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.

 

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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

Synod/ Presbytery Report – Mar ’17

Synod is the highest court of the IPC that meets annually, it is comprised of all the voting elders of the English Presbytery, the European Proto Presbytery, The Korean speaking Presbytery in England and the South Korean Presbytery, altogether there are 91 voting elders spread across the world!!

 

For the first time we met on the continent in the OM Zav Centre in Belgium. The morning was taken up with a lecture from Jose Sagovia on the Reformation in Europe. Jose encouraged us not to think of the Reformation as a finished project in which we just take books off the shelves and study what the Reformers said. He closed with 4 applications
1. We need to rediscover the human problem of sin and be willing to address it.
2. The roots of the Reformation were in Revelation
3. Our strength has become our weakness – to give testimony should be to speak about Christ and not our  own experience. He had a lovely line about ‘we speak the truth realising we are part of the problem’ he then riffed on Martin Luther and Woody Allen
4. We must be more dependent on prayer

 

It was a real shame the address was not recorded, Jose is a great gift to the church he is fresh in his thinking and speaking.

 

The business part of Synod began in the afternoon and there was slight confusion over whether we were actually quorate. Initially we thought we weren’t but then somehow we were!! It’s going to be an ongoing issue for us as the South Korean Presbytery were only able to send one delegate of their 29 members. We debated it for quite a bit of the afternoon and I think it’s fair to say we’re not of one mind!!

 

We did decide to take church relations more seriously which I think that will be a good thing moving forward. The standing committee of Synod will take responsibility for this. I hope that will mean that we join the ICRC at some point in the future. It was a joy to have delegates from the GKV – Gereformeerde Kerken. in the Netherlands who were asked for their wisdom a few times. Reports were given from each of the Presbyteries……….

 

Korean speaking Presbytery in England – Puk Kyong Kim has retired as Moderator and thanks were expressed for his pioneer work over the years. There is a new church plant in New Malden.

 

English Presbytery – 2 new church plants – Brentford, Ilford, Leeds. A number of churches looking for buildings. An encouraging number of elders being trained across the denomination as well as the men under care of Presbytery. There have been discouragements too resignations and retirements to ill health this past year.

 

European Proto Presbytery – Welcomed a new church in Prague with 3 elders, aiming for 5 churches with a  growing number of relationships with churches and church plants across the denomination. In December had a Presbytery retreat where wives were invited along and had sessions on the implications of Covenant Theology – it was a great time for deepening relationships.

 

Korean Presbytery – 5 churches and other churches exploring joining. There are around about 20 elders going through the process of Ordination.

 

Synod also approved the new book of liturgy that should be published in the next few months which is a very helpful document. Thanks were also given to Ranald Macauley who has written a history from his perspective over the early years of IPC. It’s a fascinating document and should be on the website shortly

 

We’ll next meet in the Kingston Korean Church next March.

 

The following day we were back for Presbytery which began with Ranald Macauley who is in his 61st year as a converted atheist  preached movingly to us from Psalm 1 & 2. He began by recounting how in 1955 he had walked out of a church in South Africa muttering under his breath “I do not believe in the Father, I do not believe in the Son, I do not believe in the Holy Spirit” after a year of living in the horror of a natural universe he came to Christ in Cambridge. Ranald spoke of the joy of being discovered by the Psalter in these 61 years, pointing us to the juxtaposition of  Psalm 1 & 2 the micro “blessed is the man” and macro “The nations”, how we are immediately projected into a situation of intense struggle and of an entire globe. It is the Word of God we must focus on. The laughing of God in Psalm 2 is the laughter of incredulity “you must be crazy”. The central issue today is that of a creator and creation on this we must be clear. It was warm hearted encouraging stuff.

 

The business part of Presbytery was brief and we dealt with church reports, Finance committee, Church Planting, Candidates and Credentials. It was a joy to welcome Peter Leach who has come ‘under care’ with a  view to entering the ministry. He has been working in Trinity, York for a year and will do another one before moving on to the next stage of training. We now have 8 men under care which is the most we’ve ever had……
Stephen Moore – working on a Phd in Leiden
Will Allen – Oak Hill
Adam Wilson – Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia
Gethin Jones – Westminster, Philadelphia
Chris Roberts – London Seminary
Sean Clokey – Edinburgh Theological Seminary
Steve Clark – at Immanuel Brentford looking to start theological education.

 

We had a discussion on how we move forward on the Synod question with various ideas proposed, we probably generated more heat than light and it may well be we just need to be patient. We’ve experienced growth over the last number of years and that brings its own issues.

 

There are two events happening over the coming months…
Catalyst 13-15 June in Ealing
Keystone Conference for those Aged 18-28 in York on 22/23 Sept
We meet next for Presbytery Fri 16/ Sat 17 June in Ealing

Prayer Points from Presbytery – Mar ’17

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.