Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanks to everyone who brought their stuff

A huge thank you to everyone who brought their unwanted 'stuff' last Sunday, in order for it to be sold in our K4 charity shop in Bracknell town centre. Thanks also to everyone who came on Monday to help sort it all, ready for what we hope is going to be a really busy Christmas period for the shop. If you still have 'stuff' you'd like to donate then you can still drop it into the shop during the week (please don't bring it to the Kerith Centre as we have nowhere there to store it!).

The K4 shop is proving to be a great success on a number of fronts. Not only is it raising funds which will allow us to do even more to serve our local community, it is also raising the profile of Kerith in the town (we're having to print more LinK magazines for December because so many people going into the shop are taking them) and is providing training opportunities for people looking to get back into employment. All very exciting.

Hope to catch you Sunday.

Simon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kerith's New Website

Kerith are currently in the process of updating our public website. It’s also given us the opportunity to use a new online tool to help build community at Kerith by connecting us in our small groups, serving teams and ministries for things like online rotas, events, group discussion and much more.

Whilst anyone will be able to see what’s going on through our website, we would also like to give everyone who calls Kerith their home access to this new community tool, which will issue a secure username and password. If Kerith has been your home church for a while, you may have received an email recently listing the current contact details that we have for you. If you have not received the email, your contact information may be missing or out of date – we’d like to fix that!

If you would like access to this new tool but have not received an email about this, please update your contact details here by 13th December.

Stay tuned for further info about this and our new website coming very soon! We expect to start using them in early 2013.

Thanks for doing that.

Simon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preparing for Advent

On Sunday I'm going to be speaking on Advent, a period in the church calendar which runs from the fourth Sunday before Christmas (which is this Sunday coming up) through until Christmas Eve. The English word Advent comes from the latin word adventus, which means "coming". Throughout Advent we primarily focus on Jesus first coming two thousand years ago, but also look forward to him coming again.

Throughout Advent I'm going to be using a set of daily Bible reading notes from John Piper, which are contained in a short booklet he wrote called "Good News of Great Joy". You can get an electronic version of the booklet here. It's available both as a PDF, and in versions which will work on a Kindle, iPAD, iPhone, Nook and pretty much any other ereader known to (wo)man. You can also get the readings via John Piper's daily Bible reading app - search for "Solid Joys" in the Apple App Store. If none of that works for you please let me know and I'll try and source a paper copy for you.

Whatever you do I encourage you to have a plan for getting into your Bible every day, and allowing God to speak to you through it. If you haven't already got a plan then why not use this one!

Hope to catch you on Sunday.

Simon.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter Fuel Payments

Clive and Glynis Challis wrote to me recently about the Winter Fuel Payments (WFP) - the lump sum payment made by the government around this time of year to everyone receiving the State Pension. They wrote this

"The Department of Work & Pensions have started sending out letters about the Winter Fuel Payment (£200 per household). Last year we donated ours to Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to help with clients in fuel poverty. We will do the same this year.

It dawned on us that, although for many the WFP is an important part of household income, for others it is less important & wonder whether it’s worth making an appeal for those where the WFP is nice to have, but not essential to donate to CAP/Crisis Intervention to help those who really do struggle with winter fuel bills."

If you're a pensioner, and you are able to do what Clive & Glynis has suggested, then please can I encourage you to think about following their lead. You can either give on a Sunday via the offering envelopes (just write on the envelope that this is for the work of CAP), or you can give online. In fact I'd encourage all of us whenever God blesses us with something beyond what we need, whether that is a benefit, a bonus, an inheritance or a lottery win(!), to not only feel blessed but also to think how you can use it to be a blessing.

But can I also make an appeal to those in our community who desparately need the WFP, and whatever other money you are receiving, not to feel in any way guilty about that, but instead just to thank God for his provision for you. In fact I'd encourage you to be open about your need. One of the signs of God's grace being on the early church was that there were no poor among them, and that needs to be true for our church community too. Our pastoral team regularly meet with the leaders of TMTL, our ministry to the retired, to make sure that the pensioners in our community have homes which are well heated and maintained, and that their other needs are being met. We're just about to spend over £3,000 on food vouchers to give to families and individuals in the church who we know are going to struggle over Christmas. If you're in need please let someone in leadership know, so that we can have true biblical equality, as expressed by Paul in these words to the church in Cornith:

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15 NIV)


Simon.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dormitory Update

I know that many of you have been praying for the construction of the girls dormitory in Serenje, which has been held up because of the loss of the title deed. Well I got this email on Friday from our great friend Leah - I'll let you read it for yourself.

Dear Pastor Simon,

I am holding in my hand right now an offer letter from the office of the Commissioner of Lands which gives EFZ authorisation to begin the construction works. Its awesome - it all happened in one day - Yesterday!! Its a miracle which brings rejoicing.

Follow up steps will be communicated to you by Pukuta. There was a bit of dancing for the Victory at our EFZ devotions this morning - you can guess who led the dance!

This is all for now.

In Christ,

Leah

Thank you to everyone who has been praying - please join me in a victory dance alongside our friends at EFZ! We can now move on to the next stage of actually getting the dormitory built, and then moving the girls in there. Praise God :)

Simon.

Friday, November 23, 2012

This Sunday

This Sunday we've got baptisms in all three meetings, which is so exciting. Ben Oliver is going to be speaking on baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Spirit. We're going to have loads of visitors so please remember to be looking out for them and saying hello, as well as thinking about who you can invite.

I'm not going to be around in the morning, as I'm going on a prison visit with Lee and Sonia Brett and the team they gather. They are doing some amazing work, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of it all, as long of course that I get let out at the end of it all!

Hope to catch you Sunday evening if not before.

Simon.

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tearfund Focus Group with Free Food

Are you free on Sunday from 12.45pm for an hour? If so Tearfund would love to meet with you in the Brook Lounge (the room by the drinks point in the Kerith Centre reception) with the offer of free food and drinks!

They want to run a focus group discussion on the subject of Christian charities. They are looking for people to join in with an easy-going discussion where you sit in a circle with a few others to lend your opinions about Christian Charities and Tearfund. You don't have to be knowledgeable about anything - the only requirement is that you are over 16 years old and prepared to lend your honest opinions for about an hour.


If you are able to come along then I know Tearfund would really appreciate it, and so would I :)

Hope to catch you on Sunday.

Simon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advance - Don't Miss Out

Advance, our conference for anyone working with children, is this Saturday. The office is buzzing with all the preparations today. It's going to be a great conference and I just want to encourage you to come if you're not already booked in. You can find all the details here, and can book either online or pay at the door.

The picture above is of the kids music CD which our worship team have produced - we've been listening to it today and it sounds really good. Everyone coming to the conference gets a free copy. We'll also be making backing tracks, sheet music and all that sort of stuff available too, so hopefully it will get used widely.

Hope to see you there on Saturday.

Simon.

 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex

There, that got your attention!

I know it's late notice, but I thought you might like to know that on Tuesday 13th November Easthampstead Baptist Church are hosting an event called "Let's Talk About Sex", run by an organisation called Romance Academy. They were started by Rachel Gardener after she appeared in 2005 on a BBC Documentary called "No Sex Please We're Teenagers". Catrina heard her speak recently at a womens' event and said she was brilliant.

The purpose of the evening is to help equip parents, carers and other adults to to talk with their teenagers about sex and relationship. It's running at the Easthampstead Baptist Church building (RG12 7NS) and runs from 7.30pm-9.45pm. You can get all the details here.

Simon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't Miss Advance

Next Saturday (17th November) we have our Advance Kids' Ministry Leaders Conference. This is particularly aimed at anyone working with children aged 0-11 in a church context, but I believe would be very useful to people working with children in any other context, and those working with teenagers too.

To see what a great day it's going to be take a look at the speaker lineup here. Rob Parsons, who is one of the main speakers, is an outstanding communicator with a passion to see children not just survive but thrive in church, and I'm pretty sure will be worth the conference fee alone. On top of that there are a great lineup of both Kerith and external speakers, with a very wide range of topics being covered.

I'd love it if everyone at Kerith working with children and youth were to come to the conference. We all have so much of learn in this area, and this will be a great environment both to be inspired and equipped.

And for those outside Kerith I'd love to have you there too. If that's you please consider coming, and bringing your team.

You can book online here, with a special concessionary rate for under 18's, and one free place for every four booked. For Kerith people who are likely to be booking in individually we'll make sure you get in at that reduced rate, which is effectively £16 each - just book in at the full price and we'll make sure you get a refund on the day. Also if there's anyone from Kerith who would like to come but is struggling financially please let us know as we don't want finances to stop you being there on the day.

If you have any questions then please ask, either by emailing us at info@kerith.co.uk, phoning reception on 01344 862699 or speaking to Lydia Harris-Lane or Yvonne Scott on our kids team.

It's going to be a great day, I'm going to be there and I'd love to see you there too!

Simon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeping in Touch - Help Required

The theme for our next LinK magazine is 'Keeping in Touch' with particular emphasis on prayer. We would like to include a double page spread, featuring places that help you to connect with God - anything from a favourite armchair to a breath-taking view. Please use your imagination and email photos, along with a short sentence of explanation, to: info@kerith.co.uk (by Monday 12 November if possible).

Thanks in advance and hope you're having a great week.

Simon.




Monday, November 5, 2012

Serenje Gift Day Total

For those of you who couldn't be in the adult meeting on Sunday, I thought you'd like to know the Serenje Gift Day total. As you may remember we were going for a £80,000 to fund year 5 of the project, with any additional money coming in going to other nations we work with. Well here is what came in.

  • Regular Giving up to September 2012 - £13,059
  • Cash given in the Gift Days - £40,020
  • Pledges to be redeemed - £13,821
  • Expected regular giving to September 2013 - £15,545
  • Provisional Gift Aid Claim - £11,845
  • Total - £94,290
Isn't that brilliant. As I've said before my prayer was that as we came to the end of our five year project in Serenje we'd burst across the finishing line with this offering, getting more than we needed. Well we've certainly done that, and I'm so incredibly grateful to everyone who has given - thank you so much!

If you're interested you can hear a recording of what I said on Sunday here.

I've got a couple of requests.

  • If you've made a pledge please redeem it in the next couple of weeks. You can do this by putting it into one of the regular giving envelopes, writing on the envelope both your name and that this is to redeem a Serenje pledge, and then putting it into the regular Sunday offering or handing it in at reception.
  • If you haven't yet given and would still like to be involved then its not too late. Just use one of the giving envelopes and make it clear on the envelope that your gift is for Serenje. All money we receive over the £80,000 will go to other nations we are involved in.
Thanks again to everyone who gave and who is still gong to give, it's just brilliant to be part of such a generous community.

Simon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Serenje Hospital Operating Theatre

If you were around on Sunday you'll have heard my interview with Howard Reece-Smith, about how he and his wife Elizabeth raised £20,000 by cycling the 2,000km from Nairobi to Serenje. This paid for equipment donated by the Royal Berks Hospital in Reading to be shipped out to Serenje, and for extra equipment to be bought and shipped out, in order that an operating theatre might be opened in Serenje. You can listen to the interview here.

On our recent trip to Serenje we had the thill of visiting the hospital, and seeing the operating theatre which is now in regular use. Not only are lives being saved, but it's also saving the hospital large amounts of money as doctors and patients no longer need to travel 80km to the nearest alternative hospital.

Here are a couple of pictures of the operating theatre.

Pretty much all the equipment you can see here came from the UK.

What I love about Howard and Elizabeth is that God gave them a vision to do something, and they then took the gifts and talent they have to make that vision a reality. What step are you going to take today to make a God given dream begin to become a reality?

Simon.