Grace Church, Larbert – Facing some accommodation issues – needing to find a temporary home for July – August. They are still looking for land and there is one possible option. Growth in the congregation has been more stable than spectacular but around 200 in the congregation now. Sean Clokey is halfway through his training at ETS
Trinity Church Aberdeen – Looking at a building and a need for wisdom and courage in this. Have been preaching through Luke’s gospel and encouraging the congregation to use Uncover doing 121’s with friends. This has seen encouraging results. Encouraged by having Ben Trainor on staff doing Cornhill part time.
HIC Inverness – Quite encouraged with recent growth – up to 50 people on a Sunday morning, celebrating their 5th anniversary soon. Continued prayer for health of James and Jane Torrens
Trinity York – Encouraged – 2 elders are being put to the congregation which is good for the church but pray for unity in this. There has been an increase in attendance particularly in the number of Non Christians coming to church. Mums and Tots groups has started and a Drop in coffee for older folks. All their interns will finish this summer and so there’s a need to recruit new ones. Very grateful for Peter Leach coming under care and staying for another year.
Christ Church Derby – Lots of be thankful for, quite a number of new faces, 5 new members. Recently finished an evangelistic course and lots of good conversations. Pray for the Christ Church Central Leeds launch – it’s very exciting but that will have an effect on the congregation in Derby and particularly the finances as people move on. Pray for Jonty and George as they prepare to move house – Ottilie Esther Grace Rhodes was born on 7 March.
New City Fellowship – Shepherds Bush – A stable time, have appointed a communications guy to the staff. Grateful for a woman who has moved back from New York. Marcus, Oong and Chris H meeting as a proto session and preaching through Acts. Grateful froa Somali man coming and the music beginning to sound better
New Life Massih Ghar, Southall – Barry Schutter has just returned from a trip to India with the aim of reaching the families of people in NLMG back in India, helping publish books in India and real encouragement from a girl in NLMG giving her testimony in Hyderabad.
Immanuel, Brentford – One of Stuart’s neighbours coming for a few months from Catholic background. There has been a family coming from the start and some people randomly coming. Hoping to run Life Explored after Easter. There are a number of pastor issue with older people who are frail and depression in the congregation.
All Nations, Ilford – Steady, Having an Away day in May. Pray for people on fringes for God to work. Still grappling with language issues and how to minister to those in a different language. Keep praying for a musician.
Grace Church, Kyle of Lochalsh – Not an easy situation. Week to week it seems to be settled and congregation is recovering. They are still below the scale where they need to be to call a minister. Hamish serving heroically
Ealing IPC – Training 4 men for eldership which is going well. On the building project, encouraged that we’ve been able to sort out legal situation CIO and a loan but the builders are proving problematic. Very grateful to have recently had Dariusz Bryckov with us from Poland and hope that we can have a long term partnership with the congregation in Warsaw. WE are looking at ways we can reach out to Polish people with the gospel. We are looking forward to having Gethin Jones work with us for a year and Chris Roberts coming back from London Seminary this summer. We need to pray for Graham who is having an operation for Colon cancer with quite a few uncertainties.
St Peter’s Liss – Has been a more settled time with loan elders working well together. The way forward plan for the congregation is being developed and there are encouragements. A pastoral search committee has been appointed.
Culcheth Community Church – Phil Wren has decided that he won’t serve as an elder and so Church Planting committee are talking to Bruce as to the best way forward for the congregation.
Christ Church Central, Leeds – Jonty and George will be moving to Leeds in April.
1. Do you acknowledge that you are saved only through faith in Jesus, that you trust not in anything you have done or will ever do, but only in His finished work – His death upon the Cross, by which He took upon Himself the penalty for Your sins?
2. Do you realise that baptism is not a saving ordinance, and though it signifies your children’s membership in the covenant community, it is not a matter of magic? Do you understand that your children are themselves responsible to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord as they become accountable to Him?
3. Do you in this sacrament covenant together with God to raise your children in the instruction, obedience, and worship of the Lord, to pray for and with them, to keep them in the fellowship of God’s people, to be faithful and loving in your home, to be immediate examples of faith, and therefore to do your utmost to lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ at an early age?
4. Do you acknowledge that your children are a gift of God, who are of course to be cherished and enjoyed, but who belong at last not to you but to God? Do you undertake to assist your children in every possible way as they seek to lead a life of devoted service to his Lord and Saviour?
5. Do you, with God’s help, undertake not to hinder your children should they feel called to serve God in a far-away place? Do you, with God’s help, undertake not to complain against God should your children die before you?
Do you, the members of this congregation, agree to pray for these parents as they raise their children in the Christian faith, and to support them in their efforts by providing their children with further examples of obedience and service to God? Should these parents neglect their God-given task, will you in all humility rebuke and correct them?
Presbytery was hosted by Trinity Church, York and for the first time we met at St Anthony’s Hall, Trinity’s new home. Committees took place on the Friday morning and we started proper after lunch with Chris Hatch exhorting us from Romans 12. Chris Cradock is the Moderator and is doing a fine job. The business began with church reports and I gave the report on Liss which Presbytery dealt with calmly and quickly. My resignation as a loan elder was accepted and Paul Meiners one of the other elders here in Ealing will take my place. Kyle of Lochalsh has also had some difficult times but there was a good spirit in how these things were dealt with.
The main event of the afternoon was Joel Kendall’s presbytery floor examination. Joel is a Welshman who was a student at Nottingham, doing an apprenticeship with Beeston Free before going to WEST (now Union). For the past 4 years he’s worked as an Assistant Minister in Christ Church, Westbourne. Our congregation in Derby also called Christ Church have called Joel to be their minister replacing Jonty Rhodes who is moving to plant in Leeds early next year. It was a joy to see how Joel answered the questions. I think the exam lasted 45 minutes and the questions were good and helpful, Joel answered thoughtfully, humbly and biblically. I am so grateful for the men the Lord is bringing into our denomination. Joel will be a terrific addition to the Presbytery.
In the rest of the afternoon we approved Jonty Rhodes and Matthew Roberts to go to the US for a fund raising trip. There was a good time of prayer with others to finish off the day. In the evening we were at Matthew and Kate Roberts’ house for a meal and it was such an enjoyable talking and catching up with folk.
On the Saturday morning of Presbytery we had James Eglinton who is a Bavinck scholar teaching at New College, Edinburgh who gave two papers on ‘Bavinck the Preacher’ and ‘Bavinck’s Trinitarian thought’. I enjoyed both papers the second one particularly we were given some great quotes and whetted appetite to get into Bavinck.
In the final session there were 3 very exciting and encouraging things. The Candidates and Credentials Committee appointed Gethin Jones to come under care. Gethin is originally from the Heath Church, Cardiff, he studied at Cambridge and most recently was working in Paris doing student work. Gethin is in his final year at Westminster Seminary and hopes to be in France long term. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Gethin and we had him to preach earlier this summer. We think this is the first time we’ve taken someone under care with a view to them going abroad.
Up next was Matthew Roberts who chairs our Church Planting Committee. Around 6 years ago we started a fund with a view to being able to give grants to new church plants and Presbytery voted to give Christ Church Central, Leeds – £30,000 in year 1 and then £20, 000 for the second and third year. This is the biggest grant we’ve ever given from the fund and there is something thrilling about being able to give large sums of money to potential church plants.
The last business of the day was to clarify our Assistant Minister Fund, Matthew Roberts again did a good job in just explaining how this could really help our churches and how congregations can apply. All was passed without a hitch. Hopefully this will have a big effect in years to come with training men.
So we will meet again on Friday 2/3 December in Derby. I am so grateful for Presbytery and how God has blessed it. It’s still small and fragile but we’re getting there.