Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter thoughts

............from Simon Jones blog  A sideways glance  and yes I was influenced in linking to it by references to Leonard Cohen's latest album which is,as usual, brilliant!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Children matter!

Good stuff about families and their role in spiritual formation of children from Evangelical Alliance  h/t  The Simple Pastor

It takes a whole church: Alan Charter, Children Matter from Evangelical Alliance on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Community Opening Day 2

Last Saturday we had over a thousand people through the doors for the second open day
It was a wonderful day !
I thought I would put a few photos on this site just for the record

People were so positive about the building and really seemed to get the vision and were delighted that we want to engage strongly with the community in which God has placed us

The space we own outside the building that borders the public pavement is going to be a brilliant place to do stuff for and with the community over the coming years

all in all a great day!

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Community comes in !

Last week we had the civic opening and church opening of our Central building

Today we opened the doors to the wider community and hundreds of people came!

They represented a wide cross section of society, old and young ,people on holiday ,folk from other churches, people who had been married in the church many years ago, people who once worshipped with us and now worship elsewhere and a host of others.

We took the time to chat ,to show them around the building ,to share our vision with them

They were almost all enthusiastic about what they saw and one or  two even seemed overcome with emotion at the bright, welcoming and accessible building they were looking at for the first time.

A number of local musicians came and played either inside, or just outside. the building throughout the day and as usually happens the sound of music drew more people into the building

Today was mainly for adults tomorrow is mainly for children and we expect the day to be even busier. I am looking forward to it!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Roger and Lesley Sutton

We really enjoyed the weekend .The opening services set a great tone for the future ministry of the church  and a highlight was seeing Roger and Lesley Sutton again
As a couple they are involved in a wide and varied ministry that is well worth reading about and which has been a blessing to us at Shrewsbury Baptist
Below is their website
 every place website

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Central is open for business!

I feel full of joy this morning!

It is a lovely sunny day,I have a cup of good coffee in front of me as I write, but above all,,there is a powerful sense of passing a significant milestone when we had the Civic Opening of Central last night.

I thought it was a wonderful occasion shared with so many good people who had travelled the journey with us,who have endured the lows and can now enjoy the satisfaction that by the grace of God,this phase is complete.
The ribbon was cut by Anna and Elliot on the oldest and one of the youngest people in the church respectively signifying this is a church for all.
It was also great to have present many friends ,other Christian leaders in the town  and elsewhere ,who have been, and were again last night, incredibly supportive!

We were grateful for the opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to the architect, the developers,the amazing young people from the 6th form college who all competed to design our logo.

I felt the collaboration was just a sign of good things to come
It was also wonderful to see Roger and Lesley Sutton and to get the chance to chat to them over a meal afterwards.

Roger spoke briefly but very powerfully about the fact that we wanted this building to be a place for the whole community especially the weak and vulnerable, and assuring The Mayor ,councillors,the local M.P. and everyone else  that we want to partner with them, as we seek to bless the community in which God has placed us.

 Loads of people ranging from church leaders, to people who worked for Shropshire Council, commented on how helpful the talk was. I have no doubt it will help as we seek to develop these relationships in the future

Both Roger and Adrian from the Heart of England Baptist Association prayed poweful prayers of blessing on church and community alike

So onto tonight when we have the church opening, as together,and I hope with incredible joy we celebrate all that God has done for us.

After that, it is all about being the church God has called us to be in the town centre and in our other building at Crowmoor.

Our vision has never been about  building  a building, it is about building community ,sharing Jesus love, and together with others ,building The Kingdom of God in this community!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Nearly there !

I have not blogged much in recent days as we have all been working very hard, to get the building open for the Civic Service on Friday and the Church Celebration this Saturday evening. We are excited that Roger Sutton is going to speak on both occasions and Lesley Sutton will also take part on the Saturday evening. They will be brilliant and the church weekend they led last year was not only helpful but formative as we planned the new building

There has been so much to do and Jude our Central building manager has been working flat out as have the rest of the team.

There have been exhibitions to prepare ,a race to get the sound and visual systems in before Friday, orders of service to plan and print and a 1000 other things to do ....but we are nearly there- I hope !
In it all there is a sense of thankfulness to God for the miracle of answered prayer.

As well as all this Susan and I have had the joy of welcoming Philip and Christina from the USA into our home. They are a great couple determined to pursue Gods call on their life,and it has been a pleasure to get reacquainted with them after 23 or so years since we first met, when we were all a lot younger!
Last night we got to reflecting on the past and we were excited to hear that the mission that happened way back in 1988 is still bearing fruit today.The ripples still go on!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The God who provides!

I had to be in town today for a meeting about an exciting, if embryonic Christian project , that I may well blog about another day

On my way there I dropped into Central,arriving by coincidence at just the time a new coffee machine was being delivered.Tragically there was not enough time to try it out, so I will have to wait till tomorrow when the machine will be used for the first time!

While I was there I was astonished to see loads and loads of good quality crockery and cutlery which had been given us by a local hotel who had no further use for it ! This will have saved us hundreds of pounds

Only last week we were given a very generous gift to help equip the new building properly.
On top of all this we have had so much support,advice , help and encouragement from other churches and individual Christians

We have 2 opening services next week with Roger and Lesly Sutton speaking.

The first is a Civic Service and the second a celebration for all who have travelled the journey with us.

 .It has been challenging at times but looking back we see the awesome provision of God and we know that He is Faithful! He is the God who Provides!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tour of Study 3

I enjoy most sport but am really passionate about only 2 sports and really care about only 2 teams.

I have enjoyed cricket since I was very young indeed and still play from time to time( to an ever declining standard)for Strollers cricket club in Herefordshire which has given me a lot of pleasure  and through which I have made a  lot of friends  over the years.

The cricket team I support though is England.

My dad took me to see England against the all conquering West Indies in 1963 as a very young lad I can remember watching Charlie Griffiths and Wes Hall, the lightening quick fast bowlers, bowling in deteriorating light an awe inspiring sight!
In 1968 dad took me to The Oval to see England play Australia in The final test of the summer.England won to square the Ashes with very little time to spare. i will always remember those five quality days with my dad watching something we both enjoyed. I guess great memories are something we can do for our children!
On my wall I have the autographs of The England team that day- a precious  memory

The other team I support is Shrewsbury Town .I much prefer watching lower league football to the premiership and have both endured and enjoyed watching town over the years since I went with our neighbours in Wem as a young lad
On my wall are some programmes from famous games they have played

The final thing  is a small picture of the Lords supper on wood,  it is modern, though the writing on the back suggests it is a modern copy of a more ancient picture

I love the bright colours ,the reminder in the picture that The Lords Supper is not a ritual but a meal ,friends  eating together with The Master present, and sharing the meal with them  before the body was broken and the blood shed....for us

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Study tour part 2

Continuing the journey round the things in my study.On the window ledge there is a postcard with just 3 words on it "Faith involves risk"
 I cannot remember where I got it though it was also in my room in The Crofts ( where Ross on Wye Baptist Church offices are) so I have had it a long time.

It is a reminder to me that as Christians and as churches we cannot always know the outcomes before we embark on the journey .If we could there would be no need for faith at all! It is also a reminder not to be afraid of taking big decisions sometimes. Indeed it is critical that we do if we are to build The Kingdom and grow as Christians.As the man said " If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat!"

To the left of this postcard, is a picture taken by my friend Phil Price.

It is a picture of the church I served for twenty one years in Ross on Wye. it was presented to me as a gift before I left.

When I look at the photo I don't just see the building but also remember the people it was such a privilege  to know and minister to and with for so long.
 When you leave a church and go to a new one you don't forget the  former you just add many more great relationships to your life (and some new challenges as well sometimes!)

When I look back the lines have certainly fallen for me in pleasant places!

I will finish the tour in my next post

Thursday, 1 March 2012

..And now for something completely different!

I thought I would depart from writing endless posts about Baptists and change to think about something completely different
I spend a lot of time in my study, writing sermons and orders of service and funeral talks and answering a never ending and ever increasing supply of email,  and  very occasionally I  get my head up from a computer screen and have a look around at some of the stuff around me in the study .
The first thing I notice is books, I only have a small portion of the bookS I have ever bought in my office but there are still books on every conceivable theological subject'
I am pleased to say I have read at least part of about 80% of them ,though that leaves many I have never opened and I guess some I will never open! I feel guilty about that

Beyond the books,  much of the stuff reflects my other  interests and passions,so there are the precious  family photos  and also a self portrait painted by my dad who I still miss some 5 years after his death.

There are CD'S Passion Awakening ,the best of Stuart Townend ,Sacred Arias by Katherine Jenkins, Leonard Cohen live at the Isle of Wight 1970 among them- quite an eclectic mix!

Then there are other personal things like this policeman

He was made by a retired police inspector called Donald Grigg  who came to our church in Ross and who died in the mid 1980's
Donald was a quiet man who looked after a disabled wife with great devotion .He taught me that you don't have to be loud and exuberant to have a deep faith Every year at Christmas  he gave me a wooden carving instead of a Christmas card and I have them all still!

Hanging on the wall is this simple print I  bought in Norfolk for a few pounds many years ago which not only amuses me but reminds me that it is possible to be very close to something wonderful and still not see it!

I will mention some of the other stuff in my next post

What is in your study or office that is precious to you?