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As God’s people we are called to make real the love of Christ.
both for those in the Church and those in the wider Community
In 1662, Parliament passed a law called the Act of Uniformity, which obliged all worship to conform to that practiced by the Church of England. Catholics, Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and members of any independent group of Christians had to change their forms of worship or face prosecution, imprisonment, fines, even execution. They also lost many civil rights, such as the opportunity to practice certain professions or go to University (at that time, just Oxford and Cambridge). They could not build churches. Priests and Pastors could not wear clerical dress. Communion vessels had to be hidden. They had to worship and meet in secret. Some of these faithful congregations are the ancestors of the present-day United Reformed Church.
More than 2,000 ministers, some one-fifth of the clergy refused to ‘conform’ and lost their livings ‘for conscience sake’ to become the first ‘Nonconformists’. Because the Great Ejection happened on St Bartholomew’s Day, it became known as ‘Black Bartholomew’. Nonconforming ministers began to gather their own congregations around them. And so began the early structures of Congregationalism.
To celebrate this anniversary High St will be putting on a number of events including:
Over the weekend of 19/20 May we are holding a flower/art festival in Church. On Saturday the church will be open from 10am – 4pm serving lunch between 12 noon and 2pm. There is a concert in the evening by ‘Variations Choir’. On Sunday we will be open for the flower /art festival from 3pm – 6pm.
On June 23rd, 10am - 3pm, East Area are pleased to present a study day entitled 'Objects Of Faith', led by Rev'd Neil Thorogood (Director of Pastoral Studies, Westminster College).
The cost is £5 (students free). Drinks will be provided but please bring your own lunch.
This is a not to be missed opportunity to learn about about Religion through Art during 350 years of Non Conformity.
Read Lucy's review of the day
On 21st July we are meeting at the Crossways Centre in Yardley Hastings at 2pm, where we plan to walk around the village or to Castle Ashby and then meet back at the Centre for cream teas (being served between 3-5pm). The afternoon will conclude with an act of worship.
There will be activities/games for children & young people and anyone who is unable to join the walk is welcome to sit and relax at the Centre.
We have decided to do a walk in memory of the those who used to walk from Rothwell to Wellingborough for worship each week (some 12 miles across country)!
On 30th September we are holding a special morning service, remembering our history as Congregationalists. To this service we welcome, Rev Dr David Cornick General Secretary, Churches Together in England as our preacher. Later that day swe will be holding ‘Songs of Praise’ service at 3pm in Church, with Hymns from across the 350 years of our heritage. This will be followed by a faith tea in our hall in Salem Lane.