Monday, February 20, 2017

Generous

Yesterday we started our new series on generosity. We're taking seven weeks looking at how we handle our finances and possesions, and how through using them as God intended we can live a more generous life. You can find the audio podcast of the first weeks message here.

As part of the series we're encouraging everyone to participate in daily generosity challenges, which we hope will move us as a community to grow more generous hearts and be a blessing to those around us. Every day we'll be putting out a challenge on social media (twitter, instagram and facebook), but you can also get a whole weeks worth by clicking on 'subscribe' on the "what's on" page of our website and entering your email address. You'll have missed the email with the first weeks worth, but don't fear, you can find them here.

Let us know how you're getting on using the hashtag #generosityshift. We'll feature some of the most interesting things people have been doing each Sunday.

Have a great week being generous :)

Simon.

 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Supporting our local Fostering Team

One of the most exciting things we've got involved in over recent years has been the initiative to encourage more families to consider fostering and adoption in order to provide safe, loving homes for some of the most vulnerable children in our community. This has been headed up by the amazing Penny Lander, with lots of practical support and encouragement from our friends at Home for Good.

We have a number of people in our community who have either adopted children or are in the process of becoming adoptive parents, but as far as I know only have one couple in the church providing a foster home (they're an amazing couple in our Sandhurst community who recently moved to a bigger home just so that they could foster more children). Penny is really keen to encourage more people to consider the possibility of fostering, and asked me whether I'd blog about it which I'm delighted to be able to do. Here's what Penny wants to say:

If you live around Bracknell, you might have seen the new Recruitment Officer for Bracknell Forest council fostering team giving out balloons at the Sports Centre last month. The reason she was there is that children in our area who go into care are not guaranteed being able to stay with a family locally, because of the shortage of foster carers. That can mean living in a residential home, or being placed out of the area, away from school and friends.

We want to support our colleagues at Bracknell Forest Family Placement Team, and help find local homes for local children.

Across our church community we already have fantastic foster carers and adopters. But there will also be some of you reading this who have been thinking or praying about fostering. If that’s you and you know now is the time to find out more, then a good starting point is Home for Good, the national charity we partner with. You can contact me via the Home for Good website. Please also take a look at the council’s website, and scroll down to a couple of excellent videos of foster carers. The Home for Good website also has some great resources.

Thanks so much,

Penny.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Philippines Cake Sale

In December our Filipino community held a cake sale at our Bracknell morning gatherings to raise money for friends and family back in the Philippines who have been impacted by the latest typhoon there. I recently got the email and photos below from Marizel who helped organise the cake sale, and wanted to share it with you all.

A huge thank you to everyone who bought a cake, and to our Filipino community for making all of this happen.

Simon.

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Hi Simon/Catrina,

I'm glad to let you know that the funds raised through the Cake Sale in December managed to afford food packs for 122 families in Tuguegarao and Solana, both towns are the hardest hit by the typhoon Lawin. The distribution were held on the 26th and the 30th of December. I am attaching few photos taken during the distribution. These photos speak of the joy and gratefulness these brethren feel towards the generosity all the people from Kerith has extended. On behalf of all the recipients, I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone at Kerith Community Church. May God return all the favours a thousandfold to you all! God bless!❤️

Much love,

Marizel

 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Headlines - Gender Identity

This Sunday is the final week of our headlines series. Having looked at Brexit, mental health and the sexualisation of society we're going to finish by looking at the issue of gender identity, and in particular how we respond to people who are transgender or intersex. I realise that for many of us those terms are confusing, but even if they seem unimportant or irrelevant to us they are huge issues in our wider society, and it is vital we know what God has to say about them and how we as a church should respond.

If you want to think about the issues in advance I recommend looking at a couple of things recently in the media.

The first was a BBC documentary called "Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? which deals powerfully with what parents should do if their child identifies as being transgender.

The second would be to read the story of the model Hanna Gaby Odiele who revealed this week that she is intersex (was born with a mix of male and female sex characteristics).

If either of those stories came up when talking with friends this week, or if you directly identify with the people in either of them, how would you respond? Hopefully Sunday will give us the tools to do that in a way which is full of truth and full of grace.

See you Sunday :)

Simon.

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Job Opportunities at Oakwood Climbing Centre

I recently had the privilege of a tour of the soon to open Oakwood Climbing Centre. Tony Pudner and the rest of the Oakwood team have done an amazing job getting it built. When it opens in the next month or two it is going to be the most amazing facility right on our doorstep - I can't wait.

As part of what is going to be a big expansion of Oakwood they've got job opportunities for both an administrator and for climbing instructors. Just follow the links for more information on each of the roles. You'd be joining an exciting team, quite a few of whom are part of Kerith.

I'll blog again when the centre is open - once it is I really encourage you to go along and have a go. The Benham family did a session at another climbing centre last year and had a great time - we're aiming to be among the first to try out Oakwood!

Simon.

 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brexit this Sunday!

Well it isn't actually going to happen this Sunday, I suspect that's going to be a much longer process. However, I am going to talk on Sunday about how we respond to Brexit and many of the challenges it poses. It definitely won't be the final word on it all, nor will it be exhaustive and some I'm sure some will leave with more questions than answers, but by asking the question "what would Jesus have to say about it all it all?" we'll hopefully at least give a different angle to the often bemusing coverage and comment we get from the Internet, TV and newspapers.

Please be praying that God will speak through it all, and that many of the visitors who came to the carol concerts and indicated they'd like to come to church in the New Year will come. Remember if you see people you don't recognise to welcome them - we're all part of the welcome team.

Happy New Year and hopefully I'll get to catch you on Sunday.

Simon.

 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

November Finance Update

The November finance figures are in, and I wanted to share them with you all.

November giving was slightly below budget, but that is in a month where we raised over £212,000 in the Kerith Vision Fund gift days. Overall it was therefore a pretty good month!

Year to date we're now just over £10,000 under budget in terms of our giving. We've been managing spending closely this year and so our income still exceeds our expenditure for 2016, but please join me in praying for December giving which will wipe out the deficit and push us into surplus, ready for all we're planning to do in 2017.

Let's thank God for his faithfulness to us, both individually and as a community, in providing for us in 2016. He is a good, good Father!

Much love,

Simon.