We were delighted to welcome a guest preacher, John Bowman from the Lichfield & Tamworth Circuit, to lead our worship on Sunday. He introduced himself as a long standing friend of our organist, Neil Barnett.

Our opening hymn recalled the situation in Ukraine – It is God who holds the nations. God is with us in all life’s challenges. John led prayers of praise, love and seeking forgiveness. An Eddie Askew meditation showed God using his wonderful creation as a tool for change. Jill Barnett read Psalm 148, a call to praise God, and Neil read from Acts 11, God’s love is for everyone.

John’s text was John 13 v34 – “As I have loved you so you must love one another.” He related the changing times in his long friendship with Neil to the way our relationship with God also changes over time. We should be wary of the things that can destroy a relationship – feuds, suspicion, prejudice. Jesus reveals the nature of God; he indicates that we must be resilient and positive; by loving one another we show that we are his disciples. Our faith will be challenged by the parameters and expectations Jesus sets. Amongst the terrible things happening in Ukraine we also see acts kindness, bravery and self sacrifice.

We prayed for that country and for those recently bereaved and concluded with a great hymn: And can it be that I should gain….