20th July 2017
Freed from £20,000 of debt!
A client of the Bishop's Stortford Money Advice Service (BSMAS) was recently granted a Debt Relief Order for this large amount of debt they could not possibly repay. One of the debts was subject to a court order that allowed the creditor to charge interest of 8% per year on the debt, so the amount owed was continually increasing. With this weight lifted from their shoulders they were more hopeful and more able to cope with their every day life.
BSMAS is a group of Christians from various churches in Stortford who want to be part of bringing in God’s Kingdom in the town by helping people with their money issues. BSMAS opened our doors in 2009 and works with clients to find out what their income is, make sure that they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to and to get the best value for the money they have. The service is free and we listen to them without judging and help them to take control of their finances. Many of the people we see have found themselves in financial difficulty because of changes in their circumstances or mental health and/or learning disabilities.
Demand for our services doubled in the last year due to a combination of factors such as a further squeeze on disposable income, cuts to benefits, and Circle Anglia (our local Housing Association) reducing their support staff and referring tenants – including those in danger of repossession – to us. Unfortunately, 2017 is also the year when the number of advisers have fallen to their lowest ever and we had to start a waiting list for potential clients for the first time. To continue to be able to help people with their money issues and cope with the rising demand we need more volunteer debt advisers and budget coaches and help with the administration of the service.
Please pray that we will be able to continue in this vital ministry and if you would like to volunteer to work with us or want any further information, please contact the church office.
Posted by Maureen Hopkins
19th July 2017
The CCBS Office has been blessed this year with two fantastic interns: Lizzy McCauley and Sam Cain!
There’s never a dull moment when these two bounce into the office and we’re going to miss them hugely. As their time with us draws to a close, we asked them to reflect on the past year and share with us what they’ve learnt and what lies ahead for each of them in this short blog.
We pray God’s abundant blessings and peace upon Lizzy and Sam as they leave us – we can’t wait to see what happens next in their adventures!
In September 2016, I moved from Peterborough to Bishop’s Stortford to serve with Jake Tucker and Pete Williams at Thirst Youth Café and to take part in a year called ID (Intentional Discipleship). Thirst is such a vibrate, fun, colourful place for the youth of Stortford. It’s been such a joy to part of such an amazing cafe with a wonderful team (whilst practising my pool table skills, table tennis skills and winning many games of Monopoly Deal and Dobble!).
My highlights have been meeting our fantastic volunteers, having some great conversations about God with our young people and seeing some of the young people turn up at Youth Alpha that was run so brilliantly by Sam at the Charis Centre!
Doing youth work alongside Jake has been so much fun. He is one of the best - so gifted, faithful and the youth love him! I have learned a lot from him this year.
I’ve attended many many conferences, had lots of fun road trips (with lots of singing loudly in the car) and also heard more about our amazing Heavenly Father! The ‘Father Heart Conference’ back in October was a real highlight for me. God really set me free from a fear I had and He healed my heart. This year has been a continuation of this. Whilst writing assignments for ID and going to different training blocks, I’ve felt that my relationship with God has strengthened and although at times it’s been hard and painful to look at my heart, it’s been amazing to do and I’ve grown in my faith.
I’ll be staying in Bishops Stortford and working full time at St Elizabeth’s (where I currently work part time), and I’m continuing to pray for guidance about the next step but I know it will be an adventure!
My year has been spent working mainly in 2 different ministries (Youth Work & Worship), whilst also having work set by the leader of ID.
The Youth Work side of things has seen me leading Newday with Gareth, which seems to fill up most of my time at the moment, and it’s a lot of fun!
On the Worship side of things, implementing new technology into our team and working alongside Ewan have been my main responsibilities. Since doing this, I believe we’ve seen real growth in the quality of sound being transmitted thanks to the technology we’ve started to use.
One of the big things I’ve felt God speak to me about this past year is about where I look for my affirmation/self-esteem. It’s been a journey with lots of layers, but the invitation to go to the Father who can satisfy all my desires rather than the world has given me a sense of inner peace & love down in my heart I’ve never experienced before.
The ID work has been mainly reading books, writing essays, going away for weeks of training, and a mission trip to Scandinavia! It has been a real mixture of learning but great experiences, which I’ve really felt God grow me through.
The next step for me is going to Redding California to do the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, hopefully for 3 years, funds permitting…
It’s been an amazing journey for me here at CCBS, and I’m excited for the next chapter in California!
Posted by Lizzie McMillan
12th July 2017
Our two ID Interns, Sam and Lizzy, recently went on an outreach trip as part of their year-long programme. Here, Lizzy fills us in on what they got up to...
"On a sunny Thursday morning in June, we made our way to Gatwick Airport, checked ourselves in, got our second (or third) coffee of the morning, went through security, sprayed ourselves with duty free perfume and got on the plane! Two and half hours later we landed in Helsinki with ice on the steps as we walked off the plane into a cloudy but beautiful city. We were greeted by some wonderful people from the local Risen Light Church. We got on our first of many trains during the whole trip and went to a dinner at one of our host families where we heard all about the vision of the church and captured their heart for this amazing city.
Friday was a day of culture, visiting some lovely sights of Helsinki and had fun adventure-walking in a cave and learning about the local history. In the evening, we had a worship and prayer night as we cried out to God for breakthrough in the city.
The next day was all about outreach! I find this kind of thing terrifying, but I was courageous and approached a lady with the question “do you speak English?”. We explained that we were Christians and believe in a God who loves to heal and we would love to pray for her. It was a big step of faith for me and I really felt God really used me in that situation. Everyone came back with exciting stories to tell!
Then, after a 17-hour ferry journey, we arrived at our next stop: Stockholm.
Our first visit was to an old people’s home where we chatted with some very interesting people. One of the ladies we spoke to was a very negative and didn’t have anything positive to say, but when we left she said to the organiser “they give me such hope for the future” which was such an encouragement to hear.
Our time in Stockholm was filled with lots of visits to different church organisations.
We visited the Salvation Army, a youth group and a woman’s centre where some of us helped in different classes. I helped in a cycling class and chatted to the ladies about what we were doing and shared a bit of love. We had a day of outreach where we prayed with people in a shopping centre, had great chats and saw some incredible healings. One lady had experienced bad back pain for years and told us that her mum had been praying for her! She cried with overwhelming happiness as she told us she had been healed, and told all the people she worked with! One of the girls in our team who prayed with her lives in Stockholm so is going to meet up with her.
I experienced my first ‘Pancake Church’ where we gave out free pancakes to people passing by which was lots of fun and we had many great chats. Two of our team spoke with a man that didn't know much English but with the help of Google Translate they spread the love of God and had a prayer huddle, it was a beautiful thing to see!
It was an amazing trip … my faith has grown as I witnessed healings, saw people conquer fears, and met some great people at Risen Light Church and Grace Church. I would LOVE to go back!"
If you'd like to find out more about ID, visit http://www.relationalmission.com/ID
Posted by Lizzie McMillan
6th June 2017
Here's a testimony from Miguel:
"I went out in Northfleet during May to do some Treasure-Hunting (by this I mean that I had got together with a bunch of Christians who are doing a course with me based in Eastgate church in north Kent, and we asked the Holy Spirit to give us some clues about the people that He wanted us to meet and bless in the street). The clues that He gave me were as follows…
Location: Bread Shop / Cartwheel.
Appearance: Red Tie / Bald head.
Name: Wilfred / Fred / Will.
We walked through Northfleet town and didn’t seem to be finding anything on our list, but then suddenly we saw a horse & cart complete with cartwheels! On the cart were two boys. They offered us a ride on a cart for £10. We explained that we were Christians and that we were doing this spiritual treasure-hunt using the list of clues given to us by the Holy Spirit. They said that they were also Christians and that they loved the Holy Spirit! They told us that they were waiting for their Granddad who was in the barber shop. They excitedly told us that he was a priest & that he had just come back from a visit to Jerusalem!
A short while later the Granddad came out and confirmed to us all that the boys had told us. We explained to him what we were doing and showed him the list that Holy Spirit had given us. He said that his friend’s name was Fred and that he was suffering with cancer.
We prayed together for Fred’s healing, blessed one another, and parted company laughing at how God had amazingly orchestrated all of these details – Cartwheel, Fred, & Cancer - So good to see God’s heart to encourage, bless, and heal people out on the streets on a regular Saturday afternoon!"
Have you got a testimony that you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Gareth McCormick