REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2019
“WELCOME, WORSHIP AND WORD”
A YEAR OF VISION – THE “3 W’S”
At the start of this year the elders shared their vision with you – that we should focus on the strength that God had blessed us with – that we should focus on the church as FAMILY. All people want to be a part of something; all people want (and need) to be loved and cared for; all people want to be a part of “family” – it is naturally built into our very being because this is how God created us to be. For God is our “Father in Heaven” and we are His children and so we are brothers and sisters of each other.
Our Vision 2019 was based around two out-workings of this fact:
- That to “be family” we have to major on the 3 areas of “Welcome, Worship and Word” – for these are the 3 areas that impact on people the moment they walk in through the church doors and which need to be maintained during the week to ensure that people really feel a part of the church family of ACC –
- Welcome – all people need to feel welcomed into the church building on a Sunday, and need to feel that they are wanted, valued, cared-for and supported throughout the entire week.
- Worship – people need to be brought into the presence of God. When people feel that their eyes are being lifted-up to God on High and they see Him through our singing and praying, then they will want to be a part of this church family
- Word – people want to know Him better. They do this by hearing about Him and then learning about Him – so our evangelistic outreaches and our teaching on a Sunday and during the week are VERY important.
- That to be “family” we needed to broaden the leadership and responsibility-taking in the church – so that we might become “future-proofed”. So, we put it to the church that we needed to follow the full Biblical pattern of church leadership. We already had elders – whose role was to lead the church forward, teach the church and stand accountable before God for the church. We now needed to augment these with deacons – servants of the church who would take responsibility for the “3 W’s” and for the management of the church as a physical entity. And so, after a time of teaching, preparation and prayer, we chose 4 deacons to fulfil these functions:
- Welcome Team – Gill Adsett
- Worship Team – Dave Proctor
- Word Team – Linda Bate
- Church Management Group – Ernest Bate
Established in April 2019 they have begun to take up the mantle of their responsibilities. They, and we, thank God for all the support that you have given them over the past 8 months. And, as a church we must pray for them now and continually – for the role that they are taking on is such an important one for the present and future well-being of the church.
LOOKING BACK AND REMEMBERING
Every week, as a church family, we take communion. When we eat the bread we remember that Jesus gave His body for us. When we take the “cup” we remember that Jesus shed His blood for us. We will never forget His substitutionary death because the symbols always remind us.
Remembering is SO important.
In the Old Testament book of Joshua the true story is told that, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites finally crossed over the River Jordan and into the “Promised Land” (Joshua 3). A miracle was wrought and as the priests stood in the middle of the Jordan River, bearing the Ark of the Covenant, the waters piled up and the people crossed over on the dried-up river bed. When all had crossed over the waters flowed again.
We are then told in Joshua 4 (verses 1-7) that
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 ‘Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.’
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, ‘Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel for ever.’
Memorials were important then. Memorials are important now. God knew that the Israelites would go through good times and bad times. When times were good they needed to remember what God had done for them and so not become proud. When times were bad they needed to remember what God had done for them so that they did not give up and turn away to other gods.
The proof of how important it was for them to remember is found throughout the next book in the Bible – Judges. Time and time again the Jews forgot the LORD their God and started to serve the Baals and intermarry with other, pagan, nations who still lived in the land.
We must never forget. We live in a nation that is getting weaker and is turning away to other gods (of humanism, materialism, pleasure and post-modernism). We must never forget, or we shall see our nation crumbling and collapsing.
We must not forget what the LORD has done for us this year. We must not dwell in the past, but we must thank God for the past and we must learn from all He has been teaching us this past year.
So, let us now review the past year – and give thanks to God for all that He has done.
THE CHURCH WEEK
We begin by thanking God that we have a church building – that we want to be used more and more and more for His glory. And we thank God for the regular meetings that are held amongst us and remember them now –
- GROWING IN WORSHIP AND NUMBERS – I have been part of this church family for 2 ¼ years now. When I first came we regularly got about 25 people attending. This year we are often seeing 50 or more people on a Sunday. We thank God for this. Numbers are not as important as spirituality – but they’re a good indicator of God’s blessing on our fellowship. And how we have been blessed this year by new members of the church family being welcomed in
- TEACHING SERIES – this year God has led us on a clear journey in or teaching and learning that we must not forget. We focused first on “Spiritual Warfare” – that as we go forward in the LORD we will be increasingly involved in a battle with our enemy, the devil, for which we must be well-equipped with the full armour of God. This then led on to us looking at the power and centrality of Prayer. We have renewed our commitment to prayer. We have grown in our faith that God hears ALL our prayers and answers ALL our prayers (even in ways we had not expected, and even if His answer is that we must yet wait). Who can forget the miracle of Diana’s prayer for her daughter that is the proof for us all of the power of prayer? In addition we have, on the first Sunday of each month, focused on the “I AM” statements of Jesus. Over the summer we saw how the oft-misunderstood story of Samson should motivate us to dedicate each day of our lives to the service of God. And in the past month we have reflected on the “extravagant love” of God over our Christmas period.
- SUNDAY CLUB – From week-to-week Linda and Diana and their helpers have not known who they were going to have come out to Sunday Club. Using a more DVD-based approach this year we have seen them do wonders for our young people – culminating in the packing of shoe boxes for the “Samaritan’s Purse” Christmas appeal and a lovely tableau at the Carol Service. As we go into a new year we give thanks that Manuela is now joining them in the leadership of this most important work.
- U3A – have been using the church for singing/play reading
- OPEN ARMS – now an independent “foundation” with its own Charity status this continues to feed and care for the homeless and vulnerable of the area. Food suppliers have been increasing (particularly with “Pret-a-manger” coming on board. We recognise and give thank for the work of Brian, Julie, Anne, Gill and Helen in all this from our fellowship – and wish Brian a good “retirement” from it now.
- WORSHIP PRACTICE – this not only continues but has, this year, been opened up to any from the church (and beyond) who wish to come along on a Tuesday night and sing and worship
- WEIGHT-WATCHERS – are now firmly established in our church building – which is a constant witness to them. At our Carol Service at least 4 attended due to personal invitations given to them
- HOUSEGROUPS – these have continued throughout the year and remain a fundamental way in which we maintain care and teaching during the week.
- EKC – What a blessing it is to have this wonderful choir practicing in our building on a Thursday! And the direct upshot of this has meant their performing a summer concert and then leading a Christmas Carol Concert for us. It is so good to see new members, like David Bracegirdle, joining them as a result of their using our church building.
- SIGNING GROUP – Alasdair has been able to start yet another successful course on this.
- REVIVAL PRAYER – I remain in awe of the tremendous turn-out week-after-week to this prayer meeting – proof of our belief in the power of prayer to bring revival to this area. And we have not just sat praying inside – but we have been out doing door-to-door evangelism and delivering of cards and invitations
- BIBLE STUDY – new for 2019 – this has been a great success. Every fortnight we have been blessed by Brian and Pat Carter – dear friends of our church – leading a Bible Study of the Book of Mark at Church House
- U3A – have been singing in our church on a Friday afternoon throughout this year – and have been really grateful for the use of the church and have been very thankful for the cards and invitations that we have given to them.
- LADIES’ FELLOWSHIP – well…I can’t say too much about this…as I am not allowed to attend! But, I understand that it continues to be a time of great joy and challenge for our ladies.
- PIZZA AND HOT TOPICS – this is now firmly established. Every fortnight a group of the young adults from our church get together at Church House to talk, and study…and eat Pizza. It is one of my highlights – and it has been great to see a new regular member this year – in the form of Tyler.
- FYN – has continued every fortnight for any teenager in the area. Up till July it was going REALLY well and we had a good, established group. Things have “tailed off” since September due to many of the young people going to new schools and we need to look to “new life” being injected into it in the new year.
2019 – A TIME OF MANY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Now let us go through the year chronologically to remember all the tremendous things that have taken place (I do hope that you forgive me for any omissions from this list – if you let me know what is missing then I will happily – though retrospectively – add them):
01/01/19: New Year’s walk in High Halstow – 35 went and walked for 2 hours – followed by a fellowship lunch at Steve and Dorothy’s. Shaw-Cotterill events: Tilly was lost for a while, Claire got “left behind” on the walk and a “rescue party” had to be despatched when it was realised she hadn’t arrived back. Joseph fell in the slurry pit at the farm!
6/01/19: First sermon on the Vision 2019
13/01/19: Second sermon on the Vision 2019 – vision for deacons announced.
01/19: Open Arms becomes a CIO
25/01/19: “Peter Pan” pantomime
26/01/19: “National Day of Prayer” at Wembley – only Zandra went but we supported it in prayer
27/01/19: Visiting speaker – Lita Guy and Ashford Street Pastors
03/02/19: DEDICATION OF NEW FAMILY MEMBERS
03/02/19: New All-In series – “The I AM sayings of Jesus”
10/02/19: New main series – “Putting on the full armour of God”
12-14/02/19: Encouragement for Leaders conference – Ashburnham Place
08/03/19: FYN – “Nerf Wars”
15-17/03/19: CVM MEN’S WEEKEND AT SIZEWELL HALL
22/03/19: FYN – BOWLING
07/04/19: CHOOSING OF DEACONS
09/04/19 – 13/04/19 – SPRING HARVEST MINEHEAD
17/04/19: “RISEN” FILM SHOWING AT THE CHURCH – 1ST IN “FILM CLUB”
19/04/19: GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
20/04/19: MEN’S NIGHT OUT AT “CHIMNEY’S” FOR DRINKS
21/04/19: EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE
22/04/19: EASTER MONDAY WALK FROM CHARTHAM TO CANTERBURY
11/05/19: CHURCH FAMILY WALK – POULTONS WOODS
12/05/19: “OPEN DOORS” SERVICE – BRIAN AND PAT CARTER
17/05/19: BIBLE STUDY BEGINS – BRIAN AND PAT CARTER
16/06/19: CHURCH FAMILY WALK – SINGLETON ENVIRONMENTAL PARK
23/06/19: VISIT OF DANIELLE GILBERT AND BBQ AT THE FARM
04/07/19: EAST KENT CHORUS CONCERT
06/07/19: MARRIAGE MASALA
08/19: AUGUST SERIES ON SAMSON
18/08/19: CHURCH PICNIC
28/08/19: BRIAN JOHNSON GOES TO HEAVEN
08/09/19: INDUCTION OF MARK HIRST AS PASTOR OF WILLESBOROUGH BAPTIST CHURCH
14/09/19: “RIDE AND STRIDE” AT THE CHURCH
14/09/19: MARRIAGE OF HELEN AND CHRIS
15/09/19: START OF “PRAYER” SERMON SERIES
16/09/19: FUNERAL OF BRIAN JOHNSON – BYBROOK CEMETARY/ACC CELEBRATION SERVICE
17/09/19: START OF THE TOILET REFURBISHMENT – PORTALLOOS IN PLACE!
18/09/19: “DEEP CLEAN” OF THE KITCHEN
19/09/19: KITCHEN INSPECTION BY ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH – 5 STAR RATING AGAIN
27/09/19: MACMILLAN COFFEE AFTERNOON (INCLUDING U3A “SINGING FOR PLEASURE”
29/09/19: PERSECUTED CHURCH SUNDAY
07/10/19: ACCEPTED INTO MEMBERSHIP OF THE “EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE”
13/10/19: HARVEST FESTIVAL
27/10/19: FIRST WORSHIP EVENING
03/11/19: FIRST FELLOWSHIP LUNCH – PREPARED BY GILL, HELEN AND LAUREN
17/11/19: JIM PREACHING ON TENSION
24/11/19: ALASDAIR PREACHING ON “NO PAYMENT NEEDED”
28/11/19: ALASDAIR BEGINS NEW “SIGNING FOR BEGINNERS” COURSE
05/12/19: FUNERAL OF KEN HYDE (OPEN ARMS)
05/12/19: EAST KENT CHORUS CAROL CONCERT
07/12/19: “NEW AND NEARLY NEW SALE” IN AID OF THE TOILET FUND
17/12/19: OPEN ARMS CHRISTMAS MEAL
18/12/19: CAROL SINGING IN VICTORIA QUARTER
22/12/19: CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT SERVICE
24/12/19: MIDNIGHT SERVICE
25/12/19: CHIRSTMAS DAY SERVICE
29/12/19: REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2019
CONCLUSION: IT’S GOOD AND RIGHT TO REMEMBER
We fix our eyes on what is ahead (Proverbs 4: 25). We do not live in the past (Philippians 3: 13-14).
However, stones of remembrance in the Jordan, the Passover Feast and our weekly taking of communion are examples of the importance of not forgetting what God has done. So, there needs to be a balance.
So, we review the year that has passed – not to sigh and say “I want to stay here” but to rejoice, give thanks, laugh and cry, and say “I am ready to move forward now – a wiser person – into 2020”.