21st March 2017
We were delighted to receive this testimony last week! We rejoice with this family and thank God for all He's done and will continue to do through them:
"For the past two years I have been through a really tough period at work which has resulted in some of the greatest highs and greatest lows of my spiritual journey so far with God.
Through all of this, my family and I can testify to God’s faithfulness in providing for us and keeping us as the apple of His eye. The Lord has more than satisfied our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. He has lavished us with material gifts, even to the extent of arranging for someone to give us a much needed car when ours died!
Because of the impact of God's generous love, we have also been able to continue to be generous to others through these times of need and on into times of plenty.
He gave us everything when He gave His Son and we are so grateful to be able to give back to Him what He has given us.
The Lord Himself never lets us down & He will forever be our greatest treasure."
Posted by Lizzie McMillan
20th October 2015
It's been the ‘back to school’ half term but with the holidays now in view, the days getting noticeably shorter, and colder, it seems that the new starts September represents are well under way.
With the beginning of the new school year we also started a new Alpha course. It all kicked off with a visit from Jazz singer Paul Jones and his theatre actress wife Fiona Hendley. This showbiz couple spoke to an audience of 53 made up of members of the church and their friends, which was not that extra-ordinary.
However at the end of their performance they asked people to pray a prayer of commitment to Christ and then fill out a response card to see who had responded. Last week we received these cards and found that five of our guest had prayed that prayer for the first time and another came back to following Christ after years away!! Not only did we see six commitments that evening but over the summer period we had also saw four other people make a commitment to follow Christ!
This means that even before this term’s Alpha course begins we have seen 10 new starts in people’s lives in the last 3 months!! We praise God for this.
This is another wonderful sign that as we explain the Gospel in the right context and then ask people to respond they will, why? ‘Because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16).
Last Tuesday we had 12 people at the first night of this term’s Alpha course with hopefully one or two more to join who couldn’t make the first night. Over the nine week course we will do our best to love these people and explain the Gospel to them as clearly as possible.
As this new school year has started so well I’m praying that God will continue to save people among us as we faithfully love those around us and share his gospel where we can, so that he will be glorified by new starts in life each week.
Posted by Pete Williams
25th June 2015
Amy and I have just got back from a great trip to New York City where we were visiting some friends in Brooklyn. One day we took a trip out to Brooklyn Heights in order to visit a pop up food market, and in order to get there we needed to take the Subway. When we landed at the market our friend, Seth, realised that he didn’t have his wallet on him. Tracing his thoughts back he realised that he had taken his wallet out of his pocket on the Subway, placing it on the seat next to him but was then distracted by his one year old son - meaning that he completely forgot about it. As he left the train…so too he left his wallet.
Our initial response was to pray. Amy and I grabbed Joash, and Seth grabbed his three boys (all under 5) and we all said a very simply prayer. “Father we pray that a Good Samaritan would find Seth’s wallet and hand it in. We pray for nothing to be stolen or missing. In Jesus name we pray.” The kids all said “Amen!”
Ten minutes later Seth received an email from the ‘Good Samaritan’ we’d prayed for informing him that she had his wallet! She had found his business card in the wallet and contacted him straight away. The next day Seth picked up his wallet and carried on as if nothing had happened!
The most exciting thing for us was that our kids got to see God at work. They prayed. They joined in the petitioning of our Father for his favour to be poured out on us. And then we all celebrated together as Jesus came up trumps.
Soon after this I read an article entitled ‘The key to saving teenagers’ which was completed as part of the National Study of Youth and Religion. In the article it simply stated ‘parents who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into there 20s.’
The article showed that just 1% of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid- to late 20s. In contrast, 82% of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults.
Now there is a danger that we could become dishearten or condemned by such stats if our own children aren’t walking with God in the way we would want. That’s not what this blog is about and we need to also recognize that there are other contributing factors to a persons walk with God – not least of all God's sovereignty and a person’s personal responsibility.
However it is my belief and experience, that this article simply highlights the need for positive role models both within the natural and spiritual family.
So what we do want to do is to encourage every one of you – parent or not – to set the best example to our teenagers in order to show them what it means to be a believer and follower of Jesus. Live out your faith, engage in conversation with our teens, shares stories and most of all pray for them (and let them know you’re praying)! As Paul says in Galatians says “walk by the Spirit” and not be afraid to wear our faith on our sleeves…especially at home or when you lose your wallet!
Posted by Nic Lines
21st May 2015
I asked Katherine Kannegieter, a friend and member of Community Church, to share some of her journey with us in order to help us as a community deal with loss and grief. Here it is:
"I am writing to share from my own experience of having lost a child and I hope the following will help you navigate how to give support to grieving parents on a journey they never wanted to take.
Our first son Finley James was stillborn when I was 41 weeks pregnant, our hearts were broken when while I was in labour we were told they couldn't find a heartbeat. Before this happened to us, I have to be honest and say that I would not bring up grief with people because I didn't want to make them feel sad. Turns out, though, it’s really comforting to hear people talk about my son - days, months or years after, don’t worry about “reminding” a parent of their child’s death; it’s pretty much all they think about, and they love talking about him or her, too. We are very much proud parents, like anyone else and our hearts ache to celebrate our child's arrival into this world. If you don’t know what to say, just say “I have no idea what to say, but I love you.”
At first I only wanted to speak to close friends and others who had been through the same in detail and I have gradually opened up more to others. Even the question 'how are you?' was so hard to answer in those early days to people I didn't really know but I know they meant well.
I would encourage you to use his/her name often, ask questions about them. Refer to the parents as “parents,” and if you’re family refer to yourself as an uncle or aunt or cousin, or add one more to the number of grand kids you brag about. Though it can be emotional or sad, I find relief in talking about my experience from early pregnancy to those final days. Unlike an adult who has died–who leaves behind years of stories and pictures, parents of babies who have passed have precious few memories to savour. Even those worst moments can be nice to think about and share for that reason. You can also ask the parents if they have pictures they don't mind sharing.
Since being pregnant again and having our second son Reuben I have found small talk with a stranger really hard as I always get asked if he is my first, it is a very hard question to answer to a complete stranger. Sometimes I choose not to share and other times I do as I find mostly people swiftly change the subject but one lady asked me what his name was, it was the most perfect response! I really appreciated hearing from people via texts and letters right after it happened. Even better if you have reached out multiple times especially on anniversaries. Christmas, New year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day each year or other milestone celebrations are also painful as there is someone missing.
I don't believe it is something I will ever get over, l have learnt to pick up the pieces and move forward, but our lives will never be the same. It is helpful to remember we not only lost our baby we lost all the hopes and dreams for our baby's life and seeing them grow up and being part of our life. There’s a totally understandable tendency to offer hope in the form of “Don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again,” No other child would be a replacement for the one who was lost. If there were twins and one survived or if there are living older siblings, those parents are still mourning the loss of a child, so “at least you have the one” is not comforting. For us, we didn’t lose “a baby” that we would like to replace with “another baby”; we lost out first-born son, Finley James, who had a lot of hair and loved moving around to music. Even with the arrival of our amazing Reuben who has bought much healing we will always miss him.
Another great way to show your love is to offer practical help. Some ideas are the usual meals cooked (which are such a blessing), but also chores around the house (you really dont feel like doing housework ever again!), picking up groceries (I really didn't want to bump into people and have to explain what had happened) or offer to help with child care for older children if they have them.
I have lots of questions about why it happened to us and it is something I am working through but I am learning to live with the mystery. Rubbish things happen because of the fall, we are in a battle and life is tough for many people. The only hope I have in the situation is that I know I will see him again, he is not sad or in pain, it is our loss that he is not here with us, he is in the perfect place with Jesus in heaven. A friend of mine whose first baby was also stillborn said she loves worship even more now as she knows her daughter is also doing that, it is the one thing they are doing together and I thought that was such a great way of looking at it! As bereaved parents, we are constantly balancing holding grief in one hand and a happy life after loss in the other.
Finally, the truth is that the whole situation is horrible. A child lost a life; the parents are grief-stricken; and honestly it’s just going to suck sometimes to be the friend or family member of someone going through this. It is unfair, and even if you do everything right there are going to be times when the other person still gets upset due to the grief.
Thank you for loving us through our journey with grief."
Posted by Nic Lines