Service for Sunday 3rd January 2021

Service for Epiphany. Recorded live at St. Andrew’s, Congresbury on Sunday 3rd January.

Bible Readings for Epiphany:

Click the links that take you straight to the text (CTRL and “Left Click”) if that helps:

Isaiah 60:1-6Isaiah 60:1-6 NIVUK – The glory of Zion – ‘Arise, shine, – Bible Gateway  – a great passage of encouragement and of God’s future glory fulfilled, in part, by the coming of the Magi.

Ephesians 3:1-12 –  Ephesians 3:1-12 NIVUK – God’s marvellous plan for the – Bible Gateway – a New Testament passage also of encouragement.  Paul glimpses that not only non-Jewish people will come to God (Isaiah 60:1-6), but that the message of Jesus was always intended for the whole world, to go out way beyond the Jewish nation – and this message was, and is, life.

Matt 2:1-12Matt 2:1-12 NIVUK – The Magi visit the Messiah – After – Bible Gateway – the great passage of the Bible from which we get the Story of the Magi.

Howard preached on these passages in two short videos from home.  Please see:

Howard Talk (1) by night: (127) Howard’s First Talk – YouTube

Howard Talk (2) by day: (127) Howard’s Second Talk – YouTube

Traditional Carols:

  1. “Hark the Herald, angels sing:”
  1. “God rest, ye merry gentlemen” – Lyrics Version: (127) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Christendom College – YouTube
  2. “Good King Wenceslas:
  1. “See amid the winter’s snow” – cover version by Chet Valley Churches, Norfolk with Lyrics: (127) See, Amid the Winter’s Snow [with lyrics for congregations] – YouTube
  1. “We three Kings” – cover version also by the Chet Valley Churches, Norfolk with Lyrics: (127) We Three Kings of Orient Are [with lyrics for congregations] – YouTube
  • See also the wonderful animated version by Kirk franklin for the film “The Star” for children and young people (details below).
  1. “The first Nowell” – version by Kings College, Cambridge: (127) King’s College Cambridge 2010 #15 The First Nowell – YouTube

Traditional Hymns and Songs:

  1. “As with gladness men of old” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) As With Gladness Men Of Old – YouTube
  1. “Brightest and best new sons of the morning” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) EPIPHANY-BRIGHTEST AND BEST – YouTube
  1. “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) CHESTER CATHEDRAL-O WORSHIP THE LORD – YouTube

Contemporary Hymns and Songs:

  1. “Carol of the Epiphany” – by John Bell and the Iona Community (with Lyrics). Challenges where we will find Jesus in our lives: (127) Carol of the Epiphany – YouTube
  1. “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness” – by Tim Hughes. Lyrics version: (127) Light of the World lyric video – YouTube
  1. “Joy has dawned upon the world” – by Keith and Kirsten Getty. Cover by Boyce Seminary Worship Collective: (127) Joy Has Dawned – Boyce Worship Collective – YouTube

Children and Young People:

  1. “We three Kings” a version by Kirk Franklin as part of the film “The Star” – great animation fun: (127) Lyric Video – “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin | THE STAR – YouTube


  1. “Song of the Magi” by Anais Mitchell – contrasts the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem two thousand years ago and then also if they visited today:
  1. “The Spirit and the Bride say come” by “One for Israel” – an incredible group of young people, Arab and Israeli, who have chosen to live, worship and learn togetehr by forming a new community “Israel College of the Bible:” (127) Jewish & Arab Teen from Israel in Hebrew, Arabic & English Worship – YouTube
  1. “This Train” version by Ruby Turner and Jools Holland (part of the 2010 “New Year’s Eve” celebrations – video visual quality has been massively improved since then). Great gospel song about the energy and drive of taking the Message of Jesus out: (127) Ruby Turner – This train – YouTube


  1. “The Chosen” – Episode “The Shepherds” is the Christmas Special that started this worldwide phenomenon. “The Chosen” can be obtained for free, either via YouTube (simply type in “The Chosen” or via an App, which can be downloaded to your Smartphone or Tablet.

Its all very exciting.  Details of how to find “The Shepherds” on YouTube: (127) The Chosen: The Shepherd (Pilot Episode) – YouTube

Films and DVDs for Children and Young People:

  1. “The Star” – a wonderful; animated film which is like a fusion between the Nativity Story and character and humour of the film “Shrek.” The greatest story told from the point of view of the Donkey.  Great fun.  Available from Amazon (DVD) and to rent from Amazon Prime.

Service for Sunday 6th December – Second Sunday for Advent

Hymns, Songs, Readings and other links for Second Sunday for Advent

– Sunday 6th December

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

For John 10:1-18: John 10:1-18 NIV – The Good Shepherd and His Sheep – Bible Gateway

Set Readings for today (Second Sunday of Advent):

Isaiah 40:1-11 – One of the classic passages of Scripture so rich in imagery foretelling the coming of the Messiah and what He will be like.  He will level the mountains and raise up the valleys.  He will be like a Shepherd feeding His flock and gather the lambs in His arms.  He is the One, promised of old, who reveals God’s glory to the world and is indeed God Himself.

1Peter 3:8-15a – Peter speaks about the Second Coming and the “Coming Day of the Lord.”  He reminds the Christian community just how precious all God’s people are to God, how they will be protected while they pray and hope for the “Coming Day” when God will bring about His new heaven and a new earth “where righteousness is at home.”  What a beautiful phrase – where knowing Jesus and being in a loving relationship will not be something for “those who want to do that sort of thing,” but which will be front and centre of all that is.         

Mark 1:1-8 – Mark picks up on Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 40, read earlier, and places them in the person and life of John the Baptist.  For us as Christians, we often see John the Baptist simply as a forerunner to Jesus.  But in the work of Josephus, a first century historian and general, he records but half a side about Jesus, but a whole chapter of his work to John.  So John was a much more influential character than perhaps we maybe at first think about.  He was one, if not the leading, alterative voice to the Priesthood in Jerusalem and also to the Pharisaic way of being faithful according to works and of keeping the Torah, the Law in every greater detail to demonstrate how devoted your were and are.  John cuts through all this, faith and holiness for him are not about animal sacrifice and money as in the Temple.  It is not about keeping rules and laws, necessarily, as in the case of the Pharisees, well certainly not as the primary thing.  Faith, for John, is first and foremost about repentance and being willing to receive an ongoing and living relationship with God based on a willingness to confess our shortcomings and to be open to receive His forgiveness, His message of transforming love, and His Kingdom Spirit.  

Hymns and Songs for Second Sunday for Advent:


  1. Advent wouldn’t be Advent without the ‘classic’ “O come, O come, Emmanuel”
  2. To introduce our service a beautiful live instrumental recording by Liz Chappell and Katie Davies:
  • As per last week – a version set in the context of our Jewish roots with the Christian singer/songwriter Joshua Aaron in a concert recorded at the “Tower of David” (an important historical site probably of Herod’s Palace in the time of Jesus) in Jerusalem.  Not just then culturally relevant, but of a Jewish Christian calling Jesus ‘home’ to his own people.  An amazing backdrop not just for this song but for the whole concert and a powerful witness.  Well worth looking up:
  • A more traditional version that we would sing in our English Churches – taken from Songs of Praise, with Lyrics:

On the theme of Peace as the Second week of Advent:

On the theme of Truth and Shepherding (based on John’s Gospel):

Children and Young People:


On the theme of Advent:

  • “Peace” by Bethel Music.  Beautiful gentle song about God being there even when everyone and everything else seems to be slipping away.  Great for anyone finding times tough at the moment:

On the theme of Truth and Shepherding (from John’s Gospel)

  1. “Love Theory” by Kirk Franklin, speaks both God’s faithfulness to us and our desire to follow Him.
  2. Original Official Video Version: (92) Kirk Franklin – Love Theory (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  3. Lyrics version: (92) Love Theory-Kirk Franklin(lyrics) – YouTube
  4. Cover Version by Mattias Banse: (92) Love Theory – Kirk Franklin COVER – YouTube
  1. “Truth be told” by Matthew West.  Great song about God speaking into so much of modern life.  Great lyrics:
  2. Original Official Video: (92) Matthew West – Truth Be Told (Official Music Video) – YouTube
  3. Lyrics Version:
  4. Cover version by Mayte Levenbach:
  1. Lauren Daigle’s latest release last week “Everything” – the Starstruck sessions: (92) Lauren Daigle – Everything (Starstruck Sessions) – YouTube
  1. One of the best modern Christmas songs: “Noel” written by Chris Tomlin and sung by Lauren Daigle.  Great to get in touch with the enormity of what Christmas truly means: (92) Chris Tomlin – Noel (Live) ft. Lauren Daigle – YouTube


  1. “Peace – Shalom” – by the Bible Project.  Great word interpretation to help understand our Advent theme and also the Pew News “Thought for the Day” today:
  1. “The Chosen” – Episode 1 – the worldwide phenomenon which is the world crowd funded TV adaptation of the Life of Jesus called “The Chosen.”  Series 1 has already been released and funding for Series 2 is just about complete and due to be released over the Christmas period.

“The Chosen” can be obtained for free, either via YouTube (simply type in “The Chosen” or via an App, which can be downloaded to your Smartphone or Tablet.

Its all very exciting.  Details of how to find Episode 1 on YouTube: (92) The Chosen: Complete Episode One – YouTube

Service for Sunday 22nd November, Sunday before Advent

Recorded live from St. Andrew’s, Congresbury.

Hymns, Songs, Readings and other links for the Sunday service  before Advent (Christ the King) – Sunday 22nd November

A New Church for a New Society: “Themes in John’s Gospel.”

  • Freedom – Part B – “what it means to be truly free.”

(John 14:15-21 – “Living in the freedom of the Spirit”).

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

John 14:15-21:  If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

Set Readings for today (Sunday before Advent – Christ the King):

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 – For those who think that the Old Testament is nothing but ‘doom and gloom’ here is one of those beautiful passages that make your heart sing both in itself and also in the fact that hundreds of years later, on a hillside outside Bethsaida, a young preacher asked the crowd to sit down, took bread, gave thanks to God and gave it to all who had need (John 6:1-13).  All would be cosy if it wasn’t also that right in the heart of this reading is also a word of challenge and God’s judgement.  God will decide between those who live for themselves and those who live for others and for the Lord – the fat and the lean sheep.

Ephesians 1:15-end – Like with the Old Testament, we can sometimes assume St Paul only really does heavy duty theologically and brain stretching thinking.  Here Paul reveals his heart, full of passion, thankfulness and love for his both his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and as much, if not more, in what Christ has done, and is going to do for the world.        

Matthew 25:30-end – Jesus gives us on of His most remembered and powerful images.  When He returns He will return as global King, whatever other politicians, cultural and religious leaders may think or say.  “Good” we may say.  But then Jesus brings the ‘global’ into the ‘micro.’  God is of such awesome intelligence and love that He is fully available and aware of every Act of Kindness, love and compassion ever done, whether by Christians or non-Christians alike.  And God’s love hits the road when He says, to the sheep, the King will say, “well done my good and faithful servant.”  And to the goat, He will say, “get away from me, I do not know you.”  Unless our faith prompts us to greater love, then it is we who need to fall on our knees before God and plead for more time so that we can change.  Of course, our faith is more than simply Acts of Kindness to wards others or Creation, but it is not less than.      

Hymns and Songs for the Sunday before Advent (Christ the King):


  1. To celebrate Christ the King “Crown Him with many Crowns” –    A true classic:
  • To celebrate St Congar’s and St Andrew’s Day, by popular request the Jazz version of, “O When the Saints” (Jazz Version) – Songs of Praise from St Alban’s Church, Bristol with Lyrics:

Children’s songs:


Freedom is a really important theme within much modern Church music and song writing, perhaps reflecting our times:

  • “Siyahamba” Zulu Spiritual – dramatic beginning but captures the African beat and colour to their music very well – translation is “We are marching in the Light of God:”
  1. For anyone struggling out there, from Gemma “Lay it all down” feat Will Reagan – Session version:
  1. “Come follow me” – by Brother Isaiah (Crazy Franciscans of the Renewal) – Great video of the spiritual life, especially for those who are musicians or creatives:
  1. “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here” – Jesus Culture – Kim Walker-Smith – becoming a modern classic.  Acoustic version on the steps of a subway with lyrics:
  1. To celebrate the festival of “Christ the King” – “King of Kings” by Hillsong, one of their finest.  Live version:
  2. Lyrics Version so you can sing along:


  1. “The Holy Spirit” – by the Bible Project.  Very good way into understanding biblically the nature of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible and Scripture:
  1. Very good 14 part series on the Holy Spirit by the Charismatic Catholic Priest Fr Dave Pivonka. Great if you want to explore certain aspects of the Holy Spirit deeper. Titles include:
  2. “God’s love poured out” – Segment 1:
  3. Then segments 2-14 – watched some of them.  Really good.

Service for Remembrance Sunday

Hymns, Songs, Readings and other links for Remembrance Day –

Sunday 8th Nov 2020

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

Isaiah 40:28-31: “They will soar on wings like eagles” – If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

Set Readings for today (Remembrance Sunday – 3rd before Advent):

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16 – The author speaks about the value and availability of Wisdom but one must look to her and seek her.  In the Old Testament is personified in other books such as the Book of Proverbs. In Christian understanding Jesus becomes the face of Wisdom, taking her qualities into himself.  Therefore as we read this passage one could say the same of Jesus as of Wisdom, He is making Himself available, to seek Him is to find not only perfect understanding but love itself.   

1Thessalonians 4:13-end – There is a lot that could be said about this passage.  At one level it can seem somewhat strange to us, what with images of being “caught up in the air.”  It starts off with the great hope – that because God raised Jesus from the dead, then God will raise all the dead including our loved ones.  But this is where the confusion perhaps kicks in.  Paul is not talking about life after death here, in a place we call “heaven.”  As Tom Wright, the New Testament historian and author has stipulated, Paul, and indeed much of the New Testament, talks mainly about “what happens after, what happens to us when we die.”  In other words, to the Bible the emphasis is on a time “after heaven,” what we would perhaps otherwise call “the Second Coming” as detailed in the Book of Revelation Ch 22.  In this understanding, as here in Paul, we die, we go to be with God and Jesus in heaven.  But then will come a day when heaven will come to earth and all things will be made new in Christ, beginning with raising those who are physically dead in Christ to be reborn in Christ on earth, wedding their spiritual bodies in heaven with new ‘resurrected’ physical bodies to live for ever.  And this also includes those, says Paul, who are alive when this time comes – hence the reference to being caught up, and ‘transformed’/resurrected themselves in the air.  This may all sound hugely confusing, but it is what the Bible consistently claims.  What will it look like? How will it work out?  The Bible doesn’t give us a blueprint but its key and important point is that “Love wins,” not just in heaven, “but on earth.”  And everything that points to that is part of what Jesus calls “the Kingdom.”     

Matthew 25:1-13 – Matthew continues the talk about the “Kingdom of heaven.”  Not so much, about what happens when you die, but more about all those moments we all experience each and everyday when we can see the opportunity to love, to forgive, to be kind and we either see them and take them, or we can miss them and complain bitterly that we were away getting oil to get ready to see those moments in the future.  Jesus those who are about love now.  To love, is to love Him.

Hymns and Songs for Remembrance Sunday:


  1. “O God our help in ages past” –Songs of Praise version for Remembrance with lyrics:
  • “O Valiant hearts” – a hymn specific to Remembrance – sung and played here by Gordon Pullin, who used to be organist at Banwell and lead Congresbury Singers, now organist at All Saints, Weston.  Lovely to see his face again:
  • “Guide me O Thou great (Redeemer) Jehovah” (also known as Cwm Rhondda) – lovely version sung by a Welsh Male Voice Choir at the Hospital in Rhondda for “Dementia Week” in 2019.  In my view, how it is meant to be sung, with passion:
  • “All people that on earth do dwell” – Songs of Praise version from the 100th Anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall with combined choirs, which is sort of apt given the message of the hymn:
  1. “National Anthem” – from St Paul’s Cathedral – Diamond Jubilee Service:

Children and Young People:

  1. “What does a poppy mean?” – wonderful video explaining how a young person approaches Remembrance to share with children and adults everywhere:


  1. “You are my Vision”” by Rend Collective – speaking of a future vision with God at the centre.  Based on the tradition Irish hymn “Be Thou my vision” that has stood the test of time and is as popular today as it has always been (Live Version):
  1. “The Call” (No need to say Goodbye) – by the Poppy Girls – at the Royal Festival of Remembrance:


  1. “80th Anniversary of Battle of Britain” – Flypast of Spitfires and Hurricane:
  1. “Pilot reunited with his Spitfire” – story of a great reunion:
  1. “Story of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior” – helpful to understand its significance:

Service for All Saints’ Day

Recorded on All Saints’ Day, Sunday 1st November at St. Andrew’s, Congresbury.

This week also looks at the next theme of Beauty in the Gospel of John.

Hymns, Songs, Readings and other links for All Saints Day –

17th Sunday of Re-opening – A New Church for a New Society:

“Themes in John’s Gospel.”

  • Beauty – Part A&B: Discovering the beauty that lasts

(John 13:1-17 – Jesus washes the Disciples’ feet)

Sunday 1st Nov 2020

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

John 13:1-17:  If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

Set Readings for today (All Saints Day):

Revelation 7:9-end – This is one of John’s great visions of heaven.  At the centre is the Lamb, Jesus, the one who in heaven and on earth is the Saviour, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Healer not just of humanity but of all creation.  Around Him are those whose robes have been washed white in His blood.  This is perhaps a strange image, how can robes be washed white by red blood?  But if we view these words as pointing to something beyond themselves we discover a great spiritual truth and indeed reality – “that we grow by falling,” that the way to the true greatness of the saints is not that they were incredible women and men who somehow achieved spiritual enlightenment, but that they were simply men and women just like you and I, with many of the same faults and imperfections, but who simply chose a path to allow God to love them and to wash their souls ever more fully with His profound and infinite love.  Beautiful.

1John 3:1-3 – John picks up in his letter so much of what we have just discovered in the reading from the Book of Revelation.  John then simply puts it into his own words pointing us to the secret, or perhaps more importantly, the truth of the spiritual life, “those who draw close to Jesus in love, allow themselves, even unconsciously, to be purified by His love in the process, for such is His good pleasure – even as He is pure.      

Matthew 5:1-12 – Matthew forms the same thoughts this time in Jesus’ vision and manifesto for a new world – a world upside down, or perhaps right side up in terms of today’s values.  Where those who are humble are greatest, those who seek to tread gently discover they inherit much, those who care passionately about others will be rewarded, and those who long to build rather than tear down discover their true identity as children of God.  Given how we as individuals, as the Church, and as humanity so often seem determined to walk in the opposite direction to such ways, we have much yet to learn.

Hymns and Songs for All Saints Sunday:


  1. “Morning has broken” – Cat Stevens version with lyrics:

During Communion:

After the Livestream:

  • “Conceirto d’Aranjuez” – From the film, “Brassed Off” – otherwise known as “Concerto d’Orange Juice” – capturing a community’s search for beauty in moments of music in the face of the hard life of the pit (Pete Postlethwaite at his very best):
  • Rare footage of the original “Grimethorpe Colliery Band” upon whom the film was based playing this piece in a concert with a young man – Joe Wellman in the lead role:

Something for Children:

  1. From the Disney film “Mulan” – “Reflection” (about beauty being about who you are not the labels that we hear) with Lyrics:
  2. Version including Christina Aguilera who sang the original score:


We have been told by Facebook that unfortunately we are not able to play recorded artists during the actual “Livestream” itself at present, so we are playing certain videos either Before or After as a physical Church.  So that everyone can share in a full experience of the breadth of the worship life of the Church details of this music is given here:

  1. “Gold” by Britt Nicole – speaking about God finding the “gold” that is within (good for anyone struggling):

Remembrance Sunday (8th Nov) and Armistice (Wed 11th Nov) in Congresbury and Banwell:

As you will appreciate things are going to need to be a little different this year.

There will be a Remembrance Sunday Service in both Villages on Remembrance Sunday:

  • Congresbury at 10.30am
  • Banwell at 3.00pm

Unfortunately, we are not able to have the usual parade by members of the community and by the Uniformed Organisations, and the service will need to be limited to a very small number of invited participants. But we will be Livestreaming both services through the New Creation Facebook Page and also the Love Banwell and Love Congresbury pages.

You can access the Services by watching LIVE via the Facebook pages

Congresbury at 10.30am: –

Banwell at 3pm:-

or catch up later via Facebook, the New Creation website:  or New Creation YouTube Channel :

Armistice Day – Wednesday 11th Nov at 11.00am:

  • Congresbury – we will be livestreaming a short service from outside the War Memorial Hall. Unfortunately, we cannot invite people to join us as this is subject to ‘the rule of six’. We will be gathering at 10.45 and will be livestreaming to both the New Creation and Love Congresbury Facebook Pages.
  • Banwell – there will be a small service outside the Church in the Churchyard at 10.50am led by the British Legion.