Sharing Our Faith Together

Worship for 31 October 2021

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 31 October 2021

Welcome to our worship today. We join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ from Chellaston and Findern Methodist churches.

Hymn:  To God be the glory

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Prayer of thanksgiving

Loving God, Father of all,
We praise and adore you.
Your love is unending, your mercy limitless,  your power infinite.
You alone give life its full and true direction
You bring good out of evil, life out of death and hope out of despair.
We thank you.

And we thank you Father for the coming of your Son Jesus
For his love for us which took him to the cross and for his death and his rising again
And we thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit who daily strengthens us and guides us. Help us never to take for granted  all the good things that you have given to us
But to live our lives with joy and thankfulness.  Amen

Reading:  Mark 13: 1 – 13 

Introduction to Theme:  The Suffering Church
Today marks the beginning of the week set aside to pray for The Suffering Church.  Jesus talks about the persecution that his followers will face, because of their belief in him – and how family members will turn against one another when one of the family decides to follow Jesus.  Tragically, this is the reality that millions of Christians live with on a daily basis.  

Although it is not widely publicised, Christians are the most persecuted people group in the world.  340 million Christians face physical violence towards themselves or loved ones—or lose their homes and jobs because of their faith in Jesus – that is 1 in 8 of Christians worldwide.  And every 2 hours, a Christian is killed for following Jesus.

Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians (ch 11), that the church of Christ is one body made up of many parts and that if one part suffers, then every part suffers with it – and in Galatians (6:2), Paul urges us to bear one another’s burdens - for in doing so we will fulfil the law of Christ.  

Living in this country, we are privileged to be able to worship in freedom and comfort - so what can we do to help bear the burdens of our Christian brothers and sisters facing discrimination and violence throughout the world?

There are three things that I want to talk about this morning.  The first is this …

Get informed
The British media seem to be ambivalent about the level of Christian persecution throughout the world – so we won’t find information on mainstream TV.  However, we do have the internet and there are a number of charitable organisations that work with persecuted Christians, from which we can find up to date information.  The statistics I quoted earlier come from a charity called “Help the Persecuted”  (

Another good charity is called “Open Doors” (

Open Doors produces the World Watch List, which lists the countries in which Christians are most at risk.  This short video shows the top ten countries that are most dangerous for Christians to live in.

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Also on the Open Doors website is a video that was produced to inform MP’s of the levels of Christian persecution throughout the world and I wanted to share with you today a very interesting section on China.  

There are estimated to be at least 150 million Christians in China and the number is growing all the time.  As a result, the Chinese Communist Party is clamping down on Christians.  New regulations in 2020 gave the Communist Party control over almost every aspect of religious life.  Churches are told to promote socialist policies.  Authorities have removed crosses from churches and ordered that portraits and quotes of President Xi Jinping replace Biblical paintings and bible verses.  House churches have been forcibly closed and leaders and members arrested and imprisoned.  There is increasing electronic surveillance in churches and cash rewards are being given to individuals who inform on house church activities and church pastors.  The situation in China is continually evolving – but it is not looking good for the Christians there.

One of the ways we can help is to keep ourselves informed, so that we are able to speak up on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters.

We’re going to sing again … a song in which we commit ourselves to work alongside those in any kind of need …

Song:  I the Lord of sea and sky

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The second thing we can do is to be generous …


Reading:  Acts 11: 19 – 30 

This reading from Acts introduces us to Barnabas, whose name is commonly translated “Son of Encouragement”.

We are told that because of the persecution of the believers in Jerusalem, those who were scattered took the gospel far and wide to places as far away as Antioch in Northern Syria.  There a great number of Gentiles (non-Jews) turned to the Lord and Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to see what was going on.  When he arrived, he was delighted to see evidence of the grace of God at work and encouraged them all in their faith.  And a great number more turned to the Lord.   Later when the Christians at Antioch heard about a widespread famine that was affecting the church in Judea, they took up an offering and Barnabas was sent to deliver their gifts to their needy brothers in sisters in Christ.

“The Barnabas Fund” is another organisation that supports persecuted Christians. (

The Barnabas Fund is named after Barnabas, because of the encouragement that he brought to the Christians, wherever he went and because of his own generosity.  In Acts 

4: 36, we read that Barnabas was one of the first to sell his land and give the money to the apostles to be shared among all the believers.

Barnabas Fund aims to encourage and support believers through times of discrimination and suffering.  Here is just one example of what they do to support Christian brick-kiln workers in Pakistan …

Video – brick kiln workers (can be found in the videos section below)

Video Resources | Barnabas Fund

The second thing we can all do to support our Christian brothers and sisters is to give.  And there are many ways we can do that, through organisations like Barnabas Fund or Open Doors.

Song:   Brother, sister let me serve you

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The third thing we can do is to pray.

Both Barnabas Fund and Open Doors produce prayer resources, that can be accessed on their websites, focussing on the needs of Christians in particular countries.   “Open Doors” also gives us some general thoughts on how to pray for persecuted Christians.

Firstly, pray that whatever their circumstances God will give persecuted Christians the right words to say.

In Ephesians 6: 19 – 20, Paul asks fellow believers to “Pray for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel”

Secondly, pray that persecuted Christians will find God’s peace and strength when facing threats and intimidation.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9, God says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  We pray that God’s grace may be sufficient for those who are facing danger.

And thirdly, pray that the witness of persecuted Christians will inspire and change those who are trying to harm them.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were praying and singing in prison, when there was a violent earthquake and the doors flew open.  Rather than escape and risk their jailer being put to death, Paul and Silas remained in prison.  The jailer was so moved, that he turned to them and asked, “What can I do to be saved?”  That night the jailer and his whole family were baptised.

We are going to pray now for persecuted Christians living in the top ten countries on the World Watch List.  We are going to use the slides of prayer points created by Open Doors that can be found below.

    Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - World Watch List - Open Doors UK & Ireland

Prayer of Commitment

Merciful God,

We are sorry, that we have not always supported our worldwide Christian family in their time of need.

We pray that you will help us to become better informed,

So that like Barnabas, we can encourage those Christians who are suffering, through our prayers and our generosity.

For we ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen

  The Lord’s Prayer

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, a day when we remember those Christian saints who have endured persecution and hardship and have given their lives in the service of Christ.  So today we are going to finish our service with the hymn, “For all the saints who from their labours rest”

Final Hymn: For all the saints

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The Blessing

May your feet walk in the way of the Lord
May your voice speak the word of the Lord
May your hands serve God in blessing others
May you know the peace of God now and always.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you all evermore.  Amen