Notices for Sunday 4th July

This week

In-person services continue with increased capacity. Pre-booking is still required but please consider coming if you would like. You can book your family ticket (one per household) here – contact Cathy S. if for any reason you are unable to book.

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • distancing rules of 1m plus mask apply.

Sunday Services

  • Church on the Screen @10am: If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team.
  • COTG are opening for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • Church on the Farm: Worship is led by Ian H., and intercessory prayer by David M. Dan is preaching the word from Psalm 73
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 7th July @2pm

Church on the Farm Sunday 4th July @11am

Location: Upper Combe Farm, Castle Combe, SN14 7HE

Please be aware that the weather forecast for this weekend is not good (it is July afterall!) Please come prepared as it may be damp underfoot and there is potential for rain.

As part of the service, we will be taking communion – so if you would like to join us in this act of remembrance, please bring some bread and wine/juice. 

Please follow Government Covid guidelines and do not attend if you have symptoms or have been asked to socially isolate

Please book your tickets here

Gathered to Pray: Sunday evening 4th July

Steve and Gill B invite you to …….

adopt a cabinet minister for prayer…..

Find out how Covid has affected world mission……pray with us! 

If you don’t feel at ease praying aloud, we still encourage you to come and listen. Follow the Zoom link here:

Zoom sign in details: 

Meeting ID: 856 5702 9226
Passcode: 384377

Baptism Classes

While national restrictions have limited what we can do in church life, God is not limited and can still be seen at work in His people. As a result, we have had some interest in baptism classes.

We currently have a class running and are looking to start a second class in the near future.

Therefore, if this is something that God has been prompting you to consider then please speak to Eddie, Rob or Dan for more information.

Attending classes does not mean you must proceed but will enable you to think through baptism further and consider whether you are ready to take this step of obedience at this time

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday

The Bridge

This post by Richard Rycroft was originally published at Seventy Two

Rich Rycroft from Hillfields Baptist Church in Bristol recently received a vision for the church he leads.

A compelling parable for us all. Feel free to share this video:

 

 

The post The Bridge appeared first on Seventy Two.

The Ark in a field! – June 2021

Welcome to the June Ark in a Field for those who were not able to come, or you did and want to watch it again!

My Lighthouse: 2013 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Great Big God: ©2001 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire).

Puppets – The Power of God: Parody Music Copyright: Creative Ministry Solutions. Purchased from www.onewayuk.com

We are holders of CCLI streaming licence no: 48626

Notices for Sunday 27th June

This week

In-person services continue with increased capacity. Pre-booking is still required but please consider coming if you would like. You can book your family ticket (one per household) here – contact Cathy S if for any reason you are unable to book.

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • distancing rules of 1m plus mask apply.

Sunday Services

  • Church on the Screen @10am: If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team.
  • COTG are opening for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • Priory Street joint service @10am: ‬https://youtu.be/YbEXONceEGY.
  • Worship is led by Matt H this week and prayers by Hillary. Eddie will bring us the Word from Mark 4:35-41
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 7th July @2pm
  • Junior Church Junior Church continues as a family event. Booking is via Eventbrite and includes all under 5s. The link for this week can be found here

Women’s Bible Study

A warm welcome awaits you on Monday 28th June at 7.30pm as we meet together (in person and on Zoom) for our final Genesis bible study: In the beginning, God.

This month we look at Joseph part 2
If you intend to come along to CBC, please use the following link to book your ticket here
For those joining via Zoom click here

Zoom sign in details: 

Meeting ID: 829 7300 0518

Passcode: 777

Church on the Farm Sunday 4th July @11am

Location: Upper Combe Farm, Castle Combe, SN14 7HE

You are very welcome to bring picnics for after the service, so we can enjoy fellowship together (in groups of 30 of course!)

As part of the service, we will be taking communion – so if you would like to join us in this act of remembrance, please bring some bread and wine/juice. 

Please follow Government Covid guidelines and do not attend if you have symptoms or have been asked to socially isolate

Please book your tickets here

Gathered to Pray: Sunday evening 4th July

Steve and Gill B invite you to …….

adopt a cabinet minister for prayer…..

Find out how Covid has affected world mission……pray with us! 

If you don’t feel at ease praying aloud, we still encourage you to come and listen. Follow the Zoom link here:

Zoom sign in details: 

Meeting ID: 856 5702 9226
Passcode: 384377

Baptism Classes

While national restrictions have limited what we can do in church life, God is not limited and can still be seen at work in His people. As a result, we have had some interest in baptism classes.

We currently have a class running and are looking to start a second class in the near future.

Therefore, if this is something that God has been prompting you to consider then please speak to Eddie, Rob or Dan for more information.

Attending classes does not mean you must proceed but will enable you to think through baptism further and consider whether you are ready to take this step of obedience at this time

Ready for a Gap Year?

All Nations Christian College is offering a Gap Year training course for young people You can find out all about it here. Alumni include our very own Steve Lancaster. Applications close on 16 August 2021.

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday

What song do you sing?

This post by Rob May was originally published at Seventy Two

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ John 12:20-33

Earlier this year we heard about a rare bird that had lost its song. There are only 300 Regent Honeyeaters left! Too few to teach the young ones to sing like a Honeyeater. Instead they’ve started singing all kinds of weird stuff.

This is why church and passages like John 12:20-33 matter. Around you in the church is a choir to teach you to sing properly. Because if we are not careful, we find ourselves no longer sounding quite as Christian as we should.

‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains a single grain. But if it falls and dies it produces many seeds.’

The Greeks had come looking for Jesus but it’s not clear what they expected to hear.

For John, they are representatives of the nations coming to see Jesus. Scripture being fulfilled and people still coming looking for Jesus.

Some come for nostalgia’s sake, the warm feeling of a distant memory that comes back. Others hope Jesus will help them to live successful and trouble-free lives. Just enough religion to keep a guilty conscience at bay. A little spiritual disruption but not so much that they can’t go skiing every year. Just enough passion and commitment to feel like maybe you might change the world but not so much that you might end up risking everything. To join a church doing ‘whatever it takes’ to grow rather than a church teetering on the edge of death. Rock star worship, gifted designer-clothed speakers, some money for the poor, a stint at the foodbank and a flat overlooking the river at Battersea.

Maybe this is where the Greeks hoped they would one day live.

Our Easter song says that Jesus had to fall and he had to die. He cannot cling on and still live. But in this dying there will be much fruit.

Perhaps we wished he’d stopped talking there. Left us out of it. We want to be one of those many seeds that come from his resurrected life. But can we just go straight there? Skip Lent and Good Friday? Straight to Easter Sunday and the joy of resurrection!

Anyone who loves their life will lose it; while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves must follow me; and where I am my servant will be also.

There’s hyperbole here of course. Like tattooed knuckles: Love-Hate. Love life and lose it. Hate life and keep it.

Jesus didn’t hate life. He was not a hair-shirt Christian incapable of appreciating and celebrating beautiful art or music or the kindness of a stranger. Like a Puritan lying awake at night tortured and bitter worried that someone, somewhere is enjoying themselves. Eating and drinking, laughing and sharing stories with Jesus.

I read somewhere recently  that a common factor in healthy growing churches is laughter. Healthy churches laugh easily and often. Like Jesus.

To spend time with Jesus was not to be with someone who wished he was somewhere else. We know people like this. They never quite have enough time for you. There’s always something or someone more important or better for them to be seen with. Leaders who prefer to invest in their legacy rather than in the church’s losers. They’re not listening to you because you matter. They are just waiting before they can tell you little more about themselves

Jesus was at his most lively and life-giving in the presence of sin and brokenness. Desolate lives abused and over-looked. Jesus was to be found in some God-forsaken home surrounded by tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes. Not your average middle-class dinner party but very much a Christian one.

Something lit up in his face when they cried out for mercy. He came and touched them. Healed them and they lived. He spoke hope and love, compassion and forgiveness. He came not for the righteous but for sinners. Not for the healthy but the sick. There is a way of life loved by Jesus but it is a way of life not of this world’s making. And it is a life that reaches into our world from the throne room of heaven.

There is also a way of life that Jesus hates.

It’s the life of those who strut in the presence of power and position. They abuse and violate the very life-giving laws they signed up to protect. Concerned only for themselves, their station and position, asserting their self-importance to anyone who might listen.

That’s when his anger simmered. That’s when his calling and vocation came into sharper focus.

With steady gaze Jesus stood before those who wanted to destroy him. And, in glorious obedience, he let go of this grain of wheat only to watch it fall and die.

Was this what the Greeks wanted to hear? Is this why they wanted ‘to see’ Jesus? Is this the song the Greeks wanted to learn? Is this what they wanted to be heard singing to the end of their days?

We’ve seen something of both lives in the last 12 months. We’ve seen signs of the life we see in Jesus and we’ve seen signs of a life we should despise. We’ve lived a year ‘stripped back’. We’ve been given choices we don’t normally get offered.

Families with more time together than they could have previously imagined. Friends more isolated than they’ve ever been. Neighbourhoods unknowingly becoming signs of the kingdom. The poor cared for. Neighbours shopped for. Weekly foodbank collections. Jesus has come amongst us.

We have been given a gift although sometimes it didn’t feel like it. What really matters most in life? What song do you want to sing?

But then we look again and see the other world.

No more money for tired nurses but some for a shiny new room with microphones, two flags and a podium. Less aid for world’s poor but more nuclear bombs. There’s more than enough to feed the poor, but first we must satisfy the rich.

Goldman Sacks workers asking for their hours to be capped to an inhuman 80 hours a week. Goldman Sach’s 2020 net revenue? £32.1 billion. Apparently, still not enough. And we’re back in Egypt with the slave masters. Thank God Jesus hears the songs of the slaves.

Alex McCammond steps down as editor of Teen Vogue because someone unpleasant dug up rash and offensive tweets she posted as a teenager. Thank God we didn’t have Twitter when we were growing up. A world with no forgiveness for our sins even with a confession.

The brutality of social media. The absence of grace and generosity. The absence of life. Just dying and death but no redemption.

If you want to talk about sin how about sin number 10? ‘Thou shalt not covet!’

Not all the Greeks moved to Battersea, of course.

Rather than clinging on tightly to their grains of wheat, some let them fall and found that they lived. They went back to their friends and neighbours and they sang the songs of Jesus. They moved in amongst the poor and they sang the songs of Jesus. They sat down with the abused and they sang their songs. They sang forgiveness to those who confessed and repented. They opened their homes singing  the songs of Jesus. They faced up to the powerful, stood in the gap, spoke up for the voiceless and they sang their songs. Some even went to the ends of the earth still singing the songs of Jesus.

They gave up craving the things of this world and gained the life of eternity. And they sang their songs. The world was judged and the ruler of this world was driven out!

We would recognise them. They sound like us. They sing like us. I think we would recognise the melody. Unless of course, you have forgotten the song. Or worse still, prefer not to be reminded.

But I don’t think that’s true, is it…?

 

The post What song do you sing? appeared first on Seventy Two.

Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to live in pursuit of the promised and preferred future of God?

This post by Nigel Coles was originally published at Seventy Two

Moses said to the Lord, ‘You have been telling me, “Lead these people,” but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favour with me.” Exodus 33:12

Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. Exodus 33:15

Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’ And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. Deuteronomy 34:4-5

‘God’s preferred and promised future’ is language many people find difficult. I know because I use that phrase a fair bit and even on Zoom I notice the raised eyebrows and quizzical looks. We use it a lot through the Re:Imagine process. My observation is most local church leadership teams have given zero time to discussing their future in these terms before we raise the question. Once raised, there are a few hurdles for some to overcome before they can start the conversation:

  • ‘How do God’s promises impact how we lead?’
  • ‘Do you really mean God’s preferred future?’

The wilderness through which the people of God wandered is a perfect example of liminal space; ‘the space in-between’ two recognisable territories; Egypt and the Promised Land.

The space in-between denotes transition, in their case from one geography to another, but more significantly from slavery to freedom. Liminal events and periods typically produce recognisable and significant transitions, such as significant loss or a global pandemic (at least we now have an example we can all relate to). Moses had to contend with people who would struggle. They tried to step back from the tipping point of no return whenever they could (you/me/leadership team?). Fearing the realistic plausibility of death, the Israelites saw slavery as a superior alternative to dwelling in the wilderness, even with the divine promise of their own land. Throughout the wilderness story runs the constant thread of Moses’ relationship with the Lord. Moses is given a mission. It is by anyone’s assessment, extraordinarily difficult. On top of this, he was not allowed to reap the rewards of his and his people’s suffering: entry into and dwelling in the Promised Land.

I can’t remember my initial reaction on my first hearing this story. It must have been when I was eighteen and working for Barclays Bank, my eyes fixed on becoming the youngest ever. To my mind then (young, ambitious) God disallowing Moses entry into the Promised Land seemed unnecessarily harsh and an unreasonable punishment. Today I don’t see it like that at all. Today, I am also more aware of the cost and realities of chasing God-given dreams. Today I am aware, it’s the easiest thing in the world to shift blame for procrastination to the church, other leaders, other church leaders, the Trustees, or the Union (in my case ‘baptist’, not ‘trade’).

What is it, which distinguishes leadership, that takes people somewhere, from stagnation? If I had to choose one word, it would be ‘responsibility’. The Lord called Moses because in spite of everything (you know all those things you see clearly in Moses and identify with and think they get you off the hook?) he saw someone who would accept responsibility. Moses stepped up to the plate, which is why he frequently turns round to the Lord, recognising ‘I can’t, so you must’, because he felt responsible. In practice for me, it means I must hang onto the word, the question, the challenge, whatever it is, which in a moment I recognise is from God with my name on it. If you’ve read all six questions, which arose for me reading Exodus at the beginning of this year, then welcome to my personal spiritual therapy sessions!

It’s the nature of the kingdom of God. Now, but not yet fully. Yet in this in-between space, Jesus is my Lord, the kingdom has a King.

#I am content to live with the tension in the space in-between

What on earth’s going on? I frequently ask this question within my world, but the pandemic has caused us all to ask it on the global canvas. Never before throughout human history have so many of the earth’s population been so aware of so much so quickly of anything of such far-reaching global impact.

What on earth can I do? I frequently ask this question too. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a challenge I regularly raise in my preaching over the years for anyone else too. The pandemic has provided plenty of human examples of individuals doing something to make a difference in the charity sector: Captain Tom, Rob Burrow, Spiderman (well the dressed-up version, Jason Baird, from Stockport). If I can be honest about a deep concern I have across the UK church, it’s the scarcity of stories we’re telling about individuals in our own congregations who are enabling people to encounter Jesus, whether that be for the first time, or tasting and seeing how good the Lord is.

It’s not difficult to recognise we’re living in a world of desperate need, too great for any of us to meet. On a macro-level the biggest crisis we face globally remains the climate emergency. Add in a global pandemic, serious shortages of natural resources, plus an ever-increasing poverty gap, and we have more than enough to exhaust us.

On a personal level, I’ve lived with the never-ending challenge of Christian ministry and mission for thirty-five years now. Never-ending, isn’t it? The more fruitful you are, the longer the queue of those who want a slice of your time. This week marked five years, since we moved into our present home. I’ve been taking pictures of the garden to mark the change in the garden; it’s so good to look back and actually see what’s changed. I was speaking to a colleague last week, also a keen gardener, who told me he often takes a picture at the beginning and the end of a day spent in the garden. You can do that with people, before and after counselling, a pastoral visit, baptism, but playing ‘spot the difference’ is hard to say the least.

Then there’s the nature of the kingdom of God. The ‘now and not-yet kingdom’. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth and whilst I’m grateful for every glimpse of the kingdom I’ve ever had, I know it’s simply the first fruits of what’s to come. If I then take a church-wide view, it’s the same reality. There’s my personal embodiment of the great commandment and the great commission. If I could take a photo, not of my garden, but my heart as Jesus speaks about it, I know it looks more like his than when I first encountered him, but I’ve a long way to go yet.

The view of the church is complicated at best, so I’ll stick to my own, the English Baptists. We are in the midst of our own crises the virus has simply highlighted. We began over 400 years ago, the result of straight-forward obedience to a Christo-centric reading of Scripture. Today we risk subverting Jesus as Lord, in favour of an ecclesiological construct, which is more focused on the perceived needs of the church, than the mission of God. Today we face crises of leadership, discipleship and fruitful mission, but it’s easier to ignore the specific commands of Jesus and join the rest of the world in pursuit of a world of our own making, one which has no room for God. (That’s my very superficial summary of a book, which deserves more reading and re-reading by me: Leadership, God’s Agency, & Disruptions. Confronting Modernity’s Wager’. By Mark Lau Branson & Alan Roxburgh.)

The church is living in post-Christendom, but that’s been true for centuries. We are living through post-modernity, but surely that’s the space in-between modernity and what, we do not know. Either mean turbulent times, but together they are luring Christian leaders towards post-Christianity.

You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favour with me.” Exodus 33:12 Wow! When I hear Jesus say to me: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15) – I know I am more blessed and privileged even than Moses and so are you. That’s why I can keep on keeping on.

#My future constant: determined to be seeking the presence of the Lord

Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. Exodus 33:15 

It never ceases to amaze me how often I make the same mistake! ‘Seek first the kingdom of God’, ‘fix your eyes on Jesus’, ‘be still and know that I am God’. All easy to understand, all I believe in, so why do I allow so many things to blur my vision or simply get in the way? I’m not suggesting it’s an answer which translates into practice every day of my life, but I’m learning to focus more on today than tomorrow. I’m slow on the uptake, clearly, because this is an element of what Jesus is telling us on the sermon on the mount, which provides the context for his call to ‘seek first his kingdom’ (Mt.7:33): ‘do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself’ (Mt.7:34). It’s finally dawned on me; the sermon on the mount, is not for me to primarily preach to others, to study to understand, but to embody to live life in its fulness.

#I want to be a carrier of God’s future, today and tomorrow

I’ve become a little obsessed with this motif. ‘Carriers of God’s future’ is how Walter Breuggemann describes the people of God in the days when Jeremiah was almost a solitary mouthpiece for the word of God. However, unlike Breuggemann, I happen to believe ‘exodus’ is a more helpful metaphor for leadership in the UK church today, than ‘exile’. I’m not saying Breuggemann is suggesting this, but there is a real danger that pushing the ‘exile’ metaphor too much can suggest our aim is a return to Christendom, which makes the Church of God the focus, rather than the mission of God.

Re:Imagine is the name of the missional learning communities we began in the West of England Baptist Network and are attempting now to share across our Baptist Union churches. We talk a lot about transition and the subsequent, necessary changes, but at its heart the strapline ‘from doing mission to being missional’, has to become more of a reality. At the heart of what being a carrier of God’s future is about is intentionality. That’s at the heart of Jesus, who was both ‘full of grace and truth’. It’s both being and doing, it’s being a kind of friend of Jesus, he describes he lays his life down for, who also ‘do what I command’ (John 15;14).

#I shall listen for God’s voice above the busyness of the traffic

I’ve started a campaign: ‘Beyond Listening’ How many people get beyond listening, following a typical Sunday gathering? My best estimate is 10%. How many people get beyond listening following a typical small group, Bible study? My best estimate is again, around 10%. That’s my best estimate, so I’ve a long way to go. Of course, I have no means of really knowing, but I know my own heart. I know how I can deceive myself into believing because I’ve listened and heard to the point of comprehension, a particular word from the Lord, I’ve somehow obeyed. Because I read and understand intellectually and conceptually the subject of a book I’ve read, somehow, I can deceive myself I ‘know’ something. The word of God however, talks about ‘knowing’ and ’listening’ differently. Look at the parable of the sower. ‘Be walking Bibles’, as Spurgeon said.

#I shall pursue wherever the word of God takes me

Jesus only spoke what he wanted to see replicated in someone else’s life. He only acted in ways he wanted to see multiplied through the lives of all of us who are blessed to be called his disciples. I know this. I don’t simply believe it. I can see, looking back, my story since becoming a Christian has been far more about God’s faithfulness to me, than the other way round.

I’ve sometimes wondered why the Lord called me out of local Ministry. One thing’s for sure, I’d never have chosen what we now call ‘regional ministry’ myself, back in the day we didn’t apply for the job, rather responded to an invitation to interview, ‘we think you might be the person we’re looking for’, as David Coffey put it in the phone call. At the time, I was planning the celebration for welcoming our 300th church member, which probably expressed the reason, in my mind, I was called to Counterslip in Bristol. I was looking forward, anticipating another ten years of what God might have in store for us. I have wondered, both ‘why me’ and ‘why then’? Did the Lord remove me because the temptation to look at something as my achievement, might have been too great? It’s the closest I can get to identifying with how Moses might have felt when he heard the direction of God’s call, pursued for forty years towards the Promised Land, was not going to become his reality.

‘Strengthening the soul of leadership is an invitation that begins, continues and ends with seeking God in the crucible of ministry’. ‘It is a place where the quickest way is not always the best way, because the transformation that is happening in us is more important than getting where we think we need to go’. [1]

[1] Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Ruth Haley Barton. Page 210.

 

This is part 6 in the 6 part series Leadership in the Wilderness. You can find the first 5 blogs here.

 

The post Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to live in pursuit of the promised and preferred future of God? appeared first on Seventy Two.

Old Wine

This post by Michael Shaw was originally published at Seventy Two

I am writing this from a new café. Someone described it recently as the new “destination” café. To be honest, it is so new, they only have filter coffee, as the new coffee machine is not working, but everything else is all carefully designed to be a destination.

I usually write from a café down the road, but wanted to try out the new place, because I am stupid enough to fall for the flashy newness! The café down the road is great and serves great food and good coffee. The café down the road is where the locals go. If I go, there I will end up in conversation with someone.

I have been here 20 mins, and nobody has spoken to me yet, apart from to offer me a drink. People here are working on the laptops or talking on their phones. Too busy to talk to people.

I am the kind of person who falls for flashy and new. As a Marketeer in the past, I know that “new” is a word that people are excited by. Jesus said a few things about the old and new wine, but what often strikes me is that he said the old wine is good! And in fact, people will pay a fortune for a vintage, aged wine, so experts know that old wine is better!

So, although I know the cafe down the road serves, currently, better coffee, has a more community atmosphere, and is cheaper, here I am sat in a new café.

We have the same attitude with church. A few years ago, a new church plant opened in the city centre, it was a from a big national church movement, cool, and with all the “features” people wanted. I met at an ex church leader and asked where he was now, he said, “it’s a cliché, but I go to…” and named the church.  He added that he and his wife could sit with each other while the kids got looked after, but it was said with such a sense of reservation.

What is interesting is that we have just received into membership two people who have left that church. They started following us online, during Lockdown, and while we do not have the flashy newness, what we did have was integrity. After we started meeting in-person again, the wife said she had learnt more in three weeks than she had done in three years at the other church.

You see the old wine is good! Not that we are that old either (we were only planted 22 years ago, but always as a community church in an area of high deprivation and incredibly low church attendance).

I wonder what Jesus thinks of our churches today. I wonder, when he took 12 individuals and assorted hangers-on and started a movement that would become “the church”, or when Peter and the other disciples were overwhelmed by the Spirit at Pentecost, I wonder whether they realised that 2,000 years later we would end up here? A time when people see church as something to consume, to experience rather than to live? When people will drive past dozens of churches to attend the new “destination” church?

So while I love the flashy newness of the new café and if I need a place where I can work in where nobody will disturb me, I will be back  but  next week I will be in my usual café where the coffee is better and cheaper!

The post Old Wine appeared first on Seventy Two.

Wow, God can do big things! 

This post by Rachael Warnock was originally published at Seventy Two

This title is a friend’s response to being told that I am to be ordained soon.

God can do big things indeed!

I am small, but God is mighty. He has consistently moved in, through and for me in ways that I could not expect. On this journey and adventure with him God has closed and opened doors. He has provided the resources he knew I needed and has faithfully sustained me. God has made a way, sometimes in the wilderness. He has been the one in whom I can trust. 

God can do big things with even our small offerings. When we give ourselves to God and his work, including our imperfections, then we can expect God to move! 

I find myself at this point on my journey with God because he moved through a small local church. They offered their resources- time, support and equipping. They allowed me to explore and serve. I experienced an authentic community through hospitality, generosity, joy and struggle.  God’s presence and leading was gifted  through this family and the local small community too. 

I encourage you to find out about your smaller local churches. What’s going on? What are they doing amidst the local community? How could you pray for them or join in? What are your gifts and what could you offer? Could you gift them simply with your attentive presence? 

Do not underestimate what God can do in the smallness and with you too! God wants to be closer to you, to build you up in humility and through those around you. 

God’s doing big things with the small things. He’s raising up those who don’t look like worldly leaders, he’s renewing the wastelands and the desert spaces too. 

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-20

God’s restoring, mighty, impacting presence is all around, we just need to look in all the right places! 

How is God moving in you currently? How is God prompting you? How can you be more open to him? God is speaking to us, nudging us and cheering us on in our everyday ordinary lives and communities, if only we humbly pay attention. 

 

The post Wow, God can do big things!  appeared first on Seventy Two.

Notices for Sunday 20 June 2021

This week

In-person services continue with increased capacity. Pre-booking is still required but please consider coming if you would like. You can book your family ticket (one per household) here – contact Cathy Simon if for any reason you are unable to book.

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • distancing rules of 1m plus mask apply.

Sunday Services

  • Church on the Screen @10am: If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team.
  • COTG are opening for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • Priory Street joint service @10am: ‬https://youtu.be/YbEXONceEGY.
  • Worship is led by Steve Chilcott this week and prayers by Jo. John P will bring us the Word from Mark 4:21-34 .
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 23 June @2pm
  • Junior Church Junior Church will continue to be a family event. We look forward to seeing you there on Sunday!! Booking is via Eventbrite and includes all under 5s. The link for this week can be found here

Baptism Classes

While national restrictions have limited what we can do in church life, God is not limited and can still be seen at work in His people. As a result, we have had some interest in baptism classes.

We currently have a class running and are looking to start a second class in the near future.

Therefore, if this is something that God has been prompting you to consider then please speak to Eddie, Rob or Dan for more information.

Attending classes does not mean you must proceed but will enable you to think through baptism further and consider whether you are ready to take this step of obedience at this time

Ark on the Farm Saturday 26th June 10.30am

A Children’s Service led by the Ark Team from Corsham Baptist Church. This is our final Ark of the school term relocated to a farm field in Castle Combe. 

Activities include Tractor trailer rides and a sausage sizzle bbq !

There is lots of space for social distancing. 

Parking on site and Toilets and hand washing facilities are provided.

Please bring something to sit on and some lunch for a socially distanced picnic.

Book your tickets here

Please pray for this event, for bookings and the team as they prepare. If you are able to offer help on the day please contact Heather Chilcott.

National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast.

On Friday 25 June from 8.00–8.45 am the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast will take place online. Organised by Christians in Parliament and supported by Bible Society, this is an annual recognition of the contribution that Christianity makes to the national life of the UK. Details about the event can be found here and you can book your place here. The event includes access to a number of webinars including the Bible Society’s webinar: Re-imagining Mission | 10 am – 11 am 

Ready for a Gap Year?

All Nations Christian College is offering a Gap Year training course for young people You can find out all about it here. Alumni include our very own Steve Lancaster. Applications close on 16 August 2021.

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy Simon and/or Tim Stephenson by 12 noon on Wednesday

Notices for Sunday 13 June 2021

This week

In-person services continue with increased capacity. Pre-booking is still required but please consider coming if you would like. You can book your family ticket (one per household) here – contact Cathy Simon if for any reason you are unable to book. Please note that tickets for this week’s 10 am service are sold out, so do contact Cathy S. or Tim Stephenson if you have been unable to book at place and we will ensure you have priority for next time. In the event of a positive outcome this week then the candidate will be invited back to preach ‘with a view’.

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • distancing rules of 1m plus mask apply.

Sunday Services

  • Church on the Screen @10am: If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team.
  • COTG are opening for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • Priory Street joint service @10am: ‬https://youtu.be/YbEXONceEGY.
  • Worship is led by Matt E this week and prayers by Gill Bryant.The Senior Pastor candidate will bring us the Word from Mark 4:1-20 . At the time of publishing these notices the 11am Meet & Greet session is now fully booked but there is still plenty of space at the 12:15 slot.
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is Wednesday 23 June @2pm
  • Junior Church We are delighted to be continuing with Junior Church at CBC as we move into the third event following lock-down. It has been an absolute joy to see the children’s delight in being together again. Junior Church will continue to be a family event, whilst the STRIPE team monitor any additional opportunities that may arise as we eagerly anticipate the governments Stage-4 plan on Monday 14th June- but we must be patient. We look forward to seeing you there on Sunday!! Booking is via Eventbrite and includes all under 5s. The link for this week can be found here

Your Feedback is Needed

Following the visit of a candidate for the Senior Pastor post this weekend we would like to hear any comments/feedback from you. Please contact any member of the SPOT team with your comments; we would really appreciate your feedback. 

Please ensure that we receive your comments by the end of Monday 14th June.

As a reminder the SPOT team members are: Rob Perks, John Prior, Dan Ovens, Rob Durant, Adrian Pillinger, Ian Holmes and Alan Christie.

Baptism Classes

While national restrictions have limited what we can do in church life, God is not limited and can still be seen at work in His people. As a result, we have had some interest in baptism classes.

We currently have a class running and are looking to start a second class in the near future.

Therefore, if this is something that God has been prompting you to consider then please speak to Eddie, Rob or Dan for more information.

Attending classes does not mean you must proceed but will enable you to think through baptism further and consider whether you are ready to take this step of obedience at this time

Ark on the Farm Saturday 26th June 10.30am

A Children’s Service led by the Ark Team from Corsham Baptist Church. This is our final Ark of the school term relocated to a farm field in Castle Combe. 

There is lots of space for social distancing. 

Parking on site and Toilets and hand washing facilities are provided.

Please bring something to sit on and some lunch for a socially distanced picnic.

Book your tickets here

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Activities during lockdown

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy Simon and/or Tim Stephenson by 12 noon on Friday