If God is for us, who is against us?
Romans 8:31
 

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 

 

FAITH HOPE LOVE
As the King James translation has it “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
I was reflecting on how modern translations use the word ‘love’ not ‘charity’ and thought that the older word still has something to tell us, of which more below. The underlying greek word is agape (ἀγάπη) which, so my references tell me, the King James translates as “love” 86 times, “charity” 27 times, “dear” once, and other English words reflecting the context.
However it is translated we recognise the importance of love to our
faith. We know it as a foundation stone of how we should live; when
love is absent we cannot be the people God meant us to be. When
love is present the world is a better place regardless of the
circumstances in which we live.
The New Testament expounds the meaning of agapē with enormous
care. It is a love which reaches beyond family, friendship and nation.
It embraces the undeserving and the unresponsive. And it does not
look for returns.
Agapē, as Godlike love, stands in total contrast to pagan ideas of love
in a fallen world. This love is not manipulative, self-centred,
concerned with self-interest, self-gratification or self-protection;
agapē is completely unselfish. It is based neither on a felt need in the
loving person nor on a desire called forth by some attractive
feature(s) in the one loved; it is not afraid to make itself vulnerable,
and it does not seek to get its own way by covert ruses and
psychological ‘games’. It rather proceeds from a desire to bless the
other person and to seek their highest good.
Its keynote is not merely emotion, but devotion, shown in commitment
and measured by self-giving, practical action and sacrifice. By such
love, the most essential and abiding quality in human life, Christians
are to be recognised.
Let me become more personal. I have been acutely aware of love
expressed. As I write my wife Alison is in the early days of recovery
after an emergency appendectomy necessitated by a burst appendix.
I have had happier weeks. The support from people at church is real
and appreciated. Prayers cannot be seen but they can be felt. Thank
you. (And my Dad gets no better, rather the opposite.)
Last month I used the headline “Stop the world I want to get off”. I
almost wondered whether I should reuse the same headline albeit in
bigger, bolder, blacker colour. It is perhaps at this point that I
recognise afresh that love does not stand alone; faith and hope are
also gifts of God.
At the start of the year the words in our Covenant service call us to
a life of discipleship in which we acknowledge the sovereignty of God
in all things. Regardless of circumstances.
Which brings me back to the word ‘charity’. When we think about
charity we recognise that we choose to give our support. Yes, there
may well be emotional strings pulled but in the end we decide to give;
it is as though our heart concurs with our mind. Whereas so much of
the language around love in our world concentrates on the heart and
puts the mind in very much second place. We should realise that
agape love is how God chooses to love us; this is not frothy romantic
love; it is a love stronger than death. As disciples we too choose to
love letting it guide all that we are. Which includes our financial
support. I am a strong believer in regular giving – bank standing
orders or the envelope scheme can be great helps. We choose to give
first and then live on the rest, giving regularly and consistently.
As the year started we had the news of Rita Muff’s death; part of her legacy is the faith in which she lived, the hope she carried and the love she expressed throughout her life. With my love and prayers for all here.


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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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