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WE REMAIN CLOSED DUE TO THE CURRENT LOCKDOWN BUT ARE CARRYING OUT REGULAR ACTIVITIES ONLINE – SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS:

FORTHCOMING CHURCH ANNIVERSARY – SUNDAY 10TH MAY

We will be having a Zoom Sunday morning service, with a guest preacher, plus our minister David leading the worship. Please join us if you can! The Zoom meeting ID is:

419 995 7903

27.4.2020

We are now having weekly online catch-ups via Zoom on Saturdays at 11am. Please join us if you can (see meeting ID above).

If you are not on our email list and would like to be added so you can get regular updates and invites, please email our church secretary Linden Hale at:

acbc.churchsecretary@gmail.com

7.4.2020

This coming Good Friday, 10th April, we will be holding our first online ‘Zoom’ service at 10am. This will be a Meditation led by our minister David including visual slides, readings and prayers. All on our email list will receive an invitation to join the service.

1.4.2020 – Prayer Broadcasts

The Baptist Union is offering a time of prayer online every Wednesday and Sunday evening at 7pm.  Please follow the link  below to connect with the latest prayer time or to listen to previous prayer broadcasts:

https://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/338268/Prayer_broadcasts.aspx

29.3.2020

Please watch this wonderful inspiring video, sent out this week by one of our regional ministers – Colin Pye:

29.3.2020

Please click on this link to view our most recent church service slides, notice sheets and any other currently circulating documents:

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1UdrytxYIJd4TsrpA–3M8F4oUAx0z0Zv

If you wish to be added to our email distribution list, to receive regular weekly updates, please email our church secretary Linden at:

acbc.churchsecretary@gmail.com

21.3.2020

A prayer received yesterday from Lesley:
“As we face the first week of social distancing brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, and the prospect of not meeting as your gathered church for some weeks to come help us to be sensible in keeping to the advice of our government and to maintain the connections with each other as best we can through the advances offered by modern technology. We trust that with your grace supporting us, we shall get through this difficult time and come through restored to face the new challenges that will emerge. We lay our prayers and ourselves humbly before you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Secondly, a quote received this morning from Rev. Ted Hale:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better – whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finally a few bible verses for you all from John 14:8-10:
“…8. Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 9. Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works.…”
These are indeed challenging times for all of us and it is times like these when we should hold fast to our faith and remember that in Jesus we have seen the true living example of God’s real nature. Let’s all pray for each other to keep safe, healthy and to pull together in fellowship in the weeks and months to come.

17.3.2020 – CORONA VIRUS UPDATE – Please read

To the church members and congregation

Following the most recent advice from our government and in the light of the Baptist Union’s advice today, to suspend all services, the deacons (trustees) have reluctantly taken the decision to suspend all church services and gatherings (including bible studies, prayer meetings and Lent groups) for the next three weeks, in the hope that we might be able to meet again on Easter Sunday to celebrate God’s gift of life out of death.

During this difficult period, we have asked our pastoral team to keep in touch with everybody by phone or email on a weekly basis. We will be producing a weekly notice sheet which will have some prayers, bible readings and thoughts to encourage us all spiritually at this time; the outline of the Sunday worship service will also be available as a PowerPoint document, these will be available to anyone whose email address we have and for those we don’t we will attempt to deliver them by hand to your home address. They will also be posted on our website. David will continue to be available in the office, every Monday morning from 9.00am to 12.00 noon. For anybody who really feels the need for someone to talk to, either in person or by phone (07519 164690 or 01604 265090)

We intend to keep the Abbey Centre open until we are told to close. However, we are asking all of our users in the strongest terms to observe as best they can all current advice from government. So, users mainly working with children should keep to guidelines issued to schools and colleges. Other users should seek to restrict or suspend unnecessary social gatherings and in particular those who have members who fall in the categories defined as being at risk (e.g. over 70s or with underlying health concerns) should be encouraged not to attend and to voluntarily practise social distancing.

With God’s strength we will see this crisis through and come out of it the stronger. May the God who is love everlasting, and whom we acknowledge as creating, redeeming and sustaining this world bless you all at this difficult time.

Prayers

  1. Reflecting on the world-wide situation

Let’s continue to pray for all our sisters and brothers across the world who have been, and are continuing to be, affected by COVID-19.  We pray that all will know God’s overwhelming, steadfast love.

Pray for the countries currently suffering from the greatest outbreaks:

  • China
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • USA

Psalm 46

  1. We pray for those who are particularly fearful at the moment.

Pray for those in our communities who may feel vulnerable and scared.

Pray that the love of God might be their peace.  That they may know that even in the darkest times God’s love brings hope.

Psalm 23

  1. We pray for the most vulnerable and isolated in our neighbourhoods.

Pray for those who are currently self-isolating in our neighbourhoods.

Pray for older people who are concerned about shopping, regular hospital appointments and general day to day contact with other people.

Bring to God the regular activities for older and more vulnerable people provided by our churches.  Pray for wisdom for church leaders to know how to keep people connected and safe.

John 14:27

  1. We pray for the medical staff on the frontline of care, we pray that they will be sustained physically, emotionally and spiritually in the coming weeks.

Pray for medics in our own congregations.

We pray that God will be their shield and their strength.

We pray for wisdom and insight as to how to support those in our congregations and communities involved in frontline care.

Isaiah 40:28-31

  1. Pray for our world leaders and for the leaders in our own country that they will seek the wisdom of God as they make decisions over the coming days.

Pray for physical strength for our leaders

  1. We pray for all those leading the scientific response to COVID-19 across the world.

Pray for the scientists from across the globe as they look for ways to alleviate symptoms and as they seek a vaccine for the future.

  1. Pray for all God’s people in this time of uncertainty and concern. That our eternal hope would make an earthly difference.

Pray for a sense of calm and clarity as well as strength to face what is ahead. That Christians will be ‘beacons of hope’ and ‘carriers of the message of peace’ at this time.

  1. Pray for the work of BMS overseas

Pray for BMS Personnel overseas, our partners and local communities, especially those who are living in countries where the health services and infrastructure might not be adequate to protect a global pandemic.

Pray that God will use His servants to accompany people pastorally and missionally through this valley of uncertainty, fear and even potential death. May we be a people of Hope in encouraging others in the face of crisis to lean on God’s sustaining presence and unfailing providence.

  1. We pray for others in all parts of our world who daily face the uncertainty of life.

We pray for those caught in war

We pray for those who face hunger today

We pray for those struggling with sickness and ill health because of other diseases, such as malaria.

We acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty in and through all things and pray using the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,  and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NRSV)

15.3.2020 – CORONA VIRUS ACTIONS – Please read

Following guidelines received from the Baptist Union (13.3.2020 https://www.baptist.org.uk/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=568780 ) and after lengthy discussions, it was agreed at today’s church member’s meeting to take the following actions:

  • Sunday services will continue as usual until further notice
  • Anybody who feels ill or has any symptoms of a cold or flu-like virus should not attend church or any other activities and should self-isolate at home as per govt. guidelines.
  • Nobody should feel stigmatised for not attending services. Many of our regular congregation are in the ‘vulnerable’ category and it is completely understandable and sensible to stay at home if people are in any way concerned
  • Communion bread will be served in separated cups or spaced out on trays – to avoid any cross-contamination. Wine will be served in individual cups as usual
  • Deacons preparing communion will do so wearing protective gloves and will follow all hygiene guidelines
  • Bibles and hymn books will not be used until further notice. All scripture readings and song lyrics will be displayed on the chapel screens
  • Tea/coffee will not be served after worship until further notice
  • No further church meals will be organised until further notice – the planned Easter morning early breakfast is cancelled
  • Several regular church activities will also be cancelled until further notice – Monday lunch club, Wednesday Mums and Tots, Friday Well-being sessions
  • Anybody who is not able to attend church but wishes to continue to make their financial offering should contact our treasurer Karen for the church’s bank details as donations can be made directly online: please email your request to: acbc.nton.treasurer@gmail.com
  • Paper copies of newsletters and weekly notice sheets will continue to be produced. Monthly newsletters are also available to view on this website here: http://www.abbeycentre.org.uk/the-church-2/newsletters/
  • Weekly notice sheets will not be handed out on Sunday mornings but will be available for individuals to take as they enter the chapel
  • Anybody who is unable to attend church for any reason should contact the minister or a member of the pastoral care team. The members of the pastoral care team will endeavour to keep in regular phone contact with these people.
  • Sunday services will be recorded as often as possible and will be available to listen to via this webpage: http://www.abbeycentre.org.uk/morning-service-recordings/

2020 Lent Course – outline (click on the link below for details)

Lent course outline 2020

February-March-April 2020 – Something to do each day of Lent 

BLESSED ARE THOSE:   UPSIDE DOWN VALUES 

We reflect the Lent Course theme of ‘Upside down values’ based on the beatitudes – Jesus’s statements about what can really make us happy.  

The suggestions for something to do each day in Lent are ordered in relation to the Lent course (not the order the statements appear in Matthew).  

Ash Wednesday 26th February Come to service to commit yourself to the keeping of a holy Lent 
Thursday 27th February Read the Beatitudes (Beatitudes linked here NRSV)   or here (Good News – ‘happy’) 
Friday 28th February Take yourself away from crowd today and think about God’s recipe for happiness 
Saturday 29th February  It’s an extra day!  Make someone happy with a call, a postcard or a (proper) email.  
Sunday 1st March Consider God’s blessings on you through your life and give thanks for all that has made you happy 
Monday 2nd March Make something for someone else – a card, a cake, a gadget
Tuesday 3rd March Write to a member of your family (or all of them!) whether they are in your house or not –a postcard or letter to tell them how much you appreciate them
Blessed are those who are spiritually poor For theirs is the kingdom of heaven .
Wednesday 4th March Read a psalm, slowly and deliberately, applying it to yourself.  
Thursday 5th March Read a Christian book or website about being ‘poor in spirit’
Here are some suggestions  here                here  
Friday 6th March Give something away – a lunch, a cake,  some money – to help make someone else happy
Saturday 7th March Make your community more like the ‘kingdom of heaven’.  Pick up some litter, cut back the hedge, buy everyone in the café a cake. 
Blessed are the meek – the humble- For they will inherit the earth
Sunday 8th March Speak to someone in church today who doesn’t get much attention (maybe a child).  Spend some time listening. 
Monday 9th March Find a chore or task which no-one else wants to do and do it without it being obvious 
Tuesday 10th March  Look after the earth today – growing in your street or community and help – take off dead leaves, water it, prune it or whatever 
Blessed are the pure in heart – For they shall see God
Wednesday    11th March Remember something you’ve done which you know is not helpful. Say sorry to someone  
Thursday   12th March  Clean something which needs cleaning, and think while doing it about how to clean yourself 
Friday     13th March  Turn off a screen/phone/tv and contemplate God for an hour/the evening instead (perhaps in other people) 
Saturday    14th March Pray the Jesus Prayer, every time you get five minutes today, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.
Blessed are those who mourn – For they shall be comforted
Sunday    15th March    Remember someone who has lost someone important to them –a person who has died, children with whom they are not in contact, through divorce, or through changing health.  Contact them today 
Monday    16th March  Pray for those who have lost homes, livelihoods, families, to conflict and those who live as refugees.  Give some money to Christian Aid, CAFOD, or another charity 
Tuesday   17th March  Pray ‘O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, you are in all places and you fill all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and make your home with us, cleanse us from impurity and save us’ 
Blessed are the peacemakers – For they shall be called the children of God
Wednesday    18th March  Smile at someone today – where you wouldn’t usually.  If you can, do something kind for someone you find difficult.  
Thursday   19th March  Find something in your home which could be mended and either mend it or ask someone to mend it for you
Friday    20th March  Invite someone to share in a meal or a cup of tea in your home.  Or accept an invitation!
Saturday  21st  March  Pray for our children’s groups – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Toddlers, Junior Church.  Pray for strength and faith for these young people.  
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness – For they shall be filled
Sunday   22nd March  Write a letter to your MP (find contact from this page) about a social justice issue 
Monday   23rd March  Put a pot aside and put 10p in for all the cups of tea/coffee you have today and give to a charity for the homeless (can you keep it up till Easter?)
Tuesday   24th March  Get up five minutes earlier or stay up five minutes later, and give this time to praying 
Wednesday 25th  March  Miss a meal, pray instead
Blessed are the merciful – For they will be shown mercy
Thursday 26th  March  Remember the Good Samaritan: today do something for a charity – give some money, give something to a charity shop, get a collecting jar for your house.  
Friday  27th March Do something for someone else today – pick something up, give a place in the queue, make a cup of tea
Saturday   28th March Put some flowers, or a tree branch, in a vase on put it on your table to remind you of the love and mercy of God

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake – For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Sunday    29th March Look up some information about churches which struggle throughout the world – and pray for them (China, Egypt, Pakistan might be places to consider)  
Monday  30th March Think about a situation about which you should speak up; in your family, your work, our town, our country 
Tuesday   31st March    Build the kingdom of righteousness by setting something right today – saying sorry, mending something broken in your street, talking to someone.  
Wednesday 1st April Do something surprising today – something ‘upside down’ which you might worry otherwise would make you seem foolish! But use it to talk to someone who needs a chat, to build a bridge, to share something, to give something away. 
Thursday  2nd  April Thank God for all you have; home, family, work, health, food, people.  
Friday    3rd  April Take something from your usual shopping (or this week’s shopping) and put in the food bank at church
Saturday   4th April Come and make Palm Crosses at St Benedict’s (10.30 am) or sit by a cross and contemplate the God of Love who was prepared to die 
Sunday     5th April Make a cross out of natural materials (e.g. a couple of twigs) and hang it from your house door 
Monday   6th April Attend at least one extra service this week
Tuesday   7th April Whatever you eat today, buy a box/bag of something similar for the food bank 
Wednesday    8th April Read Psalm 22 and remember the sacrifice God made for you on the cross
Thursday  9th April Jesus waited in the garden; wait in silence on God for a  time you commit beforehand – 5 minutes, half an hour, an hour.  
Friday 10th April  How much would you usually spend on a Friday?  What else can you cut out? Give away all this money to Christian aid.  Then double this – sacrificial giving
Saturday  11th April Put up a flowering branch in water to remind you of new life 
SUNDAY 12th April Celebrate Easter with us and enjoy an Easter egg!

January 2020

At the start of this year we had our covenant service. At this service we look back over the past year, giving thanks for all of God’s blessings and also look forward to the coming year, re-committing ourselves to God’s service. There will be new challenges ahead for the church – as this is the last year of our minister David’s ministry with us, we will have 2 retiring Deacons in May plus our Treasurer Karen will be moving to Cornwall in the summer. So there is lots to pray about but we are confident that God will show us the right way forward, in one way or another. We pray for his guidance and we pray that, in 2020, the Abbey Centre will continue to achieve its purpose  – to serve the social and spiritual needs of people in South Northampton. Amen!

Christmas 2019

Over Christmas we has a wonderful series of events at the Abbey Centre. The chapel hosted a magical evening of singing performed by the kids from MAD Club. We had a couple of services where people shared a wide range of stories about the real meaning of Christmas – one of which was our ‘Carols by Candlelight’ hosted by members of our drama group ACT.  On Christmas eve we shared a ‘hunger lunch’ at noon, giving donations to Christian aid. At midnight on Christmas eve we shared midnight communion and welcomed in Christmas day singing carols. On Christmas day our local hero Pat and her team of helpers fed and entertained a large number of people from the local community who would have otherwise spent their Christmas day alone. We give thanks that Christmas 2019 was one that we will always remember as something special.

Sunday 13th October 2019

This morning we had a visit from our BMS mission worker Claire, who works as a pharmacist in a hospital in one of the world’s poorest countries – Chad. Claire shared with us stories of the great work that she and her colleagues from the BMS are doing in Chad, bringing healthcare to an area where it is desperately needed and also sharing the messages of God’s love, as shown in Jesus, whenever they can. The church supports Claire financially, with our prayers and also by sending her letters, emails and Christmas cards. It was wonderful to meet her in person and hear about her life and work first-hand. Below are the slides she shared with us:

 

Here we have the initial x-rays of 9 year old Mahamat. He was walking along the road when he was hit by a motorbike and he fractured his femur, his upper leg bone, of his left leg.  Surgery for this type of fracture is available at other hospitals in N’Djamena but often the patients have to wait days or weeks for it to happen.  As hospital stays in all hospitals in Chad are charged by the day, this means that patients rack up large bills even before they have their surgery (and the associated cost with that).  It also means a lot of discomfort for the patient and worry for the patient and their relatives.

Fortunately though, Mht’s father had heard of Guinebor Hospital and so he was brought to us.  They were met with a kind and loving welcome and Mht’s leg was operated on within days of his arrival.  Kalbassou, our Cameroonian nurse-surgeon, does the vast majority of our orthopaedic surgery.  He operated on Mht’s leg and inserted a metal rod.  Staff offered to pray with Mht and his father.  They experienced Christ’s love through the work of Guinebor Hospital.

So here we have the post-op xray of Mht’s leg, showing the metal rod that was inserted.  It shows good bone alignment and Mht’s bones should heal well with this rod in place.  He’ll walk with crutches for a few months, have another xray and if the bone is healing well, the road will be taken out. Mht’s story is just one of hundreds that I could have told you of the kind of people that pass through the doors of Guinebor Hospital. 

So why send a pharmacist to Chad?! There’s an absence of pharmacist training in Chad (no university, all pharmacists are trained outside the country and some don’t return). Also, the broad leadership skills and attention to detail that are inherent in most pharmacists trained in the UK can add capacity to the hospital management team of which I am a part.

In the background of all the surgical and medical care provided by the doctors and nurses there are many other areas of the hospital, largely unseen, without which the hosp wouldn’t function. Trying to keep on top of the demands for medicines and medical supplies (such as sutures for the operating theatre, plaster of Paris for all the broken bones as a result of motorbike accidents, cannulas, urinary catheters, IV giving sets) is a full time job in itself, let alone making sure that each area of the hospital has enough supplies given to them for their day-to-day work and dispensing all the prescriptions for the day patients and those patients being discharged from the inpatient area.

Supply chains for medicines in Chad are weak, but I like to buy as much as I can in country to support the local economy rather than importing lots from the UK or USA. We can usually find everything we need in Ndjamena but it takes a lot of work and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to collect supplies (only one of our suppliers delivers and that’s the most expensive supplier).

1 pharmacist, 6 assistants, 24/7 service.

Here’s a selfie taken with my pharmacy colleagues, in the remodelled pharmacy!  One person was missing as she was off sick at the time.  Those of you who have followed my time at Guinebor closely will notice the increase in pharmacy staff.  As of last October, the pharmacy is now open 24/7.  So we therefore had to have more staff!  Please pray for Audrey, the Chadian head of pharmacy (guy in navy at the back looking serious) and me as we train these new staff.  It’s a long process and obviously an important one.

So, without a well stocked pharmacy, we wouldn’t be able to accurately and easily treat the hundreds of patients who come through the doors every month.  An example of a patient who was treated at Guinebor with the latest recommended treatment, that’s not easy to find in Chad, was Moussa

Here we have 3 year old Moussa with his father.  Moussa came to hospital semi-comatose, with a fever, vomiting and no appetite.  He had a low haemoglobin and his malaria test was positive.  Moussa was treated with first-line IV anti-malarial drugs, painkillers and he also had a blood transfusion.  This photo shows Moussa on day 3 of his hospital stay.  He had responded well to the IV malaria treatment, was alert, his Hb had increased and he was eating and drinking small amounts regularly.  He was converted over to oral treatment for his malaria and the photo shows Yangue the nurse taking out the IV cannula that was in his foot.  Removing the cannula is always a happy occasion as it means no more injections and also signals that the patient is getting better! Moussa was brought to Guinebor because he doesn’t live very far away.  It’s great that there are a lot of people living close by the hospital who can benefit from its services.  Local people use the hospital but many travel large distances to have treatment there because of its good reputation.

  • I’d just like to touch on the spiritual health aspects of the work at G2
  • The hospital really is a light in the spiritual darkness
  • The need for Christian outreach is huge in Chad
  • Guinebor II Hospital is one of only 3 overtly Christian hospitals in all of N’Djamena and it’s the only protestant one
  • Guinebor II is a Muslim dominant suburb of Ndjamena – 5 mosques in a mile radius, nearest church is 5 miles away
  • It’s the work of all Christian staff at the hospital to show Christ’s love to our patients and demonstrate our faith in a practical way
  • However for Million and Bizuneh, Ethiopian mission workers who are both pastors, this goes a step further and it’s their full time jobs. This work includes:
  • Visits to patients at home
  • Speaking with patients on wards and answers questions
  • Showing Jesus film and other pertinent films in caregiver village next to hospital
  • Bibles and SD cards to give away

Top left – Spears family arriving January 2020 – Tom is a GP, Mel a public health specialist. Top right – Shrubsole family arriving January 2020 – Gareth is a project manager and will be great asset in the day to day management of G2, Bethan is a music and art therapist, will work with another project in N’Djamena. Bottom – Brian and Jackie Chilvers arriving Sept 2020 – both nurses

Sunday 29th September 2019 

This morning we had our Harvest Sunday service. We gave thanks for all of the food and drink that we enjoy on a daily basis and we remembered and prayed for those people, all over the world, who are hungry – particularly focusing on people in rural parts of Nepal, who are being helped to develop clean water supplies and sustainable means of food production by Operation Agri. We watched this video:

Members of the church brought offerings of food to the service, which were then donated to one of our local food banks.

This was our communion prayer:

Father God we thank you for all the wonders of nature that you have given us on this beautiful planet that we inhabit. We live in a world of plenty and for that we are very grateful. We thank you that you continue to give us our daily bread, we thank you for all of the wonderful variety of food and drink available to us. We thank you for plants, animals, for sunshine, for rain and for the earth itself – which is like a mother to us, nourishing us and holding us in its arms.

We thank you for all of the people involved in producing our food and for all of the many hands that have taken part in getting our food and drink to us.

Dostoyevsky once said  “to want bread for yourself is a physical need, to want bread for your brother is a spiritual need”. We also thank you today for all of those people who have felt and responded to your holy spirit by wanting bread for their brothers and sisters and by taking action, not just to feed the hungry but, even more importantly, to help them feed themselves. We thank you for the work of organisations like Operation Agri and many others who selflessly work to eradicate hunger in our world today.

We pray also for anyone who is hungry today and ask for your blessing on them that they might receive not just the food they need but also the spiritual food that will give them real life.

We thank you for the greatest food you have ever given us – your Son Jesus Christ, the “bread of heaven”…. a man, who like the small seed bore a great bounty of fruits throughout the last two thousand years and all across the earth today. We pray that we might be a part of that bounty and that we might all show the fruits of your holy spirit in our own lives.

Finally we thank you for the food and drink on the table before us today – the bread and the wine, the body and blood of your son Jesus, given for us so that we might know you.

Amen