For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8
 

UPCOMING EVENTS:


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Welcome to Christchurch Abbeydale

We offer a warm welcome to all.  Christchurch is an ecumenical church which embraces four Christian denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, worshipping together as one congregation.  Whether you already belong to one of these denominations or not you are most welcome. 


We welcome children of all ages. A crèche is available for pre-school children. There is Junior Church for children aged 5 to 11 and ‘The Core’ for children aged 11 years +. Children stay with us for the first part of the service and then go with the youth leader to take part in planned activities 

 

Healing
The content this month springs from a conversation within a recent Wednesday 6pm communion service.
There was a request to hold a service of healing – something I fully support – whilst recognising that this is not something to be introduced without prior warning.
It can be as simple as a time of prayer with, optionally, hands gently laid on arms or shoulders; there can be anointing with oil. In all this we recognise that we act as a community of faith, praying for one another.
Jesus' teaching stressed the importance of community. We are to live in fellowship and to love and value one another and our neighbour. In his ministry we see Jesus incorporating the outcast and marginalized. Healing meant acceptance back into society for lepers and others who were healed. Sometimes they were told to return to the fellowship of their
extended family, or restoration could entail community action as with Zacchaeus. All this has implications for the church's ministry. It is to be a healing community where shalom is to be evident.
We express this healing community in services, and articulate in it the liturgy, as well as in the social life of the local church. Praise and worship of God puts things into God's perspective. Confession and assurance of God's forgiveness brings a new start. Sharing the peace expresses the acceptance and reconciliation that we have with one another in Christ. We welcome those who come to new life in baptism. We share in the eucharistic feast. We minister to one another in song, music, intercession, practical tasks, preaching, teaching and testimony, as well as in prayer ministry.
The ministry of wholeness and healing should stem from and lead into this healing community, the Body of Christ.
When we lay hands on another in prayer it is not an incantation but a simple recognition that the instinct to pray for someone is strengthened by laying one hand or both on the other person. We do this today identifying with the one to whom our hearts go out, one whose needs we appreciate and long that God should meet, one whose vulnerability moves our compassion and love. It most naturally accompanies direct prayer for an individual.
It has been formalized and made the centrepiece of specific Christian ordinances, notably confirmation and ordination, both of them a laying on of hands with prayer. But its use in a healing ministry lies far back in Christian instincts, and has surfaced well at a time when
mutual touch, such as in the greeting of Peace, has become normal within the life of the church.
It is apparent in Scripture that the physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of human beings is closely interconnected. Christ’s work of reconciliation extends beyond the purely personal and relational to the social order and the whole creation (cf Colossians 1.15-
27). The Gospels use the term ‘healing’ both for physical healing and for the broader salvation that Jesus brings. A common New Testament term for sickness is ‘weakness’ (asthenia) (Luke 5.15; 13.11,12; John 5.5); it carries broad associations of powerlessness and vulnerability, including human vulnerability in the face of the dominion of sin and death (Romans 5.6; 8.3). As Christians face weakness, they receive God’s grace, expressed sometimes in an experience of healing and sometimes through the strength that comes in the bearing of weakness (2 Corinthians 12.9).
Acts of healing in the Gospels are intimately related to the restoring of individuals to a place of worth within the social order (cf Mark 1.44; 5.15-20; 6.32-34; Luke 13.10-17). ‘By his wounds you have been healed’ (1 Peter 2.24) makes powerful links between human pain
and vulnerability and the saving impact of Jesus’ own suffering. The same interconnectedness is present where Scripture speaks of God’s image in us to point to the way human life is marred and threatened by the impact of evil and is restored by the new creation in Christ (Romans 3.23; 2 Corinthians 3.18; Ephesians 2.13-16).
Healing, Reconciliation and restoration are integral to the good news of Jesus Christ. For this reason prayer for individuals, focused through laying on of hands or anointing with oil, has a proper place within the public prayer of the Church. God’s gracious activity of healing is to be seen both as part of the proclaiming of the good news and as an outworking of the presence of the Spirit in the life of the Church.
I believe that the ministry of healing complements rather than replaces the work of medicine, which is also a gift of God, recognising that healing is not confined to a specific place or time. Nature, work and creativity, relationships, talking and listening are other aspects of our lives through which God offers us healing.
Prayer for healing can result in physical restoration as God acts; the lack of a ‘cure’ should not blind us to the work of the Spirit in us. It does not show a lack of faith or a failure on our part.
As we accept that healing comes through our salvation in Jesus and him alone, we are faced with a challenge. We ask: v Is my congregation a fellowship of love, showing loving concern for others that opens the door to healing? Have I a role in ministering that love?
v Is it a fellowship of worship, emphasising the reality of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, which through the ministry of word and sacrament will bring people into a healing and living encounter with Jesus? Am I able to help support the worship in a deeper way?
v Is my congregation a fellowship of reconciliation, eliminating needless social and psychological tensions that so often harm relationships and prevent healing? Are there relationships I need to put right?
It is likely one Wednesday or Sunday evening service will be used for
healing prayer: watch the diary.



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Steve Davies,

Minister of Christchurch Abbeydale




 

Welcome to all the family

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Alison, Steve and daughter Sian


 

Relocation of an earlier Christchurch Cross & Foundation Stone

The Foundation Stone was originally in the outside wall by the main entrance to the Community Centre

The Cross was kept in the small church rooms at the Community Centre and brought out into the Badminton Hall when services were held

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During ‘Work Week’ the Foundation Stone was relaid in the wall of the

back rooms at Christchurch with the Cross above

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Christchurch’s first real ‘home’ was the Community Centre and with recent alterations there the foundation stone was made available to us

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