Category Archives: General

Believer’s Baptism

Baptism

As a Church, we stress the importance of arriving at a personal faith in Christ Jesus as Saviour from sin and Lord of the life of each individual believer.
We then expect the believer to follow the example of Jesus by being baptised, and at the same time, or soon afterwards, to receive God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in an unmistakable manner.

Although the liberal use of water suggests that baptism is a ceremonial washing, indicating an inner cleansing, Scripture emphasises the act as being buried with or into Christ and rising with Him to a new life (Romans ch.6,v4 and Colossians ch.2, v12). It is also “the pledge of a good conscience towards God.” (1 Peter ch.3, v21).

Finding God’s Will

Coral Being Baptised
Coral: For a long time I believed that I was baptised. I had been Christened as a baby in the Church of England, by sprinkling, and did not know much about it. I was taken to Sunday School from about the age of three, and later was Confirmed when the Bishop came and laid hands on us. For some time I attended a Baptist Church and saw my first Baptism by immersion, but told myself – I have already been baptised.

A second problem was that I had also received the Holy Spirit, as described by Peter in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verse 39. “Repent and be baptised…in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” With many other people,I had gone forward at a meeting in Scarborough, where hands were laid on me and I felt a pleasant, vibrating power beginning at the crown of my head and going right through me. I was told to have faith that I had received the Holy Spirit and that He would bless many others through me. Did not this indicate that God had accepted my infant baptism?

Looking again at Acts, this time at ch10 v34-48, “The Holy Spirit came upon all who heard the message (v44), and the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. That was the next hang-up blown away, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit could happen in any order.

I had no memory of my baptism as a baby, I may even have slept through it. I kept looking in the Scriptures to help me make the right decisions, and found in Acts ch19. v1-6, Paul at Ephesus asks some disciples whether they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed. The surprising reply was that they had not even heard of the Holy Spirit when they had been baptised by John the Baptist.

Paul told them; “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. John told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus. On hearing this they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”

Reading through the Scriptures, the disciples are very insistent that turning away from our old way of life (repentance) followed by baptism in water and receiving God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, all belong together.

My final hang-up was waiting to feel happy about it. Since we came to this church in 1994, I have been faced with Believer’s baptism and dreaded the embarrassment of the public ceremony. Then someone in the church one day described how he had also dreaded his baptism, so I accepted that I must be baptised, and now I feel happy about it! In fact, (looking into the pool), it looks quite inviting. I am here today because I want to please God and do His Will and that’s all that matters really, isn’t it? So here goes!

Knowing Christ Better

Betty Being Baptised
Betty: Thank you everyone for coming to this special occasion today; it is a great honour for me to have you all present as witnesses.

I am told that I was Christened originally in Salisbury cathedral when I was a baby, but I remember nothing about that. Since coming to this church regularly, however, I have got to know Jesus better, and had begun to think, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be baptised in our church – it’s my church as well – and feel that I was really part of this lovely Fellowship.

So that is how I came to decide to be baptised this morning. I hope all of you can relate to this brief account. When you are young you think nothing about faith in God, but as you get to know Christ better, you become more friendly and receptive of all that believing in Him involves, and feel more able to take this step which I am taking today.

Thank you again for being here with me.

Baptistry Steps

Foot-Note

For a long time we have had problems getting in and out of our baptismal pool because there were no permanent steps. The day before this baptism, with an infirm candidate, we were led to a set of swimming pool steps languishing in a barn, which when cleaned, fitted the purpose beautifully..
Praise the Lord !

Joyce Arnold

Joyce Arnold

20th May 1928 – 6th July 2009

Remembering my Dear, Kind, Gentle Joyce.

‘To know her was to love her’
final tribute by her husband Harry

A eulogy delivered at her funeral on 17th July by Jem Sewell

Joyce ArnoldAs we gather to give thanks for the life of Joyce, a life that was both full and varied, a life that touched many people, I want to take this opportunity to tell you just some of the details of the 81 years.

Joyce was born in Portsmouth where her father was based in the Royal Navy. She was the middle child with an older brother Des and sister Pauline. Her early life involved several moves of both home and schools starting in Brighton where her father had a smallholding and then the Upper Dicker, Victoria Road Herstmonceux and then to Grove Hill to another smallholding while attending schools in Herstmonceux and Hailsham. Due to the war Joyce left school at 14 and started working for Mr Ade at Grove Hill Farm alongside Steve Bovis where she quickly learnt to drive tractors and handle machinery exceeding the work done by the men!

When Joyce was 19 she married Bernard Ford and they settled at Nearby in Cinderford Lane, a small bungalow with no mains water or electricity. They started a contracting business and worked together ploughing fields, making hay and cutting corn on local farms. Anne was born and often spent many days of her early years travelling with them as they moved from farm to farm, reputedly content to be contained in the baler box and looked after by their dog! ( Those were the days!)

Joyce was a homemaker, gardener, decorater, and with help enjoyed breaking in her own horse as well as rearing chickens from day old to point of lay. In 1958 they moved to Lime End Farm, Herstmonceux and farming took over from contracting. By this time Joyce had had their second child John so there was less work for her on the farm.

However, as well as running the farmhouse and garden, Joyce also bred and traded several horses and ponies, and regularly attended the local hunt and gymkhanas with Anne. She was an excellent cook with many people enjoying hospitality at Lime End and some stayed for extensive periods of time. Steve Bovis was one of these (he had been their best man) and on one occasion a steel girder fell off a trailer injuring his leg. Joyce went out and lifted it off and when later Steve tried to move it he couldn’t! For this he gave her a gold Rolex watch.

A third child Alan was born but Joyce continued to care for others including her parents up until their deaths and her brother Des who stayed with them at the farm prior to being in a home in Hailsham. She was industrious breeding canaries, budgies, finches becoming a member of Hailsham Bird Club as well as rearing Siamese cats.

The operation of agricultural machinery gave way to domestic machines and her sewing machine and knitting machine produced many fine garments which were often given as birthday and Christmas presents. True to the “female” claim she was a real multi-tasker cooking lunch, having a conversation whilst the radio or TV were on and if you suggested turning them off she indignantly replied that she was listening or watching!

Joyce ArnoldBernards untimely death in 1992 brought about great changes in her life and she subsequently looked for other opportunities to meet people and soon put her energies into Bowls at the Hailsham Bowls Club. Here she met Harry and he encouraged in areas of Art and Dance. Again Joyce quickly became skilled at both winning Ladies Pairs trophy at Bowls, achieving high standard in Line and Wash watercolour and with Harry achieved the Gold Medal standard at both ballroom and Latin American dancing winning a Rumba competition. Their friendship deepened to love and they were married at Boship Farm Hotel which had farming family connections and afterwards moved to “Foxes Corner” at Stone Cross.

The next fourteen years Harry describes as “sweetheart”years, – no work, no children to rear and no money worries yet still close to Joyces family. This was sadly curtailed by the diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. Harry became her carer with increasing dependence – as a family we feel he did a superb job. She died at home with Harry attending her.

Joyce as I knew her was not a church goer. She cared for people was very good looking, kept herself well and worked hard at all she did. Her faith was not evident but in conversations with Anne it was clear that she had a strong faith in God. As evangelist Angus Buchan when quoting the Bible says “Good people don’t go to heaven – Believers go to heaven.”

Joyce died a believer so she is not here. She is at peace with Him in heaven.

Hospitality and Hospital

Our once-a-year opportunity to take the Gospel of Jesus to the patients and staff of the District General Hospital, Eastbourne, came around on Sunday 12th July this year. In his welcome, Chaplain Geoffrey Cook reminded us that as well as those present in the Chapel, others would be listening on the hospital radio.

Hospital Service“Come Holy Spirit and meet the needs of each one listening tonight,”
prayed Pastor Jim Beveridge before the broadcast began, then we launched into

Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here…the glory of the Lord is shining all around…the power of the Lord is moving in this place, followed, very appropriately for many in that place by, “Father, I place into Your hands the things I cannot do…the things that I’ve been through…the things that trouble me…”with its repetition, “For I know I always can trust You” Amazing Grace followed, the third verse especially poignant:

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

At that point Pastor Jim suggested a pause for each of us to wait on the Lord, before Jim McDonnell read Psalm 121, which begins:
I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
“I lift my eyes to the hills, commented Pastor Jim. “What better place on such a lovely Summer day as this to find the Creator, the One who touched us in our mother’s womb to make each one of us unique, as our distinctive fingerprints testify.”

We sang Come to my heart, O Thou wonderful love, Come and abide,
and How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear, it soothes his sorrow,heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.

Hospital ServiceThen the Message, the Hospitality of the Risen Jesus, set out in the Gospel of John chapter 21, beginning at verse 7. Not knowing what to do after the death of Jesus, the disciples have gone back to doing what they did best – fishing, but had caught nothing. A mystery figure on the shore calls “Friends, have you caught anything ? Throw the net on the right side and you will find some.” They make a large catch.

Peter recognises that this is the Risen Jesus and jumps into the water – impatient to be with Him. Jesus is already preparing a meal of fish and bread on the beach for the disciples. For us this might be the equivalent of fish and chips or even a barbecue. A shared meal produces a warm, human reaction; we feel valued and welcomed.

Jesus then moves to Hospital mode – Peter needs healing after his three denials of Christ; three loads of guilt; three bad memories. Three times Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love Me ?” and each time he replies “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus affirms each reply with the command, “Feed My lambs,” or “Feed My Sheep.” Three denials needed three hospital visits.

“For those in hospital today, be hospitable towards those who are tending you,” recommended Pastor Jim. “Then your hospitable actions will affirm them in their vocations, and energise their efforts for you. What better than to be hospitable in hospital; this is what Jesus did – who needs a better example ?”

Ralph played the piano as Pastor Jim led us in a prayer, calling down a blessing on doctors, nurses, dispensers, administrators, cleaners, workers in the laboratory and finance, finishing with “and all you patients.” We took up the music and sang “Jesus, Jesus, Your Name is like honey on my lips, Your Spirit like water to my soul, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet; Jesus, I love You, I love You.”

By now our half-hour must have finished, but we sang on: There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son, and “ What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! Then it was time to push the wheelchairs back to the wards. Let us remember to support our local hospitals in prayer regularly, and not wait for another year to pass

HYMNS QUOTED ARE USED UNDER LICENCE.

June Squeeze

Shadows on a wall

There was a lot of laughter coming from one corner of the Village Hall at the Squeeze Breakfast Club on 6th June. Volunteers were being silhouetted by a projector lamp onto white paper. Each victim then cut round his or her shadow, mounted it on black paper, and wrote five clues to their identity. Silhouettes and clues were then collected for future use, no doubt with more peals of laughter. Banner-making continued from the June Club meeting, with a couple of Mums enjoying a good chat as they stitched. But the handicraft which attracted the most attention was decorating large shells and pebbles.

Melting your heart of stone

Pastor Jim Beveridge seized on the pebbles as an illustration for his three-pronged Topical Talk. First he took a piece of bread in one hand and a rough stone in the other, and reminded us of the Devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness, and Our Lord’s reply that man does not live by bread/food alone “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Luke ch4,v4), underlining the immense love God has for each one of us as individuals.
But before we accept God’s gift of His love, we are like rough stones. If we try to skim a rough stone across the sea, as soon as the uneven surface strikes the water, it will sink; just as we do when we struggle against the trials of life in our own strength, said Jim. But God the Father, who loves us just as we are, will pour the protection of His smoothing love over us when we let Him into our lives. Then we shall be more able to skim across life’s problems, rather then sink under them, and overflow with blessing to others. Better still, God “will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel ch36 v26). Realising that a heart of flesh might frighten the children, Pastor Jim demonstrated this softening by producing a bag of marshmallows, and later handed them round.
When Susan Boyle presented herself before the judges of “Britain’s
Got Talent she did not look like a star. But when she sang “I dreamed a dream…” from the heart, she melted hearts. God wants us to share His dream for us, said Pastor Jim as he led us in a prayer, asking for forgiveness, and for Jesus to come into the heart of each life.

Questions with no answer

David’s contribution included a collection of unanswerable questions:

  • Why does the sun lighten our hair but darken our skin?
  • Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouths closed?
  • Why do you never see the headline “Psychic wins lottery.”?
  • Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Squeeze Breakfast Club is held in the Village Hall on the first Sunday in each month from 10am. until 12.00. All ages are welcome, whole families from grand- parents to babes in arms, and those who are on their own. Breakfast is provided from 10am. The next dates are: July 5th, August.2nd and September 6th. The morning closes at 12 noon.

May Squeeze – The Invisible Barrier

It’s Spring, and time to sort out all the items stored over winter in the greenhouse. Throw this, scrub that, wait – five robin chicks in a moss-lined flowerpot. Stand back and let the parents get on with it. The babies get bigger, their mouths get wider, and soon it is time to leave the nest. Mum and Dad get through the break in the glass, with four of the young ones. But the biggest cannot make it and in the struggle falls, wedged between bits and pieces with its open mouth against the glass.

Seeing Mother trying to feed it through the glass, Free Church Pastor Jim Beveridge, whose greenhouse it is, throws a towel over the trapped chick and carries it to the middle of the lawn where frantic Mother quickly catches up on missed feeds and, more importantly, takes it to a similarly coloured log where it blends in nicely.

There are many people with an invisible barrier between their needs and the provision of those needs, said Pastor Jim at the Squeeze Breakfast Club on 3rd May But Jesus broke all barriers between us and God through His sinless life, His undeserved death, and his miraculous rising to life again. Ask Jesus to smash your wall that prevents you reaching out to God, Pastor Jim advised. To emphasise this, he took a hammer and noisily smashed a pane of glass, (safely wrapped in a plastic bag).

David’s round-up of the strange things that people do, included the man who ran out of petrol on a cold night and lit a fire inside the car. He later told firemen that he put the fire out when the smoke made him dizzy!

It must have been the sight of all those colourful scraps of fabric that drew the Mums to the banner-making table, where they cut and snippd, sewed and glued to make a collage representing the declaration of Jesus “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John’s Gospel, chapter 14, verse 6). This is an ongoing project, certainly for next month’s Squeeze.. The less ambitious were delighted with the ease of producing patterns with stencils, or decorating ready-made biscuits and making lemon-flavoured sweets.

More than three-quarters of the world’s hungry live in rural Africa, according to the UK Food Group. A picture presentation on their behalf during the Breakfast Club focused on two examples; smallholders in Ghana, growing and processing tomatoes, and small milk producers in Zambia, who sell their produce locally. Their livelihoods are under threat from the increase in Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union, opening 80% of their markets to subsidised imports. Question your Euro MP’s attitude when he or she calls for your vote, advises Laurence.