November 2017 letter to the Parish …



… from  John Barnard on remembering

My birthday falls in August and this year I reached one of those landmark birthdays that ends with a zero.  My family marked this occasion by giving  me the gift of a trip to Berlin with flights and accommodation for four nights.  I have wanted to visit Berlin for some time and so I was extremely pleased to receive this.  My wife, Linda, and I got up very early to catch the flight and by 9am local time we were there, ready to see the sights.  The Brandenburg Gate; The Reichstag; Checkpoint Charlie etc.  Places that I have read about, seen featured in news items and in films.  Most of Berlin was destroyed in 1944/5 and has been rebuilt but there are a few buildings that have been left as reminders of the suffering of the people.

In November we turn our attention to remembrance when we think of our loved ones who are no longer with us at our All Souls Services on 4that St Luke’s and 5th at St Etheldreda’s.  Then, later in the month we turn our attention to remembering those in our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

A few years ago I was handed the privilege of preaching at the service after the memorial parade at the cenotaph and there I focused on civilian population that suffered the effects of war as well as those in the forces.  I had two aunts  who never married because most of the men of their age groups were killed in WWI.  Not for them the pleasures of married life or of family.  They led unhappy lives caused by conflict and I am sure there were many similarly affected.

During our trip to Berlin we were able to see how the civilian population suffered right through the twentieth century. The way landowners treated their workers in the early 1900’s.  Then, like here, the effects of WW1.  In the 1930’s raging inflation making ordinary life uncertain and precarious. The treatment of the Romany and Jewish populations.  WWII, and then, austerity during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.  Just as conditions improved, up went ‘The Wall’.  Loved ones being forcibly separated from each other and the conditions  imposed on the Eastern side.

I think it is important that we remember these events that happened not so very long ago and in some areas of the world are still going on and that we appreciate that people of both sides suffer.  I also think that when we consider current issues and problems we remember our Christian values.  Honesty, forgiveness etc., but above all how Jesus told us to live.  Two commandments he gave us; love God and love one another.  Sounds simple but so difficult to achieve.  Let’s keep trying.

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.

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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.