It’s that time of year when I write to update you on RFC's search for a permanent venue. RFC has continued to grow, and now gathers 400 people over three congregations on an average Sunday.
We've been diligently saving towards a deposit for our first home, although we haven’t yet found a suitable building to lease or buy. However, we have celebrated as we've seen God's provision for other local churches; LifeSpring’s new building is now fully operational, and our friends at Vineyard have recently moved their Sunday meetings to their newly acquired campus.
We can learn from these good news stories: both of these churches had around £500K in their building funds at the start of negotiations. Here at RFC, we currently have £276K in our Vision Fund. Thank you to everyone who has faithfully given into the Vision Fund over the past three years. The total given to date amounts to £305K, of which we are delighted to have given away 10% - primarily to help finance Starting Point Reading (SPR). (We will be celebrating the second anniversary of SPR on Wednesday 24th September at 6pm in Reading Borough Council offices. All at RFC are welcome to come along!)
To help us move towards our goal of a permanent home, we are setting aside Sunday 19th & 26th October as Gift Days for our Vision Fund. These Gift Days are part of our plan to raise another £100K over the next 12 months. This won't be easy: the initial excitement is long gone, and the hard work of stirring our faith and generosity might seem familiar and boring. But this is an ancient story: it was in the middle of a hard desert journey that God’s people were most tempted to give up. So please pray and consider your role in helping to raise another £100K for our Vision Fund.
As a church community, we have a 13 year history of faith-filled, joyful, generous giving; we have endeavoured to steward our time, talents and treasures for God's glory. So why give again? Because it's prudent to keep saving up for our first home. After talking to the leaders at LifeSpring & Vineyard, we have concluded that we need substantially more money to be taken seriously and to be able to move quickly when the opportunity for the right venue finally arises.
I am asking all of us to give generously on the Gift Days for our Vision Fund - not because we have to, but because we want to. So if you don’t want to give, or aren't able to give this time, please be released from this request for finances and instead pray and rejoice with those who want and are able to give.
Friends, God is with us. A church that gathers 400 people on a Sunday, and is still growing, must surely need a permanent home at some point. Only God knows when, but we can play our part in preparing for that exciting day.
(On behalf of the elders & deacons)