Easter 2019

Andy’s Update

We’re at the beginning of the most significant week in the church’s year. They may have taken place over 2,000 years ago, but the events between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, the entry of King Jesus into Jerusalem, his arrest, trial, death and resurrection, still reverberate around the world today.  If you’ve never really taken the time to make the journey with him, to understand why things happened as they did, then may I invite you to make this journey this year. Come and see; welcome Jesus the King, marvel at his sacrifice for you and me, and rejoice in the hope of his resurrection.

Easter Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Read through one of the resurrection accounts.  Pray and meditate on the way God brought transformation to those who had been broken.  Give thanks that Jesus brings new hope in the face of suffering and death, and pray for a fresh infilling of his Spirit in your life and in the life of our church.

Loving each other

Easter is a season of new hope.  Pray for someone you know who struggles to hold onto hope at this time.  Pray that Jesus would give them that hope.

Serving our community

Pray for all who are preparing and who will attend services over the Easter period.  Pray that God would move in people’s hearts and bring more people to come to faith in the life-changing news of the resurrection.

Annual Meeting and Celebration - Reports 2019

Vicar’s Report

 “In view of God’s mercy, offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

 

Sacrifice is a challenging word, isn’t it? Yet it’s a word that is part of the DNA of this church community. Almost exactly 60 years ago, the foundation stone was laid of this church building.  This was thanks to both vision and sacrifice. Bishop Neville Gorton, motivated by a deep longing for the people of the new Allesley Park estate to encounter Jesus, had the vision for a church community to form and for the building to be a base from which God’s mission would be carried out. This vision would have stayed a vision, a mere pipe dream, without very real, gritty sacrifice. In February 1956, in announcing this new church community, the Rector of All Saints, Allesley, Rev. F.W. Moyle, commented, “This is a colossal challenge! If we are to answer it to the full, every man-jack of us must think and pray and give to the point of sacrifice.”  The people of Allesley bore a great financial burden to ensure the new church building would be built. They rose to the challenge and the new church building was consecrated on 26 March 1960.

We are here today, because of that initial sacrifice, but also of the sacrifice God’s people have made ever since, giving their time, skills, and money to sustain the work of the church community here. In some ways the challenge has never been greater than it has now. We have to adapt to a rapidly changing culture, we have to constantly rediscover what it means to be the people of God here in Allesley Park, what it means to be a church that fulfils our vision of “Living and loving as God’s family”– and this works most effectively when we all play our part.

When I look back over the past year, there is so much to encourage me.  Not least, last weekend, when so many men were involved in serving at Mother’s Day Café Church. I hope the ladies appreciated this! I’m especially grateful to Tom Borrasand Stuart Hartfor their hard work last Sunday, which is characteristic of the kind of work they do behind the scenes on behalf of the church community week in week out, Tom, who with Pauline Bluntserves excellently as a church warden.  St Christopher’s Church is full of these “behind the scenes” people – Stan Aldridge, who with Graham FoxwellTina Veaseyand Louise Hicks, helps us as a church steward our financial resources effectively; Garry and Jo CookeDiane HarrisonAngela McCannwho help keep the church grounds neat and tidy; Sylvia Cliffoversees the team who beautifies the church through their flower arranging; Jim Patrickhas installed wifi, the TV aerial and other bits and pieces.  Various others serve teas and coffees.  Heather Beasley, as our Parish Safeguarding Officer, works tirelessly to ensure we keep our children as safe as we can. This is no mean feat, so thank you, Heather for your vital work.  Pauline Bluntas churchwarden has a wonderful eye for detail and her oversight of the rotas besides many other aspects of church life makes sure Sunday mornings run smoothly.  

Speaking of Sunday mornings, I’m so excited about what God has been doing as we gather together each week.  It’s lovely to share the preaching ministry with Matt Woodand Ali Grimley, who bring their own insight and experience of walking with God to the Word of God.  I’ve been encouraged by our “Fingerprints” slot as people have shared their experiences of the ways they’ve seen God at work in their lives. We also had a wonderful Sunday morning in October as we held a celebration of Confirmation and Renewal of Baptism Vows, led by the Bishop of Warwick, John Stroynan.

We have remained a church of and for all ages. Numbers of children have remined strong and I’m so grateful for the ministry of Chris DunkleyMary AbamwaThanize Borges, and the newly formed creche team, who give their time to serve our young people.  Liz Marchand Louise Hickswill share in coordinating our children’s work together, which is deeply appreciated. 

Our youth group continues to thrive under the leadership of Thanize and Dave Boyle, and the fortnightly discipleship group for young people is well attended.  We would love for more church members to be involved with this exciting work with our children and youth.  In addition, Thanize with the rest of the Pais Coventryteam work in schools across Coventry, including Blue Coat, Allesley Hall and St John’s, leading lessons, lunch clubs and assemblies, helping children lead services at Christmas, and Easter, setting up prayer spaces, etc. They also run an after-school club here in church on Wednesdays.  Though Thanize returns home to Brazil in July, the work through Pais will continue next year, as we will hopefully receive another apprentice, although this is dependent on someone within the church being willing to provide accommodation for our next Pais apprentice, as Liz and I are doing and Louise and Mat Hicksdid in the autumn.  Could this be you next year? Could you host, even for only a term?

I am grateful for the ministry of John and Frances Langlands who moved on in June to serve churches in Ansley and Arley.Pam Stoteretired as Associate Minister in January, and we miss her pastoral work and support of the life of the church, although I’m excited that she’s planning to return in September as a member of the congregation. One of her legacies was the team that led all age services each month, and we’re so blessed to see that continue, and Louise HicksKaty Coupeand Laura Greenwayhave done a fantastic job taking this on.  Louise deserves special mention for leading the service at her son, George’s baptism!

Thanks to the partnership with Nexus Institute of Creative Arts, where students study theology and worship education as well as popular music, we’ve been blessed by the presence of Ruben ZantemaPeter Jennings, and Jon Lidbetter, who have got thoroughly involved in the life of the church, and are now serving our worship ministry, which is overseen by James Bowman-Powelland Emma Beasley – very soon to be Mr and Mrs Bowman-Powell– I’ve been so grateful that they’ve been able to take on such a vital area of the church’s life, and it’s flourishing as a result. Susan and Lisa Borrasalso faithfully serve in this area. Another exciting development has been our monthly evening service, Pursuit, where we have spent more unhurried time worshipping, listening to God’s word and praying for each other, and this is growing – there were over 30 of us in March. I think God will do something significant in the corporate worshipping life of our church over the next year. The best is yet to come.  

But Church, of course, isn’t only about Sundays or services.  The majority of church members are part of Life Groups– from the standard Bible study groups to solving jigsaw puzzles together or doing craft, there are some wonderful opportunities to gather together and form community throughout the week, which is in itself an important part of the precious gathering of Coffee, Cake and Communion. Do become part of a Life Group if you’re not already. They are such a blessing. Also, if you have a good idea for a Life Group that’d bring people together, then please let me know.  Church Fellowshipremains an important part of the life of our church – thank you, Irene Foxwell, for leading this ministry, and on her behalf, can I issue an invite to everyone – there’s room for more members of this group, for all ages in the church and wider community.  

Over the past year, we’ve had lots of fun as a church family – in the summer we had our World Cup Final Family Festival and Wimbledon social – and it was lots of fun planning the event with Irene and Graham, Tom and Pauline, Katy and Tina, and we have lots more fun planned for future events, so watch this space.  In addition, we had lots of fun with the Strictly Come Dancing final.  Jan Joyled a brilliant team for the Christmas Fair, which was a glorious community occasion.

Our wonderful ministry to toddlers and carers Christopher Robin, is led by Liz March, Caroline Pedley-Minnett, Bev Patrick andHeather Wood and remains a significant ministry to those who don’t yet know Jesus. Please pray for the growth and flourishing of this group.

The danger of naming names is that I miss out people, so I apologise if you feel like you should have been mentioned.  

 

This is an overview of our church’s life – it gives a picture of a vibrant community that I’m proud to be part of. But what might be in store in the next twelve months?

Romans 12:1 speaks of the calling for each of us to be living sacrifices, to be wholehearted in the way we follow God.  What does that look like? Let’s have a look through the lens of the different parts of our vision.

 

Growing in God

I am passionate about helping people grow in faith.  This is why I write our Bible study guides and why I’ve produced the reading guide and daily reflections for Luke’s Gospel.  It’s not too late to join in with this. I think it could be significant for us as individuals – Jesus promises, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5). We all long to be fruitful, don’t we? I know I do, but we each need to take responsibility for our own growth in faith. How are you Growing in God?  

I am convinced that the only solution to the world’s crises is Jesus. I don’t think it’s coincidental that as a church we’ve been led to make Jesus and the Gospel of Luke as our main focus for our Sunday teaching over the next year or so, in this year that we celebrate 60 years of the life of this church community in this building. It feels like a call to re-lay our foundations, to rediscover our love for Jesus. It’s all about him and all for him.

On our church foundation stone, laid almost exactly 60 years ago is our calling to be a house of prayer for all nations. How can we better live out that vision, become more of a praying people?

 

Loving each other

I love the community God is building here. To be a church, one family of all ages, every decade of life from 0 - 90s is truly remarkable.

Fellowship times are key - after service shared lunches, evening socials - strictly final, Eurovision, summer party - these are all so important.

We’ve also just formed a pastoral care team under the leadership of Pauline and Rosemary Lavens, which will mean we have a new system of visiting and home communions. Speak to them if you are aware of those who need visiting.

Serving in various roles is part of loving each other. We need more people to step up and give their time. At the moment it seems like fewer people are filling key roles.  Need someone with an administrative gift for serving as PCC secretary, as well as someone to step up and ensure smooth transition for new church warden to replace Pauline next year.  Filling unglamorous roles all part of what it means to love one another. Please consider doing something. There is a danger that people will burnout - we have a track record of this, people taking on too much and then needing to stop. Certain ministries simply need to be done. What could you do?

 

Serving our Community

I’m so thrilled that we were successful with our grant application for £40,000 to refurbish the church hall.  I think God’s hand was on this, as I was alerted to the existence of the Veolia Trustjust a week before they had a grant application deadline and the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been overwhelmed by your response to the challenge of raising £4,000 in order to release the grant – the full total came within a fortnight.  This is amazing. The hall will look so lovely once the work is done in the summer.  I know this will be a blessing to the community.  But hall refurbishment is only part of the dream – we still hope to be able to add an entrance foyer along the side of the hall to provide an attractive meeting place for the community.  Will require sacrificial giving to reach this, as well as God’s providence, but I think we’ll get there. I truly believe in the Scripture that says, “God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). 

 

In my induction service in September 2012, Steve Burch had a word for me and for the church, that as in the parable of the sower, there would be a process of removing rocks from the soil.  As this process happened, there would be tears. He then quoted the promise in Psalm 126:5. “those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”  We’ve known more than our fair share of tears in the past, haven’t we?  However, this last verse has been repeated to me by a few different people in recent months.  It’s as if God has been saying, that he hasn’t forgotten, that he will keep his promise. We’ve had our time of digging through the soil, removing the rocks and rubbish, to create good soil. We’ve had our weeping. It’s time for the reaping.  It’s time for joy.

 

May God lead us into his good future. May we be able to rejoice in all that he has done for us and through us. May we give our all to the one who gave his all for us.


St Chris Youth report

Hear about the fantastic work that happens each week at St Chris Youth.

 

Pais Coventry report

We work in partnership with Pais Coventry and Christchurch Cheylesmore to bring the good news to young people in churches and schools across Coventry. Watch the report to find out more.

7th February

Andy’s Update

On Sunday 3rdMarch we will be having our Gift Day.  Firstly, I want to thank you all for your financial contribution to the life of the church; your giving is vital to the ongoing life of the church. Although there is a perception that churches receive money from outside sources, we are actually completely self-funding, covering the cost of ministry (my stipend, running costs of the vicarage, training of clergy and future clergy) as well as all the additional costs that come with running and maintaining the church building. While we are profoundly grateful for the income generated through hall rental, the vast majority comes from your support. Secondly, I would like to appeal for your help.  At the time of writing, it is forecast that our expenditure will exceed income by £6,000 and we are asking you to review your giving and see if together we can bridge the gap.  If we all contribute, then this funding gap can be met easily – for example, if, 25 church members increase their giving by £2 a week, 15 by £3 a week and 6 by £4 a week, we would have a balanced budget. Every member of the church family should receive a pack of information explaining the challenge we face in more detail as well as a leaflet showing how you can respond.  Please, please, read it. Please prayerfully consider how you can help us meet the challenge ahead of us.  This isn’t simply an issue of supporting the church in the present and ensuring that the thriving ministry for all ages that happens throughout the week, from Christopher Robin to Craft Group, Youth Group to Coffee, Cake and Communion, as well on Sundays, but it’s also about helping to ensure that there is a vibrant Christian presence in Allesley Park and Whoberley in the years to come. We’re called to be generous; may we give in faith, knowing and trusting that “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

Bible Verse of the Month

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

(Luke 4:18-19)

 Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

How is God calling you to respond to the Gift Day appeal? How can your life be characterised by generosity in the way that you give financially as well as in your gifts and time?

Loving each other

Pray for those who are ill or bereaved.  Are there those who are alone, whom you could call and/or visit? How could we show love to those who are isolated and lonely?

Serving our community

Give thanks for the Coventry Winter Night Shelter, sustained by many volunteers from churches in the city. It is a life-changing project that helps people living on the streets to cope during the winter nights whilst also helping them to move off the streets. Pray for those to whom it ministers.

31st January

Andy’s Update

On Monday 11thFebruary I’ll have the privilege of visiting Dresden as part of a group from Coventry. As well as remembering the bombing of the city in 1945, we’ll celebrate 60 years since Coventry and Dresden became twin cities.  As dresden.de states, “this partnership has become an international symbol for reconciliation and the will for peace, since the two cities which had suffered so greatly during the Second World War [first] stretched out hands of friendship in the mid-fifties”, which was formalised in 1959. The visit will have personal significance for me: as well as returning to my grandmother’s hometown, I’ll be sharing the story of my grandparents, reading excerpts of the book I wrote about their relationship. Though the events took place over seventy years ago, they’ve never felt so relevant: they remind us that love can destroy barriers and overcome hate. I pray that God would help us to be a community defined by his extraordinary love.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Spend some time meditating on the verses below. Give thanks for Jesus, God’s beloved Son who took on our human frailty to enable us to have those same words, “You are my beloved child” whispered by God over us. 

Loving each other

Give thanks for the children and families who are such a vital part of our church. Pray for all those who are involved in leading our children’s and youth ministry, which is so vital for our church. Ask God if you could serve him in this way.

Serving our community

Pray for God’s blessing on the businesses in our community, that they would flourish.  Pray particularly for the Mocha Lounge and other places where people gather. Pray for the ministry of Pais Coventry – for Thanize, Rike and new team member, Jordan, that they will be effective and fruitful in sharing God’s love with the young people in our church and schools.

 

Bible Verse of the Week

When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

(Luke 3:21-22)

10th January

Andy’s Update

We’re right at the beginning of our journey through Luke’s Gospel, examining the life of Jesus and “God’s plan for a broken world”. He’s the reason why we gather together; the only source of hope for humanity; the Saviour of the world.  Through this series we’ll see Jesus’ radical teaching, wonderful compassion and extraordinary miracles. We will see Jesus give hope to hopeless cases. I’m expectant that God will meet with us, deepen our faith and enable us to have a lifechanging encounter with our Saviour. Together we’ll discover God’s plan for a broken world, finding that we are a vital part of this plan, as his Spirit lives and breathes through us.

I’d like to encourage you to make the most of this series:

·      Prioritise coming to church each week, as we learn and grow together

·      Read Luke’s Gospel – Note down any questions.

·      Join a Life Group – after Easter, groups will focus on Luke’s Gospel.

As we journey through Luke, let’s allow Jesus to transform and fill us with the same joy that permeates the Gospel.

Prayer Guide – New Year Examen (it’s not too late!)

Looking back on this year …

What am I especially grateful for?

- An event that took place?

- Courage that I mustered?

- Love and support I received?

I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.

Where have I felt true joy this year?

What troubled me this year?

What has challenged me?

Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?

Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?

In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?

As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?

With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months?, the next year?

I ask for God’s presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year.

Bible Verse of the Week

 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you’ve promised, you may now dismissyour servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you’ve prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’ (Luke 2:28-32)

20th December

Andy’s Christmas/New Year Update

It’s traditional at this time of year to share news with distant friends and family by writing Christmas letters, so I’d like to use this space to write one of my own to you, my church family.  Our year couldn’t have begun any worse, with the news of Brian Bailey’s sudden death, and soon after his funeral there was the announcement that John and Frances were moving on.  Additionally, over the next few months we lost further members of our church community – Diane Weale, Stephanie Summers and Betty Jones. I think this contributed to there being a lack of hope around our church community in the early part of the year. We were also coming to terms with changes in our Sunday services. Such changes bring an element of grief with them and it take times to adjust to a new way of worshipping together and being a community. But we haveadjusted and there’s a new air of hope when we gather.  Through these trials we’ve become closer, and the “loving each other” part of our vision has become more of a reality. We’ve also continued to be a welcoming community, where people find acceptance and love, and become part of the family.  And, though we may take it for granted, it is truly remarkable that when we gather to worship, we’re a community of all ages and every decade of life from 0 - 90.

What I’ve come to love about this church family is that far from allowing the various bereavements and challenges to defeat us, we’ve become more resilient, and have refused to let go of hope.  As much as we’ve grieved together, we’ve celebrated together – it was lovely to share the joy of the birth of Ben with you in March, and to welcome George Hicks, who starred as baby Jesus in last Sunday’s nativity! Also, the service we had in October of confirmation and renewal of baptism vows was simply glorious! We’ve played together, including celebrating the World Cup final; laughed together – at the Strictly social among other occasions; eaten together, at the Easter breakfast and many other times; worked together –so many came together to make the Christmas Fair so special.

Above all, our church community is a testimony of the reality of “Immanuel” – “God with us”.  We’ve known his presence with us as we’ve grieved, as celebrated and been together. He’s held us through our trials, refined us, sustained us and given us renewed hope.  

I pray that we’d individually and together enter fully into the plans God has for us in the coming year. They may not be what we expect, but we can trust that they will be good. Thank you for your love and support. Thanks to all of you who do so much to make the church community what it is. 

May God bless us now and throughout the year! 

Prayer Guide – New Year Examen

Looking back on this year …

What am I especially grateful for?

- An event that took place?

- Courage that I mustered?

- Love and support I received?

I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.

Where have I felt true joy this year?

What troubled me this year?

What has challenged me?

Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?

Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?

In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?

As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?

With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months?, the next year?

I ask for God’s presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year.

Bible Verse of the Week

The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

(Luke 2:10-12)

 

 

6th December

Andy’s Update

Given the ongoing negotiations over Brexit and the crucial vote in Parliament about the EU withdrawal bill, it seems appropriate to invite you to join me and many others in praying for our government and our nation.  PrayingScriptures.com has written the following:

Heavenly Father, I give thanks for our government.   I pray for all men and women having authority over us in any way (1 Tim 2:1-2).  Pour out Your Spirit upon them and make Your Word known to them (Prov. 1:23).

Cause them to be men and women of integrity, obedient concerning us (Ps 25:21), that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty (1 Tim 2:2). Let wisdom enter their hearts, and let knowledge be pleasant to them. Let discretion preserve them and understanding keep them, to deliver them from the way of evil and from evil men (Prov. 2:10-12).  Make their hearts and ears attentive to godly counsel Psalm 1:1), doing what is right in your sight (2Chr 20:32).  Let the upright dwell in our government (Prov. 2:21). Cause there to be a shaking in all areas (Heb 12:27).  Let those complete and blameless before You stay and cut off the wicked. Let the unfaithful be rooted out. (Prov. 2:21-22).  

Bring to light what is hidden in darkness, and expose the secret aims of the hearts (1Cor 4:5). Let this nation remember from where they have fallen, repenting, and returning to doing their first works (Rev 2:5), setting their hearts and their souls to seek the Lord (1Chr 22:19), humbling themselves, praying, and turning from their wicked ways. Then hear them, O Lord, and forgive their sins and heal our land (2Chr 7:14). Open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light (Acts 26:18). Soften the hearts that are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13).

Deliver them from their destructions (Ps 107:20).

Father, You have been longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Pet 3:9).

Raise up a standard in this nation (Isa 49:22).

Cause the rains of Your Spirit to flood this land (Zech 10:1) and revive Your work in the midst of us (Hab 3:2). Raise up intercessors for this nation (

Isa 59:16), to pull down strongholds over this land (2Cor 10:4) And let the glory of the Lord be revealed! (Isa 40:5).

AMEN!

 

22nd November

Andy’s Update

In a month’s time the waiting will be over. We’ll be unwrapping presents, eating lots of food, enjoying (or enduring!) time with family; we may feel relief that the end of Christmas is in sight. Some of us might be worrying about how we’ll pay for the presents. Perhaps the biggest danger is that in the maelstrom we wake up on Boxing Day and realise that we’ve forgotten the whole point of this glorious season of Advent and Christmas. The trend for luxury ‘Advent’ calendars (some costing hundreds of pounds), containing, behind each window, trivial or expensive gifts that have no connection with Christmas, demonstrates the absolute power of commercialism in our culture. Let’s resist the temptation to be swept up by it all. Let’s get ready for Christmas, but make a concerted effort not to forget the one whose extraordinary incarnational love is truly the reason for this season.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Today the Church marks Christ the King Sunday. This week, take time to ask God afresh to rule in your mind, will and heart, praying, “May your will be done in me.”

Loving each other

This coming season is a difficult time of year for many people. Pray for those within our church community who are struggling and find a way to share God’s love with them.

Serving our community

Pray for all the Christmas events over the next month. Pray about whom you might invite to some of these. Pray that this would be a time when new faith would spring up.

 

Bible Verses of the Week

I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I’m ruined! I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

One seraphim flew to me, touched my mouth with a live coal and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is removed and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”.

 (Isaiah 6:1-8)

15th November

Andy’s Update

Next weekend is our Christmas Fair, which is an annual highlight in our church’s life. I want to say on behalf of the clergy and churchwardens how much we appreciate all the effort that’s been put in to making the event the success that I know it will be – not only help on the day, but your generous provision of time and donations for various goods. It’s a real demonstration of how powerful it can be when we come together to work for a common cause.  Needless to say, the money raised is vital for the church’s ministry and mission, so thank you.  As we welcome hundreds of people from our local community into our building, my prayer is that as they browse and spend money, they would catch a glimpse of a vibrant community that exists to serve them and that reflects the heart of a vibrant God. Perhaps through the Christmas Fair people would begin journeys of discipleship that would lead to them joining the community of faith – now, that would be priceless!

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Meditate on the verses below from Psalm 139, and give thanks that God knows and loves you inside and out, and pray for a greater awareness of his presence with you.

Loving each other

Thank God for all who have been working so hard in preparation for the Christmas Fair, and pray for God’s blessing on our time together.

Serving our community

Scripture commands us to pray for ‘kings and all those in authority that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ (1 Tim 2:2). Pray for the government especially in the light of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Bible Verse of the Week

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

 (Psalm 139:1-6)

8th November

Andy’s Update

 Today’s the centenary of the end of World War 1. People around the world will reflect on the lives that were changed irrevocably, and those that were lost. Of 65 million men mobilised across Europe, 21 million were wounded, 8.5 million were killed and some 7.7 million became prisoners of war. All had family and friends whose lives were changed forever by the events of 1914-1918. We have the chance to remember, but also to pray and work for peace, looking forward with hope. Coventry’s become renowned worldwide for being the City of Peace and Reconciliation. While our church supports the Cathedral’s ministry of Reconciliation financially, I’d like us to discern whether we can be more involved; perhaps through joining the Community of the Cross of Nails, signalling our commitment to its values of “Healing the wounds of history”, “Learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity” and “Building a culture of peace”.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Meditate on Ephesians 2:1-10 below and give thanks to God for his grace.

Loving each other

Pray for those within our church community who are experiencing conflict in their relationships. Is there someone with whom God is calling you to be reconciled?

Serving our community

Pray for the ministry of the Community of the Cross of Nails as it seeks to build bridges between divided communities.

Bible Verse of the Week

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world … Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

(Ephesians 2:1-10)

18th October

Andy’s Update

I’m very excited about this morning’s service. It’s wonderful to welcome Bishop John here for the first time since January 2015 and to celebrate the significant steps of faith that Aimee, Amy, Anthony, Jacob, James, and Thomas have made that have led them to this point. One of the many privileges of my role is that I’ve been able to witness this growth in faith. Today we celebrate that God has sanctified them, that he has made them part of his family, that they are “his forever”. This is just the beginning of their faith journey and, as much as we celebrate with them today, we need, as their church family to commit to praying for them and support them in their ongoing walk with God.  

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

At the end of the service we are commissioned as God’s people. Take the opportunity to renew your commitment to God. What is the next step for you in your faith journey?

Loving each other

Pray for those being confirmed and making fresh declarations of faith today – Amy, Aimee, Anthony, Jacob, James and Thomas, for encouragement and protection.

Serving our community

Thank God for the fantastic work begun by the Coventry Pais team - Anna, Thanize and Rike. Pray for a good rest over the half term holiday.

 

4th October

Andy’s Update

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, and make his deeds known among the people” (Psalm 105:1). “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1). “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  One of the most common encouragements in the Bible is that we should be express our gratitude to God. As it says in one of the Holy Communion prayers, “It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy, at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise, holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God,

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.”  Harvest festival reminds us of the duty and joy of thanksgiving; we thank God, because he’s the source of the countless blessings we receive each day, so many of which we take for granted.  Let’s take this Harvest spirit all through the year; as expressed in the most famous of the Harvest hymns, “All good things around us are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.”

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Make time this week to make a list of all the blessings you’ve received from God. Pray that God would enable you to see the blessings in your life.

Loving each other

Pray for those being confirmed and making fresh declarations of faith on 21st October – Amy, Aimee, Anthony, Jacob, James and Thomas, for encouragement and protection.

Serving our community

Pray for the guest service coming up on 14th October, and ask God to bring to mind the people you could invite.

Pray for the aid efforts in the wake of the Tsunami and Earthquake in Indonesia, and the families of the 1,300 who died in the tragedy.

 

Bible Verse of the Week

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

 (Psalm 9:1-2)

20th September

Andy’s Update

This week’s theme – Yahweh Rophe – the Lord that heals – is a sensitive and challenging one. In a world where many young people in particular suffer from terrible illnesses and despite fervent and faith-filled prayer, they don’t get healed. We ourselves may suffer from chronic mental or physical illness and feel like our cries for mercy are unheard. Yet, we speak and sing of a God who is able to heal. How is that possible? Part of the answer lies in the fact that much healing we experience comes through the skills and care of the medical services (and I know I’m not alone in being grateful for our NHS). Another part of the answer lies in our understanding of healing. In Hebrew the word for “heal” is the same as to “save”. God is our Saviour. He has vanquished sin, sickness and death and his promise is that though our bodies may fail, they will be renewed, and we will live for eternity where illness and suffering will be a distant memory. In the meantime, God can bring us peace even while we may suffer. May we cling to this hope.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Meditate on the following words from Selwyn Hughes:

“Next to sin, nothing’s taken more toll of human happiness than illness and disease. Your body may be racked with pain, you may be weighed down with some terrible affliction. Cast your gaze again to these words– “I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Let them sink in your spirit until they become part and parcel of your personality. We must be grateful for all medical science contributes to our physical health, but when medical science fails there is still God … Over 3,000 years since the words of our text were first uttered, God is still Yahweh Rophe.”

Loving each other

Spend some time praying for those on our prayer list above. Is there any way God is calling you to support them?

Serving our community

Give thanks and pray for all involved in healthcare, both staff and volunteers, and give thanks for the NHS.

Bible Verse of the Week

“The Lord said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’”

(Exodus 15:26)

13th September

Andy’s Update

I found our time worshipping together last Sunday morning so uplifting. It was wonderful to be in a nearly full church and to be where I stood, and to hear the congregation in such good voice. I don’t think this was a one-off or a blip, but a sign that we are in a new and exciting place. I feel like we have come out of the gloom that surrounded us at the beginning of the year when we were hit by bereavement; now the clouds have parted and we are released to experience that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). I think it also shows how much of a difference it makes when we all make worshipping together a priority - we can be such an encouragement to each other! While I feel encouraged, I also sense that God has more for us, which is why there’s the new monthly worship service called Pursuit, beginning next week (23rd). The aim of Pursuit is to spend more unhurried time in worship, to listen to God’s word together and then allow God to work in our lives in a deeper way. It’d be lovely if you could join us.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Our God is Yahweh - “I AM” - who stands above the past, the present and the future as the ever-present Lord of all. What reassurance does this give you as you reflect on your own life, and on situations within the church, community, city, nation or even world? Bring this to God in prayer.

Loving each other

Give thanks and pray for Pauline and Tom, our church wardens, and those who serve the church on the PCC.

Serving our community

Pray for the new Pais team (Anna, Thanize and Rike), for opportunities to share the good news with young people.

Bible Verse of the Week

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. ”

 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

(Exodus 3:11-14)

6th September

Andy’s Update

This week many of us are experiencing something new.  Children and young people are experiencing a new year group or school (and it’s been lovely to see all those photos on Facebook!); teachers have new students to get to know and names to remember; some of us are adjusting to or preparing to move to a new home; yet others are experiencing new life situations. For Anna and Thanize, this is the start of a new life in a new city! We’re so delighted that they’re with us and I know they will soon feel part of the church family.  With all the uncertainty that change brings with it, it is wonderful to know we worship a God whose love is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), who calls us to see the new thing that he’s doing in our midst (Isaiah 43:19). Let us step into the future with faith, and as we do so, let’s “sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (Psalm 98:1).

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

How is God calling you to respond to this morning’s message?  Give thanks that he is your provider. Pray that he would help you to trust him to meet your deepest needs.

Loving each other

Pray for Anna and Thanize as they begin as youth work volunteers, that they and the other Pais team members would settle in well.

Serving our community

Pray for schools as they return for a new academic year, especially those finding it difficult to adjust.

Bible Verse of the Week

Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. … and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’

(Genesis 22:14-18)

A few words from Anja

Here’s my reflective note on my time here with Pais:

“You make all things work together for my good.” (cf. Romans 8:28)
I’ve been working with Pais and St Christopher’s church for nearly a year. With the Pais Team, which consisted of 4 and later 3 members, I regularly went into schools in Coventry, built relationships with young people and teachers, talked about Jesus in assemblies and lessons and invited to church events. During this time, I’ve experienced highs and lows in this journey with God, but looking back, I can confidently say that He made all things work together for my good.
Especially during winter time, I had a lot of doubts and asked God questions about Him, faith and about how to have a relationship with Jesus. It was key to talk about that with God in prayer and to also exchange experiences and swap ideas with others. I found it extremely helpful to openly ask questions, share doubts and above all encourage and pray for each other.
In May, the work and seeds we had been sowing over the year began to bear fruits: Young people had their first encounter with God; others stepped up and took the lead in some of our clubs; some were showing more and more interest in Jesus and in faith.
It’s amazing to see how much can change within a year. I’m very thankful and I’m excited for what is yet to come.
Even though I don’t know where I will be this time next year (probably in the university in Lüneburg, Germany), I know for sure that God has a plan for everyone of us, and that He will make all things work together for our good!

16th August

Andy’s Update

New Wine last week was a blessing, especially hearing from Hae Woo from North Korea, who came to faith after her Christian husband died a martyr in prison. She became a believer in China, became an evangelist and was arrested. After torture and almost dying in prison, she was sent to a labour camp. There God used her to bring others to faith, despite horrific circumstances. Her story’s powerful and moving and embodies what it means to be a brave disciple. It was a privilege to hear first-hand what it’s like to be a Christian in the persecuted Church in North Korea.

Prayer Focus – The Persecuted Church in North Korea

North Korea is the most dangerous country for Christians, who risk their lives to follow Jesus. It’s absolutely illegal to believe in a greater power than the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and if a secret Christian is discovered, they face arrest, imprisonment, torture, and almost certain death. And yet, there are an estimated 300,000 courageous Christians in North Korea, who believe that following Jesus is worth the risk. 

Persecution is led by the state which sees Christians as hostile elements that have to be eradicated.  Due to constant indoctrination, neighbours and family members, including children, are highly watchful and report anything suspicious to the authorities. If Christians are discovered, they are deported to labour camps as political criminals or killed on the spot; their families share their fate. Meeting for worship is almost impossible, so is done in utmost secrecy. The churches shown to visitors in Pyongyang serve mere propaganda purposes.

PLEASE PRAY

·      For God to comfort and strengthen His followers, especially those who suffer in prisons, labour camps and remote areas

·      That God would speak to Kim Jong-Un, giving him a revelation of Jesus, the servant king

·       That the power of evil in this nation will be broken and its people healed and restored.                               Source: Open Doors ( https://www.opendoorsuk.org/)

 

2nd August

Andy’s Update

“We’re all going on a summer holiday …” This month many are spending time away from home, seeing family or visiting special places either new or delightfully familiar, where we can rest and be refreshed. Some of us will be receiving guests. Some of us will be visiting churches while we’re away.  If this applies to you, and you’re with us as a visitor, then welcome! I hope your time with us is refreshing and uplifting. If you’re with us, because you’re considering being part of a new church family, then you’re also very welcome. You’ll hopefully find that we are a welcoming and diverse family of all ages. We’d love to get to know you, so please make yourself known. If you’re away on a Sunday, why not worship with a local church family – they’d be really blessed by your presence. And let’s look out for those who find this holiday season difficult, due to a sense of loneliness or isolation.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Summer is often a time of rest and recreation. How can you make time and space to be spiritually renewed? Why not make a resolution for summer to read a book of the Bible or perhaps a Christian book that you’d find inspiring.

Loving each other

As many go away on holiday or to visit family, or receive family as guests, pray for who don’t have this opportunity, who are lonely or isolated. Pray that God would show you how you can demonstrate his love.

Serving our community

Pray for Spark in the Park taking place from 6th – 8th August, and church holiday clubs also taking place this month. Pray that children and families who attend these events will have fun and discover more about the love of Jesus.

Bible Verse of the Week

A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, the disciples saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

(John 6:18-21)

 

26th July

Andy’s Update

I was walking through Coundon Wedge this afternoon and noticed that the brook has completely dried up.  This exceptionally hot and dry weather is taking its toll on crops, plants and flowers, etc. Satellite images of our “green and pleasant land” reveal instead a land that is brown, burnt and parched by the sun’s unforgiving rays. The land needs rain for life and growth, or it dries up. What I find extraordinary is that it only takes a relatively small amount of rain for the life to spring up once more.  Our spiritual lives can be very much like the land – we need the rain of God’s presence in our lives or we find that we’re thirsty and dry. As the Psalmist cries out, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). I’ve realised that I depend on times of refreshing from God, which is why I prioritise regular retreat days and also why as a family we’re going to New Wine next week – I know that these short times of receiving from God will bring refreshment, renewal and new life that will last. When was the last time you took time to tend your soul and allow God’s new life to bubble up in you?

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Summer is often a time of rest and recreation. How can you make time and space to be spiritually renewed? Why not make a resolution for summer to read a book of the Bible or perhaps a Christian book that you’d find inspiring.

Loving each other

Pray for those who are struggling in this intense heat. Pray that God would show you how you can demonstrate his love.

Serving our community

As school summer holiday begin, pray that children and those who work in education have a great time of rest and relaxation and stay safe and well cared for so that they all can go back next term ready and keen to learn and grow.

Bible Verse of the Week

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

 (Psalm 63:1-4)

 

19th July

Andy’s Update

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of focus on leaders, whether they are President Trump whose visit to UK was marked by protests and controversy; Prime Minister Theresa May who has been “clinging to power” while cabinet ministers have been resigning around her over proposals for Brexit; President Putin, who has this week met for a summit with Trump; or Gareth Southgate, who has been hailed for his leadership, lauded as a role model and credited with transforming the country’s perception of the England football team, even having a tube station named after him for 48 hours in tribute to his achievements.  Leaders matter.  They always have.  At the moment in my personal Bible devotions I am following the story of Israel in the Old Testament from Joshua when they entered into the Promised Land through the time of the Kings to exile and restoration in Nehemiah and Ezra. I have been struck time and again how the competence of leaders impacted the nation, and how success seemed directly related to how closely the leaders and their people walked with God. While it’s so easy to criticise, let’s make sure that we pray for those in leadership, that they might enable their people to “Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”

Weekly Prayer Guide

Growing in God

Summer is often a time of rest and recreation. How can you make time and space to be spiritually renewed? Why not make a resolution for summer to read a book of the Bible or perhaps a Christian book that you’d find inspiring.

Loving each other

Give thanks for those who serve the church through volunteering with our children’s and youth work. Pray for a good time of rest in the summer holiday.  Pray for our families with children, that in the summer holidays they will grow closer together and closer to God together.

Serving our community

School summer holiday starts this week. Pray that children and those who work in education have a great time of rest and relaxation and stay safe and well cared for so that they all can go back next term ready and keen to learn and grow. 

Bible Verse of the Week

An expert in the law asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”

Jesus answered, “A man was attacked by robbers. …  Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:29-30, 36-37)