Minister Prayers Sermon

27 June 2021: Celebrating like the Dancing One

22 June 2021

Dear Friends

This Sunday we will celebrate our fifth anniversary as a church. It has felt so natural to be together as one church that I was surprised when I did that maths and only needed one hand to count it up. We did originally have big plans to always have an invited preacher on these occasions, but the uncertain nature of the last year has meant that we haven’t been able to plan that far ahead, so you are going to have make do with me this year. Hopefully we can begin to look further ahead now and you can begin to plan who to invite in forthcoming years. Thinking about pulpit supply matters, Isabel is putting together a worship plan to lead the weeks I will no longer be here and then we have an offer of someone willing to take over. We thank them both, but if you are aware of people who you believe would be good at leading worship at Ansty Road, please let Isabel know and she will add them to the potential invitation list.  

There are many skills we need to keep a church running, another is people who can clean. We are creating a cleaning rota, so as to save us having to employ anyone. At the moment there are 4 volunteers, but another two would mean that the frequency was less often. If that is something you can do please speak to Isabel.

At the last Church Meeting we decided that we wanted to restart our Quiz Nights. So the first of the new season will be Craig’s Last Quiz Night on Friday 16th July, 7pm. Teams of no more than 6, on socially distanced tables answering the usual mix of easy questions. £5 per person, and an indication of who will be coming to Isabel please. 


Blessed be Your name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Beth Redman | Matt Redman

  • © 2002 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI Licence No. 1280770


God of lakes and landfalls

boats and beaches;

we gather around your presence;

intrigued, enthralled, curious.


God of named and un-named

led and followed

we fall pleading at your feet;

craving, pressing, hoping.


God of parent and child

healthy and ailing;

we seek the life you provide;

flourishing, thriving, savoured.


God of patient and physician

seen and hidden;

we press against you in the crowd

silent, noticed, touched.


God of powered and disempowered

released and recharged;

we feel your energy within us 

tender, merciful, beautiful


God of knowing and unknowing

faithfulness and trust 

we sense your glance upon us

peaceful, transforming, easy.


God of receiving and sending

encouragement and forgiveness

we taste your zest for life 

risen, resplendent, wellspring.


God of teaching and troubling

hearing and noticing

we fear your assured pace

unwavered, untroubled, certain.


God of belief and disbelief

questions and quietening

we scoff with misunderstanding;

opened, taught, gentle.


God of dawn and dusk

midnight and midday

you take our hand and raise us to life

restored, rejuvenated, rejoiced.


God of kitchen and bedroom

study and nursery

You feed us with goodness

replenish, rework, reseed. 

Craig Muir based on Mark 5:21-43


We come to worship

All that we are will flow into and out of our worship of God

Like Martha, we come to welcome and seek welcome

We commit ourselves to create welcome, hospitality and friendship

Like Hannah, we come to pray and share prayer

We commit ourselves to put prayer at the heart of our presence in this place.

Like Mary Magdalene, we come to witness to God’s good news

We commit ourselves to seek ways in which we witness to Jesus  

Like Mary of Bethany, we come to disciple and be discipled

We commit ourselves to learn and worship at the feet of Jesus

Like Barnabas, we come to encourage one another

We commit ourselves to create moments of reconciliation and peace. 

To find God’s Spirit in one another and care for the most vulnerable

Like the Dancing One, we come to celebrate life’s moments.

We commit ourselves to celebrate a love shared and find reasons to dance.

When we go our separate ways 

We will do so by taking our worship into our daily lives of welcome, prayer, witness, discipleship, encouragement and celebration.

© Ansty Road United Reformed Church



My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

Christ alone cornerstone

Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love

Through the storm He is Lord

Lord of all

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury

© 2011 Hillsong MP Songs (Admin. by Hillsong Music Publishing UK) CCLI Licence No. 1280770

Celebrating like the dancing one: Acts 3:1-10

A man’s life is turned around when he meets the risen Christ through Peter and John. His reaction is to dance with joy and amaze those around him. We need to celebrate life’s moments, celebrate the good news of Christ, celebrate a love shared. 

When we were thinking about the way we wanted to develop the new church Dorry Dear  told us, “These moments are like a comma changing the flow of a sentence.” I loved that image, and the way a well placed comma makes such a difference to the way in which we understand text. There is a story told by Oscar Wilde that he had spent the whole day waiting and when asked what he had done said “I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.” 

However, what language shall we use? We have in the past referred to this encounter as Celebrating like the dancing Cripple. Now cripple is a perfectly correct word  from the Old English crypel, “one who creeps, halts, or limps, one partly or wholly deprived of the use of one or more limbs.” The problem is that like so many of these words it has been abused and it has been abused. Some will use it of themselves, “Crip” is a term used by people who are disabled – but it’s not a term that is regarded as acceptable for those of us who are not particularly disabled to use. So what might we say instead, could we refer to the dancing paraplegic or person of disability? We could and many of those who are disabled in some way prefer that term, yet still I hesitate to describe someone by what can not be done rather than by their achievements.

So for the moment, until someone suggests something better, I’m going to refer to the Dancing One. It is a bit gneric, perhaps too bland bland, yet it puts our focus on the dancing and perhaps we can then associate this moment with others who dance …Miriam, Psalm 30 149, 150 , Jephthah’s daughter, David, Thessalonians – “We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.”

Sometimes, moments of celebration will be immediate and unexpected.  At other times we need to plan ahead, make the date, form plans, send out invitations, prepare the food, arrange the music, agree the outfit, greet the guests, surprise the one whose achievements we are celebrating and then relax and enjoy the day. It is good to celebrate together. 

This is our 5th church anniversary a time celebrate all that we have done over the last five years. 

  • congregations come together, support one another and become one body. 
  • CRCW post and called Kirsty, 
  • redevelop the building whilst also making plans for Ball Hill. We have met the disappointment of those plans not coming to fruition by reimagining how we can concentrate our work at Ansty Road and I know that you will produce good projects. 
  • We have registered for equal marriage and celebrated a number of weddings. If you want to see the impact that can have read this story  Victor was one of the people whose wedding we celebrated in May, growing up in Nigeria, it was beyond his imagination. I’m so pleased that we could be with them in that moment.

In our story at the Beautiful Gates, the begging one  – did not wake up that morning imagining that he would be able to dance into the temple that afternoon. 

He came expecting charity and discovered it was time to walk!

He came into the hour of prayer – with dancing feet.

Sometimes God’s grace is beyond our imagination and when that moment happens we have to take it and dance with it. We have to give thanks for the goodness that we have experienced or witnessed. We need stand with those who celebrate and against those who want to belittle everything or strain the joy out of those dancing feet. It means that some times we need to adapt, be light on our feet and always open to saying “Yes” to the moments God offers. For it may be in such moments that God’s Spirit creates new commas that change the flow of the narrative. 


Thanks be to God, whose Church on earth 

Has stood the tests of time and place, 

And everywhere proclaims new birth 

Through Christ whose love reveals God’s face. 


Thanks be to God, whose spirit sent 

Apostles out upon his way; 

From east to west the message went; 

On Greek and Roman dawned the day. 


Thanks be to God, in whom we share 

Today the mission of his Son: 

May all his Church that time prepare 

When, like the task, the world is one. 

© Caryl Micklem

Loving God,

We live in this waiting time,

Wondering what will happen next.

Asking, questioning, searching.

Will we return to the old normal?

What new things do you have in store for us?

Creator God, grant us hope in the midst of a confused and troubled world.

Redeemer God, pour out your gift of love, that our lives may bear fruit.

Sustainer God, free us from fear about what the future might hold

and give us power to live whole-heartedly for others and all creation.


Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch, member of St Andrew’s URC in Ealing

Minister Prayers Sermon

20 June 2021: Praying Like Hannah

16 June 2021

Dear Friends

We had a gathering in our garden last Saturday! As Ministers, we were finally able to welcome Debbie Brown and her husband Clive, to Coventry. It’s been 15 months since Debbie came to be minister of the North Coventry Group, but we hadn’t had the chance to meet in person. So, we kept our distance – for the most part, had some lovely food prepared by Chris and generally just enjoyed getting the ministers together and spending some time away from zoom. I know that for many of us it has been the social isolation that has been hard and so it has also been good that some have felt able to meet at church on Thursdays and Sundays. When you feel ready to join us, please do. But we will also do all we can to support those who need or prefer to stay at home. 

This Sunday is a bit of an experiment. I am leading the worship for West Orchard and Warwick Road, but we were unable to find anyone to lead worship at Ansty Road other than asking the Elders. But they may need to do that quite frequently once I have left, so we are going to stream the service from West Orchard to zoom and show it on the big screen at Ansty Road. I appreciate there may be a temptation to simply stay at home and watch on zoom, but if you can make it to Ansty Road please do. This is a method that may be used more often in the future, so we would like to know how it feels for you and whether being together for fellowship, even if the worship leader is elsewhere, could be a way of working. 

I’ve also managed to confirm when we shall move. Our last Sunday with you will be on 15 August and I shall lead that. We will then go on holiday for two weeks and I will start in Leicestershire on 1st September. The manse in Loughborough will not be ready for us until January, so we plan to move to the house we are in the process of buying in Burbage and work from there for the rest of the year. 

Meanwhile we are making lists of what goes where and when!

This Sunday our Service will be led by Craig via a Live-stream from West Orchard at 10:30am in church. 

Worship for 20 June 2021

Hymn Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord

Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice

Tender to me the promise of His word

In God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice


Tell out my soul the glories of His word

Firm is His promise and His mercy sure

Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord

To children’s children and for evermore

Timothy Dudley-Smith

© 1961 Dudley-Smith, Timothy (Admin. by Oxford University Press)

CCLI Licence No. 1280770


Thank you,

Creator of goodness

Ever-running love

Releaser of grace

Thank you,

The set-free speak out 

Exposed love broadcasts

Goodness gathers

Have mercy

on foolishness

on erring ways

at self-inflicted pain

Have mercy

on loathing

on despair

at misery

Healing word

Salvager of life

Destroyer of death

Gleaner from the brink

Healing song

Praiser of goodness

Miracle of mercy

Thanks-giver of joy

We sing 

We praise

We dance

We offer ourselves,…

Craig Muir, based on Psalm 107 

Bible 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Mark 4:35-41

Song: Waymaker

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu

  • © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI Licence No. 1280770

Praying like Hannah,  Hannah’s prayer was soaked in pain, bitterness, anguish and grief. It was a prayer of one who did not feel fulfilled in the role she expected of herself – to be a mother. Elkanah, couldn’t see the problem, he had children from his other marriage and Hannah had him – what more could she want? I see a million or so palms hitting heads – “Typical man!” Whatever we might feel about the rights and wrongs of a woman being fulfilled by being a mother – it was important for Hannah, so important that she was pouring our her anguish and prayer and offering her child back to God. Earlier this week there was a piece on the radio about the lack of medical support for woman who have a number of miscarriages, apparently you have to have three miscarriages before any medical support is offered. The women who were speaking were distraught about their situation and I found myself amazed that despite the fear and pain they were going to put themselves through they kept wanting to try again. The instinct to give birth is so strong, and they will know the pain of this ancient story, for we may have more ways in which medicine can intervene, but the grief remains the same. I know that some of you will know that pain for yourselves and that some of us will never quite understand it. 

Others will have other pains, sources of bitterness, anguish and grief that you live with on a daily basis. You respond in your own ways to manage that hurt, sometimes with prayer but so often in ways that take courage to manage each day. Your resilience amazes me. In Hannah that resilience produced praise, power, potential, prophecy, proclamation. Just as it does in so many people who campaign for justice and in doing so change the world  we know – yet still we can turn to a 3000 year old story and learn something of what it means for the human spirit to carry pain. Hannah, like so many women, had to carry that pain alone. And sadly, when she did share it with the priest he misunderstood. But this ancient story tells us that God heard, God understood and eventually God acted and Hannah gave birth to a son who would be leader within their nation. 

As church communities, prayer has to be central to who we are and how we open ourselves up to God. It is the place where healing begins, where we can give voice to all that burdens us, where we can share with God, and sometimes with each other the things that are on our heart and begin the process of finding some resolution. It is the place where we can be reminded of our role in a community, where we can offer something intangible, yet deeply spiritual. Occasionally we may also be pleasantly surprised with the results and be able to come back to God offering thanksgiving instead of pain. May we learn to pray like Hannah. 

The disciples on the other hand found themselves sharing a storm. Terrified, despite having skilled, experienced sailors in their company, they turn to Jesus. Jesus calms the storm – but more than that Jesus calms the fears of all who share this particular boat, and perhaps others out on the same sea, but unseen. Jesus has been teaching the crowd about the Kingdom of God, there have been lots of pastoral parables and they are now taking a break from the crowd, but it seems that chaos is following them. This new kingdom is not going to come easily, because the old ways will not give up without a fight and the old ways enjoy the chaos of a storm. We live in stormy times, we know it, but we can’t always make sense of what is happening or be certain of the way forward. The invitation of the gospel is to turn to Jesus to guide us through the storm, yet the new way that Jesus offers can feel like it invites the storm upon us. Again, in such moments we need to learn to pray like Hannah and discover the calm amidst the storm. 

Hymn Beautiful Lord wonderful Saviour

I know for sure all of my days are

Held in Your hand crafted into

Your perfect plan

You gently call me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord to live all of my life

Darlene Zschech

  • © 1997 Wondrous Worship (Admin. by Song Solutions
  • CCLI Licence No. 1280770


We come before you 

calm-bringer, peacemaker, painkiller;

may hearts leap,

may strength be praised,

may love overcome all things.


We seek your holy presence

storm-shaper, stone corner piece, anger-grinder;

may boasts cease,

may arrogance fall silent,

may actions be wisely weighed.


We turn to your strength

might-breaker, reinforcer, grief-holder;

may all who labour know plenty,

may all who hunger be satisfied,

may each who yearns be fulfilled,

may life be restored,

may what seems poor be raised up,

may what seems high, gently stoop.


We rejoice in your challenge 

life-changer, dust-shaker, ash-kindler;

may all in need be fanned to life,

may wild flames give gentle heat,

may landless families inherit seats of honour,

may strangers be welcomed as kin,

may anxious souls be wrapped in care,

may silenced voices sing out with pride.


We walk in your byways 

earth pillar, world setter, faithful-guider;

may we tread gently upon your earth,

may we faithfully steward all that is given,

may light prevail over all kept hidden,

may wickedness be exposed and swept away,

may deceit be shattered by truth,

may God’s whisper thunder with promise.


We come home to you

wind-rebuker, fear-stiller, faith-giver;

may we minister in rightways,

may we dwell in your care,

may we pray like Hannah, praise-proclaimer.

Craig Muir, Based on 1 Samuel 2: 1-10



How good is the God we adore,

Our faithful unchangeable friend,

His love is as great as his power,

And knows neither measure nor end.

For Christ is the first and the last,

His Spirit will guide us safe home,

We’ll praise him for all that is past,

And trust him for all that’s to come.

Joseph Hart (1712-68)


Minister Prayers Sermon

13 June 2021: Welcoming like Martha

Dear Friends

Well I managed to get sunburnt in Scotland last week, which is a rare occurrence! It was good to get away for a few days. I also managed to see my parents for the first time in 15 months, albeit through a window and talking on phones. They seem well and it felt a little like us returning to a world that we recognised from before Covid. However, it was difficult to bring them up to date with family news as there is so much changing and after sharing so many of our life-changes with them it was strange to accept that they can no longer be part of that. Life moves on, we may accept that reality, but we can also grieve a little for what has gone.

Wednesday was going to be the first service back in Chapel of Unity since last December. But somewhere along the line there was a miscommunication and when we arrived the doors were still locked. But undaunted, we gathered around the new benches along St. Michaels Drive, switched on a couple of phones so that those at home could join us and worshipped God in the open air. The theme was Pentecost moving to Ordinary Time and it seemed appropriate to be outside, amongst people heading for work, workmen rebuilding the City Centre, the birds and squirrels. The Cathedral were very apologetic when they realised what had happened but I think those of us that were there were quite glad it had – God takes us to interesting places!

Meanwhile, we begin the journey into returning to life in our own building. Coffee Morning has restarted. We are confident about numbers on a Sunday morning now so no need to tell us beforehand that you are coming, we can manage. On 20th June we are going to try an experiment – I’m due to lead worship for West Orchard and Warwick Road, but we have no one available to lead at Ansty Road. So we are going to live stream from West Orchard and I will appear on the screen at Ansty Road, as well as via zoom. I know there might be a temptation to stay at home and just watch on zoom, but I would encourage you to be in church, enjoy fellowship there and be available for those who can’t watch on zoom. 

I would still like to encourage you to return your Skills Audits and Mission Priorities. It will really help the Elders to plan their way into the future. We are also aware there may be people who would like to join us on a Sunday morning but have no transport. If that is you or if you think you can offer a lift, please let Isabel know. 


Great God, your love has called us here

as we, by love, for love were made. 

Your living likeness still we bear, 

though marred, dishonoured, disobeyed. 

We come, with all our heart and mind 

your call to hear, your love to find. 

Brian Wren (1936-  ) © Hope  Publishing

CCLI Licence No. 1280770


O God who creates each new morning

who is at the heart of life

who dances with the rising sun

We call to you on this new day

We come before you,

open to all this moment brings

to catch the dance of your word

to match the beat of your heart

to be in step with the rhythm of life.

O God who hears our voice,

who is attentive to the people’s cries,

where we call from the depths,

from the pit of despair

hear our cries, match our lament

bring us into your place of harmony.

O God who knows each heart

our souls wait upon you

on your word we hope 

as others wait upon the morning

we wait upon you O God

Where we have failed to love

we wait upon you

Where we have caused despair

we wait upon you

Where we have failed to hope

we wait upon you

Where we have fallen out of step

we wait upon you

and seek your mercy

Come, hope in God!

For with God there is steadfast love,

and in God is great power to redeem

It is God who will redeem you

from all of your sin.

Bible: John 11:17-43, 12:1


I’m going to stray away from the lectionary for the services I have left with you over the next 10 weeks and concentrate on the six bible characters that we identified as forming our mission background. They are all people who teach us something about what it is to respond to Jesus and follow the way of Jesus. Around whose stories we wove some principles that would guide the way we went about being Ansty Road church.

The first person we will consider is Martha. In Luke’s gospel we know her as the housekeeper rushing around trying to provide hospitality for their guests whilst her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. But here we see Martha as grieving sister and as a theologian, disciple and witness discussing with Jesus what it means for him to be Messiah. So here she is, a practical woman who together with Mary creates a culture of welcome and worship. In our mission priorities we state that “we will be committed to creating welcome, hospitality and friendship where people are inspired to worship and witness.” 

Duties of Elders – spiritual, pastoral, practical – 

– housekeepers and theologians 

Chapt 12 – presiding at Communion?

creating a culture of welcome – a place where tired, hungry, emotional travellers can rest and be refreshed, so that they can set out on the  next part of the journey can be 

These things don’t always come easily, to get them right they require hard work, organisation and an attitude that is truly welcoming. 

Every church I know claims that it is welcoming, but the proof is in the pudding, and I do like a good pudding! 

But can we be a place that welcomes and a community that can engage with theology. what does it mean for us when we hear that Jesus claims to be the resurrection and the life. I want us to be a people who can meet with people who are grieving, angry, confused, uncertain and help them to rebuild their lives. 

I want us to be a community where we can welcome those who have been treated differently, those who have felt excluded elsewhere, those who have been led to believe that Jesus would never grief for them them the way he grieves for Lazarus. 

I want us to be a community whose understanding of the bible, whose communion with God leads us into acts of social justice, that understands our role caring for the environment, 

In order to that we sometimes need to work through our theological thinking, I’m glad that we have done that with regards to same-sex relationships, it has allowed us to welcome some couples into the church to be married who would not have been able do so otherwise. 

It is helping us to this about what it means be an Eco-Church – what are the things we do that create resurrection and life for eco-systems – from local – a bug hotel and perhaps some deliberate wildflower gardening 

It is helping us think through how we can generate activities that focus on physical and mental well being, but we also need to support peoples spiritual well-being for then we will hear Jesus declare “unbind them, let them go.”

This is the work of the Martha’s – just as comfortable in the kitchen baking cakes as standing on the street discussing life, the universe and everything. 

Just as comfortable standing at the door welcoming people as ploughing through a host of health and safety material trying to figure out how to mitigate the risk of Covid and trip hazards, 

Just as comfortable preparing financial spreadsheets and preparing a time of prayer.

Our Elders are to take the role of Martha’s in this congregation, but the role of all of us is to help and support them, fill in the gaps in their gifts and skills help them  to lead you in being a whole community that welcomes like Martha. 

Welcoming like Martha, Luke 10, John 11 & 12

Martha; housekeeper, theologian, disciple, witness – who together with Mary creates a culture of welcome and worship. We will be committed to creating welcome, hospitality and friendship where people are inspired to worship and witness.


Put peace into each other’s hands

And like a treasure hold it

Protect it like a candle-flame

With tenderness enfold it


Put peace into each other’s hands

With loving expectation

Be gentle in your words and ways

In touch with God’s creation

Fred Kaan © Words: Stainer & Bell Ltd

CCLI Licence No. 1280770


Plant, grow and flourish

God of the rich and the poor, of the powerful and the vulnerable, 

we pray for the leaders of the G7 nations meeting in Cornwall, 

for the people they govern, 

for the people of other nations they can support,

and for the world they can protect through their decisions.

May wisdom be planted, generosity grow, and co-operation flourish.

We pray for a growth in resilience, awareness and togetherness

across all the nations of the world 

as they continue to tackle the covid pandemic, 

as they confront environmental issues.

and as they reach out to communities crippled by need, war and natural disasters.

May integrity be planted, urgency grow and healing flourish.

We pray for the church in this place and around the world 

as we seek to serve those around us, 

to reach out to those in trouble,

and to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

May faith be planted, compassion grow and hope flourish.

We pray for those in the charity sector 

who seek to support those in crisis, 

to feed the hungry, 

to embrace those displaced by war, 

to protect wildlife and the environment, and planet that we all call home.

May trust be planted, resources grow and lives flourish.

We pray for those in sport, 

for those they inspire, 

for the enjoyment they bring, 

especially all the nations taking part in the Football Euros, 

for those preparing for and hoping that the Olympic Games will take place,

for all those at grass roots level struggling to keep their clubs going.

May respect be planted, opportunities grow and talent flourish.

And we pray for those whose faces we have seen on our screens

and in our papers this week.

for the family of Sarah Everard, 

for little Artin and his family, 

and all those who have died crossing dangerous waters,

for Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole and his family 

and all who have died trying to save others,

for all who have enriched our world and for all who are at the mercy of others.

May justice be planted, goodness grow and peace flourish –
in Jesus name. Amen.

©  rootsontheweb

Hymn As a fire is meant for burning with a bright and warming flame