Civic Service 2018

On Sunday 25th November we were joined at St. Marks by friends form Bescar Lane Methodist Church, St. Elizabeth’s Church and other members of the community to our Scarisbrick Village Civic Service, which also celebrated the feast of Christ the King.

During the service some of the hymns were accompanied by an ecumenical praise group and others by Alan Johnson on the organ.

Rev. Eileen Heaney welcomed us at the beginning of the service and, during the first hymn, David Benge presented the Scarisbrick banner to Eileen.

The first reading, Daniel 7 v 9-10 & 13-14, was read by the chairman of Scarisbrick Parish Council, Mrs. G. Holcroft. After that and before the second reading, Revelation 1 v 4b-8, Mark sang the response “The Lord is King with majesty enrobed”.

Rev. Patrick Evans was to read the Gospel passage (from John 18 v 33-37) but, before he did so. he said that he needed to put it into context first. He then described the tensions between the inhabitants of Palestine and the Romans at the time of Jesus. He also explained the power structure and the dilemma that Pontius Pilate found himself in when the Jewish leaders brought Jesus before him.

Saying that although he realised that this was unusual for a minister he was going to give us some money! He then proceeded to give a coin to every row in the congregation, which we had to share along the row. The coins were in fact old pennies and halfpennies. He discussed the value of these coins and noted that although pennies are often regarded as virtually worthless now this was not always the case. He commented that in every year the Royal Mint knew exactly how many pennies had been minted. He also noted that without the head of the King or Queen upon them the coins would not be worth anything. All this was to illustrate how Christ (the King) was part of all of us and just as the Bank of England counted every penny, so God knows every one of us. He knows our value and what we do is precious to Him.

In the reading Pilate is ambivalent as to what the truth really is (and even whether it matters) but Patrick exhorted us “to seek the truth in everything we do”.

Before the offertory hymn, Rev. Father Godric Timney stepped forward to offer prayers for the Parish and Christian Churches of Scarisbrick. However, before he did so he couldn’t resist making a joke about two coins minted in the same year.

As I remember it, the gist of it was as follows:-

Of the two coins, one was a penny and one was a pound coin.  As they had been minted at the same time they were great friends but eventually they were separated and had to go their separate ways! Many years later they met again (in someone’s pocket).  They greeted each other and the penny asked the pound what he had been up to since they’d last met?  The pound related how he’d been to all sorts of exciting places – on ships and planes; to theatres and restaurants etc. He then said to the penny, “what about you?”  Unenthusiastically the penny replied that he’d spent most of his time in one church or another!?!

After the service the three ministers joined together in the blessing before everybody who was able to stay went across to the Parish hall for refreshments and a chat.

Thank you to everyone who attended or participated in this encouraging service and to all who contributed to the refreshments.

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