Saturday, February 16, 2013

How Things Change

From The Harpenden Parish Magazine, July 1910:


On the Sunday following Empire Day, special reference was at St. John's Church to the reasons which led up to this yearly event, and the life and character of the good Queen, under whom the greater part of our Empire was built up. In the morning the Rector made allusion in his sermon to our individual responsibility in regards to this Great Nation and Empire, of which we are privileged to be members. The Evening Service was attended by the Harpenden and Luton Boy Scouts, under command of Lieut. W.S. Daniels, Major E. Chester Rogerson, and Scout-Master Jackman respectively. The column was headed by the ST. John's C.L.B. Band, under Staff-Sergt. H. Holland. The preacher was the Captain and Assistant Chaplain of the St. John's Company who, in his sermon, laid stress on the fact of our Empire having been built up by self-control and perseverance, founding his remarks upon the story of Joshua and the capture of Jericho. He appealed to those present to prepare themselves for serving their country better by putting down the evils of juvenile smoking, drinking, gambling and betting. The National Anthem was sung with great heartiness at the close of each service.

And now, read this from the "What we Believe" section of the website of today's St. John's Church, Harpenden (incidentally the parish magazine, which was weekly a century ago, now appears four times a year):

We welcome you to our Parish Website which introduces you to our church family in the place we affectionately and geographically call The Church on the Common.

St John's is an open and inclusive fellowship where every person, regardless of age, background or religious experience is valued and equal. We seek to follow the example of Jesus who welcomed people into his orbit and care wherever they happened to be on the spectrum of faith.

We aim to make our worship both reverent and relaxed, using the structure of the liturgy to liberate the human spirit into praise and prayer. We do not offer rigid, prescriptive answers to the great questions of faith but seek to engage in constructive thinking about our place in the world.

We value equally both Word and Sacrament and place a high premium on creative and engaging preaching.

Children are a valuable and valued part of our congregation; we believe they are the church of to-day and tomorrow. St John's has a lively Creche, Junior Church and Youth Group. It is our practice to prepare children to receive Holy Communion from the age of seven.

We encourage you to discover the many facets of our corporate life recorded on the Website. Do come along and join us for worship and see whether St John's is the place which seems right for you.

I think I prefer Empire Day, myself.

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