Tyndale Baptist Church is open for worship on Sundays at 10.30 am

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Continue to join us online for Morning Worship streamed 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.

The Three Engineers

John Briggs’ experience with his computer (Thought for the Day, 23rd September) reminded me of the story of the three engineers:

There were three engineers in a car which had broken down. The mechanical engineer said it was the transmission, so got a spanner and crawled about underneath doing things. It still wouldn’t go. ‘No’, said the electrical engineer, ‘it’s the ignition’. So he opened the bonnet and did things with a screwdriver. It still didn’t go. The computer engineer said ‘everybody get out’. So they did. ‘Now get back in’. They did and the car immediately started!

David T Roberts

23rd September 2020

It happened last week – we lost connection with the Internet. Alexa blushed red and said she could not connect, the computer said the same thing, and our ever-watchful IT son said the security cameras had failed. Panic, crisis – what were we to do. Without internet how could I get my Thought for the Day to the Tyndale website? Loss of connection presented a crisis underlining how almost every aspect of modern life is technology dependent. However after turning the computer off and unplugging the Modem and then restarting everything, the green light shone and we were connected once more.

Could this be a modern parable of gospel truth? All around us are signs that we live in a non-functional, disconnected world, far distant from God’s good creation – climate crisis, especially in Siberia, ethnic conflict, spreading virus, family life at risk, political confusion and more – all disconnected. At the same time we suffer from a profound sense of a loss of that vital God-dependency. Computers seem more important than faith.

But the essence of the New Testament message is that, because of Christ’s costly sacrifice, connections have been re-established – both with God and one another, as St Paul claims in Ephesians 2, 12-18. Barriers have come down: God’s Shalom is once more available to all – we have ready access to God in prayer and worship, and to one another in sympathy, understanding and service, thereby fulfilling Jesus’ summary of the demands of the law – love of God and love of neighbour, and I guess that that is what ‘Open to God Open for all’ is all about.

John Briggs

21st September 2020

One of the books I’ve been reading recently is Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year. Although technically fiction, as a child in London, Defoe had witnessed the devastating effects of the plague in 1665. The following year came the Great Fire of London which in popular thinking served to eradicate any vestiges of plague in the city. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Bubonic Plague had been around since the 1340s, spreading from the Far East, arriving in England in 1348/49. Referred to as the Black Death because of the black ‘buboes’ or swellings that developed on the bodies of victims, across Europe it killed between one-half and two-thirds of the population. As many as 50 million may have died world-wide. Outbreaks of bubonic plague across the world have continued until about a century ago.

In England the Black Death ended medieval serfdom, which had locked the poorest in society in subservience to the local lord, whose land the serfs worked, and whose permission they had to have to marry. Previously they were not allowed to move away from town or village, but after the Black Death, there were not enough serfs to work the land. They could now demand payment from landowners for doing what before they had had to do for free. And they could move around the country to wherever their labour was needed. This kick-started the development of a growing merchant middle class which by the time of Elizabeth I two centuries later had completely transformed English society.

It may even be centuries before it becomes clear how Covid 19 changed society.

David Bell

Sunday 20th September

Join us LIVE for a streaming service via Zoom at 10.30 am – check your email or contact us for the details.

Following the service, grab a drink and stay with us at 11.30–12.00 for an online coffee shop via Zoom.

[4 pm] Updated with a recording of this morning’s live service:

18th September 2020

Vaccines. Clearly the hope for a vaccine, that can protect against coronavirus and make it possible for the world to return to some semblance of normality, is very strong.

Not everyone thinks so, however. Some ‘anti-vaxxers’ oppose anything that a government might impose.  They seem to imagine that along with the vaccine we might be injected with something that will put us involuntarily in the hands of powerful corporations or individuals.

There’s a less extreme ‘anti’ response to vaccination, born of a growing sense of distrust. The jury’s still out on Russia’s vaccine – how effective is it? How widely has it been tested? Donald Trump hints that the US will have a vaccine before election day, but a growing number of far-from-extreme US citizens who are suspicious of his motives say they won’t use it.

We’re left to listen to what we consider to be the most reliable voices, to decide how much we are prepared to trust scientists, politicians, journalists – whoever.

This much is true – you don’t need to be very medically clued in to understand it – a vaccine needs to be given to lots of people to work and there are real issues about who gets one and how and to whom it will be distributed – and how it’s all going to be paid for.

Maybe in the end a vaccine will be developed. But we will still be living in a world where some have more than enough and others have hardly anything. Who will save us…?

Michael Docker

16th September 2020

The ‘rules-based international order’ is under stress. Uighur and Rohingya folk know this, as do Novichok victims and political prisoners, victims of cross-border drone attacks and various beleaguered populations. Whales in the Southern Ocean, elephants in Africa and folk drinking poisoned water in Asia and the Americas know as well. Asylum seekers wish the order was stronger.

The rules are probably being bent often by money-launderers, people-traffickers and criminals; it’s a constant battle by governments, police forces and UN agencies to enforce the rules. No doubt some rules are badly written, in need of reform.

But the idea is simple enough – everyone, everywhere, should be subject to the same rules. It’s been a long time coming, this order. Over long centuries kingdoms and empires have fought, expanded and declined. Wars have been fought. Religions have clashed and ideas have grown, been debated, shared.

Some Christian groups are worried about the rules-based international order. They see it leading to world government, fear all-powerful dictatorship and the ‘anti-Christ’; in New Testament times the power of Rome was international, and imposed a kind of order, even if the rules lacked compassion. Some nationalists are also suspicious of it.

Yet, arguably, in a world of instant communication and money-flow, out-of-control viruses, international criminal networks and an increasing divide between the haves and the have-nots, order that is truly international and based on rules that have emerged after centuries, alone has the potential to make the whole world more, not less, like God’s kingdom.

Michael Docker

14th September 2020

New restrictions come into force from today, with slight variations across the United Kingdom. The hope must be that by following them Covid 19 will be reduced in scope and effect over the coming weeks, to ease the passage through the winter months.

It is difficult, though. This has all been going on for a long time. Talk is of ‘Covid fatigue’ and the effects on the economy, mental and physical health and social well-being is already evident.

We live in what has for a long time been known as a ‘free country’. Probably, one imagines, citizens of the old Soviet Union, as well as today’s North Korea, would be much better able to live with these restrictions. They are, presumably, not much worse than what they are, or were, already used to.

At the height of the USSR’s power its leaders would often trumpet its success by pointing to full employment and more-than-adequate housing. The model was attractive to some in the West who saw our freedom as – one phrase used at the time was ‘freedom to be unemployed’.

Later it became clear that the success of the Soviet economy was a myth and our freedoms were not to be taken for granted. Now? Frankly no one knows what happens when a free society introduces restrictions (beyond what’s previously been accepted to keep order). Freedom, though, in Christian terms, isn’t so much the freedom to have or get, or do what you want. It’s the freedom to give.

Michael Docker

Sunday 13th September 2020

Join us LIVE for a streaming service via Zoom at 10.30 am – check your email or contact us for the details.

Following the service, grab a drink and stay with us at 11.30–12.00 for an online coffee shop via Zoom.

[14:25] Updated with a recording of this morning’s live service:

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

Sunday 6th September 2020

[4.30 pm] Updated with a recording of this morning’s live service (you can still get the pre-recorded version here).

Join us LIVE for a streaming service via Zoom at 10.30 am – check your email for the details.

Or join us here at 10.30 am to share in this pre-recorded worship service (the content will be the same as the live stream).

Following the service, grab a drink and join us at 11.30–12.00 for an online coffee shop – check your email for joining instructions.

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

2nd September 2020

We don’t care much about things until they hit home. I viewed deaths due to the current pandemic with only mild concern, until I found out about the death of one of my lecturers from my student days, John Horton Conway.

On a larger scale, when I was setting my part of the Love The Earth Quiz, it struck me that it is impossible to know as much, or care as much, as we ‘should’ about other countries because our brains aren’t big enough to hold all the information, and our hearts aren’t big enough to hold all the emotion. Yet countries need to care about each other to solve the world-wide problems we face today: pandemics, climate change, pollution, recycling, energy, ecology, overpopulation, global poverty, international aid, human rights, exploitation, the possible future risks of biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, or whatever concerns you.

Tshering Tobgay, ex prime minister of Bhutan, has given Ted talks on Gross National Happiness and Climate Change. In the second, he says he didn’t care much about other countries until he realised his own country faced related problems.

So how do we get our country to care more about other countries? The answer is through public opinion which, fortunately, our governments do eventually respond to. Our part is to contribute, in any small ways we can, to public opinion. So we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a wide-ranging chat.

Ian Holyer