Thursday, December 27, 2012

No meeting on Sunday 30th December

Just a reminder that we're not meeting as a church on Sunday 30th December - if you're not sure why read the chapter I wrote in the Peach and the Coconut on rhythm :)

Please use the day to meet with friends and family, focus on God, and take a stop before we enter into what is going to be an action packed 2013.

We are meeting on Sunday 6th January for a Vision Sunday, back at our normal times of 9am, 11am and 7pm. I'm going to be taking a short look back at some of what God did amongst us in 2012, and then looking forward to some of what we think 2013 is going to involve for us as a community. It's going to be a great kick off for the New Year, so please be there if you possibly can.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Day Offering

Every year on Christmas Day we take up an offering to support a charity outside of Kerith. This year the charity we've chosen is Caring for Ex-Offenders, a national charity seeking to reduce reoffending by reintegrating ex-offenders into society through the local church.

As a church we've been involved in prison ministry for a number of years. When I first joined the church there was a group who regularly visited Huntercombe Prison in Oxforshire (which at the time was a young offenders institute). I particularly remember one year taking our son Zak there (he was only about three) on Christmas Day to sing carols with the young people - I'm not sure you'd be allowed to do that any more! In more recent time Lee and Sonia Brett have done a great job leading a group visting various local prisons and running services - I went along with them recently and had a very moving time. We'd like to see that ministry grow, and supporting Caring for Ex-Offenders is part of that.

You can find a great video about the work of Caring for Ex-Offenders here. Please take the time to watch it, and to think about what you're going to give on Christmas Day.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Office Move

Today (Friday) a whole load of the staff and academy students are packing up getting ready to move in the New Year to our new offices, the Barn near Wokingham. We're doing this primarily to make more space for children's work on a Sunday, but also to provide space for more staff, and more space in the Kerith Centre for midweek ministry.

As part of the move a group of staff, both past and present, met this morning to remember the time we've had in the Kerith Centre offices, and to thank God for all that has gone on there. The photo on the left is of some of the people who were there.

It was amazing to hear Ben Davies tell the story of the journey God has had on when it comes to offices. When he first came to the church in 1964 his office was a room in his house. He then moved to a run down council provided office, before making the move to a portakabin outside the church building which used to be on the K2 site. We then in time added a second portakabin, before making the move into the Kerith Centre offices in 1989. Initially three were a handful of people in the main office, with Ben Davies, Ken Bothamley and Malcolm Kayes in separate offices. In time we've packed out the main office, as well as filling Ken and Malcolm's old offices with the youth and pastoral teams, the Rochdale room with the Creative Arts team and the Spurgeon room with the Social Justice team.

It's important for us to remember that God is always on the move, and that this move to The Barn is just the next step on the journey God has for us - all very exciting.

People have been asking a number of questions about the office move. Penny Lander, who has been expertly planning the move, has been collating the questions and asked me to share these answers with you via the blog. I hope they're helpful, but if there's anything else you'd like to know then please get in touch and we'll do our best to make everything as clear as possible.



  • Where is everyone working? The Creative Arts Team are at the Studio, the Facilities Team are at the Kerith Centre, the K4 team are at the K4 shop, and the Social Justice, Operations/Finance/HR, Youth, Kids, and Pastoral Teams are all based at the Barn.
  • When does this happen? The Kerith Centre offices will be packed up on Friday 21st December, and the move into the Barn happens on Wednesday 2nd January. In between the offices are closed for Christmas/New Year.
  • How do I contact staff? The main phone number and direct numbers stay unchanged – you can phone in just the same and be put through to anyone in the Kerith Centre, Barn or Studio. Email addresses also stay the same.
  • When is the Kerith Centre open? The Kerith Centre will be open 9.30-5.00 Monday to Friday as at present, though once a month on a Thursday it will open at 10 following staff training.
  • How can I meet staff? You can meet them at the Kerith Centre, the Barn or the Studio.
  • How can I do photocopying? There will be a photocopier in the same copier room as at present, available in the same way as now, including on Sundays. Just ask at reception when you come in.
  • Where do I send post to the church? Still to the Kerith Centre address.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hope to see you over Christmas

Hopefully all your Christmas preparations are going well, and you're looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Saviour. I wanted to send out a reminder of all we've got coming up over the next few days, encouraging you to come to as much as you can as well as inviting others to come too.

On Sunday 23rd December at 10am, 4pm and 7pm we've got a host of favourite Christmas carols, alongside readings, performance items and a short message. If you are bringing children aged 0-11 to the 10am or 4pm meeting, they can join in with the children's christmas parties over in our K2 building across the car park. Registration is from 10 minutes before the meeting begins. There will be mince pies after each meeting too!

On Christmas Eve at 3pm and 5pm we've got a fresh look at the nativity story with a fun production for all the family. Last year was the first time we've done this meeting twice, and it was a huge success.

Then on Christmas Day at 10am bring your present, wear your Christmas jumper and invite your family as we celebrate the birth of Christ. There are no children's groups on Christmas day but lots of fun to engage them in the meeting, which will last for an hour.

Six meetings in three days - it's going to be great! Hope to see you there.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer & Fasting in 2013

One of the scriptures I try and live my life by is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

That challenge to pray continually in each and every situation life throws at me, is a huge challenge for me. Yet I know that when I do it, when I remember that I never go into a situation where God has not already gone ahead of me, and that there is nothing which happens to me which I can't turn to God in prayer, not only changes my perspective on life but also opens the door to me asking God to intervene and break in.

One of my goals for 2013 is to help every one of us to get closer to God in prayer. One way we're doing that is by beginning the year with 40 days of prayer and fasting. We're going to start on Wednesday 9th January, meeting at the Kerith Centre for an hour to pray together from 8-9pm, and will then meet at the same time every Wednesday through to February 13th. We're also going to encourage people to fast on those Wednesdays.

In parallel we're going to have a Sunday preaching series called "Keep in Touch", where we're going to look at six different prayers in the Bible. This will start on the 13th January and run through to the 17th February. More details on this soon.

Please can I encourage you to put those dates in your diary, and try to make as many of those Wednesdays as you can. You won't regret it!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

iDisciple Conference

On the 4th and 5th February 2013 (not far away now!) we're hosting a Willow Creek Conference called iDisciple, looking at how we can most effectively follow Jesus command to make disciples in our 21st Century culture.

Two of the speakers, Gordon MacDonald and James Emery White, have been to Kerith before. Gordon, and his delightful wife Gail, have been over a couple of times, preaching on a Sunday, speaking at a men's day and running a marriage seminar for us. James came over in 2011 speaking at a two day conference with John Burke. They are both outstanding speakers with some unique insights on engaging people and culture.

The other speaker, Mindy Caliguire, is part of Willow Creek Community Church, and speaks extensively on spiritual formation. Andy Jackson and Lee Layton-Matthews heard her speak at an event they were at recently and highly recommend what she brings.

You can find a load more details on the conference here, as well as all the booking information.

If you're part of Kerith then there is even a special rate for you! You can book in at the under 30's/full time student/OAP rate, which gets you in to one day for £30 or both days for £55. If you want to do this then you'll need our church login for the Willow site - email reception at if you don't know what it is.

Hope to see you there!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Prayer Meeting Clarity :)

There has been a bit of confusion about prayer meetings over the next few weeks, so here is my attempt to bring some clarity to the situation!

First of all this Thursday (13th December) we've got an all church prayer meeting at 8pm in K2 - please come if you possibly can as it will be great to pray for one another and all the Christmas events. We are NOT meeting on Wednesday to pray, as Hilltop have their carol concert that evening and we want to make sure we have enough space to park all of their minibuses.

The Thursday morning 6am prayer meeting for finance will be on this Thursday (13th December) but then won't meet again until Thursday 10th January.

Finally in the New Year we're going to be doing 40 days of prayer and fasting. I'll do another blog with more details on this soon, but as part of it we'll be having weekly prayer meetings starting on Wednesday 9th January and then running every Wednesday through to Wednesday 13th February. We'll meet for an hour each Wednesday to pray in the Kerith Centre. Please put these in your diary, and plan to be at as many of them as possible!

Hope that clarifies things - if not you know where to ask :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Once in Royal David's City

Don't miss Sunday, where Michael Ross-Watson will be preaching on the carol "Once in Royal David's City". I loved it last year when we took a couple of other carols and examined the scriptural truths behind them, and I'm sure this will be just as inspiring. I am however still waiting for someone to explain to me the relevance of "I saw three ships come sailing in" - perhaps we'll tackle that one next year!

Please also be busy inviting people to our meetings on the 23rd, 24th and 25th - you can find all the details here.

Hope to catch you on Sunday.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent - Looking Forward

On Sunday I spoke on Advent, but instead of looking back at the first coming of Jesus, looked forward to his second coming. If you missed it you can catch it here. The question I asked was:

Are you putting as much effort into preparing for the second coming of Jesus as you are into preparing to celebrate his first coming?

I know that many of us are putting huge amounts of effort into preparaing for Christmas - buying trees, putting up decorations, choosing presents, writing cards and ordering extra food and drink. All of that is great, and hopefully will lead to some great and memorable times together with friends and family. But do we have the same sense of purpose in terms of making sure we would be ready if Jesus were to return today?

I'm not going to rewrite the preach in my blog, but instead in summary to say that in Matthew 24 & 25 Jesus tells us four stories to tell us how to be prepared for his return. The principles in these stories could be summarised as be holy, be ready, be faithful and be compassionate.

Let's allow those four words - holy, ready, faithful and compassionate - to summarise who we are and what we do as we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus.