Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UHT Milk Sunday

Not a blog title I ever imagined writing when I started blogging!

Our foodbank has quite a bit of food in the store at the moment, but is really short of UHT milk, of all things. So here's the request. When you go shopping this week please put a container or two (or three or four) of UHT milk in your basket or trolley, then bring it in on Sunday and put it on the Cath Kidston style table which will be on the right as you come into reception (you'll know it when you see it!).

Part of our mandate from Jesus is to feed the hungry - this is a really simple way to be a part of that. Thank you.

Simon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here Come the Girls

The first of the ladies coming from overseas to the Real Women's Conference flew in today (Tuesday) from Albania and Macedonia. Tomorrow morning I go off to Heathrow to pick up Leah from Zambia who is our key contact in the HIV/AIDS project we support in Serenje, then on Thursday four ladies are flying in from Poland.

I've met most of these women in their own countries, and have seen first hand some of the amazing things God is doing through them. It's a huge privilege to have them with us, and to be able to provide a place where they can be pampered, refreshed, envisioned and encouraged. Please pray for them, that they will grow in their first love for Jesus and their knowledge of him, and say hello to them when you see them - they all speak embarrassingly good English!

We've still got lots of women registering for the conference, especially using the online booking facility we now have, so can I encourage any woman reading this who isn't coming, or if you are coming and have a friend who would benefit from coming too, to book in for what should be a great Friday evening and Saturday.

Simon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

One Final Gift Day

The May Gift Day total, including Gift Aid, came to just over £44,000. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who gave towards that. As a first priority we're now going to start work on upgrading the Kerith Centre emergency lighting and fixing the leak in the auditorium roof. Neither of these things are particularly exciting or ground breaking, but both are essential if we are to continue to use our facilities.

Although the total is great, it's also well short of the £100,000 we were going for. When we met as elders to discuss the total we decided to have two more gifts says, one last Sunday (20th June) and one on the Sunday coming up (27th June), to try and get closer to and hopefully get beyond the £100,000.

I have to admit that I didn't do a great job of explaining about these extra gift days, especially at the 9am meeting on Sunday, for which I apologise. However, please can I ask you to think and pray about what to give this Sunday. The money is needed to invest in upgrades to our facilities, in particular to get a digital audio desk and a wide-screen in The Kerith Centre and a new projector in K2. Catrina and I will be sitting down this week to think and pray about what extra we are going to give, please can I ask you to follow our lead and do the same.

Simon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day Gift Idea

Are you struggling for that perfect Father's Day gift? Well why not consider booking that special man in your world into the Abundant Life XCEL Men's Conference on 19th and 20th November.

I booked in this week with another friend. We're staying at the Holiday Inn Express in the middle of Bradford which is very reasonable. You also get a 10% discount on the conference booking fee if you quote our Abundant Life Network number which is 235.

So rather than socks or aftershave this Sunday why not go for a conference booking instead - you know it makes sense!

Simon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not Top Gear Church

Those of you who have good memories, and have studied the current Link magazine in detail, will know that on Father's Day this year (which is the weekend coming up - 20th June) we had plans to do church in the style of Top Gear. We had loads of ideas for "A Pa in a Reasonably Priced Car" and other Top Gear related fun, as well as a serious message on "Living Life in Top Gear", but a couple of weeks ago as we looked at all the other things going on in church life, including the Real Conference, we realised that we didn't have the creative resources to pull off Top Gear Church in the way we wanted to. So rather than doing something half baked we've put it off - hopefully next year we'll manage to do it.

That means that this Sunday will be more of a 'normal' Sunday, although given the last few weeks I'm not sure what a normal Sunday looks like any more!

Have a great week 'doing good' and hope to catch you next Sunday.

Simon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If My People Pray

We're seeing God do some remarkable things amongst us at the moment, whether you look at Sundays, the youth, our work in the community, Serenje, the Balkans or any of a number of other key areas. Prayer is key to all of that, and to us seeing things move things to even another level, so I want to really encourage you to come out on Wednesday and Thursday nights this week when we meet to pray from 8-9.30 in K2.

On Wednesday night we're going to be be praying for the elders as they prepare the church strategy for 2011. On Wednesday and Thursday next week the elders will be meeting during the day with the head of every church ministry to get a report on how things are going and to hear people's plans and dreams for the future. Then on Friday and Saturday we're going away to pray about what we've heard and see where we sense God wants us to focus our resources and efforts in 2011 and beyond. I really want God to be all over that process, so would love you to come and help us pray into that.

Then on Thursday night Jon Hulme and Maria Reardon are going to lead us as we pray. Jon and Maria both have a great heart and passion for praying - I'm expecting God to say some fresh things to us and take us in some new directions as they lead us.

On both nights we'll also have worship and communion, so please come and join us as we seek God's face and spend time with him.

Simon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Paula Ridgway - Volunteer of the Year

This Sunday is the final part of our series on the Volunteer Revolution. It therefore seems appropriate to celebrate one of the many great volunteers in our church community - Paula Ridgway. Paula received the award for "Adult Volunteer of the Year 2010" in recognition of her outstanding voluntary contribution to the community and residents of Bracknell Forest Borough.

They specifically mentioned her work as Chair of Home-Start Bracknell Forest, Vice Chair of BFVA (Bracknell Forest Voluntary Action) and Wooden Hill Primary School, and the free churches representative on SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education). 

They failed to mention her 33 years  of outstanding service at Kerith in numerous volunteer roles. Paula, and her husband Mark, are an outstanding demonstration of what a life given over to God looks like.

Don't forget to say 'well done' to Paula next time you see her.

Hope to catch you on Sunday for what should be another great series of meetings.

Simon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Laura Webber-Gant

It never ceases to amaze me where our people get to - I'll never forget the first weekend of the ash cloud when we realised how many people we were going to be missing on the Sunday (including the preacher!) because they were stuck in other countries.

One of those people away at the moment is Laura Webber-Gant who is  spending time in Johannesburg in South Africa on an Oasis team. I just got this update on her progress:

Laura’s team are spending most of their time divided up amongst different areas of Oasis SA’s projects, which are all based from the Hub building in Cosmo City, the community where the Team live.  Laura is spending most of her time assisting Chantel, the Health Director, in the running of the Oasis clinic. This provides ante-natal care, immunizations, and referrals for HIV testing and counseling. The whole team also run activities together in local pre-schools, and help to run the ‘Wonderful Me’ schools programme. This tailor-made programme of lessons aims to raise children’s self-confidence and self-esteem, in response to the high risk of abuse in their communities.

Laura has another three months to go - let's thank God for her and all she is doing and pray that God will continue to use her.


Simon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Willow Global Leadership Summit

This year seems to be racing by, and it won't be long before it's October when we'll again be hosting the Willow Global Leadership Summit. This years speaker line up looks the best ever, with the likes of Jim Collins (author of "Good to Great" and "Built to Last"), Jack Welch (ex CEO of General Electric and reckoned to be one of the best business leaders ever), T.D. Jakes, Christine Caine of Hillsong, Andy Stanley and of course Bill Hybels amongst those speaking.

Please can I encourage you to sign up to go. As a host church we get a special rate of £43, for which you need to phone the Willow UK office on 023 8071 0295 or use the application form which is at reception and clearly mark on it that you're from Kerith (you can't get the special rate using the online booking form). If you're not part of Kerith then there are still some very cheap early bird rates available until the 31st July.

If you're coming from further a field we also have special rates negotiated with the  Grange Hotel which is within walking distance of our building (it works out cheaper to stay there than the local Travelodge!). Why not stay over on the Friday night with your team to make the most of the conference experience.

Hope to see you there on the 1st and 2nd October.

Simon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rachel Hickson

What a fantastic Sunday with Rachel Hickson. She served us so well in all that she said and did, and I know that many people met powerfully with God through her ministry. For me it was a first to be in the middle of introducing the speaker and sense God prompting me to speak prophetically over some people. As always the best response is to follow the prompting - I'm not sure the people in question will ever forget what Rachel subsequently spoke over them - very powerful.

We are so privileged by the people God brings across our path. I often have the added privilege of spending time with them over a coffee or a meal after the meeting. As well as being a powerful speaker Rachel, and her husband Gordon, are the most charming, pleasant and encouraging people you could ever hope to be around, and were so positive about Kerith and "the sound coming from our house". We will definitely be inviting her back!

Tuesday night is the All Leaders Meeting where I'll be talking about my recent trip to Singapore, updating people on progress in a number of areas of church life and talking about some of the direction we sense God has for us in the next few years. If you're a Kerith leader (or aspiring leader) then please come along - 7.45pm in K2.

Have a very content week!

Simon.