Friday, October 26, 2012

Serene Videos

We've put the videos of Serenje which I showed last Sunday up on YouTube - a huge thanks to Andy White who took my shaky iPhone videos and edited them to create these, and Colin Boyle who got them uploaded to YouTube. You should be able to see the videos below, but if not you can follow this link to the church YouTube channel.

Just a reminder that this Sunday we're having our second gift day offering for Serenje, aiming to raise £80,000 for year 5 of the project. Pease be thinking and praying about what you're going to give. This Sunday I'm going to be speaking on God putting creativity in the heart of every one of us, and will be interviewing Howard Reece-Smith about all that has achieved in the hospital in Serenje as he has followed the vision God gave him.

Finally don't forget that the clocks go back an hour this weekend, hopefully making it easier for all of us to get there on time :)

Hope to see you this weekend,

Simon.

A village welcome

The Head of Misolo Kipiki Basic School

Pastor Gordon

A greeting from Loveness - one of the amazing volunteers

Bishop Samson Kasele

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Business and Community Leaders Breakfast

A final reminder about the breakfast for leaders I'm going to be hosting at the Bracknell Hilton on Friday 2nd November. You can find all the details here.

We need to give final numbers to the Hilton next Wednesday, so if you want to come you need to book before then. Numbers are also limited to a maximum of 70 people, so if you definitely want to come then why not phone the Kerith reception on 01344 862699 to make sure of your place for what I'm hoping is going to be the first of many events like this.

Simon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Thoughts

Several people have asked me where they can find the talk I did last year on how to deal with Halloween. For those who are interested you can find it on the Kerith website here.

If you do listen to it I'd love to know what you make of it.

Simon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Leaders Meeting

Just a reminder for all Kerith leaders that Tuesday night (23rd October) is our termly All Leaders Meeting in K2 starting at 7.45pm.

This time round we're privileged to have Steve Tibbert from King's Church in South East London with us (this is the church our good friends Mick and Val Taylor and William and Hilary Dalziel are now part of). Steve is going to be sharing the story of King's Church, which has many parallels with our own story at Kerith. Steve will talk in particular about their growth over the last few years (they now gather over 1,200 people on a Sunday) and their experience of being one church on multiple sites. I'll also be sharing some news, we'll hopefully have time at the end for some Q&A, and we'll start the evening with cheese and wine, so it should be a great evening.

If you're a leader in any context in Kerith then you should have already received an invite for Tuesday, but if not please consider yourself invited and come along.

Simon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sam & Hannah Fairs-Billam

One of the highlights of my trip to Zambia last week was catching up with Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam, and their two lovely girls Isla and Amba. Sam and Hannah are very much part of Kerith (Sam became a Christian on one of our Alpha courses), and have felt for a while God calling them to move overseas and work for justice. They did this in March, when they moved to Lusaka, to work with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) doing child protection training. You can read more about what they're up to on their blog.

Sam, Hannah and the girls are doing brilliantly. They've had their fair share of challenges and problems, but they've overcome them all amazingly, God has certainly been with them. This is a short video they recorded to say hi to everyone.


Here is a panoramic view of where they live (thanks to the wonders of IOS6).

And this is Hannah doing some child protection training in Serenje.

Please pray for them, sign up for and leave comments on their blog (which encourages them more than you could know) and know that they're making a real difference.

Simon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Serenje Sunday

On Sunday I'm going to talk in some detail about my trip last week to Serenje, as well looking at how it fits in with our wider call to be a blessing to the nations.

Amazing progress has been made since we first visited Serenje five years ago, and I can't wait to get to talk about it all.

As a bit of a taster I thought I'd include a couple of pictures from Misela Kapika Basic (Primary) School. This first one is of some of the new classrooms which have been built using the extra school fees the school has received from children being sponsored by the project (the eagle eyed will also spot Leah Mutala).

And these are some of the children now being taught in those new rooms (along with the lovely Hannah Fairs-Billam).

All very exciting. We'll also be having gift days over the next two weekends trying to raise £80,000 to fund the final year of the project. My prayer is that we'll raise so significantly more than the target, in which case any extra money will go to other nations we are involved in.

Please get there on Sunday if you possibly can, and be thinking and praying about what you are going to give.

Simon.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meet the Academy - Irene Mooney

Hello….My name is Irene Mooney….I am doing a “ Granny “ gap year…I am in my late 50s ..have three grown up children who all have spouses / partners….I have two amazing grandchildren who have totally won my heart. ….you may see Elisha (almost 2 ) around on Sundays….he is the cutest and bestest wee boy ever.!!....Chris …my hubster of many decades is the IT manager at church and we have been a part of Kerith for almost 30 years. I work full time as a Personal Assistant to a young man with disability and I childmind 2 small boys ( one of which is my grandson ). Over the years I have seen many changes in church life and served in many areas and enjoyed all the challenges this has brought into our lives….we had the privilege of being led by Ben Davies and we were part of the building of the Kerith Centre…all those years ago.. Now… as Simon and Catrina lead us into growth the opportunities we can get involved with are limitless. I am doing The Academy year mainly because I really want to be challenged ….changed and ….to grow in every area of my life. I have come to realise I am never too old to be changed and challenged. …and believe me its going to take me way out of my comfort zone as I serve with the team in Konstruction Krew (5-11s)and take part in the teaching class (my brain may need to be shocked into life ). To be a part of The Academy Student Body is going to be such fun…yet present me with amazing times of sharing life with all ages and cultures.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Andrew Wilson

We've got a treat in store next weekend (Sunday 14th) when we're going to have Andrew Wilson with us at all three meetings.

Andrew is part of the leadership team of Kings Church in Eastbourne, and I've known him for a number of years as someone I'd say hello to whenever our paths crossed. However, this Summer he spoke at the One Event I was also part of, and Catrina and I had the privilege of getting to know Andrew loads better. He's one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet (if you're ever looking for someone interesting to chat to over breakfast Andrew is your man!). He also has an incredible understanding of the Bible, with two degrees in theology (if you want to be slightly scared take a look at some of the papers he's written here), but has a rare ability to take all of that knowledge and package it in a way in which 'ordinary' people like you and me can understand and digest.

He's written a number of books, including God Stories, and Incomparable, both of which I know a number of people in our community have read and really enjoyed, and which are available from our resources area.

His latest book, "If God Then What", takes a look at some of life's biggest questions and explores some of the possible answers. I particularly enjoyed this review of it, interestingly written by an atheist! He'll be speaking on some of the questions he raises in the book. We'll also be selling copies of the book for £5.

This will be a great talk to invite people far from God to, in particular people who have intellectual objections to and questions about Christianity.

Don't miss it :)

Simon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meet the Academy - Megan Cheeseman

I'm 19 and have lived in Bracknell my whole life. I was blessed to have a Mum with strong faith who took me to church from the beginning. When I was 6 years old I asked Jesus into my heart and I was baptised aged 12. Although it's been a while since I was baptised, Academy definitely seems to be the next step. I feel this year will give me an opportunity to focus on God and to give something back to the church. My main ministry area will be children's work, specifically under 5s. I look forward to seeing the children grow in their faith and hope to be an example to them.

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Alpha Reminder

The evening Alpha course starts this Wednesday at 7.30pm. We've already got over 50 guests signed up, but there is still plenty of space for more. So if you fancy doing Alpha yourself, or know someone who would benefit from coming on the course, then just come along. The evening starts with a meal, followed by a talk and then time in a small group with tea and coffee where you can discuss anything you want to! If you're wondering whether or not Alpha is for you then take a look here.

If you could let us know in advance that either you, or a friend, are coming then that would be helpful - just phone reception on 01344 862699. But if you aren't able to let us know, then feel free just to turn up.

Sadly I won't be there for the first night as I'll still be in Zambia, but I'll be praying for everyone, and looking forward to hearing about it when I get back.

Simon.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meet the Academy - Dan Boyles

My name is Dan Boyles and I'm 23 years old. I have lived in Bracknell all my life with my parents and a younger sister. Before coming a christian I worked for a music label and as a DJ in the nightclub industry but after a few years of doing this I had lost my way in life abit and realised I was searching for something more, something I did not have. After finally finding God in early 2012 I have now decided that I want to spend a year at academy to strengthen my relationship with God and to serve and honour the one that has truly saved me. I am serving in the social justice team working with CAP and Foodbank, as well as Helping with crisis intervention.

 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Meet the Academy - Natalie Jones

Hello my name is Natalie and I am 18. I have just finished my A levels and last year felt that God was guiding me towards taking a gap year before I continued on to university. As Kerith as given so much into me it was the obvious choice to choose Kerith Academy as a year out program. I am so excited to be serving in the youth ministry with Liam Parker and several other amazing students. I am so buzzing for reaching and teaching the young people in Bracknell and look forward to all that I will see God do this year!

 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Serenje Success Story - Felix Kalunga

In advance of us going out to Serenje I thought you might enjoy this story of one of the small scale farmers we've been working with in Serenje - Felix Kalunga.

What has happened to him is representative of what the project has achieved in the whole community.

Simon.

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Felix Kalunga is a small scale farmer based in Kashitu community. Felix is 32 years old and has 7 children, five of whom are in school, while the other two are still too young to start school. Felix is one of the hard working farmers who has been receiving agricultural support since 2010. In the 2010 - 2011 farming season, he received 15kg of beans and a 50kg sack of sweet potato vines.

From that initial 15kg of beans he managed to harvest 350kg. He sold 300kg for $360, and kept the remainder to feed his family and to have seed to plant for the next season. From the sale he managed to buy 3 pigs for $50 each. He also spent $56 joining a cooperative so that he can get subsidised fertiliser to allow him to grow maize, a staple food in Zambia.

The rest of the money he used to buy clothes for his family, vegetable seeds and a treadle pump. The treadle pump helps him water his vegetables in the garden. These include tomatoes, cabbage, onion, rape and impwa (wild egg plant). The garden has again helped Felix in meeting his most immediate needs such as paying for his school going children, buying school equipment (uniforms, books, pens and pencils) and for other household goods.

In the 2011 – 2012 farming season, Felix received 15kg of seed out of which 10kg were groundnuts and 5kg beans. From the 10kg of groundnuts he received, he harvested 215 kilograms of unshelled groundnuts. He is so thankful to the project for empowering him with seed farming techniques and is ready to take up responsibility for his livelihoods. He has kept enough seed for the 2012 – 2013 farming season and is one of the farmers who will not get seed for the next farming season.

He said that before the project came to his community, he used to have a lot of problems in making ends meet in terms of providing enough food to his household. He even said that the little they could harvest would not last until the next farming season. Today, he is able to pay for his children’s school fees and buy decent clothes, something he could not manage do before. He further encourages other farmers in the community to work hard so that they remain better than they were before the project started in terms of food security. He really thanks God for this project and the entire staff who have made it possible that the needy (poor) people in the communities are empowered in food security and livestock.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meet the Academy - Villu Vares

I am Villu Vares, 24 years old and I´m from Estonia. My passions are photography, video and design. I´ve been a Christian for almost my entire life. I was introduced to Jesus when I was 3 years old and since then I´ve atended to sunday schools, alpha and many youth groups at or church in Kuressaare. And now I had the oportunity to atend Kerith Academy to learn more about the Bible and to be part of the Kerith Church family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Week in Zambia

On Sunday afternoon I'm flying out to Zambia with Andy Jackson, Zoe Hayes and Howard and Elizabeth Reece-Smith. Andy and I fly back the following Saturday, the others stay a little longer. We're going out there for a number of reasons:

  • To spend time with Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam, who have moved out to Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) for a year to set up a child protection policy in partnership with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ). You can catch up on what they're up to here. It will be great getting to spend time with them, and catch up on all that they're doing.
  • To meet with the senior leaders in EFZ to discuss what we do beyond the end of year 5 of the Serenje project. We'll also be meeting up with Bertha, who is the Tearfund country rep for Zambia and is going out to Zambia on the same flight as us. We had a great time yesterday at Tearfund talking though possibilities beyond the end of the project - hopefully I'll be able to talk about that more when we get back.
  • To travel up to Serenje and meet with the pastors and vounteers. It will be great to see our friends Bernard and Samson again - it was only this time last year they were with us for the GLS. It's always an incredible privilege to meet children who are now back in education, families who now know where their next meal is coming from and community leaders who now feel a sense of hope about the future because of what we've done.
  • To make sure the dormitory gets built as quickly as possible. It has been held up over getting planning permission - please pray that we have success in overcoming that hurdle and moving it on and getting the girls in there.
  • To top up our tans before the winter! Not really, but it will be the hottest month of the year in Serenje, so we'll be thinking of you as Autumn sets in here :)
I'm going to try and blog and tweet whilst we're out there (bizarrely it can be easier to get a 3G phone signal in Serenje than in Bracknell).

Please be praying for us, for the families we leave behind, for all the people we'll be meeting and especially for progress in getting the dormitory built.

Simon.

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Barn - An Amazing Answer to Prayer

Those of you who have been at the prayer meetings over the last year will know that we've been praying for office space away from the Kerith Centre to move the staff to. This is for four primary reasons:

  • Our growth in Sunday numbers means we have run out of space for children's work on a Sunday, particularly at the 11am meeting. We want to use the space freed up in the Kerith Centre to do children's work on a Sunday, and in particular to run separate teaching for years 5 and 6 (the 10 and 11 year olds).
  • We have also run out of space to run courses midweek. Freeing up the offices will provide us with more space to run courses and small groups during the week, as well as giving us more break our rooms when we run conferences and other events.
  • The current office space is completely full, especially with the addition of 15 Academy students this year and the hope to have more in future years.
  • As we look to become a multisite church meeting in multiple locations, and doing social justice in each of those locations, having an operational hub which is more central to all those locations makes a lot of sense.
Well our prayer has been answered in an amazing way, with Tony and Elizabeth Pudner offering us the use of The Barn, which is the office adjacent to their house on the outskirts of Bracknell and Wokingham. Initially we will have use of The Barn for a year starting from November. I can't tell you how grateful I am to Tony and Elizabeth for their incredible generosity and faith, and to God for providing us with the next thing we need to allow us to continue to grow and to flourish as a community.

The plan is as follows:

  • A number of the staff will be staying at the Kerith Centre, primarily the receptionists and the facilities team.
  • Through November the Creative Arts team (all the music, video, print media, website and production people) will move to the Studio, the building in the Kerith Centre car park. This will become a creative arts hub, with a recording studio / practice room upstairs.
  • Also through November and Decembr the rest of the staff will be moving over to The Barn, which will become the operational base for everything which happens at Kerith.
  • Once everyone has moved out we'll start work on converting the Kerith Centre offices to rooms which we can use for kids on a Sunday and other ministries midweek.
I know this will raise a load of questions, to which hopefully over the next few weeks we'll provide some good answers. Please feel very free to ask those questions, either to me or someone else on the team. For now can I just encourage us to be thanking God for this amazing answer to prayer.

Simon.

ps - I've included some more photos of The Barn below - God is good!

 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet the Academy - Marta LingytÄ—

Hello everyone!
I am Marta Lingyte, I am from a beautiful country in northeast of Europe called Lithuania.
I'm nineteen years old and I've been amazingly blessed with a christian background since childhood.
I was involved in worship and youth ministries in my church and my desire is to work with it in the future.
Energy , positive attitude and sociability are the features that I like the most in me and I consider those as wonderful gifts from my Heavenly Father!
I came in England in order to have foundational year, to discover Gods will, to learn how to serve people and to learn about leadership in church.
It is a huge privilege and blessing to be a student at Kerith Academy and I hope we will get a chance to meet and to work together for His Kingdom! :)