The Amazing Gift at the Heart of Christmas

Our families, if we are fortunate enough to have them, are a special part of our celebrations at this time of year. We look forward to gathering together to catch up with those we rarely see. We enjoy our Christmas dinner and  exchanging presents. It’s a time when we can all get caught up in the hype that starts months before in September. Our supermarkets tempt us with cut price offers of boxes of sweets, biscuits and chocolates. Christmas puddings, cakes and mince pies make their appearance by early October! We look forward to giving and receiving gifts.

How many people in our increasingly Godless and materialistic  society will spare a thought for the birth of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), in Bethlehem? Almighty God, in His love for humankind, sent us all a marvellous present, the gift of His Only Son, the pathway to salvation for those who trust in Jesus and in God, his Father.

The story is simple. God chose Mary, a virgin, to be the mother of His beloved Son. The angel Gabriel was sent to tell Mary. “ And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,  for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-33,35)

And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of his ancestor King David, as foretold by the prophet Micah so many years before. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel …” (Micah 5:2)

Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to give us the gift of His Only Beloved Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, born as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told  his disciple Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

The baby born in Bethlehem resisted sin all his life. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life  He is our Saviour and High Priest who, by his death, is the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all who would try to follow his example. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

So, as we look forward to Christmas, we must always remember why Jesus was born and give our grateful thanks to God for His Gift, Jesus the Saviour, who is described by the apostle Paul as “God’s unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

Quotes ESV

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Has God forgotten me?

Have we ever felt as if God may have forgotten us? It often happens when we go through a time of trouble that seems to lengthen the longer we put up with it. At those times it seems as if prayers are no longer answered, and positive spiritual thoughts seem to evaporate before they have even been spoken.

When God afflicted his people Israel, they thought he had forgotten them. God reassured them with these words (Isaiah 49: 14-16) “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the LORD has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget the her nursing child that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands …” God will never forget his people Israel, and nor will he forget us.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews encouraged the believers “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He (God) has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Take the example of parents of an adopted child who has gone off the rails. Though he is not their flesh and blood, they still think of him, pray for him, visit him in prison and talk about him. As part of their family, they will never forget him. How much more is that with God?

Those who have been baptised into the saving name of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who try to follow God’s Law, even though they fail at times, are God’s sons and daughters by adoption. (Galatians 3:26-29) “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ … And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

We can never fail to be reminded of important things by marks we see every day on our hands. As children of God, He does not need to be reminded of us. We are written, like the children of Israel, on His hands. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us however hard our lives may be at times.


To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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The Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
(Exodus 20:7)

Many people in UK have heard of the Ten Commandments we find in the Bible. Some of these commandments still remain a basis for many of the laws in this country. “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

But what about the 3rd Commandment? What does it mean? “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
Put very simply it means that God is asking people not to use His Name in a familiar or derogatory way. God tells us plainly that, if we do, we are guilty of causing offence to Him. The LORD wants us to realise that He is our Creator and, because He is, He expects men and women to respect Him.

For those who say that they believe in the God of the Bible and in His Son, Jesus Christ, this command is very important to remember.

We live in a society that has, for the most part, sidelined God and His Son and the laws that they have laid down.

Every day we hear the name of God and His Son used as swear words on our TV and radio programmes. They are misused in books and newspapers. People use them as swear words or as expressions of exasperation and annoyance. It is common to hear very young children misusing God’s name. Celebrities seem to think it makes them look “cool” to swear and blaspheme.

If we profess to follow God and Jesus we must try to show that we do by never ever using their names in this way. We are advised to put away
“… obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Surely the most obscene talk for believers of God and His Son must be to take their names in vain.

Quotes ESV

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

With January nearly over how are our resolutions holding up?

While we might be concentrating on getting fit and losing some extra weight, are we taking care of our mind?

“For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4v8

Keeping our mind healthy and positive can help us when dealing with life’s troubles. It can help us move forward and concentrate on those things which are good and true.

God helps us with this and encourages us to keep our minds fixed on him and the great love that he shows us.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3v2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3v5

God teaches us that by not getting ourselves tangled up in this world and all its values we can be transformed.

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12v2

If we put our trust in God he will strengthen and help us.

“Casting all your care upon God, for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5v7

“God giveth strength to the weary and to them that have no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40v29

“The Lord is my strength and shield, my heart trusts in him and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will Praise him.” Psalm 28v7

By having God as our guide we can think on the positive things of life.

“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy – think on those things.” Philippians 4v8

Quotes King James Version

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The King born in a Manger

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.”

Many of us will remember singing this carol at school Nativity performances.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem. Mary, a virgin, was chosen by God (Luke 1:26-33) to be his Mother, (verse 32, “and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus”). Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and laid Him in an animal feeding trough, a manger. (Luke 2:7)

As soon as Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had promised that He would provide a Saviour who would triumph over sin and death. (Genesis 3:15) Many centuries later the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel …” (Micah 5:2) This prophecy was fulfilled when Mary and Joseph, Mary’s future husband, had to travel to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus ordered that all the Roman world should be registered. (Luke 2:1) And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem was crowded when Mary and Joseph arrived. There was no room at the inn. Tradition presumes that the inn was a hotel. The Greek word translated “inn” (kataluma) could be translated “guest room”. It may be that Jesus may not have been born in a stable but in a room beneath a house that was a night time shelter for the owner’s animals. Luke tells us that angels told shepherds of His birth and they ran to find him. “And the angel said to them, for unto you is born this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Saviour who is Christ the Lord … you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12)

Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to send His Only Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

God has promised all who truly believe that Jesus was born to be our Saviour that He will send Jesus to this earth again. This time He will come, not as Son of Man, but as the triumphant Son of God. He will be the immortal king who will set up His Father’s everlasting Kingdom on earth and reign in righteousness. Those who have believed and followed the laws of God and the teaching of His Beloved Son will be granted everlasting life.

The Ammanford Christadelphians warmly invite everyone to join us at 6pm on Sunday 23rd December to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with a special celebration entitled, “Follow the Star”.

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Loneliness at Christmas

December is almost here and the shops have been promoting Christmas since mid October! It is also appearing in adverts in newspapers, magazines, online and TV.

For most of us it is a happy time spent with families and friends but for some it is the loneliest time of the year. They live alone. Their loved ones may have died or are living far away. They remember the years gone by when they were surrounded by so many who loved them. Most of us can’t imagine being so isolated and unhappy.

We know, of course, that everyone struggles with loneliness at some point, even in the midst of a crowd.

The problem is so prominent in our society that the Government is proposing the setting up a Minister and a team to see what can be done.

The Bible, God’s Word, can provide hope and strength if we are prepared to let its message filter into our thinking. Please think about the positive flow of thought that comes from the Bible passages listed below. They are just a few of many.

King David wrote: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

“O Lord, all my longing is before you ; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)

“He (God) heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

Jesus, God’s beloved Son, appealed to the people: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you , and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The apostle Paul wrote: “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, also adds to the message:” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

So David, Jesus, Paul and Peter, although at times feeling lonely, found their solace and comfort in God, knowing that His purpose with them would be fulfilled . The power of meditating on the Word of God, prayer and actively applying God’s principles in their lives provided the stimulus to keep going. We, with them can look forward to the promise of God’s Kingdom on this earth (Hebrews 11 to 12:1 and 2) and in that Kingdom feelings and experience of loneliness will be a thing of the past.

May those of us who are blessed with families and friends and looking forward to their company this Christmas spare a thought for the lonely and, if we can, invite them to share our happiness.

All quotes from English Standard Version. To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Our Favourite Verses

The blog this week is made up of 4 of our favourite verses. It is amazing to see how the Bible message from creation to salvation shines through!


Psalm 95 v 4–5
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it
; and his hands formed the dry land.”

To anyone who looks at the world and sees the stunning snow topped mountains, lush beautiful coasts and majestic forests and fails to see the Maker at work needs to take a closer look. All these amazing sights could not happen by chance. Everywhere you look all these things have been created. Come rain, snow or shine we are very blessed with such a beautiful land to live in, Everywhere we look we can see the Maker’s work. It really should make us stop and think how awesome his wonderful creation is!


Choosing a favourite is very tricky as it all depends on the mood I am in, so for this reason I tend to lean towards this one.

Philippians 4 v 4–7
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Acts 1 v 11
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

I love this verse – I can remember it! It’s such a straightforward verse. If you honour God’s word and take it at its face value, it’s so valuable. It is solid and concrete, providing hope of the Lord Jesus’ return and so gives comfort when life’s grim realities could pull one down.


This is a favourite verse of mine as this world can be tough, so to keep myself upbeat and cheerful I like to concentrate my mind on the things that God has in store for us.

Habakkuk 2v14
“For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”


To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk or our Facebook page.

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What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago.

How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived?

The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived. The evidence for Jesus is not limited to later folklore, as are accounts of Arthur.

What do Christian writings tell us?

The value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed. The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eyewitnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

What did non-Christian authors say about Jesus?

As far as we know, the first author outside the church to mention Jesus is the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote a history of Judaism around AD93. He has two references to Jesus. One of these is controversial because it is thought to be corrupted by Christian scribes (probably turning Josephus’s negative account into a more positive one), but the other is not suspicious – a reference to James, the brother of “Jesus, the so-called Christ”.

About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus, who held some of the highest offices of state at the beginning of the second century AD. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – reports that fit with the timeframe of the gospels. Pliny contributes the information that, where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their “pig-headed obstinacy” and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

Did ancient writers discuss the existence of Jesus?

Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who questioned whether Jesus lived.

How controversial is the existence of Jesus now?

In a recent book, the French philosopher Michel Onfray talks of Jesus as a mere hypothesis, his existence as an idea rather than as a historical figure. About 10 years ago, The Jesus Project was set up in the US; one of its main questions for discussion was that of whether or not Jesus existed. Some authors have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth was doubly non-existent, contending that both Jesus and Nazareth are Christian inventions. It is worth noting, though, that the two mainstream historians who have written most against these hypersceptical arguments are atheists: Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina). They have issued stinging criticisms of the “Jesus-myth” approach, branding it pseudo-scholarship. Nevertheless, a recent survey discovered that 40% of adults in England did not believe that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Is there any archaeological evidence for Jesus?

Part of the popular confusion around the historicity of Jesus may be caused by peculiar archaeological arguments raised in relation to him. Recently there have been claims that Jesus was a great-grandson of Cleopatra, complete with ancient coins allegedly showing Jesus wearing his crown of thorns. In some circles, there is still interest in the Shroud of Turin, supposedly Jesus’s burial shroud. Pope Benedict XVI stated that it was something that “no human artistry was capable of producing” and an “icon of Holy Saturday”.

It is hard to find historians who regard this material as serious archaeological data, however. The documents produced by Christian, Jewish and Roman writers form the most significant evidence.

These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.

This post was adapted from The Guardian, written by Simon Gathercole – Reader in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge.

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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The Environmental Crisis

The Worldwatch Institute produces an annual report entitled ‘State of the World’. This year the report emphasises the need to educate children about the vital importance of the natural environment, encouraging them to see the need to work with it, to be custodians of it, to be careful not to exploit it. Many countries of the world encourage schools to hold lessons outdoors in woods and forests in all kinds of weather. Imaginative projects are undertaken which stimulate the children’s interest for caring for the world in which they live.

The sin of greed and selfishness is the basic cause of the great crisis our planet faces. God says:
“For every beast of the forest is mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are mine …
For the world is mine, and all its fullness.”
(Psalm 50:10-12)

The Law given by God to Moses and the people of Israel stresses care for the environment and animals. The most significant principles enshrined in the Law show that we have a duty to manage our planet for its Creator and Owner, God Himself.

In modern times this principle has been forgotten, and the main aim of many is to get rich without any care for the effect it may have on our world. Is there an answer to this crisis?

So far we have stressed that sin is the principle reason why the planet is in such a mess.

We have to go to the Bible to understand what sin is. God’s Book tells us about the consequences of sin, its removal and God’s offer of salvation to all who try to follow His law. Because of the sin of disobedience Adam and Eve were condemned to die and the ground was cursed.

“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground , For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-18)

The apostle Paul wrote: “the creation was subjected to futility , not willingly , but because of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)

Here we read that God has promised that one day bondage and corruption will disappear on this planet. When Jesus returns to set up His Father’s Kingdom He will give His faithful followers everlasting life. All of God’s creation will be liberated when Jesus comes back. There are many detailed and glowing pictures of that age in God’s Word.

“The days are coming says the Lord, “When the ploughman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed.” (Amos 9:13)

“The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth.”
(Psalm 72:3 & 6)

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
(Isaiah 35:1)

May we prepare for that wonderful time!

Quotes from the NKJV.

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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What will be the greatest wedding of all time?

Well it’s nearly here! The impending nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are only days away. What is it about a royal wedding that generates such excitement?  Is it simply that any wedding brings general cheer, and therefore this happiness is more widespread because the royal family are a historic part of the British nation?

Whatever the reason, many will be tuning in on Saturday to share in the viewing of this momentous marriage.  After all, weddings are a shared experience aren’t they?  The act of two people so in love they want to join themselves together for the rest of their lives, gladdens the hearts of those who know them.  Married or not, most of us feel that need to be loved so deeply, that we know we matter more to that one person than anyone else in the whole world.   And then to have that person willingly stand in front of others and profess that love and commitment must be one of the most uplifting experiences a person can have.

So where does marriage come from?  Well, the Bible sheds some light on it.  Back in the first book of the Bible, we learn,

‘…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ Genesis 2:24

God established marriage early on, but it’s not only for the individual couples that we have this union. God uses it in the Bible to tell us of a forthcoming marriage, a royal marriage…

‘…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’               Revelation 19:9

So whose wedding is this?  Well, the ‘lamb’ refers to Jesus.  He was sacrificed on the cross and he is referred to as a ‘lamb’ because lambs were used in the original sacrifices in the Old Testament.  By his death, Jesus removed the need to sacrifice animals as payment for sin, so he is the ‘lamb’ that ‘takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). 

Jesus is also described as the bridegroom in other passages and his bride is the church.  That’s right: Jesus’ bride is his followers who are baptised into his name and try to be faithful to him in their lives.  The wedding supper to celebrate Jesus and the church coming together will happen when Jesus has returned to Earth to set up God’s Kingdom.   Just as a bride and groom will have their wedding breakfast and begin their lives living together, Jesus and the church of believers will live in God’s Kingdom on Earth forever more.  Jesus will be King and the church his bride.  It’s a wedding that all are invited to be actively part of, not as an onlooker but as a part-taker.  It will secure a believer in love eternally, with their bridegroom who has waited a long time to live with them.  It’s a marriage that won’t fail, can’t fail… and will bring everlasting happiness.

So we wish Harry and Meghan much happiness in their forthcoming union, but as for the marriage of Jesus and the church … that will be the greatest wedding of all time!

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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