Monday, April 17, 2017

We're still looking for a Morning Receptionist and Saturday Caretaker

I blogged last month about two Kerith job opportunities, one for a Morning Receptionist and the other for a Saturday Caretaker. So far we haven't managed to fill either role, so I wanted to ask again if either you, or anyone you know, would be interested in joining our amazing team.

You can get all the details about both jobs from my previous blog. The closing date for applications is Monday 24th April with interviews likely to be on the 26th or 27th April.

Let's all be praying for God to send us the right person for both roles, as they are both vital in us achieving all we feel God is calling us to do.

Simon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Friday : Uprising - Let the Revolution Begin

Our Good Friday meeting this year is at 7pm in the Kerith Centre, and I really want to encourage you to come along if you possibly can, as well as inviting friends neighbours and relatives to what is going to be a powerful time of reflection.

We're going to do the meeting 'in the round', which basically means there will be a stage in the middle of the ground floor of the auditorium, with bean bags and chairs set up all around the stage. Hopefully that is going to give it a very intimate feel as we reflect on the revolution which began as a result of Jesus death on the cross.

The meeting will include readings from the Easter story, worship, communion, a performance song and a preach.

Parking is in the college. The meeting starts with readings so please be sure to get there early and find your space as you won't want to miss the start.

See you there :)

Simon.

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Easter Fun Day

On Saturday 15th April we're inviting everyone at Kerith along with friends and family to an Easter Fun Day at Sandhurst School from 1-3pm. Tickets cost £1 per child with adults free - you can get tickets and all the other details you need here.

There's going to be an Easter egg hunt, a bouncy castle, face painting, and a charity cake sale for Tehila and Novo. Book early to guarantee taking part in the Easter Egg Hunt!

Hope to see you there :)

Simon.

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ralph Allen's Story

As part of our Generosity series I spoke about borrowing and saving (you can find the audio of that talk here and the video here).

In that I encouraged people not to take on large mortgages or other financial commitments (or if you have a big mortgage pay it off as quickly as possible), as although you might be able to afford the repayments it can stop you responding to God if you feel him calling you to do something which is going to pay a significantly lower salary. Subsequent to that talk Ralph Allen, who is part of our Bracknell site, contacted me to say what I'd said really resonated with his life story, so I asked him to share it.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

Simon.

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I have found that much of my walk with God can be recognized in hindsight. This is certainly true of my professional career as an architect and Simon’s recent comments on finance struck a chord. Let me explain.

Lilian, my wife, and I together with our eldest son moved from Lancashire to Bracknell some 40 years ago and in September of 1976 we found ourselves attending Sunday morning worship at Bracknell Baptist Church (now Kerith Community Church). This was somewhat against my better judgment, as I had previously met Ben Davies, the then senior pastor. Our roots are in Methodism and, although Ben and I got on really well, I concluded that theologically we were worlds apart! Indeed following my initial meeting with Ben, I went home and told Lilian that if there was one church in Bracknell that we would never attend it would be Bracknell Baptist Church. God must have had a smile on His face.

My fears were further realized when chatting with one of the church members, Frank Brooks, after the meeting he asked what I did for a living. Having explained that I was an architect, he responded by saying that he was certain God had sent me to the church. Really - I certainly didn’t recognize this at the time.

However some two years later I had a phone call that was to significantly change the direction of my career. This led in 1980 to me becoming a partner in a large national practice of architects and surveyors with offices in Liverpool, Manchester and London. This was quite amazing, I was still relatively young (!) and here I was, one of thirteen partners with a staff of one hundred and twenty, in a practice that had been established well in excess of one hundred years, with a significant fee income. Prospects looked good - security for the considerable future plus a significant increase in income. As I reflected on this I began to wonder if this was indeed part of God’s plan for my life.

Events were to develop which made this a certainty. In the early 80’s Bracknell Baptist Church had outgrown their building (on the site of K2) and began actively looking for land in the town centre on which to build. The preferred site was a piece of land on Church Road opposite the existing building, owned by the New Towns Commission. As negotiations progressed the church needed an architect and I was fortunate that my practice was appointed. This was to be the largest church building constructed in the UK for many years.

However it took some years to finally acquire the land and during that time the practice expanded further and my role changed from designing buildings to managing staff and looking after clients. This caused some frustration – here was a job that I enjoyed very much but on the other hand a project that by now I was certain God had indeed brought me Bracknell to be involved in the new building. One late Monday evening I was driving back from a partners meeting in Liverpool, half thinking and half praying about the dilemma. Then it became clear to me that if God had indeed brought me here for “such a time as this” I needed to resign from the partnership and concentrate on the design of the building, now known as the Kerith Centre. Following discussion with the church leadership, this is what happened and with the help of Lilian, Allen Associates Architects was established in January 1988. We had absolutely no idea what would happen after completion of the building.

Now back to 1980 and in particular our finances. Having been made a partner in the practice, it did not take long for me to recognize that my partner’s lifestyle was significantly different to ours. They had large houses, in some cases second homes, and without exception their children attended private schools. Guess what, we started to think along similar lines. We now had two boys and we visited a number of private schools. We were considering moving and looked at houses that were much larger than the house we eventually moved in to. Now I am not suggesting that there is anything at all wrong with spending money that you have on large houses or private education, but I can only explain that for us we were uncomfortable about the long term financial commitments and, again in hindsight, I believe that this was God’s prompting. For if we had been committed to a large mortgage and significant school fees, I don’t think I could have left the partnership and all of the financial uncertainty associated with this decision, and followed the course that God clearly had mapped out for me. However we did spend some surplus money on one of my interests– classic cars and we did holiday abroad for the first time.

What followed was equally amazing. After the completion of the Kerith Centre in 1989, God provided an increasing number of church projects, like-minded staff and offices. Even my son Scott became an architect so that I can now reduce my involvement in the practice!

Over the years we have been involved in many exciting church building projects across the denominations, and have seen God move in most amazing ways. What better career than to enjoy what I still enjoy doing and use the abilities God has given me to serve His church. I am so grateful for His intervention in our lives and for His provision

We still live in the same house. The boys went to Easthampsted School and now both have good careers. I still design church buildings and play with classic cars!

Ralph Allen

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

April Week of Prayer

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:10

 

We're planning another week of prayer, to tie in with our Vision Fund Gift days on Sunday 23rd and 30th April. The vision fund is all around seeing God's kingdom expanding and growing, and we want to see that become a reality through our praying as much as we do through our giving.

The plan is to do a 24/7 week of prayer in the Prayer Room on our Bracknell site where we fill every hour slot throughout the week, starting at 4pm on the 23rd and finishing at 4pm on the 30th. The team will be theming the prayer room with ideas on how to pray and what to pray for, and we'll clean the blackboard wall at the start so we can fill it with scriptures, encouragement, answers to prayer and things we sense God saying as the week goes on.

You can book the prayer room here - just scroll forward to get to the end of April. Please get booking in straight away, either as an individual or in your groups.

Here's my big ask. The hardest slots to fill are not surprisingly the early hours of the morning. Please can I ask for some of our prayer warriors to book in for those midnight to 6am slots! I've just booked midnight to 2am on Monday 24th - who fancies taking over from me at 2am!

I'm looking forward to all that God will do in and through us as we call out to Him. Thanks for playing your part in it all.

Simon.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Church and Culture Conference Cancelled

I wanted to let people know that the Church and Culture Conference which we were due to be hosting on Thursday has been cancelled. Anyone who has bought tickets should already have been contacted to let them know, but I wanted to make sure anyone planning to come along and get their tickets on the day also got the message.

If you're interested in other conferences, we're still definitely hosting:

More details by following the links.

Hope you have a great week,

Simon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February 2017 Giving

Sorry it's a bit late but I wanted to update you on our giving to the end of February.

As you can see above February giving was excellent, at £11,500 over budget.

This year we've set the monthly budget a bit differently. Over the last few years we simply took the budgeted giving for the year and divided it by 12 to give each month's budgetted giving. This year we've tried to take into account that we know that in some months (such as January, February and August) the offerings are normally lower, and in other months (such as March and June) they are normally higher. Based on the old method this month's budgetted giving would have been £73,360, so either way we're well above budget.

For the year to date we're an even better £12,471 over budget which is great.

If offerings continue to be above budget it will allow us to do even more of what we currently do. Helping people of all ages and backgrounds find their way back to God. People in our local community, in the nation and in the nations.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the grace of giving at Kerith.

From a very grateful senior pastor,

Simon.