Thursday, December 21, 2017

Four More Sleeps


Only four more sleeps until the big man comes (and we celebrate the moment the trajectory of human history was changed forever!).

A quick reminder of what the rest of 2017 holds for us as a community.

First of all what isn’t happening. There are no ‘regular’ meetings on Sunday 24th or 31st December in Bracknell or Sandhurst. Please take the opportunity to be refreshed, to be with family and friends and to get ready for all that is going to be happening in 2018.

On Christmas Eve we’ve got two meetings in Bracknell.

At 4pm we’ve got our family nativity which is always so much phone. There will be carols, live animals including a donkey, a photo booth and lots of fun, laughter and celebration. A great way to get ready for Christmas Day,

Then at 11pm we’ve got our ever popular ‘unplugged’ carol concert. This is a brilliant opportunity amidst all the busyness of this season to stop and reflect on what it’s really all about - it’s one of my favourite meetings of the year!

Then at 10am on Christmas Day we’re meeting for an hour at 10am in both Brackenll, and for the first time in Sandhurst too. This is a great indication of the growing strength of our Sandhurst community.

On Christmas Day we always take up an offering for an organisation outside of Kerith, and this year it will be for Tehila Trust and all the amazing work Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam are doing to make children safer in Zambia. You can give cash and cheques on the day, but if you’d like to do a direct bank transfer instead just mark it as ‘Chrsitmas Day Offering’ and we’ll make sure it ends up in the right place.

Whoever you are for Christmas I pray you find time to draw close to Christ in the midst of it all.

Much love,

Simon

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Year Vision Talks


I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to Christmas! I loved the Carols by Candlelight in Bracknell last weekend (especially with the added excitement of snow), and am looking forward to the repeat in Sandhurst this coming weekend - there are still tickets available for both the 4pm and 7pm. Don’t forget there is no morning meeting in Sandhurst on Sunday, although we’ve got our regular meetings Bracknell meetings at 9.30am, 11.30am and 6pm where Catrina will be preaching. We’ve then got the excitement of the 4pm and 11pm in Bracknell on Christmas Eve, and the 10am in both Bracknell and Sandhurst on Christmas Day.

I sense that 2018 is going to be a year of expansion for us as a community, both in terms of growth in things we’re already doing and new things God has in store for us. At the start of the year I want to share some of the vision behind that, with separate midweek vision meetings on each of our three sites. I want to hold this midweek rather than doing it on a Sunday as it gives us more time to share vision in detail, and the opportunity to answer questions people may have. Some of the vision will give more detail to things we’ve already announced, but there are also some exciting things coming up which we haven’t yet talked about publicly. Each of the meetings will start with drinks at 7.45pm, with the talk starting at 8pm. The dates for the three talks are:

      Sandhurst - Tuesday 9th January - Sandhurst School
      Bracknell - Wednesday 10th January - The Kerith Centre
      Windsor - Thursday 11th January - Windsor Gospel Hall

Please put these in your diary and plan to be at one of them, ideally at the site you attend most frequently as we’ll shape each evening to speak in most detail about the site that particular site although if you can’t make your site meeting you’ll hear the overall vision at any of the three meetings.

Blessings,

Simon

 Ps - anyone wondering from the photo at the top of this blog whether we’re going to announce a central London site, that’s not happening yet! The picture is actually from Legoland Windsor :)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Job Opportunity - Sandhurst Kids Lead



Last Sunday we had an amazing day in our kids work. We had 26 children aged from 5 to 9 who responded to a call to commit their lives to Jesus Christ, of which 16 were doing that for the very first time. I realise that for all of the children this is a journey, which as with us adults will have a whole load of twists and turns, but even with that proviso it’s so exciting to see what God is doing among our children.

As a church we realise that our children’s work is one of our most fruitful places for us seeing lives being transformed. We want to create a great experience for children when they come on a Sunday, and do all we can to equip and support families in raising their children to have a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus. I blogged a couple of weeks ago to let you know about a full time role on our Bracknell site for heading up our kids work. Applications for that role close on Monday so if you’ve interested please get your application in quickly.

I now want to let you all know about an equivalent role at our Sandhurst site. This is a three day a week role, including Sundays. You can find a job description here, application packs are available at the Kerith Centre reception. The closing date for applications is Friday 29th December.  If you would like further information on the role please contact either Ali Hudell, our HR Manager, or Sonia Hopkin, who oversees Kerith Kids across our sites, or phone the Kerith Centre reception on 01344 862699.

Please be praying about whether this might be for you, for someone you know, or if neither of those apply that the right people will come forward for both Bracknell and Sandhurst, as part of us helping people find their way back to God.

Simon

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tope Koleoso preaching this Sunday


On Sunday we have the privilege of having Tope Koleose preaching at all of our meetings. Tope leads Jubilee Church which is one of the biggest churches in the UK, with three sites in London and one in Lusaka, Zambia. He is an outstanding preacher and regularly speaks at conferences for the likes of John Piper, New Wine, Vineyard, Newfrontiers and many others. I think you’ll love him!

Tope and his wife Kemi have also become good friends to Catrina and me over the last few years. Kemi has regularly brought a group of women from Jubilee to our REAL women’s conference, and this year she hosted her own women’s conference which was a big success.

I’m so looking forward to having them with us on Sunday. Please come full of expectation for God to speak through Tope and to move in us all.

See you Sunday :)

Simon

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Andy Jackson



If you were around on Sunday morning you’ll have heard that Andy Jackson is going to be leaving the staff team at the end of this year, after 11 years on staff overseeing all of our social justice. 

Our church has always had a social justice stream running through it, with over the years everything from prison ministry to food distribution to supporting families with children with special needs. But under Andy’s gentle but focused leadership the stream has becoming something of a flood plain! It started with Andy being our first CAP debt centre manager in 2006, but has then expanded to include Foodbank, Job Club, Life Skills, Addiction Recovery, working with the homeless, caring for ex offenders, early years intervention and much more. It would be no exaggeration to say that Andy’s leadership has transformed our church, and made us a church many others look to when they want to launch or enhance their own social justice ministries. 

Andy has also been responsible for overseeing and developing many of our partnerships with CAP, Tearfund, Hope for Justice, TLG and others. If all that wasn’t enough Andy has also had a huge input to our safeguarding team, making sure all the children and vulnerable adults accessing Kerith are kept safe. He has also plated a big part in helping people within Kerith looking to set up their own charities such as Create Hope, Novō and Tehila

Words cannot begins to express how grateful I am to God for Andy and the gift of having him alongside me in the ten years I’ve been leading Kerith. He has been amazing, and I’m going to deeply miss having him around for his wisdom, insight, leadership, encouragement and continual reminder of God’s heart for the poor and marginalised. 

So why is Andy leaving the staff team - that’s a questions I’ve been asking too! Well about 18 months ago Andy felt God speaking to him that he had a fresh challenge for him. That sense has only grown over time, to the point where it seemed (to user a Biblical analogy) that Andy needed to step out of the boat if he was going to walk on water and access the new thing God has for him. So that’s what he’s doing - a huge step of faith which I applaud him for.

Please join with me in thanking God for Andy, and for praying for the door to the next thing to swing open sooner rather than later! He has a number of open job applications - my prayer is for a role where he will be even more fruitful that he’s been in Kerith, and selfishly where he and his wonderful wife Janine can stay as part of our church community. 

We’re going to have a celebration next Tuesday (21st November), starting at 7pm in the Kerith Centre auditorium, to thank Andy for all he has done and celebrate all that God has done through him. Everyone is invited - if you are coming please can you sign up here so we have some idea of numbers. It’s a bring and share dinner, so if you’re able to please bring some food along, although if you can’t I’m sure there will be enough for everyone! Just go easy on the quiche :)

Hope to see you there on Tuesday, but if you can’t make it and know Andy why not send him a message expressing your gratitude for all he’s done - I know he’ll appreciate it.


Simon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lost People Matter to God - Vision Fund


We’ve had an amazing day in the office today, celebrating six people who over the weekend chose to make Jesus their Lord and Saviour, and another three people who recommitted their lives to Jesus. For me it doesn’t get better than this. Our vision as a church is to help people find their way back to God, so there’s nothing more exciting than it actually happening. 

That’s what our vision fund is all about. You can read the details of what we’ve done in the last year and some of what we intend to do here, but in essence we’re looking to improve and expand each of our sites to make them more effective places for people to connect with Jesus. 

I know that lots of you will already have given, but for those haven’t yet given but would like to please can I encourage you to do it quickly, so that we can include it in the total we announce on Sunday. You can find all the details on how to give here - if you’re doing a bank transfer please mark it as being for the vision fund so our finance team know where to allocate it. Or you can give using our Church Suite app for smartphones or tablets. 

I’m so grateful to be part of such a generous community. Having just come back from Zambia where I got to meet some of the girls now in the Serenje Dormitory, I’m so aware of the power of our generosity to change lives, and the eternal nature of the return on that investment.

Blessings,

Simon

Friday, November 10, 2017

Job Opportunity - Bracknell Kids Lead





We currently have a vacancy for someone to lead Kerith Kids on our Bracknell site. This is a full-time position, to include Sundays, and involves facilitating a great Sunday experience for Kerith Kids.  You will be key to the safe recruitment, training and relationship building of volunteers whilst being the lynchpin on a Sunday morning, giving our kids the best possible experience every time they come to Church.

Application packs and job descriptions are available from the Kerith Centre reception desk. The job description is online here. The closing date for this role is Monday 27th November, with interviews being held on Thursday 30th November.  If you would like further information on the role please contact either Ali Hudell, our HR Manager, or Sonia Hopkin, who oversees Kerith Kids across our sites.

If this isn’t the role for you then please be praying that we find the right person, as this is a  key position for us to fill. In the past God has answered that sort of prayer in amazing ways, including one time a number of years ago when we were praying for a youth pastor and I ‘happened’ to meet a visitor whilst I was serving in Kerith Kids who when I asked him what he did said he was a youth worker looking for a job. That person (Nigel Taylor) ended up applying for and getting the job, and he laid the foundation for much of what is happening in our youth today. God answers prayer!

Simon