What's New?

Ministers' Gathering at High Leigh

The next Ministers’ Gathering will take place from Thursday 14 to Friday 15 November at High Leigh in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, which is also the venue for The Connexion Annual Conference.

Trustees will join Ministers from Connexion churches to meet together for 24 hours, in order to share information and pray for one another.

The retreat offers an excellent opportunity for our Connexion network to get to know each other better in the relaxed and beautiful setting at High Leigh. Providing valuable time for leaders to come together for worship, prayer and discussion, to deepen relationships and learn more about their individual churches.

New Sunday Evening!

From August Wormley Free Church has launched a new event for Sunday evenings - entitled Sunday Evening!

"The doors open at 6pm. Guests walk into the welcoming noise of contemporary music in the background, a variety of refreshments being served, people milling around, catching up or playing games - last week we had table hockey, football and tennis out, it might be something else another time. A poster is on the desk on the way in for people to sign to say they were there (a guest poster rather than a guest book). Eddie wanders around saying hello and gathering items of news to share with everyone later. Half an hour or so later a countdown on the big screen reaches zero and folks gather in the main area.

The news is shared before we are led by the 'house band' in a 'karaoke' number, a well known song, which although not explicitly Christian resonates with the themes and stories of our faith, for example 'Stand by Me'. The collected news is shared, items of celebration, significant events, invitations to other activities, before one of us comes forward to talk. They might tell the tale of their coming to faith, or talk about what following Jesus means to them in their context today, the key is that it is personal, something experienced or felt rather than theoretical. 

This Sunday Bill talked of how the love of a local youth work, 'Young Life', impacted his life with a decorating flash mob, leading to him becoming a Christian, and what that means for him now he is serving in the army, seeking to demonstrate love to others himself. Rather than finishing with a prayer and walking away, they are invited to sit and a question and answer session begins, providing a chance to explore together what has been shared. This has proved very popular, deepening our engagement with what is being said and giving a higher opportunity for it to connect with those listening and their lives. A worship song is sung, and for those that want to 'hang out' for longer, their tarrying is welcome. 

At the moment 'Sunday Evening' is an experiment, who knows where it will take us, but we can see the potential in the format to do all sorts of things. We want to try and rethink the service so it resonates with the lives of non-church folk today, or those that are on our fringe, for whom the church environment is alien. By trying to develop more of a festival vibe, or magazine format, we hope that this will make an easier way in.

We are also very aware of the desire for authentic faith and relationships today, hence the focus on testimony and personal examples, in an attempt to create community and show-and-tell what happens when Jesus is at the heart of them. We've only just started, but the response has been very pleasing with a good number of non-church guests of all ages. We've still got a lot to learn and develop, but we can't help but feel that something exciting is happening."

Ben Quant

Wormley Free Church

What's on at Mortimer West End

Encounter Praise and Worship

Guy Willcock will be leading an Encounter Evening of Praise and Worship this evening, 14 August, at Mortimer West End Chapel with Daniel Crook, who is a gifted musician and anointed worship leader from Milton Keynes. 

The event provides a wonderful opportunity for The Chapel community to meet with God and join with one another in lifting up our voices to honour Jesus.

Power Up!

On Sunday 18 August Guy will be concluding his mini-series from 1 Samuel 30:1-6 entitled Power Up - When.

By focusing on the life of David, Guy will look at some practical tips to enable each of us to Power Up and strengthen ourselves in the Lord.

At the end of July, Guy began this series by looking at 'What we all have in common with King David and how the struggles he faced in his life are common to all of mankind'.

Click on the link below to hear a recording of Guy’s message:

https://www.thechapel.org.uk/media_category/sermon/

Life Group Workshops

On Saturday 14 September Guy will also be leading us in a workshop on Life Groups. 

This is the third in our series of workshops, and the day will include the following topics:

Life groups - a biblical based definition
The purpose of groups
Group dynamics

With every blessing and love in Jesus

Mortimer West End Chapel

The perseverance of Ralph O'Shea

Dear Friends of Zion,

Ralph O'Shea: 12 April 1950 - 24 July 2019

It is with sadness that I inform you of the death of Ralph O’Shea, who died at home on 24 July. Ralph was a much-loved member of our church, and will be sorely missed.

For the last 30 years Ralph has struggled with various health issues, but more recently he took a significant downturn. At the beginning of this year he spent five weeks in hospital, and since then has been on oxygen 24 hours a day and struggling with various other health complications. 

Finally, in God’s kindness, the Lord took him home, surrounded by his wife Janet, daughters Hannah and Ruth, and sister Sandra.

Finishing the race

If Ralph was known for anything it was resilience and perseverance. He simply kept on going, trusting in the Lord, in the face of often severe personal struggles. 

Ralph was a great example to us all, in how to fight the good fight and to keep the faith. Personally, if ever I thought I had reason to complain, I just needed to think of Ralph to put everything into perspective again. I will miss his example.

Hope-filled grief

In the midst of the sadness, we are encouraged by the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus
those who have fallen asleep in him.

Which means that we do not have to grieve like those who have no hope, because God has given us a sure resurrection hope. In the end it is a tremendous mercy that Ralph is with Jesus, is no longer struggling, and that one day he will get a new resurrected body which will work better than his earthly one ever did.

Thanksgiving service

A special thanksgiving service for Ralph was held on Wednesday 7th August at Zion Community Church followed by a tea at the Fore Street Methodist Church.

I am sure the family would appreciate your prayers at this time.

With love

Tim Dennick

Zion Community Church, St Ives

A Multiplicity of Food!

One of the wonderful benefits of having such a diverse congregation at Rosedale Community Church is the quite amazing variety of meals that one can enjoy. At Rosedale we actively celebrate our church of many colours by holding an annual Multi-cultural Meal. On Saturday 20thJuly we came together for a fundraising event for Lord’s work in Sierra Leone.

Greek salad, Jollof rice, spicy chicken noodles, vegetable lasagne, chocolate brownies, cinnamon buns, Gypsy tart, and many more dishes provided an amazing feast. With the donations of food and a charge of £3 per plate, we hoped to both raise money and make the celebration accessible to as many of our congregation and their guests as possible.

David, a retired concert pianist provided back ground music whilst Becky, Deborah and Hannah entertained with some solos. In the church foyer the kids were taking selfies in the pop-up photo booth. Donated gifts, including a mountain bike, were auctioned by John to raise further funds.

Bethany provided an updated account of what God is currently doing in Sierra Leone under the ministry of Magnus and the wonderful school that work Janet O’Shea has just completed. She also reminded people of the opportunity to go salvaging at Reading Festival at the end of August.

By 9pm everyone was full of food and clutching their auction pieces. Over £300 was raised and everyone had thoroughly enjoyed the evening of fellowship.

Talks from Conference 2019

We are pleased to be able to provide you with a link to recordings of the main talks from our 2019 Annual Conference. Offering the Connexion Community a chance to hear them again - or listen in for the first time.

The talks include the President's Address, by our new President, Ken Hart, who opened the Conference asking, 'What is a missional church?'

This is followed by three teaching sessions from our Keynote Speaker, Dr Michael Quicke, who reflects on the important subjects of Welcoming, Supporting and Networking in missional churches.

Click on the link below, which will take you to the selection of four recordings. Please note that there is some variation in the quality of sound in Talks 3 and 4, but we didn't want this to prevent you from hearing them!

 

Main Talks from Conference 2019

 

FSMC Choir to perform at Zion

Zion Community Church in St Ives are delighted to be welcoming the Fore Street Methodist Church (FSMC) Choir for a special performance on the evening of Saturday 11 May.

The FSMC Choir is a well-rehearsed four part harmony choir which performs Christian musicals under the expert eye of Musical Director, William Thomas, himself a renowned soloist in the county. 

The evening will include a collection in aid of the Sierra Leone Mission, a Christian Charity that supports the work of The Connexion in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Join in with The Connexion Community!

Thank you for visiting us online. Our aim is to continue to support and grow the Connexion Community. Linking you with each other and keeping you in touch with our network of 22 churches. 

Check out What's New? to catch up with activities, events, mission news and recorded sermons.

Click on Short Thought for a 60-second sound byte of inspiration and entertainment from Simon Allaby.

Follow, comment and like us on Facebook and Twitter to share bible verses, news items and events, joining in with our growing social media community.

We welcome your participation in helping our members and friends to connect and build a strong and supportive Christian network!

Drop-in at Goring

Each Thursday morning for the past ten years (with only a few exceptions) Goring Free Church has been open to anyone who’d like to Drop-in for coffee, cake, conversation and friendship between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Drop-In celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday 25 March, with a special cream tea followed by a thanksgiving service.

Pastor, Simon Gordon-Potts, says: ‘We are thrilled to be able to provide this service within our community and are delighted to have regular visits from those within the community as well as others from further afield.

We are truly grateful to those on the team who give so much time and energy to running Drop-in, and thankful to the Lord God Almighty for their commitment to him, their love for the people who come, and his faithfulness to us over the years’.

Zion celebrating 357th Anniversary

This past weekend, our church celebrated its 357th Anniversary, with a special service on Saturday evening, and then a special focus at our usual Sunday morning service. We had the privilege of having Dave & Phyl Sweetman with us, Dave is the current president of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion.

Doing the maths

If you subtract 357 from 2019 you get 1662, which is the year we were founded. In an act of 'costly conscientiousness' about 2,000 ministers at that time lost their livelihoods and their homes for taking a principled stand for biblical truth. Various issues surround the The Book of Common Prayer meant that ministers felt they had no option but to establish independent churches. We prayed for ministers who face a similar challenge today.

J I Packer writes of our founders: "They kept a good conscience in the only way open to them, or to any Christian - by following truth as it appears from Scripture, and refusing to sell it, or betray it, for any consideration in the world".

Selina, Countess of Huntingdon

Likewise, Selina, despite a very wealthy but very unhappy upbringing, also decided to devote herself to the Lord following her conversion in her early 30s. We learnt of her reaching out to the nobility, monarchy and commoners alike with the gospel, as her position gave her unique opportunity to do so. We thanked God for her training of ministers, her founding of a Bible College and he support for George Whitefield, and prayed that God would raise up more like them.

It is said of Selina: “Thousands, I may say tens of thousands, in various parts of the kingdom heard the gospel through her instrumentality that in all probability would never have heard it at all; and I believe through eternity will have cause to bless God that she ever existed."

Preaching the Word

Dave Sweetman brought us two messages, 'Hope for the Church' from the healing of the leper in Matthew 8, and 'Hope for the world' from Romans 8. It was wonderful to have the storyline of the Bible brought out of just six verses in Matthew and to see Jesus so clearly. It was also very encouraging to have our gaze lifted to all that God has promised to do in the future.

The Future

In the light of our founders faithfulness to God's word, we long and pray that we might be faithful in our day too. In the light of Selina's life, we pray that we might use the resources and opportunities that we have for the progress of the gospel. And in the light of what Jesus has done and will do, we renew our hope in him as the Saviour of the world.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:3-4

May God be glorified in our generation, and indeed in the next generation, as he has been in the lives of those who have gone before us.

With our love

Tim Dennick and the members of Zion Community Church

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