Notice sheet 20th May 2018

Louise,
CBC news logo

The Gathering Weekend

This event is taking place on 7th and 8th July 2018.  Meetings on the Saturday will be at Priory Street and on the Sunday at the Springfield Campus. Tickets at £5 per person are available through your congregational leader.  Jenny Gaisford at 9:15am; John Godwin at the 11:15am service; Norman Fuggle at the midweek service & Adrian Pillinger at Church on the Green.

Prayer for the Unreached

Ramadan is from 15th May to 14th June 2018. Please see the website at www.30daysprayer.org.uk to order a booklet to help you to pray (£2.50 each) or contact Wendy Rowe or Gill Bryant.

Bible Society News

Bible Society invites you to a whistle-stop tour of the world’s bestseller with Paul Kerensa, Andrew Ollerton (author of The Bible Course) and Sound of Wales from 7.30pm on Fri 25/05/18 in Swindon. Visit Biblesociety.org.uk/biblecoursetour for tickets at £6 each or speak to Sue Wingrave, Esther King or Alan Kember.

Monthly Prayer Meeting for Pewsham

A reminder that there is prayer for Pewsham – second Sunday evening of each month. See Phil & Helen Osmond for details.  Those who live in or near it will know where it is.

Women’s Bible Study

The next women’s bible study will take place tomorrow 21st May 2018 at 7:30pm.  Study notes are on the table at the back.  Please chat to Anne Holmes or Kathy Larkman for more info.

The Ark

The next Ark is on Saturday 26th May 10.00am at Priory Street (Bank Holiday Weekend).  Do come along and support us if you are not away and bring your friends too.  We will be making multi-coloured cakes this time as we think about Joseph, as well as puppets, bible story, other crafts and songs.  We will finish with drinks and cake at 11.00 as usual.  And please pray for the Ark!!

Bryant Newsletter

Please take a copy of Steve and Gill’s very interesting newsletter from the table at the back.

Men’s Fight Night

A reminder … men’s fight night is on every second Monday of the month at 8pm.

            11th June; 9th July; 13th August; 10th September

A call for help – accommodation needed

From 22nd July to 1st August, CBC will be hosting the MK Staff Training course on behalf of WEC International. This is the same course that was held at the church last year and it is being run by Steve and Gill Bryant. There is an opportunity for church members to help by providing accommodation for one or more of our participants, who will be serving God overseas in a role that supports world mission by teaching or caring for missionary children. If you are able to offer accommodation for all or part of this time, please contact Steve and Gill by phone or email (use this address: mk_tck@yahoo.co.uk).

Mission Event

We will be holding a Mission Matters event on Sunday 10th June, starting at 4:15pm, with tea and cakes.  Steve and Gill Bryant  will be sharing about their recent trips and forthcoming WEC training in July.  Stuart, Lynne and Matthew Little will be sharing about their forthcoming mission work with Mercy Ships.

This is an exciting opportunity to hear from our missionaries and to find out how we can support them in their work.  If you are able to bring some cakes/ sandwiches or help serve drinks please see Wendy Rowe.  Thank you for your continued support with our mission work.

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 10am; women’s bible study, 7:30pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; Corsham Money Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

…Coming up…

21st May: Mums’ bible study, 10am; Women’s Bible Study, 7:30pm

26th May: The Ark, 10am

27th May: “Gathered to Remember”, 6pm service

30th May: Midweek service, 2pm

2nd June: Craft club, 10am

3rd June: Prayer evening, 6pm

10th June: Mission event, 4:15pm

11th June: Men’s fight night, 8pm

13th June: Midweek service, 2pm

WE ARE FAMILY

kathylarkman,

 

LESLEY NEW PHOTO

LESLEY GRINDROD, Contributor for today’s blog post

Following Christ means belonging, not just believing!
This may come as a shock to some of us, but ‘church’ was not designed by God to be just a gathering we can attend, but a family to which we can belong! Yes, of course my relationship with Christ is personal, but my loving heavenly Father never intended it to be private. In God’s family we are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity.
Hey sisters, isn’t this wonderful news? We’re not alone anymore! We were created for community, fashioned for fellowship, formed for a family – and none of us can fulfil God’s purposes by ourselves. Nowhere does the Bible ask us to be solitary saints or spiritual hermits, isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship. But many times it talks of us being put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, held together, and one day being caught up together (1 Cor 12:12; Eph 2:21-22, 3:6, 4:16; Col 2:19 and 1 Thess 4:17).
The church is a body, not a building; an organism, not an organization. Jesus is building us into a family that exists in connection with him and with each other. And because of him we can enjoy relationships of genuine love, forgiveness, and peace with each other. Belong hereWithout Him, our community would simply be a gathering of friends.
In fact, it’s only when regularly interacting with the church community that we can live our life with God in Christ Jesus to the fullest. It’s within the church that God tangibly shows us his grace and teaches us to follow him together. Close connection with each other allows us to bear one another’s burdens, to love one another well, and to experience Jesus reproducing his life in our midst.
Belonging to our church community establishes a base from which we can reliably care for others. True love is not only manifest in affection and action, but also allegiance. Love doesn’t say, “I love these people but don’t need to covenant with them.” Rather, it says, “I love these people enough to covenant with them.” Living the Christian life in community is more than just loose associations when life is fun, but committing to be there for each other when life is hard, in sickness and in sorrow.
belonging4a-1-1024x575Our recent Ladies’ Retreat was a wonderful example of this covenant community in action. Over the weekend, we laughed and cried together, we studied, prayed and played together, and together we learned more about Jesus. We formed new friendships, strengthened old ones, risked being vulnerable with each other, allowing God to speak to and through us to encourage and support one another. What a joy to be part of this beautiful display of God’s grace within our sisterhood family!
So, if eternity is a real thing (which it is), and we are going to be together forever (which we are), then why not starting acting like it today? Make no mistake – for all of us who love Jesus, we will be together as His Church for all of eternity. That may sound scary, but here’s the deal – we can serve and love one another, call each other out, and be there for each other in ways that this world will never understand. And we can (and should) do all of that because we are family. We are family, for eternity!

 

Bryants at WEC’s international conference, Schönblick in Germany, April 2018

Steve and Gill Bryant,
Schönblick Conference Centre

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Romans 15v20)

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10v14)

Preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known is the central ‘why’ of WEC’s existence – the reason why so many people are willing to make sacrifices to be part of fulfilling Jesus’ commandment to go. Bearing this great truth in our hearts and minds, WEC International held its 4-yearly international conference in Germany during April 2018. Steve and Gill were privileged to be two of the 250+ delegates gathered from over 20 different countries and from every continent around the world. The huge diversity of our mission force reflects global changes in the church with those from traditional sending countries now joined by Asian, African and Latin American co-workers.

The Challenges

There are still almost 2,000 million people – over 30x more than the population of the UK – in the 100 biggest ethnic groups unreached by the gospel, and over 80% of the world’s Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists don’t personally know a Christian.

Some missionaries are still battling on, sowing the seeds of the gospel in hard places and waiting for some kind of breakthrough beyond a handful of people showing interest. Others struggle to get visas or to retain those that they have, and live knowing that they could be asked to leave their place of service at short notice. Sometimes mission is graft that requires perseverance and determination and it is an ongoing challenge to retain the vision of reaching people who haven’t heard the gospel.

But, there are also many encouragements……..

The Encouragements

Conference speakers included the directors of sister missions such as the German DMG and CAPRO from Nigeria. From the very beginning of CAPRO 50 years ago, WEC has enjoyed a close relationship with them forming joint teams and sharing practical support together. CAPRO’s original vision of reaching the Muslim-majority north of Nigeria initially grew to include the rest of unreached Africa, and now has taken on other unreached parts of the world.

The growth of CAPRO represents a rising mission concern in many sub-Saharan African churches in strongly Christian areas. WEC is now working with mission-focused churches in a number of countries to help recruit and send. An exciting new development is coming up soon where new workers from Ethiopia will join WEC. Similar initiatives around the world are seeing NE Indians, Filipinos, and multiple other new nationalities joining us and other similar international missions.

In several countries we are now hearing about much more openness and response than ever before. Long-term missionaries who have been sowing and praying for years have finally begun to see fruit for their labours as people commit to following Jesus.

Our roles at the conference

General Bradley (one of the WW2 Allied commanders) popularised the expression “amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics” Of course he knew that strategy mattered, but he also knew that however good a strategy may have been it was destined to fail with poor logistical support. The same is true in missions where logistics in the form of member care, family support and administration can make the difference between success and failure. A large part of Steve and Gill’s conference was focused on family support in small group meetings and seminars – being part of the logistics that help realise the vision of preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known.

Steve and Gill will be sharing more about this and about Steve’s visit to Senegal in Jan/Feb at the CBC mission focus day on the 10th June.

“LET’S SHARE THE GRACE WITH ONE ANOTHER”

kathylarkman,
_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Many weeks our services at Church on the Green end with those words. I always make a point of smiling and nodding at the people around me, sharing the grace with them. The words are so familiar. I say it so often and it just rolls off the tongue. It’s nice to feel together, to be a little club with a secret sign off. But what on earth are we saying?

The words of “the grace” come straight from Scripture. They are Paul’s closing words to the church in Corinth. You can read it for yourself in 2 Corinthians 13:14. It is a prayer Paul prays for this bunch of Christians who he has been telling off. They are in a right state! They are arguing and fighting with each other, sleeping with each other, really battling to hang on to the truth, struggling with issues of purity and kindness. In his letter, Paul has been pretty stroppy with them!

Paul has spoken strongly with the church in Corinth but his final words are a prayer of blessing. Not a prayer that God would show them that he (Paul) is right, or that God would punish them for being so argumentative.

Paul asks God to bless them with:
1) Jesus’ grace. May God show them undeserved kindness because of Jesus. The church in Corinth definitely didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. Neither do I. Neither do we. But Paul longs for them to enjoy that grace and prays that they would.

2) the Father’s love. The unending, patient, kind, not-giving-up, pursuing love of God. The kind of love God shows us and the kind of love Paul commands us to have for each other in his other letter to the Corinthians. Love for each other in church is patient, love for each other in church is kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

3) The together-ness that comes from the Spirit. Despite arguments and sinning against one another. Only God’s Spirit can bring the church together, whether it’s the people local church, or uniting a local church with other Christians far away. Paul prays that God’s Spirit will bring the church in Corinth together as one, and also that they would be joined to himself and other churches through that same Spirit.
Paul’s prayer gives us a look into his heart, looking to bless and love God’s people all the time.
So as you look round the church this Sunday, and smile, nod and wave. But don’t just say the grace; _pray_ the grace for each other.
Pray:
May God bless you by showing you kindness in Jesus, even though you don’t deserve it.
May God pour out his love on you and show you this week that you can trust him, his love will catch you.
May God bring us together by his Spirit, even though at times we disagree or selfishly sin against each other.
May all the persons of the Trinity bless you, now and forever. Amen.

Weevils & Worms, Radio Ruth, Project Peter & Turkish Delight!

Ruth,

Even the police aren’t immune from the unseen pot-holes!

Rain drops keep falling….. loudly on our tin roof!! Tis the season to be…..wet, damp & soggy! Granted, these are not words that you normally associate with Africa but, as we approach the end of the rainy season, we’re looking forward to drier days! For the many subsistence farmers here the rains are a blessing and everywhere looks lush and green as the vegetation goes into over-drive! For many people the length of the rainy season determines their food-stocks for the rest of the year – and so the rains are welcomed with open arms by most. However, the rains also bring with them some unwelcome side effects! Pot-holes that were only ‘repaired’ last month start opening up again. Roadside gutters fill up very quickly with reddish silt that’s made its way down from the mountains behind us. Power cuts tend to increase and the occasional power-surge blows out your lightbulbs – three in one go in our house!

Even the worms are seeking refuge from the rain! During every downpour they slither under the doors of our house before drying out and offering themselves as food for the numerous ‘sugar ants’ which have also taken up residence in our kitchen! Desperate measures have come into force whereby the sugar now lives in the fridge and the honey jar sits in a bowl which has pesticide powder in it! Sitting down for breakfast a few weeks ago, I even found a couple of weevils popping their heads out of my Weetabix! And then there’s the mold! My leather sandals have taken on a soft green/white appearance and I’m wondering how long it will take for them to morph into a pair of carpet slippers! And then there are the smells which always seem to be exaggerated here in Africa. Having a damp dog snoozing next to a damp sofa isn’t something to be sniffed at! Oh the joys of an African rainy season!

Having said that, we’re well aware that we get off lightly when the rains pour down. We have a roof that doesn’t leak (well, not much anyway!) and walls that stand firm. For many people up on the mountains behind us there’s the risk that run-off water will undermine their houses, causing the mud-brick walls to collapse. In a number of places around the country, including the city of Dar, there’s been heavy flooding with roads and houses destroyed as well as lives lost. And so, on reflection, worms, weevils and pot-holes are really not that big an issue.

Grammar Queen hits the airwaves! We mentioned in our last update that Ruth was busy preparing a series of English lessons with a difference. During the last month she’s been able to record a number of programmes for a local Christian radio station run by Faith Baptist Church here in Morogoro. The station is hoping to go live at the end of the year and they’re busy stockpiling material ready for their launch. Whilst teaching English to an invisible audience is a new challenge for Ruth, Steve is hoping, with a new audience for Ruth to focus on, that he’ll now be spared his daily grammar lessons! Away from the microphone, there’s been a lot to do for Ruth at the home of the Institute of Bible & Ministry with bookings on the increase and the accounts to look after, plus the launch of the ‘Friends of Sanga Sanga’ scheme along with the new IBM website! (www.sangaretreatentre.org) During the next few days, don’t be surprised if you receive an email from Ruth about the scheme!

Project Peter! Since the New Year I’ve spent much of my time preparing teaching material for the IBM conferences. Four months of study and translation work have been whittled down to a 64 page file totalling 34,000 words! Our focus this year is the book of 1 Peter and, whilst it’s only a short letter, it’s packed full of foundational doctrine and has much to say about the nitty gritty of practical Christian living. Many of Peter’s key themes begin with the letter ‘S’. Here are a few to give you a flavour of what the pastors will be learning about this year: strangers, stones, salvation, scattered, suffering, submission, second coming, shepherding, and standing firm against Satan.

Peter’s reason for writing his letter is outlined in ch 5:12 (NLT): “My purpose is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens.” And my prayer is that, as I deliver these talks over the next six months, what is shared would be an encouragement and would give assurance to these pastors and evangelists. It’s now time to bring those words alive and to preach them out to the pastors of the AIC church, starting this Wednesday (9th) in Babati. As you can see from the map, the first conference of the year is also our most northerly regional conference. Here’s hoping that the happenings of last year’s northern event don’t occur this year; one can only take so many bedbugs!

Away from the Study: In early March my brother and his wife (Ian & Kerri) came to visit, and we had an awesome week of non-stop adventure. It began at a deserted airport terminal at 3am (minus some luggage!) and was all too quickly followed, on the same day, by a 7am start time for the Kilimanjaro half marathon! Running conditions were ideal, although some of the footwear worn by fellow runners was not! One guy wore his football boots, another was running in his Sunday-best slip-ons, and yet another runner wore his steel-toecap work boots! ‘Ouch’ – in all three cases!! Whilst running a half marathon might not be everyone’s ideal holiday start, the safari certainly would be. The highlight of our 24 hour safari was seeing leopard and lion and then later lying in bed listening to the roar of said lion rumbling across the plains of Mikumi; a tad scary even when behind a locked door!

Galilee and the Golan Heights

In early April, I was able to head off to Israel and Palestine to lead another Oak Hall trip. This trip always makes it on to my ‘annual highlights’ list, although the things that stand out vary from trip to trip. This year, we were in Jerusalem over Easter, which meant we were able to join with hundreds of other Christians (plus the speaker RT Kendal!) at the Garden Tomb, to celebrate the fact that ‘Christ is risen’! Other notable memories include the crush of people in the narrow alleyways of the old city, standing on the Golan Heights overlooking Syria and hearing heavy shelling in the distance, and watching a white dove trying to settle on someone’s head as they paddled at the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan! Talk about Scripture coming alive – well, almost!

My journey to and from Israel was via Istanbul but it made for an interesting flight. As we flew over Turkey (Asia Minor) we followed much of the route that Paul took during his first missionary journey. Whilst most of my fellow passengers dozed off or watched TV, I was leafing through the book of Acts, whilst peering down from 35,000 ft, looking at some of the locations mentioned in my reading! Places like Antioch, Lystra, Derbe and Cyprus.

It also seemed fitting that, having had my eyes focussed on 1 Peter for the last three months, I was now flying over the regions mentioned by Peter in the first verse of his letter: “To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” I tried to imagine what Peter and Paul would have made of someone travelling across these regions in just a few hours, sitting in a jet-propelled metal tube, whilst it took them weeks and months of hard walking! Different times and different worlds, but still exactly the same gospel!

Asia Minor and the Turkish city of Antalia (bottom of photo) mentioned in Acts 14:25

You can’t beat teaching the Bible where it all took place!

Prayer Points for the next few months:

  • As we kick off the conference season, I would be very grateful for your prayers as I teach the pastors. “Pray for me that whenever I open my mouth, the right Swahili words may be given me so that I may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” – Eph 6:19 slightly adapted! Please pray for us as we travel the miles and carry out conference administration behind the scenes.
  • Please pray for Ruth as she helps to organise the AIM Women’s Retreat in Arusha in mid-May, and for strength and energy to carry out her various roles at Sanga, particularly in regard to finance.
  • You’ll see from the diary below that we’re due to officially open the Conference Centre on 7th July. Please pray for our workers, for Matt Dixon (our building supervisor) in the lead-up to this, and for the event itself, that all will be done for God’s glory.

Diary Dates:

9-11 May:          IBM Pastors’ conference in Babati
15-16th:            AIM Conference planning meetings in Arusha
17-20th:            AIM Women’s Retreat in Arusha (Ruth only!)
27-30th:            Unit Leader meetings in Nairobi for Steve
3rd June:          Steve preaching at Emmanuel Church, Morogoro
10-15th:            Travel to southern Tanzania for meetings & IBM Pastors’ conf in Kilwa
4-6 July:            IBM Pastors’ conference at Sanga Sanga
7th:                   Official opening of the Conference Centre!
9-20th:              Holiday with family! The Caudle Clan (Steve’s sister) from Scotland!

Thanks for all your prayers and support,

Steve & Ruth

POINT EACH OTHER TO JESUS

kathylarkman,

Imperfect DiscipleSalt of the earth. Light of the world.

We are only these together. No Christian alone is the salt of the earth. No Christian is individually the light of the world. The church is the salt of the earth. the church is the light of the world.

I know the church can be very difficult to get into. And yet, as difficult and complex as messy discipleship is, it’s incredibly easy to reproduce. ‘Crummy’ discipleship is imminently replicable! Wherever people have to hear each other, see each other, and deal with each other in the context of God’s glorious gospel, things will get messy. The good news is that messy is easy to replicate. So none of us is far from real discipleship. We don’t have to be experts, just pointing each other to Jesus.”

Jared Wilson, The Imperfect Disciple. 

Notice sheet 29th April 2018

Louise,
CBC news logo

PLEASE NOTE: NO WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY MONDAY 30TH APRIL AS PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED

Midweek Service

The next midweek service is on Wednesday 2nd May at 2pm.  The text is 1 Peter 1.13-2.3. Eric Seager is leading, David Morrell is preaching and there will be communion.  Hot drinks and cakes are served at 3pm.

Craft Club

Craft Club meets on Saturday 5th May at 10:00am.  Please contact Hazel Hammett for further details.

The Gathering Weekend

This event is taking place on 7th and 8th July 2018.  Meetings on the Saturday will be at Priory Street and on the Sunday at the Springfield Campus. Tickets at £5 per person are available through your congregational leader.  Jenny Gaisford at 9:15am; John Godwin at the 11:15am service; Norman Fuggle at the midweek service & Adrian Pillinger at Church on the Green.

Prayer for the Unreached

Ramadan is from 15th May to 14th June 2018. Please see the website at www.30daysprayer.org.uk to order a booklet to help you to pray (£2.50 each) or contact Wendy Rowe or Gill Bryant for more information.  Gill will be back in church next Sunday!

Monthly Prayer Meeting for Pewsham

A reminder that there is prayer for Pewsham – second Sunday evening of each month. See Phil & Helen Osmond for details.  Those who live in or near it will know where it is.

Bible Society News

Bible Society invites you to a whistle-stop tour of the world’s bestseller with Paul Kerensa (comedian), Andrew Ollerton (author of The Bible Course) and Sound of Wales from 7.30pm on Fri 25/05/18 in Swindon. Visit Biblesociety.org.uk/biblecoursetour for tickets at £6 each or speak to Sue Wingrave, Esther King or Alan Kember.

Opportunities to Serve Corsham

The Corsham Churches Foodbank is currently seeking additional people to serve in the role of Trustee, and as volunteers when the bank is open to serve our community, particularly on Saturday mornings.  If you feel a call towards this work, and would like to explore further, please speak to either Roger or Hazel Hammett (01249 715816) for more information or come to the AGM at 7.30pm on 22 May at St Aldhelms.

Easter Thank Offering

The Easter Thank Offering raised £2,238 towards the construction work at the Sanga Sanga Conference Centre in Tanzania.  Steve Lancaster, our man on the ground, writes: “Great to hear that there will be a CBC gift coming Sanga’s way! We didn’t want to bank on anything, as the team were no longer coming out – but this will be a tonic to the ears of our building supervisor! We’re heading up to the opening of the conference centre in early July, and we hope that most of the work will be done by then – but that depends on funding – so this will be very welcome. We very much appreciate the support of CBC and it makes a huge difference knowing that the church is very much behind the work we are doing, and the work we’re connected with.”

…This week…

Monday:  Mums’ bible study, 10:00am; women’s bible study, 7:30pm cancelled

Wednesday: Midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; Corsham Money Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Encounter, 3.45pm;     Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

Saturday: Craft Club, 10am

Sunday: “Gathered to Pray” 6pm service

…Coming up…

13th May: “Gathered under the Word”, 6pm service

14th May: Prayer for missions and  the persecuted church, 7:45pm

16th May: Midweek service, 2pm

20th May: “Gathered to Praise”, 6pm service

21st May: Women’s Bible Study, 7:30pm

26th May: The Ark, 10am

27th May: “Gathered to Remember”, 6pm service

ATTENTION AND REMINDER!

kathylarkman,

Hi sisters!
We have been asked if there is a women’s bible study this coming Monday, 30 April. The answer is that we are not meeting this Monday due to having our retreat last week end and the women’s breakfast earlier in the month.
The bible study questions for our next study will be out next Sunday at the churches for your study buddy time. It is scheduled for 21 May, at 7:30 in the Church Hall. We will be looking at BELONGING TO THE BODY: CHURCH COMMUNITY.
Have a blessed week!

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ATTENTION AND REMINDER!

kathylarkman,

Hi sisters!

We have been asked if there is a women’s bible study this coming Monday, 30 April.  The answer is that we are not meeting this Monday due to having our retreat last week end and the women’s breakfast earlier in the month.

The bible study questions for our next study will be out next Sunday at the churches for your study buddy time. It is scheduled for 21 May, at 7:30 in the Church Hall. We will be looking at BELONGING TO THE BODY: CHURCH COMMUNITY. 

Have a blessed week!

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COMMUNITY IN CHRIST

kathylarkman,

 

This last weekend, 34 of our women from our Corsham Baptist Church families came together for a week end retreat about an hour from here at Lox Lane near Shaftsbury. It was a great time away as we feasted on Psalm 23.

It was an emotionally joyful time for me personally as I was able to witness the fruit of God’s amazing grace in these women’s lives. This is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and love for us, and a timely example as I prepare for our next Living Out God’s Grace bible study! On 21 May, we will consider the grace habit of belonging to His body in fellowship within our church community, and why it’s important to our growth IN CHRIST.
God gave this amazing gift of grace to us to be able to physically remove ourselves from life’s distractions, the call of chores and responsibilities, and the demands of people- in order to make space for God and each other. We were given the bandwidth and atmosphere to learn together about our precious God and Saviour through His Word, led by Sharon Durant on Psalm 23. We were able to share our insights, learn from our varied background and ages, and experiences to help us grasp more of Its truth.
Our singing praise and worship songs together to God was a precious time. It softened our hearts and cleared our minds of ‘fog’. By the end of the week-end, I could feel the unity and oneness of spirit we shared during this time.
We prayed together. It was an awesome sight to see God working through the beauty of both laughter and tears, meeting us at the point of our needs, and to slowly help us step out of our comforts zones to embrace this gift of communication with God. Together we bore each others’ burdens, encouraged, comforted, and strengthened one another.

kathy lamb photoWe also played together! The team put together a great evening of fun and games. It gave us a chance to relax and enjoy each other in a bit of a different context. We dressed in fancy dress. I was a lamb! (that explains the photo!)

Through all these areas, God truly made us stronger, closer. It built trust, acceptance. It gave us that sense of community IN CHRIST that we are not alone! Many of us learned it is not so scary after all, to show our underbelly of vulnerabilities. Many experienced that God’s love does indeed cast out fear; that the light of Christ dispels the darkness in our hearts! It reminded us that we need each other to walk this journey IN CHRIST! We need each other to spur each other on to love and good deeds as we grow to be changed to be more like Christ every day.
Thank you to Anne Holmes, Sharon Durant, and the team, who made this weekend happen through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
Community in Christ- an essential gift of God’s grace given to us for our growth in Christ.