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Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas 2010

A Happy Christmas to you.

Are you ready for the big day?
That seems to be the question at the forefront of our thinking at this time of the year. Christmas is coming and yet there is so much to do. Will I ever be ready?
The snow is on the ground; the present stack is growing. Cards are being written and postal deadlines are closing in. It is such a busy time for all of us.
Will we ever be ready?
As we travel around we see that local authorities have decorated the streets. The shops are prepared and some houses even have their Christmas trees in place. I have even seen Santa climbing a chimney.
Christmas is almost upon us!
But: are you ready?
It seems from our newspapers and televisions that nature is ready. We are already in the grip of an icy winter. There is snow on the ground, the bookmakers are hoping for many wrong guesses in order that they might make a good profit from those who bet on the chances of it being a white Christmas. The children are practising their Nativity plays; the restaurants are enticing us in with their Christmas fare. The mulled wine and mince pies are readily available. They are all ready!
Christmas is a delightful time of the year. It is a great time for the family, a bright oasis in the dull days of winter. It is a time when all of the preparations are completed that we can relax and enjoy the season. I really do hope that this Christmas is a good one for you. I am looking forward to it immensely. But I wonder if you have ever considered the preparations that were necessary for that first Christmas?

It would be easy to think that the birth of Jesus was just an afterthought by God and that He made a simple decision to do something in order to give a helping hand to poor unfortunate mankind due to Adam and Eve’s transgression. This could not be further from the truth.
God was ready!
The bible tells us that God is omniscient, which simply means that He is all knowing. In being all knowing He had a plan for our rescue. Adam’s transgression might seem small to us but to God a complete break of trust over which He grieves greatly. He created man to be His friend and to be in fellowship with Him. A broken rule damaged that for all time.
We have inherited Adam’s rebellion and need God to do something on our behalf to restore what we have lost!
God was prepared for this.
From before the world was formed our All Knowing God prepared for Jesus to come at a specific time in order to rescue all who will repent and put their trust in Him. If you consider the Christmas account you will soon discover that Mary was fore-warned that Jesus would be born as was Joseph. Matthew in his gospel goes to great length to tell us that the Old Testament speaks of Jesus to come!
God was fully prepared.
He declared to His people through the Prophets that a Saviour would come. Isaiah said: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called wonderful counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of peace.” We see these words on Christmas cards relating to Jesus. You see that at just the right time:
God was prepared
And so He sent Jesus, born of Mary! This is not only a miracle of birth that we as Christians wonder at but it is a far greater miracle. It is a miracle of God’s grace in that He was prepared and willing to do something of great value for mankind. By His grace He has gifted the world with His Son Jesus who gave Himself as a sacrifice for us that sin might be forgiven.
God was fully prepared to do this for you but are you prepared to accept His gift of Jesus. We celebrate His birth. Why not consider Him as saviour?

We invite you to come to any of the services published in our card but would especially invite you to join with us for the “Community Carol Service” to be held on Friday 17th December at 6:00pm. During the service we will take up an offering; the proceeds will go to the Shoebox appeal which is organised by Blythewood Care.

Once again I wish you a very happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Lord's Supper

Terms used:
The Lord’s Supper is often known as the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Some refer to it as the Blessed Sacrament or even Sacrament on the Table. It is also known as an ordinance of the Lord. So what do these terms mean and are they accurate or useful descriptions of the celebration that we know?
It is largely the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches which would use the Blessed Sacrament and Sacrament at the Table terms.
• A sacrament is simply a symbolic religious ceremony.
• An ordinance is a decree or an order which on this occasion was given by The Lord Jesus.
• Eucharist is derived from the Greek word eucharisto which simply means “thanksgiving.” In 1 Corinthians 11:24 which is the word used for “when he had given thanks.”
• Communion is derived from koinonia which simply means fellowship, sharing or as in the AV: communion. In 1 Corinthians 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
• The Lord’s Supper is the term that we are probably most comfortable with. This comes from 1 Corinthians 11:20-21. Paul in this passage, by way of rebuking the Corinthian for drunkenness and greed at the Lord’s Supper tells them that it is not the Lord’s Supper that they are celebrating.
Due to an abuse of these terms we have understandably reacted against some of them. We should however not be afraid of them; they are all good biblical terms. Perhaps it is time that we claimed them back for the use for which they were intended.
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament around a table. It is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus in which we give thanks together in fellowship as we eat together.

In speaking of the Lord’s Supper; the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) Basis of Faith states that it is a “commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All of its benefits are received by faith.” As an FIEC affiliated church we wholeheartedly subscribe to this statement but a more full declaration can be found in for example the declaration of faith of the Elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis where John Piper is the pastor. This declares that: “We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord in which gathered believers eat bread, signifying Christ’s body given for His people, and drink the cup of the Lord, signifying the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. We do this in remembrance of the Lord, and thus proclaim His death until He comes. Those who eat and drink in a worthy manner partake of Christ’s body and blood, not physically, but spiritually, in that, by faith, they are nourished with the benefits He obtained through His death, and thus grow in grace.” This concise statement is clear and helpful and is probably something that we should adopt as a church for our own doctrinal basis.

Some useful points for us to understand what we are doing when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

1. It is the Lord’s Supper. It was given by the Lord for a set purpose. It is not our supper and therefore we cannot do as we please. Even though there are very few instructions concerning the process we are not at liberty to make more or even less of the ordinance than is prescribed in scripture; in particularly 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34. The rules are to be obeyed, the Corinthian church were guilty of abusing the celebration and were rebuked by the Apostle Paul who declared their ritual to not be the Lord’s Supper, it may have looked like it but it was false and therefore unacceptable to God. 1 Corinthians 10:14-17

2. It is the Lord’s Supper. It is a meal with all of the benefits that a meal has. Due to the abuse made by the Corinthian church as recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22; where the people were being greedy with both the bread and the wine; the meal has become a token or symbolic meal. Because the meaning of it is spiritual rather than physical, it was never intended to be a feast but a memorial! We therefore break one loaf signifying Christ’s body given to us and drink of one wine (fruit juice) signifying the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood. The Old Covenant was ratified through sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood, see Exodus 24:8. This Covenant required the death of an innocent victim (an animal) which pointed forward to a more perfect sacrifice. A New covenant was to come. Jeremiah speaks of this in chapter 31:31-34:
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This New Covenant finds perfect fulfillment in Jesus, it is His death and resurrection that brings about all that Jeremiah foresaw. This Lord’s Supper that we celebrate states this most clearly. It is our Passover meal.

3. It is a Remembrance. The Lord said to do this in remembrance of him! Whenever we eat and drink we must remember Jesus; it was He who came from the glory into this world as a baby with the set purpose of accomplishing salvation for His people. But who is He? He is Immanuel which means “God with us.” Matthew 1:23. He is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29 He is the Son of God whom the Father loves: Mark 1:11 He is the Creator: John 1:3 He is God come into the world, made flesh: John 1:14.
This same Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. We are made right with God through His death and resurrection. This is what we remember when we celebrate this supper. It is not a morbid occasion as some make it out to be. It is not about our feelings or sentimentality it is a celebration of all that our God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

4. It is a Declaration. 1 Corinthians 11:26 tells us that whenever we celebrate this supper we are declaring something of great importance about Jesus; He will come again. The great promise of the New Testament is that Jesus is building His church (a nation of people that are set apart by Him!) Matthew 16:18 and that there is coming a day when all that are to be saved will be complete. At this time Jesus has said that He will return from glory and gather His saints to be with Him forever: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Whenever we have this communion we declare that fact to each other (and to observers!) this will serve as an encouragement. Paul in 1 Thessalonians concludes the promise of Jesus’ return with the instruction that believers are to encourage each other with this great promise.

5. It is Recognition. We are by the taking of the bread and wine saying that we recognise him. In 1 Corinthians 11:29 Paul warns those who do not recognise the body of the Lord are bringing judgement upon themselves. If we eat and drink in a way that takes Christ from being the focal point; then the blessings dry up and the church becomes weak and sickly. That is exactly what had happened in Corinth. They were guilty of eating and drinking wrongly and the clear results were that the church had become were sick. The evidence being that they of immorality amongst the leaders! This should be a salutary warning to us as a church. It is clearly important that we celebrate the Lord’s Supper correctly; the consequences of not doing so are serious!

6. It is a Communion. In 1 Corinthians 10:16 Paul tells us that not only do we give thanks and that we remember we also take part. As we take the bread we have a participation (NIV) or communion (AV) with Christ. The letter that Paul writes is to the church at Corinth and in this he is saying that when the church eats together (there is great emphasis on togetherness in the passages concerning the Lord’s Supper) then they are in communion with the Lord Jesus. John Stott said: “Jesus did not only break the bread; he gave it to the disciples to eat. He did not only pour out the wine; He gave it to them to drink. He was not content that they should watch and listen; they must eat and drink. So the service is a communion as well as a commemoration.” This leads me to the conviction that the Lord’s Supper is intended for the gathered church and is not really available for individuals or for small group participation. (That I am sure will promote much discussion in certain quarters.) Our problem is that poor traditional teaching and wrong understandings have infiltrated the church. Rome teaches that the Mass must be celebrated for entrance into heaven, we might not believe that, but it has certainly left an unhelpful mark within the church. The New Testament clearly teaches that the same blessing as is received from celebrating the Lord’s Supper can be gained through hearing God’s word. The communion is a special “means of grace” by which God imparts blessing to the gathered church. It is not a “means of special grace” as some believe, by which special and more important blessings (usually expected just prior to death) are given by God through the hand of the participating priest. The very fact that these leaders claim to be priests is a good hint at what they believe. The mass as they would call it is a regular offering for sin given on behalf of the people by the priest in charge. Jesus Christ is our great High Priest who sacrificed Himself once for all. His shed blood is sufficient for the forgiveness of sin for all who believe on Him. He is the only Priest that we need.

This Lord’s Supper is so much more than a ritual that we do regularly. If we add to it as some have, then we are guilty of devaluing its true meaning. It is all about Jesus and nothing else. Equally if we take away from it then we are also guilty of depriving ourselves of its true meaning. We in effect devalue the purpose for which Christ instituted it and are guilty of celebrating something other than the Lord’s Supper. It might look the same but if celebrated wrongly then we are guilty before God. Our celebration is a sham: Corinthians 11:27
We should therefore examine ourselves and our motives and recognise who it is that is symbolised in the bread and wine: 1 Corinthians 11:28-29
The result of not celebrating truly is weakness in the church and a falling asleep. A dead and formal church with no life and power! We must guard against such a thing; we need our church to be full of life for the Lord’s sake, for our spiritual health and for the gospel benefit of those with whom we are involved!

What is happening?

More to the point we ought to ask “what is not happening” when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Certain groupings e.g. the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches believe in a miraculous changing of the bread and wine upon the blessing by the officiating priest (transubstantiation). They believe the bread to miraculously become the actual body of the Lord and the wine to become His blood. They then feast upon His body and drink His blood in a literal fashion. This they believe to be the true food and drink that Jesus spoke of in John 6:53-59 But is this what Jesus meant when He instituted the Lord’s Supper?

The first thing that we must remember is what the occasion was that Jesus was celebrating. It was the feast of the Passover, part of which was the ceremonial breaking and sharing of bread and the drinking of wine together in celebration of God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. The cost of their freedom was the death of the firstborn son in each family. God graciously accepted the sacrifice of an innocent victim on behalf of the firstborn son in any faithful family. That victim was to be a male lamb without any blemish. The parallel to Jesus is plain for all to see! The firstborn did not have to pay the price but an innocent victim did. It is no coincidence that it was on the night of the celebration of the Passover that Jesus was betrayed and would be arrested and made ready for execution. The head of the household would take unleavened bread and as they broke it would liken it to the bread of affliction that their forefathers had eaten on their exodus from Egypt: Exodus 12:17ff. Jesus with this in mind as He broke the bread declared that He fulfilled all that it spoke of. He said this bread speaks of my body given for you. Now when you do this do it in remembrance of me! Luke 22:19. In other words the Passover takes on a whole new meaning. The lamb of the Passover is perfectly superseded by Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Then when He comes to drink the Passover wine He declares as we have already considered it to be the New Covenant in His blood which is poured out for you: Luke 22:20 Bread and wine had always been an emblem, a picture of the reality. They were always used to remind the participants of the reality, there is absolutely no reason why for the Lord’s Supper that it should change. In actual fact to insist on it becoming the actual sacrifice acted out before our very eyes takes away the importance of the One Sacrifice made on behalf of sinners once and for all! 1 Peter 3:18

There is however a danger that we over simplify what is happening in our communion with God. There is much made in scripture of this being food for our nourishment, but the Lord makes it plain that this is dependent upon our remembrance of Him. C.H. Spurgeon said: “we not only eat of His bread, but symbolically we feast upon Him.” Vaughan Roberts in his book True Worship says on page 96 “In this there is a real presence of Christ at the Lord’s Supper but it is located in the heart of the believer and not in the elements themselves. Communion occurs by faith.” Article 28 of the Church of England helpfully states: “The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the supper only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the supper is faith.”

Therefore as we eat in remembrance and faith our souls are fed by Christ. This is so much more than a lesser miracle of bread and wine changing their substance could ever be.

Who is it for?

Again we need to look at the beginning. As we have already discovered, the Lord’s Supper is a celebration of all that the New Covenant achieves. The New Covenant in Christ’s blood brings freedom from sin. The Passover meal of the Old Covenant was a celebration of freedom from human slavery in Egypt. The meal was for those who had benefited from God’s gracious deliverance. Anybody could enjoy the meal and the spectacle of it but only those who were truly grateful for what God had done really took part in its true purpose. Therefore it is logical to say that it is for the children of Israel only. It is exactly the same with the Lord’s Supper, many can eat bread and wine but only those who have benefited from the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice achieved on the cross really commune with God in the partaking of the memorial meal. The Lord’s Supper therefore is for believers alone. It is a glorious reminder to them as to the graciousness of our God, the cost which He paid in Jesus His Son for the salvation with which we benefit and the great promise of eternal life found in and through Him.

The Lord’s Supper is for believers alone, to others it is merely a ritual that speaks of Christ’s sacrifice if only they will seek the full truth contained within.

Sadly due to wrong thinking there has become a sentimental element attached to the celebration. Comment concerning the communion can often be heard as to the beauty or the wonder of the celebration. It can so easily become an emotional occasion that almost fosters pity for what Jesus went through. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross due to the pleasure that would result from its indignity and curse. Tears of pity are not required as we partake but it should cause heartfelt praise, worship and thanksgiving to God for the sacrifice made. It is not a solemn occasion but a celebration of deep joy in the same way as the Passover was to Israel. That is why the Lord Himself said that he had eagerly awaited that meal with His disciples: Luke 22:14. His imminent suffering was about to accomplish all for which He had come. As we gather for our regular Communion we must come as the Lord came: Eagerly!

Helpful Hints:

The signpost found at a crossroads can be a helpful reminder as we celebrate communion. The signpost has 4 different instructions upon it. It points from one focal point to 4 different destinations. The Lord’s Supper can be likened to a crossroads. The signpost there reminds us to:

• Look back: Remembrance. When we see a signpost to Cardiff we do not stop there content that we have seen evidence of Cardiff. It spurs us on to travel to Cardiff and enjoy the pleasures found within. The bread and wine are a signpost pointing to Calvary. Do not stop and admire the sign but remember the place of ultimate sacrifice made on your behalf.

• Look up: Communion. Not only do we look back on what has been achieved but we are to look up to the One who achieved full and free salvation. It is Him we are communing with and are being fed by. As we eat and drink we are reminded of the cost but we are declaring once again that our trust is in Him alone.

• Look around: Fellowship. We are eating and drinking with like minded people; look around and appreciate them because they too are part of this great church gathered by the Lord Jesus. As we look around we should see that the even greater fellowship is found in God Himself. We are part of the family of God.

• Look forward: Hope. We are declaring Christ’s death until He comes. Until that time we have hope for the future but when that day comes then the church will be gathered in fullness; in perfect communion; in the presence of God Almighty.


The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” The apostle Paul adds: “For whenever you eat of this bread and drink of this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes!”

“We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord in which gathered believers eat bread, signifying Christ’s body given for His people, and drink the cup of the Lord, signifying the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. We do this in remembrance of the Lord, and thus proclaim His death until He comes. Those who eat and drink in a worthy manner partake of Christ’s body and blood, not physically, but spiritually, in that, by faith, they are nourished with the benefits He obtained through His death, and thus grow in grace.”

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mary Pells Cocks Thanksgiving Service

Service of Thanksgiving
Led by Pastor Peter Thatcher
Scriptures read whilst walking into the Chapel
John 11:25-26
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die."
Romans 14:8-9
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the living and the dead.
Job 19:25-27
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Psalm 23
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Welcome and Introduction
Mary always said that she did not expect anybody to turn up to her funeral because she had absolute certainty that she would not be there. I would like to repeat that at the very beginning. Mary is not here she is in a far better place. Her prayers have been answered and her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has called her into the very presence of God the Father where she has received her crown of glory and commendation from God. “Welcome good and faithful servant.”
I also have a welcome for you. It was Mary’s desire that on the day when her body is committed to the ground that we her family and friends gather to worship God together. She always said that God created both the crows and the nightingales. He is not interested in the beauty of the voice but in praise which comes from the heart. He said make a joyful noise to the Lord not necessarily a tuneful one. We are called by Mary now to join together in praise of her Saviour.

Hymn: “Through the Love of God….”
A Loving Remembrance from Mary’s family
by Mary’s nieces Ruth & Anthea
Scripture Reading by Mary’s son, David:
(2 Corinthians chapters 4 & 5)
Prayer , led by Dr. Meirion Evans
Pastor’s address,
with a Loving Remembrance from the Church

Mary Pells Cocks 24th August 1915-20th July 2010

I am under strict instructions here (not by the family) but by Mary herself. I must not exalt her but must give all of the glory to Jesus. That of course is easily done with a person who had the faith that Mary did.

For the last few years Mary has had one desire and that was to go home to be with her Lord. That prayer and desire has been answered and with absolute certainty we can say that Mary is now absent from the body and present with the Lord. She could not wait for the day of fulfilment but she also knew the reality of one of her favourite bible verses from Psalm 31 “my times are in your hands!”

We have heard a family tribute and now it is my great privilege to say a few words on behalf of the church here at Ogmore-by-Sea. What do we say about Mary? There is so much!

Take a moment out and just look around you, you will see a building. Mary and her husband Denis moved into the Hamlet of Ogmore-by-Sea and turned it into a village. A hamlet becomes a village when it has a church. Mary and Denis and their children Jane and David moved into the hamlet and soon discovered a lack of something most dear to them. The church! The way it all happened was really quite remarkable and time does not allow us to tell the full story. It all began with them starting a Sunday school on their first Sunday in the village. This consisted of Jane, David and one other child in their house. Soon numbers required a move from the house into the garage and then came the development of a Sunday service and the church was born. It was then that Ogmore-by-Sea became a village. In 1967 this building was opened for the church to meet in. We are grateful to Mary and Denis for our building every time we come here especially on cold wet and windy days. The Lord put the burden on their hearts and they were faithful to Him and now we benefit from that faithfulness.

But it is more than that, they also constituted the church. That means that they laid down the rules of the church, the foundation being the bible alone. Mary and Denis trusted the bible to be God’s inspired word and that it is the rule book of the church. And so we have the bible at the forefront of all that we do, thanks to Mary.

Another glance around and you will see a plaque, a memorial to Mary’s beloved husband Denis who with Mary had such a vision and desire. I never met Denis but Mary assured me that I would have got on very well with him. I can go to the farthest reaches of the land and when asked where I come from, I have now stopped saying that you will not have heard of it because it seems that there is always somebody who knew Mary and Denis. That is testimony to their faithfulness in the church of Jesus Christ. In this we have a reminder to be faithful as Christians.

It was not all theological issues, look at the curtains and the kitchen, Mary wanted to see the building maintained and from the sale of Cornerways she gave us the funds to improve our building. To Mary faith was also to be demonstrated by action. These are tremendous lessons that she taught us, having discovered them for herself from the bible that she so loved.

There is one final thing that we see as we look around and that is the church who are the people who come here week by week to worship Jesus. We are in a small way Mary and Denis’ legacy. Some people leave money as their legacy, I am proud to be part of Mary’s legacy which is a people for whom the highest price possible has been paid. God paid for our redemption, the cost being the sacrificial death of His only begotten Son. That is a legacy beyond compare.

There are many anecdotes that we could recount but Mary had such a large personality that it would take many hours to recount even half of the stories. I am sure that over refreshments at the end of the service you will be able to chat about them. The one thing that always amazed me about Mary was what somebody recently described as a wicked sense of humour. If you saw the tell tale twinkle in her eye then you knew that trouble was afoot!

Despite what we said at the beginning about Mary looking forward to the day when the Lord would take her she did love life and she lived it to the full, taking every opportunity to tell others about Jesus. She was forthright and could be quite abrupt which sometimes rubbed people up the wrong way. She was impatient with slowness of heart and sloppiness. She was upright in the home, the church and also in heart. Her righteousness came from Christ alone; she was thoroughly Christian.

She had one last and final request and that is that I on her behalf tell you about her Jesus: We read these words earlier “we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ and receive what is due to us.” For Mary it was a welcome into heaven and that was because the offence of her sin had been dealt with when she trusted in Jesus for salvation. Mary wants me to tell all of you gathered here that heaven depends upon faith in Jesus. Her final word is an invitation. Mary wants you all one day to join her where she is. How can you do that? You must recognise that you also have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standard. Call on the name of the Lord and trust in Jesus who died bearing the sin of all who repent. Mary said do not come to my funeral which will take place at 2:00 because she will not be there but she does invite you to be where she is on the day of your funeral. Why not be like Mary and Denis and all other Christians and trust in Jesus for yourself and then like Mary you will have absolute certainty of going to heaven.

Personally I can say that Mary was always a great encouragement to me and one of my greatest supporters. For this I am eternally grateful.

Mary of course has a family all of whom are rejoicing at the certainty of her homecoming but that does not take away the sadness and the grief. On behalf of the church gathered here in Ogmore-by-Sea I offer our sincere condolences to David and Helen, Elizabeth and Vincent and their 4 children in Northern Ireland; to Alison and Simon and their 2 girls and to Sharon and Mark. We also must remember the extended family and close friends. You will all miss Mary greatly. You do not get over the loss of a loved one but time does make it more bearable.

As a church our prayers are with you and I urge all praying people to uphold this family in your prayers.

May God bless you all.

Hymn: “Saviour, Again to Thy dear Name…”
Prayer and Benediction

Hymns for Pianist from ‘Complete Mission Praise’ with melodies suggested by Mary.

166: Give me a Sight, O Saviour
167: Give Thanks
168: God Holds the Key
169: Hark, My Soul!
170: He is Exalted
171: Here From the World
172: His Hands were Pierced
173: His Name is Wonderful
174: I know That My Redeemer Lives!
175: Lord, For the Years
176: Rejoice, The Lord is King!
177: Safe in the Shadow
178: Sweet is the Work ( tune: Deep Harmony)
179: There is a Redeemer
180: Thine Be the Glory
181: What a Friend (tune: Calon Lan)
182: The Lord’s My Shepherd
And I will Trust in You alone.