Thursday, October 4, 2018

October Vison Fund Gift Days


Since we launched our vision fund in September 2016, the money that has been given (over £436,000 to date) has allowed us to do so much as a community in terms of growth and multiplication. Some of the highlights would be our site in Windsor now being fully up and running, a site on the Isle of Wight which wasn’t even in our thinking two years, and paying off the mortgage on the K2 House which means we are totally debt free as a church. 

And of course behind those headlines what really matters has been going on at all our sites: lives being changed with over 150 people baptised, hundreds growing in their faith as a result of small groups, growth track courses and encounters with God, thousands being served in the local community, the name of Jesus being lifted up, people experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God being demonstrated. Bring it on!

Our next vision fund offering days are coming up on Sunday 14th and 21st October. We still have around £115,000 which we have yet to spend in the vision fund, but with all we have planned across all four of our sites that is going to go pretty quickly, and we want to make sure lack of resources doesn’t hold us back from all we believe God has placed in our hearts to do. We’d therefore like to raise at least another £100,000 to continue to resource all that we think we will be doing over the next 6 months. 

You’ll see the scriptures at the top of this blog, which come from the time when God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle in the desert where His presence would rest. Moses lays out to the people what God has commanded them to do, then asks everyone who is willing to give. We then read that “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them” came and gave. I want to make the same encouragement to us. There is no pressure to give, no command to give, just an opportunity to those who are willing and whose hearts move them to be a part of this great adventure. For us to invest our treasure in a place where it won’t rust, be eaten away or be stolen but will produce eternal treasure in the form of lives being transformed. 

Here is some more detail on what has been going on, and what is planed, for each of our sites.

Bracknell
Those who came to the September vision nights will have heard that we’re not going to move forward with either of the building projects we were proposing on either the K2 of Kerith Centre sites. When we came to examine the cost of both projects versus the amount of extra space each would give us we (being the elders and trustees) concluded that neither represented value for money. In a future blog I’m going to explain in more detail quite what the process was to make that decision, as I realise this is quite a change from what we were talking about at the start of this year, and we didn’t give as much detail as we should have done at the vision nights.

Given we’re not about to all launch into a major building project in Bracknell, we are instead going going to focus on how we make the most of what we already have, which is a lot! We’d like to make improvements to our Bracknell site which we think will include:
  • Building a walkway through from the college car park to our site. Which side of K2 this goes will depend on whether we manage to buy the strip of land down the side of K2 from the cricket club - please pray for breakthrough there!
  • Renovating the toilets in the Kerith Centre and K2.
  • Putting in the facilities to allow us to more easily run a cafe in K2.
  • Upgrading the audio visual equipment in the K2 Hall. 
Money given into the vision fund will allow us to do this and more. 

Sandhurst
Discussions are still ongoing with Sandhurst School as to a possible joint project with them to develop some of the school site for our exclusive use. However, we are also beginning to examine what other options there are for both temporary and permanent homes for our Sandhurst site. The vision fund will give us the financial resources we need to progress these plans.
If you have some time please be praying for God to make our next steps in Sandhurst clear, and for us to have clarity around which doors and opening and which are closing. We really sense God has something new for us and want to step boldly into whatever it is.

Windsor
The vision fund has already given us the money we’ve needed to rent and renovate the gospel hall in Windsor, to rent the hall we use on a Sunday, and to buy all the equipment needed to get us up and running with meetings every Sunday. Through to then end of 2020 we will fund all of the site based costs in Windsor (including salaries, rental and equipment costs) from the vision fund, after which time they will switch to coming from our regular giving. We have a forward projection for giving which shows that given growth in Windsor equivalent to what we have seen in Sandhurst that will be more than achievable. 

West Wight
In a similar way to Windsor the vision fund has given us the resources we’ve needed to get our West Wight site to a point where we are now meeting twice a month on a Sunday with the same set of values in terms of excellence we’d have on all our other sites. It’s so exciting to see how things are growing there with over 60 people attending the last Sunday gathering. 
We’re looking at the possibility of the site starting to meet every Sunday from September 2019, with a paid site leader coming on board at the same time. As with Windsor we will look to fund this from the vision fund for an initial period and then switch to coming from regular giving as the site grows.

Where & What else?
God is a God of surprises, and we really have no idea what other opportunities are going to come along. Several people have asked me if we know where our next site is going to be, and I can honestly say we have no idea (although the wilds of Northumberland are always very tempting!). But we want to be able to respond to whatever God might do, so let us continue to pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done and see what happens!

Thanks, and well done for getting this far! 

Simon

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Debt Saviours - CAP Documentary



You may remember earlier this year when John Kirkby, the founder of CAP (Christians Against Poverty) and a good friend of Kerith, preached on a Sunday and brought with him a BBC film crew filming for a documentary about the work of CAP. 

Well the great news is that the documentary is finished, and is going to be aired on Friday 5th October at 9pm on BBC2. None of the footage filmed with us made the final cut (I’m personally relieved not to be appearing on national TV!), but from all I’ve heard from those who have seen the documentary it is deeply moving as it tells the stories of a number of clients who are not only working with CAP to get debt free, but also in the process have found a relationship with Jesus.  

Let’s make the most of this amazing opportunity, with such a powerful piece of television being making it to prime time TV. Please watch it yourself, and be encouraging friends and family watch it too. And let’s be praying for the millions of others who will also see it. Only this week there was an article on the BBC website titled “Debt killed my Dad”, which detailed the sad descent of one man into increasing debt, culminating in the tragedy of him committing suicide. Let’s pray that through the documentary people in debt will find hope, and the courage to admit they need help and contact CAP.

Simon

Friday, September 28, 2018

Our 12 New Academy Students



From the beginning of September our K2 building has once again become the learning and development hub for our Academy students.

At its core, Academy aims to help everyone to be a disciple equipped to make disciples of others. Starting with being intentional about growing closer to God, each student will have the opportunity to discover more about their identity and purpose, deepening their Bible knowledge, and developing leadership skills. Many will also study a distance learning Certificate in Applied Theology with  Moorlands Bible College.

Each one will be outworking course learning through serving in both the course and Church, so as a team they will support many Kerith ministry areas. 

We have twelve Academy students this year, including three from Europe. By way of introduction here are their names and the areas where they’re going to be serving (in the same order as they are in the photo):

Maria Ventsel (from Estonia) – Engagement team
Melodie Alcibiade (from France) – Monday Night Youth, Kids Team & Growth Track
Ro Cyril-Daniel – Alpha & Growth Track
Ayse Flack – Senior Management Team support
Padma Gurung – Kids Team
Georgia Christie – Youth Team
Samantha Gallotan – Sundays Team
Erika Kazdaileviciute (from Lithuania) – Social Justice Team
Nicole Bailey – Creative & Production Team
Mwamba Phiri – Creative Team & Youth Team
Damien Newman – Social Justice Team
Matt Dack – Youth Team

Please be praying for them to grow closer to Jesus as a result of this year, say hello to them if you see them around, and thank God for their willingness to give this time to deepen their relationship with him.

Simon

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Kerith Windsor Launch

After months of prayer and planning Sunday saw the launch of Kerith Windsor. It went really well, with 106 people coming along including quite a number of visitors. We also had great support from other Kerith sites, including Ben and Anna Britton who came over from the Isle of Wight to be there.

For those who couldn’t make it I thought I’d post some photos so you can get a feel for it all. Thanks to John Mitchell who took all the photos.

If you’ve got a free Sunday please go along and support Leon Johnson who is our site pastor along with the rest of the team. I know they’d love to have you, and I think you’ll be really encouraged to see how God has provided in terms of both the venue and the people to make it all happen.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in getting us to this point. For everyone who has prayer, served, encouraged, given and in any other way be involved thank you. Know that your labour is not in vain but is already producing great fruit.

Kerith Windsor won’t be meeting on Sunday 23rd September as there is an alternative booking in the hall that day, but other than that we’ll be meeting every Sunday from now through to the end of the year so you’ve got plenty of dates to choose from.

Simon

Ps This coming Sunday will be the first time we’ve had simulataneous meetings on four sites, as it’s the one Sunday in the month Kerith West Wight meet too. There’s something quite exciting about that as evidence of multiplication.










Friday, August 31, 2018

September 2018 Vision Nights

Following on from January's vision talks, we're gathering again on each site to hear from some of our leadership team about what God is doing amongst us, and where we sense He's leading us next.

The theme for each evening is “Healthy things Multiply”. 2018 is a year of multiplication for us as a community with Kerith Windsor starting meeting every Sunday, Kerith West Wight launching, Flow Church being planted into Staines and exciting plans for Bracknell and Sandhurst too. At the vision nights we’ll give updates on all these developments. I’m also going to take the opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at Willow Creek and the lessons we can learn. Added to all that will be space to pray, and for Q&A.

Everyone is welcome. If you are a Kerith leader, team member, prayer partner, financial supporter or otherwise pouring your life into building this community, it will be especially helpful to you. Please do forward this invite to those you know who might also like to hear what’s happening.

The dates for the Talks are all on the Kerith What’s On page, and also here below:

Bracknell            Tuesday 11th September                      7.30pm                The Kerith Centre          
Sandhurst           Wednesday 12th September                 7.30pm                 The Kerith Centre
Windsor             Thursday 13th September                     7.30pm                 Windsor Gospel Hall
West Wight        Thursday 20th September                     7.30pm                 West Wight Sports and Community Centre

You’ll notice that the Sandhurst vision night is in Bracknell, due to us not able to find a suitable venue in Sandhurst. People based in Bracknell are welcome to come along, but we will be focussing more on what is happening at our Sandhurst site.

Hope to see you at one of these!

Simon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Peter Smith and Dave Prior

I wanted to let you all know about two people with a strong connection to Kerith who have recently passed away.

The first is Peter Smith, the father of Simon Smith who with his wife Dany and their three children have been part of Kerith for many years now. Peter also has another son, Mark. Lots of us from the Bracknell site will remember Peter’s wife Hana who was with us for a number of years. When Hana passed away Peter started coming to our Sunday meetings, and did an Alpha course where he found faith. He was a regular attender at the 9.30am meeting in Bracknell where I used to look forward to our weekly catchup before the meeting.

The thanksgiving service for Peter’s life is at Easthampstead Park Crematorium at 9.45am on Wednesday 29th August, followed by refreshments at the K2 building on our Bracknell site.

The second person who has passed away is Dave Prior (actually David but I only ever knew him as Dave). When Catrina and I first joined Kerith in 1989 Dave and his wife Sue were amongst the first people to invite us into their home where they made us feel incredibly welcome. Dave was our church administrator for a number of years and was instrumental in organising much of church life, including the move into the Kerith Centre in 1989 and a succession of Stoneleigh Bible Weeks where he worked tirelessly, clipboard in hand, making sure we all had our tents in the right place and everything else we needed. He even tried to recruit me to the admin team (that was never going to go well!). Dave and Sue have three sons, Steve, Matt and Tim. They moved to Henley a number of years ago, and sadly Dave passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

The thanksgiving service for Dave’s life is at 6pm on Thursday 30th August at Henley Baptist Church, who meet at “d:two”, 55-57 Market Place, Henley, RG9 2AA.

Let’s be praying for both Peter and Dave’s families. That God will comfort them in their grief, and that their sadness will be tempered by the sure and certain hope that their loved ones are both now in a much better place, and that one day we will see them again.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬‬‬‬

Much love,

Simon

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Flow Church Update


If you were around for our vision talks in January you’ll know that we announced that Liam and Emily Parker are going to be leaving Kerith to plant a church. For a number of years now Liam has been on staff as the pastor over our youth, and more recently over our 6pmBracknell meeting, as well as developing a growing ministry into mainland Europe. He and Emily have been a huge blessing to us as a community, and although we’ll miss them hugely we all sense this is the right next step for them.

Things have moved on a lot since January. The church now has a name - Flow Church. The church is in the process of being registered as a charity. There’s a core team made up of a number of people from Kerith who are going with Liam and Emily. The church has a location - they’re going to be based in the Hythe area of Staines. There’s a launch fund - including gifts from Kerith and a number of individuals. There’s a Sunday launch date - Sunday 23rd September. They’ve got an Instagram account - @flowchurchuk, and will soon be on all other flavours of social media too. 

For anyone interested in finding out more there’s an interest evening on Thursday 21st June starting at 7.30pm at the Hythe Centre in Staines (TW18 3HD). I’ll be there to support them - I’m sure they’d appreciate as many as possible from Kerith going along to pray for them and cheer them on, and possibly even to explore the idea of joining them.

If you have any questions then please feel free to contact Liam, Emily or me. Let’s be praying for the success of Flow Church. For all of us our greatest focus shouldn’t be on growing  Kerith but growing the kingdom of God. That means that their success is our success, and vice versa.

Simon