Nick’s Notes Feb 2015

‘Be ready for growth’ is something I believe the Lord said to me one Sunday morning in 2103 (I think). I’d returned from St. Mary’s and was sat in HT pews asking the Lord for some revelation. I’ve prayed and reflected on this revelation as I hope you have. On Sunday 25th  January at Holy Trinity Children’s Church we had the faithful Hunter children, Silvi, Bertie, Evie and Freddie, plus the Herd children Roma, Sergio and Rosena, and Kassidy, Seb, and Kayleigh whose mum is to be married in October at St. Mary’s. The front of church was crowded with children and adults flag waving to the worship songs. It was great to have so many. A taste of things to come? Yes hopefully, by His grace. So what impact did it have on us? It looked good, gave the Children’s Church leaders a small problem and provided new folk for us to talk to and welcome. Are we ready for growth? Remember that we still use Creating Cultures of Expectation and Fun, as well as of   Welcome and Evangelism?

In 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 6 we read, “I planted the seed,   Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” Paul uses nature (as Jesus did) to illustrate a spiritual principle, yet we need to remember that isn’t necessarily an automatic process growth still depends on God’s sovereign grace, and we need to be ready because, as Jesus says “the fields are white ready for harvest.”

At the front of Holy Trinity leaning on the table is a board that says:

FUN   giggle   Laugh   Play   LIVE   Together  JOY   Smile   LOVE

It’s to help with the Culture of Fun and welcome.

Overseas and Home Missions have been very important to our churches for many years, and recently Michael preached at both churches on this – and at the same services we saw a DVD from the hospital Catherine Truman from Interserve is a pharmacist at. This DVD I hope brought home the needs and wonderful work Catherine   is a part of at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

Quoting from 2 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need you will abound in every good work.” The truth of this verse is seen and experienced in both our churches in our prayer and giving to overseas missions as we grow in grace together. By this I mean that St. Mary’s have made a generous gift to Catherine and Holy Trinity have increased their giving  to CPAS (Church Pastoral Aid Society), to CMS (Church Missionary Society) in the work of the Lees family with Jigsaw in the Philippines, and Catherine as above.

Holy Trinity PCC has given each of these £1,500 per year for many years, and at the last PCC agreed to raise this by £500 to £2,000 each. Simply God making all grace abound etc. Needless to say the recipients are thrilled by this increase and have written to say so. The money you give bears fruit not only in the UK with CPAS but in the Philippines,   Ecuador and India, so a big thank you to you for your giving. Please continue to pray that this money will be protected by the Lord & used for the right purposes. As a principle we should give & ‘pray the money home.’

On Sunday 25 January during morning service at Holy Trinity we were able to Skype with Jill Ball at her home in Southend-on-Sea. Jill and LIAT were on the intercessions rota for that Sunday. It worked really well and was done for mutual encouragement and to help keep Jill and her work real to us. As well as seeing each other via the cameras Jill had emailed a powerpoint presentation that we watched on the screen as she spoke to it. Huge thanks to Peter (Newberry aka young Peter) as he set it up for us. I’m hoping we can Skype with those we support in Ecuador though because they are 5 hours behind us it may be difficult!

Tim and Kate of Jigsaw live in Cambridge so visit us at Holy Trinity, and I have been in touch with them seeking to Skype with Jigsaw in the Philippines – Kate’s response is elsewhere in the Newsletter. Similarly with Catherine in Vellore who has put us in touch with some of her friends who have Skype so hopefully we should be seeing and speaking with Catherine. For your information John Dunnett, General Director of CPAS is coming to preach soon.

Church Army: Following on from last month’s article on the Church Army, I make my First Promises (see below) on Weds 25 February in Sheffield. Captain Tim Rouke has been appointed as my Accompanier between making my First and Final Promises, and I’ll have continual support meeting with him and others in a cluster. I do value your prayers as growing in my evangelistic gifting still goes alongside being vicar with the preaching, planning and pastoral work.

Are you willing to commit to God and to one another
in the making of first promises?
I am willing.

The Promises

As you enter the Church Army Mission Community,
will you love and proclaim Jesus?
I will love and proclaim Jesus in a life sustained by prayer, discovery and Christian community.

As you enter the Church Army Mission Community,
will you live and behave following the example of Jesus?
I will live and behave following the example of Jesus
in a way that is honourable and attractive.

 As you enter the Church Army Mission Community,
will you adhere to the Church Army Rule of Life?
I will adhere to the Rule of Life
as a person who shares faith through words and actions.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is good for us to use Lent as a time for renewed & prayerful reflection, & to encourage others. I hope you will consider the importance of this kind of challenge for yourself.

MAPs: (Mission Action Plans) Holy Trinity PCC had a good discussion about MAPs, St. Mary’s PCC will be discussing their MAP in February.

Christmas Decorations: Thank you very much to all who decorated both churches for Christmas, especially doing so earlier than normal to be ready for school & other carol services. They both looked great.

Acts 15 v 1-35: Beginning on Sunday 15 Feb for a little over 2 weeks we are going to be studying & praying through Acts 15 v 1-35 together and also at Home Group and Pastorate. The idea is that on Sundays 15th & 22nd we use this passage for the Sermon Themes. At the Home Groups sandwiched between these two Sundays likewise and we all come together at a Pastorate on Tues 24th, nibbles (please bring some), relaxing together at 7.30pm, starting 8pm, finishing 9.30pm.

We will look at the dynamics, the conversations & roles between apostles, elders and church, how the Spirit enabled decisions to be made & see what lessons there are for our two churches today. The Pastorate Theme is: Acts 15 “Creating Cultures of Expectation,   Evangelism, Fun & Welcome” or “Being Church together” & will be led by Kerry Dixon who was excellent when he came to preach last year & some of you asked me to invite him back. Kerry is ordained, a Church Army Captain & a personal friend who gently challenges cherished views, theologies & practice on Community, Church Life & how to do Overseas Missions.     

Enjoy life, Nick