Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Going Offline

We're about to go on our family holiday, so 10 glorious days with no email, blogs, Facebook or Twitter (other than maybe the odd holiday photo). We're so looking forward to being together as a family and having a chance to reconnect in a way you can only do when you've got extended time together.

On Sunday 28th July Lee Layton-Matthews is preaching, followed by Ben Davies on Sunday 4th August. We're also having the next Give to Grow gift day on the 4th - please be thinking about what to give as we look to fully fund the launch of our new Sandhurst site in September.

Hope you're having a good summer.

Simon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Calling all Youth (and their Parents)

Liam Parker, our fantastic youth pastor, contacted me today to say that there are still some places left at our Summer LIFE youth camp. I really don't want any of our youngsters (11 to 18 year olds), or those from other churches, who could possibly go to miss out on what I'm sure is going to be a fabulous event, so thought I'd quickly blog about it.

All the details you need are on the website here, along with a form you can use to contact Liam if you have any questions. However, the outline details are:

  • It's from the 14th-18th August
  • It costs £150, but if finance is an issue please talk to us as we wouldn't want anyone to miss out because they can't afford it
  • It's in high Wycombe at the Wycliffe Centre
  • We at happy for people to come for a day or two at a day rate of £25
  • We are very happy for young people from other churches, or with no church background, to come too
  • It's basically LIFE for 90 hours straight with some volleyball, bonfires and BBQ's thrown in!

Our Jacob and Alice are going to be there - Catrina and I are also hoping to sneak in for some of it - hope to see all you youngsters too!

Simon.

 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finance - Thanking God

This morning we had the last finance prayer meeting before breaking up for the summer (we'll start again on Thursday 5th September). We kicked off this prayer meeting just over two years ago at a time when we were struggling to get together the money to pay for the reception redevelopment. Since then a group of 6 to 12 of us have met every Thursday morning at 6am to pray for finance and resources for all we want to do as a community, and for salvation and people being saved as a result of what we do.

This morning we reflected on some of the prayers which God has answered in that time (and some of the things God did which we hadn't even prayed about!). It was quite an amazing list so I thought I'd share what I can remember of it! Here are just some of those things:

  • Over £180,000 to pay for years 4 & 5 of the Serenje project.
  • The remainder of the £125,000 needed to build the girls dormitory in Serenje
  • £125,000 of interest free loans, which were pledged in under 24 hours of us announcing that we needed them, saving us having to take out a loan with the bank to redevelop reception
  • Over £300,000 to redevelop reception, move the tech desk to the back of the auditorium, upgrade audio visual equipment and pay off interest free loans
  • An increase in regular church giving of over 10% in 2013 and a further increase this year
  • The provision of the K4 charity shop - we prayed for God to give us the right location and now it is the only charity shop in the town as a result of the redevelopment of the town centre
  • The free use of The Barn which has allowed us to move most of the staff offsite and free up space in the Kerith Centre to use midweek and on Sundays
  • A free warehouse in Bracknell for Foodbank, the K4 shop and other Kerith ministries to use (we only had confirmation of this at the beginning of this week)
  • Numerous grants totalling well over £150,000 to support our social justice work
  • Many tonnes of food donated by the local community for us to give away in the Foodbank
  • The gift of a van which is used by the K4 shop and our social justice teams
  • Favour with Bracknell and Wokingham College to buy the house behind K2, and £30,000 to pay the deposit and legal fees
  • Over £46,000 (including gift aid) in the July "Give to Grow" gift day, taking the total this year to over £163,000 (well over half way to the target for the year)
  • Favour with Sandhurst School in our negotiations to use their facilities on a Sunday.
  • Well over 100 people baptised

It's amazing to think what God has done in just a couple of years. It's felt like a real struggle at times, but I think that's just part of God's plan to force us to rely on him, and to realise that our hope rests in him and not our own abilities or resources.

Thank you to everyone who has given, prayed, volunteered, encouraged, lead, followed and been a part of what God has been doing. As my wife would say "you are unique, together we are amazing!".

Simon.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Family Portraits - Marriage

Lots of people have commented on how useful they found the discussion Catrina and I had last Sunday on the Biblical basis of marriage, and us talking about some of what we have learnt about practically building a marriage which will last a lifetime. If you missed it you can find the podcast of what we had to say here.

For anyone who wants to look in more depth at what they Bible has to say about marriage then I want to strongly recommend Tim and Kathy Keller's book "The Meaning of Marriage". Whether you're single, in a marriage which is struggling or in a marriage which is going well then you'll find teaching here which will both give you a fresh perspective on God's view of marriage, and some great practical insights on how to build a strong marriage. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

If you do get a copy and read it I'd love to know what you make of it.

Simon.

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The REAL Deal

Preparation for our REAL women's conference this weekend is now in full swing. Kim McManus's flight from LA should have just landed. The stage is looking amazing (I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what it looks like). The programmes and give aways are all being delivered to the building. The rehearsals are pretty much all done. And we've got more women booked in than ever before.

But it's not too late to get there. The team have opened up an option for any women who can only make it to either the Friday or Saturday evening to come along (just pay £5 on the door - more details here), and it's not too late to book in for the whole conference online.

I'm going to be there for the whole thing, although I have promised Catrina that I won't be doing any surprises this year! If you're a guy please be praying that God will powerfully impact the women in our community. If you're a girl then please do everything you can to be there, even if it means breaking out of your comfort zone.

Simon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

July Give to Grow - One Final Reminder

I hope you had a great weekend, not only all that we got up to in church on Sunday if you made it but also the beautiful weather, and that amazing victory for Andy Murray.

I just wanted to give one final reminder about the July gift day. We should know the total later this week, and I hope to be able to announce it on Sunday, but if you weren't able to give over the weekend, either because you weren't there or didn't come prepared, then please still give so that your contribution can be included in the total. The easiest way to do that is online here (be sure to click on the "Gift Day 2013" button), but you can also drop your gift off at the Kerith Centre if that works better for you.

It will be so brilliant if we can raise be £100,000 we need to fully resource the launch of our new Sandhurst site. Not only will that get our new site off to a great start, but it will also give us the confidence to proceed with a number of projects we want to kick off on the Bracknell site over the summer and in the Autumn. For instance someone asked me on Sunday whether they could have a video of the message, as they had friends with a marriage which was struggling and they thought they it would be much more impactful for them to watch a video of our talk rather than just listen to the audio. Well one of the projects we will kick of in Bracknell if we get the money in will be to buy the kit to allow us to properly film our Sunday gatherings, and make them available for people to watch online.

Thank you to everyone who has already given, and all who are going to give this week - as a leader people's willingness to invest so generously in the vision God has given us is one of my greatest encouragements to keep going - thank you.

Hope you have a great week, especially with the REAL conference on Friday night and Saturday and Kim McManus with us all day Sunday.

Simon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Service for the Life of Bob Wilson

The Thanksgiving Service for the life of Bob Wilson is being held at 2.30pm in the Kerith Centre on Tuesday 16th July. Family and invited friends will then leave for a short burial service at St Michael's church in Sandhurst, during which time they would like everyone to stay at the Kerith Centre for tea, coffee and cakes. The family will then rejoin everyone at the Kerith Centre.

As always for these events parking will be a challenge! We want to keep the Kerith Centre car park free for the elderly and disabled, so if you are able to please plan to leave enough time to park in the town centre and walk up.

Bob and his wife Averil have been a major part of the story of Kerith for almost 50 years, and those of us who have joined more recently owe them a debt of gratitude for all that they have done to make Kerith the community which it is today. I know that as well as standing with Averil and the family in their grief, and expressing our own sorrow at Bob no longer being with us, we will also want to express our thankfulness for Bob and all that Jesus did through his life.

As Paul wrote "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Bob lived for Christ, but his death is his gain as he spends eternity in paradise. Let his life be an inspiration to all of us.

Simon.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Marriage and Money

This Sunday is the final week of our Family Portrait series. If you've missed any weeks so far then you can listen to what we've had to say about Fathers, Family and Adoption here.

This week we're looking at Marriage, both from a human perspective and what it teaches us about the relationship between Jesus and the church. If you want to do some preparation please take some time reading over Ephesians 5:18-33 and meditating on what it has to say. Catrina and I will be sharing some of our experiences of marriage and how they relate to this this passage, and in that discussing what it means for the husband to be the head and the wife to submit to him - it should be interesting!

It's also our July Gift Day, where we're looking to raise £100,000 to launch our new site in Sandhurst. Please can I encourage all of us to be thinking and praying about what we're going to give, and if you can't make it on Sunday go online and give there. It's so brilliant to be part of such a generous community - thank you in advance to everyone who is going to be a part of the gift day.

Hope to catch you on Sunday,

Simon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sandhurst Prayer and Vision Night

Hopefully you've heard by now that on 15th September we're going to be starting a new site in Sandhurst. All of us are going to have to make a decision which site we're going to be a part of. If you’re still undecided then here are 3 great reasons why you might consider being part of Sandhurst:

 

 

  1. Convenience – Maybe you live in that area, well Kerith will be coming to your doorstep! No longer will you need to travel across Berkshire to get to church, you’ll be able to invite friends to a meeting that happens right down their street.
  2. Experience – the experience at Sandhurst will be as high quality as Bracknell, but with a more intimate feel. At Sandhurst, the dynamics of the venue mean it’ll be easy to get to know people, get involved and build community.
  3. Adventure - We’ve never done this before and it’s an exciting new opportunity to share the gospel and the love of Jesus with those in Sandhurst and the surrounding area.

 

We need people who carry Kerith’s DNA to be part of the body of people launching the site, welcome new people to church and get the site up and running. Whether you want to join for a year to get Sandhurst launched, or are interested in finding out more, we have an evening just for you:

Ben and Heather Pocock, who are leading the Sandhurst site, are holding a “Prayer and Vision Night for Kerith Sandhurst” on Tuesday 16th July. It will be from 7.45pm-9.30pm at The Kitty Dancy Room in the Council Offices, Sandhurst Memorial Park, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst, Berkshire, GU47 9BJ. This is an evening for everyone, but particularly those who intend on coming along to Sandhurst or are interested in finding out more. You’ll get the opportunity to meet the team, discover opportunities to get involved and spend time praying for the Sandhurst site.

 

If you are planning on going to Sandhurst but can’t attend this evening, it would be really helpful if you could let Ben and Heather know so they have an idea of the number of people going. If that's you then please contact Heather Pocock on heather.pocock@kerith.co.uk

And if you're totally set on staying in Bracknell, then please be both praying for the Sandhurst site to flourish, and for continues growth and expansion in Bracknell too.

Finally don't forget that we've got a gift day for Sandhurst this Sunday. Giving is just another way in which we can help both sites continue to grow.

Simon.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tesco Foodbank Collection - Help Required

This weekend (Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July) Tesco have agreed to allow all Trussell Trust Foodbanks (of which we are one) to do Foodbank collections at all their local Tesco stores. In addition Tesco have pledged to add 30% to everything which is given.

 

Our Foodbank team could really do with help on both days between 9am and 5pm collecting at the Warfield Tesco store. All you'll need to do is to give people going into the store a list of the food we require, and ask them while they are shopping if they could pop one of the items wanted if they could add to our basket. If you're able to help for an hour or two then please email Pat Hallett at foodbank@kerith.co.uk - I know she and the team will so appreciate any help you are able to give.

 

Our Foodbank team continue to do amazing work. Over the past 40 months they have handled over 3,000 food-vouchers via 57 agencies and received 61 tonne of food while distributing the equivalent of 50,000 meals to a total of 6,285 adults and children. And if you were in church at the 11pm for the baptisms last Sunday you'll have heard the stories of Rob and Gharaman and how their lives have been changed through the work of the Foodbank.

 

All so exciting.

 

Simon.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gift Day Reminder

Please be talking, thinking and praying about what to give to this Sundays Give to Grow gift day. We're looking to raise £100,000 to allow us to start our new site in Sandhurst in September.

This gift day really is key to all we want to achieve this year. If we manage to achieve the total it will give us the confidence not only to launch Sandhurst well, but also to press on with a number of the projects we have planned for the Bracknell site. These include replacing the auditorium carpet in the Autumn half term, implementing electronic registration for all our kids meetings on a Sunday and buying a vision mixer for the Kerith Centre to be installed over the summer.

All of this is about us more effectively reaching people in our community and widening the number of people we can reach. Please do come ready to give on Sunday - if you aren't able to be there in person you can still give online here.

I wanted to leave you with some words which Paul wrote to Timothy. Let his words inspire us as we think and pray about what to give on Sunday.

Simon.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

(1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV)

Monday, July 1, 2013

September Alpha Supper

The team are already hard at work planning the Autumn Alpha Supper, which is going to be on Saturday 28th September. Please put that date in your diary now as it's an event you won't want to miss.

We've invited a guy called Gary Grant to be our guest speaker. Gary is the founder, owner and managing director of The Entertainer chain of toy shops. With his wife Catherine he opened their first toy shop in Amersham in 1981. Today The Entertainer is the biggest independent toy retailer in the UK and growing at an average of one new store per month.

What is fascinating about Gary is that he is a Christian, and runs The Entertainer with very clear Christian values. So for instance although they are in some of the largest shopping centres in the UK they don't open on Sundays, instead choosing to give their staff a day of rest. Despite this approach they are more profitable than any of the shops which choose to open every day. How cool is that! You can read a great 2009 Guardian article about Gary and his faith here.

Gary has a fascinating story to tell of his journey of faith and how it has impacted his every day life. What we need is for every one of us to be thinking and praying now about who in our worlds we're going to invite on the 28th to hear Gary speak.

There will be more details coming out over the next few weeks, but I wanted to make sure you get it in your diaries as soon as possible.

Simon.