Monday, 30 July 2007

Welcome aboard

Hi Brenda

I'm really glad you made it here and look forward to hearing from you soon...

Friday, 27 July 2007

Jeremiah 11:29

It is very difficult to pick out one verse, but this one has certainly been a key one for me:

Jeremiah 11:29 'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

In 1984 my Dad gave me a New Year present of a tear-off block calendar and at the start of the year this was the verse that was given. I tore off the sheet and put it in my Bible. For me 1984 was quite a difficult one, but a year in which God blessed me so much. I felt that in many ways it was a turning point. As year followed year, this verse has kept with me and I have been very much aware of God's promises for me whatever the circumstances.

I could tell of many answers to prayer that confirmed this and certainly God's plans for me were revealed when John and I got together and married in 1991.

This verse starts with 'For I know ...' and many of my favourite verses start with either this or 'For we know ...' (look them up - there are many). When things are difficult and it's hard to see what God's plans are it has been a comfort and encouragement to me that He knows. One of the most famous 'And we know ...' verses is Romans 8:28. These three words are so important, because sometimes we quote the verse without them - for me, they are vital.

Encouragement indeed

Thanks for your comment, Roy and I'm putting the verses up here in full because they are encouragement indeed...

because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:5-6

By the way if you've yet to discover Biblegateway where this came from, it really is worth checking out for loads of Bible translations and increasingly more commentaries too. In fact I quote 'The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading and researching scripture online -- all in the language or translation of your choice! It provides advanced searching capabilities, which allow readers to find and compare particular passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.'

So there you go...

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Scripture meme

Jonathan and Simon have both posted (admittedly a while back) a verse or story of Scripture which is important to them, which they find themselves re-visiting time after time.

They make for really interesting reading and it set me thinking about what Bible verses have particular meaning for me. Loads, I'm afraid, and it's hard to pick one. However that's a bit of a cop out so I'd have to say a verse that has strengthened me, particularly at difficult times is Isaiah 40:31
'...but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.'

It's a reminder to me to be patient and to trust in the One who is unchanging and to draw on his divine strength for everything - usually easier said than done!

Anyway the way is works is this, I tag you lot, that's Linda, Karen, Phil, pixie, Hazel, Mike, Bob, Ruth and David, Anthony, Roy, Lorna, Dave and Michelle and anyone else who reads this - to do the same...

I therefore look forward to reading your posts about a verse or story which has particular meaning to you!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday's church meeting

I thought we had a very useful discussion at our lunch time church meeting today and that this format is very suitable for discussing these kinds of issues. However, we clearly ran out of time and were unable to cover other important matters.

Maybe we need to have a rethink about the frequency of these meetings as it is not practical to make them longer. Perhaps we could have some occasional Wednesday evening meetings as well to cover more routine matters and use the lunch time meetings for issues that need more in-depth discussion. This would allow people who can't be there Sunday lunch time the opportunity also to be involved.

What do others think?


If you read this week's bulletin you'll notice the church blog was mentioned on the back page. So if you're responding to that and reading this for the very first time - a very warm welcome to you.

Now you're here you can check out what people have been saying and feel free to comment on anything. If you'd like to post your own views, thoughts or ideas then email me and I'll send you an invite.

So why not give it a go?

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Ministry roles in the church

Thanks to Mike for his post about Glenis. It's always good to be able to clarify things.

Last summer we talked about changing Glenis' job title to 'minister for discipleship and Christian education' in recognition of the fact that she was already playing a significant role in the ministry team - not only doing schools and drugs education in the community, but also increasingly being responsible for all-age services and taking a role in other services too. Since I arrived in the church - over 3 years ago - I always saw her as a key part of my team.

The church decided not to give her the title but did vote to recognise her both as an elder and as a member of the team responsible for ministry in the church.

There was never any financial issue in this - Glenis is still paid in the same way as she was before last summer. Talk to Bob if you want clarification of that.

We wanted as a leadership - and hopefully as a church - to recognise how her role has developed in recent years and to acknowledge the fruits of her training - she has been studying for an Mth which, when she gets it in a year or two's time, will make her the most qualified member of the ministry team! This the church was glad to do, although it felt that giving her the title 'minister' was a step too far.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Great to use the church blog for things like this. Let's have more of it....

Ministry Team

I have been wondering about something for a couple of months now. A few months ago a church meeting was asked if Glenis could become a fully paid up member of the ministry team. If I understand the result correctly, the meeting declined. At the last meeting concern was expressed about our ability to afford the three man team that we then had.

I see from the last couple of issues of "In Touch" that Glenis is now listed as a member of the ministry team. This appears to go against both my previous points, or am I missing something? Has her status changed? Can anyone explain the apparent discrepancy?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

a little light reading

Ahead of the Church Family meeting this coming Sunday, there are some notes now available for you to look at.

They include all the feedback from the various groups and plenary sessions from April's conference on belonging, membership and discipleship.

They are on display in the Welcome Area and also accessible from the homepage of the website.

Whether you get a chance to read them or not, it'd be great to share lunch with you on Sunday as well as discuss the proposals at the meeting that follows.

Monday, 2 July 2007

making connections

One interesting fact I stumbled across in my research was the following:

A recent study by Cartwright (2004) on the mission potential of Parent and Toddler Groups found that the most significant factor which encouraged transition into other church activities was the involvement of Christian parents helping or attending the group. Also that Alpha-style courses and parenting groups had little or no effect.

You can read the whole report here but it raises interesting questions about how we go about reaching people.

Gibbs and Bolger in Emerging Churches say that we should journey with people, engage them in open discussion, having hospitality as central, creating a safe place for them to dwell and allowing God to do the rest.

And as Simon commented earlier, both Jesus and Paul had evangelistic strategies that involved 'going' and 'waiting' (Drane). Their conversations, such as Jesus with the woman at the well, are two-way, open-ended and people are left to make up their own minds.

Anyway that's enough from me but if you have any thoughts...

finished at last

Just thought I'd let you know I've finished the theological reflection assignment and want to say a huge thank you for all those comments that shaped my thinking.

It's been a really tough assignment - the issue I wrote about is one that I had battled with for ages and just allowing the voices of the Bible, Tradition, contemporary thinking, which includes you guys, enabled me to draw really valuable conclusions and hear from God in some really surprising and unexpected ways.

The particular reflection I used was straightforward enough (there are loads of different kinds):
  • Describe your experience
  • Identify the issues
  • Make connections with those issues and the faith of the Christian church
  • Develop new insights
  • Consider the practical implications (that's the action bit) for the way we live as Christian disciples in the world today

Bouncing ideas off people really helps - why not give it a go...