Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Getting Ready for the Tour

 Chris Duffett's Big Hearted Tour will be visiting WEBA in just six weeks' time. Here I'm reproducing a short blog post he wrote in July about his preparation for each leg of the tour.

So, how do I prepare to visit each of the associations on the Presidental Big Hearted Tour?
  • Yes there is the expert planning of Nicky Edwards who works with me in Chester (as I typed this sentence Nicky actually phoned to go through some of the itinerary of the Southern Counties tour!) 
  • Yes there’s the books and information that I bring to each event.
  • Yes there’s preperation for the teaching and training.
  • Yes I book the van and make sure all the equipment for outreach is ready…
Most importantly and running the risk of trying to sound megga spiritual the most important thing I do is pray and fast. Seriously, this is the most vital part of the preperation. Evangelism is a much neglected discipline of most of the church in the UK. To change this and to motivate Christians to share their faith there has to be a supernatural encounter. I pray for that.

We are all being called to a day of prayer on Sunday 9th September. Perhaps we could pray for some of this  supernatural change in ourselves when we gather together then.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Rocky's Plaice

4 evangelical churches in Moredon and Rodbourne (Swindon) held a joint holiday club at St Andrew’s Methodist Church. (The other three were AVC International, St Mary’s CofE and Rodbourne Baptist). All the churches supplied team members. The children were entertained by Mrs Tagliatelle the chef; Peter the apostle who interviewed people who were around in the days of the first church in Jerusalem; Captain Ketchup; Colonel Mustard and the worship band: The Sardines.

Each day we looked at a key word and everything, except probably the games, tied in with this word. We had HOPE because if God says that He will do something, He will. One of the promises is that whoever asks for the HOLY SPIRIT will receive Him (about 2/3 of the kids did). We looked at how the Holy Spirit gives us FAITH to believe God for miracles and finally how God wants us to TELL our friends and family.

The kids obviously took note of the latter one because when we had our Parents’ Evening there wasn’t a spare chair!

As the Leader of the Club, I was grateful to have such a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic team of helpers, many still in their teens. We have given them all information about children’s work at the four churches and look forward to seeing them when term starts ....

Paul Rhodes
Rodbourne Cheney Baptist Church

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Good listening at a crucial point

This is a story about being salt and light in an inspired and innovative way - providing a listening ear to detainees at the local police station.

Gill Putnam wrote this article for the newsletter of the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and it was sent to me by Jenny Collins of Clarence Park Baptist Church in Weston-super-Mare who is also involved with ChAt, an ecumenical group of volunteers from the town's churches. 

When first launched in 2005, ChAt (Chaplaincy About Town) was set up as a confidential, non-judgemental listening ministry and signposting for all people in Weston-super-Mare town centre, regardless of faith, background or lifestyle, making visible God’s love and concern for all his creation. Described by Bishop Peter Price as “an exciting way of living out the gospel”, we had very little idea of how exciting it was to become!

An ecumenical project, with some 30 volunteers (and a vision to increase the team to 90!) drawn from all Christian denominations, ChAt has grown and found its niche in the life of the town. Whilst still working from shop premises and focusing primarily on ministry to individuals, ChAt has also developed other strands of ministry, and works with other groups in the community, including North Somerset Council, the Town Council, the Town Centre Partnership, Weston BID, Somerset Racial Equality Council, the Black and Ethnic Minority Network, NS Alliance for Cultural Harmony, NS Faith Forum, the Children’s Centre, as well as a number of nursing homes. 

The latest step has come at the request of the Police for us to provide a team of ChAt Custody Chaplains to visit any detainee at Weston-super-Mare Police Station. After months of planning and training the team, which includes both ChAt Chaplains and Street Pastors, the project was finally operational on 16 April 2012. Cllr Roz Willis, Chair of ChAt, Volunteer Chaplain Reg Hiscox and I, the Lead Chaplain, went to Weston Police Station for the launch at 8.00am.Before 8.30am the first detainee asked for support and I was in a cell! Less than an hour later, the detainee, who had been held for most of the night, was focussed and calm, had a plan to seek professional help on returning home, and was in a much better state of mind for the police interview.

We have these encounters at a crucial point in the life of an offender, a time of regret, remorse, shame, and a time of longing to make life-changing decisions. Through good listening and signposting the person is empowered, lives can be transformed and new beginnings made.

We come to every listening session with faith that three people are present – the speaker, the listener and God; it is His presence and peace in the session which makes these encounters different from those with other professional aid agencies.

With the Custody Chaplains as a pilot scheme in Weston-super-Mare, the Police hope it may be possible for the service to be offered in other custody suites in the Avon and Somerset area in due course.

We are now ready to increase the team of ChAt Custody Chaplains. We shall be offering a ‘Come and See’ information stand at our Coffee Morning on Saturday, 1 September, from 10am at the Boulevard United Reformed Church, Weston-super-Mare.. If you would like to know more, please contact me or simply come along on the day. Those who wish to join the team will be asked to provide two references, one of which will be from their church leader who has known them for at least one year, attend an interview, have an enhanced CRB check, and attend a training day on Saturday, 13 October.

As to the future, talks are already taking place regarding the possibility of recruiting and training a ChAt team who will specialise in ministering to nursing homes, particularly those for dementia sufferers, and this team would serve not only the patients but also their families and the staff.

If you would like more information with a view to taking any part in this exciting adventure for God, I’d love to hear from you. Please contact me on 01934 643533 or 01934 416917, email me , or call into ChAt at 67 Meadow Street, WsM, BS23 1QL.

Revd Gill Putnam, Lead Chaplain and Trustee

Chaplaincy About Town (Reg. Charity No. 1101541, Co. Reg. 07868068)

The Dream

This testimony was given in one of our churches last week. I've included it here because God is growing his kingdom in WEBA through dreams as well as through our creativity as his church. To protect his identity, I have changed this young man's name to Jamal.

I am 21 years old. I was born in a Muslim country. I am from Afghanistan.

First, when I came to this country, I did not believe in God. Yes, people asked me, what is my religion, and I didn't have the choice to say anything else so I said I'm a Muslim, but I didn't know anything about it, nobody told me because I was not educated in Afghanistan. My cousin, he was a Mullah at the mosque and he didn't teach me anything about God, he just used to hit me.  I stopped going to Mosque because I didn't understand.

6 years ago, my life was in danger and I escaped from my country. I was travelling a dangerous journey across the world to find somewhere safe. Every day I woke up, I didn't believe that I was going to be alive the next day. I was fighting for my survival.

After 6 - 7 months I arrived in England. I started going to college. I learned English language and I got some education - yes, thanks so much to all the teachers at college. I made friends over here, was offered a job, and met my girlfriend.

Last year I was invited by some friends to come to a local Spiritualist church. I started going every week on Sunday. It was good to meet people but there was not too much talking about God. At the time, one of my friends got very sick and he lost his job. He was swearing at God, and it was making me angry. I was scared to be his friend. I told him, if you don't believe in God, you shouldn't swear by him. OK, he was telling me off. He said "Jamal, I don't care. Don't tell me what to do." So I could understand something wasn't right. I stopped going to the church.

But I felt something was missing in my life. I was gambling my money, and drinking too much alcohol, and I was not putting attention into my life - what to do?

But now I am completely changed. 3 weeks ago I had a wonderful dream. All over the room was light. Jesus, Father, Lord, came to me, he said "Jamal, just wake up, come follow me, I'm alive." It was so beautiful.

I made a decision for myself to find a church and find what it means to follow Father Lord. I was cycling around the centre to find a church timetable, but only when I came back I read the timetable at this church, and I started to come here two weeks ago. First day when I came I got something from it. I heard lots of good things about Father God and Lord Jesus.

With the help of Jesus I have stopped gambling, stopped drinking alcohol, and I'm feeling so much better. Thanks to the Minister for welcoming me, to the man who gave me the Bible in the Persian language, and thanks to all the members of the community here who have given me your support. Thanks to all of you who will support me in the future. Thank you for listening.