Thursday, 6 November 2014

Why membership?

I am updating the RFC Membership Course notes for this Sunday and was happily reminded why we value membership. I thought existing members would also benefit from a reminder...

Why membership?
Membership is not a biblical command but is a pragmatic and helpful response to our individualistic and fractured culture (and 2000yrs of church history has also played it's part in creating division!). Membership can help us to publicly expresses both the value and the desire to be part of a community.

It signals your expectation to be cared for by the church and your desire to play your part in meeting the needs of our community with your time, talents & treasure. Membership gives you permission to speak into church life and gives others permission to speak into yours.

Our expectation for church members is four fold:
·         They desire to grow in their ‘Joy & Satisfaction’ in God.

·         They desire to grow in their ‘Relationships’ with others in the church.

·         They desire to grow in their ‘Acts of Service’, especially for fellow members.

·         They desire to grow in their ‘Stewardship’ of their time, talents & treasure.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Building & Vision Fund update

Building Update: You may well be aware that we have recently been exploring purchasing a warehouse in the south of Reading. Three years ago we formed a Buildings Team led by Ian Anderson and recently they have been looking at 4 Acre Rd, the building below. I thought would be helpful to share a summary of their findings: 

'Over all its big, (16,000 sqft plus two mezzanine floors each 8000 sqft) and we could make the space work; the offices are ready to go and still have room for more initiatives. We could use the shed at the back for some social action or employment project. However we are paying for about 8000 sqft of mezzanine floor space that we will take out, and there will be a major project to put in heating lighting, fresh air, air conditioning, kitchen, toilets, showers etc.

In summary the Buildings Team have some reservations due to difficulties with the change of use, parking, the cost and value, and also location but we propose to the the elders that we take this to pre planning stages. This would give us a better understanding of the councils views in the south Reading area, and give a clear indication to them that we want a building of our own.' 

So the next step is to formally talk to the town planners at Reading Borough Council. We haven't made an offer for the building, nor have the reservations & difficulties gone away but it seems the next best thing to do.

Vision Fund: We are now in our 4th cycle of raising £100k a year for our Vision Fund. Over the two Giftdays on 19th & 20th October £45,798 was given and a further £43,000 was pledged! This is a strong start to this cycle of fund raising.

Thank you to everyone who has given and will be redeeming pledges ... surely a building isn't too far away now!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

We can't stay here

Our town is growing.  250,000 people live in and around Reading and that figure is steadily increasing. New homes are being built, as are schools, roads and rail-links to support this. Reading University is growing in academic stature; it attracts more and more overseas students who then return to influence their home nation. Our town is an expanding ‘mission field’ and we get to co-labour with Jesus and bring in His harvest.

But we do face a few logistical challenges: Our 11am Sunday meeting is beginning to hit its capacity (especially in rooms for children’s work); Reading Girls Schools is getting a new building but we have been told we won’t have any onsite storage; Our mid week meeting rooms are regularly at capacity; We are unable to pursue some of the Social Justice needs of our town because we have offices not a community building. And these are just some of the challenges we face!

However, we believe God has called us to be a growing community and that He will keep adding people to us. Having the right venue/building in the right season of a church’s life makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of fulfilling our calling. After 13 years, the time has come to find a space that can become a 'Home' to our church and a 'Hub' for our Mission; a 'Home' where we can gather in and be ourselves; and a 'Hub' from which we bring God’s Kingdom to our town. 
Giving to our Vision Fund will help make this happen. Please play your part by giving into the Vision Fund. We now need ‘a Home & a Hub’ that helps us reach the town of Reading and beyond.

Great pub walk

Yesterday, Liz and I drove 30 minutes and did the walk outlined here. It is a very pretty walk with great views of the Chilterns & River Thames ... we also passed a massive farm of free range Turkeys ...their days are numbered!
We treated ourselves to lunch in the Bell & Dragon on Cookham high street; good ale and fab food. 

If you have a morning free and like pub lunches, give it a whirl.  

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#trending - new sermon series

On Sunday 26th October we will be starting our new sermon series looking at current cultural trends from a biblical perspective.

Topics will include Social Media, Sex, Pornography, Homosexuality, Singleness and Identity. These issues affect many of us, both at home or at work.

Do consider inviting a friend along, we shall try to present each of the topics in a way that makes them accessible to our friends not yet following Jesus.

If you have a specific question on one of the topics let me know and I will pass it on to whoever is preaching.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

This dad can still dance...

Last night was the annual awards dinner for my Tri Club. Whilst I didn't get an award this year, my dance moves were legendary...