsTogether website). We are also encouraged to light a candle if possible, and place it in a window (well away from curtains and other flammable objects!) as we join together in praying.
The necessity of holding online services has come upon us very suddenly and we are still figuring out what to do. You can help by providing us with constructive feedback. Let us know (by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) what has worked well and what could be improved, preferably with practical suggestions for how.