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
16th November 2016
For a church of less than 200 households we are phenomenally generous!
As I review the monthly offerings that have been given in the last calendar year this shows me that we have given approximately £19,500 to a wide selection of local & international charities.
This all sounds amazing enough - but then add to this the fact that every penny of our church finances for staff salaries, facilities and utilities also comes from the tithes and gifts of this same bunch of people.
What a privilege it is to be part of a family that consistently demonstrates the lavishly generous nature of our Heavenly Father - the Father who loves us so much that He chose to generously give His perfect Son to make the way open for us to come to Him.
As the attention of the world around us begins to turn aggressively towards the material aspects of the Christmas season, let’s keep demonstrating our culture of generosity, knowing that such kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and that the blind can see, and that will draw human hearts to our amazing Saviour Jesus.
Posted by Gareth McCormick
14th September 2016
God has been speaking to us about 'breaking the mould', and on Sunday 11th September 2016 we took a step into a new season. In this blog, Peter shares with us his reflections of a powerful, defining morning at CCBS.
Well, we did it!
We started a second Sunday meeting and both of them were very good meetings! Both had heart-felt worship and a memorable message from Gareth as we broke the mould of one meeting and it was very encouraging to welcome 7 new members across the two meetings.
Thank you every single one of you who served to make both meetings happen so well.
Of course the meetings were smaller than we’ve been used to, but this meant there was space in the room for newcomers to fill so that the church family can grow and more people can join in worshipping Jesus to display His glory. That’s what we want! In fact, 5 newcomers enjoyed the morning so much on Sunday that they filled out ‘I’m New Here cards’ saying they want to become part of the church!
God was with us in both meetings and we can expect that He will continue to be! He has ‘Immeasurably More’ for us yet!
Posted by Peter Vincent
10th November 2015
I was in a meeting last weekend with a Lead Elder from another Relational Mission Church and he said something that whilst I had heard it before, struck a particular chord with me that Sunday evening. He said, in the contect of church growth that, "We must make newcomers feel welcome and that means addressing them and speaking to them. You wouldn't invite someone to your home and then ignore them would you?"
The reason this was so pertinent to me was that I had just been on an 8 day course at a location that was new to me and with people I had never met. I remember walking in on the first day of the course asking myself questions like will people like me? Will I understand the lingo they use? Will I fit in?
I was nervous.
The truth is that when people visit us for the first few times they are more than likely asking the same quesitons. Where do I fit here? Will people like me? Am I going to be accepted? Will I understand what they are saying?
This morning I read this fantastic blog about the importance of welcoming and being hospitable to newcomers at our churches. One quote makes the point that, "At our church, we love each other, we look out for each other…but there’s always room for one more."
I think it's a helpful and timely reminder to us all that, as we see more guests among us regularly, welcoming people on a Sunday morning is not just a job for a few of us but is our corperate responsibility (1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2).
Simply put, we honour God and the newcomer when we take time to engage, speak with and welcome new people into our home.
Posted by Nic Lines