This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Christine Coltman

I am so excited for our meeting this Monday the 29th at 7.30pm on the zoom women’s Bible study! 

This year we’ve been looking at the story of God’s sovereignty in Genesis and how he is the faithful, covenant-keeping God. Last month Sharon brought us to Jacob, and his massive struggle with God. She told us that only way to win with God is to lose, and to give ourselves completely to him. 

The cast of characters that we are going to look on Monday are seemingly determined to lose, but not in terms of giving their lives to God, just in terms of making a horrific mess of things. We have the turmoil of Rachel and Leah’s relationship, the catastrophic response of Jacob’s sons to Dinah’s rape, and Judah and Tamar’s awful night-time encounter. These people try to live life their own way and they fail – spectacularly. But God remains true as we will see, and continues to uphold the loving covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  

We’ll see the incredible path God traced through the lives of these real, sinful women (who are more like us than we perhaps want to admit), all the way to Jesus and his wonderful rescue mission, and all the way to us, his redeemed daughters.  

Praying for you all as we get ready to meet and learn even more about our faithful, incredible God. 

Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to embody what I’ve previously been unwilling to accept?

This post by Nigel Coles was originally published at Seventy Two

Exodus 3:7-14

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’

‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’

But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’

And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’

Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’

God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.”’ 

We’ve all been there. You discern God is calling you to do something, ‘but’ …!

Forty years previously Moses had a gut feeling the Lord wanted to set his people free from Egypt, but his feelings ran away with him, literally. He took things into his own hands, killed an Egyptian and then buried the evidence (Exodus 2:11-12). We have no real idea how clearly Moses either heard or saw God at work in the forty years which passed, until he hears the voice of God calling him at the burning bush. Forty years without any headlines, profile or leaps of faith. Forty years when, to the outside world, nothing significant was going on in the life of Moses. Sound familiar?

It’s always a huge mistake to assume nothing significant is going on simply because we don’t see the immediate evidence before our eyes. Remember Jesus, concludes preaching his manifesto of the kingdom of God in Nazareth, where he grew up, by quoting Isaiah and saying, ‘today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’. This episode ends with his old neighbours and fellow Nazarenes ‘furious’ and they ‘drove him out of the town’ (Luke 4:1-30). What was going on in the life of Jesus during those thirty years?

For forty years in Moses’ life; for thirty years in Jesus’ life; they lived in relative obscurity, but we can be sure of one thing: I AM was working his purposes out. This is because the primary desired way for God’s purposes being worked out are in us, before they flow through us. The pandemic has pulled back the curtain on our reality, the spotlight is on. Now is the time to ensure what’s on the inside and the outside match up. Am I living on purpose?

No mistake these are big questions, but we all need to answer them. I need to answer them for myself. Here’s where I am with this one:

I want to pursue every step of the purpose of God

These are the kinds of words I pray … in my best moments! There’s a recognition here I must act. If God calls me in a particular direction, my job is to follow. If God calls me to stand up and be counted, my job is to step up.

Jesus’ all-embracing call is ‘come follow me’. [1] Paul tells us we have an ‘obligation’ and ‘those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God’. [2] John reminds us ‘we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands’. [3] Peter comes straight to the point ‘just as he who called is holy, so be holy in all you do’. [4] I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the biblical imperative to avoid compartmentalising Christianity and driving a wedge between doing and being, but I do need to remind myself. I find it interesting it is James who, I believe was the earthly brother of Jesus, warns us: ‘do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’. [5]

‘Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God’ (Exodus 3:6). This is not very present day is it? We live in a day when the primary appeal to the world appears to ‘come and find a new best friend called Jesus and walk together with him’. I’m not suggesting that is an invalid basis for first encountering Jesus, but if we don’t get beyond this to recognise more of the character of God, we don’t end up following the Jesus revealed to us in our Bibles.

I’ve needed to face again, whilst I am influenced by and sometimes carried along by the cultural tide of post-modernity, so my feet don’t feel as if they’re on the ground, that God has called me to faithful obedience, or as Eugene Peterson put it, ‘a long obedience in the same direction’.

Mark Sayers makes me uncomfortable, because his words resonate so deeply within me when he writes about:

The disappearance of a mode of church engagement characterized by commitment, resilience, and sacrifice among many Western believers. In its place a new mode of disengaged Christian faith and church interaction is emerging. This new mode is characterized by sporadic engagement, passivity, commitment phobia, and a consumerist framework. [6]

When I boil this down to my ordinary life, pursuing the call of an extra-ordinary God, the daily time when I both listen and seek to discern my next steps, beyond listening, has become again the wellspring of my life. Covid-19 if nothing else has provided a wake-up call to the UK church: this is not a game; eternal issues are at stake; ‘apart from me you can do nothing’ [7] Daily, a step at a time, incremental change is what I’m committed to. If unforgiveness, bitterness, or any particular kind of sin is what I need to attend to, then that’s my next step.

When I think about my leadership of others, I have to recognise I’m limited in what I can achieve. I need to regularly work through in the presence of the Lord, my own issues (for which I need to take responsibility) and others’ issues, which are not my responsibility. However, sometimes I can shine a light, just a little ahead, to help another’s next step.

Evangelicals were criticised a lot when I became a Christian in the mid 1970’s, for making people feel guilty if they missed their daily quiet time and for not providing much guidance beyond ‘pray and read your bible’ to new Christians. I must admit, my experience wasn’t like that. But please take some time out to reflect on:

  1. What pathways do I/we encourage new Christians on today?
  2. What is the cultural framework new Christians are most influenced by today?
  3. How can I more clearly reveal the pathway of Jesus, ‘the way’?

Today I am called to be braver, truer and kinder than ever before. My conviction has never been greater: I can trust the word of God and I can trust the Holy Spirit. Both are true for me, so they must be true for others too.

I want to align my whole life with the purpose of God

Will I allow God to sift my heart, so the purposes of God are not eclipsed? ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ (Exodus 3:11) Where did Moses’ reluctance come from? Is he merely recognising who he thinks he is? Was it low self-esteem, a lack of personal ambition or a lack of leadership capacity? My hunch is probably a blend of all.

Contrast this day with the day he killed the Egyptian forty years before when outwardly he didn’t appear to be struggling with any of these (Exodus 2:11-14). As I ponder this, two conversations come to mind, this week: one where the person in front of me tried their best to convince me what a great job they were doing, which included a demolition of their predecessor. The other, with someone who appeared too keenly (in my opinion) aware of their own limitations but was determined to press on in pursuit of God’s purposes. To other people, what they see of me, tends to be the edited version I’m prepared to reveal. I know sometimes my weaknesses can sound like strengths and my humility can sound like arrogance. The truth is the Lord sees me, like Moses, for who I really am, plus who he’s called me to become. In his presence, I need to allow him to search my heart, because I find it too easy to allow either my strengths, or my weaknesses, to distract me from pursuing God’s best for my life, which turns out to be his purposes too.

I want to guard my heart, to make God’s purpose, my purpose

Will I recognise God has equipped me to follow him in my life? I am learning from Jesus to live my life as He would live my life if He were me. Plenty of people have said these words before me, but I don’t put them in quotation marks because I’ve made them my own. What has the pandemic revealed to me? Following Jesus is about following Him! It’s his way, not the Church way, I’m looking for.

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it’ (Proverbs 4:23). I keep coming back to this one and I marry it up with what Paul says, in Philippians 4:7 when he says ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. This is how it actually works. Everything does either flow or get dammed up, depending on my heart before the Lord. It is the reality of our relationship with Jesus: it’s ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you’ versus if you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers’ (John 15:6-7)

If we fast forward through next forty years of Moses’ life, we see he comes up against two particular challenges time and time again: himself and the people of God. (oh no, this really is acting like a mirror). The reality is Moses’ journey was far from straightforward – ‘wandering though the wilderness was more than a metaphor! But then, when I stop and think about it, why wouldn’t it be? Here we have a human being, trying to lead other human beings.

What keeps Moses on track, or keeps bringing him back on track, is he keeps stepping into the presence of God. Moses does get drawn away by busyness, He does moan again and again about the people of God. He does get down, he does allow his reserves to practically run dry. But note this, it’s not so much the Lord has an answer for his every question, more his presence is the answer.

‘I will be with you’ (Exodus 3:12). God’s call is God’s enabling.


[1] Mark 1:17

[2] Romans 8:12-14

[3] 1 John 2:3

[4] 1 Peter 1:15

[5] James 1:22

[6] Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience.

[7] John 15:5


The post Leadership in the Wilderness: Am I willing to embody what I’ve previously been unwilling to accept? appeared first on Seventy Two.

Notices for 21 March 2021

This week

Good news! We will go ahead with in-person services for this Sunday (21st), the following (28th) and there will be a Midweek Service at 2pm on the 31st as well as a Good Friday service on the 2nd at 10am at Priory Street. At this stage there is still no congregational singing

Numbers will be limited and pre-booking is required please. – contact Tim or the Church Office to do this

There is some sign from the Baptist Union that we may be allowed to meet and even sing outdoors to celebrate Easter Sunday. We have decided start planning this and pray it will indeed be allowed.

Zoom Junior Church

  • I give permission for …………… to interact on zoom. 
  • I give permission for a leader to contact me (Parent’s name) by email/ phone/text for the purpose of  setting up these Zoom meetings. And then add your name.

Lent reflections by 9:15 and CotG

Easter Ark Saturday 27 March

‘The Ark @ Corsham Baptist Church’ Easter themed children’s service will be available from 7am on Saturday 27th March. You can find it on Facebook, the church website or the CBC Junior church channel. It has puppets, craft, Bible story and songs. We are also giving away a gift/craft pack – let us know if you’d like one. Please pray for this event.

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.

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

Truth and the Absence of Relationship

This post by Rob May was originally published at Seventy Two

People love a conspiracy theory. Lockdown has outed a few more.

So, to Covid, the vaccines and Christians.

Most of our church members have been positive about the vaccine celebrating, with those already vaccinated and encouraging those not yet vaccinated to go for it. But there are a few who struggle. Some are uncomfortable with how quickly it has been developed and are worried about its safety. Others struggle because of a similar vaccine developed some years ago linked to aborted foetal tissue. Then there’s a third group. These are people suspicious the vaccine is part of a global conspiracy. End times indicators are everywhere possibly involving Bill Gates, the mark of the Beast, the complete fabrication of Covid 19, one world governments and the involvement of almost the entire global health care system. Neither mainstream medical science nor majority theological opinion accepts this view and cannot seem to sway this small group. I probably should ignore it, but it’s got me thinking. I am increasingly bothered by it.

Over lockdown I received links to two YouTube videos from two different church members. One video was from a group of ‘medical experts’ claiming Covid didn’t exist and the vaccine was not what we thought it was. The second video presented by a ‘theological expert’ put the biblical case for the rise of a one world government, the coming of the anti-Christ and the imminent outbreak of the persecution of Christians.

Now neither church member had any direct personal relationship with either ‘YouTube expert’ yet they trusted their perspective and promoted their argument. And all of this despite the fact they also have access to their own ‘experts’ who they already know personally.

Like many churches, we have a number of ‘medical experts’. These include a consultant at the Royal Marsden, a professor at King’s College, a retired GP and a doctor training in public health. We also have some ‘theological experts’. A vice-principal of a theological college, two other ministers with theological degrees and a couple of church members with graduate level theological education. Now, our ‘medical experts’ in the church would be the first to point out their expertise is limited and they are not specialists in viruses. Our ‘theological experts’ are also aware of the limits of their expertise. But together they are more than capable of guiding anyone in our church through the complex ideas and conflicting arguments. They would also all disagree with the ‘YouTube experts’. The virus is real. The vaccine is necessary and as safe as any other vaccine. We are not entering the Great Tribulation and Bill Gates is not the anti-Christ.

But what bothers me is not which group of ‘experts’ is right or wrong. My concern is an ecclesial one and a distinctively Baptist one.

The church members who sent the videos worship every week with their own ‘experts’. They share communion together, say the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed together, have watched their children grow in faith together, shared fellowship together over coffee, pray together and have committed to being church members together. To my knowledge none of the ‘experts’ in church have ever sought to do them harm, to lie or to deceive them. I am not aware there has ever been a significant falling out.

So why would you trust the views of someone you have never met rather than the views of someone you not only know, but are supposed to be in covenant fellowship with? Why are real Christian relationships abandoned?

Sadly, and in very simple terms, it’s just easier. It’s threatening to dialogue with someone who knows what they are talking about, who knows more than you know but who you also know disagrees with you. It’s hard listening to someone who is not going to make it easy for you to go on believing what you want to believe.

But what bothers me more is not so much that ‘they’ do it but that I also do it. We all do it. The issues may be less obvious and we may have clever strategies for hiding our differences but it’s still the same issue. We struggle with one another in church but it’s just easier to avoid the difficult conversation. We know we are a community of sinners with very different experiences of life. Conflict in church life is surely inevitable but for most of us we avoid it. The one community on earth who should be extraordinarily good at this kind of thing is far too often not very good at it at all.

In chapter 3 of Dan White’s Subterranean: Why the future of the church is rootedness, he explores the disconnect between the transfer spiritual information and the relational health of the local church.

‘Our current unquestioned approaches to transferring spiritual information are brutal on the virtue of practice. Practice is the inner quality of being formed and informed by the bumps, bruises, and baptism of application. Practice is at the soul of being a Jesus-follower but more so it becomes the material for credibility for the people of God.’ (p.35)

A serious disconnect has been created between spiritual knowledge and spiritual formation. Church members spend years together listening to sermons and sitting in Bible studies without the need to actually get to know one another, let alone truly love one another. White calls this the absence of ‘immersion’. ‘Immersion’ is a ‘full-bodied participation and practice in the information we encounter.’ Thankfully, many people do get to know one another and we have seen the depth of love shared between church members during the pandemic. But this has not been universally shared. It means that I can believe an ‘expert’ I have never met without any awareness that at the same time it says something deeply profound about how I understand the nature of my relationship to another ‘expert’; the one whom I worship with and who is my sister or brother in Christ.

The internet has made the world an extraordinary place. The freedom and availability of information is mind-boggling and much of it is to be celebrated. But it is a complex world in which we benefit from ‘experts’ to help us navigate these complexities. In a world increasingly suspicious of ‘experts’, who do I trust? But the ‘experts’ I need most are not those who know more than me but the ones who love more than me. Not the ones who are the first to tell me what is right and what is wrong but the ones who choose to walk with me in a broken world.  Who will help me when I am tempted to avoid differences rather than to embrace the differences, that I might become more Christian and we might become more like the body of Christ.

Maybe it’s culture’s veneration of the autonomous self, society’s suspicion of ‘experts’, the collapse of truly meaningful relationships, the democratisation of knowledge all creeping into church life, hidden in plain sight. Maybe it’s not. But it still bothers me.


The post Truth and the Absence of Relationship appeared first on Seventy Two.

Notices for 14 March 2021

This week

Just to remind you there are no in-person meetings at the moment.

Mothering Sunday 14 March 2021

Zoom Junior Church

  • I give permission for …………… to interact on zoom. 
  • I give permission for a leader to contact me (Parent’s name) by email/ phone/text for the purpose of  setting up these Zoom meetings. And then add your name.

Lent reflections by 9:15 and CotG

Prayer for the Workplace

Steve and Gill Bryant have compiled some responses from our church members to help us to pray effectively for them in the workplace. Please contact Steve and Gill if you would like this information for your prayers.

Easter Thank Offering

Easter speaks of God’s love for us, and His will to spread that love among all peoples.  On Sunday 4 April 2021, we will be holding an Easter Thank Offering to support the work of our Mission Partners. Our first priority will be to provide for those partners who would normally have benefitted from our Harvest, Carol and Nativity service offerings last year (Tearfund, The Oasis Centre, & Compassion), and thereafter where the need is greatest.  The money raised will be lodged in our Restricted Mission Fund. Please do pray about how you can contribute towards this offering.

The easiest way to make an offering is by online bank transfer to the Corsham Baptist Church account with Lloyds Bank (Sort Code 30-91-99; Account Number 01480604), and reference the transaction RES MISSION FUND.  Alternatively, you could post a cheque to the Treasurer at Priory Street, clearly marked EASTER 21 THANK OFFERING on the reverse. 

If you are able to book for the in-person service at Priory Street on Easter Sunday, please put your offering in the wooden offering box which will be placed at the back of the building.  When the offering is taken, only the contents of plain envelopes (marked EASTER 21 THANK OFFERING) and loose cash/cheques will be included in the Thank Offering total.  Blue offering envelopes will be treated as regular giving to the general work of the church.  

Unfortunately, Covid operating restrictions prevent us from leaving supplies of the special yellow envelopes we normally use for Thank Offerings on open display in the building.  However, if you have completed a gift aid declaration in favour of CBC, we will recover gift aid on your offering (cheques, and bank transfers only) unless you advise us otherwise.

 Please refer to our treasurer, Roger Hammett, (contact details in the directory) should you wish to clarify these arrangements.

Thank You from Bible Society

Roger our Treasurer recently made a donation from CBC to Bible Society. We (Bible Society) are so grateful to you for your generosity which will enable us to provide Bibles where there are none in some of the hardest, toughest places on the planet. If you’d like to know more about how your donation will be put to use for God, please contact Susan Wingrave on 07587 551 710 or susan.wingrave@biblesociety.org.uk.

Pilgrims’ Friend Society Job Opportunity

The Team at Middlefields House (New Care Home in Chippenham) are currently recruiting for key roles at the new home:

Hospitality Manager to oversee the catering and housekeeping teams. Find out more and apply.

Activities and Church Engagement Facilitator to oversee volunteering in the home and connections in the wider community, and Pastoral Care Co-ordinator to oversee the provision of pastoral care to those living in the home. For more information on these roles please email Neal Shelton-Green  – neal.sheltongreen@pilgrimsfriend.org.uk

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.

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

HOWTO stream a service

Going forward we plan to stream at least one service on a Sunday as well as having people in the building so this is a checklist of what is entailed. This is deliberately a summary rather than exhaustive instructions, if you would like to serve in this ministry please contact us and we’ll provide dedicated training.

We have found it works best to have 3 people to staff this activity

Sound tech

  1. Turn on a) PA switch b) Lights switch c) socket labelled PC
  2. Turn on Sound desk (large red button)
  3. Check all muted
  4. Check that any recorded components of the service can be played in the room as well as streaming (This is a function not only of the channels, mix and mute settings on the desk but also the recording format! Running recordings through YouTube transcoding gives the best chance for something that will work)
  5. Perform a sound check ahead of the service so you know if anything is particularly quiet or loud.
  6. During the service, adjust the gain and volume to try to keep all components roughly the same level.
  7. As the sermon starts, press record on the small handheld recorder (this is just a backup).
  8. Get further advice from someone who knows what needs to be checked!

Video tech

  1. Turn on PC (small button on rear of box) and monitor
  2. Login to PC and start OBS Studio and Firefox
  3. Sign in to YouTube using your manager account and navigate to ‘Your videos’
  4. Download all pre-recorded media (e.g. worship / prayer / communion videos, notices etc.) and in OBS select the appropriate Scene, then the Source and browse for the relevant file.
  5. Navigate to ‘Live’ tab where you should find 2 ‘upcoming’ streams, one production (Public) and one test (Unlisted)
  6. Click the ‘Options’ menu of the test stream and then ‘Get shareable link’. Post this link to chat group for those at home to provide feedback
  7. Open the test stream by clicking on the ‘Live control room (((-)))’ icon and copy the stream key
  8. Back in OBS paste this stream key into Settings > Stream > Key and then click ‘OK’
  9. In OBS click ‘Start streaming’, which will also activate ‘Start recording’.
  10. Then in YouTube click ‘Go live’ (top right). It can take a minute or so for YouTube to enable this after you start streaming from OBS
  11. Monitor the stream through own headphones on a second device
  12. TROUBLESHOOTING: For audio in the building there are several settings on the sound desk as well as on the PC. In OBS the key one is to right click in the graphic equaliser, choose Advanced Audio Properties and ensure ‘Monitor and Output’ is selected. Also ensure in the Windows tray that the Audio Output is set to ‘Speakers (USB Audio Codec)’
  13. In OBS, transition to each scene to check sound and video (esp. resolution) are all working
  14. Perform live camera lip-sync and sound check. If audio arrives before picture increase the number in Sync offset within Advanced Audio Properties
  15. Stop test stream, in both OBS and YouTube
  16. Connect live stream key to OBS and repeat as above.
  17. Turn on the projector
  18. Start the stream a few minutes before scheduled start time (T).
  19. Right click in the right-hand studio monitor and select Full screen projector > 27E1 to display the stream for the people in the room.
  20. Transition through each part of the service in turn providing warnings to the live person in the room when taking over from pre-recorded elements at 30sec, 10sec, 3,2,1 to any live components. Speak each of these loudly except the 1, which can be signed with a thumbs up or similar.
  21. At the end of each live component notify participants clearly when the stream has transitioned.
  22. At the end of the service, remember the stream lags by as much as a minute. Check it has displayed the post-screen for at least a few seconds before ending the stream.

Service co-ordinator

  1. Be responsible for Covid-secure procedures (see here for latest updates)
  2. Support and advise techs as appropriate to their experience and confidence
  3. Keep to time
    • T-60 minutes: open up
    • T-10 mins: pray for team and congregation
    • T-2 mins: start stream at ‘pre-live’ screen
    • T: start countdown
  4. Monitor chat group for feedback from the wider team
  5. Exude calm

Steve and Gill’s Prayer News – March 2021

WEC logo

This post by Reaching the 42% was originally published at Reaching the 42%

Dear friends

Warm greetings on a fine spring day. It is time to share our news once again.

We continue to be busy with our ministry. Last week Steve was involved in organising an on-line half day conference for mission agency staff who are responsible for member care and families. There were 58 attendees from many different organisations. Gill has been doing some research into how COVID 19 has affected our families across the world, and she gave a presentation of her findings.

How has COVID 19 affected missionary families?

There has been huge disruption to travel. Some families had to leave their field of service at short notice, and have not been allowed to return, so they are stuck in their passport country for an indefinite time. Others are in-country but due to border closures, they are not allowed to leave for home assignments. In some places there are movement restrictions within the country.

Some of our members have had the virus but have thankfully recovered. In one remote location, the whole team were ill. They had to stop their church planting programme as the virus was so rampant, but their work has now restarted.

Some have been confined to their apartments with their children for long periods, such as the team in Spain. It has been a challenge to maintain team cohesion where members cannot meet up properly and some have been displaced.

As in the UK, missionary parents have had to become home-schooling teachers at short notice. This is complicated by many factors – sometimes the parents don’t have enough knowledge of the language in which their children are being educated. On-line learning has not always been
well-organised, especially in locally-run schools. New workers have been unable to make progress in their language learning, due to the need to do home schooling.

Children and young people have responded in different ways. More introverted children have often enjoyed being at home, whereas extroverted ones struggle with the lack of interaction. It is depressing for some, and mental health has been affected.

Please pray for missionaries facing these challenges. We have shared some resources with them through our Educare magazine and by writing to leaders and recommending videos, presentations and materials for families and teenagers to help them process their experiences.

What about the MK Schools?

Many schools have been closed, but some are now open again. BCS in Senegal restarted fully in January, complete with the boarding students. There are many precautions in place. We are encouraged to report that the next batch of new staff who did our training course in July are
now in place – a teacher with four children and a young woman from Brazil. Three further staff members from the same course are due to travel to Senegal in the summer.

Pray for new directors for BCS. The couple from Australia who were due to replace the current director are no longer able to commit to the role. This is an urgent need. Pray also for peace and stability in Senegal.

Last time we mentioned a couple heading for Chiang Mai to look after boarding teenagers in the WEC Hostel there. We praise the Lord that Jaehee and Mary are now in place – pray for them to develop a good relationship with the students and adapt well to the culture.

What about recruitment?

Due to the pandemic, we are seeing a drop in the numbers of people applying for MK ministry. Despite this there are some encouragements. An experienced teacher from the UK is now delivering on-line classes to teachers and students at a school in Central Asia. We have one
person registered for the Zoom-based MK Staff Training course in July so far.

Working online

We continue to work online most of the time, with many Zoom meetings, emails and chats. In the next few months we hope to organise some online meetings within WEC for training and fellowship. Pray that we will be able to engage people with these possibilities.

How are we doing?

We have both stayed well and have recently had our first dose of the vaccine. We were so impressed with the efficiency and dedication that we saw at our local vaccination centre, and feel privileged that we can have this protection against the virus. So many countries do not have
access to the health care that we have here.

Staying at home has given us more time together, and saved on fuel and air miles. Steve has done one or two DIY jobs that had been waiting for a long time.

Like many others, we long to see our family. We are able to see David every week as he lives locally and he is in a ‘bubble’ with us. We last saw Peter and Miriam in September, and Michael and Bethany in August last year. It is now a year since we last saw Steve’s mum. Thankfully all of them are well, and our sons and daughters-in-law are able to carry on working. Michael is
currently in Liberia on a four week trip.

Find out more about missions

MomentumYes is a free 6 week online course about missions. It is very contemporary and interactive and well worth signing up for. It starts on Tuesday 20th April. Have a look at it here: https://wec-uk.org/events/momentumyes

As always, we want to thank you for your ongoing interest, support and prayers. Let us know how we can pray for you too.

Many blessings
Steve and Gill

You can contact us here as well as downloading a PDF of this letter here.

Christine’s Introduction to March’s Genesis Bible Study

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

“This week we are looking at some of the most controversial stories in Genesis, concerning three women who all had a part to play in God’s salvation plan – Leah, Dinah and Tamar. To put them in context – Leah was one of Jacob’s wives, Dinah was her daughter, and Tamar was Leah’s son Judah’s daughter-in-law.

This study is going to look at how through some truly awful family incidents, God was at work in the lives of these women. These true stories are not merely a series of events but a connected progression of circumstances through which God reveals his plan for our redemption in Jesus.

We will see that God cares for each and every individual, even those who might have considered themselves of no account, and that each one, despite their faults, had an important role to play in the outworking of the purposes of God.”

For more of this bible study, look on this GRACE PLACE blog sight under the heading of 2020-2021 BIBLE STUDY GENESIS: IN THE BEGINNING, GOD! If you don’t have a bible study buddy, please contact Anne Holmes, or Victoria Kelly.

Video – a look back at our last term

Picture of Steve and Ruth

This post by Steve and Ruth Lancaster was originally published at Life in the Lancs Lane

 Hi folks,

We’ve been back in the UK for a couple of months now.  It’s been a good time for us to process our final term in Tanzania and adjust to life back here, and especially life under lockdown.  We’ll be sending out a final newsletter in a few weeks’ time but for now we thought you might want to watch a video that we put together for our church, Corsham Baptist, that gives the highlights of our final year, some memorable moments and some things that we’d love you to pray for.  The video is 45 minutes long so get yourself a cuppa and get comfortable!  To access the video, clink the link below (it will look like it’s buffering but if you press play it will start).


3rd term video for Corsham Baptist