K I NGFI S H E R FAMILY A year of growth, of change, of What If? “You have stayed at this mountain long enough!” (Deuteronomy 1:6).
There have been some wonderful high points along the way:
With these words, the Lord challenged the Israelites who had • The Social Enterprise, Treasure recently escaped captivity in Seekers, being finalists for Egypt not to settle for just three awards in the County spending the rest of their lives in and winning the Gloucester the foothills of Mount Sinai. He Health and Social Care Award challenged them to pack up their (healthy communities section). tents and set off towards the Promised Land. They were not to live simply at the level of What Is, but to be captivated and motivated by the possibility of What If? And so, following the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, they set off - and spent the next 40 years wandering in the desert, being prepared for the time when they would be ready to move into the Promised Land. • The International family Throughout those 40 years, they reaching out to the Philippines were guided both physically by and now with an invitation to the pillar, but also by that visit some pastors in China enduring sense of What If? • The growth of the This year, we have begun as a International family in the Family to really tune in to the Punjab, northern India ‘What If?’ from God. We have experienced big steps of faith, • People taking radical decisions new levels of trust and to give up their jobs and trust sometimes what have felt like God by serving within the leaps into the unknown. It takes Social Enterprise courage and fresh levels of • Young people from Tredworth dependence to respond to that church heading off to Durban, sense of What If?, as a growing South Africa to serve in LIV number of us can vouch for! village
The best is yet to come!
It takes courage, trust and faith to live at the level of What If? -
but the rewards are so much greater than just aiming to play it safe with What Is! Following the pillar has also taken us on a journey that has sometimes been difficult. It has become apparent to the the elders and pastor of Kingsway church that the time is right to make the difficult decision to cease meeting in Kingsway and invite the congregation there to join with the Tredworth congregation, so that we can move forward as one church. We thank God for the many amazing highlights of our time as a church in Kingsway, the community that has been grown, the steps of faith that have been taken, the sense of mutual care and support when testing times have come. However, looking to the future, we realise that God is calling us to move ahead together, bringing the strengths of two congregations into one location. Kingsway church has been in existence for 7 years and we honour the sacrifices and the steps of faith that have been taken. But in the next chapter of our journey as a family in the UK we will be doing it together. What if God were to take that new, larger congregation, and do wonderful things in it and through it in 2017? I believe that the best is yet to come!
News from the Kingfisher Family Kicking off the world tour in India Over the next 12 months, I will be visiting every country that is currently in the International Family of churches, and the world tour started this month with Stuart Seagrave and I spending 5 days in India. We were there to speak at the Kingfisher India Family Conference and were due to meet with 150 pastors and leaders representing the 45 churches that currently comprise Kingfisher India. The visit was thrown into early chaos by the government withdrawing the two most common bank notes (500 rupees and 1000 rupees) as legal tender overnight with no prior warning. This left the majority of the country (a country where the vast majority of transactions are done in cash, using those two notes) without money and without access to funds as the government also closed the banks! This happened the day after we arrived, on the day of the pastors and leaders conference! Around 50 of the pastors were unable to get to the conference as they had no money to travel. However, those who were there had a powerful time as we taught about the difference
between What Is and What If? and God’s call for us to lead people, not to stay at What Is, but to encourage them to set out for What If? The following day we spoke at a Believers’ Conference, which was held in a Methodist church. The place was packed, the worship was electric and there were many healings with people giving great testimonies as a result. I shared about the Great Commission Tsunami and how God is calling us to become Great Commission Christians. There was a powerful sense of God in the midst of us and people were empowered and equipped to go out from that place and live lives that count for the Kingdom of God. Despite the difficulties, this visit was a powerful and significant time, and a great way to start the ‘world tour’!
Top: Worshippers at the Believers’ Conference. Above: The leaders conference
Welcoming Lilyanna, Reuben and Jessica into the Kingfisher family Since September we have welcomed three beautiful babies into the Kingfisher family! Lilyanna Stokes and Reuben Bennett were dedicated at Kingfisher Tredworth and Jessica Wood was dedicated at Kingfisher Kingsway.
Clockwise from left: James, Kate, Finley and Jessica Wood; Harry, Perdie and Reuben Bennett; Dave, Anna and Lilyanna Stokes.
News from the Kingfisher Family Recording our second album! It's hard to believe that it's been already over a month since we recorded 'Begin Again' - it was really a celebration of all that God has been doing and saying in our church, captured in twelve songs that have grown out of that journey.
Of course there will be further celebration when the album is released and I hope that you will all get behind it and look to start sharing it as an expression of the church we call home. Our prayer
Thank you to all who came to share in the occasion, and the good news is that many more will get to experience it when we release the album in 2017. Many have already preordered a copy with the incentive of some goodies and being amongst the first to hear it - if you want in then let us know, and if you did sign up on the night then please make the payment to secure your order.
Harvest appeal update This year for our Harvest appeal we were collecting money for the Dumagat tribe in the mountain region of The Philippines, an area that James and Norley visited earlier this year. We raised over ÂŁ2,000 which will go towards school resources for the children (including a computer and a generator) and to buy ginger seeds to help the tribe become more self sufficient. Thank you so much to everyone who donated - it will make a massive difference to the lives of the people of the Dumagat tribe.
Curry night is a big hit On Saturday 29th October over 100 people gathered to enjoy an evening of great food and good company for a fantastic cause. Thank you to Steve Evans for organising it and for all those who made a curry. ÂŁ834 was raised for Brain Tumor Research in memory of our dear friend Bill Cooper.
continues to be that God may use these songs to reach people beyond our usual sphere of influence, and that they may even be the channel by which some come to know their Saviour. What an opportunity! The best is yet to come, and before we step into all that the new year holds, we get to celebrate Christmas as a church family. We're looking forward to revisiting Jesus' story and worshipping him through songs and carols with you, so keep an eye out for key dates over the festive period. Praying this will be a peaceful and renewing time of year for you. Joe
News from Kingfisher Tredworth A message from Pastor Ollie With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in we are much more aware of the darkness around us. This time of year especially many people suffer a drop in their mood due to seasonal adjustment disorder, but beyond that many more are living with the darkness of depression and anxiety, which is now heading to be the number one illness in the world today. This can be a reaction to the pressure and stress around us; the loss of loved ones, fragmented families, health issues, addiction; dark, difficult situations that we find ourselves in, but it’s also the dark thoughts and feelings within us that we often battle against the most, and the church has not always been great at talking about these things, answers can seem dismissive or trite to those suffering the ‘dark night of the soul’. I remember a time when I was off work as I was not coping and Pastor James came round to see me and I couldn’t stop crying, and I was saying things to him like, ‘It shouldn’t be me feeling like this, I’m the Christian, I’m meant to have God’s strength, I’m meant to be the one who’s ok, what sort of a witness am I?’ Because when we get down, that’s how we feel; a bad example, ‘There must be something wrong with me, how come everyone else can cope but I can’t? I’m useless!’ And we don’t talk about it if we can help it because we’re ashamed of ourselves, so we cover it up as much as we are able, but live in fear that we’re going to get found out and church just becomes a place of pseudocommunity where we can’t be real because we think we’re the only one feeling this way and we brace ourselves for judgement or a lecture about us needing more faith or how we just need to praise God more, and that’s even if we come to church at all. For many people that’s when they retreat because church is too much of a happy place for my misery; hearing about God’s promises and presence when I feel a million miles away from Him feels too painful so I’ll stay away. And we make assumptions that people don’t understand and don’t want to help, even though we haven’t actually told
them anything is wrong, and the danger is that we can become disconnected and feel more isolated and that is a dark place to be. Fear and anxiety thrive in darkness, hurts and offences flourish when they are buried. So at Tredworth in our 10am service, we have been doing a series called ‘Piercing the Darkness’ with the aim to break the stigma. I believe that church is meant to be a hospital for the broken, not a museum for the perfect and if 75% of people with a diagnosed mental illness are struggling without professional help (Mental Health Foundation), isn’t that where the church should be? Aren’t these some of the things we should be talking about in church? Jesus came for the broken, to offer restoration, that’s where He was found, offering relationship and community that would bring about real life change. How crazy then is it that some people view the church as a place where you can only go if everything is going well in your life, or a place where I at least have to pretend it is because if I don’t then somehow I’m letting the side down!
Remember, we don’t follow Him alone, we follow Him together! Let’s not make church such a Pinterest perfect production that people think they are messing it up by being here with their problems. The Bible says that “We all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 NLT. I don’t know any person who thinks they are perfect or who
lives a life where they live happily ever after, regardless of the photos they post on social media; we all have our struggles, none of us avoid the troubles of life, we all experience loss and pain. In fact we are all in a spiritual battle and we have an enemy who is trying to rob us of life and his strategy is division, disconnection and isolation, and the only way to fight him is alongside each other. In Mental Health Awareness week this year the big theme was relationships. The mental health foundation stated that, “We need to understand just how fundamental relationships are to our health and wellbeing, we cannot flourish as individuals and communities without them. In fact, they are as vital as better-established lifestyle factors, such as eating well, exercising more and stopping smoking." Relationship, connection, and community are essential if we are going to really flourish. And that’s what church is isn’t it? A place where we can connect with God and with others. We need each other! I need you and you need me! It’s together that we pierce the darkness. Psalm 143 is a Psalm of David, who found himself in hiding from King Saul who was out to kill him. He said, “My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope; I am paralysed with fear.” So what enemy is chasing you down right now? What is it that keeps knocking you down and is trying to convince you that you are never going to escape the darkness? What is consuming your hope and paralysing you with fear? And I’m not talking about other people here so much as that thing, that issue, that addiction, that thought pattern that is always there, pursuing you, it just won’t let you go! No matter how much you try and get away from it, it just keeps finding you and it’s wearing you out.You might have tried to ignore it or to run away Continued on page 5
News from Kingfisher Tredworth Continued from page 4 from it, but the only way to deal with this stuff is to face it. We need to face the facts (this present darkness) with the light of Truth, and face our enemy (this present darkness) in the light of belonging. This is what David found out, the one who would be the next King of Israel: • The facts might tell me that my enemy is chasing me down but the light of truth tells me that I am not alone and that God has a plan. • The facts might tell me that I am guilty, but the light of truth tells me that God does not treat me as I deserve, that He is gracious and kind, full of unfailing love. • The facts might tell me that I am beyond help, but the light of truth tells me that I have a Saviour. • The facts might tell me that I need to run away and hide, but the light of truth tells me that God is my hiding place, a very present help in times of trouble. • The facts might tell me that I am never going to get out of this mess, but the light of truth says that He will lead me and He is a steady footing and He will preserve my life, and He will bring me out of distress, and He has defeated my foes. • The facts will try and convince me that I am a failure, but the light of truth tells me that I am a child of God, called to serve His purposes.
It’s not the facts, this present darkness, that will set me free, but the truth will!! Now where are you going to hear that truth on a regular basis? In church! In Ephesians 6:13 and18 we are told to, “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get…Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
change, and where you can support others. More info to follow in the next few weeks. I hope this series has been helpful and will be just the start of a more open conversation about the issues we struggle with. If you’ve missed any of the talks in this series, you can catch up with them on the Podcast. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT
Do you know who you belong to? Do you know where you belong? You are a much loved child of God, adopted into His family, created for good works that He has planned in advance for you to do. Don’t let the enemy convince you otherwise! So get to church, no matter how you are feeling, and join a Connect group where you can relate to other people at a deeper level. Let’s get better at talking about our struggles with each other, let’s build authentic community where we are known for supporting each other and praying for each other. We have a defeated enemy and we now live in the light of what Jesus has done, so take heart, He has overcome this world and our church really can be that place of healing and grace.
What a promise! And remember, we don’t follow Him alone, we follow Him together! Pastor Ollie
In the New Year we will be launching a new support initiative at Kingfisher called ‘Celebrate Recovery’. This will be a safe place to come and face your hurts, hangups and habits in an environment that will support your recovery and encourage real life
Remembrance service On Saturday 26th November the Co-operative Funeralcare held their annual remembrance service at our church. Many people came to remember loved ones that had passed away this year by writing a message in remembrance of them and placing it on the Christmas tree.
Congratulations to the Collis sisters! Congratulations to Aimee and Jack Flemons who got married on 17th September, and to Charlotte and Mike McGlynn who got married on 22nd October. May God bless both couples mightily!
News from Kingfisher Treasure Seekers Award Winners - Support at the Cavern The dedication and hard work of the heroes working in health and social care in Gloucestershire was celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral on 8th November 2016. Gloucestershire Health and Social Care Awards, recognised the outstanding care and community support provided by the NHS, social care and their partners in the county. Opening the awards, Rt. Rev Rachel Treweek, The Bishop of Gloucester, said: "This evening we're here to celebrate the remarkable human attribute which is unchanging – care and compassion, and the desire to fulfil our potential and the desire for other people to do the same." Hundreds of people attended the ceremony hosted by Dr Phil
Hammond, a GP, Comedian and public speaker and facilitator. Before announcing any awards, Dr Hammond commended Kingfisher Treasure Seekers for their work in the Cavern, waving around our booklet, as he explained he’d spent an hour and a half there on his way to the awards ceremony and the model of care is exactly in line with the message he’s been passionately giving for years. Support at the Cavern, Kingfisher Treasure Seekers was a finalist for the Healthy Communities Award. This award recognises the achievements of an individual, team or group that has excelled in being the catalyst for bringing people together and creating a healthier/ more active neighbourhood or community. And we won!
Treasure Seekers Open Days We had two Treasure Seekers open days at the beginning of this term, one at Kingfisher Tredworth and one at Westgate Street. Both were very well attended. The aim of the open days was to really show the breadth of the organisation. So many people come to Treasure Seekers through a particular service; The Cavern, our courses, the discos, etc. and this was an opportunity to show new people what we offer, and existing attendees what else we can offer them. We had people signing up to support groups, wanting to volunteer, and just enjoying the day. It was so successful and everyone had a great time!
Healthy Communities Award Winner: Kingfisher Treasure Seekers Support at The Cavern. Runners up: Sarah-Jane Cooper, Golden Step Over 60's Musical Theatre Dance Classes, Kim Spencer, Forest of Dean Walking for Health.
* Above: Presentation of the award. Right: Dr Phil Hammond commending Kingfisher Treasure Seekers’ model of care.
Can you help ‘Support at The Cavern’? Last month we started collecting Christmas gifts and treats to share with all those accessing ‘Support at The Cavern’ which is open 6pm-11pm every day of the year! This means it will be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day so it would be great to make these times extra special for those who otherwise would be on their own. The collection box will be at Kingfisher Tredworth every Sunday until Christmas so please donate something if you can. Thank you to everyone who has already donated.
News from Kingfisher Treasure Seekers Disney themed Discoâ€™s at Treasure Seekers Last month our discos for adults with learning disabilities were transformed into all things Disney and, as always, everyone really embraced dressing up as Disney characters!
The Cavern team The past few months have seen some staffing changes in The Cavern. Before the summer we had welcomed Gabby and David to our team and Dave S, who volunteered with us full time to help us get The Cavern up and running, has moved to a different role in Treasure Seekers. With this move, plus the increased opening hours, we have welcomed two more members of staff to The Cavern team. Ben and Ash started this month and we are so pleased to have them on board.Â
GET INVOLVED WITH THE NEWSLETTER! In order for this newsletter to grow and develop, we need your help! If you go to any Kingfisher event and have taken a great photo, then please email it to Kirsty at email@example.com. The copy deadline for the next issue (due out in March 2017) is 20th February. Or if you would like to get involved in the production of the next newsletter then email us with your particular area of interest. Hope you enjoy hearing all that is happening across the Kingfisher Family!
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