Saturday, 28 December 2013

My First Christmas with Jesus

For most of us, Christmas is a time of happiness as we remember with our family and friends the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.   But for many it is a time of pain as they remember loved ones that are no longer with us.    For those of us who know the Lord, the following is a poem of unknown authorship,  that reminds of just where those who are in the Lord are right now. 

I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars,
reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you,
the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description,
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away,
We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones,
You know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift,
from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory
of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift
more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important
in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other,
as my Father said to do.
For l can't count the blessing
or love He has for each of you,
So have a Merry Christmas
and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Partners in Mission - Somersham Baptist Church


God has really blessed our church in the first twelve months: we have received a Home Mission Grant. The church had been able to fund me as a Minister in Training, however they felt God’s call for a full-time Minister, which the grant enabled them to achieve. We have really seen the difference moving from a part-time to a full-time Minister has made in the life of the church and our outreach to the community. One area of particular growth is through our work with children and young people. We now have “Tots to Teens” ministries running in the church, during the week and as part of our Sunday Services. This has enabled us to reach the families of eighty children.

The impact has been increased attendance at the “Celebration Services” through the year, including Harvest where we had over 150 people attend a thanksgiving service on a farm. The increase in the time available to me as Minister has meant being able to spend more time in the community, building on the foundations of my first three years here. Linking with our children’s work I regularly take assemblies in both primary schools in the village. I am also being approached more frequently to conduct weddings, renewal of vows services and funerals.

However perhaps the biggest opportunity, and challenge, has been becoming Chaplain of the local Football Club. Knowing the children through school has enabled me to work alongside the Clubs’ Youth Teams but the Club were keen for me to be available to the “First Team”. This has been rewarding, not least in the First Team being promoted in my first season as Chaplain but more importantly the conversations about faith, about life and about really believing in God that take place. It is also an area of deep pastoral ministry. We have also been able to work more closely with the local Parish Church in joint services and events. This has included a shared Fish & Chip lunch after our Good Friday service, articipating in the community’s carnival week with a joint service and a monthly service in the local care home. With all of the above, and more, taking place within the community God has been blessing us within our fellowship as numbers steadily rise, with three baptisms this summer along with growing membership and Sunday congregation. We’re seeing more people encouraged to use their gifts in the life of the church and witnessing where they live and work.

There are challenges ahead as the church grows. Pastorally as new people come in with a myriad of needs. Practically as the 200 year old building is too small to house the growth and work we’re undertaking. Publicly as we become more visible to the community, ensuring the integrity of living out our faith. As we grow we are aiming to come off Home Mission within five years and we continue to regularly give to Home Mission, to support others, praying they benefit and are blessed as we have been.

Rev Bruce Daniels

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Boy

I found this video recently which is produced by the Reformed Church of Hungary which tells the story of a young couple on the road at Christmas time. The young pregnant woman gives birth in a toilet with just anyone who was around witnessing it.  It's thought-provoking because it reflects a young couple 2000 years ago where the young woman gave birth in less than ideal circumstances. It reflects on the grittiness of the Christmas story and comes with its own website too:

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Partners in Mission - Great Yarmouth Port Chaplain

Peter Paine is a man of many talents but his work is totally faith led as he undertakes his role Port  Chaplain. Working in partnership with Industrial Mission and Mission to Seafarers to provide a chaplaincy to the seafarers and port workers, and linking them into churches and other agencies where there is a need.

Peter says: "Visiting of all vessels that come into the port is at the heart of the Chaplaincy – just being
where people live and work–on board. By getting to do regular visits to the vessels you get to know the crews and to gain their trust and friendship.  Vessels that come into port are on a very quick turn around time and sometimes it is just a case of saying “hello” on board, other times you have the  chance to sit down with all and enter into a good chat with the crews."    Making contact back home is essential, and in this day and age communications by email and telephone are high priority, so Peter always has the use of a lap top computer ready in his office, and always carries telephone cards for seafarers.

Back in the office Peter has a store of clothes, books videos, toiletries, and the essential “woolly hat, and gloves”. These are for exchange or to be given out, and he is always looking for more supplies to come in.

As part of the work Peter is supported by The Mission to Seafarers, an Anglican organisation and as part of his commitment to the society he is looking at trying to preach in as many Anglican churches as possible, so Peter would just love to hear from them, as well as Baptist Churches
Over the years Peter has been supported by a Home Mission Grant, and this has enabled Peter to continue to carry on in a full time role.  Peter just loves his job and while he has been Port Chaplain his faith has grown stronger and that each morning he adores getting up to go to work as every day is completely different. He is able to give out many Bibles and Christian literature as he wants and Alpha Courses at sea are a big thing.
Tel: 07788111823 or office01493 850270

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Partners in Mission - Park Baptist Church

Park Baptist Church in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, is one of our EBA churches that have benefited from your Home Mission giving in different ways.  The church is in an area of deprivation yet has been very active in seeking out people groups who are not usually reached with the Gospel.

A growing number of Portuguese speaking people, workers from other cultures, were congregating in the Great Yarmouth area. The church wanted to offer ministry to these people but there was a language barrier. They sought help from Jorge Damasceno, who was then a church planter among Portuguese speaking migrant workers in the UK. They had a minister but there was no way they could support two ministers. Home Mission offered a grant to enable the church to call Revd Leda Schofield to work among the Portuguese speaking congregation in Great Yarmouth.

The congregation meet separately and they also meet together with the English congregation as the church seek to develop fellowship and learn from one another. One of the ways the church has sought to make contact with people in the town was their coffee shop. In a corner of town which also hosts a sex shop and a tattoo parlour the coffee shop came to life thanks to a Mission Project Grant from Home Mission. It was then made possible by a group of older people from EBA churches who were gathered and led by David and Marie Thompson (at Burlington BC in Ipswich). The Thompson’s organised working parties on the shop and transformed it from a dingy premises into something bright and functional, a place to welcome those who may not ever consider going to church, but who need to know that God loves them and that Jesus died for them. Sadly, the church has had to be realistic and cannot staff the shop at the moment but we do pray that they will be able to take full advantage of this facility in the future. It is still being used for special projects but they cannot open it on a regular basis for the time being.

During the past year the minister at Park, Revd Derrick Hill, retired after 11 years at the church. The church are now in the settlement system seeking a new Senior Pastor to work with Leda, the English congregation and the Portuguese congregation. When any church is seeking new ministry, the settlement system, our vehicle for matching minister and churches, is funded by your Home Mission giving.

People come to faith in Jesus through this ministry. People grow in faith through this ministry. Despite being in an area of economic deprivation, because of your partnership in Mission, through your Home Mission giving, a light shines in the darkness and the light of Christ is revealed.