Sunday, July 10, 2011
In the background is the building where the church here meets. It is an old communist hotel, which the church bought a number of years ago. Over the last few years they've been gradually renovating it room by room. They've recently completed the chapel which is where they meet on Sunday. It's interesting in that it's in the shape of a cross, with the stage at the top of the cross and chairs down all three 'arms'. That means you have to remember to look three ways as you speak, even more complex than trying to look at all the different sections in the Kerith Centre!
Saulius is an inspiring and fresh thinking leader. The church gathers about 200 people on a Sunday and packs out the chapel with standing room only and an overflow (one of the things I've talked to them about is moving to multiple meetings). Preaching is in Lithuanian with live translation into English and Russian, reflecting the national diversity of their community. They also have a great mix of ages with loads of teenagers, singles, married couples with children and older people. The worship is mostly songs that we would have sung in the past but in Lithuanian.
Our relationship with them began when a group from their church came over to our first Real conference, and ever since we've tried to work with them in whatever way we can. Most recently this has included us helping them to run the first Willow GLS in the country. From September a number of their young people will be coming over to join the Academy for a year - very exciting.
I've had various meetings with their leaders, the elders, and preaching this morning, as well as spending time with Saulius. The way they 'do church' would be very similar to us, meaning we all feel very at home here. It's also been great being with Leon and Daiva. I think it's been very interesting for Daiva who is Lithuanian but has only ever gone to church in England. For her this has been the first time she's been able to worship and hear people pray in Lithuanian. They are a great couple, and I think God has big plans ahead for them.
Please know that if you are part of Kerith then through your giving and releasing of leadership you are part of what we are able to do here. You might even get to come over here next year, as over the summer they have working parties who come from the USA to work on the building - I'd love to have a Kerith team come over next year.