This Sunday Reading Family Church are celebrating their tenth birthday. For those of you who weren't around when Reading Family was planted out from Kerith it was ten years ago that 35 people went from us to start a church in Reading. The church emerged from the combination of a desire from Kerith to plant a church, and a number of students starting to come to us from Reading University. I remember well the early days, when numbers of us would travel over to Reading to run Alpha courses and other events on the University campus there, and also how a number of people from Reading came on the first Alpha course that Catrina and I lead in Bracknell and were saved.
I would count Sean Green who leads the church as my best friend outside of Kerith. We've got very different personalities, and lead in quite different ways, but he is usually the first person I phone when I need to get something off my rest (in the words of Wayne Cordeiro he's my lightning rod) or need some advice or to bounce an idea off someone. His wonderful wife Liz lived with us for a year, and they got engaged in our kitchen! Sean and Liz not being a part of Kerith felt like it left a big hole in our lives, but it's so exciting to see all that God has done in them and through them since they went.
There were many other dear friends who went to plant the church as well. Craig and Karena (Karena is so sadly no longer with us), Scott and Barbie, Keith and Lesley and the one and only Tino spring to mind. Since going they've seen remarkable growth. They now gather 300 on a Sunday and are looking for a warehouse as their home for the next few years. This weekend they have a celebration in Reading Town Hall where they'll be joined by their local MP and mayor. Ben Davies will be there representing Kerith and speaking. All very exciting, and humbling to see what they have achieved in then ten years since they went.
So please join with me in praying for their birthday, and that their next ten years will be as fruitful as their first ten.