Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | February 3, 2010

Insight

In January we held a celebration event to welcome some of our new Street Pastors

Firstly my apologies for taking so long to put up a New Year Post. We have waited on some decisions which we hope now mean we will be able to continue the Community Ministry in Ellesmere Port into the summer of 2012. Whilst not completely certain it looks like we will be able to stay and we are very grateful to God and number of people who have worked hard to make this possible. So a very belated Happy New Year!

As we look back on 2009 we have much to be thankful for, both in terms of ministry and the wider community. Included in this are the continuing good relationships between the churches and church leaders, we are thankful for those events which we have been able to do together in this last year and which have publically witnessed to our shared faith in Jesus. We have seen the consolidation and growth of Street Pastors in both Chester and Ellesmere Port. It’s a real privilege to co-ordinate this wonderful group of people. The forming of new relationships as part of my chaplaincy work at Hollymere with residents and staff has been a real joy and alongside my colleague Sheila  we have been able to commence a monthly act of worship.

In the wider community the safeguarding of the future of Vauxhall, the building of a new very big Community College and closer partnership with the new Council are all things to be celebrated.

In Jesus we discover the character of God to one of generosity and abundance and for that reason we dare to ask for more in 2010. Please join me in praying for the following;

  • For the funding and commencement of building work for the ‘Footsteps to the Future’ project in 2010
  • For the launch of ‘Port Reach’  – Please see page headed Port Reach
  • For more encounters in our Street Pastor ministry in which people our drawn towards Jesus
  • For further deepening of relationships between churches in the town

Finally a big thank you to those of you who regularly remember us as a family in your prayers. We do appreciate this and know it makes all the difference.

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Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | December 2, 2009

Insight

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV

 

Well it’s that time again, children have opened the first window in the Advent Calendar and last Sunday many churches will have lit the first of their advent candles, traditionally associated with Hope. It’s over 2 years since the community ministry in Ellesmere Port began and Hope has really been a constant theme. This text from Romans has remained with me throughout this time.

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Advent reminds us that God has made his intentions clear, he seeks relationship with his creation, he desires to bless. In Jesus we have the living light of hope who offers to illuminate our lives so that we can live as God intended us to live. But we are never meant to keep this light to ourselves it should reach out to everyone around us. Hope should overflow to the communities in which we live.

I recently went to a recording of Radio 4 Gardener’s Question Time. It was a very slick process clearly developed over decades, but almost inevitably mistakes were made, or links to other items had to be recorded, sometimes particular sentences needed repeating, all so that the producer will end up with a programme that can be broadcast and no one will know all that went into the making of it apart from those of us who were there. Advent and Christmas as familiar to us, we think we know all about it, yet the glory and the misery of that first Christmas are probably unrecognisable compared to the slick production we now call Christmas. I pray that this year we might get back to basics and be thankful God he has got involved in the muck and pain, joy and hope of our world.

Finally as we enter Advent, Jackie and I would value your prayers as we seek God’s guidance concerning the future of the ministry in Ellesmere Port. The next few weeks should give us some clarity and whatever happens we know that our future is in the hands of the God of Hope.

Trevor

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | September 16, 2009

Insight

Then a great and powerfulwind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV

As we know there are times in life when nothing changes and other times when everything changes at once. These are the wind, earthquake and fire moments of our lives and as a family we are experiencing one of those at the moment. Stephen has just started infant school, Rachel is about to go to University and Jackie has restarted work, this has all meant new routines, new challenges. Amongst all of this it’s important to be listening for the whisper of God, the still voice of his Spirit challenging, encouraging, and moving us forward.

For many churches September has become like a New Year, busy programmes of activities re-commence or new ideas are tested, being a listening church amongst all of this is very important. Unless we are good listeners to those who know little about Jesus we often offer answers to questions this generation is no longer asking. But as we become better able to listen and offer respect for others, in turn we become better able to listen to God’s whisper.

But sooner or later God’s call on our lives will inevitably require action as we respond to what God is already doing in mission for our world. Over the summer some of us have put in place the structures and procedures for a new Christian ministry in the Ellesmere Port which we have named Port Reach. To find out more please click on the tab above. Also September sees the start of a monthly ecumenical act of worship at Hollymere Extra Care Development. We hope to offer a monthly of act of worship commencing on the 20th September and a separate monthly weekday communion. To find out more about Hollymere and dates of the services, to which there is an open invitation, please click on the tab above.

One final plug, on Tuesday 20th October, All Saints, Hoole at 7.30pm we are having a promotional evening for Cheshire West Street Pastors. Please pray for this event as we hope to attract enough new Street Pastors to fulfil our vision of 50 fully trained Street Pastors. If you or someone you know might be interested please invite them to come along. More details are available by clicking on the Street Pastors tab.

Trevor

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | July 21, 2009

Insight

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“Consider how the lillies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tommorow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you”.

This year I have really enjoyed teaching Stephen the basics of Gardening. We have enjoyed planting runner beans, strawberries and some incredible Sunflowers. Each Sunflower was grown from seed in exactly the same conditions, planted in the same plot of soil and each received the same care as the other, food, water etc. Yet each has grown in very different ways.

Anyone who has seen them is immediately drawn to the tallest, now 9 feet 6 inches, or to the one that flowered first. Yet the shortest one is the one with the most flower heads on. Each is spectacular in its own way, each has chosen to make use of the same food, sun, soil and water in its own way.

Watching them grow I have reflected on how as Christians we make use of the various gifts and abilities we each have, both natural and God given. The results can be equally diverse. Many of us are drawn to the spectacular or the transforming aspects of our faith. I thank God that he is in the business of change. Yet others turn what God has given them to produce a different sort of fruit, shown in acts of kindness, depth of prayer or concern for our world and its poorest citizens. It can be all to easy to compare and contrast and forget we are all part of God’s kingdom and he is the best gardener of all.

Trevor

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Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | June 10, 2009

Insight

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It was a real privilege recently to attend an event put on by The Boys’ Brigade, at which it reminded churches that it has been serving children and young people for 125 years but recognises that it needs to change to engage today’s generation, it has produced new material and is willing to try new approaches all of which remain firmly rooted in Jesus. It was great joy to share for a few moments how the experiences I enjoyed many years ago have in some way formed my faith and ministry.

Above all I remember the Boy Brigade leaders and the way in which they lived out their living faith in Jesus and demonstrated this to us as children and young people. There are so many leaders in churches and organisations who owe much of their leadership skills to their experiences in the Boys Brigade. At the same conference Andy Hawthorne (The message trust) reminded us that great organisation and good  programmes are an important part of youth work but the real key is to love the young people for who they are. As one person has put it “the effectiveness of any youth work is dependent on the leaders engaging with the young people. To spend time with them, to pray for them, to enjoy their company, to laugh at what makes them laugh, and to listen to what they want to talk about. Its relationships that engage young people, only then can we show them that living for Jesus is a real and vital part of life.”

Today in China and Brazil God is using young people to lead his church in quite amazing way’s, whilst here in this country we are stuck with outdated models of leadership and struggle with how to retain young people in church. My Boy’s Brigade captain first put me in a pulpit at age 13 years, I don’t remember what I said but I do remember the words of encouragement from him and others. I wonder if we have become so afraid of failure and criticism that there is little scope for the next generation of leaders to step forward.

At the same conference we were reminded that it has been calculated that many of the disciples Jesus chose would have been very young men. At times they found themselves confused, fearful and certainly not the finished article. It was Jesus who modelled before them what it would mean to be his disciples and I suspect it was that which had the greatest impact on them.

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | May 18, 2009

Insight

I have been thinking a lot about films recently, how the skill of the film director can get inside us and bring out thoughts often deep within us. A recent trip to to see ‘Marley and Me’ brought this home as everyone in the cinema left in tears, and that was supposed to be a comedy film. Later this year I hope to begin a film ministry in the Ellesmere Port, a time when people watch a film and have sometime to discuss it. Below you will see my review of the film the ‘The Bucket list’ if you have seen the film I would be really pleased to receive your views and hopefully we can get a bit of discussion going. If you have seen another  film recently which spoke to you in a particular way I would love to hear about it.

Trevor

 

Film Review.  The Bucket List-

 Starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, ‘The Buckett List’ was released in 2007. Set in America it’s two central characters find themselves thrown together in a shared hospital room with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. The one man owns the hospital and in order to maximise profit has become wedded to the financial maxim of shared rooms, he is fulfilled by money and power. The other played by Morgan Freeman has worked as a car mechanic, has a brilliant mind for facts and has lived a largely unfilled life. His wife and family however are unable to understand this side of him. One man has no faith, the other has a quiet assured hope for something beyond death.

Thrown together by circumstances the two becomes friends. Intrigued by his friends bucket list (all the things he would like to do before he dies),  he persuades him that they should forget their responsibilities and fulfil this list. The one has the necessary money and the other the imagination to bring this about. What follows is a sometimes funny, always poignant, yet never predictable fulfilling of this list.

Amidst the genuine sadness of these two friends eventually having to face the reality of their dying the film manages to raise as many questions about how we live as it does about how we die. There is a beautiful re-engagement of love between  Carter (Morgan freeman) and his wife before his death.

I have shown this film to two small groups, on both occasions whilst it provoked tears and sadness the film also has the capacity to engender hope, whilst challenging the foolishness of wealth for its own sake or of allowing those closest to us to live largely unfilled lives. Despite its simple plot one of its great strengths is that the film is able to work on several levels.

For me there is something of the Kingdom about this film, the first time I watched the film I had just finished reading ‘Surprised by hope’ by Tom Wright. In this book he makes the point that the central truth of Easter is not just that death has been defeated but rather that heaven has in some way come to earth and that the perceived gap between the two is in part challenged by the Easter story. Everything about this film echo’s those sentiments breaking down in some respect our understanding of life, dying and hope beyond death. We are challenged to live each day to the full not because there is no hope beyond this life, but precisely because that’s how we are meant to live our lives.

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | April 6, 2009

Insight

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“Palm Sunday is one of the enigmas in the Christian calendar. It speaks of joy and celebration, and of worshipping Jesus as the King of kings, and yet of course it leads us into the events of Holy Week, the memory of sorrow and suffering, and finally death on a cross.”              Nick Fawcett

 

Yesterday was Palm Sunday and these words from Nick Fawcett remind me that the Christian faith requires us to hold joy and celebration in tension with sorrow and suffering. We are fortunate indeed if we travel through life avoiding sorrow and loss, yet even in this we can find a joy and peace that sustains us in these experiences.

As a Street Pastor I am sometimes asked a question which I have never been asked in a church, how do I know God loves me? I have met people who are desperate that God should reveal himself personally to them, and then they could believe! In answering this question I find I can only point them towards all that God has done in Jesus. For the truth of Easter is that God has revealed his love for us in a quite remarkable way. The one who the Psalms describe as from everlasting to everlasting and whose love is higher than the heavens gave of himself , and in Jesus identified with us. Jesus took all that separates us from God upon himself, on the cross, in order for us to have a new relationship with God and with one another.

Because of this we discover that Good Friday is really Great Friday because love proved stronger than darkness and that the joy and celebration of Palm Sunday finds its ultimate fulfilment on Easter Sunday when we celebrate that death was not the end, just the beginning.

May you know the presence of Christ this Easter.

Trevor

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | March 3, 2009

Insight

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The picture above was taken at a recent visit to the new butterfly house at Chester Zoo. Butterflies are symbols of dramatic and beautiful change. Change, sometimes spectacular, sometimes gradual, sometimes for the worse, is an everyday part of life which cannot be avoided. As I write this we are preparing to celebrate my daughters 18 birthday, marking the change to adulthood. I am reminded that so much about being a parent is all about preparing children for adulthood, which involves a letting go, in the knowledge and hope that a different type of relationship emerges. 

Whilst change is a necessary part of life our ability to adapt to it is not just dependent on age, but personality and outlook. The follower of Jesus is always being urged to accept the need for change as we seek to become more Christ like, but this is something that can only be achieved if we are serious about wanting God to work in our lives individually and in community.

Lent helps prepare us for the dramatic changes that occurred at the end of Jesus public ministry, it leads us towards the reality of Christ death and his resurrection, enabling us to see death not as an end but as a new beginning. Often it seems like the church keeps this reality and all its implications to itself, and for those who attend its services during this period. In Ellesmere Port this year the churches together are making efforts to use this period to share God’s love and the hope we have in Jesus with the wider community. There are a number of things happening some of which I have listed below. Together we hope they will bear witness to God’s love and demonstrate the churches desire to be at the centre of HOPEFUL L change.

Trevor

Saturday 21st March        12.30pm-4.00pm              Free car wash provided by Cheshire West Street Pastors- Car Park, Trinity Methodist Church

Saturday 4th April              10am-12noon                    Coffee morning, Links Healthy Living Centre

Sunday 5th April- Friday 10th April                               24/5 prayer event, Salvation Army

Monday 6th-Wednesday 10th April                            Children’s Holiday club, Whitby Methodist Church. Contact children’s and family worker at Whitby Methodist Church for details

Saturday 11th April           11.am                                    Easter celebration event, Port Arcades

 

 

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | February 5, 2009

Insite

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

 

These words are from Matthews’s account of the transfiguration, an event we associate with revelation and glory. So we can easily miss the command to listen to Jesus. In recent weeks and months I have been giving renewed thought to understanding prayer as an important means of listening to God. That journey plus thinking about the work of Street Pastors has reinforced for me the need to both listen to God and to be good listeners to each other.  For that reason I have included in this blog some thoughts of one our Street Pastors, Carol Jackson, who has written about her experience of listening skills training that we recently undertook with the Acorn Trust.

 

I’ve always thought of myself as a good listener, so I thought that this training would be easy. In fact it was very exciting and life-changing. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as well as better and more practical ways of relating to other people.

We learned that people need to be able to express themselves without interruption before they are ready for advice and change. Silences are very important. People are not looking for a quick fix, but need to be heard and know that they are still accepted and loved. No one likes it when they know that no one is really listening to them.

It is hard to give someone your undivided attention, especially in today’s world.

But this is exactly what is needed. People need to be able to express themselves without feeling criticised or judged. Very often they are not looking for an answer to their problems, but just a friendly ear to listen to them.

“Michael Quinn from Family Care writes: “There is nothing so encouraging for a teenager as to be listened to and understood. Nothing builds up their confidence and self-esteem so much as a friendly listening ear”.

From the role play we did, I experienced for myself the healing love of God. It was a relief to be able to express how I felt about a personal situation and I felt more able in myself to make decisions as to how to go forward.

The whole day was a real eye opener as to how important it is to take time to listen to people. A few minutes of undivided attention may be of more value than an hour of  mind-wandering and distracted “listening”.

 

 It was a thrill to be involved in the official launch of “Footsteps to the Future” on the 23rd January. This project will see the redevelopment of Trinity Church in the heart of Ellesmere Port; it will provide much improved facilities as part of its mission to the wider community. This stage has been reached after almost 3 years of listening to God and one another, plus a determination not to give up on the vision. Cheshire West Street Pastors is delighted that it will be the base for its community Street Pastor work in Ellesmere Port which will commence on the 5th March. You can find out more about the “Footsteps to the Future” by clicking on the separate tab above.

In January we were pleased to welcome Julia McGuiness as our first observer with Chester Street Pastors. Julia is a journalist and has been preparing a piece for the Church Times which is published on the 1st February. You can find extracts from the piece on the Street Pastors tab above and in our soon to be published second newsletter. So please have a look.

 

Trevor

Posted by: Serpentine Road Family Church | January 15, 2009

Insight

 

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“You are my wonderful son, in whom I am glad” mark1:11

 Last Sunday in many churches the focus of worship would have been on the Baptism of Jesus and as I prepared to preach on this passage I was reminded again of the significance of Jesus receiving these words of affirmation prior to his public ministry. All of us need words of affirmationfrom time to time, Jesus would be able to draw strength and confidence for the journey ahead, we too  need the same assurance of God’s love for this coming  year.

There has been much talk about the challenges of 2009 both economically and socially, yet we must also be people of confidence and imagination if we are to show the relevance of Jesus in such times. I’m already looking forward to several things happening in the first few months of  the year and I’m sure there will be several surprises on the way.

On the 23rd January the official launch of the redevelopment of Trinity Church, entitled ‘Footsteps to the Future’, takes place, with Andrew Miller, MP as guest speaker. this an exciting project and worthy of the support of the whole community. Street Pastors will be based within the new community church and we are delighted to part of the development.  We will commence the community Street Pastors Ministry in March and we are busy planning and training for this.

Building on the highly succesful community Carol Service, church leaders in the town are discussing a range of ideas for community outreach on the Saturday’s leading up to Easter, so watch this space. Then in April/May, Hollymere Extra care development opens in the Westminster area. this a partnership between the Advantage Company and Cheshire County Council to provide care and support for the over 60’s. The development comprises accommodation, cafe, library and IT suite, gym, village hall and much more. It is hoped we will be able to provide pastoral support to this facility.

So despite the pain and gloom we see on the news each day, there is already much to look forward to as we walk with God in 2009. So I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Trevor

                                                        

 

 

 

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