September 2017 letter to the Parish …


… from Mary Rathbone, Reader in Training, on beating swords into plowshares

It is estimated that almost 600,000 Allied and    German soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing 100 years ago at the Battle of Passchendaele.  Hatfield suffered many losses, in over three months of fighting, during what has been described as one of the most horrific battles of WW1.

Overall throughout WW1 and WW2 there was an unprecedented loss of life, the longer-term effects of which altered and scarred the course of many families for generations to come.

So, the United Nations (UN) was established shortly after the end of WW2.  One of its main objectives was to maintain international peace and security.  It now has 193 member states.  Today the UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful inter-governmental organisation in the world.

Interestingly, the UN has a wall outside   its New York head office with an inscription taken from the Book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament.  It is about a vision the Prophet Isaiah had of everlasting peace in God’s Kingdom, in which he says:

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor  will they learn war anymore.  Isaiah

The UN was also gifted a sculpture in 1959 by the, then, Soviet Union.  Created by the Soviet artist Evgeniy Vuchetich, it is called ‘Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares’.  The bronze statue is symbolic of the prophet Isaiah’s vision of world peace, in which men would beat their war weapons into agricultural tools in God’s new world.

It is marvellous that the vision of hope and peace described in Isaiah’s prophecy, nearly three thousand years ago, should inspire people and organisations today.  Many of whom might not even be aware of its biblical origins.  Jesus said, ‘blessed are the peace-makers’ and we pray     continually, at St Etheldreda’s and St Luke’s, that God’s grace will motivate, inspire and bless all who work for world peace.  But we believe that true peace flows from God and we need to allow Christ’s love and wisdom to rule in our hearts as a starting point for world peace.

We believe that by accepting Christ into our lives the Holy Spirit can begin to work within us, gently guiding us towards the pure joy and   triumph God intended for us. That, in the ultimate destination, the Kingdom of God, there will be no need for weapons of war, as there will be no war and it is there that lasting world peace will be found.  We believe this is the meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy, and also that this peace can live and be nurtured individually within each of us today.

If you would like to learn more about how Christ might bring peace into your life today, why not join us at some of our services or various events, details are on page two, or contact Fr Darren t: 01707 256638 e:

The churches of St Etheldreda and St Luke in Hatfield are steeped in English history, but they are not museums, they are meeting places for thriving Christian communities.  The congregations range from babes in arms to grandparents and we aim to cater for all needs.

If you like a quiet traditional service, then why not come to the 8am service at St Eth’s?  The 9.30am at St Eth’s is also traditional, but is accompanied by magnificent and innovative hymns and musical pieces as directed by our Director of Music.  We also have an ’all age’ service on the third Sunday of the month where we are joined for the whole service by the children of our Sunday School. 

Those that get up later on a Sunday might prefer to attend the 11.30am service at St Luke’s, a smaller, but very welcoming and friendly congregation.

Sunday school meets in our church hall at 9.20am in term time offering a small Christian lesson for the children, followed by a creative activity.  The class then join the main congregation at St Eth’s for Holy Communion.

We are a friendly all inclusive Parish and also offer a range of study classes and social events, but most importantly a very warm Christian welcome to all.

Why not sign up to our monthly magazine, Refocused, and keep in touch with what we are doing?  Email: 


A virtual tour of St Etheldreda’s Church

Travel up inside our clock tower (see above photo) through the bell ringers chamber, past our carrillon above the bell ringers, and enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the tower.  From the highest point in Hatfield you will see for miles:  east, west, south and north.  Look out for the numbers 1,2,3,4,5 in the bottom right hand side of the screen which allow you to step up to and through the various levels of the tower, side swipe at any level for 360 degree views.  You can join the tour here.