Dear Church family,
This might be a long email but can I encourage you to read it carefully as it includes a number of notices that I wanted to make you aware about. I am often challenged by people to keep everyone well informed about the many things going on…
1. Hardship Fund. I am pleased to inform you that the PCC met recently and agreed to formalise something that has been around in various informal forms for a number of years. I am aware that individuals and small groups often support one another both practicality and financially. The Bible encourages us as a family in the principle of generosity in the face of need (Acts 4.33-35). I want us to be aware that the church also has a responsibility in this, and resources are set aside to help in the best way we can. Through the Pastoral Hub, Open Church and general conversations we are aware that Covid-19 has impacted many financially, physically and emotionally.
Over the last few months the church phone line has been ringing most days with requests from community members in need. We have connected them to various support centres or have called on members of the church to help. I am very grateful for those among the church family who bought shopping, picked up prescriptions, been a listening ear over the phone or prayed with those who are scared, sick and grieving. Thank you to you all.
Beyond the fellowship, it is also great to hear that many of you are seeking practical ways to support the communities where you live..Loving our neighbours can be a great way to show God’s love and gives us opportunity to speak of the good news of Jesus. One great example of this, is that some members of St John’s have got together to help vulnerable families in their schools with stationary recourse packs (see Alice Makoni for further info). In addition, the Mission Committee have supported London City Mission’s emergency family packs that help some of London’s most vulnerable people to receive practical help and the saving message of the gospel.
2 Mission Committee News (see Elizabeth Fleetwood for further info)
The church sets aside 11% of its annual income from giving to mission activity both overseas and in the UK. Recently the funds have grown. I and the team felt strongly that we should make good use of this, and I want to give you some details of how monies are being spent:
– Tearfund are one of our Associate Partners and we have given a significant one-off payment towards the International Coronavirus Appeal to help some of the poorest countries as they tackle the disease. Furthermore, we have given further funds specifically for the work in South Sudan so terrible effected by civil war, famine and flooding. We see the effects of disease in our own country and we need to pray for parts of the world often forgotten that they may be strengthen in the knowledge of Jesus.
– London City Mission. In addition to what I’ve already said, I want to announce that we will be fully Partnering again with LCM through Alan Black a member of St John’s who also works for them. I am excited to see new opportunity for us to spread the gospel in London.
– Neema Craft Ben and Katy Ray. Church Mission Society alerted us, and other supporting churches, to a shortfall in funding. We are pleased to say that we have responded to fill this gap and I ask us all to pray for them and their young family as they serve in Tanzania.
– Supports Chaplaincy UK. Praise God that Matt Baker has had many opportunities publicly to talk about the work through the national media. You can read a really good recent interview here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2020/06/14/club-chaplains-lending-vital-ear-players-throughout-anxious/
– Finally our dear brother Rafael de Lima has been accepted on a Ministry Trainee programme at Christ Church Fulwood in Sheffield and you will be pleased to know we are supporting him financially and in prayer.
I am pleased to let you know that Ray Brown from Grace Church Brockley will be coming to speak on Sunday September 27th at 6pm under the title ‘Race and Racism’ followed by a Q and A. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Ray speak and I want to encourage you to put this in your diary. Furthermore, I would encourage us to listen to this conversation between Ray and a fellow church leader in London under the title ‘Race and the Evangelical Church’:
I have found this one of the most helpful resources and well worth watching to the end.
Although not directly on racism you might find it helpful to check out the recent evening sermon series on the book of Habakkuk, as he wrestles over a world full of evil and injustice and how the Lord responds, see week 3 especially https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF3aPIVZz1h30e0oeEqVkFAZHg0ZT7Ouh
As we ‘unlock’ further, it is also my desire at some point soon to have an open forum to share our thoughts and feelings about many of these important issues.
Many thanks for getting to the end of this email! Finally can I encourage you to keep praying for your Pray For three. I am constantly being reminded of the importance of praying that those people come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Recently one of my 3 came to me for help and this gave me a great opportunity to speak about Jesus. He told his disciples the parable of the persistent widow ‘to show them that they should always pray and not give up.’ (Luke 18.1)
Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus.