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.

A big hello from Amy, Marvin and Pearl!

Thanks to all those who prayed with us as we sought to appoint a children's and family coordinator for the church.  Well, I'm delighted to say that we've been able to appoint two! - Amy and Marvin are working together in the role as a job share, and here they are introducing themselves.  Please continue to pray for them, Pearl and the whole church community. image1

Marvin: likes seeing young people take a lead in worship, anything to do with sport, music, playing guitar, ice-cream and weather that allows him to wear shorts.

Amy: likes seeing young people grow in confidence to pray for others, running, baking cupcakes, sewing, writing about Africa, making old things look new and generally being creative.

Pearl: likes chasing people, food, cuddles, sunflowers and being loud!

We are so happy to be joining the family at St. Christophers.

We, well Marvin and Amy, are starting the job as the Children's, Family and Mission Leader. Pearl at only 13months will be playing her part as our sidekick.

As we start out on this adventure with you all we thought we better tell you a bit about how God has led us to this point. Both of us have always had a passion for working with young people. Marvin started out as a sports coach with Zimbabwe cricket setting up academies for school children. Amy trained as a primary school teacher before deciding to jet off to Zimbabwe to work for a church as their Youth Leader. Over the six years that followed we spent a lot of time working together running youth outreaches, uniting youth work in the city of Mutare, and having the privilege of God using us to reconcile street children with their families. Somewhere amongst all this we realised God had put us together for the long term so we got married in the UK in 2010, turning up only 3 weeks before our wedding. After this we spent one more year in Zimbabwe before coming to the UK, where Marvin worked as the youth leader of St. Michaels Budbrooke and Amy worked with Holy Trinity Coventry and the Cathedral. Then not so long ago our precious Pearl turned up, which led us to go for an extended trip to Zimbabwe to see family and take time to hear from God. And now God has brought us to you.

Please come and ask us lots of questions and we really want to hear all your dreams and hopes for the future of St. Christopher's.

Gift Weekend 2015 - A vision for our future

This letter has been distributed to our congregation over the past couple of weeks. Firstly, thank you so much for your ongoing generosity in supporting the mission and ministry of St Christopher’s Church.

Your generosity supports staff costs, including a full-time vicar, key administrative support, cleaning and maintenance of the church buildings; and helps us sustain a Christian presence in this community, as well as supporting some of the poorer parishes in the city.  To keep us going at this current level, we need to raise additional income year on year.

But we can do so much more!  The PCC has an exciting vision for developing our mission and ministry particularly among children and families, which have been such a key part of our church family for many years.   Children and families’ work has been identified as our main priority going forward and coordinating this work has been a challenge.  To develop this work, we have a vision to appoint a full-time children and families’ worker who will coordinate and support all those who are part of our vital Sunday children’s ministry; support our current church families; build on existing links with the local school communities; and reach out in mission to the families in our community.   This ministry could make an incredible difference to our church and wider community, and secure the future of the church in Allesley Park for generations to come.

To maintain our current work and to achieve this exciting vision, we need to raise an extra £25,000 per year.  With Gift Aid, we would only need 60 people to give an average of £30 per month extra (or 45 people to give £40 per month extra) – spread across our whole congregation this could be as little as an extra £5 per person per week.

To begin to raise this money, we will hold a Gift Weekend on 28-29 March. You can either pop in from 2-4pm on Saturday, when the church will be open for coffee and cake; or bring your pledges to church at the Sunday services. It seems like a big ask, but anything is possible with God! Look out for the Gift Day response forms, which will be available soon.

Thank you for playing such a vital part in our church’s mission and ministry.

God bless

Andy (on behalf of the PCC)

Messy Church … A way to reach out and transform lives outside our church walls?

Why did Messy Church begin?

Fewer and fewer families are coming to church in this country today, Sunday Schools don’t seem to be as effective as they once were; SO, how do we reach families today?

Many churches use special events such as holiday clubs or seasonal events as a way of reaching families, but they run once or twice a year.  If we are serious about the nurture of children we need to work with their whole family, taking whole family with them on their journey of faith.

Messy Church started out of a desire to address this key issue. It began in Hampshire in 2004 and now there are 2021 Messy Churches around the world (and counting!). Messy Church happens usually once a month at a time and date that suits families in the local area. We are trying to base our Messy Church on these well-established values.

 

What are its values?

¬  Christ-centred – Messy Church is a church congregation, not a craft club, that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

¬  All-age – It is for adults and children to enjoy together - every element should be relevant and accessible to all ages.

¬  Creativity – It uses hands-on activities to explore Bible stories, to reflect a God of creativity and to give people a chance to play.

¬  Hospitality – It reflects a God of unconditional love and is a church for people outside church, providing an oasis of welcome and a safe space in which to thrive. Messy Church is about hospitality, expressed most evidently by eating together.

¬  Celebration – It reflects a God of joy who wants his people to have life in all its fullness.

 

What myths need busting?

¬  It's NOT ... Just for kids. … BUT for all ages to be together.

¬  It's NOT ... Mainly for church families, … BUT primarily for people outside church life. This affects how you do it and when.

¬  It's NOT ... A bridge into "normal" church ... BUT a church congregation in its own right

¬  It's NOT ... Just a social activity ... BUT a way to learn about Jesus.

¬  It's NOT ... a programme, event, … BUT it is church. Messy church has never intended to be a bridge into “proper” church, although we will explore ways of growing disciples within this community. 

 

Why "Messy"??

Jesus was drawn to those whose lives weren’t neat and tidy and so should we be. We want Messy Church to be accessible to those who perceive church to be for people who are "holier than thou", "tidy", “sorted” and “on their best behaviour”.

 

What about Allesley Park and Whoberley?

¬Venue – Whoberley has been identified as having particular needs that our church is not currently addressing, and so the school is the most convenient place for people living there. We want to step into the community, not make them feel like visitors to OUR church.

¬Time –Sunday afternoons seem to be the least busy time for whole families, particularly young families, both those who attend and those who organise the events.

 

SO… How can we make our Messy Church more effective?

¬Invite our friends – This is the most important thing we need. We want to bless our friends! Who cared enough to invite us to church? Take a risk and keep asking!

¬At the events – dig a little deeper, go the extra mile to really get to know those we don’t know, and demonstrate God’s love to them (without scaring people off!)

¬All talents needed! – We need people who can – work technology, be musical, organise food, help set up and tidy away chairs and tables, plan creative ideas, talk to families and welcome them, help on craft tables, offer to help as often as you feel able. Doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you have family or not, you can have a part to play!

¬Door knocking – Do you want to reach out enough to personally invite those we have no contacts with? We want to target certain streets with flyers, chocolates and friendly faces.

¬Pray – because we believe prayer makes a difference.

 

Vicar's Report - Part 2 - Review

This is the point in the year when I am given the opportunity to reflect over the past year and also to look forward to where God may be leading us in future.  

In many ways it’s been a challenging year. We’ve suffered significant losses within our church community – saying goodbye to John Clarke just over 12 months ago, and Trevor Veasey and Pete Beasley at the beginning of this year – has been pretty tough. And I know that others within the church community have suffered the loss of parents or siblings. So it’s been hard. Within a tight knit community like ours, these sorts of losses are hard to bear. A number of our church community have become housebound which means they’re unable to attend church as they used to. We’ve also had to say goodbye to Lynnette. While we are delighted for her at this new dawn for her ministry at St Alban’s, it’s been hard to say farewell to someone who’s been such a significant part of our church family for many years. We continue to pray with her and for her that she would flourish and that God would continue to work through her to enable that church community to flourish too.

 

As I’ve already mentioned we’ve begun the process of discerning our strengths and weakness as a church community. Thanks to those who took time out to complete the church survey – I think it will prove to be a really helpful process for us as a church community. The overall picture is really encouraging – there’s lots to celebrate and be positive about in our life together. The results are in, and from the responses of those who completed the strengths of our community have been shown to be

1)    gifts based ministry – in other words, as a community, we’re strong on using our God-given gifts

2)    empowering leadership – we have leaders who empower other leaders to take up roles and responsibilities within the life of our church community

 

These should be celebrated and we can build on these strengths.

 

The two areas that we need to work on the most are in the areas of

1)    Needs-oriented outreach – in other words, we’re not focused as much as we could be in meeting the needs of the community, although I must say that my reflection from having known the community over the past 18 months or so, we have a genuine desire to reach out – the problem has been that we don’t really know how we can do that. My prayer is that with the development of the Foodbank distribution centre based at Bethesda some of this will be addressed.

2)    Loving relationships – from the survey responses, this came out as the least developed area of our church’s life. While there are strong relationships within our church community, and we are clearly a community that looks after each other, where we seem to be weaker in this area is more atmosphere of the church community – those who completed the questionnaire felt there wasn’t enough joy and laughter in the church, and that we’re not full of praise and compliments for each other, and also that some within the church community hold bitterness towards others.

 

This may surprise you, but I must reiterate that these results have come from the questionnaire that members of our church community have completed. It could be that there has been a lack of joy and laughter due to the season we’ve been in as a church, as we’ve had to deal with lots of loss, grief and change, but it could be there’s something else going on, something else we need to deal with.

 

The vision team will be meeting this week to begin putting together an action plan to help us focus on building up the church in this area of loving relationships. The aim is to come up with two or three actions over the next year.   I can’t pre-empt what these actions will be, but I think the main thing is that we’re going to try and create opportunities to have lots of fun together as a whole church community – and you know what, I can’t wait!

 

I’m happy to take any questions on these or any other areas of our church life, but before I do, I want to speak about where we are currently and where God might be leading us in the areas of our vision statement – worshipping God, making new disciples, transforming communities.

vision logo

Worshipping God

This has been our main focus over the past 12 months as we’ve been consolidating the changes that were made with the services. Thanks to all those who completed the congregation questionnaire – it was really helpful. I’m not going to go into it in detail – these are covered in the hand out that’s still available for you to pick up and look at - but the overall impression is that people seem happy with the services themselves, but there has been a sense of loss of fellowship, due to having two congregations instead of one – which means the church is more empty. People also miss the sense of fellowship because their friends go to a different service. Having looked at the information of the survey, it struck me that there were two main options available going forward – going back to a 10am service, but having a contemporary style of service each week, rather than alternating styles of worship, because an alternating style of worship hinders growth. We need to have consistency of styles every Sunday – we need contemporary worship each Sunday, because we have lots of families and need to build for the future.  A key disadvantage with this would be that as a significant minority who prefer traditional worship wouldn’t have their needs being met in our main service.

service pref

An alternative time in the week would need to be found. Would this be fair? The other would be to carry on with two morning services at 9:15 and 11am, but making the following alterations …

1)    1 morning service – 5th Sundays, school holidays, etc., which will mean an average of 22 Sundays in the year when we worship together as a whole church community. We’ll have more occasions like the Mother’s Day celebration we shared in last week.

2)    Joint fellowship time between services at 10:30 – notices, announcements, etc. So, from 27 April, the 11am service will become a 10:30 service, except it’ll begin with “Family time” and the service itself will begin at around 11. It’ll also mean that this service will finish by about 12:15 and people can head home for lunch!

When the PCC met there was an acknowledgement that this is a really tough decision. There is no way of pleasing everyone. We had to try and make a decision that’d be best long term for St Christopher’s. After a long conversation there was a clear and decisive vote to keep with the current pattern with those conditions already set out. It was felt that we have made this decision now, and as a whole church community we need to move on from this issue. Of course, the services continue be works in progress, and we will endeavour to work on enabling each of us to flourish in our worship of God together.

 

Making new disciples

¬  Alpha – we’ve held two Alpha courses for adults and one for youth over the past year, with 14 adults and 11 young people completing the course. In September 14 members of our church community were confirmed, which is wonderful and so exciting. It’s been fantastic to witness the growth in faith of these people.

¬  We’re now running a fortnightly youth group and we’re hoping that one new housegroup will form from Alpha.

¬  Sunday teaching – Of course, we’re all disciples, which is why the teaching has been focused on Jesus in the Gospel of Mark since September – I hope it’s been helpful to re-lay the foundations of our faith, reminding ourselves of why we worship Jesus and why we’re called to share his love. After Easter the teaching will move to focus on how the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to change the world, and then from September we will begin to look at the question of what does it mean to say we belong to Jesus, and what does it mean to follow him?

¬  Parish weekend – I’m tremendously excited that from 7-9 November Adrian and Bridget Plass will be leading our teaching. The theme of the weekend will be “Follow me” – journeying with Jesus – and it will be exploring what it means to be Jesus’ disciples. Make sure you save that date for what should be a wonderful weekend.

 

plass

 

Transforming communities

The area of needs-oriented outreach is, as we’ve already discerned, an area for development, but we do have some things to celebrate in this area …

¬  Hub Cafe – Is a wonderful ministry for the community, and I know people value the company as well as the food. Thanks to all those who make it possible, who give up their time week in and week out. They could, of course, do with more volunteers, so we’d appreciate it if anyone were able to offer assistance.

hub cafe logo hub worship colour logo

Chat to Brian or Rosemary if you are able to help. We’ve also moved our midweek communion to 11:15 on Wednesdays to enable people from the hub to join us in worship. Hopefully in time this will build.

¬  Christopher Robin – has grown from strength to strength – church hall is full almost every Tuesday, which is fantastic – thanks to Liz, Maria, Laura, Katy and Roy for your hard work making it happen.

cr1

 

¬  Messy Church – is still in its fledgling stages, but we’re encouraged to see that a few families have begun to attend who don’t normally attend church.

 

 

messy logo messy1 messy2 messy3

Please do read the information you received with your AGM papers to read more about it, or see the post about Messy Church on this website.

¬  Church-run community events – Christmas fair, fashion shows, heart of England co-operative orchestra, Big Promise – 28 couples celebrating marriage (see earlier post).

fashion1 concert xmas fair 1 xmas fair 3 xmas fair 2

 

¬  Foodbank – it was wonderful to welcome Gavin Kibble from Coventry Foodbank to join us for our Big Brunch in September. It’s also so wonderful to see the donations box in church always full. I’m tremendously excited to tell you that we had a fantastic meeting a couple of weeks ago and 20 people came together to say that they were willing to be involved in setting up a new Foodbank distribution centre as a joint project between Bethesda and St Christopher’s that will be based at Bethesda – it’s hoped that we will begin this project in May – it’s not too late to get involved – we have training on Friday 9th May from 12:30-3pm for anyone interested.

 

As you can see there’s so much going on – so much to celebrate and give thanks for. God is at work in this community. He is at work in this church. Easter reminds us that there is resurrection hope and new life and new beginnings. So, let’s commit ourselves afresh to the building of his kingdom here in this place, holding firm to his promises.

Joy, sorrow and new life!

 

 

The confirmation service on Saturday 14th September was very special.  Despite the sudden death of their Vicar, John Mills the previous day, the churchwardens and congregation of St James', Styvechale were willing for the service to go ahead.  It was inevitably a poignant service, led brilliantly by the Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, who spoke movingly about John, reflecting that he would have wanted the service to go ahead; Christians were, after all, people who were able to look death in the face, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Confirmation is a reminder of the fact that we are resurrection people, who have begun a new life in Christ.

 

It was a proud occasion for me - not only was I able to support an amazing 14 candidates from our church community, but I was also able to look around at a church building packed full of people from our church community who had come to support these candidates on this joyful occasion.  Please continue to pray for the newly confirmed as this is just the beginning of their journey of faith into new life.

 

See below for pictures and quotes from the newly confirmed ...

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"Confirmation allows me for the first time to make a big decision about my faith and will make me feel a fuller member of the church" - Joshua Madden (left)

"I think being confirmed will make my relationship with God and I think I will feel a lot closer to him." - Caitlin Madden (middle)

"I want to be confirmed so I can fully dedicate myself to God" - Alice Cook (right)

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"I would like to get closer to God and have a better understanding of things.  I have always believed in God for as long as I can remember and now I feel like I would like to take my faith to another level." - Rebecca Sutton

 

"I want to be closer to God and hope to learn more." - Paula Sutton

 

 

 

 

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"Being confirmed will bring me closer to God. I hope my faith will develop and grow with the help of the Holy Spirit. I hope to continue growing in my faith and learning through reading my Bible." - Trevor Veasey

 

"I need to deepen and develop my faith further and feel now is the time to re-confirm myself to God and receive the help I need from the Holy Spirit. I hope to grow and develop in God's family, to learn more, pray more effectively and read my Bible regularly." - Tina Veasey

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"I want to strengthen and continue my relation with God - be more confident with beliefs and spreading the word.  I hope to share the word with others and journey in faith." - Marcus Patterson (middle)

 

 

 

"I want to confirm my faith in Jesus. Knowing this I will always try my best to follow in his footsteps" - Laura Keep

 

"I feel it's the right time to join God properly and be with him.  I want to learn more about him.  There will be no confusion on whether I am with God or not." - James Nicholson

 

"I want to move along in my journey of faith" - Caleb Ellis

 

"Now is the right time to make the decision of being in God's family myself and confirming the choice that my parents made for me when I was younger. I will feel closer to God, because I have chosen to take my faith a step further." - Tegan Pike

 

"I think this will make my faith whole.  It's a new beginning and it'll bring me closer to God.  I hope to grow with our church, learn more, and do more with the rest of our church family." - David Hadley

 

"It'll be good to feel totally committed and enjoy the sense of belonging that has grown since embarking on this journey.  I hope to  grow in knowledge, study more to learn and be more active part of church life." - Anita Hart