Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stuart Bell this Sunday

This coming Sunday (31st May) Stuart Bell will be speaking at all four of our meetings.

Stuart leads ALIVE, a multisite church meeting in Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Grantham, Hykeham, Norwich and Wymondham. He also leads the Ground Level Network of churches, an apostolic network of churches throughout the UK, which also works with networks of churches in the USA and South Africa. Stuart is married to Irene and they have three children and four grandchildren.

That's tells you some of the facts about Stuart, but tell little about him as a person. If you talk to people who know Stuart they'll describe him using words such as humble, wise, consistent, generous hearted, encourager, fun, full of faith and a kingdom builder. He has a remarkable ability to gather together Christians from many different backgrounds and traditions and build trust and confidence between them in an incredibly gentle but confident way.

For me personally he's been one of my greatest encouragers since I started leading in Kerith, and sometimes seems to have far more confidence in me than I have in myself! He and Irene have become great friends to Catrina and me, and I'm really looking forward to more of us getting to know them both.

See you Sunday :)

Simon.

ps Also just to remind you that Canon Andrew White is with us for the 6pm only on Sunday 7th June. Parking will be in the college.

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Accounts Assistant Job Opportunity

Chris Tickner, who has been a valuable part of our Finance team for the past 21 months, has decided to step down so we now have an opportunity for a part-time Accounts Assistant working 24 hours per week.

This is a key role, helping to serve and enable the church - its leaders, staff and volunteers - by accounting and managing the day to day running of our finances. It would suit someone who has some accounting or book-keeping experience, is numerate, loves procedures and order and enjoys working in a team. I've included an outline job description below but if you need any more information, please email our Financial Controller Helen Dodwell.

If this sounds like an opportunity for you or anyone you know who is looking for a change and a challenge, then we would love to hear from you.

Application packs are available from the Kerith Centre reception, or email Ali Hudell (HR Manager).

Simon.

 

Accounts Assistant

This is a paid position working 24 hours per week.

The main purpose of the role is to maintain accurate accounting records to Trial Balance with the duties involved being to:

  • Maintain an accurate & timely set of accounts to Trial Balance for Kerith & Kerith Resources
  • Prepare accurate offerings & gift day totals on Excel
  • Record all Direct to Bank Giving
  • Perform weekly banking & maintain reconciled cash holdings
  • Maintain & reconcile all petty cash & floats for all ministries within Kerith
  • Manage the purchase ledger, from receipt of invoice to payment
  • Account for all staff & volunteer expenses
  • Manage the sales ledger, from raising invoices to receipt of third party payment
  • Report spends on nominal ledger to Budget Holders as required
  • Maintain & reconcile Resource till & floats
  • Manage cash & account for all purchases for multi-sites
  • Perform any other duties as required by the Financial Controller and Senior Management Team

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

John Kirkby with us on Sunday

On Sunday our good friend John Kirkby, Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty, will be speaking at all four meetings. John is one of the most inspirational people I know, with an incredible passion for God, the local church and the poor and the marginalised.

If you'd like to know a bit more about what CAP is all about take a look at this video, featuring John, some UK church leaders and a couple of cameo appearences from me :)

Hope to see you on Sunday,

Simon.

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

April Giving

I was with the leader of one of the big UK based Christian charities recently and he commented to me that he was amazed about how openly we talk about how our church finances are going. I was surprised by that, although also a little embarrassed as we've not always managed to give updates as regularly I'd have liked. However, it also encouraged me to keep being as transparent as we can about everything in church life, not just or finances.

So how are we doing?

As you can see our April offerings were behind budget by a little under £5,000.

The year to date the figures look like this:

So this year we're just over £15,000 behind budget in terms of income.

First I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has given. £267,000 is an amazing amount of money to come in, an amount which has allowed us to do so much. Just today I heard that at a TLG awards dinner last night (TLG is the education charity we partner with to help support children who are struggling in school) our Kerith team won an award, and one of the children we have been supporting won an award too - how cool is that! The first four months of this year have been packed with both local, national and international impact, from that young person being supported to succeed in school to us being involved in running a women's conference in Albania with around 400 women attending, all made possible by the money that's been given.

It's important fo you to know that we're managing the deficit. Although income was below budget our expenditure was also below budget, the result of which is that our cash position (the money we have in reserves, and in the bank but not restricted in how we can spend it) has improved by around £2,000 since the start of the year. We'll continue to match our expenditure to income as the year goes on.

However, if income does continue to be down that will mean there will be things we've planned to do this year which we won't be able to go ahead with. That could be anything from events we were planning, to equipment we were hoping to buy, to overseas trips we were planning to make. I'd therefore ask you to join me in praying that we'll quickly recover the deficit and get into surplus, and to prayerfully consider your own giving and whether God is calling you to get involved in helping make up the deficit.

Above all let's remember that God is our provider, that we need have no anxiety, and that He promises to richly provide all our needs.

Simon.

 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sunday - Satisfied Week 5

On Sunday we've got the final part of our satisfied series, where we've been thinking about a whole load of issues around sex and sexuality.

This final week we're starting a conversation around being single. I read a statistic recently that there are 298 Christian books on marriage for every 1 about singleness, which I think quite accurately reflects how skewed we've got our thinking around this subject, especially when so many of the people in our church are single. The Bible has lots of very positive things to say about being single, about avoiding the potential loneliness of being single, and around how to be satisfied and single, so please come and hear a message which has much to say to all of us.

On Sunday I'll also be giving an update on our giving in April, and after the 9am and 11am in Bracknell our Filipino community will be selling cakes to raise money for Nepal. Plus the opportunity to worship God, to meet as church and so much more.

Hope to see you there!

Simon.

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

All Leaders Meeting - Tuesday 19th May

If you're a leader in Kerith in any capacity then you should have received an invite, via your team leader, to our All Leaders Meeting on Tuesday 19th May. If for any reason you didn't get an invite, or you're not yet a leader but think that's something you'd like to consider in the future, please consider yourself invited!

The evening starts at 7.45pm in K2 and will start with cheese and wine. During the evening there will be an opportunity to:

  • Meet with other leaders
  • Worship together
  • Pray for one another
  • Hear teaching on finding rhythm in life
  • Hear the latest news on amongst other things my sabbatical, possibilities for new building projects and our next site
We plan to finish by 9.30pm.

Hope to see you there,

Simon.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nepal - Our ongoing response

Many of you will have seen the news today of another major earthquake in Nepal. I wanted to let you know of some of the things we're doing, and can continue to do, as a community by way of a response.

First to let you know that the Sunday offering we had for Nepal raised a brilliant £3,475. All of that money will be going to Tearfund to help fund their relief effort. A huge thank you to everyone who gave towards that figure. If you'd still like to give then can you can give directly to Tearfund. You can also read the latest updates on the relief effort here.

This coming Sunday our Filipino community will be holding a cake sale after the 9am and 11am meetings in Bracknell to raise money for Nepal. They did the same thing after Typhoon which devastated the Philippines in 2013, and wanted to do something to stand with the people of Nepal. Come prepared to shop!

Tearfund are also seeking ​to recruit experienced staff in a number of roles to take part in the relief effort. If you, or anyone you know, might be interested you can find details of the jobs on offer here.

Caradog Davies, who is both part of Kerith and works for Tearfund in the finance department, is going out to Nepal at the end of May for three weeks to be part of the relief effort. I asked Caradog what we could pray for as he goes out, and he specifically mentioned these areas:

  • For the recruitment of the right staff to take part in the relief effort
  • For the speedy provision of shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene - in particular to the most remote areas
  • For registration rules to be relaxed / changed so that Tearfund and others can operate more easily in-country
  • For banking system to be repaired quickly to enable funds to be transferred
Let's be praying for these things, for Caradog and most importantly for the people of Nepal as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Simon.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Same Sex Attraction - Sermon follow up

Yesterday I spoke about how we as a church community should respond to the issue of people who live with same sex attraction. If you missed it I really encourage you to listen to the podcast - I'll post a link to it as soon as it's published.

As part of the message I mentioned a number of resources which I found very helpful in my preparation. If this is an issue which you'd like to be better informed on I'd really encourage you to get hold of them and study them for yourself. All the links to the books are from www.thegoodbook.co.uk who are a Christian company, seem to be as cheap as Amazon and probably pay a load more tax :)

The first is this book from Kevin DeYoung which does exactly what it says in the title. I found it very easy to understand whilst giving an in depth ananlysis of what the Bible actually teaches.

The second is The Plausibility Problem by Ed Shaw. Ed leads a church in Bristol and is someone who experiences same sex attraction. I found this book incredibly enlightening as Ed wrestles not so much with what the Bible teaches (although he does deal with that) but more with the impact and implications of trying to live his life in the light of what the Bible says. His raw honesty is both deeply moving and very challenging, not only for people who are same sex attracted but for all of us who claim to be following Jesus. I can't recommend this book highly enough, and if you're only going to get one book out of the three I'd recommend this one.

The third book is a very short one, Is God anti-gay by Sam Allberry. Sam is associate pastor of a church in Maidenhead and is also someone who experiences same sex attraction. Although short it's very well written and manages to cover a whole load of material in a way which is both informative and full of hope. If you follow the link you'll also find a couple of interviews with Sam, the one we showed on Sunday and a longer one where he answers more questions. I'd really encourage you to watch them as it's inspiring to hear Sam speak so openly and honestly.

On Sunday someone in our community recommended Washed and Waiting by a guy called Wesley Hill. I haven't read it yet, but they said they'd found it both helpful and inspiring as they came to terms with their own same sex attraction.

Finally I want to recommend an organisation called Living Out. On their website they have interviews with Ed Shaw, Sam Allberry and others, as well as a load of other resources.

I do believe that as a community how we deal with same sex attraction will be one of a number of defining issues for us. Can we really express what is means to be full of grace and full of truth. Can we truly allow people to belong before they believe. Is it really possible to say to everyone around us "come as you are, but don't stay that way". And do we really believe that people are ultimately defined by who they are in Christ, not by any label we may choose to put on them or they put on themselves. I hope and pray so, as we look to be a peach and not a coconut!

Much love,

Simon.

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Russ Kline - Wednesday 13th May

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV)

On Wednesday 13th May we've got Russ Kline with us for our monthly prayer meeting. Russ has a quite remarkable prophetic gifting, and many of us have benefitted from his ministry over the years. The evening will include both teaching and prophesy from Russ.

I'd really encourage you to make it if you possibly can. The evening starts at 8pm and is going to be in the Kerith Centre on our Bracknell site.

Simon.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Nepal and Sunday

I imagine that we've all been deeply moved this week by the devastation caused by the earthquake in central Nepal, and I'm sure that as well as praying people have also been giving financially. We felt that as a church community we should look to make a response too, so on Sunday we'll take up an offering for the relief work in Nepal. All the money raised (including the gift aid we claim) will go to Tearfund, a Christian aid agency we've worked with very closely over a number of years. If you can't be there on Sunday why not consider giving either to Tearfund, or to the Disasters Emergency Committee which Tearfund is a member of. Please continue to praying for the people of Nepal, for those grieving lost ones that they will know God's comfort, for those in need that they will know God's provision, for the aid agencies that they will be able to express God's compassion and for the people looking to rebuild Nepal that they will know God's wisdom.

We're also thinking about how we reach out to the Nepalese community in our local area, many of whom will have family and friends affected by the earthquake. I've been inspired by the response of our Filipino community in Kerith, who so identify with what the Nepalese are going through after the typhoon which devastated the Philippines in November 2013. They are looking to do fund raising for Nepal in order to show their support for these people, and hope to spend time with the Nepalese community through the English classes we host for them. Please pray for all of that too.

I hope to see you on Sunday, where we'll also be continuing with our Satisfied series.

Have a great weekend,

Simon.