Thursday, June 26, 2014

Broken Links & Prayer Room Booking

Apologies to all of you who tried clicking the link in my previous blog to the audio of Canon Andrew White's talk. Lots of you spotted that it didn't work. I've now fixed the blog, but you can also go straight to the talk by clicking here. It's well worth taking the time to listen to.

Many of you have also noticed that the prayer room hasn't been bookable for July onwards For reasons I won't go in to we've had to create a new booking page for the prayer room from July, which you can find here. We'll leave the link on the Kerith website pointing to the old page until the start of July, so if you want to book this new site you'll have to use this new link until then.

Happy listening and booking,


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Canon Andrew White Recap

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17 NIV)

It was wonderful to have Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, with us on Sunday evening. He spoke so movingly on how suffering leads us to experience the glory of God. If you missed it then I encourage you to listen to it here.

Not only did he speak to our regular meeting but I also had the privilege of taking him over Hilltop, our meeting for adults with learning disabilities. It was wonderful to see him connect with these precious, precious people in our community.

We took up an offering on Sunday night for Andrew's work which raised an amazing £5,770, with gift aid still to be added. A huge thank you to everyone who gave in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Iraq.

Please continue to pray for Andrew and his church in Iraq. I've made a decision to try and pray for Iraq every time I see it on the news - perhaps you could do the same.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Meet Sam & Hannah - Tehila Open Evening

In March 2012 Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam (and their unbelievably cute daughters Isla and Amba) moved from Kerith out to Lusaka in Zambia to launch a project around improving child protection in Zambia, called Project Tehila.

Anyone who knows them will know that they've had a challenging but fruitful two years and have achieved lots, developing and delivering training courses all over Zambia and working with a number of different agencies - you can read about some of what they've been up to on their blog.

Sam and Hannah are currently back in the UK, and on Monday 30th June at 7.30pm in K2 they're holding an evening in K2 which they'd like to invite anyone interested in their work to come to. After drinks and nibbles they'll talk about what they've been up to, what they plan to do next, show a short film about their work and outline a variety of ways to get involved in all they're doing. Sam and Hannah are also in the final stages of creating a UK charitable trust which they hope to launch on this evening.

Going along doesn't commit you to anything - if you're at all interested in what they're up to I'd really encourage you to go along. If you do plan to be there please can you email to give them some idea of numbers.

Hope to see you there,



Friday, June 20, 2014

Sunday Baptisms

I love our baptism Sundays! It's always so inspiring hearing the stories of people who have had their lives changed through coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

What makes them particularly exciting this time is that we've got our first ever baptism in Sandhurst. That's a major milestone as we establish a faith community in the Sandhurst area.

This Sunday we've got nine people being baptised, five at the 11am and three at the 6pm in Bracknell and one at the 10am in Sandhurst. We've also got Canon Andrew White speaking at the 6pm in Bracknell. All very exciting.


Ps - a huge thank you to our friends at Reading Family Church for lending us their baptismal pool to make the Sandhurst baptisms possible.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

May Finance Update

I promised earlier this year to give monthly updates on how our finances are going. I've just received the figures for May so here we go.

Our offering income this year continues to be very encouraging. In May we budgeted for offerings of £65,713 but actually received £108,983. For January to May we budgeted for offering income of £328,560 and actually received £431,296. That puts us just over £100,000 ahead of budget which is very good.

Our expenditure remains below budget, although in part that is because of the timing of working being done and bills coming in. We need to continue to keep a close eye on expenditure to keep it within what is a very tight budget for the rest of the year, but so far we're doing well. After we've completed June and we've got 6 months of expenditure to report I'll share more detailed expenditure figures, but for now be assured we're doing OK.

All of this means that we have been able to increase our reserves from around £28,000 at the start of the year to just over £100,000 at the end of May. We've also improved our available cash (money in the bank which isn't in reserves or allocated to a restricted project so can't be spent on anything else) to just under £108,000 at the end of May. We still have a long way to go to reach our goal of having £250,000 in reserves, but the extra giving is allowing us to get there more quickly than we initially imagined.

Our goal in 2014 has been to get better before we get bigger. Part of that is about improving our financial stability, which has clearly been happening. A huge thank you to everyone who has given to make that possible, as well as allowing us to continue to do all we are involved in as a community.

As ever if you have questions on any of this then please ask.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Canon Andrew White this Sunday

Our great friend Canon Andrew White (the Vicar of Baghdad) is going to be with us on Sunday evening (22nd June). The meeting starts at 6pm with the doors opened and drinks served from 5.30pm. Unless you're a Kerith car park badge holder, or a blue disabled badge holder, please park in the Bracknell and Wokingham College car park. We will be opening the balcony for the evening.

None of us can have seen the news over the last week without hearing about the unrest and continuing bloodshed in Iraq. I really want to encourage all of us to come out on Sunday evening to hear from Andrew God's perspective on all that is happening, as well as to support and pray for him. Andrew has a unique anointing and carries with him such a sense of the presence of God. I know that we'll hear not just about Iraq but God will also use Andrew to speak into our lives too.

We will take up an offering for Andrew's work on Sunday evening. For those of you wanting to give but not able to make the evening then you can give at any of our Sunday morning gatherings - just put your gift in an offering envelope, write Canon Andrew White on it, and we'll make sure your gift (plus any Gift Aid we can reclaim) makes its way to Andrew.

If all that isn't enough we'll also be baptising three people on Sunday night!

Please come to what is going to be an unforgettable evening.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day Follow Up

I've had lots of positive feedback on our Father's Day "Man Talk" meetings, where we heard from different men about some of the issues they face. I just wanted to take the opportunity to remind you of the three different next steps we talked about on Sunday.

First of all for anyone wanting to explore further the idea of getting involved with fostering and adoption, either directly or by supporting people in the church who are looking to foster or adopt, then you'll find all the details here (along with some of the cutest pictures of children you could ever hope to see!).

Secondly if you're a guy and would be interested in getting together with other men in order to build deeper friendships then go along to the MPower BBQ next Sunday 22nd June at 1pm where you'll hear details on how you can join one of our small groups for men. To find out where the BBQ is being held, or if you can't make it on Saturday but still want to be involved, please email

Finally a reminder that our Alpha launch event is on Saturday 20th September. Our speaker is the amazing Jo Gambi. You can find all the details and sign up for tickets here.

All very exciting.




Friday, June 13, 2014

Don't Miss Father's Day

We've got a great Father's Day meeting planned. It's a mixture of some light hearted looks at men in the 21st century, in the midst of which we'll have different men talking at what it means to be a dad, how men can relate together at a deeper level and the importance of men having a relationship with God.

If that's not enough we'll also be serving hot dogs for everyone after each meeting!

Please be thinking about who to invite to what is going to be a great celebration of all things male!

Hope to see you there,



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Remarkable Ben Davies

Those of you who were around on Sunday will have heard me announce that after almost 50 years of senior leadership in Kerith (43 years as Senior Pastor and coming up for 7 as an elder with me as Senior Pastor) Ben Davies has decided that this is the right time for him to step down as an elder and trustee.

I know how the rumour mill can begin to work at moments like this, and it probably won't be long before I get told that someone has heard on the grapevine that Ben and I have fallen out, that I've sacked Ben or that Ben is stepping down because he strongly disagrees with something I've said or done. Well in an attempt to stop any of that sort of nonsense I want to be very clear that none of those things are true.

What is true is that this is entirely Ben's own decision, and one over which he feels a deep sense of peace (his words not mine). Ben and I continue to be the best of friends - from my perspective my love and respect for Ben just continues to grow, and I think he would say the same of me.

Other than stepping down as an elder and trustee Ben will continue to do everything else he currently does in the life of the church. This will include:

  • Continuing to lead Encounter - our midweek meeting
  • Mentoring and advising me as I go to him for advice around being a better leader and his thoughts on the future direction of Kerith
  • Preaching in Kerith and leading other meetings such as prayer meetings
  • Preaching in other churches as an ambassador of Kerith
  • Mentoring leaders both inside and outside Kerith

On the 13th July Ben and I will travel round all 4 meetings to give us all an opportunity to hear from Ben, for us to pray for him, for him to pray for us and to honour him for 50 years of amazing service to our community. We would have done it sooner but that is the first Sunday where we're both around for all 4 meetings, hence this blog and my announcement on Sunday to try and cut off any daft rumours before they start!

We all owe Ben, and his wife Mo, a huge debt of gratitude for laying the foundation and fighting the battles to make Kerith all that it is today. Let's continue to honour them both, and be praying for them in this new season.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Prayer Meeting this Wednesday

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29:7 NIVUK)

We meet as a church to pray on Wednesday this week at 8pm in K2. I'm going to be leading it (well hopefully the Holy Spirit will be leading it, but you know what I mean!). We've got so much to be thankful for, as well as many area where we need to be asking for more of heaven on earth. I'll also be giving updates on a few different areas of church life.

In addition we're going to take time to pray for companies in our area, that God would prosper them and the people who work in them. If you own a business, or work for a business, we'll be taking time to pray for you and all that you represent.

The Social Justice team will also be meeting in K2 to pray from 6.45-7.45pm. I know they'd be really encouraged if you were able to join them too.

Hope to see you there,


Friday, June 6, 2014

Pentecost - Breathe In

This Sunday is Pentecost, where as Christians we celebrate the Holy Spirit being poured out 50 days after Easter.

Appropriately we're going to start a new series this weekend where we're looking at how we can be filled with the Holy Spirit (breathe in), and then in the power of the Holy Spirit impact the world we live in (breathe out). I'm really looking forward to it and think it has the potential to transform us as a community.

Hope to catch you at one of our 4 gatherings.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Job Opportunity: Afternoon Receptionist

Pauline Powell, our current afternoon Kerith Centre receptionist, is going to be leaving the Kerith staff in order to take on a full time job. That's exciting for Pauline as she develops her career, but sad for us as she's done a brilliant job of making our visitors feel welcomed and at ease, as well as answering their questions and directing them to the right people.

As a result we are now looking to recruit an Afternoon Receptionist. As the first port of call for a visitor or a caller to Kerith, we are looking for a friendly person to help direct them to the right place. This vital person also carries other duties such as mail distribution, booking rooms, stationery and book ordering as well as some administration support for the Foodbank. It is a shared role, working from 12.30 - 5pm which includes an hour’s handover with the Morning Receptionist. As a result, we are also looking for a degree of flexibility to cover holidays as in most job shares.


If this is of interest and you feel that you might be the person we are looking for or you know someone who would suit this role, then we’d love to hear from you. Please pick up an Application Pack (which includes a job description and person specification) from Reception. The window for applications is from Thursday 5th June to Wednesday 18th and we aim to interview on Thursday 19th June so we can get the right person on board as soon as possible.


If you have any questions, please contact Ali Hudell - or have a chat to Mary Baartman, our Morning Receptionist who is also happy to answer any questions you may have.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

July All Leaders Meeting

Our next All Leaders Meeting is going to be in the newly refurbished Garden Room adjoining Tony and Elizabeth Pudner's house on Tuesday 8th July from 7.45-9.30pm. Parking is limited so we’re asking everyone to park at Oakwood Youth Challenge (postcode RG40 3DA) and walk down to the Garden Room. Parking outside the Garden Room will be for blue badge holders only.

We'll start the evening with refreshments and an opportunity to socialise. The rest of the evening will then be split into two halves. In the first half we're going to watch a section of a DVD from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit and I'll do some leadership training for us all around that. In the second half I'll give an update on developments at Kerith with an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

If you're involved in leadership at Kerith at any level I'd love you to be there. Whether you're a leader or apprentice leader of a small group, with children, in LIFE, with a social justice ministry or anywhere else please come. You should get an invite via your ministry head, but that doesn't always work so please consider yourself invited.

Hope to see you there,


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jo Gambi - Alpha Launch Update

In writing my carefully thought through blog on our Septmeber Alpha Launch Event I managed to get the most important piece of information wrong - the date! It's right now in the blog, but just to be clear the launch event is on Saturday 20th September starting at 7.30pm. Please be putting that date in your diary for what is going to be an amazing event to invite guests to - tickets will go on sale soon so be thinking in advance about who to invite.

For anyone who would learn a bit more about Jo Gambi, our guest speaker, someone sent me a link to this brilliant video about the exploits of Jo and her husband Rob.


Monday, June 2, 2014

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

In recognition of our outstanding work in the local community (their words not mine), Her Majesty the Queen has conferred on Kerith Community Church The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. How cool is that!

As you'll see from the logo this is thought of as the voluntary organisation equivalent of an MBE. I see it as amazing recognition of all that our amazing vounteers do to bless our local community, and of the impact we're having. What is even more pleasing is that we were nominated by Bracknell Forest Council.

It was officially announced this morning - you can read the London Gazzette listing here (we're on page J5). In time we'll get a certificate signed by the Queen, a crystal vase and Andy Jackson gets to go to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party! We also get to use the award logo on our website, headed notepaper etc.

If you volunteer in Kerith in any capacity then please take pride in the fact that you were part of the reason we have been awarded this - well done and thank you! Let's be praying that through our service we would make the invisible God visible, and that even as this award gets announced in the local press it will result in people seeing Jesus for who he really is.