Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Calling all Parents of Teenagers

I wanted to let you know about a couple of evenings coming up for anyone with the good fortune to be the parent of a teenager!

On Tuesday 30th June in the Kerith Centre Liam Parker is going to be running one of his ever popular "setting your teenager on fire" sessions. These are always full of practical advice and inspiration on how to do one of the most difficult but rewarding jobs in the world :) As part of the evening Todd O'Brien will speak on some of the things he's learnt about being a parent to teenagers.

Then on Wednesday 1st July we're co-hosting with our friends at Easthampstead Baptist Church an event called "Let's talk about porn". Our teenagers are under more pressure than ever to conform to the standards of our increasingly sexualised world, added to by the ready availability of porn on the internet. The evening is being run by a brilliant organisation called Romance Academy who specialise in teaching this sort of thing.

For the sake of your teenagers don't miss these excellent resources.

Simon.

ps anyone worried about me blogging whilst I'm on sabbatical please be assured that I wrote this before I went :)

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sparklers 25th Anniversary

This September Sparklers, our parent and toddler group, will have been running for an amazing 25 years.

In that time it's had a huge impact with hundreds of families having enjoyed the high quality, fun, relaxed environment the team creates every week. From day one it's always been centred around creating a safe place for people to hear about Jesus, and many people have come to know Christ as a result of attending Sparklers. So exciting.

As a celebration of all that's happened we are planning a celebration drop in, which will run in the Kerith Centre on Saturday 19th September from 11am – 2pm. We're inviting anyone who has ever been to Sparklers to come along, whether that was as a child, a parent, a grandparent, a carer or in any other capacity. If that's you then consider yourself invited!

The Sparklers team are also looking for more volunteers to get involved in what is one of our most exciting and fruitful ministries. Sparklers currently runs on Monday afternoon and Tueday and Wednesday morning, with a different team running each day. Roles include registering families, making tea, helping in the kitchen, chatting to people, helping to set up or helping to set down. The team particularly love having peopel from our retired community getting involved, with all the wisdom and experience they bring. If you'd be interested in getting involved please email Lydia Harris-Lane who oversees all of our work with children and families - she'd love to hear from you.

Simon.

 

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Sabbatical Starts

As this is being published our son Jacob and I will be on a train on our way to the Lake District to start our Coast to Coast walk on Tuesday. This is the beginning of a 12 week sabbatical for me.

I'm so grateful to the elders for allowing me to have this space. After almost 8 years of leading the church I feel very ready for a break from the day to day pressure of leadership, to rest and to create the space to hear from God again for the next season for us all.

Besides doing the Coast to Coast walk Catrina and I will be going to the US for a while to attend the Willow Creek GLS conference in California, and to visit Bethel Church in California. I'll also be making space to do lots of reading, praying, visiting other churches and speaking with other leaders - some of the things I struggle to do in everyday life.

Whilst I'm away Kerith is in very good hands, primarily because Jesus is building the church and not me! Ben Oliver will be leading the staff team and Ken Bothamley will be heading up the elder team. I won't be checking my Kerith email whilst I'm away, so if you do need to contact me please in please contact either Ben or Ken via the Kerith website - go to the trustees tab to contact Ken.

I may blog from time to time whilst I'm away, but I won't be blogging about forthcoming events so be sure to check the Kerith website and Facebook pages for updates on what is coming up.

See you again in 12 weeks :)

Much love,

Simon.

ps - the picture is of Striding Edge in the Lake District, which we may or may not attempt :)

 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

TLG Awards Dinner - Don't Miss this Video

Some of our team recently attended an Awards Dinner hosted by TLG, the education charity we partner with in order to support children who are struggling in primary school. One of the award winners was a girl called Connie who our team have been working with. TLG made an inspiring video showing the impact the support has had on Connie's life - you can watch it here.

TLG is headed up at Kerith by Catherine Felgate. You can read a little bit more about what we do, and get in contact with Catherine if you'd like to be involved, here.

Simon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day

After the spiritual feast of REAL for our women on Friday evening and all day Saturday we've got Father's Day on Sunday.

In the morning Paul Reid will be speaking at all three meetings. He's got a great message on how the generations can work together and be a blessing to one another, which I know is gong to resonate with all of us.

In the evening we've got Man Talk II, following on from last year's very succesful Man Talk event, where men in our community will be reflecting on different aspects of being a Father and what it is to know God as a Father. We've also got a free Hog Roast for all - what's not to like about that :)

Hope to see you there both morning and evening :)

Simon.

 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kerith Kids Encouragement

Steve Benton is one of the amazing volunteer leaders in Kerith Kids, our Sunday children's ministry. He wrote to me recently about some of what the children had been doing on a Sunday, which I thought you'd all be inspired to read below.

You'll also be excited to know that in just the last two weeks 11 children have prayed what we call the ABC prayer, a prayer of first time commitment. Praise God.

Enjoy :)

Simon.

---------------------------

Waiting and listening to God is not always something a lot of us do very naturally. In fact waiting and listening to anyone can be a distant second to the desire of wanting to move and talk, but hey, a few weeks ago at Kerith Kids we encouraged the children to wait and listen in the Lord's presence.

The children wanted to see what encouraging words and pictures God may want to share with them.....There are many times in the Bible where people waited on the Lord, many times people went to seek Him and even more times when God shared his heart with them. Samuel in the bible was just a small boy when he first listened to God. So at Kerith as the children waited, something very amazing started to happen.

Many children started to share pictures they had with one another, some also had the interpretations, where they didn't other children stepped in and interpreted, then there were encouraging words of truth spoken and shared amongst each other.

Many children experienced God's love and His goodness during this time. We wanted to save this moment as we connected with God so we wrote down many of these things so the children could take them away and hopefully pray into some more. Here are a couple of examples below to encourage you as you also wait on The Lord, for He has great things to share with you too!

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

May Offerings

Offerings for May were excellent at almost £5,000 over budget. A huge thank you to everyone who gave, whether a little or much.

This meant that our deficit for the year to date has reduced to £10,581.

In terms of cash by carefully managing our expenses our cash position has actually improved by about £16,000 since the start of the year, with our reserves now just over £170,000. Please take time in prayer to thank God for His provision for us as a community, and to ask Him to turn the deficit into a surplus so that we can not only do all the things we plan to do this year, but can also do some of the things we'd like to do but don't currently have the money for. Much of that would be to be in a position for bless other churches and organisations we work with, both here in the UK and overseas.

Whilst I'm on sabbatical we'll continue to give offering updates on a Sunday but they won't be on my blog.

As always if you have any questions on this please feel free to ask the finance team, who you can contact via the Kerith website.

Simon.

 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

REAL Courage

 

It's only a few days now until our REAL women's conference, which is this coming Friday evening and all day Saturday. The Kerith Centre is buzzing with all the preparations, our overseas visitors have started to arrive (I had lunch with Ilir and Rudina from Elbasan in Albania today) and Priscilla Reid who is one of our speakers flies in from Belfast on Thursday.

I want to encourage any women who are still wondering about whether to come or not to be courageous and make the decision to be there. We sing a song at the moment with a line in it "You make me brave". It's often those moments when we put ourselves in the way of God, and into situations where we might not feel totally comfortable, that God speaks to us most clearly. If you can't make the whole weekend then tickets are available for just £5 for either of the evenings, and if finances are stopping you from being there please let us know as we never want that being a barrier to anything we do as a community. All the details on what is happening are here.

Finally to see if you're worried about not knowing anyone, I'll be there most of the weekend so come and speak to me and I'll find you some friends to share the experience with :)

Simon.

 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kerith Survey - Please Complete It

This time next week I'll be with my son Jacob on a train up to the Lake District to do the Coast to Coast walk at the start of my sabbatical. After (hopefully) completing that in a couple of weeks I'll be using the other 10 weeks of my time away to stop, pray, reflect, read, meet other leaders, visit other churches and generally make space to be refreshed and hear from God.

As part of those reflections I'd love to hear what those who call Kerith Community Church their spiritual home think of where we currently are, and where we should be going. It would also be great to understand better who actually makes up our community. To help do all that we've put together a survey which I'd really appreciate as many people as possible completing, whether you've been part of Kerith for a few weeks or many decades and regardless of your age or how involved you are in the life of the church.

You can find the survey here. As you fill it in please be as honest as you can, whilst also bearing in mind that your comments will be read by real people with real feelings! You know what I mean :)

Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to do this.

Simon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Canon Andrew White on Sunday Evening

Canon Andrew White is still scheduled to be with us at our 6pm gathering on Sunday evening at the Kerith Centre. Please park at the college as we're expecting to have a big crowd coming. As part of the evening we will take up an offering for Andrew and his work.

If anything changes and Andrew can't make it for any reason I'll blog about it and put a message on my twitter feed (@simonbenham) but if you hear nothing I'll see you there :)

Sunday morning is my last opportunity to preach before I head off on sabbatical in just over a weeks time. I hope to see you there too!

In the meantime hope you have a great weekend.

Simon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Prayer Meeting this Wednesday

On Wednesday at 8pm in K2 on our Bracknell site we've got our monthly prayer meeting.

It will be my last monthly prayer meeting before I start my sabbatical. I want to take the time to talk a bit about what I plan to do on my sabbatical (and asking you all to pray for me), talk about possible future building projects, pray for some of the events coming up including REAL, Summer Life, Konnections respite over the summer and the Christmas carol concerts and give us all an opportunity to seek God and be refreshed in His presence.

Hope to see you there :)

Simon.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ten Talks and Worship but no Canon

This Sunday morning we've got Ten Talks at our three morning gatherings - the 9am and 11am in Bracknell and the 10am in Sandhurst. In these different people from our community get to speak for 10 minutes each. They're always amazing meetings with a remarkable consistency as to how God speaks in each meeting. People are going to be speaking on the miracles of Jesus - come and expect the unexpected!

In the evening we were due to have Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, with us but due to unforseen circumstances he can't make it. He is however hoping to be with us the following week at the 6pm in Bracknell. In place of Andrew we're going to have an evening of worship, starting with worship and seeing where God takes us. I'm really looking forward to it.

Hope to see you Sunday,

Simon.