Methodist Covenant Service including Holy Communion – Live Streamed – Sunday, 14 January 2024

Presiding Minister: Revd Dr Margaret Goodall

The Gathering of the Community

Call to Worship

Arise and waken, Children of God!
For our light has come,
and the glory of the Holy One shines out!

Lift up your eyes! Look around you!
The people gather together.
The people of all nations come together to worship God.

You shall see and shall shine with God’s light!
Let us rejoice and praise God,
whose love shines into the world.

Hymn: ‘Lift up your hearts!’

‘Lift up your hearts!’ We lift them, Lord, to thee;
here at thy feet none other may we see:
‘lift up your hearts!’ E’en so, with one accord,
we lift them up, we lift them to the Lord.

Above the level of the former years,
the mire of sin. The slough of guilty fears,
the mist of doubt, the blight of love’s decay,
O Lord of light, lift all our hearts today.

Above the swamps of subterfuge and shame,
the deeds. The thoughts, that honour may not name,
the halting tongue that dares not tell the whole,
O Lord of truth, lift every Christian soul.

Lift every gift that thou thyself hast given:
low lies the best till lifted up to heaven;
low lie the bounding heart, the teeming brain,
till, sent from God, they mount to God again.

Then, as the trumpet-call in after years,
‘lift up your hearts!’ rings pealing in our ears,
still shall those hearts respond with one accord,
‘we lift them up, we lift them to the Lord!’

Montagu Butler (1833–1918)

Prayer of Approach

We gather, O God, in this worship space,
mindful of your presence.
We are here to rejoice as we wait to see your glory.
Help us to proclaim the joy you promise.

In this time of worship, we ask that you bless us
through the inspiration of your Holy Spirit and through the stories of Christ’s ministry among us.

So we pray together:

Eternal God we are listening for your gracious word, made flesh for us in Jesus Christ.
Call us to come and see where he leads, and teach us to believe in his name.
Help us to do as he tells us, so that our lives might be signs of his glory.
We pray this in Jesus’ name.


Ministry of the Word

1 Samuel 3: 1–10

Read by Bob Collard

The Lord calls Samuel

3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ 5 And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’

But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down.

6 Again the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’

‘My son,’ Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

8 A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’

Then Eli realised that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’

Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’


This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Hymn: I, the Lord of sea and sky

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
my hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them,
they turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
my hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide,
till their hearts be satisfied,
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

Dan Schutte (b. 1947)

John 1: 43–51

Read by Rosemary Goldie

Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’

46‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.

‘Come and see,’ said Philip.

47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’

48 ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you.’

49 Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’

50 Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig-tree. You will see greater things than that.’ 51He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd Dr Margaret Goodall


Introduction to the Covenant, and Prayers of Confession

God made a covenant with the people of Israel, calling them to be a holy nation,
chosen to bear witness to his steadfast love by finding delight in the law.

The covenant was renewed in Jesus Christ our Lord, in his life, work, death and resurrection.
In him all people may be set free from sin and its power, and united in love and obedience.

In this covenant God promises us new life in Christ.
For our part we promise to live no longer for ourselves but for God.

We meet, therefore, as generations have met before us,
to renew the covenant which bound them and binds us to God.

Let us then seek forgiveness for the sin by which we have denied God’s claim upon us.

Let us pray:

God of mercy, hear us as we confess our sins.
For the sin that has made us slow to learn from Christ, reluctant to follow him,
and afraid to bear the cross:

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, forgive.

For the sin that has caused the poverty of our worship,
the formality and selfishness of our prayers,
our neglect of fellowship and the means of grace,
and our hesitating witness for Christ:

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, forgive.

For the sin that has led us to misuse your gifts,
evade our responsibilities,
and fail to be good stewards of your creation.

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, forgive.

For the sin that has made us unwilling to overcome evil with good,
tolerant of injustice, quick to condemn, and selfish in sharing your love with others:

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, forgive.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your constant love;
in the fullness of your mercy, blot out my offences and cleanse me from my sins.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Givemethe joy of your help again and strengthen me with a willing spirit.

Assurance of Pardon

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,
and will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Therefore, to all who truly repent this is God’s gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’


Thanks be to God.

The Covenant

[We stand for the Covenant.]

Sisters and brothers in Christ, let us again accept our place within this covenant
which God has made with us and with all who are called to be Christ’s disciples.

This means that, by the help of the Holy Spirit, we accept God’s purpose for us,
and the call to love and serve God in all our life and work.

Christ has many services to be done: some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both;
in some we may please Christ and please ourselves;
in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.

Therefore, let us make this covenant of God our own.
Let us give ourselves to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.

Eternal God, in your faithful and enduring love
you call us to share in your gracious covenant in Jesus Christ.
In obedience we hear and accept your commands;
in love we seek to do your perfect will; with joy we offer ourselves anew to you.
We are no longer our own but yours.

I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
wherever you may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me and when there is none;
when I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded;
when I find fulfillment and when it is lacking;
when I have all things and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all that I have and am to serve you, as and where you choose.

Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.


Prayers of Intercession

As we have entered this covenant not for ourselves alone, but as God’s servants and witnesses,
let us pray for the Church and for the world.

Loving God, hear us as we pray for your holy catholic Church:
make us all one, that the world may believe.

Inspire and lead all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world:
establish justice and peace among all people.

Have compassion on all who suffer from any sickness, grief or trouble:
deliver them from their distress.

We praise you for all your saints who have entered your eternal glory:
bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Lord our God, you have helped us by your grace to make these prayers,
and you have promised through Christ our Lord
that when two or three agree in his name you will grant what they ask.
Answer now your servants’ prayers according to their needs.
In this world grant that we may truly know you,
and in the world to come graciously give us eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Peace

The Lord has made an everlasting covenant of peace with his people.

The peace of the Lord be always with you,
and also with you.

Greet one another in the name of Christ.


The Offering

Hymn: Just as I am

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou biddst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fighting within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am (thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down),
now, to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am, of that free love
the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Charlotte Elliott (1789–1871)

The Thanksgiving

Lord and giver of every good thing, we bring you bread and wine for our Communion,
our gifts and our lives for your Kingdom
Transform them by your grace and love, made known to us in Christ Jesus our Saviour.


God is here.
His Spirit is with us

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Loving God, you made this wonderful world for us to enjoy.
You made your people to live for you and for one another.
You gave us Jesus to be our friend and bring us closer to you.
He died on a cross but you raised him to life, to live with us for ever.
You send us your Spirit, and you bring us to this table so that we can share your love.
For all your goodness we give you thanks, and together we give you praise, saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Praise be to you O Lord

We gather at this table to remember that on the night before he died,
Jesus had a meal with his friends.

He took a loaf of bread. After blessing it he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
‘Take, eat. This is my body, give for you.
Each time you do this remember me.’

Then Jesus also took the cup.
After giving thanks he passed it to his friends saying:
‘Drink. This cup, poured out for you is the promise of God’s love.
Whenever you drink it, remember me.’

So remembering Jesus’ death and celebrating his resurrection, we pray:

Lord of all life,
help us to be your true disciples
and work together for the day when your Kingdom comes
and justice, peace and mercy are seen in all the world.

Now send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon what we do here.
That we and these gifts, touched by your Spirit,
may be signs of life and love to one another and the world.

Blessing and honour and glory and power be yours, O Lord, for ever and ever.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


The Breaking of Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

The Sharing of the Bread and Wine

Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life.
Those who come to me shall not hunger and those who believe in me shall never thirst.’
Draw near with faith.

Prayer after Communion

Let us pray:

We thank you Lord,
that you have fed us in this sacrament, united us with Christ
and given us a taste of the heavenly banquet prepared for all people.


Closing Prayers

Beloved, we have heard and trusted in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Go now into the world to do and see still greater things,
to open heaven upon earth and to bear witness to eternal life today.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit



Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 18–25 January 2024

Go and Do Likewise (Luke 10: 27)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Thursday (18 January 2024).  Churches Together in Milton Keynes (CTMK) has organised a wide-ranging and interesting programme of events

Annual Gathering of Churches Together in Milton Keynes

7.30 pm Thursday 18 January 2024 at Christ Church Stantonbury MK14 6BN

With Rt Revd David Oakley, Bishop of Northampton. Including a review of the first year of CTMK; looking ahead for the coming year; ‘Thinking Mission’ working with others on our mission priorities, including poverty, climate justice and refugees; music from One Voice.

Working Together

7.30 pm Friday 19 January 2024
at the Oak Tree Centre, Wallinger Drive, Shenley Brook End MK5 7GZ

An evening service with Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, Revd George Mwaura and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

A Just City – Workshop on Social Justice in Milton Keynes

1.00–3.30 pm Saturday, 20 January 2024 at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone

There will be broadly three parts: Keynote speech from Dr Chris Shannahan, Coventry University; Small-group discussions; Brief presentations on means of tackling the issues. Register at:

Handel’s Messiah

7.30 pm Sunday, 21 January 2024 at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone

Performed by Cornerstone Chamber Choir, Orchestra and soloists. Performance in aid of Ukraine Appeal and MK Money Lifeline. Tickets £20 & £16 (under 18s £2).

Love Your Neighbour

7.30 pm Monday, 22 January 2024 at the Milton Keynes Salvation Army Centre MK14 7BA

With Revd Geoffrey Clarke, Moderator of URC East Midland Synod, and Roman Catholic choirs.

God’s World

7.30 pm Wednesday 24 January 2024 at Whaddon Way Church MK3 7JS

A special service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with Dr Anna Krauß, President of the Fourth Presidency Group of Churches Together in England and music by Rehoboth PEFA Church.

For more information about any of these events visit the Churches Together in Milton Keynes website at:

MK Climate Action Network Workshop

1.45 – 5.00 pm, Sunday 28 January at Cornerstone

Milton Keynes Climate Action Network are hosting a workshop about how we can unify our climate action voices and make Milton Keynes a thriving, greener city. Currently there is an opportunity for us to have our voices heard and influence the Carbon and Climate Study and the MK New City Plan, specifically in the areas of: buildings, transport and biodiversity. Please come and make your views known. Register at: For more information please contact Stuart Kean.

Stuart Kean

Hymn: O thou who camest from above

O thou who camest from above
the fire celestial to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love
on the mean altar if my heart!

There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and, trembling, to its source return
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire
and still stir up the gift in me.

Still let me prove thy perfect will,
my acts of faith, and love repeat;
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)


The blessing of God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you for ever.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ,