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,


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 :)



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


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,



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.


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.



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,



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.



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!



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.