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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since having children, sometimes I wake up in the night worried about the future, and I struggle to get back to sleep. Often it is only when I pray, when I thank God for blessing me with my wife and children, and I give my worries to God, that I am able to fall asleep again.
The apostle Paul tells us that ‘The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. Phil 4:5b-7
As we start 2019 and look ahead to what the year has in store for us, it seems full of change and uncertainty. The political landscape of the world appears to be in flux and there is not an obvious clear route out of the political mess we are in. Even the bedrock of our society – our fundamental values and principles – are in transition. Has ‘in with the new, and out with the old’, become the new world order?
It is easy for us to get disheartened, to tire of the conflict and chronic stress that have become part of our daily lives. We Christians struggle to see how our values are reflected in society. What hope is there for our nations that, seemingly, have turned their backs on God? What is there to inspire us when our politicians come across as seeking their own gain at the expense of all of us? Is there any chance of reconciliation when people are so divided over so many issues?
Paul’s answer to similar questions facing the Church in Philippi was to encourage them to place their trust in God and not to be distracted by the conflict and strife that was going on around them. Christians are citizens of heaven, and Paul was encouraging the Church in Philippi to reflect this in how they live – to live, not in accordance with society, but in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Phil 1:27 The world around us may change, but who we are in Jesus Christ does not. Let us approach our circumstances, not with fear and worry, but rather with prayer and thanksgiving, trusting that God is with us and for us.
The New Year has also brought change for our Church in the UK and Ireland. We have now transitioned from the outgoing National Director, James Henderson, to the new National Ministry Team. Writing to you as the Operations Manager of the new National Ministry Team, I want to take the opportunity to let you know how thankful we are to God for the blessings he has bestowed upon our precious denomination in this part of the world and to invite you to join us in thanking God for them in prayer.
Our greatest blessing is, without any doubt, our members and contacts. We are so thankful for our wonderful congregations, and for our brothers and sisters in Christ who share a thirst for God, a love of Scripture, and who come together each week to worship our Lord and sing his praises. We are humbled by, and deeply appreciative of, your support in actions and in words, your offerings and donations, and your faithfulness and devotion to our fellowship.
We thank God that we have so many willing volunteers who do so much. The Church has only eight employees, and yet we have well over a hundred volunteers – those who give their time each week to keep our services running, be it by setting up for church, providing refreshments, giving prayers, counting offerings, booking halls, leading our worship or giving messages. These are all such vital roles and we are so blessed that we have members who willingly, and with joy, take on these vital tasks. We are thankful that so many of our members give their time to visit those who are in ill-health or are struggling, and who take the time to grieve with others when they suffer loss, and to rejoice with them during the good times of their life.
Also, we thank our God for those who get involved in our various ministries and outreach programmes; for those who write articles for Day by Day and Because (as well as for our editors and proof-readers); for those who help with our soup kitchen in Llanelli, or who sing in old folk homes (along with the many other activities in which our members engage both individually and collectively). We are richly blessed by those who contribute their time, knowledge and experience so that we can run our children’s churches and our summer camps (Adventure Camp and SEP). We are thankful for those who record audio and video copies of our services so those who cannot attend can still be included in our services; as well as for those who help us organise and prepare our Bible studies, socials, festivals and retreats.
The theme we have chosen for our festivals, retreats and events in 2019 is ‘remembrance and thanksgiving’, based upon Phil 1:3 NLT (‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God’). As a denomination, as the Church, we have much to be thankful for. Therefore, let us not be anxious about what the future will bring, but, together, let us turn to God in prayer in everything we do, and give thanks to him.
With much gratitude from Pete, Barry, and me,
Gavin Henderson Operations
Manager National Ministry Team
P.S. Please feel free to email the National Ministry Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, we look forward to hearing from you.
Day by day - growing together in life and faith
Day by Day began publication on 1 January 2009 and celebrated its 10th anniversary on 1 January 2019. In the About section of its website, it’s noted that “the site gives an opportunity for those who attend our church to share their faith experience. We all have a story to tell of how a passage of scripture has guided us or encouraged us or clarified our thinking on a certain subject. Some of the studies are written by theologians and scholars but most are written by everyday Christians who live their faith in the practical school of life”.
Each Day by Day is written by a church member who produces a short study that is not controversial or too theological, and is easily readable in a few minutes, making it ideally suited for commuters to read on the bus or train. Contributing a Day by Day study is an excellent opportunity for church members to support the church. We aim to have contributions from all our church areas and include the contact details for the local congregation should anyone want to contact our denomination for further information.
The style of each study also varies based on the author and the topic covered. Some use a favourite scripture and explain why it is important to them, how it applies to their life, what meaning it has for the world and give examples to illustrate its application. Others write about a news item, a trial or personal struggle, and use a scripture that includes a principle to shed light on an issue or a conflict. Some studies begin with a story, a joke or a testimony and go on to show how they illustrate a particular scripture and teach a pertinent lesson.
We are always looking for more church members to contribute to these Day by Day studies. If you would enjoy participating in this venture, here are a few guidelines. The study should be an original work from a current church member of no more than 500 words including the scripture and prayer. The basic template for the study is:
2. Scripture and scripture reference including the translation used
3. Comments about the scripture and its meaning/application
4. Prayer, a short sentence or two
5. Author’s details, indicating home congregation, its meeting and contact details (with the author’s permission we also like to publish their photograph). Please note we do not publish anonymous articles.
6. Send the study to email@example.com
Don’t worry if you haven’t had much experience of writing as I check the scriptural references, the text for spelling and correct use of grammar, and lay it out in the Day by Day format. The studies are then passed to a team to check that doctrinal content reflects the teaching of Grace Communion International and finally are sent to a proof reader.
When this process is completed, I schedule the study for publication and upload them on the website. You can read the Day by Day studies at here or you can choose to have them emailed to your inbox. Gary Glenister uses the Day by Day studies on a daily Twitter site, here and also manages a Day by Day Facebook page at here which you may want to visit and subscribe to.
Watford’s Winter Wonderland
Our Watford church held a social on 15th December 2018. We had the usual service, and the sermon was given by James Henderson about an old carol called “Good King Wenceslas”, and how it relates to the Christian walk of life. He explained the meaning of some of the old-fashioned sounding words. While it may be a struggle to pronounce Wen-ces-las, the song made more sense to us all by the time he had finished.
This was followed by refreshments along with board games and face painting for the children. For that winter feeling the hall and tables were decorated with paper snowflakes.
Once we had enjoyed a meal together, it was time for some arts and crafts which was followed by entertainment put on by both the younger generation and the young at heart. We ended the evening with a traditional sing-along. Our thanks go to all those involved in planning and preparations for the social and to those “House Elves” who cleared up afterwards.
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