Tyndale Baptist Church’s building is closed again due to the pandemic restrictions

More information

Join us online for a pre-recorded Morning Worship service at 10.30 am each Sunday or Virtual Coffee Shop on Tuesdays at 11 am. Read a Thought for the Day or what has been Shared With Us by church members.

1st March 2021

Today, March 1st, is St David’s Day, celebrated, especially by the people of Wales, as he is the patron saint of the principality. I was born in its capital, Cardiff, spent my formative years there and have fond recollections of the way my school celebrated the day. We held an eisteddfod with the different houses competing against each other in music, poetry, drama, art, written subjects and collections. The winning house won the cup and we finished with a free half day.

Looking back, I wonder how many of us knew much about the saint in whose honour the day took place. In fact, there is not a lot to know other that he lived in the sixth century, and came from Pembrokeshire. He was a man of great piety and led a very frugal life drinking only water and eating only vegetables. He developed a reputation as a great preacher and founded monasteries in Wales, South West England and Brittany. Those who became monks were expected to share in the same austerity as David. When labouring in the fields was finished, they were expected to return to the monastery and spend the rest of the day reading, writing or praying. When evening came, they were to go in silence to the chapel and humble themselves on bended knees until the stars in the heavens brought the day to a close.

That may be a bit too much for us in our sophisticated twenty first century but perhaps we can learn something from the simplicity of the so called ‘dark ages’ and take to heart these parting words of David on his death bed: “My brothers and sisters, be joyful, keep your faith and belief, and perform the small things which you have learned from me and have seen in me.” Now there’s a thought for lock down.

Peter Webb

Sunday 28th February – Second Sunday in Lent

Join us at 10.30 am to share in this pre-recorded worship service.

Following the service, grab a drink and stay with us at 11.30–12.30 for an online coffee shop via Zoom.

After starting the video, there will be a full screen button at the top right.

26th February 2021

Vaccination passports – ‘certificates of vaccination’… already certificates of vaccination in some form are being considered by some countries, and by some airlines, so as to facilitate overseas travel. So far, so uncontroversial.

Where it gets tricky is in relation to vaccination certificates in everyday life. A pub or restaurant may require a ‘certificate of vaccination’ before accepting a booking. Some companies are considering making vaccinations compulsory for all staff.

Some of this is quite understandable. Health and safety, controlling the spread of coronavirus, keeping restrictions to a minimum, ‘looking out for one another’ – all these are in the mix.

But then things begin to get more difficult. What if you can’t be vaccinated, or choose not to be? What if the certificate isn’t legitimate?

Imagine a scenario: a group of friends go for a meal and one of them can’t show a vaccination certificate; imagine if an over-zealous security officer refuses entry because their computerised checking system makes a mistake… imagine if a venue decides to ban an ethnic minority group altogether, because – well, everyone knows they don’t get vaccinated… imagine if the state introduces legislation preventing access to healthcare or benefits or public transport to anyone without a certificate of vaccination…

Fears and concerns about proof of identity, misuse of state power and access to society have been around for generations. The Nazis made Jews wear yellow stars. Revelation imagines the ‘mark of the beast’ (Roman Emperor Nero according to some) being needed to allow buying and selling…

What should Christians make of all this, whose identity is bound up not with any particular behaviour, but with Christ alone?

Michael Docker

24th February 2021

The latest version of the so-called ‘Q Anon’ conspiracy theory followed by many Trump supporters has it that he will be inaugurated as America’s true President on March 4th. A related theory says that the snow in Texas last week was fake…

Bizarre… It’s easy to pour scorn, but such theories have one thing in common with an aspect of religious belief – ‘cognitive dissonance’ – when the thing you believe is going to happen doesn’t, you don’t stop believing, you reconfigure your beliefs.

As for Q Anon, so for lots of predictions about the end of the world. When the world hasn’t ended, the theories come up with another date…

Cognitive dissonance can be applied to prophets such as Isaiah and Micah. The return of the Exiles to Israel happened, but was hardly the glorious return predicted by, for instance, Isaiah (Chapter 35).

Gradually such predictions have been taken up into the world of poetic, glorious predictions of God’s new age, when, at the last, God will rule for ever (Revelation 21).

Conspiracy theories have to mutate as evidence in this world keeps showing them up as untrue.

But then… along comes Jesus and starts predicting his own death (Mark 8:31) and his resurrection. You can see how some of his followers were unimpressed. They surely quite liked the idea of Jesus ‘rising again after three days’, not so much the death that preceded it – especially not when Jesus called for them to accept such a death as theirs as well.

Most conspiracy theories offer comfort, but without much cost. Christian belief does as well, but it asks something of us first…

Michael Docker

22nd February 2021

I was vaccinated a few days ago. Seems as if things have been moving very swiftly, in some parts of Bristol at least, so that my surgery contacted me somewhat ahead of schedule (my age group was due to be contacted from this last Monday).

‘Britain at its best’ – lots of cheery volunteers; a well organised queuing and booking-in system, positivity everywhere; very helpful professionals. It’s no wonder that this vaccination programme is being hailed for its speed and efficiency.

The credit goes to many, of course; vaccine scientists and manufacturers, the NHS at various levels, volunteers, and, also, the unfailingly cooperative and positive patients… probably the government deserves a mention…! Well, it is a team effort – and a shining example of just what can be achieved when folk work together.

So spare a thought for the billions of people all around the world with little prospect of being vaccinated any time soon. Likely their country can’t afford to buy vaccinations. They may live in remote locations. Local health services are already struggling, with large numbers of coronavirus patients and basic – inadequate – equipment.

Please God the rich countries – including the UK – will work together to provide large numbers of vaccines to the rest of the world. Please God organisations such as the WHO will succeed in getting a world-wide vaccination programme up and running soon. The slogan ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’ can sound a bit self-serving. This one might be better, ‘inasmuch as you did it to the least of these you did it to me’.

Michael Docker

Sunday 21st February 2021 – First Sunday in Lent

Join us at 10.30 am to share in this pre-recorded worship service.

Following the service, grab a drink and stay with us at 11.30–12.30 for an online coffee shop via Zoom.

After starting the video, there will be a full screen button at the top right.

19th February 2021

I know, as a Christian, I should be concerned about climate change, fossils fuels, war and oppression etc but those are “in the large” and I am living “in the small”, particularly at present.

As children, my sister and I used to make fun of the popular Sunday School hymn “Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light” with its iteration of “You in your small corner and I in mine”.  Life does feel a bit like that at present. (In fact, she quoted it in a recent phone call.)

George Herbert’s hymn is a help with “living in the small”.

Teach me my God and King

In all things thee to see

And what I do in anything

To do it as for thee.

A servant with this clause

Makes drudgery divine;

Who sweeps a room as for thy sake

Makes that and the action fine.

A Bolton couple, David and Christine Bagley were awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours for their work in the first lockdown. Their Christian charity, Urban Outreach, provided thousands of meals in school holidays, 1,200 Christmas hampers and had rounded up all 125,000 frozen first-class meals stuck at Manchester airport to distribute to those needing help. In an interview David Bagley said, “The one thing coming out of this is people pulling together. Even if you have only one thing to give, it’s added to someone else’s one thing and together we have an abundance”.

Margaret Clements

17th February 2021

Today we have the second of a two-part reflection on the Lord’s Prayer. The first part was published on 27th January.

The disciples as God’s children are instructed to address their prayer to their Heavenly Father, and the word used here is not a formal title but the form of address used within a family with all that says about affection and dependence, so the whole context of what follows is posed within the confidence of an intimate family circle.

What is not included in the language of the prayer is important: absent is the language of ‘me’ , ‘mine’ and ‘I’ – instead we have ‘us’, ‘ ours’ and ‘we’, so the focus is not on self but on community, on what we share with others.

At the heart of the prayer are the two key words: ‘give’ and ‘forgive’, each of which in their several ways addresses our material and our spiritual needs. The request for giving daily bread acknowledges that our Heavenly Father is the source of all things needed for our everyday welfare, but again we pray such a prayer not for ourselves alone but for all, and in that respect our own actions can be part of the answer to that prayer for others.

The forgiveness of sin is the heart of the gospel which Matthew emphasises after he has spelt out Jesus’ model prayer, by indicating that the receipt of forgiveness brings with it the obligation to forgive those who have injured us. Central to the disciples’ learning to pray is to be able to say ‘We forgive’.

But there is here also the message that we are not only sinners but also ‘the sinned against’, whether by other individuals or by the unjust systems and conflicts that plague a fallen world. By God’s grace both sinners and ‘the sinned-against’ find a place within God’s kingdom.

John Briggs

15th February 2021

Two years ago at worship in Tyndale I told the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, the French village which Margaret and I had visited while on holiday, and which during the German occupation 1940–45 had given refuge to Jewish children in danger from the Nazis. The children lived with local families and were mingled with other children in  school, even though a German garrison was nearby. No-one betrayed them. The area of Le Chambon was, and is, strongly Protestant and many of the children were smuggled to Switzerland for reception by the churches there. In face of endless fear, an amazing story of courage and generosity undergirded by simple but deep Christian faith. Le Chambon is about the only community, as distinct from individuals, to be honoured as “Righteous Among the Gentiles” at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Israel.

It was highlighted again just recently with the news that Erich Schwam, an Austrian Jew whose family had fled to France in hope of escaping the Nazis and who was himself sheltered at Le Chambon, had died on Christmas Day aged 90. He has left a fortune of some 2 million euros to Le Chambon, in gratitude for saving his life and those of so many others in danger. He asked that the fund be used on educational projects for the young.

We may not be heroes like the people of Le Chambon, or as wealthy as Erich Schwam evidently became. But who can calculate what difference it would make if, for the benefit of the next generation, we were each generous in proportion to kindnesses we have received?

Keith Clements

Sunday 14th February 2021

Join us at 10.30 am to share in this pre-recorded worship service.

Following the service, grab a drink and stay with us at 11.30–12.30 for an online coffee shop via Zoom.

After starting the video, there will be a full screen button at the top right.