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3rd February 2023


Dear Church,


Looking back over the last few weeks there has been lots happening in the life of the church, with lots to celebrate also.

We’ve moved to a 2-service format, with a 9am Traditional and 11am Contemporary Service. We’ve welcomed the Bishop to re-open the church building and recommission us as a people, we’ve had a packed church for the United Service. We’ve kicked off Alpha with a good number of guests attending. New people are continuing to join us on a Sunday, and become members of the church. There is much to thank God for…


Over this last month however I have increasingly been burdened by the fact that we barely impact a handful of people across our community. Most people, in my opinion, would not miss the church if it were not here. Most are looking for answers to the questions of purpose, meaning and fulfilment in other places, and yet as people who have encountered and know God, we have the best story to tell about what being in relationship with God means for anyone. My desire always has been that we grow in confidence as a community of faith, so that we boldly communicate the Hope of Jesus Christ to a hurt and broken world. Our contention is that it’s the only the thing that can truly make a difference, in our world, our nation, our community and in individual lives.


As I read the book of Acts what I see is the believers are shaped and guided by the Holy Spirit. The church grows in response to them being obedient to God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit which brings faith alive. It is the Word and Spirit which transform us. Without the Spirit we are empty vessels – we need to be a people that operate in God’s Holy Spirit.


A few of us gather each Wednesday morning at 7am to pray for a move of God’s Spirit in our town. I have been greatly shaped by my experiences of the “Toronto Blessing” – a move of the Holy Spirit in the 90’s, where I saw people so impacted by their encounters with God that it couldn’t help but transform them, and make a difference in their lives. I’d love to tell you stories of what I saw and experienced… ask me if you want to hear them…


Having seen this move of God in my youth, I know what it’s possible for God to do, and therefore I believe God can do it again, but a movement of God working in our midst requires a culture that’s receptive to it. God is not a silent party in our gatherings, but an active agent wanting to meet with us, speak with us, guide us, change us, and ultimately bring about salvation in those who don’t know him yet. And so increasingly I’m asking the question, how can we give God space in our gatherings.


One of the ways is through prayer ministry…. With that in mind our next Whole Church Weds Gathering (we need to find a better name for it) will be prayer ministry training. Can I invite everyone (and I mean literally everyone!) to come along at 8pm on 15th Feb to participate in this? Prayer ministry is something we should all feel we are able to do as followers of Christ. Praying for each other in person is one of the most loving things we can do for another individual. This will also enable us to prayer for each other at our worship gatherings in response to what we think God is doing in our midst.


Secondly, we’re back in church and we’ve moved to two distinct forms of worship. This is the moment to invite others to join us. At our services over February there will be bundles of invitations for you to take with you and give out to friends, colleagues, neighbours and relatives. I know it can seem daunting, but I promise you, the fear is actually bigger than the reality. Give it a go, I can guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results. If even 1 in 5 invitations is responded to, that is a good result. We never know who will react positively unless we give it a go.


Just a reminder that you’re all invited to come to New Wine United in the Summer. BFPC is going to Week A: 26th-30th July – please do book under the church name so we can all camp together. New Wine has provided lifegiving moments in my faith journey, and so I’m recommending it to you as something that could be a gamechanger in your discipleship. It’s also been so good for my children as they’ve grown in faith. We’d also love to spend some quality time with any of you over wine or hot chocolate under canvas. You can book here: https://www.new-wine.org/events/united23/


Lastly, as we approach Lent, we’re going to be running a Lent Course this year called “Learning to Hear God’s Voice” – which will be on a Wednesday evening starting at 7.45pm for 8pm – kicking off on 1st March in the Parish Centre. Everyone is invited to come along….

The week before we’ll have an Ash Wednesday Service in the Church at 7.45pm – and again everyone is invited!


Please do come and have a chat if you think you need to. I’m conscious that there’s a lot going on and some may be feeling like thy don’t understand all that’s happening, or maybe just have questions or concerns. My door is open! My prayer is that we will continue to grow in both depth and numbers as a community.