Dear Church family,
We hope you are well and you are being encouraged today by the goodness and grace of God in all that you do. We have been praying that out of this as the Church we lead and love, we hope you are being encouraged today by the goodness and grace of God in all that you do.
The seasons have changed, and a long warm summer has moved well and truly into a crisp and colourful autumn. We hope this is a good time, now that a new academic year has settled, to let you know where we are currently at and where we will be headed in the next few weeks and months.
Below are 5 updates (and a link to a few) from us as a team. Each update can be summarised below. If you’d like some extra details and heart behind some of these updates there will be some videos appearing on our YouTube and Facebook pages over the next week or so.
In person gatherings alongside online Church
We are currently meeting at Centro in the town centre on Sunday mornings at 10:30am, at the Kings Centre on Sunday evenings at 7pm and Thursday morning at 10am, and still online using YouTube each week and available for catch up from 10am every Sunday.
These have been such a blessing, with our gathered meetings growing each week and the online service continuing to resource the church and welcome guests. Guests who began watching online during lockdown have also been attending our Sunday in person gatherings, which is such an encouragement. A huge thank you to Rich Butt overseeing worship, Paul Johnson overseeing production and the following people overseeing each of our gathered meetings; Olly Alison at Centro, Terri Belsey on Thursday mornings and Sally Johnson and Adz Brennan at Hampden Park for all of their work and efforts in organising and leading these ongoing events.
Having learnt many lessons from our in-person meetings that are running so far, we are confident as a team to go again. We are now preparing for Sunday morning meetings at the Kings Centre, this will provide opportunities for all ages, including our children and youth, meeting in other parts of the building, to gather once again.
We will begin with two pilot events before Christmas on Sunday 8th and 29th November, both from 10am, look out for more updates and info for booking tickets in the coming week.
Groups and pastoral team
From Andy Thorpe: Over the last few months a new team has been formed to serve across the church — Centro and Hampden Park. The team is made up as follows:
Terri Belsey is our Inspire Pastor, overseeing our Inspire groups, and enabling pastoral care and support to our over sixties and others across the church, she is also a key member of the team leading our Thursday morning meetings.
Julia Evetts is our Family Pastor, supporting families, children and young people, providing groups and courses that will encourage and support families at Kings.
Sally Johnson is the glue in our team; she is not only a great administrator, using that gift to support us, Sally also helps to connect people to groups and courses and is a pastor in her own right, serving those around her.
Nailza Parekh is our Cross-Cultural support worker, specifically caring and connecting people from different nations into our Centro venue. She also serves with Sanctuary, our work with asylum seekers and refugees in Eastbourne.
Finally, I (Andy) am overseeing the pastoral team, leading our groups and courses, and loving the opportunity to visit people in their homes, listen, care and pray with those who are going through a tough time. We have a fantastic team, from different backgrounds, with different experiences all wanting to care and love our amazing church.
From Adz Brennan: We have restructured how we staff our family and ministry life, where previously we have had different people looking after specific areas, we now have a team of people who are focused on all areas of family life. This means that there is a greater variety of voices speaking into different ministries, allowing us to build a church that serves across the generations.
I have been leading our youth work for the last 6 years and I am now leading the Family Team. It is made up of Carrie Baker, who will continue the excellent work she has done with Focus whilst now speaking into a variety of different areas including the under 5s. Mads Wheelwright who will be serving largely into youth and inspire, whilst completing a theology degree at London School of Theology. We also have a few new faces who are joining our staff team.
Michael Bowley has been employed on a full-time basis focused on youth and kids work and will be starting his new role in early November. He previously completed an Impact year with us in 2019 and has been working in a Primary School in London for the last year. Rory Martin recently moved down to Eastbourne from Cambridge and is working on our kids, youth and media videos. He is doing an internship with Speak Life whilst working with us a couple of days a week. Finally, Susan Bowley has come through the youth here at Kings and is now doing an Impact year with us, where she will be working across many of the areas of family life at Kings. We are so excited to get properly started in building a place where every age group can love and serve together and as a result thrive as a church family.
From David Gamester: Reflecting on the church finances during this very strange year the most important thing to say is a huge thank you to everyone for their continued giving — throughout the year the amount received in offerings has remained broadly constant and we thank God for that.
We have also seen a number of new givers and we are grateful to all those who have switched to electronic giving. In addition, a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our Love Eastbourne initiative — we received in excess of £32,000 which was quite incredible. So far we have given away almost £6,000 and this has enabled us to help individuals and local organisations both in and outside the church who have needed immediate support in recent weeks and will allow us to support others in the future as the financial repercussions of the pandemic are more widely felt.
We have also been blessed in other ways as our costs have dramatically reduced. During lockdown the cost of our ministry areas were naturally less — the Kings Centre was effectively mothballed for 5 months and a number of other key expenses were not required, such as the hiring of the Hippodrome or participation in the Newday event. We were also able to benefit from the governments Furlough Scheme and which combined with the savings in expenditure more than covered the loss of income from letting the Kings Centre.
Looking forward to the coming year, we know humanly speaking there are difficult times ahead. The financial implications of Covid19 on jobs could well have a knock-on effect to the giving income we receive. As a result we have already made expected savings to our annual expenditure of £75,000 compared to the previous years budget, as it also looks unlikely that we will be able to let the Kings Centre for external bookings in any significant way in the near future, which also has financial implications for us as a church as in previous years these lettings have contributed an annual income of £100,000. However, time and time again we have seen the provision of God in our church finances and as always we look to him in faith to supply all needs, as we seek to be good stewards of all the income we receive. Once again, we must say thank you for your ongoing generosity in standing with us.
Finally, some other areas for us to be praying for as a church; Alpha online has just begun, please pray for our guests to encounter Jesus as they explore the Christian faith; weekly prayer podcasts are a way we hope to resource you as the church in corporate prayer, these will be released every week as a tool to pray together with leaders at Kings. Finally, for Graham and Belinda, as they plan to head back to Zimbabwe soon as part of the Africa Alive and Inkosi projects, please pray for visas and travel as they go once again to train and develop leaders across Southern Africa.
We know this but let’s say it again, we are the church—devoted to one another, devoted to prayer, devoted to fellowship, devoted to loving our neighbour—and even in these scattered and uncertain Covid times we can do all of these things and will continue to do so. We exist to proclaim the gospel of Jesus in action and in words, to build a community of worshippers, today and for future generations.
We are so grateful for your continued love and support for us as a team. Please pray for our wisdom and encouragement, grace to lead and love others well and guidance from the Holy Spirit to become the church that he longs for us to be in the weeks and months ahead.
All our love,
Oli and Andy