Friday, October 16, 2020

Kerith Talks About Race


I hope and believe that when the history books are written reflecting on the global pandemic we are currently living through, one of the most significant things they will talk about is the conversations which have taken place during this season about race and racism. In fact my hope and prayer is that not only will they talk about the conversations that took place, but more importantly the changes which happened in society as a result of those conversations. I strongly sense that the pandemic has created a unique moment in history for change; that this is one of the ways God is going to bring good from the evil of Covid, bringing his justice and righteousness into the world.

When all of this first happened I strongly sensed God saying to create space for people in our community to tell their stories. We heard publicly from people like Shari Barrett, Pelumi and Rachel Aworinde and Daniele Seidu. These people at the core of our community told us about the racism that they have experienced and continue to experience. I remember feeling a mixture of disbelief, anger and shame at what these people who I count as friends have been through. I also felt regret that despite having know all of them for a number of years this was the first time I'd ever had a conversation with them about things which have so deeply impacted their lives. I know that alongside the public conversations there were many private conversations that took place too. Conversations where some of us had the courage to tell stories we've never told before, and others of us listened and learnt in a whole new way.

So what do we do next? We are going to launch an exploratory research project called Talking about Race. This will be the next step in our goal of becoming a church which actively seeks to eliminate racism, both internally and in our wider society. The research should give us the tools as an organisation to support all people who experience racism and enhance our efforts as a community in becoming more inclusive. 

The first part of the project will be listening to our whole community and getting a good understanding of people's perceptions and experiences of racism, diversity and inclusion. I am delighted that Natalee Matsekeza, who completed the Kerith Academy in 2016 and studied Sociology and International Development, will be leading this project for us. I want to encourage all of us in Kerith to complete the survey - we want to hear what everybody thinks. regardless of their ethnic background. You can find the survey here.

Following on from the survey, Natalee will carry out individual interviews for those who would like to share more. Then in the New Year we will report back on the results of the research and the next steps we are going to take as a community.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill in the survey, I really appreciate it. 

Simon

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Final (hopefully) Vision Fund Gift Days

 


Over the next two Sundays (18th and 25th October) we are going to be holding what will hopefully be our final Vision Fund gift days.

As you can see from the chart above the Vision Fund has allowed us to achieve a huge amount over the last few years. This has included:

  • paying off the mortgage on the K2 house to set us debt free
  • moving our BV site to the Village Hotel in Farnborough
  • setting up and staffing our Windsor and West Wight sites
  • buying new equipment for all of our sites
  • making building improvements on our Bracknell site
  • giving away over £70,000 to other churches and organisations
The elders and trustees feel that now is the right time to bring the vision fund to an end. To do that we need to raise another £100,000. This is primarily to cover all the running costs for Windsor and West Wight for the rest of 2020 and the early part of 2021, at which point those costs will be funded from our general giving.

Catrina and I had the privilege of being in West Wight last week, during which we were able to meet with a number of the key people who are now part of the site there. It is so exciting to see what God has already built in a relatively short period of time, the future there is very bright. Things in Windsor are similarly exciting, especially with God opening a door for us to rent the warehouse we previously only had access to on a Sunday (keep praying for that change of use!).

I realise that these are incredibly uncertain times economically and that some in our community will feel unable to give for a whole variety of reasons. If that is you then please feel under no pressure to give, and also feel no anxiety or shame. We love you, God loves you, and neither of those are dependant on your ability to give! However, there will also be a group of us who feel stirred and able to give and invest into God's kingdom in this way at this time. If that is you please give cheerfully, generously and in full confidence in God and his ability to provide.

For those who do feel called to give the easiest way to do it is online. You can find all the details on our website, choosing 'Kerith Vision Fund' as the thing you are giving to.

Finally to say a huge thank you to everyone who through this season of Covid has continued to give financially into the life of our church. The generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me, never more so than in this season where we haven't been able to meet physically but people have continued to invest in the Kingdom of God through their giving to Kerith. Thank you. 

Simon