Friday, 27 July 2012

A letter of thanks ...

Dear Sean and Reading Family Church.

I wanted to write and reiterate my thanks for the generous donation you gave us: refugees and asylum-seekers are often not the most popular and well-served members of our community so this gift is very welcome and will make a huge difference for our clients. It will pay for a Sports Day to be held on Sept. 9th, probably at the John Madjeski Academy. There will be both led and free activities (e.g. football, cricket, swimming, zumba) plus refreshments and the day will be open to all our clients. 

As I mentioned before if there are any members of your congregation who would like to join us and/or help supervise the event, they would be very welcome. If so please contact Yasmin Bador, our Volunteer Coordinator, on vcoordinator@rrsg.org.uk. We will of course forward you pictures of the event that can be used in your publicity.

With best wishes, Alison McQuitty Director

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Consider WORDplus

Being part of newfrontiers has many advantages, one being access to courses that will strengthen our faith in Jesus. 

WORDplus is a course for Christians run over five Saturdays a year for two years. It aims to equip the students with an overall grasp of the Bible and it's key theological themes. 

Students are asked to sign up for one year at a time, and can start with either year one or year two. The course usually attracted 40+ students each year and is hosted by my friend Andrew Ryeland who leads Beacon Church in Runnymede. 

The dates and details can be accessed on this web page here: http://www.beaconchurch.net/links/wordplus 

This page also has a clickable link where people can download a PDF file about WORDplus 2012-2013. This single A4 sheet consists of the details and a tear-off registration form across the bottom. The course will be held at Open Door Church Centre, Sunbury. 

Why not consider giving it a go - it will bless you and thankfully is not aimed at academics :o)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Taming our Tongues (its a Gospel issue)

We all have words we regret, be they spoken (reckless, gossip, deceit, anger) or unspoken (forgiveness, confession, truth or encouragement). No matter how hard we try, we all seem to fall short in taming our tongue. Why is it so hard to consistently use words wisely?

Our lives are lived in a series of small moments that together shape a trajectory. The book of Proverbs has many pithy sayings, nuggets of wisdom, that can act as curb stones to keep us on the straight & narrow. When it comes to taming our tongues, Proverbs has much to say: 4:24, 6:2, 10:31&19, 12:18, 15:2, 16:23-24, 17:27-28, 18:6-7&21, 21:23, 28:23, 29:11.  

Yet Proverbs 15:4 is really helpful because it is a faint echo of both the problem & solution of the reality that we live in. It resonates Genesis 1-3 where the Great Talker speaks the world into being, establishes Adam & Eve in a perfect garden and gives them the Tree of Life. Yet they decide to listen to the Great Deceiver, eat God forbidden fruit, the results of which is crushed spirit, division & barred access to the Tree of Life. Mankind’s sinful hearts can now do little else but speak out harsh words, we are unable to tame our tongues. 

Yet the Great Speaker sent the Word, who became flesh (John 1v1-2 & 14), Jesus came to bring Revelation & Redemption. In the gospel we embrace our ‘inability apart from Christ’ and our ‘ability in Christ’. This is a holistic truth – what is true for our Sins is true for our tongues. Taming our tongues is not a technique to be learnt but a Gospel issue to be outworked. The Holy Spirit is now at work within us, bearing fruit; we can tame our tongues because Christ died & rose again. 

And just as Jesus’ words brought us healing & access to the Tree of Life (Rev22v2) so too should our words bring healing & life to those around us. 

Questions for reflection:
#1 Does your talk have an ‘us together’ or a ‘me against them’ posture?
#2 Are you ‘open & teachable’ or ‘defensive & self protective’ in your words?
#3 Do your principle relationship have healthy communication? (Parent/child, husband/wife, siblings, employer/employee, friends, fellow Christians).
#4 Do your words reflect a ‘willingness to serve’ or a ‘demand to be served’?
#5 Do your words ‘build relationships’ or simply ‘solve problems’?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sleeping on our trampoline

We slept last night in the children's new den ...
Any sense of 'Personal Sleeping Space' was impossible to maintain given I was in the middle and they all rolled towards me ... its funny now but was quite annoying at the time :0)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Blessing those we haven't met #2

Last Sunday we had representatives from anther three local charities with us. The money we have given to AgeUK Reading will be used to cover costs for a theatre trip. It was good to meet Ken and hear him describe the many other ways that they serve the older people in Reading.
Malcolm from 'Faith Christian Group' not only thanked us for the cheque to help them furnish flats for those who would otherwise be homeless but also  for being a main ongoing sponsor for Readifood (the Green boxes at the front on Sundays).  
Alison from Reading Refugee Support Group talked about how our gift has enabled them to offer a day trip to Beale Park for various families who are seeking sanctuary in our town. I really enjoyed chatting to her before the meeting began, co-coincidently my son is doing a project on the charity for his school!

Friday, 13 July 2012

RFC on Radio Berkshire

Radio Berkshire have picked up on our investing £17k into charities that serve people in Reading and have asked to interview me on their faith show this Sunday. 

Mary Green, the presenter, was with us on a Sunday about  a year ago and interviewed some church members ... she also covered our 10th anniversary celebration in October.

Please do prayer for me, that I represent us well and don't get too nervous! The slot is from 8:30am ... 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Blessing those we haven't met #1

On Sunday we heard about how some of the £17,000 we are investing into charities in Reading has been/will be used.
Lorraine from RAHAB (befriending & advocacy for women exploited in Reading's sex industry) told us how the £1500 will be used for activities that express value & worth to their clients. Their first months activity was pottery painting:
Sheila from Aspire2 spoke about how the £1000 was used to pay for  children from Whitley (an area of high social & economic deprivation) to attend a residential break. Despite the poor weather the children had a great time doing things they would never normally be able to ...  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Investing £17k into Reading based charities

Hopefully you know that we planned to give away 10% of whatever was raised in the first 12 months of the Vision Fund. In fact, there was enough worthy projects that we decided to give away £17k (£5k more than planned, believing another £70k will come into the Vision Fund!).

Last week I went along to the Dingley Family Centre to present a cheque and to see first hand the excellent work they do. 
This Sunday we will have representatives from RAHAB, CCA & Aspire2 with us at both congregations; other charities will be coming to our Sunday meetings on 15 July. A brief summary of our Vision Fund giving is outlined below:  
  • Starting Point Reading (NEET project with The Mustard Tree Foundation and Reading Borough Council): £10,000 towards project set-up costs and project worker annual salary
  • Faith Christian Group: £2,000 towards set up costs of flats to house the otherwise homeless
  • The Rahab Project: £1,500 to provide a year of monthly daytime activities for women exploited in Reading's sex industry
  • Aspire2: £1,000 towards a residential break for disadvantaged school children from Whitley
  • Christian Community Action: £800 to provide a new counter and till in Oxford Road charity shop
  • Age UK Reading: £600 to provide a meal and theatre trip for a group of senior citizens
  • Reading Refugee Support Group: £500 to provide a day trip for a group of refugees
  • Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centre: £300 towards garden story-telling area for children with special needs and disabilities
  • Talisman Riding for the Disabled: £300 to provide therapeutic horse-riding sessions for children and adults in Reading who could otherwise not afford it.
I thank God that I am part of such a big hearted and generous church.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

1st Thursday - another thing to pray into

Our church prayer rhythm continues tomorrow with a day set aside for fasting and pray...

LatinLink (our landlord) has advised us that we should plan to vacant our London Street offices by the end of the year. 

These have been central to all we do outside of Sundays: Youth, Toddlers, Socials, Lunches, Training, Band practice, Storage, Alpha, Biblical Thinking Forum, Staff & Administration, to name but a few!

We now have six months in which to seek God and make our next step, be that a temporary office or our much prayed for bigger venue for midweek activities & Sundays. 

I do sense Ben's sermon on Sunday (comfort zone, miracle zone, revelation zone) was very timely. As a church we seem to be in a comfort zone yet a crisis is building that could well result in a miracle & a greater revelation of who Jesus is.

So although it can feel unsettling, I am choosing to see God's hand in it and find it both stimulating and exciting. As such, I am looking forward to setting aside tomorrow to fast and prayer with my fellow brothers and sister in Christ here at RFC.

Meeting times at offices: Lunch time 12:30 - 1:30, Evening 8-9:45pm. 

Hope to see you there.