Thursday, 22 October 2009

What now for Prayer Meetings?

'Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful' Col 4v4.

Starting a Sunday evening meeting presents many challenges, not least that our church Prayer Meeting is currently on Sunday nights.

At our last elders meeting we tasked Sitho with coming up with a proposal that reflects our commitment to prayer. His initial thoughts have sparked a long email discussion between us all!

I thought it would be good to open up the debate to a wider audience, hence this blog entry. Here's my questions for you to answer:

"When and how should RFC gather as a church to pray?"

"How and when do other churches with evening meetings, pray together?"

We do need a plan by January next year so please comment on this or send me an email direct. Please be creative, and do state what you think is obvious (we may well have missed it!).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A great email

I received this email today from Paul who came second in our photo competition.

Dear Frances and Sean,

Thank you for providing such an enjoyable evening at the reception for your Photo competition and many thanks for the Jessops Voucher. Both Barbara and myself were made to feel very welcome on Wednesday by your very friendly group and by the Reading Chronicle. It was interesting to see such a good selection of pictures. We shall make a point of looking at the dome pictured in the winning photo when next in the Oracle - an inspiring idea for a photo.

As I mentioned I do think it was very original idea to have such a competition and you are to be congratulated for your work and efforts into making it a successful venture. Perhaps an annual event!?

So, again, many thanks, and we would like to send to you and all of your members our best wishes for the future.

Kind Regards

Paul and Barbara

Sunday, 18 October 2009

RFC Gift Day Video

In case you missed this on Sunday morning

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Photo winners

Last night we hosted a drinks reception where the winners of the Photo Competition were announced (we teamed up with the Reading Chronicle newspaper to run the event).

It was a great evening and all of the 7 finalist photos were framed and looked fantastic. Only one finalist was from the church, so well done Kat Starling!

The first three photos below took First, Second and Third place. Friends from the Reading Chronicle were also there and I will link to their article when it is posted.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Rested #2 - Sabbath Rest

Today I reminded us that, as Christians, we are released from the rules and regulations of the Jewish Sabbath laws and into the freedom of 'The sabbath is made for Man'.
  • A day for ceasing from our work.

  • A day for giving thanks to God for who He is & what He's done.

  • A day that reaffirms the truth of the Gospel.

  • A day to see the old Truths of the Gospel in new ways.

  • A day to gather to worship Jesus as church.

  • A day to be strengthened & encouraged in our faith.

  • A day to meet & express our unity in Jesus.

  • A day to serve & care & feast & laugh with others.

  • A day to reflect & ponder & review & learn from the previous week.

  • A day to ponder the pattern our life is weaving.

  • A day that helps to redefine our calling in life.

  • A day to settle in our hearts to 'want we we have'.

  • A day to be distinctively set part as the people of God.

  • A day each week to usher us into Biblical Rest.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

5km Time Trial @ TVP

This morning a number of us from church ran the 5Km Time Trial at Thames Valley Park. It was a beautiful morning ... and I had a lot to prove.

My 11 year old son is at the cusp of beating me over this distance. His PB is 21:52 and he set that 2 years ago (he hasn't done a time trial since). I simply had to beat that time today.

Thankfully I red-lined all the way and came in 29 seconds quicker but I think I will have to soon concede this distance.

Irritatingly, Jethro (who has just started drumming at RFC), beat me by 48 seconds whilst wearing tippy-tappy skater-boy plimsoles and Bermuda shorts. I seem to have all the right gear but no idea!

Barbie did her first run since having Rachel and Scott faithfully cheered us all home whilst holding the baby.

Kat LF did her first ever 5km in preparation for the Reading 1/2 and managed a sprint finish.

Richard first rode 45km then joined the race 10minutes after the start and still finished before the tail-enders!

My daughter Lucy ran an amazing 27:51 (with Liz) making her 50th out of the 71 finishers!

Thankfully Joshua didn't run today ... I'm still king of the 5km, for another week at least!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mental Health - Fragments of a Care Giver's diary

We are hosting a day on Mental Health to support people like this Care Giver. These are actual diary entries of my friend's father, when my friend battled psychotic episodes.

“I felt all was up with us, and then she suddenly perked up after tea (which I had to encourage down, by directing every mouthful). We went into long, long talks. Mostly about grace. She really thinks she has blown it with God & condemned for ever. I told her that there was nothing that she could do or be that would cause God to love her less. I realised with inner tears that the same was true for my love to her. (I only allowed myself to cry once in her presence, and it distressed her a lot, so I confine my sobs to silent ones in the bathroom, when I was allowed in there)”

“At some point in one of her more lucid moments today I tell her that she has confused her academic examinations with her moral and spiritual responsibility. That is, she is re-living an examination in her brain. All of life is a test.

“Cold, frosty night. I have to get away, I can’t stand it anymore. A friend agrees to cover me for a couple of hours. I drive off in the Punto and park at the side of the road in Pepper Lane. I sit for two hours in the freezing cold. Nowhere to go, can’t talk to anyone. Not interested in anything. Can’t cope. Too painful.”

“She’s gone, and I can’t get her back & as I write, the tears fall on the bed sheet. I must now develop ways of forgetting the daughter I once knew”.

“I sat outside the hospital doing telephone battle with social services, psychiatrists, their consultant, currying help from the GP and our consultant, while my faithful friend, bless him, who had given up his day to join with me in trauma sat in the passenger seat and tracked every transaction to make sure I made the right decisions.”

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A day on Mental Health

On Saturday 7th November, RFC are hosting a day entitled 'Cloudy days in Summer'. The day is open to anyone who has experienced mental illness and to those who support people through episodes of mental illness.

It will be held at our London Street offices from 10:00 - 16:15 and lunch will be provided. There is a £5 charge for the day and to book your place email the church office here.

The day will have three main sessions:

Session #1 A theology of Mental Health. This session aims to give a biblical overview of the holistic nature of Mankind and sin's effect since Adam's rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Andrew Ryland will be leading this session and he is the pastor of Beacon Church, Chertsey.

Session #2 Treatments & working with agencies. This session aims to give an overview of the various treatments & medication associated with Mental Illness. It will also outline the services available through Local Health Authorities & Social Services. It will be led by Dave Webb-Peploe who leads Jubilee Church, Shepperton. Dave suffered a psychotic breakdown at Uni, then worked as an approved social worker (authorised to section people ) and then a senior practitioner in mental health with Surrey County Council.

Session #3 - Supporting those with Mental Illness. The final session will be led by Pippa and Julie Sussex. Pippa has personal and professional experience of Mental Illness and works as an OT in Psychiatry. Julie works on staff at Beacon Church Camberley and has experience of supporting people with mental health issues. Together they will explore some of the areas surrounding how to best support those with mental illness.

Worship - the day will start and finish with time spent worshipping the God of all creation who has revealed His love for us. These times will be led by Andrew Gordon who is a trained social worker and is senior support worker in a drug and alcohol recovery house.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Rested #1

This week we started our new series entitled 'Rested?'. Essentially I will be exploring Jesus' promise that if we come to Him, He will give us rest (Matt 11v28-30) .

This morning I looked at how the pace of our lives is speeding up ... and that leisure is a very poor substitute for Biblical Rest. Chilling out with friends when you have crushing debts, or wracked with guilt, is a very flimsy shelter in which to seek rest.

'Rhythm' is a root of Biblical Rest that we all need to rediscover and I hope to unpack the rhythm of Sabbath Rest over the next two weeks. Matt Hosier wrote that "we need to be Easter People & Christmas People and Sabbath People", and I think he is right.

The essence of Biblical Rest is 'Peace', peace with God; a peace that is found only in Christ and anchored in the future. I sense it will be a very helpful series and I am really looking forward to the study.

RFC Media made the film below to introduce the sermon series ...