IPC Presbytery Prayer Points – March 18

Here is the latest IPC Presbytery Prayer Points – March 18

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Building Project Update April 17

This was what we gave out to the church earlier this month……….

We thought it was about time we gave you an update about the Building Project.  There have been some real encouragements:

Natalie’s hard work with the Solicitors on the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) means that legally we are in a right position to go ahead.  For the observant, you will notice that we have a new charity number CIO 1171604.

Mark and Coaston have done excellent work with Methodist Chapel Aid in securing a loan for £950,000 over 30 years.  We obviously would like to not have to draw down that amount, but it’s great to be able to have access to that when we need it.

The Deacons and Adrian in particular have done lots of work behind the scenes in preparing our move to Dean Hall once the building work begins. It is a remarkable provision that we will be able to use Dean Hall for Sunday night’s and midweek ministries.

What is not so encouraging is that, having been working with the Building Contractors for the past six months, our Project Manager whom we appointed in November, feels that we need to re-look at our Building Contractors.  David Watson, who has been working closely with them (and has been involved with us right through this process), reports that at a meeting last week it was decided that we would go back out to tender.  The good side to this is it’s better that we know this now rather than if we were three months down the line having started the actual building.  There’s a good relationship with the Project Manager and we need to trust the professional advice we’ve been given. 

The rough timeline is as follows:

1. Documents would be ready to be sent out to tender at the end of April. The Building Contractors would have two weeks to get a quote back in.  One encouragement is that it appears builders are more eager for work than they were this time last year, and so we hope we will have four bids.

2. By mid-May a decision should be able to be reached on a successful tender and, if there is no negotiation to be had on price (we need the bids to come in under £2.2 million and so do pray that we would have a number of bids under this price), we should be able to sign a contract and builders should be on site demolishing by the end of June.

At this point, if you’re still with me, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking this could take a lot longer – and it could.  But, God-willing, if the tenders come back at the right price, we should be starting the building work before the summer holidays.

Where does this leave us?  Having looked at the figures there is a shortfall of around £200,000 (although the  building is £2.2m we still need to fit it out) and we are approaching a number of donors about this, but we are also asking whether you as a congregation can give again.  We had hoped not to have to come back to you until the building had actually started, but that has not been possible.  So we have called for a day of prayer, fasting and giving on Wednesday 26th April.  We’ll get together that evening to break the fast, eat together, celebrate the Lord’s Supper and pray. 

If we are able to raise the remaining shortfall then this will also put us in a better position when we go out to tender.  

This has been a long project and we are grateful for all the work that the Building Committee and various people have done on this — and also the patience of the church family in the process.  The Building Project has never been a source of division – long may that continue!

We also need to remember how far the Lord has brought us –  we have raised almost £2.1 million (with the help of pledges, the loans and donations and also after having bought out the Coach House and the land at the back of the church for £400,000) it is remarkable where the Lord has brought us to.  It feels like we’ve been saying this for quite a long while, but we’re not far away from being able to start.

Do keep praying and consider how you might be able to give.

 

FAQ’s about the Building Project

I wrote this for the church trying to address some of the common questions asked about the building project, that seems to have been going on for years but never starting……

Why are we doing this?!  Couldn’t the money be better used?
I think we need to keep in mind why we’re doing the project so that IPC in future generations long after we’re gone will be able to proclaim Christ in West Ealing. We need to be thinking beyond ourselves. But for us, in this generation, a new building would be used for various ministries and ways to reach out to this community for the gospel. Think of how our current building has served the gospel, and how thankful we are for those in the early 80s who sacrificed and gave to buy 53 Drayton Green! Buildings can serve the gospel.

Why are we considering a new building?
We did consider in the early stages of the project whether as a church we should move — there was nothing that jumped out at us. In the providence of God, English Heritage listed the Chapel part of our building and, although at the time, this was incredibly infuriating it means that we are now locked into this area. 

The church has been at its current location since 1979 and has had good links with the community; there’s real strength to that. I also think in a transient area like West Ealing, which will increasingly become more so with Crossrail, it is a great thing for a church to be saying that we want to be in this community proclaiming Christ in the long-term. We also are committed to being a local church — this is quite a rare thing in London and yet it is wonderful so many of us live within a bus ride or a short walk from the church.

Could we move to two services?
Lots of churches do this and there are good arguments for it….after all, if 200 people were converted in the next month, we’d need to think about how to fit them in…..but fundamentally the church is the gathering of God’s people. The church is a community of people redeemed by Christ who know each other and are actively involved in each others’ lives; when you move to two congregations on a Sunday morning the body life of the church is split, the gathering is divided, and relationships are weakened. That’s not to say it is always wrong when God gives remarkable growth, but for the moment we see ourselves staying with one service. The needs of West London mean that church planting should be our priority rather than going to two services.

How about planting again?
We are in total agreement that we need to keep planting. West London is so needy that we need to keep focused on planting out from Ealing.  However, to do that, you do need a church to be a training church and strong enough to send people out. We trust that by having a building in which we can grow, we can continue to send out church plants like we’ve done with Immanuel, Brentford. We also mustn’t be naïve in that sending people out is not easy — we miss those relationships and there’s a real financial cost to doing it. To be more established as a church and slightly bigger allows you do more of it.

Can the new building be used for the wider community?
The building is a mixture of very flexible space which can be used by all the ministries of IPC and in various ways. The main auditorium has been designed primarily as a space for the worship of God. We hope that it will be a beautiful home for us as a church to worship God. One of the things we’ve discovered I think in this process is that architecture matters and actually buildings communicate what they are used for:  we trust that, as people enter our building, they will understand something of our theology. We will be able to use the rooms in other ways for games and clubs, but it is deliberate in its design as a place of worship rather than a sports hall.

 

Could we stay at Drayton Manor?
Drayton Manor has been an amazing provision and is a really good venue for us. However, each week we are paying considerable rent which will only increase. The other more serious consideration is that, in renting you are vulnerable to the whims of a premises manager or a headteacher. At the moment, another church in Ealing is looking for a venue and really struggling to find somewhere. How long will public venues like Drayton Manor be open to faith groups is also a realistic concern — our culture is quite hostile in parts to the gospel. To be able to run ministries during the week, and to be a permanent witness in a community, ordinarily means that you need a building that people can identify as being connected with the church.

Will there be accommodation as part of the new build?
We are hoping to build a flat which we would be able to rent out and would bring in some income. Our desire was to have two properties on the site but, in looking at the cost of the project and the planning restrictions placed upon us, we’ve needed to sacrifice one dwelling. This is disappointing but we didn’t want to overstretch ourselves. Longer term the church does need to look at housing needs for future workers in West Ealing, but that’s for another day.

 

We don’t want to be a bigger church?
At the moment the planned building will seat under 300.  As Elders we don’t envisage growing beyond 200/250 and our desire and our plan is to keep planting. I do want to challenge, though, the assumption behind this question — surely we want more people to come under the sound of the Gospel, we want more people to be discipled, we want to see more people growing in their likeness to Jesus?  On the other hand, we don’t want relationships to be weak and for there to be a consumer approach that there sometimes can be in larger churches.  We need to see God desires his church to grow in Christ-likeness, but also in number. We need to see sometimes our desire to not be a big church isn’t always right.

Why is it so expensive?
Great question!  There have been numerous complications from us having to buy out the Coach House and land at the back of the property, to designing a building that is both suitable for both our current and future use, to being acceptable to Council planning and English Heritage, and to tree preservation orders. It’s not  been straightforward and God-willing we will have a building that is both accessible and useful, but also has a beauty to it that gives us more prominence on the street. Building a church in West London is hugely expensive…..in comparison with other churches building similar size buildings our costings are probably about average.

Why is it taking so long?
Partly we’ve not had someone full-time working on the project to drive things forward, but also it’s been a complex situation from the start. None of us envisaged this taking as long as it has when we started out, and yet it’s been a good thing for us as a church — we’ve seen God answer many prayers. What I think we should be particularly grateful for is that during this time the church has not been distracted by the building project, and we’ve known great unity throughout this. We are hopefully at a stage where work will begin in the early summer, and so we should be back in the new building by early summer 2018. However, we’ve learnt that dates are flexible in this process!

Our Day of Fasting and Prayer

We’re having a day of prayer and fasting and giving as a congregation. I’ve become convinced of the practice of fasting, we don’t insist everyone does it, it’s totally voluntary but the Confession talks about it in it’s chapter in worship and the Sabbath (21:5). John Piper has been really helpful to my thinking on it – What is the Point of Fasting?, his book on Hunger for God is also good . Danny Hyde’s booklet on why we fast is also excellent. I should also credit my brother Steve who first made me think about it and I’ve stolen lots of his good ideas.

We ordinarily give the congregation a few weeks notice, we’ve ordinarily done it at the beginning of a year but today is because of our building project which is not far from being able to start and yet still faces some significant hurdles. We have a shortfall of around £200,000 and so as elders we  have called the church to fast and pray, we’re praying as a congregation that the Lord will provide the finances but also that we can get started soon. The first time we had a day of fasting I preached on it the Sunday before.

 

During the actual day we text out 4 verses to encourage people to keep going with the fasting and praying. today we sent out…

 

“O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure” – Isaiah 25:1

 

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4
“This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness “the LORD is my portion” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him”. The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the Salvation of the LORD” Lamentations 3:21 – 26

 

“I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1,2

 

We’ll meet together tonight to break the fast at 7, I think Chilli is on the menu, we’ll pray together, I’ll speak briefly, we’ll sing together and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together and probably be done before 9.

Presbyterianism in England Today (2010)

Graham Weeks and I are elders at IPC Ealing, he is wonderful encourager to me and others. He has served as an elder in our congregation for over 30 years and the debt we owe him is incalculable. He wrote a series of articles for the Free Church Monthly Record in 2010 and I thought it would be good to have them in one place.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three