Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Serenje Update - 22nd June 6.45-8.00pm

Apologies for the short notice, but tomorrow night (Thursday 22nd June) Anne Mumbi from Tearfund Zambia is going to be giving an update on the progress of the Serenje Dormitory, and the Umoja project which we've been sponsoring there for the last couple of years. It will be in the Kerith Centre from 6.45-8.00pm. If you are able to come it would be helpful if you could sign up here so we have some idea of numbers.

Then next Tuesday Leah Mutala, who oversaw the whole of our HIV/AIDS project in Serenje, is arriving in the UK. She'll be with us for the REAL women's conference, and the following Sunday where we'll have a chance to hear from her. It will be great to see her again, and to have an opportunity to thank her for the the time and energy she gave to making both the HIV/AIDS project and the dormitory such a success.

Simon.

Ps - Hope you're enjoying the sunshine! We've just had a cooling system installed in the Kerith Centre auditorium which hopefully will transform it from one of the hottest places in Bracknell to one of the coolest :)

 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Jacqui and Alex Trekking across Iceland

I get lots of people asking me to help tell others about sponsored events they're taking part in. Much as I'd love to say yes to all of them, I usually say no as otherwise my blog would be nothing but an endless list of sponsorship requests!

However, every now and again a request comes along which really catches my attention. That's the case with two amazing people in our community, Jacqui Bowden-Excell and Alex Calce. They are soon heading off to Iceland for a sponsored trek. This would be a big challenge for most of us, but as you read Jacqui's description below of the health challenges she faces you'll realise just quite what a challenge it is going to be. I'm so proud of Jacqui's bravery, and Alex for stepping out to support Jacqui in what she's doing.

Please take a look, and cheer them on in any way you can.

Thanks so much,

Simon.

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I am taking part in Icelandic Lava Trek in July this year. Host to some of Europe’s most incredible wilderness, it will involve trekking 58kms through one of the planet’s most volcanic regions, weaving through vast steaming lava fields, thundering waterfalls, plunging fjords and spouting geysers and walking against a background of multi-coloured rocks. The terrain is very challenging with steep climbs and rough descents.

I have Usher Syndrome, which is a genetic condition affecting my hearing and sight. I am profoundly deaf and have limited sight – tunnel vision and am registered blind. I am raising the money towards Sense, the national (UK) voluntary organisation working with and supporting peoples of all ages who are deafblind.

If you would like to sponsor us please follow this link.

Thank you so much,

Jacqui.

 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Windsor Vision and Prayer Meeting - 4pm on 11th June

We're taking the next step in the launch of our Windsor site when we hold a vision and prayer meeting at All Saints Church in Dedworth (SL4 4JW) on Sunday 11th June at 4pm. We'll make time to worship, hear the vision behind the Windsor site, pray for ourselves and the other churches in Windsor and talk about what the future holds. We'll also have a limited programme for children. There's plenty of parking around the church - we'll be serving drinks from 3.30pm.

We'll hold a similar meeting on Sunday 9th July, then starting from the 10th September we'll have a monthly meeting which will look more like the regular Sunday meetings on our other sites - all of these at 4pm at All Saints Church. For the meetings from September onwards (which generally will be the second Sunday in the month) we'll have a full kids programme and do everything else to replicate what happens in Bracknell and Sandhurst on a Sunday.

I'd encourage everyone with any interest in what is going on in Windsor to come along on the 11th, whether you're planning on making Kerith Windsor your home or not. It will be great to have you along to pray, and to encourage Leon Johnson and the rest of the team.

Hope to see you there!

Simon.

Ps - a huge thank you to the Rev. Louise Brown and the team at All Saints Dedworth who have been incredibly welcoming to us. We're so grateful to them making their building available to us for these meetings.

 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Celebration for the life of Val Cottee

A service to celebrate the life of Val Cottee is going to be held at the Kerith Centre in Bracknell at 12.30pm on Thursday 8th June. Val's sons Simon and Dave would like to invite everyone who knew Val to come along to remember her life and give thanks for how much she meant to so many of us. After the service everyone is invited to stay for drinks and refreshments.

Parking at the Kerith Centre is going to be very tight, especially given that it's also Election Day and our K2 building is being used as a polling station so we won't be able to park outside K2. I'm therefore asking everyone, other than family and those with a Blue Badge, to park in one of the town centre car parks (the Charles Square car park is closest to the Kerith Centre).

Many thanks,

Simon

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kerith Golf Society

Whenever I meet somebody visiting us on a Sunday one of my first thoughts is always "how can I help this person to find community and friendship in the life of the church". It's so key that people begin to build relationships which go deeper than just saying hello on a Sunday. Where they can find a depth of friendship where they can begin to take of the masks and both get and give support in all the ups and downs of life.

As a church we try to make as many ways as possible for people to make those connections. From courses to life groups to interest groups to serving groups, they are all opportunities to start to build friendships at a deeper level. One of those groups is our Golf Society, and Andy Emery who heads it up asked if he could have a bit of space on my blog to let people know about it. So here goes :)

Simon

________________________________________________

Saturday 29th April saw the first Kerith golf event of the year being played at Pine Ridge golf course. Following bacon rolls, coffee and a catch-up, men of Kerith and their friends started their 5km trek following a little, white ball. Navigating sand, water and trees with the aim of getting that same ball into 18 different holes before heading back to the club house for a well deserved drink and prize giving.

The Kerith Golf Society is made up of around 40 men with a wide range of ages and golfing ability. Whilst there are 6 organised games per year at local golf courses across Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey, there is no requirement to play every game. A typical game would consist of between 16 and 20 golfers.

The golf days are open to everyone, whether you're new to the sport or you've been playing for years. All that's asked is that you've played golf before, have an understanding of golf etiquette and have a handicap, official or otherwise, of 28 or less. They provide a great opportunity to build friendships with other golfing men whilst enjoying friendly competition and exercise. Its also a really good environment to invite golf-loving work colleagues, neighbours and other non-Christian friends into; most enjoy it so much that they then end up playing regularly.

If you would like to join the mailing list or get more information about Kerith Golf Society, including the list of events in 2017, please contact Andy Emery by emailing golf@kerith.church

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Safeguarding Training

One of our highest priorities as a church is to make sure that all the children who acces our various meetings are kept safe. To that end I'm so pleased that we've got the amazing Hilary Hulme working as our Safeguarding Officer. Hilary does untold amounts of work, so much of it unseen, to make sure the environment we provide for children and vulnerable adults is as safe as it possibly can be.

To that end one of the things Hilary arranges is for everyone working with under 18's in or community to attend safeguarding training every three years. I attended one of these courses recently and found it both helpful and sobering as to what we need to do and be looking out for, and what can go wrong if we don't do our job properly.

Here are some details on the forthcoming courses:

  • It’s a Bracknell Forest course which Hilary delivers on behalf of the Local Child Safeguarding Board.
  • In order to comply with government guidance everyone who volunteers with under 18s needs to do the course.
  • The training needs to be renewed every 3 years.
  • Some people may have completed the course through their work or through another voluntary organisation so they don’t need to come to the Kerith one. If so you just need to let Hilary know you've already completed a course and send her a copy of your certificate.
  • Hilary has arranged 4 dates in June on different days of the week to enable people to do the training (you only need to book one date!).

The dates are as follows. Just click on the link to register for that particular date:

All the courses will take place on our Bracknell site.

If this applies to you please serve Hilary and our children well by booking into one of these courses. And if you see Hilary around please take time to thank her for the amazing job she's doing for our community.

Many thanks,

Simon.

 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Generous Gift Days - Cinnamon Update

In December 2015 we held what we called our Generous gift day where the goal was to raise a load of money and give it all away!

As part of that we were able to give £25,000 to Cinnamon Network, an organisation which gives micro grants to churches looking to set up social justice projects. We got an update from Cinnamon on what they'd done with the money in June 2016, but for reasons I'm not quite sure of we never shared the update publicly - sorry about that! I therefore wanted to rectify that by sharing the update here.

Please take a moment to read it as it's so exciting to hear the difference the money made, and I'm sure continues to make, to churches in Northern Ireland.

Simon

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Thy Kingdom Come

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is inviting Christians around the world to pray for people to know Jesus Christ. That sounds like something that all of us should want to be involved in!

The idea is to have 11 days of prayer, from Ascension Day on 24th May through to Pentecost on the 4th June. I want to invite us all to do the following:

  • Sign up as an individual on the "Thy Kingdom Come" website, to get a daily email on each of the 11 days with thoughts and ideas on how to pray and what to pray for.
  • Book in to use the prayer room on our Bracknell site. We'll be putting resources into the prayer room to help you as you pray.
  • In Bracknell come to our half night of prayer in the Kerith Centre from 8pm on Friday 2nd June until 2am on Saturday 3rd June.
  • In Sandhurst come to our prayer meeting from 6pm - 7pm on Sunday 4th June in Sandhurst School.

You'll find a whole load more information and resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website, much of which has been produced by Brain Heasley and our other friends at 24-7 prayer.

When all of this was put in place nobody knew we would now be in the middle of a general election. Could there be a better time to be asking God for his kingdom to come and his will to be done in our nation and the nations.

Simon.

 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Val Cottee

It was with a deep sense of sadness and shock that I received the news last night that Val Cottee had passed away. Val has been a hugely loved part of our community for over 40 years, and it's hard to imagine that we're not going to see her or hear her voice again this side of eternity. On Saturday 29th April Val had a major stroke and was taken into Frimley Park Hospital. Despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses, and many of us praying for Val's healing, she passed away peacefully last night surrounded by her family.

It's hard to know where to start speaking about Val and the huge impact she had on the lives of so many people. She carried a wonderful combination of a deep love for and trust in God, a heart for people which made everyone who came in to contact with her feel special and valued, and a wisdom around how to practically help people connect with the God she loved. Even when she went through trials such as the extended illness of her husband Graham, you never saw her with anything other than her wonderful smile and a word of encouragement which would always leave you more full of joy and hope.

My own fondest memory of Val is a trip I got to go on with her to Serenje in Zambia. She'd never been to Africa before, but she just threw herself into everything that was going on. To see her kneeling to play with and embrace AIDS orphans, imparting wisdom and encouragement to young mums, sharing jokes with fellow grandmothers, and bringing the love of God to everyone she met was so inspiring to see. I'll always be hugely grateful to Val for the way that she supported me when I took over leading the church from Ben Davies. It was an intimidating time for me, and the support and encouragement of people like Val in that season helped me so much. Val continued to live her life like that right up until the end - she was serving on a growth track course and still running her small group the week before she was taken into hospital. An inspiration to all of us as to how to finish well.

Please be praying for Val's sons Simon and Dave, and their families, at this time. I'd encourage us not to phone them as they'll need space to come to terms with their loss, but to send them a card or a text so that they know we're thinking of them. Please also be praying for Val's many close friends who will also be feeling a deep sense of loss. There's always a tension at these times. We know that Val has gone to a better place by far, and that when the Apostle Paul wrote that "to die is gain" it was if anything an understatement. That doesn't however mean that we don't still feel a deep sense of loss at Val no longer being with us. Let's not be afraid to process that sadness in our own different ways.

Once we have a date for the thanksgiving service for Val's life we'll let people know via my blog. I know that many people will want to be there to celebrate a life well lived, and to thank God for the impact which Val had on so many of us.

Much love,

Simon

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vision Fund Gift Day and April Giving

Our April gift day total (including gift aid) was £84,526. Together with the £220,000 we raised in November that gives us everything we need to do all that is in our hearts for the next few months. This includes:

  • Paying off the remaining £65,000 of the mortgage on the K2 house. This will leaves us debt free as a church which is brilliant.
  • Pay the first years rental on the Gospel Hall in Windsor. This has a hall which seats 40-50 people which will be perfect for midweek meetings, courses, parent and toddler groups and the like.
  • Invest in equipment for our first Sunday meetings in Windsor. The current plan is to start doing these once a month at 4pm, meeting in the hall of the Anglican chuch in Dedworth. More details on this soon.
  • Continue to develop our plans for the buildings in Bracknell & Sandhurst.
  • Give away another £8,500 on top of the £22,000 we've already allocated to give away. £5,000 will go to the Tearfund East Africa appeal, and £3,500 to churches and organisations we work with.

Thank you so much to everyone who gave. It's so encouraging how things have moves forward and God has opened doors since we first announced the Vision Fund last September.

We'll be having another gift day in October. Hopefully by then we'll be able to talk more clearly about the plans for all three sites. Until then please continue to pray for God to move in and through all we're doing.

In addition to the Gift Day our regular giving in April was remarkable, coming in £33,149 over budget. Again a huge thank you to everyone who gave to make that possible.

That now means that this year we're £56,330 over budget in our giving. That is brilliant as it means that things we had hoped to do this year but had to delay in order to balance our budget can now be scheduled in. You should hopefully see the fruit of that over the next few months.

God is indeed our provider. He always gives us our "daily bread", giving us all we need to do all he has called us to do.

Simon.

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

To the Men of Kerith (and beyond)

If you aren't already planning on coming I want to encourage all the men who get to read this to come to our Truth Men's Conference which is this Saturday (6th May) at the Kerith Centre. It starts at 8am with sausage and bacon butties, then from 8.45am through to 1.30pm we'll have a mixture of worship, teaching, prayer, coffee and the opportunity to continue old friendships and make new ones.

The main speaker is Steve Campbell from C3 church in Cambridge. He and his wife Angie are good friends to Catrina and me. Steve is a Liverpudlian who speaks from the heart, but also with a deep passion for God and the church. He's also a really keen cyclist if you're in to that sort of thing! I know we're in for a great time with him. Ben Davies will also be speaking - it's going to be a powerful time together.

You can get tickets online here priced at £15. If you can't afford that please come along anyway and just let us know - we don't want any men to miss out.

Parking is going to be quite tight, so if you can car share or park in the town centre and walk up that would be helpful.

Hope to see you there!

Simon.

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kerith Vision Fund Offering

A final reminder about our vision fund offering which we've held over the last two Sundays. If you haven't yet given then it's not too late - you can give online here, or via ChurchApp on your smartphone if you've got it installed.

We're going to announce the total this Sunday, so if you're planning on giving please do it quickly so we can include your giving in the total.

Things are really moving forward with the plans for all three sites:

  • In Bracknell Scott Allen, our architect, is working hard on producing plans for the redevelopment of K2. Hopefully as a result of this offering we'll be able to pay off the remaining £65,000 of the mortgage on the house behind K2.
  • In Sandhurst we're in talks with a potential partner for a permanent facility for both Sunday and midweek use.
  • In Windsor we've been offered the opportunity to rent a midweek venue at a very reasonable price. One of the churches there have also offered us their building for a once a month 4pm Sunday meeting, which we're hoping to start very soon.

Please be praying for favour for us in all three projects as we seek to lay a foundation for the next generation.

A huge thank you in advance for your part in making this dream a reality.

Simon.

Monday, April 17, 2017

We're still looking for a Morning Receptionist and Saturday Caretaker

I blogged last month about two Kerith job opportunities, one for a Morning Receptionist and the other for a Saturday Caretaker. So far we haven't managed to fill either role, so I wanted to ask again if either you, or anyone you know, would be interested in joining our amazing team.

You can get all the details about both jobs from my previous blog. The closing date for applications is Monday 24th April with interviews likely to be on the 26th or 27th April.

Let's all be praying for God to send us the right person for both roles, as they are both vital in us achieving all we feel God is calling us to do.

Simon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Friday : Uprising - Let the Revolution Begin

Our Good Friday meeting this year is at 7pm in the Kerith Centre, and I really want to encourage you to come along if you possibly can, as well as inviting friends neighbours and relatives to what is going to be a powerful time of reflection.

We're going to do the meeting 'in the round', which basically means there will be a stage in the middle of the ground floor of the auditorium, with bean bags and chairs set up all around the stage. Hopefully that is going to give it a very intimate feel as we reflect on the revolution which began as a result of Jesus death on the cross.

The meeting will include readings from the Easter story, worship, communion, a performance song and a preach.

Parking is in the college. The meeting starts with readings so please be sure to get there early and find your space as you won't want to miss the start.

See you there :)

Simon.

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Easter Fun Day

On Saturday 15th April we're inviting everyone at Kerith along with friends and family to an Easter Fun Day at Sandhurst School from 1-3pm. Tickets cost £1 per child with adults free - you can get tickets and all the other details you need here.

There's going to be an Easter egg hunt, a bouncy castle, face painting, and a charity cake sale for Tehila and Novo. Book early to guarantee taking part in the Easter Egg Hunt!

Hope to see you there :)

Simon.

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ralph Allen's Story

As part of our Generosity series I spoke about borrowing and saving (you can find the audio of that talk here and the video here).

In that I encouraged people not to take on large mortgages or other financial commitments (or if you have a big mortgage pay it off as quickly as possible), as although you might be able to afford the repayments it can stop you responding to God if you feel him calling you to do something which is going to pay a significantly lower salary. Subsequent to that talk Ralph Allen, who is part of our Bracknell site, contacted me to say what I'd said really resonated with his life story, so I asked him to share it.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

Simon.

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I have found that much of my walk with God can be recognized in hindsight. This is certainly true of my professional career as an architect and Simon’s recent comments on finance struck a chord. Let me explain.

Lilian, my wife, and I together with our eldest son moved from Lancashire to Bracknell some 40 years ago and in September of 1976 we found ourselves attending Sunday morning worship at Bracknell Baptist Church (now Kerith Community Church). This was somewhat against my better judgment, as I had previously met Ben Davies, the then senior pastor. Our roots are in Methodism and, although Ben and I got on really well, I concluded that theologically we were worlds apart! Indeed following my initial meeting with Ben, I went home and told Lilian that if there was one church in Bracknell that we would never attend it would be Bracknell Baptist Church. God must have had a smile on His face.

My fears were further realized when chatting with one of the church members, Frank Brooks, after the meeting he asked what I did for a living. Having explained that I was an architect, he responded by saying that he was certain God had sent me to the church. Really - I certainly didn’t recognize this at the time.

However some two years later I had a phone call that was to significantly change the direction of my career. This led in 1980 to me becoming a partner in a large national practice of architects and surveyors with offices in Liverpool, Manchester and London. This was quite amazing, I was still relatively young (!) and here I was, one of thirteen partners with a staff of one hundred and twenty, in a practice that had been established well in excess of one hundred years, with a significant fee income. Prospects looked good - security for the considerable future plus a significant increase in income. As I reflected on this I began to wonder if this was indeed part of God’s plan for my life.

Events were to develop which made this a certainty. In the early 80’s Bracknell Baptist Church had outgrown their building (on the site of K2) and began actively looking for land in the town centre on which to build. The preferred site was a piece of land on Church Road opposite the existing building, owned by the New Towns Commission. As negotiations progressed the church needed an architect and I was fortunate that my practice was appointed. This was to be the largest church building constructed in the UK for many years.

However it took some years to finally acquire the land and during that time the practice expanded further and my role changed from designing buildings to managing staff and looking after clients. This caused some frustration – here was a job that I enjoyed very much but on the other hand a project that by now I was certain God had indeed brought me Bracknell to be involved in the new building. One late Monday evening I was driving back from a partners meeting in Liverpool, half thinking and half praying about the dilemma. Then it became clear to me that if God had indeed brought me here for “such a time as this” I needed to resign from the partnership and concentrate on the design of the building, now known as the Kerith Centre. Following discussion with the church leadership, this is what happened and with the help of Lilian, Allen Associates Architects was established in January 1988. We had absolutely no idea what would happen after completion of the building.

Now back to 1980 and in particular our finances. Having been made a partner in the practice, it did not take long for me to recognize that my partner’s lifestyle was significantly different to ours. They had large houses, in some cases second homes, and without exception their children attended private schools. Guess what, we started to think along similar lines. We now had two boys and we visited a number of private schools. We were considering moving and looked at houses that were much larger than the house we eventually moved in to. Now I am not suggesting that there is anything at all wrong with spending money that you have on large houses or private education, but I can only explain that for us we were uncomfortable about the long term financial commitments and, again in hindsight, I believe that this was God’s prompting. For if we had been committed to a large mortgage and significant school fees, I don’t think I could have left the partnership and all of the financial uncertainty associated with this decision, and followed the course that God clearly had mapped out for me. However we did spend some surplus money on one of my interests– classic cars and we did holiday abroad for the first time.

What followed was equally amazing. After the completion of the Kerith Centre in 1989, God provided an increasing number of church projects, like-minded staff and offices. Even my son Scott became an architect so that I can now reduce my involvement in the practice!

Over the years we have been involved in many exciting church building projects across the denominations, and have seen God move in most amazing ways. What better career than to enjoy what I still enjoy doing and use the abilities God has given me to serve His church. I am so grateful for His intervention in our lives and for His provision

We still live in the same house. The boys went to Easthampsted School and now both have good careers. I still design church buildings and play with classic cars!

Ralph Allen

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

April Week of Prayer

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:10

 

We're planning another week of prayer, to tie in with our Vision Fund Gift days on Sunday 23rd and 30th April. The vision fund is all around seeing God's kingdom expanding and growing, and we want to see that become a reality through our praying as much as we do through our giving.

The plan is to do a 24/7 week of prayer in the Prayer Room on our Bracknell site where we fill every hour slot throughout the week, starting at 4pm on the 23rd and finishing at 4pm on the 30th. The team will be theming the prayer room with ideas on how to pray and what to pray for, and we'll clean the blackboard wall at the start so we can fill it with scriptures, encouragement, answers to prayer and things we sense God saying as the week goes on.

You can book the prayer room here - just scroll forward to get to the end of April. Please get booking in straight away, either as an individual or in your groups.

Here's my big ask. The hardest slots to fill are not surprisingly the early hours of the morning. Please can I ask for some of our prayer warriors to book in for those midnight to 6am slots! I've just booked midnight to 2am on Monday 24th - who fancies taking over from me at 2am!

I'm looking forward to all that God will do in and through us as we call out to Him. Thanks for playing your part in it all.

Simon.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Church and Culture Conference Cancelled

I wanted to let people know that the Church and Culture Conference which we were due to be hosting on Thursday has been cancelled. Anyone who has bought tickets should already have been contacted to let them know, but I wanted to make sure anyone planning to come along and get their tickets on the day also got the message.

If you're interested in other conferences, we're still definitely hosting:

More details by following the links.

Hope you have a great week,

Simon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February 2017 Giving

Sorry it's a bit late but I wanted to update you on our giving to the end of February.

As you can see above February giving was excellent, at £11,500 over budget.

This year we've set the monthly budget a bit differently. Over the last few years we simply took the budgeted giving for the year and divided it by 12 to give each month's budgetted giving. This year we've tried to take into account that we know that in some months (such as January, February and August) the offerings are normally lower, and in other months (such as March and June) they are normally higher. Based on the old method this month's budgetted giving would have been £73,360, so either way we're well above budget.

For the year to date we're an even better £12,471 over budget which is great.

If offerings continue to be above budget it will allow us to do even more of what we currently do. Helping people of all ages and backgrounds find their way back to God. People in our local community, in the nation and in the nations.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the grace of giving at Kerith.

From a very grateful senior pastor,

Simon.

 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kerith Vision Fund Update

For anyone who missed the Vision Fund updates I've given over the last two weeks I thought I'd use my blog to post an update.

You may remember we kicked the Vision Fund off last year where we had our first gift days which raised just under £220,000. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who gave to what was the biggest gift day in the history of Kerith.

We're going to tithe 10% of all the money which comes in for the vision fund, which from these first gift days was £22,000. We're in the process of of giving away the first £20,000 of that, with

So what are we going to use the rest of the money for?

In Bracknell we've paid £110,000 off the mortgage on the house which we bought behind K2, which reduces the mortgage to £62,000. We've given everyone an opportunity to comment on what facilities we think we'll need on the Bracknell site to take us into the next 15 years. That list has been refined and is now with our architect, Scott Allen, who will come up with a plan to redevelop K2 and the Kerith Centre in a way that will meet those requirements. We'd hope in the next two to three months to have a first draft of those plans.

In Sandhurst we've had some very exciting developments. Rather than just a midweek venue which we were originally looking for it looks like we may now be in a position to think about getting a permanent Sunday venue too. I can't say too much more at this point in time, but it could be very promising. Hopefully we'll be able to announce more in the next couple of months, but in the meantime please keep praying for God to open doors and guide us in our conversations.

In Windsor we've looked at something like 25 potential venues where we could hold Sunday meetings. We're now in the process of reviewing all the options and hope to choose one soon. Once we've chosen a venue we plan to start with monthly meetings, and once they're up and running look to move those to being weekly. Depending on the venue we're likely to need quite a bit of the vision fund money to buy items such as PA, equipment for the kids work and signage, as well as paying the rent on the venue.

The great news is that from the first gift day we have the money we need to get all three of these projects up and running.

As a next step we're going to have two more gift days this year. The first gift day will be the 23rd and 30th April where we're looking to raise another £200,000. This would allow us to pay off the the remaining £62,000 of the mortgage on the K2 house (which will leave us debt free as a church), have another £20,000 to give away and the remainder will go to the next stage of each of these projects. Please be thinking and praying about what God would have you give, as well as praying for wisdom as to how to use the money we've already God and for doors to continue to open for us.

Simon.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Kerith Vacancies - Morning Receptionist & Saturday Caretaker

Due to some staff changes that have come about in the last few weeks we are currently recruiting for the following positions:

  • Saturday Caretaker - (Term Time only) 5 hours each Saturday to prepare the Kerith Centre ready for our Sunday meetings. This will involve setting out chairs in the auditorium, moving furniture, cleaning of the public areas and toilets plus additional tasks to support conferences and weddings.
  • Morning Receptionist – Monday to Friday, 9am – 1.30pm. We are looking for someone who will exude our ethos of “Love God, Love People” to be the first point of contact for all staff and visitors when they enter the Kerith Centre. The role involves dealing face to face with a diverse range of visitors, managing incoming calls and basic ministry administration.

Both of these roles are key to making our Sunday and Ministry work happen with excellence. If you or someone you know is interested in either job, application packs are available from the Kerith Centre reception desk. The closing date for both roles is Monday 27th March with interviews anticipated for the week commencing 3rd April. If you would like further information on either role please contact Ali Hudell, HR Manager or Jake Harvey, Site Services Manager by email or via telephone on 01344 862699.

Simon.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Marriage Course - Starting this week

One of the best things Catrina and I ever did for our marriage was to attend the Marriage Course. It wasn't that our marriage was in crisis, it wasn't, but as we did the course we learnt a whole load of principles which have allowed us to build a much better and stronger marriage.

The course originated in HTB in London, the church which also started Alpha. We travelled up to HTB to do the course, but found it so beneficial that we then helped run it in Bracknell to make it easier for others to attend. Catrina and I don't personally oversee the running of the course any more, but I'm delighted that others have taken it on and make sure that others can continue to benefit from it.

We've got two courses starting this week which are going to be run in peoples homes. On Wednesday 8th March we've got a course starting in Sunningdale, on Thursday 9th March a course starts in North Bracknell.

Amongst other things the 7 weeks of the course will help you to:

  • Understand each other’s needs
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Grow closer by learning methods to resolve conflict
  • Recover from the ways you may have hurt each other
  • Recognise how your upbringing affects your relationship
  • Improve relationships with parents and in-laws
  • Develop greater sexual intimacy
  • Discover each other’s "love language" and much, much more....

Who wouldn't want that!

The Marriage Course is for couples who are in a married relationship and seeking to strengthen their relationship. Some couples do the course to invest in their relationship, others need more urgent help. Either way, the course offers a lifetime of practical ideas and tools to help keep your relationship strong.The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

The Course is run in the Leaders home as a small group. The evening consists of a meal, DVD interviews and talks and time for private discussion between you and your partner. You never share anything about your relationship with anyone other than your partner.

The cost for the course is £40 per couple, which includes a meal every week and all the course materials. If the cost is going to be an issue for you please let us know as we woulnd't want cost to be a barrier to anyone attending

You can get more information and find sign up here.

Simon.

 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Generous

Yesterday we started our new series on generosity. We're taking seven weeks looking at how we handle our finances and possesions, and how through using them as God intended we can live a more generous life. You can find the audio podcast of the first weeks message here.

As part of the series we're encouraging everyone to participate in daily generosity challenges, which we hope will move us as a community to grow more generous hearts and be a blessing to those around us. Every day we'll be putting out a challenge on social media (twitter, instagram and facebook), but you can also get a whole weeks worth by clicking on 'subscribe' on the "what's on" page of our website and entering your email address. You'll have missed the email with the first weeks worth, but don't fear, you can find them here.

Let us know how you're getting on using the hashtag #generosityshift. We'll feature some of the most interesting things people have been doing each Sunday.

Have a great week being generous :)

Simon.

 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Supporting our local Fostering Team

One of the most exciting things we've got involved in over recent years has been the initiative to encourage more families to consider fostering and adoption in order to provide safe, loving homes for some of the most vulnerable children in our community. This has been headed up by the amazing Penny Lander, with lots of practical support and encouragement from our friends at Home for Good.

We have a number of people in our community who have either adopted children or are in the process of becoming adoptive parents, but as far as I know only have one couple in the church providing a foster home (they're an amazing couple in our Sandhurst community who recently moved to a bigger home just so that they could foster more children). Penny is really keen to encourage more people to consider the possibility of fostering, and asked me whether I'd blog about it which I'm delighted to be able to do. Here's what Penny wants to say:

If you live around Bracknell, you might have seen the new Recruitment Officer for Bracknell Forest council fostering team giving out balloons at the Sports Centre last month. The reason she was there is that children in our area who go into care are not guaranteed being able to stay with a family locally, because of the shortage of foster carers. That can mean living in a residential home, or being placed out of the area, away from school and friends.

We want to support our colleagues at Bracknell Forest Family Placement Team, and help find local homes for local children.

Across our church community we already have fantastic foster carers and adopters. But there will also be some of you reading this who have been thinking or praying about fostering. If that’s you and you know now is the time to find out more, then a good starting point is Home for Good, the national charity we partner with. You can contact me via the Home for Good website. Please also take a look at the council’s website, and scroll down to a couple of excellent videos of foster carers. The Home for Good website also has some great resources.

Thanks so much,

Penny.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Philippines Cake Sale

In December our Filipino community held a cake sale at our Bracknell morning gatherings to raise money for friends and family back in the Philippines who have been impacted by the latest typhoon there. I recently got the email and photos below from Marizel who helped organise the cake sale, and wanted to share it with you all.

A huge thank you to everyone who bought a cake, and to our Filipino community for making all of this happen.

Simon.

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Hi Simon/Catrina,

I'm glad to let you know that the funds raised through the Cake Sale in December managed to afford food packs for 122 families in Tuguegarao and Solana, both towns are the hardest hit by the typhoon Lawin. The distribution were held on the 26th and the 30th of December. I am attaching few photos taken during the distribution. These photos speak of the joy and gratefulness these brethren feel towards the generosity all the people from Kerith has extended. On behalf of all the recipients, I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone at Kerith Community Church. May God return all the favours a thousandfold to you all! God bless!❤️

Much love,

Marizel

 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Headlines - Gender Identity

This Sunday is the final week of our headlines series. Having looked at Brexit, mental health and the sexualisation of society we're going to finish by looking at the issue of gender identity, and in particular how we respond to people who are transgender or intersex. I realise that for many of us those terms are confusing, but even if they seem unimportant or irrelevant to us they are huge issues in our wider society, and it is vital we know what God has to say about them and how we as a church should respond.

If you want to think about the issues in advance I recommend looking at a couple of things recently in the media.

The first was a BBC documentary called "Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? which deals powerfully with what parents should do if their child identifies as being transgender.

The second would be to read the story of the model Hanna Gaby Odiele who revealed this week that she is intersex (was born with a mix of male and female sex characteristics).

If either of those stories came up when talking with friends this week, or if you directly identify with the people in either of them, how would you respond? Hopefully Sunday will give us the tools to do that in a way which is full of truth and full of grace.

See you Sunday :)

Simon.

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Job Opportunities at Oakwood Climbing Centre

I recently had the privilege of a tour of the soon to open Oakwood Climbing Centre. Tony Pudner and the rest of the Oakwood team have done an amazing job getting it built. When it opens in the next month or two it is going to be the most amazing facility right on our doorstep - I can't wait.

As part of what is going to be a big expansion of Oakwood they've got job opportunities for both an administrator and for climbing instructors. Just follow the links for more information on each of the roles. You'd be joining an exciting team, quite a few of whom are part of Kerith.

I'll blog again when the centre is open - once it is I really encourage you to go along and have a go. The Benham family did a session at another climbing centre last year and had a great time - we're aiming to be among the first to try out Oakwood!

Simon.

 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brexit this Sunday!

Well it isn't actually going to happen this Sunday, I suspect that's going to be a much longer process. However, I am going to talk on Sunday about how we respond to Brexit and many of the challenges it poses. It definitely won't be the final word on it all, nor will it be exhaustive and some I'm sure some will leave with more questions than answers, but by asking the question "what would Jesus have to say about it all it all?" we'll hopefully at least give a different angle to the often bemusing coverage and comment we get from the Internet, TV and newspapers.

Please be praying that God will speak through it all, and that many of the visitors who came to the carol concerts and indicated they'd like to come to church in the New Year will come. Remember if you see people you don't recognise to welcome them - we're all part of the welcome team.

Happy New Year and hopefully I'll get to catch you on Sunday.

Simon.