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Friday, 29 June 2012

A Successful Season for Cambray FC

Never mind England coming home after another quarter final defeat - WEBA's Cambray FC had an excellent season, losing just one game - and that was in the final of the Cotswold Churches League, when they were runners up to Cornerstone United.

For Cambray FC good football means a good opportunity for mission. "The twenty-five players who represented us last season are a mix of those who attend Cambray and those that don’t" said Steve Jones in this month's Cambray magazine. Cambray's Sports Ministry Apprentice Tim Wallace has also re-established a 'kickabout' during the hour before the team training. "God has been at work amongst our group this year" Steve writes, "and we were very thrilled that one of our players came to know and trust the Lord and was baptised at Easter – a massive thrill."

This year the team chose to enter the 'secular' Gloucestershire FA County Cup instead of the National Christian Cup, again because this gives them an opportunity to stand out and be different, witnessing to their faith. They reached the second round of this competition.

In the same magazine Cambray pastors Tim Welch and Jonathan Loose present their suggestion of adding the word 'everyday' to the church's mission statement, which currently reads ‘Encouraging all people to become fully committed followers of Jesus’.
"Churches can convey some wrong signals - that following Jesus is really about our church-based activities and commitment, rather than the very places where we find ourselves. We come together in corporate worship to then go out and serve the Lord Jesus as his followers, with the help of his Spirit."

It seems to me that Cambray's footballers have found an excellent place to serve as everyday followers of Jesus.

Does your fellowship support a football team? Perhaps you'd like to tell us a bit about how this season went for them...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

It's not rocket science

Great story reported by our man in Lawrence Weston, Alisdair Longwill.

I visited Mare (the minister in training) and Richard Clark at Lawrence Weston today and left encouraged and excited about what they are doing there.  I particularly remember two simple stories – about a plant and an invitation.

Richard proudly showed me the manse front garden – the Jubilee garden, no less!  It seems that everyone from the church bought a plant and these were planted during a ‘garden party’ earlier this month.  The garden is adjacent to a busy pathway en route to the nearby school.  Lots of people are now walking by the garden commenting on how ‘lovely’ it is as their children walk across the low garden wall.  One lady passed by and said how beautiful the garden was and commented on how much she liked the ‘elephant’s ears’ plant.  Richard took note of this, decided to buy her one and gave her the gift the next time she passed by.  She was delighted and greeted him with a kiss and a hug and was reminded that some people actually care for their neighbours.  It’s not rocket science, it’s very simple, but through an ordinary garden and a friendly disposition a greater sense of community is being created and people’s lives are being blessed in a small way.  It reminds me of Jesus words in The Message paraphrase of the Bible, ‘…You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept’ (Matthew 5:14).  It made me ask myself – how might I bring out the God-colours in my local community?

Mare told me of when she visited India earlier in the year that God had challenged her in a particular way.  This was about having the courage to approach three ladies in Lawrence Weston and to invite them to meet with her at the manse one evening per week to share some stories about Jesus because God has something important to say to them.  When she returned from India she approached them individually – and now they meet on Friday evenings to explore spiritual ‘stuff’ together using the questions from Paul Griffith’s resource Table Talk.  Mare says that when she approached them ‘they were visibly moved – one cried, they all came and are continuing to turn up on a Friday night’.  She says these ladies with different histories are all on a journey that is taking them closer and closer to Jesus.  They too are enjoying a sense of community with Jesus at the centre.  For Mare, it’s not rocket science – just a simple combination of obedience and availability.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Before I die

As we look towards Chris Duffett's Big Hearted Tour coming to WEBA in October...

... here's another example of his street ministry from his blog, Be the Light.

He also explains the inspiration for the idea, so it's a long post but worth scrolling through:


Friday, 1 June 2012

When the flame came to Hanham

Rob English works as Trust Manager here at WEBA, and he's also Secretary of Hanham Baptist Church in Bristol. He told me about the day the Olympic Torch passed along Hanham High Street, where the church is situated, on Tuesday 22nd May 2012.

"We found out it was passing our doors and thought it was a marvellous opportunity to open up to our community" said Rob. "We've got this marvellous facility of this walled garden, so we opened up the gates and put on teas, coffees, cupcakes, and a bouncy castle, as well as toilet facilities."

"I got there about four" he went on, "and I drove past the church first and thought why would I go in there? We needed something on the street, so we improvised. I got two go-pack tables and lashed them together like an 'A' board, made a sign and stuck it over the top."

Rob confided that the part of the afternoon that involved a flame passing by was almost a let down - it was over in a quarter of an hour. "For me it was to see all those people, the enthusiasm and expectation, that was really exciting. It was more than an opportunity, it was a gift. Perhaps we should open the gates more often and let people in."
Thanks to Peter Cook and Terry Hooper for the fantastic photos.

Palm Sunday at Hillfields Park

Jill Helps of Hillfields Baptist Church in Bristol sent us these photos of a Palm Sunday march of witness they shared with St. John's Church, Lodge Causeway.
They were blessed by good weather and the presence of Chicko the donkey!
Hillfields Park newsletter reported that "over the years the sense of unity with our brothers and sisters has deepened. We are all God's children."