RECTOR'S January pew LETTER
Happy New Year! I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
The Christmas services at BPC went well thanks to an army of helpers. If you were one of them: thank you so, so much.
Attendance at all our services was as good as last year and I think we got the balance right. We cut back some 9.30am services due to the proximity of Christmas Day to the preceding Sunday and will probably do likewise this year. Do let me have your feedback for how you thought things went and where we could do better.
Weekend Away. I am delighted to announce that our next parish Weekend Away will take place 27th – 29th September at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, Hertfordshire. I appreciate this is fairly short-notice but we have struggled to find an affordable venue. I’ve stayed there before and it is a beautiful location. It is significantly cheaper that where we went on 2017 (so we won’t expect quite the same comfort levels) but I hope this will make it more accessible. Please put the dates in your diaries now. More details to follow.
The Persecuted Church & Iraq. The Lord has placed his precious persecuted church on my heart in an inescapable way. Hearing about Christians in North Korea (from Open Doors) at Spring Harvest, the church in China, India, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Iraq is heart-breaking but also heart-warming as we read of their growth, courage and steadfastness. We pray and we also give. I am visiting Baghdad (Iraq) 17th – 23rd January to take a gift from BPC to St George’s Church and also to visit a beloved Iraqi family who used to worship at BPC but are now back in Iraq that many of you will remember. Please pray for safety and protection. If you’d like to make a financial gift for me to take St Georges please contact me.
Alpha. Alpha will run, starting 23rd January. Do let the Office know if you and any friends would like to sign-up. Getting someone to do Alpha will be better than any Christmas present they’ve ever received. www.bpchurch.uk/alpha
Prayer Points. We must – 100% - really pray hard and urgently for the following staff appointments:
· New Kids’ Team Leader. We are still looking for someone with spiritual maturity who loves kids, is a faithful bible teacher, full of energy and enthusiasm and has a proven track record leading volunteers and children’s work.
· New Youth Team Leader. We need to find a new youth leader to replace Emma.
· New Worship Team Leader. We also need to find a new contemporary worship team leader to take over from Tim.
Chairs, kitchen and other matters. If you have a view on what chairs we should get time is running out for you to leave a comment in the book. The kitchen work that is being carried out has been made possible through donations and fundraising. Alex Cooke is doing a great job doing all the hard graft. Huge thanks to Tim Jones for re-waxing and repairing all the parquet flooring.
Christmas Cards. Please check the temporary pigeon holes at the back of church for Christmas cards that might be waiting for you.
Focus. Creating community is a vital part of our vision and one of the ways we do this is to take a group to the ‘Focus’ church holiday (25-30th July). Most people camp (those that don’t stay off-site and come in daily) and we have a community pitch where our marquee lives and is where we eat and hang-out. The kids/young people’s activities are awesome. We’d love to keep growing the group so if you’re interested in coming see me or Danny and visit bpchurch.uk/focus. Bursaries are available.
Connect Groups. We have some 18 connect groups and I’d really encourage you to join one (or form one) as they really are such a crucial part of our discipleship and pastoral care. Revd Michael Greig is the person to speak to.
New to SSPP? If you are new and haven’t yet completed a ‘Welcome’ card then please pick one up from the back of church, complete it and post it into the red letterbox. If you don’t, we’ll be unable to keep you updated on forthcoming events and you’ll miss out on dinner at The Rectory. If you’d like more information on us just visit www.bpchurch.uk or ask to meet one of the team after a service.
Dates for your Diary:
14th January – Creativity Evening 7 – 9.15pm
19th January - Women’s Breakfast 9am
21st January - Unhindered Worship 8pm
1st February - Tim & Emma’s farewell party – details to follow.
3rd February – baptisms at the 6pm
And finally - Prayer & Praise. We meet as usual for an hour of ‘Prayer & Praise’ on Monday 7th 8-9pm. It is vital that as a church we pray fervently for God’s direction and blessing on our ministries and people.
May the Lord bless this new year to you richly,
PS If you’ve ever wanted to know what to pray for pastors, here are 10 points to pray for:
1. A strong sense of God’s calling on the pastor’s life. “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24).
2. An increasingly deeper love for the Lord Jesus Christ. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
3. A devotion to the Scriptures. “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:12).
4. A sincere love for people of all kinds. “Do you love me? Feed my sheep” (John 21:15ff).
5. A great relationship with their spouse. “Husband, love your wife even as Christ loved the church…” (Ephesians 5:25).
6. Good health. “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2).
7. Wisdom in decision-making. “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” (James 1:5).
8. That they may be prayerful in all things when all the world would have them forget to pray. “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly”. (Psalm 5:3)
9. That they will have a servant spirit. A “gentle and quiet spirit (is) very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:4).
10. That God will give the pastor a group of great counsellors and several key mentors.
11. And now, when you’ve done all these things, do one more big thing… Give thanks.