Issue 7 March-April 2010
Passover Life Course
A Year in the Life…. In this issue of
we celebrate the first
anniversary of the magazine, look back at the last year at St John’s and look forward to seeking first the kingdom of God together…..
Good Friday Walk
Nativity S ervice
ra ber Orchest Kings Cham
Ladies’ Prayer Breakfasts
air na tivit
Mamma Mia Evening
s of Praise Community Song
Christmas Cra fts
For your diary Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) A chance to celebrate what God has been doing in the life of our church over the past year, to hear important updates, and to elect the PCC for the coming year.
d m weeken Ashburnha
Wednesday 28th April 7.45pm
Editor’s Bit Priorities: seek first God's Kingdom... Matthew 6:33
John’s verse of
the year and these words of Christ are almost universally transform Editor, Alison Berry
recognised and so
easy to say, but so much harder to put into practice!
What is God's kingdom? The phrase 'kingdom of God,' or 'kingdom of heaven' comes just over a hundred times in the Gospels. (Just to clear up one small issue, Matthew often says 'kingdom of heaven' where the other Gospels say 'kingdom of God.' They mean exactly the same thing. Matthew was writing for a Jewish audience. The Jews had so much respect for the name of God that they would not even say it. So 'kingdom of heaven' is just a polite way, in Jewish company, of saying 'kingdom of God.') So what does the kingdom of God mean? Learned theologians have written massive books about it, and as you'd expect from learned theologians, they spend most of their time disagreeing with each other, and making it more complicated than it needs to be. The kingdom of God is rooted in Hebrew thinking – the Pentateuch, Psalms and Prophets all speak of the establishment of the reign or rule of God – or to put it simply, where what God wants gets done. And Jesus says seek that first, which means making what God wants our number 1 priority.
How do we seek God‟s kingdom? Our Christian responsibility merely starts with the establishment of the kingdom of God and his righteousness within us as individuals, but it can’t stay there – the salt and light teaching of Matthew 5 shouts this out to us. There is a personal aspect, but to only focus on the personal is an egocentric version of Christianity which is distant from Jesus’ view of the kingdom. It matters to God about people who are starving, people who don't have clean water, people who are dying of AIDS, people who are displaced in wars. He is concerned about the harm we're doing to the natural world.
transform March –April 10
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
is where what
about The magazine for members of St John’s Church in Egham. It is produced bi-monthly, with the aim of helping to connect and build our church family. Its purpose is to provide information and encouragement on church life and our family – specifically to show how God is transforming situations and people. It’s not designed for people who don’t yet come to St John’s. But, if when you’ve finished reading your copy, you’d like to pass it on to a friend or neighbour, then that would be great too! Editorial We welcome items for inclusion or ideas for stories. Ideally these should be submitted in an MS Word document, hi - res J P G s or o t h e r e l ec t r oni c f o r m , a n d s e n t b y e m a i l t o firstname.lastname@example.org The team transform is edited by Alison Berry, with the support of a wider team, including writers, photographers and proof-readers. Advertising We accept adverts each issue both from within the church family, and a small number of external advertisements. Acceptance of any advertising is at the discretion of the editing team, and the acceptance of an advertisement in transform magazine is not necessarily an endorsement by the editorial team of the service or product offered. Deadlines The deadline for submissions to be considered for the next edition of transform (May / June 2010) is 9th April .
He is concerned about people who don't have freedom of religion. He's interested in politics and in what's on television and in science and films and immigration. He's interested in justice and mercy. And where mercy and justice are being done, where we are healing, confronting, encouraging and pointing to God, then God's kingdom is at work - what God wants is happening in the world. Jesus sought first the kingdom, and does more than challenge us to do the same – he commands it. How? There are thousands of ways. In his gospel, Matthew uses the concept of the kingdom in 75% of his chapters. Will you join with me, and read a few of them, looking at
“so what do you want me to do now?” what he says and ask God,
Thank you to all our advertisers this issue!
Please always mention
When replying to advertisements!
IN THIS ISSUE… Spotlight on Brazil … p4 When they’re not in the office ….p5 The Secret life of the Worship support team… p6 Here come the girls in Prayer … p7
Transforming Egham, one empty shop at a time… Naomi Page reflects on the Christmas Kitchen 2009
f there is one thing that the latest Christmas Kitchen effort showed, it's the huge range of skill and talents God has given us. Looking back on the whole project it is amazing to see how God's vision came together, the people he used and the impact it makes when you serve God and put your energy into glorifying him. God took students, the retired, men, women, interior designers, HR consultants, musicians, chefs, the creative and the practical, and brought
I thought I was going to give, but I was blessed to be able to serve
all their assorted gifts together in a massive gesture of love to the community. Even before the Kitchen opened, there were people working behind the scenes to transform an abandoned space into a welcoming cafe - people who cleaned, painted, fitted the kitchen, moved the furniture and designed the decor. I asked a few of those involved what being a part of the Christmas Kitchen had meant to them. Natalie Cook told me about her experiences helping out: "I did some of the craft stuff - just mainly leaving things out people could use, a lot of people made cards which was nice. I did some serving and chatted to a couple of people, and then Chris Tisdell and I helped in the kitchen one day, which was slightly chaotic but still fun, it was good to be able to do something to help people that really needed it. Some students from Strode’s College came in a few times, and
transform March— April 10
at the end wrote us a lovely message about how it was good that we were so welcoming and how we were spreading Jesus' love around Egham. It was good to be able to help so many different people and feel that maybe we showed them some of Jesus' love too. A couple of the people have come to St John’s, which is great as well." Another lady mentioned at the celebration party that she felt she had been given even more than she'd put in. At the party, people were asked to write their thoughts in the "Christmas Kitchen Story Book". Flicking through and seeing how God was at work in that place is inspiring - one lady said, "I had thought I was going to give but I was blessed to be able to serve". Someone else commented that the overwhelming message they got from Kitchen visitors was that although the kitchen itself was great, "it was just so good to speak to someone". Although God equipped the team with things, premises and funding, it is the people met and the relationships forged that really made an impact.
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:34-35
Mission Partner Focus
From Rubbish to Restoration Ian & Simea Meldrum‟s Olinda Mission in Brazil
Simea & Ian Meldrum
Ian & Simea are Anglican Vicars who have dedicated their lives to serve the people who live in and around the rubbish dumps in Olinda. Their work has been supported by SAMS (South American Missionary Society) for many years and has developed around three main projects: „My Father‟s House‟ which is a safe house for homeless boys who have been living on the streets, which often leads them into glue sniffing or into drugs. They are given the opportunity to come off the harmful substances and have a safe place to stay until they can be reunited with their families or found a new supportive family to stay with until they can be independent. The importance of having a safe place for children is vital with so much violence on the streets – the gangs are controlled by drug dealers and children as young as 13 are frequently found carrying guns. Christmas Eve 2009 was the first anniversary of the death of Jonathan Romario Alves da Santa, who was brutally murdered aged just 13 by a gang who had been after him for a year. His tragic short life epitomises the lives that many of Brazil’s 25 million street children share, in which a fair few will also share a senseless violent death. It is into situations like this that Ian & Simea take the saving love of Christ. It is dangerous work and they need our prayers for protection, health, strength and wisdom as they reach out to these needy young people. „The Living Waters Church‟ in the shanty town next to the dump. Services are held on Sundays, and the rest of the week sees it used to care for families and children with a whole range of activities. In Ian & Simea’s Christmas 2009 prayer letter they shared how the power of God is at work in Olinda - at one service in December an evangelist, who was saved by God in prison but is allowed out on parole (he is serving an 800 Page 4
year sentence for 70 murders!), spoke powerfully of God’s saving Grace. As a result of this, eleven people came to faith and are now regularly attending Living Waters Church. It is amazing just how many aspects of outreach Ian & Simea are involved in - from invitations for people on the dump to come and see an evangelistic film to a special ministry to older people who have seen their families torn apart by drugs and violence. They have also recently established a small project to help teenagers learn basic skills and ways to earn a living and become self sufficient and then there are the Married Couples Meals each month at which the Gospel is shared and marriages strengthened by showing a better way for couples to live together and support their children. Ian & Simea also often go out onto the dumps and talk directly to drug dealers and, of course, are called upon to conduct the funeral services of teenagers killed in the on-going cycle of violence. „The Farm‟ is about 40 minutes drive from Olinda and is used for away days and weekends for groups of children and families. It is a lovely place in the country with space to play and has huge potential for being used in many ways to support and encourage the boys from the dumps. However, funds are very limited, due in part to the fall in the value of Sterling, so that operations at the farm have ceased for the time being until a secure stream of funding can be put in place. A lot of refurbishment and maintenance is required to bring it back up to useable standards. It is such a shame that such a wonderful part of the ministry is being held up because of lack of funds. Ian & Simea are conscious of the toll that the intensity of their ministry is having on their health and their prayer is that others will join them in the ministry and share the load of reaching out to the children of the dumps and showing them the love of Christ. Simea comments after a visit by SAMS/CMS staff ―How important it is to receive visits of encouragement in order to continue‖. That poses the question, should St John’s organise a short term mission visit to Brazil in 2011? Let Chris Matthews, or any member of the Mission Support Team know what you think. More information about Ian & Simea’s work can be found on our church website and at www.olindamission.no-ip.co.uk
““What a huge harvest!" Jesus said to his disciples. "How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!"..” Matthew 9:37-38 (The Message)
Above : Married Couples Meal Below : Rubbish Dump workers
families IS A
great challenge THIS
BUT THE CHURCH
MUST’NT BE AS THE
word of Christ THE WITNESS
being transformed OPEN THE
doors TO THE
hearts of many
Hannah Cross is also one of St John’s Missio Brazil. Her varied work is providing hope and able children
She spent the first 2 weeks of this year in Esperanca (House of Hope). It is a nursery and rian church in Piedade, Recife. Here’s an extra
I had a moment to reflect today as I stood
sink and a nit comb in hand. I spent the m of the toddlers’ hair. It’s amazing how m
the floor with 18 month old Carol betwe with special nit shampoo and a comb. 18
like nit shampoo! The last thing I wanted
them as well, but it is impossible to relove someone at arm’s length. I held h
arms and hugged her. If Jesus loves me to carry my sins on the cross, then the
can do for this little girl is to unreservedly love: to serve humbly, to love greatly and ingly!”
When they’re not in the office This first anniversary edition of transform sees what we hope is the first in a series of articles about what people at St John’s get involved in when they’re not doing their day jobs. Richard Stubbs (mainly known for owning the Estate Agents with his name on it!) talks about his most recent experience visiting the church in Kenya that he and his wife Frarnie have known for around nine years:
Mud huts and murder Our good Kenyan friends in Ukunda live in huts with rare electricity and a meagre (tainted) water supply. Toilets are rare, too and are not for the faint- hearted. Wages start at 100 shillings (£1) a day and few people have a job. Nevertheless, the congregation in Ukunda raised enough money to re-build a church to reach out to a village fifteen miles away. The Church they built this time is solid and fireproof - concrete blocks with a steel roof. The first attempt was a marquee that the other villagers burnt down because it was a Christian outpost in their non-Christian village. The Pastor rebuilt it bigger in timber and thatch, and they burnt it down again. This third church is much larger and has a school alongside - and it won't burn. The village is a dangerous place at the best of times, but Friday is especially problematical. The pastor and his family can't live in the village, they simply wouldn't survive.
A relationship with the God who made the universe is worth more than a pot of gold
picking in Brazil
on Partners working though Latin Link in Recife, transformation for some of Brazil’s most vulner-
n a crèche project called Casa da d primary school run by a Presbyteact from her journal:
d with hair dripping into the
morning combing lice out many come out! I sat on
een my legs, armed 8 month olds don’t
d was to catch
-assure and her in my
enough e least I
y show her his d to nit-pick willHannah Cross (right) March-April 10
To get to the church each day, Pastor takes a matatu (public bus with fixed route but ―unfixed‖ stopping points and timetables) from Ukunda to an unfriendly place called Tiwi, another to Richard Stubbs (right) experiencing everyday life in the end of the side-road and then, if Ukunda he's really lucky and has the fare, a motorcycle taxi to the church. Sometimes he gets stranded and has to stay the night, sometimes he or his wife get abandoned in the bush. Sometimes he has to walk. Sometimes they get understandably scared especially going to late night prayer vigils or night-time call-outs. Tiwi is interesting, though not a Christian village - hardly any villages in that area are yet. It doesn’t show the same welcoming attitude as Ukunda either - if people arrive there, they soon move on meaning it won't grow into a town like Ukunda has. Sadly, its a completely lawless place too. Up until September 2009 there was a gang of fourteen who terrorised the surrounding area. Breaking into wherever they pleased and taking whatever they wanted, they pleasured themselves at will. In 2008 they wanted the computers from Ukunda's church academy so they just broke in, hacked the watchman to death and took the computers. The gang was ambushed one night last September by the 'good' villagers of Tiwi. All fourteen were killed. The police popped in to see the carnage and had the bodies removed. Case closed. Black lives are cheap. Back in the village I'm told there are still about forty guns which often come out at dusk - I thought I saw one under the bananas in the village shop - so it’s no surprise that the Pastor dreams of a car to get him and his wife to work every day. It should keep them safer, longer. It would be a great help in all sorts of emergencies but it would be almost impossible to fund at over half a million shillings (about five thousand pounds). Seeing the life this pastor leads first hand has given me the impetus to start a fund to raise enough to buy them a car, through our charity The Bridge Trust. It must be worth a prayer,.. and if you're Interested to help please get in contact with Frarnie on 01344 434343.
Focus on People
Projector, computer, camera, action…..
Michael Senanayake (left) as Joseph at Pyramid Rock holiday club last summer
Alison Berry catches up with Michael Senanayake
caught up with Michael in a few minutes he had spare between finishing a rehearsal with the Runnymede Drama Society and the start of a PCC meeting. The seeming contrast between those two past-times is a good reflection of what makes Michael tick – he loves performing, and has taken centre stage at Holiday Club including taking the leading role as Joseph at last summer’s Pyramid Rock. However, he’s also equally at home taking a behind the scenes part, and it was his role as Junior Mr Technical Support Man at St John’s (working title – he’s open to suggestions of alternatives!) that I wanted to find out more about. Michael is seventeen, studying his first year of A-Levels in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and French, which in his own words is “hard sums, some other complicated stuff, with some grammar thrown in for good measure”. I asked to him tell me about what made him get involved in the Worship Support team at St John’s, and what he actually does. ―One of my earliest memories from St John’s, even before we had a screen and projector installed, I remember not being tall enough to see over the sound desk properly, but standing on my tip toes, and generally getting in the way of whoever was operating it, always interested in all the buttons, and how microphones worked! The interest in all things technical has stayed with me, and during Champions Challenge Holiday Club in 2008, I watched and learnt from the excellent team doing the sound and visuals, stepped in to use the projector when someone wasn’t available, and just carried on…. As part of the Worship Support team, I operate the projector, train new people in how to use it, and am around during services in case anyone has a problem. If I see something not working correctly, I’ll try and fix it later. For me, the role is a facilitating ministry - the projector and screen are a way of uniting people in worship, everyone being able to use the one screen, rather than their own individual pieces of paper. Sometimes I take on a bigger role, such as running all the AV equipment for big events like the Asburnham weekend away. I’m also a Camera operator, and got to grips with rigging the three church cameras for the audio-visual extravaganza that was the nativity service.
THE GARDEN GIRLS
The community around us is tech-savvy, so the church should actually be ahead of the game, not behind it.
I look after the church computer and the ones in the office, which are all on a network, so if in the theoretical case that someone in the church office broke a computer, I’d be the one to go out and fix it…and with my Mum working in the office, there’s a fair chance of that happening! (sorry Dal – the Editor) The way I see the role of technology in the church is that it’s not an end in itself, but a very useful tool to bring the church into a new era. The community around us is tech-savvy, so the church should actually be ahead of the game, not behind it. At St John’s we’ve seen recent innovations such as having a ―live-feed‖ of the service into the crèche room, or the very recent web-streaming, so services can be listened to live via the internet. I think it’s a ministry I’d love to stay involved in, and I’m all too aware that many churches don’t have people with those sorts of skills, so perhaps I can lend a hand somewhere else in the future. For me, I’m pleased that I can use the skills and interests God has given me – whether that’s drama or technical stuff. Whatever ministry you’re focussed on, my advice would be to remember where those skills came from, and who they’re being used to serve, and have fun in the process!‖
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transform March–April 10
House of Prayer Focus Here Come the Girls….. Laura Robins chatted to Joe McGowan about the new prayer group, Women’s Breakthrough.
rown out of seeing her husband so contented and blessed by Men’s Breakthrough, Joe had the inspiration to start a similar group for women which has subsequently blossomed to fulfil her vision of a group of women who can be identified together as women of Christ, supporting each other’s walks with God in prayer and fellowship. Naturally, when eight women get together round a table, there is a lot of chatter and giggling, but with ages ranging from 20-somethings to 60somethings, and bringing in women from not just one but three local churches, there is also a real sense of mutual support and care, reinforcing Joe’s initial hope that the group would become a strong body, unified in God and grounded in prayer. Breakthrough differs from most other life groups as it is solely prayer focused – each person is prayed for and ministered to for their individual needs, and prayer emails circulate in between meetings with updates on progress and additional prayer requests as the month goes on. This commitment to daily prayer and fellowship has lead to a second date being added to the Women’s Breakthrough monthly schedule, which now not only meets each month for a meal and prayer as a whole group, there is also a further opportunity 2 weeks after that for as many as are able to get together for coffee and more focused prayer.
Joe herself admits that she saw a gap in the women’s fellowship opportunities at St Johns and decided to fill it, but is hopeful that, through Breakthrough, this gap will soon be long gone, and there are already encouraging signs toward that – the group has had to changed its name from ―Women’s Breakthrough‖ to ―Women’s Breakthrough 1‖ as new leaders and members have come forward to start a second group, and Joe is hopeful of a third and a fourth in the future, similar to the exponential growth of the men’s ministry started by Will Bissett over five years ago.
Women’s Breakthrough 1 was put together through a casual conversation over coffee that led to 8 women coming together by word of mouth. People were suggested as interested, and they suggested other people who might be open to the idea. Despite the fact that she would never admit it, Joe should be an inspiration to us all to not just knock on the door, but to push it and see what happens. If you are interested in joining a Women’s Breakthrough group, please talk to Joe.
Humble yourselves and pray Caroline
vour, here are four examples from the past year:
Our nation - praying from a number of newspapers and articles as God has led, crying out to God for his mercy, intervention and breakthrough in our land
transform Caroline Crew
First Priority and her vision for a praying church “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven…”
irst Priority is the church’s monthly prayer meeting and is open to everyone in the church family. It meets in the church on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 8pm-9pm. It is only scheduled for an hour to make it more accessible to those of us with busy lives (that’s all of us isn’t it!) so you don’t need to give up a whole evening, and with most life groups not meeting on this Tuesday either, it’s as easy as it can be to attend! Each month we have a different angle for our prayer and focus and each month the format and style change to reflect that. Just to give you a fla-
transform March-April 10
The lost - praying for those close to us who need to know God (specifically naming our friends and family and committing them to Jesus) Prayer walk - we had an evening of praying and listening to God outside around the grounds of the church. We invited God to speak and highlight what was on His heart for us as a church. We claimed the ground for God and dedicated the site to Him Promises of God - praying through many of the promises God gives us. Meditating on them, reading them, praying them into our own lives At the moment we have between 20-30 people who attend regularly, but I truly believe that God is calling more of us to commit to Him in this area. My prayer is that many more from the church family would see this time of prayer as essential to going deeper with God, especially in light of our vision for St Johns and its outreach to our community. As its title suggests this prayer time should be a priority in the month for us as a church. Our First Priority should be to ask God to stir in us the desire to pray. God wants to build a House of Prayer where we
live, so that we can begin to see a radical transformation in the spiritual atmosphere of our neighbourhoods, cities and ultimately our nation. God is looking for an army of ordinary people who will do extraordinary things. Our God is on a mission and he’s asking us to see what he’s doing and get involved. He asks us to work alongside him to bring his love, light and life to a broken world. He calls us to join him in making the impossible mission possible. He wants to build His Kingdom here on earth- (and in Egham) and he is looking for people willing to cooperate with Him in this. God is calling us afresh to recommit to Him and now is the time for us as individuals, to take on this responsibility of prayer. If we don’t who will? It is my prayer that we as a church press in deeper to God in 2010. We want to be a church that carries God’s presence and power into our neighbourhoods, places of work and community. We want to recognise what God is doing, give thanks for it and bless it. I encourage you to think carefully about the importance of prayer for our church and its outreach activities. Could you give up an hour a month to come together corporately and commit our lives and church to God?
Please join us on 2nd Tuesday of each month in Church to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness….”
Dear St John’s... “Curate News” : Our Curate Craig and Becky Holmes are adjusting to not one but two new challenges! No, it’s not twins. As we go to press their new baby is due any day and we all share with them in the excitement about that. But in addition Craig is now facing the challenge of seeking a new job as the Rev Jeff Wattley post in Cambridge that he had been hoping to take up this year has fallen through because of a setback relating to his PhD (which is going to appeal but the process is very slow). The Diocese have agreed that he can remain with us in Egham until the end of September to complete his three years and meanwhile he will be looking for a new parish post to commence in the Autumn. Do pray for him in being guided to just the right job, and meanwhile also pray for us to find suitable accommodation for the family as they will need to move out of 33 Grange Road in the Spring. The reason for this is that we have already appointed our new Curate. I am delighted to announce that Mark Frances will be joining us from Oak Hill Theological College. He and his wife Sarah will be moving to Egham in June with their two daughters Bethany (4) and Martha (2). Mark has previously worked as a Geophysicist and a Church Youth Worker. (look out in the next issue of transform for an interview with Mark : the editor) Do pray for Mark and Sarah and the girls and for Craig and Becky and the new baby.
Transforming our Community has only just begun Transforming our community is about letting God use us as his body to impact our community with the love of Christ. It’s about bringing abundant hope, healing, forgiveness, love and life to people who have lost connection with the God who loves them. Transforming our Community is about where what God wants gets done. I would encourage everyone to engage in finding out about our plans for a new church centre. We WE MUST pray MAKE must pray, ask questions, make sacrifices DREAM sacrifices, dream big dreams and believe we can become a BIG dreams AND believe seven day a week Church Community that has a profound transforming impact on our community, engaging with the needs of a growing number of people and helping them to discover that God is there for them. I believe a new Church Centre is essential to realising this vision. Just imagine the difference this would make to the way we relate to one another and to the varied ministries. The Centre becomes a hub that is buzzing with activity 7 days a week: a place to drop by and to bring friends where they can sign up and join in or take time out and receive care and counsel. The buildings are only ever a tool: a tool for ministry: a tool for mission: a tool for transforming our community and being transformed ourselves all to the glory of God.
St John’s: Building Project
The Project team would value your ideas, concerns & comments
The plans for the new church centre were presented on 31st January. All the visuals and information can be found our church website www.stjohnsegham.com
inviting Project Team
transform 09 transformNovember-December March-April10
Jeff Wattley Alastair Dijksman Bob Bannister Lesley Pocock Curt Hopkins Mike Owtram
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