SUMMER/AUTUMN 2013 â—? ISSUE 10
Take a Closer Look:
STORIES OF GRACE:
A Day in the Life:
Standing up for the Poor
Learning to Trust
Hectic but Happy
WELCOME to St Paul̕s
Dear Friends, Welcome to the latest edition of the St Paul’s magazine. In the pages that follow you will find all sorts of helpful information about the church family as well as being able to read about some of the ministries that we are involved in. Our desire is that this magazine might inspire you to be involved with us. If you have been coming for a while, and have yet to get behind a ministry, then please can I encourage you to do so. If you are new, and exploring what we do, then please have a look and, I hope, be inspired to come and join us as a church family working together. I don’t know who it was who coined the phrase ‘a balanced diet is a bar of chocolate in each hand’. Balance is a word we often hear these days. Not only do we need a balanced diet in terms of what we eat, but we have to work out how to balance our work and home lives, our family and professional lives and our rest and exercise. How do we live a life of balance? Perhaps I am not the only one who is constantly living in a place of ‘could be better’ and yet we’re not sure what ‘better’ would look like. It seems to me that the world gives us one more task to balance each and every day or one more priority to sort out. I am not sure, though, that a fully balanced life is possible. I think that we live in seasons of life where some are really busy, and draw on us physically, while others draw on us emotionally and spiritually. In some seasons we might be doing well and we are strong in friendship, faith, work and home. For me the realisation
Sunday Services Term Time Holy Communion at 8am Traditional communion service
Morning Service at 9:15am and 11am Fresh worship, teaching and ministry
Evening Service at 6:30pm
Extended worship, teaching and ministry
For me, embracing the concept of living a seasonal life, rather than a balanced life, means that I know God in the stressful and difficult times and in the turmoil as well as in the times of relaxation and restoration. I know a God who meets us in our daily difficulties as well as in the good seasons. That’s the story of us as a church; we live a fairly seasonal life. Whatever season you are in at the moment we invite you to come and join us. If you are feeling overwhelmed then we will walk with you and, if you are feeling strong, then perhaps you will help us walk with someone who needs our support. With love and blessings
Mark Melluish Senior Pastor St Paul’s, Ealing
Sunday Services Summer Time 28 July - 25 August
Holy Communion at 8am
Mark and Lindsay Melluish
Morning Service at 11am
SUMMER/AUTUMN 2013 ● ISSUE 10
Evening Service at 6:30pm PUBLISHED BY St Paul’s Church Ealing EDITORIAL Lindsay Melluish, Fiona Spence, Lucy Avery, Charlotte Bubb email@example.com DESIGN Annica May [AllThingsDesign] firstname.lastname@example.org
that we can never really live a fully balanced life, but are to embrace the different seasons, brings a great freedom. Maybe we are in a busy season right now but know that things will slow down in the days to come or we are in a slower season but know there is a busy one around the corner.
PHOTOGRAPHY iStockphoto.com, 123RF.com, Dreamstime stock photography
CONTRIBUTORS Georgie Murphy, Danny Anterkyi, Bri L'Hostis, Abi Dust, Richard Turner, Mark Tate, Matt Street, Ros Hindmarch, Lindsay Melluish, Tim and Andrea Page, Rob and Emma May, Julie Gehring, Nell Fox, Dami Wollen, Karen Young, Jo Smith, Julia Sarson, Alison Moore,Melanie Jelleyman, Nicola Holden, Sarah Parry, Anna Weaver, Lucy Avery, Eileen Lawler, Monica Backes, Jane Pavey, Guy Loureiro, Mark Melluish, Sheenagh Burrell, Gordon May, Sophie Roberts, Kate Lamb, Stefanie Moore, Alice Okuyiga
CONTACT US St Paul’s Church Ridley Ave, Ealing LONDON, W13 9XW Northfields 020 8579 9444 email@example.com www.stpaulsealing.com St. Paul's Church - Ealing @stpaulsealing
©2013 St Paul’s Church, Ealing Registered Charity 1132598 A member of the New Wine network of churches. You can also view and download this magazine online.
►►CHURCH CALENDAR May
Wednesday 1st 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 10.00am | Great & Small Friday 3rd 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting 7.30pm | Youth Jam Saturday 4th – Tuesday 7th St Paul's Men's Cycle Tour, London to Amsterdam Tuesday 7th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 8th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Sunday 12th 6.30pm | Confirmation Service Monday 13th 9.00am | HTB Leaders Conference 6.00pm | New Wine Training Course Tuesday 14th 9.00am | HTB Leaders Conference 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 7.30pm | Cluster Meeting Wednesday 15th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 10.00am | Great & Small Thursday 16th 11.30am | Besom Prayer Meeting Friday 17th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting 7.30pm | Volunteers’ Party Monday 20th 6.00pm | New Wine Training Course Tuesday 21st 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 22nd 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Tuesday 28th 10.30am | CAP Coffee Morning 8.00pm | Hungry for God
Tuesday 4th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 5th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 10.00am | Great & Small 11.30am | New Wine Network Meeting Thursday 6th 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Friday 7th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Saturday 8th 9.00am | Awaken! Women’s Breakfast Tuesday 11th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 7.30pm | Cluster Meeting Wednesday 12th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Thursday 13th 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Friday 14th 7.30pm | Youth Jam
►►CONTENTS Sunday 16th FATHER’S DAY Tuesday 18th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 19th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 10.00am | Great & Small Thursday 20th 11.30am | Besom Prayer Meeting 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Friday 21st 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Saturday 22nd 3.00pm | Women’s social event: Tea, cake & shopping! Sunday 23rd 9.15 & 11.00am | Guest Speaker Stuart Windsor from CSW Tuesday 25th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 10.30am | CAP Coffee Morning 8.00pm | Hungry for God Wednesday 26th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Thursday 27th 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Saturday 29th 3.00pm | Ordination of Richard Thomas at St Paul’s Cathedral
Tuesday 2nd 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 3rd 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 10.00am | Great & Small Thursday 4th 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Friday 5th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Tuesday 9th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 7.30pm | Cluster Meeting Wednesday 10th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Thursday 11th 7.45pm | Family Time Parenting Teenagers Course Tuesday 16th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 17th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting Thursday 18th 11.30am | Besom Prayer Meeting Friday 19th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Wednesday 24th 7.30am | Church Prayer Meeting 27th July – 2nd August New Wine LSE Summer Conference Tuesday 30th 10.30am | CAP Coffee Morning
Tuesday 13th – Saturday 17th St Paul’s Young people go to Soul Survivor
Tuesday 10th 7.30pm | Cluster Meeting Tuesday 17th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 18th 10.00am | Great & Small Thursday 19th 11.30am | Besom Prayer Meeting Friday 20th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Saturday 21st The Noise Tuesday 24th 8.00pm | Hungry for God Wednesday 25th 7.30pm | Alpha Friday 27th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting
Tuesday 1st 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 2nd 10.00am | Great & Small 7.30pm | Alpha Friday 4th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Tuesday 8th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 7.30pm | Cluster Meeting Wednesday 9th 7.30pm | Alpha Friday 11th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Saturday 12th Women’s half day Conference with Lin Button Tuesday 15h 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year Wednesday 16th 10.00am | Great & Small 7.30pm | Alpha Thursday 17th 11.30am | Besom Prayer Meeting Friday 18th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Tuesday 22nd 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 7.30pm | Hungry for God Wednesday 23rd 7.30pm | Alpha Friday 25th 12.15pm | Church Prayer Meeting Tuesday 29th 9.00am | New Wine Discipleship Year 10.30am | CAP Coffee Morning Wednesday 30th 7.30pm | Alpha Thursday 31st Children’s event: Glow in the Dark!
church life MEET THE STAFF
ALL STARS KIDS
STUDENTS & YOUNG ADULTS
Lindsay Melluish gives us a glimpse of her life behind the scenes
New to St Paul's? We have lots on offer to help you get to know people and get involved
All you need to know about groups and activities for children
Find out what's on for the youth and hear some feedback from the Exalt weekend away
Read about the exciting growth of one of the young adult Lifegroups and what happened when some of our young people took on a Besom decorating project
Find out what's happening for women and enjoy some stories of our Connect groups going out into the local community
Get the lowdown on the men's events happening this year
Learn about our courses for parents and couples and get some feedback on last autumn's Family Time Parenting Children Course
Find out more about how the church gets involved in the local community
Where in the world? Info on projects and partners supported by the church
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
Can I be wealthy with so much poverty in the world? Gordon May explores how we align ourselves with God's heart
GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR
Sheenagh Burrell reports on some exciting community development work going on in Mozambique
real life STORIES OF GRACE
Georgie Murphy explains how God drew close in a difficult time and proved himself trustworthy
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Secondary school Maths teacher and St Paul’s Church warden Danny Anterkyi shares about the pleasures and the challenges of a day in his life
from Mark Melluish
Calendar of events: May - Oct. 2013
Staff and Ministry leaders, Clusters and Lifegroups
THE FINAL WORD Lucy Avery
►►STORIES OF GRACE
Text & photo by | Georgie Murphy
‘I have a lasting assurance of how good God is’ He was tangibly close
We first visited St Paul’s in 2002. I had recently met John, and his brother Keith encouraged us to come along. I had been praying to find a church where I would feel comfortable and as soon as I walked through the doors of St Paul’s I knew that this was it! We settled in quickly and got married here in February 2004.
Shortly after we were married, as St Paul’s has such a focus on the local community, we felt we could be doing something in our locality, so in 2005 we left St Paul’s and found a local church in Langley, near Slough. However, in 2007 John and I knew we needed to come back to St Paul’s. We didn’t feel that we fitted in to our church in Slough. St Paul’s welcomed us back and we got stuck in, joined a Life Group and signed up for a rota or two.
Flat out of reach
Everything was great except for the drive up and down the motorway to get to church. When John had a worship rehearsal on Sunday mornings at 8.15am we could get there in less than 20 minutes. However, when there were road works on the motorway it could take us up to an hour. This seemed slightly crazy, and in desperation I calculated the price difference between our two-bedroom flat in
Georgie Murphy tells how God provided in her hour of need…
Langley and a two-bedroom flat in Ealing, but we found that unfortunately paying this difference would be somewhat out of our reach.
In the summer of 2008 I went for a routine smear test, but was called back almost immediately. My mother has lived with cancer for several years, so I knew that phone calls from the hospital asking you to pop in the next day were not routine. I downloaded loads of worship music and sermons from the St Paul’s website onto John’s iPod; worshipping and thinking about God got me through the waiting period. After tons of tests I was told what I was beginning to suspect: I had cervical cancer. I had to have an operation: either a trachelectomy, which would only remove the tumour, or a full hysterectomy. The surgeon would only know how much needed to be removed once they had carried out further tests, which would have to be done during the actual operation. I had a list of points for prayer which I shared with my Lifegroup, the first of which was that only the actual tumour would need to be removed. I was also concerned that all the injections wouldn’t hurt. I had had some bad experiences in the past and really hated injections!
What followed should have been a scary time but I felt totally at peace. I was actually quite excited because God was almost tangibly close and He was doing something special. I felt protected. I ended up spending a week in hospital and they were actually quite good days! There were staff shortages in the hospital so they gave me a bed in a private en suite room instead of in a ward and I surrounded myself with books, worship music and sermons. It was only when I had come out of hospital and I reread my prayer list, that I realised that all the prayers on the list had been answered: I had only needed to have the tumour removed, and the nurse doing the injections every day was really skilled, so they never hurt! Normal life began to resume. I was still finding travelling back from church quite difficult, especially on weeknights. I remember one particular evening when there were road works on the M4 I prayed like crazy! I honestly didn’t mind where God wanted us to be, but this was getting too difficult. Would He help us move closer to Ealing or show us another church with values similar to our own?
It was around that time that I remembered an insurance policy we had signed up for a few years earlier. It was called critical illness cover or something similar. My mum suggested I make a claim. I rang the number but told the man I had studied the small print in detail and probably didn’t have
anything serious enough to claim. He suggested I give it a go anyway so I sent him the paperwork and thought no more about it. A month or two later, I popped to the cash point down the road and checked my balance. I was rather surprised to find a large amount of additional money in there. Confused, I called John and he reminded me of the insurance application. A few days later the postman delivered information from the insurance company; I had qualified for a payout and it was the exact amount of money I had calculated we would need if we were to move to Ealing! It felt as though this was a clear message from God that we should make the move.
A flat from God
Eighteen months later in May 2010 we moved to our flat in Hanwell. I love it here. I love being close to so many special people. I have always been aware of how much God has provided for me and now every time I put my key in the door I am convinced that this flat was God-given. All this was a while ago. It’s good to think back and remember everything that happened. I know that God did not make my illness happen but it certainly feels as if He carried us through it and enabled something good to come out of something so horrible. As I write this my mum’s cancer is getting worse, which is a challenge. But I have a lasting assurance of how good God is. I am not so worried about any difficult times in the future now as I am convinced that God will draw close and provide for whatever we go through. ■
►►MEET THE STAFF
Text by | Charlotte Bubb ● Photo by | Mark Fisher
Lindsay Can you tell us a bit about your childhood? Melluish, I was the youngest of three children. I had two brothers; my Associate worked in the City as an accountant and used to take Pastor, wife father the Metropolitan line every day from Chorleywood, where of Senior we lived. My mother had been a primary school teacher but Pastor Mark stayed at home once she had children. The younger of my and mother two brothers used to tease me endlessly as brothers often of five, talks do, but the elder one, who was nine years older than me, about her life seemed to be proud of me and would often take me out when he went to see friends and include me in some of what and work he was doing. How long have you been at St Paul’s?
What is your job now at St Paul’s?
In addition I have recently qualified as a family therapist, which involves me in some one-to-one and group sessions with church members; I also have an honorary contract with a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS), where I work one day a week with the family therapy team.
What had been your previous job before going into the ministry?
I really enjoy a good game of tennis; I love going for long country walks and having quality time with family and friends. My favourite thing is to go with Mark to a pub or restaurant where there is a roaring log fire and eat a good meal. I also love the sunshine and, when it comes to holidays, the sea.
When did you become a Christian and what difference has it made to your life?
‘I love to make a difference in people’s lives’
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Christian as I was brought up in a Christian home. However I do remember as a young girl, maybe eight years old, attending a beach mission in Norfolk, and feeling that I wanted to invite Jesus into my life; I remember one of the helpers taking me aside to pray with me. I’ve always had a deep faith in God, trusting him to be with me in everything I do and answer my prayers. I remember when my oldest brother went on a sailing expedition at 18, I would pray for
nd her bro
I head up the women’s ministry and co-lead the family courses with Mark and their respective teams. I preach and lead at Sunday services, and I am the editor of this magazine, as well as multiple other jobs which go with being on the staff of a lively church.
Mark and I have been here for 20 years. Before that we were serving a curacy in Ashtead, Surrey. I was not on the staff then, as I had a small baby of eight weeks when we started there, but Mark and I led the youth work together, I led a women’s Lifegroup and helped with the equivalent of Great and Small, which for some reason was called the Pram Service (what would branding experts make of that?).
I worked as a bilingual PA to the chief executive of a large firm of City insurance brokers. I had a degree in French and Education and a postgraduate qualification in bilingual secretarial skills.
him every night, for God to protect him, as I was worried that something would happen to the boat he was on. In adulthood, God has been the foundation for my life and I’ve experienced him at work in supernatural ways many times.
s and Childhood yearChor leywood. growing up in
What do you do to relax?
With her pony as a teenager.
Is there anything that not many people know about you?
There are probably lots of things: one is that I love horse riding and had a pony when I was a young teenager. Another is that when I was doing my postgraduate bilingual secretarial course, I won a prize for coming second in the country for shorthand speed in French! I found I could type and do shorthand extremely quickly in both languages. I had to go and receive the prize at the Mansion House in the City. It was all rather bizarre but my mother was extremely proud!
k husband Mar Lindsay withtion in 1989. na at his ordi
Two months after that we were on holiday and I began to feel nauseous. In church on the Sunday the talk was about the story of the surprising birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, who was ‘barren’ and past childbearing age. The preacher said that what was key was how they gave glory to God and at that point, I suddenly knew I was pregnant and had a responsibility to give God the glory. A few days later a test confirmed my pregnancy and our son George was born seven months later. Motherhood is not without its challenges though and this year I have another challenge to face as I’m becoming a mother-in-law!
What do you love most about your job?
What are you most thankful for in your life?
I am most thankful for my five children, Jess, George, Callum, Beth and Jos. I count it a privilege to be a mum,
something I don’t take for granted, having experienced a period of infertility early on in our marriage. It was when our first child was a year old and we wanted to try for a second. We had always hoped to have at least three children and when nothing happened for several months we finally went for medical help. Two separate examinations showed that my fallopian tubes had become blocked and we were told that unless I had tubal surgery, which was far from guaranteed to work, I would not be able to conceive. We were naturally distraught and threw ourselves on God, asking people to pray for us. One particular friend, whom we hadn’t told about our situation, came to see us two days after we had had the news. He told us he had had a dream about us in which he believed God had shown him we were in trouble and he wanted to help us. He prayed for me for healing and encouraged us to do the same, every day. After he had gone, I felt as though an angel had visited us! A few weeks later we went away for a week and spent much of the time talking and seeking God together in prayer. At the end of that week I felt as though something had changed; the burden had lifted and I felt quite different.
Family holiday in Cornwall with daughter Jess.
I love to make a difference in people’s lives; I love to see people reach their potential; I enjoy working to see relationships healed, families and couples united. I feel hugely privileged to be in a job that facilitates this. I love to see people meet Jesus and to help them see the difference that He can make when they welcome Him into their lives. ■
►►CONNECTING St Pauls Ealing
Get Connected Welcome Suppers If you want to find out more about the church family at St Paul’s, then this is the evening for you. Welcome suppers happen several times a year. They are an opportunity to share a meal together, meet some of the staff and ministry leaders and hear about the vision and values of who we are as a church and what we believe in. We really encourage you to come along. For more information call the office on 020 8779 3778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our worship services are a very important part of church life, but it's at our Lifegroup meetings during the week that we can experience close friendship and mutual support, helping each other as we go on as followers of Jesus. Meeting together with other Christians is vital to spiritual growth and health. We would encourage everyone to join one of our Lifegroups. Various groups meet throughout the week, with evening groups meeting on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Lifegroups for women are on Thursday mornings and Tuesday evenings. To find out more look at the list on page 37. Contact groups to find out what they are about. There are groups at different times and days in Hanwell, Northfields, Ealing and Isleworth.
If you are new to St Paul’s, or thinking of joining Cluster Nights us, there are lots Once a month there is a Cluster night in church. This is where of ways to meet a Cluster of Lifegroups meet together. Anyone new to the church or who is not in a Lifegroup is invited to come along people and get and join in. connected into church life. Here Have a look at page 37 for a list of Clusters and their Lifegroups, is a run-down of where they meet and how to get in touch with a group. regular events for people who Great and Small are new to the This is our Wednesday morning event for parents and carers church, or just with children aged four and under. It’s a morning full of music, games, a bouncy castle, soft play, stories, crafts and want to get to coffee and cake. know people Come and join us on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 10am in the church.
This is a group for all of retirement age and above. We meet for worship, prayer, coffee and friendship. Guest speakers visit regularly. Meetings are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 10.30am in the church. For more information contact Stefan Anstis at email@example.com or contact the office on 020 8579 9444
Great and Small
Men’s and Women's Events
There are regular events run for men and women in the church ranging from breakfasts to curry nights, socials and outdoor activities. For more information on the men's events see pages 22-23 or contact Guy Loureiro at Loureiro.firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Lindsay Melluish at email@example.com for women's events or see pages 19-21
Everyone has questions about life. Does God exist? What about all the suffering in the world? Does prayer work? The Alpha course provides a place to discuss these questions and many more in a friendly and comfortable environment.
We’re a bunch of people exploring why following Jesus is worthwhile and working out what it means to follow Him. We meet to do something, somewhere, almost every single Tuesday. We run our own short ‘courses’ and we also just hang out and aim to be the type of friends who are there for each other when needed, at any time.
The Lounge is our mid-week congregation which meets on Tuesdays from 8-10pm.
Email Tom Hewson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm in the church. We serve dinner and then the evening’s topic is presented. Coffee and discussion in small groups follows and we finish at 9.30pm. Next course starts in September 2013.
Daytime Alpha for Women
Meets at St Paul’s at 9.30am on Thursdays – crèche available. There is an opportunity to meet over coffee with other women from the church and community who have gathered for Connect (see St Paul’s Women’s events on page 19). At 10am the material for discussion is presented. This is followed by coffee and pastries and discussion in small groups. We finish at 11.15am. There is a creche available. Next course starts in September 2013
Text by |Bri L'Hostis ● Photo by | iStockphoto.com
A God-centred place for kids Our desire in the Allstars team is to partner with parents in bringing their children into a growing relationship with Jesus Allstars is the name of the children’s ministry at St Paul’s. It’s a vibrant, fun and God-centred place for children of all ages. Everyone on the Allstars kids’ team loves children and considers it a great honour to serve the children of our church and community. We are all passionate about teaching children about Jesus and watching their love for God grow. Allstars caters for newborn babies all the way up to children in Year 6. Each children’s group is led by an experienced leader and includes games, crafts, music, play and teaching appropriate for their age. Our goal at Allstars is to reach children in Ealing with the love of God in a fresh and relevant way. We strive to ensure that every group and event is a safe, fun, friendly and godly place to be. You can spot an Allstars team member easily as they’ll be wearing one of our cool red and white t-shirts, tabards or hoodies. We really hope your children enjoy their time in Allstars and we look forward to welcoming them soon. The Allstars Team
If you’re passionate about teaching kids about Jesus and would like to become part of the team email Bri L’Hostis at email@example.com or Abi Dust at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office. We’d love to meet you!
ALL WEEK ON SUNDAY We have a full children’s programme at both services every Sunday morning for ages 0-11.
What we are learning During the winter term, the Allstars groups worked their way through the Old Testament, looking at famous families and super prophets. We learned that even the most famous people in the Bible make big mistakes and that God never stops loving them or us! During the spring term, Sparklers, Shiners, Crackers and Lasers have been taking a closer look at the New Testament and learning how to live like Jesus asks us to. Voltage have been looking at life’s big questions through a specially adapted version of the Alpha Course. On 7 July don’t miss the Allstars Year 6 graduation. On 14 July we’ll have ‘The Big Move’, when all children will move up to their new groups. We’re having loads of fun learning about God, doing crafts and activities and playing lots of goofy games. We hope that you’ll join us on Sunday mornings!
Age 0-1 Leaders | Phil and Lucy Avery
Age 2-3 Leaders | Steve and Mia Pye Liz Carruthers
Nursery and Reception Leaders | Ruth Dales Julie and Simon Richardson Claire and Mark Finnett
Years 1-2 Leader | Tim Theobalds
Years 3-4 Leader | Bri L’Hostis
Voltage What the kids think
‘The worst thing about Breakout is WHEN IT ENDS.’ Joseph ‘I used to come to church just to play the games and have some fun but now I come because I believe in God.’ Grace ‘My favourite thing about Voltage is learning about God’ Svea
Years 5-6 Leader | Abi Dust
Get ready for even more exciting Full House! We’ve got fun games, quizzes and fabulous dramas coming your way! Join us every third Sunday of the month during the morning services to see what’s in store.
Breakout Kids’ Club
Abi Dust, our fabulous children’s intern is leading Breakout this year. She’s planned an exciting line-up of events such as challenge nights, movie viewings, ice cream parties and much more! Every week is a new adventure; don’t miss out on any of the fun. Breakout runs every Tuesday during term time from 6-7.15pm.
Whole Family Events
We had a great time at Eggstravaganza with a massive egg hunt, games, drama and dance workshops, music and more. Look out for more big events coming up!
Great and Small
This is the place to be on Wednesday mornings. We’ve been busy singing and dancing, playing and crafting. Ruffy the dog and the whole team would like to invite you to join us. See the church website for dates.
Abi has been leading assemblies at a few local schools lately. If you’re interested in inviting St Paul’s Ealing to your school for a fun and engaging assembly, please email email@example.com.
Text by | Richard Turner ● Photos by | Tony Plews , Annica May & 123RF.com
Exalt Weekend Away
What̕s on Years 10-13
Years 7-11 Tuesdays 5.45-7.30pm Leader | Rachel Bedford Girls’ Cell is a fun, friendly environment to enjoy girly company and find out what it means to be a woman of God.
Wednesdays 7.30-9.30pm Leader | Richard Turner This is a place where we can get into the Bible, pray, worship and also just have fun together! We’ve been looking at some of the big questions of Christianity and life, and we’ve also got some exciting things coming up over the summer including a trip to Soul Survivor!
In March, Exalt went away to Kent for a weekend of worship, teaching, games, challenges and activities. Here are the highlights from some of the young people who went:
Sundays 8.15-9.30pm Leader | Richard Turner
NICE DANCING RICH! ‘This weekend away was amazing because of 1. Forfeits (Nice dancing Rich!) 2. The murder game 3. The talks as they really made me think about my connection with God.’ Ellie, 12
‘The talks were amazing, I learnt a lot. Volleyball was really fun. I also really enjoyed beating Rachel on the go-karts, it was a good race!’ Jos, 13
After the 6.30pm service on a Sunday evening we have Upper Room to chill out, chat, play games and just enjoy the last bit of the weekend!
‘I liked the Exalt weekend away. It was great to make new friends, play games, go abseiling, rock climbing and go-karting. It was nice to be away from busy life and have time to have fun away from school. It was also a brilliant time to draw closer to God and great to see many people give their lives to Jesus. We all had an amazing time.’ Josh, 12
Youth Jam Years | 10-13 Fridays (3 May, 14 June, 27 Sept, 1 Nov ) 7.30-10pm Leader | Mark Tate Every half term we like to get together for a Youth Jam, where we learn some songs, eat good food, do songwriting and instrument workshops, have fun and of course jam together!
Thursdays 5-6.30pm Leader | Marcus Jones Whether we’re competing in the Alpha Male challenge, learning about what the Bible says to us or just playing football, it’s always fun! Recently we’ve been getting into the book of Revelation and seeing what we can learn from that.
Years 7-9 Sundays 11am-12.15pm Leader | Tony Plews
We have a great time getting into the Bible and seeing what it says about the stuff we face every day. Recently we’ve been looking at the theme of justice and the things that are on God’s heart, as well as some of the things that Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount. We play games, watch videos, have discussions and lots of other fun stuff too!
Fridays 6.30-8pm Leader | Richard Turner Come and hang out at Fusion with crazy games, mad challenges and a chance to catch up with friends. You’ll never be bored on a Friday night again!
►►STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
More and more new people were coming along
Text by | Ros Hindmarch • Illustration by | Annica May Hi Guys, As a relative newcomer to St Paul’s (I started coming in November 2012), I’ve found that getting involved in a Lifegroup has been very important in becoming part of the church community. Members of my group have been a huge source of support during my PGCE year (a somewhat gruelling and exhausting experience at times!). Most importantly, I have felt really encouraged to keep going in my walk with Jesus and hope I’ve been an encouragement to others in the group too.
When I first arrived at Mark and Laura Tate’s house on a Tuesday evening for Lifegroup, the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of people packed into their
After a Cluster social in April at Acton Park Royal Bowling Ed Couchman came out on top with a high score of 154! Again over 40 of us came out to enjoy the evening and make some new friends.
Splitting can be a good thing
It was not a surprise when Mark announced that the group was going to have to split and multiply – a sadness for us all, but also exciting to be able to welcome more people into two new groups. The ‘break up’ evening was suitably marked with Dominos pizzas and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, both of which softened the blow, as well as a fiercely-fought competition as to who could find the best YouTube clip ever. The winner of which has now surely been replaced by the St Paul’s Harlem Shake!
BELLS all the way
Ros Hindmarch gives us her experience of being new to St Pauls, joining a growing Lifegroup and becoming part of the community
The Young Adult and Student ministry continues to go from strength to strength. In January, over 40 of us went to Retreat to Advance - a weekend of teaching, ministry & worship for young adults held at Center Parcs. We now have five Lifegroups in our cluster all over Ealing in Northfields, Hanwell, Isleworth, South Ealing & Ealing Broadway.
living room. There were at least 14 people, including a disconcertingly large number of South Africans, and apparently not everyone was there! Over the following weeks, more and more new people were coming along. It was an amazing testimony to the growth of the 20s and 30s ministry at St Paul’s, but a bit of a practical problem in terms of finding enough seats for everyone.
Two groups are now meeting – one led by Mark and Laura, the other by Regardt and Antoinette Botes and Jonathan and Bri L’Hostis. We’ve been pressing on with BELLS (Bless, Eat, Learn, Listen, Send) – a set of principles that the 20s and 30s groups are using to help us to live out our faith. We’ve also been sharing generally and praying for each other. We’ve had some awesome social times, not least a Mexican evening recently - yum! I love being a part of Lifegroup, and feel blessed to have found such a great community at St Paul’s. For anyone who wants to become involved in the life of the church and to keep growing in their faith, I can’t recommend it highly enough. ■
Something new coming up to our Cluster is an evening called 'going deeper' - these evenings are designed to stretch the mind and will tackle theological issues. Graham Mcfarlane, Vice Principal of the London School of Theology, is a charismatic Glaswegian, a fantastic communicator and will be speaking to us towards the end of May details to follow soon. There is also a group going to Momentum (Soul Survivor) in August - a Christian week long festival for young adults – for more details contact Will Batchellor on firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless Guys, Mark
FREE students MEALS group
Events Friday 7th June | Cluster social (details to follow) Friday 19th July | Cluster social 23-27 August | Momentum (Soul Survivor)
stpaulsealing.com email@example.com 020 8579 9444
►►STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
Text by | Matt Street
‘She had a beaming smile across her face’ It was 9.30am on a freezing February Saturday morning when a Besom posse gathered. There were around a dozen of the young adults from St Paul’s volunteering as painterdecorators and we met outside a flat in Southall, home to Pushpinder and her family.
Having unloaded all of the decorating equipment from the van to just outside Pushpinder’s front door, we talked through the plan with the family and agreed on which colours were going where. The task in hand was to decorate the lounge, hallway and stairs and the upstairs bathroom. Tom and Mandy, who were heading up the day, divided us into mini task forces. Kevin and I took to the upstairs bathroom armed with sandpaper, brushes, rollers and paint. Five minutes into prepping the bathroom, we were kindly handed a nice hot brew by one of the daughters. It was as if she had known us for years, and this was just the medicine
Matt Street shares his experience of doing a Besom decorating project with a group of young adults from St Paul’s
Welcome to these pages for St Paul’s women! Here you can read about some of what we’ve done in the last little while as well as what’s coming next. We realize that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the women’s ministry because we are all unique with different strengths to offer and different needs to meet. So we hope you’ll feel free to dip in and out, bringing what you can and taking what you need. Our prayer is that through what happens in the St Paul’s women’s ministry you will grow in your relationship with God and be released to do His work in your home, your community and your place of work. With love, Lindsay
we needed! Around an hour into the day, Kevin and I were well under way, close to completing one coat of paint in the bathroom.
A peek around the door saw the rest of the team painting on and around the combi-ladder, stationed on the staircase for those awkward high bits. The transformation was dramatic, from an aged off-white to a bold and modern purple in the hallway (there was an accident that morning, and at one point it looked like I had murdered a Ribena berry). A squeeze past the team saw an equally impressive transformation of the lounge, including a bright red feature wall. All of a sudden there was a commotion and an alluring smell coming from the kitchen. Pushpinder had bought in 200 samosas to feed the hungry troops. What a legend! This gave us the extra push for the second half and the team were back at it in no time. As 3pm approached, Pushpinder’s home had been thoroughly transformed and, having picked up a brush herself for some of the journey, she had a beaming smile across her face as we admired the result. The family were really grateful and the effort had clearly made a massive difference to their home. The Besom works closely with the council to help families in the Ealing borough, from gardening to decorating and everything in between. It’s great to make such a difference to those that are less fortunate in terms of health, time or finances. To give up a Saturday to help someone in our local community is a small sacrifice for such a great reward. ■
AWAKEN! is an event for all St Paul’s women and their friends. It takes place periodically on Saturday mornings throughout the year. There’s breakfast, vibrant worship, relevant teaching addressing issues women face in the 21st century and ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Watch out for announcements on the St Paul’s website.
Prayer Triplets: Another place where real support can happen is in prayer triplets. It is in these triplets that people find great strength through the deepening of relationships: something which enables trust to grow and gives opportunities to be real and ‘bear one another’s burdens’. Contact Lindsay Melluish via the Church Office.
Street Dance - Tuesdays 8.30-9.30pm A great way to keep fit and meet friends. All women welcome.
St Paul’s Women’s Programme Summer/Autumn 2013
Saturday 8 June | Awaken! Women’s breakfast with Di Archer Saturday 22 June | Women’s Social: Tea, cake and shopping! Saturday 12 October | Women’s half day conference with Lin Button Friday 29 November | Create for Christmas
CONNECT is the network of Lifegroups for St Paul’s women which provides a place for women to grow in their faith. It’s a place where friendships can form and deepen and the nitty gritty of life can be shared. There is prayer, worship, Bible study and ministry. Everyone at St Paul’s is encouraged to be in a Lifegroup. If your preference is for an all-women’s group, CONNECT is definitely for you. The groups meet on Thursday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Contact Lindsay Melluish or Sarah Parry via the church office.
Connect goes out
'On the mor ning of Conn ect Goes Out our grou p went and stood in the busy pedest rianised area outside Sainsbur y’s and Nor thfie lds Libr ar y in West Ealing. '... Please turn over to read what the different Co nnect groups got up to.
Text & Photos by | Connect group leaders
Connect Goes Out ►► ‘On the morning of Connect Goes Out our group went and stood in the busy pedestrianised area between Sainsbury’s and Northfields Library in West Ealing. We gave out heart-shaped cupcakes, biscuits, chocolates and butterflies made with lollipops to passers-by. The idea was simply to share something of God’s love for people on Valentine’s Day. We also gave copies of the church magazine to anyone who wanted to know more. Some people walked past us, assuming we wanted a donation for charity, but many stopped, took something and had a chat. A few definitely came back more than once! People were touched that we were simply giving away treats for nothing. The highlight was probably when a man who had previously accepted a chocolate from one of us came back later with a huge Toblerone bar as a gift to us!’ Lucy Avery & Anna Weaver
On Valentine’s Day this year Connect went out in their life groups to carry out various projects in order to make a difference in the community. Here are some of their stories.
►► ‘Some of our group visited a woman called Caroline, who had become disabled following a heart attack and stroke. We took her chocolate cake and daffodils to cheer her up and she invited us into her home. It was a privilege and a humbling experience for us to listen to her life story and to hear how illness had disabled her. She allowed us to lay hands on her and pray for her before we left. It was really special being able to bring her into the presence of Jesus. She didn’t give us much feedback, but asked if we would visit her again soon!’ Melanie Jelleyman, Nicola Holden & Sarah Parry
►► ‘Our project was to help a neighbour clear from her front room what turned out to be two full carloads of videos that had been collected over years. They were taking up so much space that the room could no longer be the pretty sitting room it had been 12 years earlier. We packed bags and boxes and loaded a people carrier full to the brim and made two trips to the very helpful staff at Greenford dump. When the videos were all gone, we sat down on the cleared sofas in that same room and had coffee and cake with the family as we listened to their life story. The lady of the house and her daughter said, “This is the beginning of our new life.” That evening they sent a text saying, “Words alone can’t express how happy all of you have made us; thank you ever so much for bringing those lovely ladies with you today. We still can’t believe it!”’ Julie Gehring & Nell Fox
►► ‘Beautiful fabrics, bright buttons and ribbons, comfy sofas, cakes, fresh coffee and a creche next door: this was a morning for women who would appreciate time to come and relax, chat and do some crafts. Our group sent invitations to women connected to church-supported ministries like CAP and Choices or simply those we thought might enjoy this type of morning. We had three guests, one of whom had travelled on two buses from Southall. Being small in number meant more time to get to know the women. The morning was fun, relaxing and no one seemed to want to leave.’ Karen Young & Jo Smith
►► ‘Our group visited a single mother whose garden we had worked on last summer. She had since moved house and because of her disabilities had been unable to unpack and put things away. So under her direction we were able to unpack the pile of boxes in her hallway, discard the unwanted contents and put her things wherever she wanted them to go. As we worked she told us we had enabled her, by our being available, to do something that she couldn’t have done alone. She believed we were an answer to her prayers. Before we left we prayed for her, for healing and for strength as she raises her children and copes with her disability. She joined us and prayed a long, heartfelt prayer, full of gratitude as well as requests. Afterwards she told us this was the first time she had prayed for several months. It was very moving and we were glad that, as well as enabling her to make her home more comfortable, we had helped her to start praying again.’ Lindsay Melluish & Dami Wollen
►► ‘Our group decided we would use the time to prepare things to bless two groups of people in Ealing. The first was those at the Ealing Night Shelter: we put together a gift of toiletries for each person. Then we spent the rest of the morning baking for the Ealing Soup Kitchen. One of the group offered to host the morning and we took over her kitchen, preparing fairy cakes, flapjacks and brownies. Fielding School had a day off that day so some ‘little helpers’ joined us in decorating the fairy cakes. The Night Shelter organisers were thrilled with our gift of toiletries as were those at the Soup Kitchen when we delivered the cakes. It was great fun spending a Thursday morning doing this, but even better knowing that we were blessing others at the same time.’ Julia Sarson & Alison Moore
►► ‘Our group wanted to work with mothers and women in difficulty, and working with a local women’s shelter gave us that opportunity. Our immediate task was to provide some items for the babies and toddlers in the shelter. We spent time putting together nappy care packages to relieve some of the financial stress on the mothers. We were pleased when the shelter invited us to come in and meet some of the women. Two of us were able to go to the shelter for a couple of hours, and over coffee we shared our church’s desire to invite these women to be part of our community so that they might see the peace we have found in knowing God’s love for us. During our time at the shelter one of us had the opportunity to share part of her testimony, and as she did so the women were visibly moved by the story of how she found comfort, peace and a sense of belonging through her relationship with God. We’ve been invited back to the shelter; we believe God is blessing this relationship and we pray that we’ll be able to show these women the love and compassion of Jesus.’ Eileen Lawler, Monica Backes and Jane Pavey
Text by | Guy Loureiro ● Illustration by | 123RF.com
Men’s events are held most months to build and strengthen the friendships at St Paul’s. Check these pages out to find out more Men’s Events
Men’s events are held most months to build and strengthen the friendships at St Paul’s. We usually meet over a meal – fried breakfasts and curry evenings being the current flavour formats. These meals are great for catching up with friends and meeting new faces. They are also great events to invite neighbours along to with the meal only costing a fiver. We usually have a guest speaker who gives a short talk on something to challenge the group and there is time at the end either to discuss what’s been said or to carry on the general banter.
Finding our mission
Last November David Watson spoke passionately about discipleship and what that looks like for a Christian in the 21st century.
David has recently returned from working abroad where he was helping the local community through a micro-loan business aimed at giving individuals a start and helping them achieve self-sustainable income through the seeded finance. He challenged us to find our mission through endeavouring to hear what God is saying to us and to follow as a true disciple of Christ. It is great having him back in the UK. Buy him a beer and have a chat about what his next mission entails.
At the men’s breakfast in February Phil George together with his flip chart set the men a 2013 challenge of getting FIT: to Focus on the word of God, to be Innovative and to work as a Team relying on others and God for the best results. For those whose New Year resolutions
had already slipped or been overlooked, these three goals provided a good substitute to focus on in the coming year. There was great discussion in small groups after the talk and a time to reflect and pray for one another.
Events to come
As the temperature warms up, we have a series of fitness and sporting challenges. Fifty men have signed up for this year’s London to Amsterdam cycle. But for those who haven’t or are looking for something different, there are other challenges. Sign up for the St Paul’s 5km run and a 1km/1 mile river swim. Several St Paul’s members have already joined the Saturday morning 5km Gunnersbury Park run. We will use this facility for our first run challenge on Saturday 18th May. Be there at 08:45am. There is no cost for the run but
you need to sign up at www.parkrun.org.uk before the day to print your barcode to record your result. The 1km or 1 mile Great River Swim takes place in Chiswick on 31st August at 10:30 – see www.pissarro.co.uk/events.php. There is a £15 cost to cover administration and a donation to a river charity. River swimming is exhilarating and liberating. Nothing matches training in the Thames with the swans under orangey-pink sunset skies.
Outside of our gatherings and events, men meet up in Lifegroups and Magnet groups to pray with each other on a regular basis and look out for each other. Many of the men are also involved in other St Paul’s ministries that serve our community – a great way to get involved, meet others and live out one’s faith
Saturday 4–7 May | CHALLENGE London to Amsterdam cycle Saturday 18 May | 5km run at Gunnersbury Park 8:45am Monday 24 June | Men’s BBQ @ the Sarsons 7:30pm Saturday 31 August | Great River Swim event at Pissarros Chiswick Pier 10:30am
in practical ways. Singling out a few ministries, speak to Stefan Anstis about getting involved in the English Community School of English, Richard Sarson about helping out at the Soup Kitchen or Besom projects and Ray Elliott about prison ministry.
Ultimately we have a vision to see more men explore their faith. St Paul’s regularly runs the Alpha Course – a great forum in which to ask questions about Christianity and learn more about one’s faith. The Alpha programme works because of the unpressured format in which the Christian faith is presented and discussed. Sign up for the next one if you have never been on one or have questions that tax your faith.
I was struck by the power of encouragement in a talk by Sugata Mitra on Ted.com - see www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_ school_in_the_cloud.html. He has been conducting simple experiments in rural India in getting kids to learn without a teacher. His ‘secret sauce’ is setting up a cloud of encouraging grannies via the internet to spur on the teacherless learning of the kids. The apostle Paul realised the importance of this ingredient in the rapid growth of the early church (see Acts 20:1,2). So I encourage you to be salt and light with lashings of encouragement in our St Paul’s community and in your families and your work and social circles. God bless! Guy Loureiro
Text by | Playschool Parent Committee ● Photo by | Playschool & 123RF.com
Learning through Where, if anywhere, should you enrol your pre-school child who is eager to learn and beginning to want some independence? This year’s parent committee for St Paul’s Community Playschool, Sophie Roberts, Kate Lamb, Stefanie Moore and Alice Okuyiga, explain why they’re happy with the choice they made St Paul’s Community Playschool offers pre-school children the opportunity to play, learn and socialise in small groups. It is run by manager Adaleine, deputy manager Dawn and their team of dedicated key workers, all of whom work in partnership with parents to ensure that Playschool is a happy, positive and educationally rewarding experience for every child who attends.
Each week has a new theme, and children are offered a wide range of stimulating activities which are based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). It excels at providing fun, educational and high-quality learning. Some of the activities that the children enjoy include arts and crafts, books and stories, baking, sand and water play, outdoor play, music and singing.
St Paul̕s in the community The Besom
Playschool. We want to know that our child is being cared for when we aren’t there for them; that they have someone to laugh with them, comfort them when they fall, reassure them when they are unsure, and wipe their nose when they have a cold!
Important parent involvement
Playschool has a strong emphasis on involving parents in the day-to-day running of the settings and supporting the children in their learning and development. The emphasis is very much on engaging with the community and, with a schedule of events throughout the year for parents, there are opportunities to meet and socialise with new people, expanding their personal and social networks. Playschool is a not-for-profit charity and despite its success, it remains heavily reliant on fundraising and contributions from volunteers to keep going. There are many opportunities to get involved, from accounting to DIY, baking or fundraising. ■
Since our children started at Playschool they have enjoyed getting involved in many different events and activities, including making paper rockets for Bonfire Night, learning Christmas songs for the annual Christmas party and baking heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day.
Staff who care
The staff are dedicated to creating a caring and nurturing environment for the children. For us and many other parents, the emphas is on nurturing was a key attraction to
If you are interested in enrolling your child or have a particular skill or interest and would like to volunteer or simply want more information please contact Adaleine on 07825 247 840.
The Besom in Ealing enables Christians who have a heart for the poor to give of their time or their possessions. Small groups of people can do painting and gardening projects, or clothes sorting sessions and furniture deliveries.People who want to give possessions, such as big household items, can do this via The Besom. The Besom in Ealing runs a weekly van collection and delivery service. Smaller items can also be given. Our recipients are referred to us through our links with social services, Surestart and similar organisations. To find out more contact Besom on 07766 072 150
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) The debt counselling centre at St Paul’s is a partnership between Christians Against Poverty and a number of churches in Ealing. Our aim is to relieve poverty and bring justice to those in need in our community through top-quality debt counselling. There is always a solution to help people get out of debt. Though it may not be an easy journey, CAP is there alongside them until they become debt-free. St Paul’s members support the ministry by praying for particular needs, visiting and befriending clients and helping at social events. Contact Azniv Pambakian on 020 8579 8882 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ealing Community School of English (ECSE)
The aim of Ealing Community School of English (ECSE) is to reach out to the immigrants and refugees in our area and to equip them to integrate into the community through literacy and support. The literacy classes are run by a group of dedicated volunteer teachers and helpers from St Paul’s who wish to bless our community. However, participation in all areas of the school is open to everyone. For more information, contact Stefan Anstis on 020 8567 8697 or email@example.com
St Paul’s Community Playschool
St Paul’s Community Playschool was started about 15 years ago by church mums. Our main goal is to love and nurture our little ones the way Jesus loved children. As they are only two and a half when they start, it is often the first separation from mum and dad. We are regulated under Ofsted and The Early Learning Goals. We accept children from all faiths and cultures and they are aware that we are a Christian Playgroup. We are open termtime five days a week from 9.30am-12pm. For more information, contact the church office on 020 8579 9444
The Soup Kitchen runs every weekend at St John’s Church, Ealing, serving 90 people with hot food and sandwiches. We are one of seven churches on the rota – a great example of churches working together to serve the poor. The clients range from the lonely to the desperate for whom it is a lifeline. If you can spare any time between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday or Sunday call Richard Sarson on 07860 612 018
Choices Pregnancy Centre
Choices was founded in 1999 by a group of Christians from a variety of local churches. We are part of a national network of about 160 crisis pregnancy centres (Careconfidential).
Our aim is for women and their partners to feel accepted and supported and to receive whatever accurate information they need. Our services are totally confidential and we are staffed by trained volunteers, male and female. Advice is always nondirective and our aim is to enable our clients to make decisions that they are fully involved in. For more information on these services or if you would like to help Choices through donating equipment or becoming a volunteer, contact Lanre Elliot on 020 8830 8034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers from St Paul’s go into Wormwood Scrubs Prison to take chapel services and help on the Alpha courses that are run there. During these services, we lead the inmates in worship and Bible study, and also offer opportunities for prayer. Within the prison ministry St Paul’s supports: ► The Kairos Prison ministry by providing a team to lead and serve for the three-day courses ► Sycamore Tree, a six-week restorative justice programme dealing with victim awareness and restoring victims and offenders ► Angel Tree, a programme run by Prison Fellowship at Christmas when churches buy presents and send them to prisoners’ children on behalf of the prisoner. Want to find out more? Contact Ray Elliot on 020 8579 9444
St Paul�s Marriage and Family Life Courses At St Paul’s we love to celebrate family and do all we can to encourage and bless those who are set in families. Here are some of the courses we currently offer to enable that to happen
Family Time – Parenting Children Next course | Autumn 2013 Leaders | Mark and Lindsay Melluish Andrew and Nicola Holden
Raising children in the 21st century is a big responsibility! This course is for all parents of children under 12 and provides an opportunity to meet together in an informal, relaxed atmosphere, listen to a talk about a parenting topic followed by discussion in small groups. Fun, new friends and fab food! Topics include: Having a vision for your family, family identity, family values, influences on our children, building relationships, guiding, shaping and discipline and much more.
Preparation for Marriage Course
How to create a roadmap for your family Your initial assumption might be that a parenting course teaches you how to deal with specific parenting issues on a day-to-day basis. As we had no particular issues with, for example, eating, sleeping or tantrums, my husband was initially sceptical about the benefits of doing this course.
The Family Time – Parenting Children course ran in the autumn of 2012. Here’s what two couples from the community said about their experiences
Next course | Courses run regularly throughout the year Contact the church office for forthcoming dates Leaders | Barry and Val Denham
Space to think about what is important in family life We found the Family Time – Parenting Children Course to be a warm, welcoming gathering of fellow parents and wise, witty facilitators, which provided the opportunity to take an overview of what you might hope to achieve in family life. It’s so easy to become bogged down with the day-today management of chores and children, and this course provided the space and impetus to put aside the minutiae of family life and think more deeply about what is really important.
But the Family Time – Parenting Course goes so much deeper than this with the basis being how to create a roadmap for your family̕s future. We found the content to be well delivered; we were each given a summary booklet which made it very easy to follow each week’s message and most importantly to review it.
The course has helped us implement changes now that are going to reinforce the love within our family for years to come. We highly recommend it! ■ Tim & Andrea Page
From the big questions like, ‘What is my dream for my children’s lives?’ to practical tips such as, ‘Don’t be too quick to repeat an instruction,’ and from an eye-opening quiz which asked, for example, ‘How much of my available time do I spend with my children?’ to heart-warming ideas such as being the scribe for their dictated thank you letters, we found the course full of valuable guidance for parents of all sorts, at all stages of their parenting journey. ■ Rob & Emma May
The pre-marriage course is run one evening a week for three weeks and is designed for couples who have decided on or are considering engagement. The courses run with two or three couples who we invite to join us at home over coffee and biscuits in a relaxed and friendly environment. As we work through the course couples are given time and space alone to work through material that will help them think through some key issues that they face as they enter marriage. Most couples find the course to be a helpful, good experience and a lot of fun!
The Marriage Course
Next course | Spring 2014 Leaders | Mark and Lindsay Melluish Barry and Val Denham For all married couples who want to build a marriage that lasts a lifetime, this course aims to provide the setting for relevant teaching followed by a chance to discuss things, just the two of you, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Topics covered include understanding differences, effective communication, resolving conflict, parents and in-laws, good sex and much more.
Family Time – Parenting Teenagers Next course | Summer 2013 Leaders | Mark and Lindsay Melluish Phil and Sue George
The teenage years can be challenging but they needn’t be the nightmare many talk about. This course aims to encourage confidence in those parenting the teens and provide some tools to make this season of life manageable and enjoyable.
Mother to Daughter
Next course | Summer 2014 Leaders | Lindsay Melluish Jo Jenks As girls become young women their relationship with mum becomes crucial for guidance and loving support. Mother to Daughter is a course which aims to strengthen these relationships between mothers and their girls in school years 6 to 9. There are four sessions for the mums on their own and four sessions for the mums and their girls together. Topics for mums include: the power of example, communication, building confidence and encouraging personal value. Meet new friends and eat and drink delicious refreshments.
►►A DAY IN THE LIFE
Text & Photo by | Danny Anterkyi
‘I try to pray for each student as they enter my room’ My wife would say that from the minute my alarm goes off at 6.05am I go into autopilot, and even though I hate to admit it I think she’s right. I am one of those people that doesn’t need a snooze function on my alarm because as soon as it beeps I’m up and ready to start my routine. The first and most important thing I do, for the sake of marital harmony, is to make Angela her morning cup of coffee. But from that point on it’s all about getting out to work. The next part of my routine makes me think that women are wrong when they say that men have it easy, because they don’t have to shave every day – I loathe it!
Up and out
After the shave comes the shower and the dressing: oh, what tie to wear today? Does this jacket match? Then I am ironing the children’s school uniforms while Angela is asking me what I want in my packed lunch and what fruit I want in my smoothie – so many decisions and at such an early hour! How am I supposed to multi-task in the morning – think, talk and iron at the same time? Finally at about 7.30am I get into the car and turn on some relaxing music, or as my daughter would describe it, ‘That trumpet stuff without words,’ more commonly known as
What does a normal day look Jazz. The traffic on my like for Church way to school is not Warden Danny too bad and it’s often Anterkyi? Here then that I get to chat he talks about to God about things. morning multiIt’s about the most tasking and some peaceful time of the of the challenges day to do this so I of being a teacher make the most of it. in a secondary Ambassador school for God Once I get to school – I’m a Maths teacher in a Catholic secondary school – I move into another frame of mind. I always begin my
day by remembering that I am an ambassador for God in my work and so far I think I get to about mid-afternoon before I feel I’ve blown it; still, I’ve only had 12 years in the school to practice!
temper with the children. So I try to do the same, as I know that what I do first thing in the school day for these children could affect how they behave and respond to others for the rest of the day.
The day officially starts with registering my form and saying a prayer before sending the children off to their first lesson. This may sound simple but the grace of God is needed even in this short time; some of the students can be very challenging as there are things that they are supposed to have been doing every school day for the last three and a half years that they still don’t do. How difficult is it to remember your reading book and have your planner signed by a parent each day? Sometimes I have to check myself and think, ‘What would Jesus do at this point?’ and although I don’t always know exactly what He would do, I know He wouldn’t lose his
Different skills to meet different needs
The rest of the day is filled with teaching students, from those who have special needs to those who are about to take their A Levels, and sometimes switching from one level of teaching to another within five minutes can be quite testing. That’s why before each lesson I try to pray for each student as they enter my room, though it doesn’t always happen as I’m so busy getting the Interactive White Board set up or the exercise books sorted or working out who hasn’t done their homework and needs chasing up! The students know that they should have their shirts tucked in so I forever have children walking towards me tucking in their shirts – as if I don’t know that they will only untuck them as soon as I’ve passed them! Still we live in hope…
Arriving home at the end of the day is blissful as it’s then that I get to spend some quiet time in my little office. But soon this quiet time is taken over by the hustle and bustle of the evening. I have three children, two sons and a daughter, and there is usually something that one of them needs from me or wants to show me. After dinner, when things have settled, Angela continues to help the children with their reading and projects and so on, for which she has far more patience than me, while I disappear back to my little office to mark books. By the time we get to sit together it’s about 9.30 or 10.00pm and that’s when I undertake my final duty of the day – again for the sake of marital harmony – and give Angela a foot massage! Well, that’s about it – a day in my life. Hectic and full on it may be, but I wouldn’t change a thing. ■
Good News to the Poor
Text & Photo by | Sheenagh Burrell
Last October a small team from St Paul̕s travelled to the diocese of Niassa in northern Mozambique to see how we might be able to support the exciting community development work happening there. Sheenagh Burrell returned inspired and humbled
In five intensive days Mark Melluish, Fiona Cole, Cathy Webber and I witnessed the huge range of dynamic church and community mobilisation work (Umoja) of the Adeptos, specially trained young mobilisers who help churches work with their communities to explore and address their needs using their own resources. Whether they are teaching, planning or building prototypes, we saw that drama, music, dance and football are their key tools. We were based in the city of Nampula, at St John the Apostle and Evangelist in Napipine, and travelled out to very remote rural areas where we saw Umoja in action.
Practical help eases burden in Namplia
Namplia marshalled the whole community to greet us, from village chief and vice chief, to Catechist and Imam. Under the huge village tree we heard how they had worked together to build their health centre to save people from having to walk 25 miles to Murrupula. Another Umoja focus in Namplia is the use of fuel efficient stoves (fashioned from clay and like a roman hypocaust). We walked out to some homes in the bush to see a demonstration. One man told us that he had previously gathered wood twice a day but since having the new stove he only went out A fuel efficient stove can ease the burden as it reduces once a fortnight. It made me think of Matthew the need for twice-daily 11:28 when Jesus says: ‘Come unto me all who wood collection are heavy laden and I will give you rest’.
A community with hopes and dreams
In Muecate we were welcomed a couple of kilometres away from the village and processed in by a team who had been waiting for us for more than 24 hours. Under a bamboo shelter we heard from various community spokespeople about their hopes and dreams. We saw their new church, built using local materials but using improved techniques to make it more durable - a magnificent double bamboo structure which was to be infilled with stone and
then plastered and roofed. Some of the villagers showed us their homes and the steps they were taking to secure their livelihoods - from the building of enclosed elevated ‘warehouse’ stores, to rabbit keeping, using solar panels to run a small mobile phone charging business, cotton being grown as a cash crop and also cashew nut trees.
Not as easy as ABC
The Archdeacon of Lurio, Daniel, who drove our minibus, impressed us greatly. As well as being a self-supporting Archdeacon, he works full time as Head of Philosophy at a local high school teaching two shifts each day. His wife ►►
The village warehouse in Namplia
Daniel, Head of Philosophy at a high school and the Archdeacon of Lurio
It was one thing to visit and see the church at work, but what is the outcome for us here and for the church there? We have agreed with the Bishop of Niassa that we will work with him to train church leaders. This was one of the greatest needs that there was for the church. People are coming to faith in Jesus on a daily basis and over the last few years the church has multiplied many times over! One story that was particularly inspiring was that of a witch doctor who attended a service. Bishop Mark was speaking on God's power to heal. The witch doctor approached him afterwards and asked for prayer for his sickness. After discussion he agreed that if God healed him he would stop being a witch doctor and start sharing Jesus. The very next day he phoned the Bishop to say he was healed and that he had started sharing the good news of Jesus. Within a couple of months he had planted two churches! This sort of story is told many times over and literally hundreds of churches are being planted but the leaders have no training to be able to disciple others in their faith. This is where we come in and we will be working with a group of other churches to support a leader who will work alongside the Bishop to train all these new church planters. In this way the church will continue to grow and the good news of Christ continue to be spread across Mozambique. Mark Melluish
►►OVERSEAS MISSION ►► Adelia works as a nurse by day, trains to be a doctor at night in addition to running a household with three small children, a couple of orphaned nephews and two other orphans. Daniel rates education very highly and told us about his childhood journey to school when he left in the morning wearing shoes and came home barefoot, with his sister doing the reverse. He showed us the tree where they met between their different school sessions to swap the family pair of shoes – shoes being the essential pre-requisite for school enrolment.
Extravagant hospitality despite poverty
Namaita was another vibrant community whose vivid drama and exuberant dancing we will never forget! Over and over again we experienced the extravagant hospitality of the poorest whose generosity in both meals and gifts challenged us to the core. We lost count of the chickens, sugar cane, baskets, bananas, nuts, beans, pulses, and rice we were given. This was perhaps the poorest village we had visited and it broke our hearts by giving us a huge treasure - a goat. Mercifully, after we had eaten our third church buffet meal that day, in their beautiful little church, we discovered that the goat was pregnant and were able to ask them to look after it for us. There was emphatically no poverty of spirit in Niassa. Instead there was a church living out its gospel imperative to welcome the stranger and to be good news to the poor through worship, teaching and community development. ■ *Sheenagh Burrell is a member of St Paul's and coordinator for Angola London Mozambique Association (ALMA), www.almalink.org
Text by | Sheenagh Burrell* • Illustrations by | www.operationworld.org/moza
Challenges for Prayer
Spiritual responsiveness is one result of the suffering and deprivation endured. Congregations of indigenous Christians have mushroomed all across the country. Evangelicals were 3.5% of the population in 1975 and grew to 12% by 2005. Natural disasters in 2000/01 and 2006/07 stimulated much Christian assistance, and churches were planted in refugee camps. Isolation, due to past anti-Christian governments and poverty, means that much of Mozambican church practice is genuinely indigenous. But massive growth also presents proportionally huge challenges: ignorance of biblical teaching and standards, syncretism and legalism. Fortunately, the church is also characterized by an eagerness to learn.
Pray for growth in maturity and truth that matches growth in numbers – without forsaking cultural authenticity.
Training church leadership is an urgent priority, probably the most strategic spiritual issue in the country. As many as 80% of pastors/church leaders have little or no formal training, with a large number, possibly even the majority, functionally illiterate. Funds and facilities for formal theological education are lacking.
Pray that the effective formation of biblically literate, godly leaders would match the ever-increasing needs of the church.
Pray also for:
• • • •
Pray for literacy projects to have a great impact across the nation in order to unlock the resources in print. Pray also for the development of projects that build biblical knowledge among oral learners, who constitute the majority of the population. Seminaries and Bible colleges are increasing in number. Most of these are concentrated in the south; pray for more opportunities in the neglected north. Non-formal training – shorter discipleship-oriented training has proven effective. Theological Education by Extension is absolutely crucial when travel is difficult, money tight and existing schools already stretched. TEE, mobile training and correspondence courses are spreading throughout the country. Radio is a natural medium for this concept and TWR is building on its already substantial work in this area.
Republic of Mozambique SOURCE: http://www.operationworld.org/moza
Area: 799,380 sq km Population: 23,405,670 Capital: Maputo Annual Growth: 2.35% Urbanites: 38.4% HDI Rank: 172 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009) People groups: 62 (15% unreached) Languages: 53 Official language: Portuguese, understood by less than 30% Largest Religion: Christian (Christian - 46.48%, Evangelicals - 11.1%)
Illustration by | iStockphoto
Extending the Kingdom of God throughout the world London
Acton Vale Missional Community | A new Christian community in Acton Vale led by Mark Bishop CAP | Debt counselling, advice and practical help Choices | Pregnancy counselling, advice and practical help Daniel's Den | Parent and toddler groups in Brent which encourage and enrich family life, driven and guided by Christians Ealing Churches Soup Kitchen | Food for the homeless in Ealing Ealing churches̕ night shelter | A bed for the night for homeless in Ealing Eden London | Dan Haigh >> Managing the project working to establish churches in needy communities St Paul’s Playschool | Playschool for preschool children TFG | Discipling of young people from the Ealing area Turkish church in S. Tottenham | OM supported and only one left in UK Interserve | Dave and Jenny >> Outreach in Southall
Falcon camps | CPAS summer camps for disadvantaged children
House of Hope Romania | Becky Jackson >> Romanian Orphan Ministry
St Paul�s is totally committed to Global Action | Christian Summer Camps in the Ukraine for extending the orphans Kingdom of YWAM | Irmi Menzel >> Family outreach in Germany God throughout Africa the world. We A Christian Ugandan family | Financial help to take sick child support many for follow-up treatment in USA different projects ALMA | London Dioceses >> Church partnership between both abroad Angola, London and Mozambique and in the local Starfish Clinic | Health care for the Maasai community community. Our Van Koevering Trust | Bishop in Mozambique fund Walking with Maasai | Hennie & Becka Marais >> family and heart is for the outreach Church, youth and YWAM | Tim & Miranda Heathcote >> Pastor’s training video those who are South Africa poor, oppressed and sick. Here you Asia can read what our Freedom Firm | Marc & Debbie Lawler >> rescuing and restoring trafficked children in India mission funding Mission India | Bible clubs throughout India supports.
Pastors in India | Jose Daniel >> Building the Kingdom in Bihar, North India
Toybox | Street children in Latin America
OM | Aaron & Eileen Lawler >> family and outreach Tearfund | General support & Toilet-twinning
►►TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
Photo by | IStockphoto and Dreamstime Stock Photos & 123RF.com
Text by | Gordon May
Can I be wealthy with so much poverty in the world? Is it possible for me to be relatively ‘wealthy’ when there is so much poverty in the world? Yes, it is; as long as I can switch on my TV, own a car, replace my worn out clothes and turn on a tap to get drinkable water, I am much wealthier than a large proportion of the world’s population. But is this discrepancy right? No, of course it isn’t. Morally, spiritually, logically it is not right for me to have so much more in addition to the basic necessities of life, when so many others have so much less. How can it be right that one in eight people will go hungry tonight while I dispose of more food in my compost bin than many people will eat in a week? How can it be right that farmers in South Sudan tell us of year-on-year reduction of the rainfall needed to grow cassava to feed their families, while I drive around in my climatechanging car?
My wealth, their poverty
But is my ‘wealth’ really linked to other people’s ‘poverty’. By ‘wealth’ I mean the differences in disposable income, in lifestyle and those differences inherent in where we are born – environmental, social and political differences. We live in an ever shrinking world. No longer can we think of the poor only as those we may know of in our neighbourhood or those living on our streets. There are also the billions living in poverty across our world. We are familiar with their plight
How do we live in a way that reflects God’s heart for the poor? Gordon May suggests some ways we can align ourselves with Him
through the many media channels we have. But it is perhaps only in recent years that we have started to grasp not just the difference we can make in resolving global poverty by supporting for example, the ‘Make Poverty History’ Campaign or buying Fairtrade products, but also the things we continue to do that perpetuate it. As I drive my car around London, cast my vote in elections or purchase certain foods in the supermarket I am directly affecting the condition of people’s lives across our world. I have become accustomed to a certain way of life, the sustaining of which demands that I earn a certain salary, and entertain myself and my family with it. Yet I know that each day I simply widen the gap between me and ‘them’ and increase the problem. My wealth is very much linked to their poverty.
What does God say?
The prophets endlessly speak of God’s desire for justice for the poor. Perhaps few passages say it more clearly than Isaiah 58:6,7, ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter. When you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’
When we look at the gap between rich and poor, it is not only sad and unfortunate but also unjust and wrong. We can try to soften God’s words, but that would be a misrepresentation of His heart. Instead, we can look to Jesus and His followers to gain insight into how we can respond.
What should I do?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19 not to store up treasures on earth. He doesn’t condemn wealth, He simply asks us to share it, as in Luke 3:11 where John tells us that ‘anyone with two shirts should share with the one who has none.’ In an age of austerity that may sound hard, but when we tighten our belts the impact on those in need of our help often increases. In Luke 6:38 and 12:33 Jesus reminds us that our Father will take care of us as we take care of others, for our true riches are not here on earth but in heaven. God’s heart is for the poor, and He is looking for people who will follow His heart and know the counter-intuitive peace that comes from obedience. Paul knew this when he challenged Timothy about wealth in 1 Timothy 6:6−8: ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have enough food and clothing, we will be content.’
We need to pray for those who are in need all around our global village. They need our prayers desperately. But ‘they can’t eat prayer’, as Tearfund once said. Little has changed since Isaiah penned God’s words: the poor still need justice, they still need to be freed from the yoke of oppression, they still need feeding and they still need shelter. Of course poverty must not be a patronising label for those who may struggle but are equal in the sight of God and just as much loved by Him. Today the causes of poverty are more complex, but no less real and no less the responsibility of every individual to stand up and redress. That is why as Christians it is our duty to do something. This year’s enoughfoodif.org campaign is a great way for us to engage with these issues, to inform ourselves and take action. There are many other ways also. Yes, I may be wealthy while others are poor, but I may also use what wealth God has given me, the voice inside me and the freedom I am privileged with to reduce that gap, and in loving my neighbour in this way I am aligning myself to the heart of my Saviour and King. ■
Staff and Ministry Leaders Church life
Senior Pastor | Mark Melluish Associate Pastor | Lindsay Melluish Assistant Pastors | Chris Fox Richard Thomas (from end of June 2013) Worship Director | John Murphy Lay Reader | Sheenagh Burrell Pastoral Assistant | Hilary Dyer Ministry Team | Chris Fox Clusters and Lifegroups | Phil and Sue George Women̕s Ministry | Lindsay Melluish Families̕ Ministry | Lindsay Melluish Men̕s Ministry | Guy Loureiro Pastor to those of retirement age and above | Stefan Anstis Wednesday Circle | Stefan Anstis Worship Intern | Ben Clarke
PA to Mark Melluish | Cathy Webber Church Administrator | Rae Troke Office Admin Assistant | Polly Neill Church Wardens | Aaron Lawler Danny Anterkyi Church Maintenance | Ray Elliott Simon Richardson Finance | Vicky Read Mission Committee | Hilary Phillips Welcome | Jo Mezhlumyan Nicola Holden Bookshop | Clare Scrimgeour Freddie Corbett
Clusters and Lifegroups
Children’s Pastor | Bri L'Hostis Children’s Intern | Abi Dust Great & Small | Bri L'Hostis
Lifegroups are a key part of church life. Clusters are made up of two or more Lifegroups that are overseen by Cluster leaders who have a Lifegroup of their own. We would love everyone in St Paul̕s to be part of a Lifegroup. Look at the list below, contact a group to find out what they are about, then get connected and be a part of our community. There are groups at different times and days in Hanwell, Northfields, Ealing and Isleworth.
Simon and Lynn Aglionby
Barry and Val Denham
Phil and Sue George
Nick and Theresa Becker Ealing Common Tuesday 07825 782 663 email@example.com
Jo and Gevorg Mezhlumyan Hanwell Wednesday 07879 811 482 firstname.lastname@example.org
John and Georgie Murphy Hanwell Tuesday 07986 113 274 or 07533 175 192 email@example.com
Chris and Gordon Roberts Pitshanger or Northfields Tuesday 020 8997 8266 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth and Martin Williams Hanwell Wednesday 020 8575 5644 email@example.com
Julia and Pete Bricknell Northfields Tuesday 07887 794 373 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris and Nell Fox Hanwell Thursday 020 8579 9444 email@example.com
Matt and Gina Hudson Northfields Wednesday 07973 373 605 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Youth Pastor | Richard Turner
Students and Young Adults
Young Adults’ Pastor | Mark Tate Youth/Young Adults’ Intern | Will Batchellor
The Besom | Ray Elliot Christians Against Poverty | Azniv Pambakian Choices Crisis Pregnancy Centre | Lanre Elliot Ealing Community School of English | Stefan Anstis Jurek Kolorz Prison Ministry | Ray Elliot Soup kitchen | Richard Sarson St Paul’s Playschool | Adaleine Teo-Richards The Lounge | Tom and Marion Hewson
New Wine Staff
Hosts, NW London & South East | Mark and Lindsay Melluish NW Conference Administration | Cathy Webber Nell Fox Head of Operations | Phil George Teams Administration | Jenny Read
Ealing Broadway Tuesday 07941 256 666 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Melluish and Sarah Parry Eileen Lawler, Jane Pavey & Monica Backes Julia Sarson & Alison Moore Julie Gehring & Nell Fox Karen Young & Jo Smith Lindsay Melluish & Laura Tate Elizabeth Patel & Sarah Parry Lucy Avery & Anna Weaver St Paul's, Northfields Thursday (9.30-11.30am) 07989 472 646 email@example.com 07788 237 478 firstname.lastname@example.org Janet O'Doherty and Madeline Kolorz Northfields Tuesday evening
Hanwell Wednesday 07793 166 904 email@example.com
Northfields Tuesday 07595 466 178 firstname.lastname@example.org
Guy and Kari Loureiro Northfields Tuesday 07922 285 058 email@example.com
Gordon and Annica May 'LivinOut' Cluster Northfields/Hanwell Tuesday 07748 813 599 www.livinout.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Students and Young Adults Mark and Laura Tate Northfields Tuesday 07949 615 653 email@example.com Tom and Mandy Green Isleworth Tuesday 07811 533 134 firstname.lastname@example.org Ben Hingston and Emily Maule Hanwell Thursday 07917 055 361 email@example.com 07766015958 firstname.lastname@example.org Will Batchellor and Krissy Litwiler South Ealing 07594 343 360 email@example.com 07875 643 568 firstname.lastname@example.org Regardt and Antonette Botes Ealing Broadway 07590 809 880 email@example.com
►►THE FINAL WORD
Text by | Lucy Avery ● Photo by | Annica May & freephoto.com
Being a sheep When I was at school being called a ‘sheep’ was an insult, meaning you went along with the crowd and didn’t think for yourself. One of the ways in which I tried to be different was to dress somewhat unusually and the most extreme example of this was when I dyed green streaks in my hair. Fortunately my school colour was green, and the streaks washed out pretty quickly, so the teachers didn’t seem too unhappy about it! God changed my mind about being called a ‘sheep’ recently while I was at Connect one Thursday morning. In a time of listening to Him during worship I felt Him remind me of the fact that He is the Good Shepherd and I’m one of His sheep, and I was struck by the peace and freedom that comes with this knowledge. In John 10:14,15 Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me − just as the Father knows me and I know the Father − and I lay down my life for the sheep.’ Psalm 23:1−3 says, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.’ The only responsibility we have as God’s sheep is to listen to His voice and trust in His guiding.
Remembering my status as a sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd got me thinking that life is pretty good as a sheep. We don’t have to worry about where to find food, water and shelter; He does that for us. He leads us to everything we need. We don’ t have to know where we’re going because He knows the way. We don’t have to worry about wolves and bears, because He is always watching over us. If we go off on our own we may face danger, but even then the Good Shepherd will eventually come to our rescue: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?’ Luke 15:4. Another thing about being a sheep is that we’ve got no reason to be isolated or lonely. We’ve got the rest of the flock alongside us, all the time. We’re part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s pointless comparing ourselves to one another, because we’re all of equal value to the Good Shepherd and we can’t earn His good favour; we already have it just by being part of His flock. So rather than trying to be different, let’s embrace the fact that we’re part of a flock and that the Shepherd knows what’s best for us. After all, Jesus Himself said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,’ John 10:20. Isn’t that what we all want? ■
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