Ashburnham 2017

Ice creams, sunny days, slip ‘n slide, football tournaments, beautiful lakes, kids running free… Fantastic worship, challenging teaching and getting the big picture for our towns and cities, Europe and beyond. Here’s a snapshot of the Ashburnham weekend away.

Missed the weekend or missed a session? You can watch or listen to all the main talks on the New Ground website at newgroundchurches.org/media

Inkosi Kids newsletter: July 2017

This is the latest update on the ECD school in Trenance, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as sent by Samu the lead teacher. Communication has been very difficult for them as the telephone wires keep being stolen from the pastor’s house and others so there is no internet. But we have found that WhatsApp is a better option for them.

The school continues to flourish and the children are doing well. The teachers have started to implement the new government curriculum sent out in January and feel they are coping well with the challenges it presents. They have increased the teaching week from three to four days to enable them to cover the requirements.

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One of the major changes in the curriculum is the need to teach Heritage studies. With this in mind, the teachers used the opportunity that Africa Day presented to teach the children some traditional rhymes and songs. Parents also contributed with stories, poems and dances.

 
↑   A video of the parents singing a traditional song.

 
↑   The children performing for the parents.

 
↑   The children performing.

↑   Khulanis mum telling the children an African story and Tributes Mum telling a folk tale.

For the first time ever, the ECD students attended and took part in a local inter-schools sports. competition on the 31st of March and they came third out of seven schools. This was very encouraging for them and good for the children to mix with other children from different areas.

↑  The children who took part in the inter schools competition with Ma Phiri and Samu, their teachers.

Please pray for the situation in Zimbabwe. Life is very hard. Unemployment has increased and the economy shows no sign of improving. The children’s lives are very different from here in the UK.

This is a Facebook post a friend from Bulawayo who works in a different area running a similar ECD school wrote recently to give you an idea of just how different….

This is a smattering of what the Village ECD children (aged 4-5yrs) said they had done during the Half Term Break (Spoken in Ndebele, translated here in English):

….watering the vegetables; fetching water; mopping floors; chopping vegetables; carrying the dishes to the house; sweeping the yard; sweeping the house; helping to build a kitchen; playing in mud; fetching firewood; watering tomato plants; washing dishes. BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS…..all said with a smile on their faces.

There is very little playing time for these children so the time the children enjoy at school is very precious! So thank you for enabling them not just to be educated but also to be able to just be children for some part of the day.

↑   This is what happens in Zim when the children can’t go to school. This little girl will spend all day on the pavement to earn a few Rand for her family.

The children enjoying a special meal of beans, sadza and cabbage.

↑   The children enjoying a special meal of beans, sadza and cabbage.


To find out more about our child sponsorship program in Zimbabwe visit our Inkosi Kids webpage.


Gift Day 2017 — Part 1: Seaford

In September 2010 we launched a second venue right in the heart of Seaford. After six years of hiring places to meet, it’s time for our Seaford venue to set up home.

We’re excited to announce a fantastic opportunity to purchase the Cross Way Centre, an old Methodist building dating back to the 1890s. For over a century this building has been used as a place of worship, a place where the gospel is preached, a place where people have come to know Jesus Christ. This could be the first permanent home of Kings Church Seaford, a base out of which we can celebrate the message of Jesus and demonstrate its life altering implications for the world.

The Cross Way Centre will offer us many things. It will open up new possibilities for reaching Seaford. A place where we can run Alpha courses, cafés, youth hangouts, kids work and baby and toddler groups. It will give us visibility with its position right in the heart of Seaford town centre. And we can adapt and shape the building to suit our needs.

Watch the video above for the full story: our history and vision, and a tour of the church building.

How you can make this a reality

Our Seaford venue will need around £125,000 to act as a deposit on the building. We then need a regular income substantial enough to service a mortgage. There are four ways you can help make the purchase of Cross Way a reality:

  • Make a one-off gift
  • Consider giving regularly for the first time at Seaford
  • Increase your regular giving at Seaford
  • Offer an interest-free loan

We believe the purchase of Cross Way will be a fantastic resource and of great value to our Seaford venue as it becomes its own church in September of this year.

A note on our 2017 Gift Days

This year’s gift day will be split into two parts and cover two towns. While part one focuses on Seaford we are planning to have a second gift day in the autumn as we look to redevelop the Kings Centre in Eastbourne, equipping it to fulfil our vision of seeing one hundred families added to the church over the next five years.

The venue you attend at Kings will naturally shape your giving. Whether you’re part of Seaford, Centro or Hampden Park, prayerfully consider how you can give in both our gift days this year. We’re all in this together: we want to see churches for everyone grow in both our towns.

Ways to give

Sunday meetings: You can give at any of our venues on our Gift Days: Sunday 25th June and Sunday 2nd July. You can also give at any meeting thereafter. Simply put your gift into an envelop and mark with ‘Seaford Gift Day’.

PayPal: You can give online via PayPal. Please note that you do not need a PayPal account to use this facility:





Internet Banking If you would like to use internet banking, please use the following details:

Account name: Frontiers Charitable Trust
Reference: Seaford Gift Day
Account no: 00639745
Sort Code: 202791

Interest-free loans: If you are able to offer an interest free loan please email info@kings.church or sign-up at the Info Point on a Sunday morning.

Inkosi Kids newsletter: February 2017

What an amazing time Dave and I have just enjoyed with our friends from Thembalezizwe Church, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They were so pleased to see us and receive greetings from our church to theirs.

The school was buzzing with 21 new children pictured above with their teachers Uncle Mathias and Aunty Samu and wearing their new track suits we bought them while we were there. It is usually quite warm in January but this year the rains have been very heavy and the temperature was only about 17 degrees. The older children are pictured on the left with Aunty Ma Phiri and Aunty Tendai.

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Some of my time there was taken up with talking through the new curriculum recently drawn up by the government and by trying to help the staff to make some sense of it and understand the changes they will need to make. As well as this, I was also able to have fun playing with the children at every opportunity!

Inkosi Kids

As you may know, the economy of Zim is in a very bad state, which means that people who had very little to begin with are struggling to survive on a daily basis. Through the generosity of Kings members we were able to help several families with food and medical bills and in some cases, money for uniform and books for school.

We were very keen to catch up with the old pupils from ECD, all of whom are now in the local Primary School, so we invited them to a tea party after school one day. All but about 5 came and it was lovely to see how they had grown. They sang for us and really enjoyed their food. We also visited their Primary school and were very proud to hear from the Head teacher that the highest achieving children in grades 1, 2 and 3 are all from our ECD.

Inkosi Kids

We were very sad to hear that a few of our sponsored children are not attending school as regularly as they should, so we called a meeting of parents (see below) so that Taurai, the pastor, could set in place a few ground rules. The parents were very open to the suggestions and the staff will liaise with school on a monthly basis to find out if children are not regularly attending and they and the pastor will home visit, if necessary, to establish the reason. Sometimes it is simply that they genuinely cannot afford pencils and books although at other times it can be that a Dad is spending their money on beer or they are sending the child to work somewhere for extra income!

Inkosi Kids

It was lovely to see the children at ECD being able to play with some new toys provided by the members of Focus who make and sell cakes every term specifically for Inkosi Kids.

The pushchairs were a great hit as were the new dolls and puppets. Some lovely contacts of the Inspire group also knitted dolls clothes and blankets for the children to play with.

Even the teachers were given a puppet to help them teach in a fun way!

Inkosi Kids

All that remains for me to say is thank you so much for your monthly contributions to this work and also for the gifts that you send to the children personally. It means such a lot to them. The parents always come to thank us when we are there and I only wish you could all see what a difference you are making in the lives of these children and their families. The play equipment in the playground is being updated as we speak by one of the parents who is not working but has welding gear and volunteered to do it free of charge because he values what the school has done for his two children.Your monthly giving not only provides for the ongoing costs of the school but also healthy snacks for the children and a warm winter tracksuit.

Inkosi Kids

Please keep praying for the children that they will keep healthy and flourish socially, emotionally and spiritually. That their families will appreciate what you are doing and make sure their children have what they need to attend school and that the community recognises that God is working in and through His Church.

All the gifts you have so generously sent for birthdays and Christmas seem to be getting through so here is a reminder of the address.

Please remember to put the child’s full name on the front so that the teachers know who to pass it to without having to open it.

Child’s full name c/o Mr & Mrs X Ndlovu Private Box N.E. 12, Northend, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Pastor Sithole (pronounced Stolly) and family.

Inkosi Kids
 


To find out more about our child sponsorship program in Zimbabwe visit our Inkosi Kids webpage.


Help raise a child

As far as I can remember, I have only ever known one Paulette. She was already old when we first met. That was when I was eight. So I imagine now she’s very old. In fact, I have it on good authority she’s very much alive and still living with Stanley in a small seaside town just outside of Blackpool.

I first met Paulette in Sunday School. We had recently moved to the area and ‘me and me brother’ were pulled along by ‘me parents’ the first Sunday we were there. And that’s when we met.

Paulette was the Sunday School Superintendent. Week in week out she prepped, cut, stuck, painted, smiled, prayed, encouraged, read and served. And in the words of Mr Moon the vicar, ‘did a little job for Jesus’.

To be honest, she did more than a little job for Jesus. She did an amazing job for Jesus.

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For more than three decades she invested into the lives of the children of the little seaside town just outside of Blackpool. And after many years, she’s still asking “How’s Graham? How’s he getting on? Such a handsome young man” (OK, I made up the last bit, but genuinely she still asks after me).

What I am, and who I am today is partly down to Paulette.

“For more than three decades she invested into the lives of the children of the little seaside town”

And then there’s Derek and Barry. Derek now a vicar himself up north and Barry, a civil servant in Blackpool, led the youth work. I made a decision to follow Jesus in my teens. Derek and Barry coached, discipled, nurtured those early years. They led me in to the ‘things of the Spirit’. I remember every Friday night in Derek’s lounge, worshipping and having fellowship together (in fact, I think it was called Friday night fellowship, which seems a very appropriate name). Just a handful of teens wanting to meet Jesus. They helped us meet Him.

It was Derek and Barry who encouraged me to lead worship for the first time (aged 16), to preach for the first time (aged 16), organise a March for Jesus on a double-decker bus through the parish for the first time (aged 16). Along with Paulette, they also did an amazing job for Jesus.

Proverbs 22:6 says this, “Point your kids in the right direction — and when they are old they won’t be lost”. They did a great job in pointing me the right way.

When Belinda and I spoke in the recent Citizen’s series, we used this passage to encourage parents in their role as ‘parents’. There’s a million websites already available on Google letting us know how to be more successful, more loving, more caring, more releasing, more controlling, more forgiving and generally do a much better job than we currently are. Being a parent is really tough. Even harder when we consider the iTech world in which we live. Most parents probably think they are letting their kids down. (There was a lovely moment last year, having just finished Facetiming our son, we turned to each other and said ‘after 19 years of thinking we have failed as parents, he’s turned out OK’ and we high fived each other, and had a cup of tea to celebrate).

At the time, we didn’t want to deliver a talk simply confirming what many already thought, that they were pretty hopeless parents. It really is tough. So we only had two points (it took us forty minutes to say them, but they were really good points). DO try and bring your kids up to love God. And DON’T try doing it on your own.

As parents, we should try wherever possible (with every opportunity that comes along) to model priorities, model making decisions and model mission in a way that points kids in the right direction. Some of that will be about going to church even when it seems you are forever sitting in the crèche looking after everybody else’s children as well as your own. It’s about modelling good choices in life in line with what Jesus would do and what the Bible says. It’s about catching them up in God’s adventure, not just a mum thing, but what God is saying to the family.

And then there is this critical key idea. Don’t try doing it on your own. Whether you are a lone parent, a married couple or a blended family, you don’t have to do this on your own. We are family.

“there is this critical key idea. Don’t try doing it on your own. Whether you are a lone parent, a married couple or a blended family”

There is an old African proverb that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It takes the whole community with everybody buying in to the same belief that we are in this together. In the individualistic society we live in, this idea can easily get lost. But if we genuinely want the best for our children and want to see them grow strong in faith and character, then we shouldn’t be thinking it’s simply down to the parents, it’s down to all of us playing our part, a supporting role with a genuine interest in every child. Why? Because every one of them matters.

If the UK stats for church attendance are accurate, then in ten years time, most of our current teenagers at Kings will not be following Jesus at all. Something like 70% of the children in our crèche will be nowhere near church by the time they reach the age of 20. What do we do? Simply accept it? Hope for the best? Hope we do better than most?

Perhaps we need a more radical response. So by the time our children finish school and head off to university, they are strong and confident and tough in their faith. For that to happen, we need to dramatically rethink our ‘parenting’ strategy with a huge increase of time and resources being intentionally diverted towards them.

I recently read the findings of a three year study which had been undertaken by the Fuller Youth Institute in Pasadena, California. They were looking for the crucial factors that helped young people develop a mature faith. They came up with three key elements:

1.
Involvement in all-church worship during high school is more consistently linked with mature faith than any other form of church participation.

2.
The more teenagers serve and build relationships with younger children, the more likely it is their faith will stick.

3.
More than any programme or event, what made kids more likely to feel a significant part of their local church was when adults made the effort to get to know them.

If these findings are true in our culture as well, then it’s really important as to how we develop a church that is appealing and relevant to young people and at the same time incredibly intergenerational. How do I need to adapt? What preferences do I need to reconsider? What am I going to do to make a difference?

If it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, then perhaps in our UK context the ‘church’ should be the village. It takes the church to raise a child.

Jasmine

Have you noticed? Young people love to be involved. I recently spoke with Jasmine. Jasmine is now eight. She has the biggest smile. And because she is now eight, I said her big smile needs to be seen by everyone as they enter on Sunday morning. So she’s now joining the welcome team with her dad.

At Centro you’ll often see James with a bunch of keys. James is thirteen and he knows the Hippodrome better than most. Along with his dad (who pays for the cooked breakfast afterwards), they unlock the building together. James is great at unlocking buildings. It allows hundreds of people every week to meet God. It’s his amazing job for Jesus.

We need to give lots of opportunities. And take lots of risks. And allow for lots of mistakes. And see where they might be in five years time if we give them the chance.

That’ll need huge amounts of encouragement and support, cheering them on along the way. Rooting for them, shouting their name and genuinely wanting the best for them.

It will also need huge amounts of resources and time. And this is where I think we need to get even more radical. Why? Because of a dream.

I’d love to see over the next five years, one hundred new families added to this church. People who don’t know Jesus yet but will have their lives impacted and blessed by Him in the coming years. At the moment, we have two hundred families on the waiting list to come to our parent and toddler group. Wouldn’t it be great if we could open up more doors so they could come in?

For this to happen we will need to be thinking differently.

It’ll need more volunteers. We’ll need more grandparents, aunts and uncles to many of our children. I love the story of Ann. It’s so inspiring to see the difference one person can make in a young person’s life.

We also want to line up our finances with our vision. In September, we made the decision to divert more of our resources towards kids and families. It turns out we were spending more money on ‘Tea n Biscuits’ on a Sunday than we did resourcing our entire 0-11’s kid’s work. I thought to myself, ‘do we want more cookies or kids?’ If all it takes to be radical is for me to stop eating a biscuit then let’s do it.

We have also made the decision to invest an additional £40,000 per year in the area of families and at the moment, we simply don’t have this money. But we genuinely hope that people will respond to the vision and in faith. If the members of Kings currently not giving started to give just £20 per month (the price of a takeaway) we would double this amount straight away. Seriously. We could double the investment overnight. Imagine the impact that could have.

I look back over the forty plus years and recognise that many people have played a significant part in my life. They showed they believed in me and believed in the gospel. And they believed that I mattered.

I want our kids at Kings to know that they matter. Every one of them.

Not many will have the privilege of meeting Paulette, Derek or Barry. But I did. And looking back, I am very grateful. They invested hugely in me. They saw very little in the way of return. I never thanked them. Probably never showed any appreciation. At eighteen I simply got up and left. But now, nearly thirty years later, I have this opportunity to express my gratitude to them and to the many others who have helped me along the way. And in some small way, I also hope it will inspire the next generation of Paulette’s and Derek’s and Barry’s to do exactly the same, and do an amazing job for Jesus.


by Graham Marsh