Estuary Elim News & Blog

Estuary Elim News & Blog

News, wit and wisdom from our church ministers, department leaders and members of our church.
Note: The views expressed by individuals within this blog are their own!

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2022 News & Blog


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 12 August 2022

Prayer and praise

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:1-5 NLT)

Have you ever considered how you pray to our Lord? Some people repeatedly lift up prayer requests yet fail to express admiration, praise, and gratitude. Perhaps they expect God to fulfil their needs and desires without demonstrating any love for Him. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

God created us to praise Him. Our worries and concerns are of great importance to Him, but He also wants us to come to Him with a worshipful heart, not an attitude of self-centeredness.

When we praise our Lord, our focus shifts to Him - then we will recall His greatness, grace, goodness, mercy, love, and faithfulness. We are told to praise Him joyfully (Psalm 100:1), continually (Psalm 34:1), corporately (Psalm 108:3), and wholeheartedly (Psalm 111:1). Remember Paul and Silas praised God in the midst of pain and imprisonment (Acts 16:25).

Take some time to reflect on God's mighty work of salvation in your life. Instead of approaching our Lord with a list of requests, simply praise Him for His grace, faithfulness and righteousness. When your heart is full of praise, worries dissipate and you will trust God to provide for your needs in His own timing.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 5 August 2022

A Balanced Life

We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:1-3 NLT)

God has plans for each of us and specific work that He has called us to do. This should be good news to us, but often we can feel overwhelmed when we are struggling to manage everything, we think we need to do.

Might I suggest a solution?
There are five areas of our lives we need to balance to help us live according to God's plan and purpose for us:

1. Our top priority should be spending time with God each day. We need to read and think about God’s Word, pray, listen for His voice and directions, and simply spend quality time with Him.

2. Relationships are essential to God’s plans for us. We should allocate time to family and friends, since Galatians 6:2 reminds us to "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."

3. The area most likely to become imbalanced is our work. The Lord disapproves of laziness, but He doesn't want us to be overly consumed with our careers.

4. Taking care of our body is vital, allocating adequate time for rest, recreation, and exercise.

5. The Bible urges us to meet together regularly with other believers for worship, Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25).

These areas all need space in your life, but I can't tell you how each day should look. Ask God to direct your schedule. Seek His guidance, watch for His answers, and make the changes He brings to mind.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 29 July 2022

We are called to dream

In The Old Testament, God promised a day would come when His people would be filled with His Spirit; when they were full of God, God Himself would give His people dreams and visions.

This happened at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and Peter reminded the people of the promise of God: This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, 'I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.' (Acts 2:16-17).

When God pours Himself on us by His Spirit, He stirs up in us dreams and visions of His power, mercy, truth, holiness and, greatness. When God pours Himself into an individual, the inner life is changed; it is filled with God. Do not think that this is something beyond your reach. Do not think that an experience of God is for the spiritual elite. The point of Joel's prophecy is the Spirit will be poured on all people – man or woman, old or young the promise is for you if you are a disciple of Jesus.

But, "all people" does not mean every human without exception. Joel said, "everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved." (Joel 2:32). There are those who do not call on the name of Jesus; they sense no need for Him and no joy in Him. All people means every sort of person in every nation.

What we learn new from the New Testament is that the only way to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit is to repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour so that we can receive forgiveness for our sins. Peter concludes his sermon in Acts 2:38 with these words: "Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

The Holy Spirit helps us to follow the will and purposes of God the Father.
The Holy Spirit helps us to be the people that God has called us to be.

We have been filled with the Spirit of God, and we are living in the last days because every day is one day closer to the return of Jesus. As disciples of Jesus, God has plans that involve making Himself known to the people of this World through us. May each of us be enabled by the Holy Spirit to share the truth of the Gospel with others


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 22 July 2022

Transforming Power

"Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."
(Galatians 5:16-25)

As disciples of Jesus, we can try to live holy lives relying on our own strength, or we can allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to change and transform us.

Holiness is not a standard too difficult for us to achieve if we follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

Do not rely on your own strength, allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you, and let the power of the Holy Spirit change and transform you.

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:2-3)

Because of our union with Jesus, our lives have been transformed by God. If we have come by faith to Jesus, Jesus lives in us, He dwells in us, and we dwell in Him.

The way we live our lives needs to reflect the fact that in Christ, God's holiness is our holiness; and our lives need to demonstrate the fact that in Christ, we have already been made holy.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 15 July 2022

Praying in Jesus' name

Jesus told His disciples, "You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name." (John 15:16).

Praying in the name of Christ declares our:

Association with the Saviour. Our relationship with Jesus allows us to approach the Father. You are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. (Ephesians 2:19). The Holy Spirit within us proves we belong to the Father, who listens to the requests of His family.

Access to the Father. Jesus' death opened an immediate, unhindered path to the Father's presence. When the Saviour offered Himself as the final priestly sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26-28), the temple veil that separated the Holy of Holies from man was torn in two (Mark 15:38). In that moment, access to God became available to all who believe. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. (Ephesians 2:18).

Authority to Petition God. Christ sits at the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25). He says to ask for what we need and gives us authority to enter the throne room at any time and speak with the Father. Everyone who trusts in the Saviour has the right to use Jesus' name.

Agreement With God's Purposes. In the Saviour's name, we can make requests to the Father, but we must agree with His purposes. This means aligning our prayers with His character and will, and making His work the priority—not ours. We can learn to pray in accordance with God's plan by abiding in His Word and letting it influence our thoughts.

Assurance of an Answer. "In Jesus' name" is also a phrase of confidence. It shows we believe that our prayers will be heard and answered.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 8 July 2022

Do you walk with God?

Enoch was a man who walked with God until the Lord took him to heaven. "When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him." (Genesis 5:21-24).

The world today is very sinful. Many people are lost and living in darkness, they walk a spiritually dark path and do not realise they are heading towards eternal death and suffering. Sadly, people claim they don't need help to find the right path and that they want nothing to do with the only source of light, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour know we need God's power to help us in our walk with Him. We are meant to live our lives in a way that pleases and honours God.

How can we walk with God in the way Enoch did?

We must listen to God.
We need to spend quality time reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer, this is how we receive guidance for our daily walk. Throughout the day we should ask God for wisdom and direction.

We must trust God.
We may not fully understand God's plans or purposes, but we must always trust Him to always lead us on the right path. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." We might disagree with His direction and think we know a better way, but God's Word tells us to follow God, not our own limited understanding.

We must obey God.
God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. We need to align ourselves with His commands and precepts. If we do not obey His Word then we are not obeying Him. if we are not obeying God then we are not walking with Him. God calls us to do what He says, when He says, and how He says, without obedience, we cannot fully be followers of Christ. We must surrender our will to Him, trust His guidance, and follow Him.

We must seek The Holy Spirit's guidance.
We must be committed to doing whatever God desires us to do in the power of The Holy Spirit. He will always lead us to make wise and godly decisions.

We must love God.
If we truly love the Lord, we will do what He says because we will desire to please and obey Him.

We must forsake sin.
To walk with God we need a clean heart. Whenever we sin in thought or action, we must deal with it immediately and turn from it. We must ask God to reveal any sin in our lives that is causing us to stumble, so we can forsake it and continue walking with Him and enjoying the blessings of obedience.

To walk with God, we need to keep Him at the centre of our lives.
Is God at the centre of everything you do, say or think?
Is God at the centre of your relationships, your finances, your plans?
Do you allow God to be at the centre of every area of your life?


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 2 July 2022

God's grace is with us

"It was by faith that Moses' parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's command. It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king's anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned." (Hebrews 11:23-29)

Perhaps it is easy for us to believe God is always with us when we are in a season we enjoy. Sometimes we find it difficult to perceive what the Lord is doing in our life. We are limited by the passage of time, the confusion of present circumstances, and a lack of understanding regarding God's goals and His means of accomplishing them. That is why studying the lives of men and women in The Bible can help us understand how the Lord worked powerfully in previous generations.

Examining God's relationships with His faithful followers gives us helpful insights and examples for us today. When we face uncertainty, we can look to Moses' example. His life was unpredictable and full of hardship, yet "He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27).

I can imagine if Moses were here today, he would say it was only by the grace of God that he was able to accomplish the things he did in his life. Moses successfully persevered by keeping his focus on God rather than on the events surrounding him. This is a good example of what our Lord calls us to do too. We may pray to be led away from a difficult situation as soon as possible, but God's plan may require us to be led through it by The Holy Spirit. God's purpose is not to make us comfortable, His plan is to transform us into the image of His Son. Endurance in our daily walk and a focus fixed on Jesus will help us become people of powerful faith and trust.

If God calls you to endure pain, hardship, or uncertainty, find encouragement in knowing you are never alone. God is with you and His grace and comfort will carry you through every situation. Trust Him, trust His plan, His purpose and His power.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 24 June 2022

Jesus Christ is Lord

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:-9)

"Jesus is Lord" is the confession of every Christian because it is foundational to our faith. In order to be saved, the apostle Paul says we must confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9). Such doctrine is central to Christianity, and all who are devoted followers of Jesus Christ believe that He is Lord of all creation and all time.

However, when we say "all", it means us as well. If Jesus truly is the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, then He is also the Master of our individual lives. Christ’s sovereign rule is not limited to governing the vast universe; it’s also a personal issue. He is Lord of our normal, daily lives—our choices, priorities, activities, attitudes, words, everything.

Paul captured this truth in Romans 14:8 when he wrote, "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord." The apostle considered it impossible to compartmentalize Christ's lordship. He knew his life belonged wholly to Jesus.

Jesus doesn't want to be part of our life; He made that clear with His disciples. When we give the Lord just a portion, then we are telling Him there are other things we consider at least as important as He is. Do you know what the Bible calls this? Idolatry.

Jesus never called people to give Him a try. He demanded full surrender: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23). We can't squeeze Jesus into one segment of our life and continue living as we please. If we are truly His, then Jesus is our life.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 17 June 2022

Our Heavenly Father

The Old Testament provides us with many names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals Him most fully. Jesus shocked the religious leaders of His day by claiming that He had a Father/Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce.

Jesus invited His followers to call God "Father", He made this name the primary name by which God is to be known to His followers. That's why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, "Our Father who art in Heaven".

The Old Testament usually depicts God not as the Father of individuals but as Father to His people, Israel. Pious Jews, aware of the gap between a holy God and sinful human beings, would never have dared address God as Ab (Hebrew) or Abba, the Aramaic word for "Daddy", which gradually came to mean "dear father." Rather than depicting God as a typical Middle Eastern patriarch who wielded considerable power within the family, Jesus depicted Him as a tender and compassionate father, who extends grace to both the sinner and the self-righteous.

The most frequent term for "father" in the New Testament was the Greek word pater. The first recorded words of Jesus, spoken to His earthly parents, are these: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49). In John's gospel, Jesus calls God His Father 156 times. The expression "Abba, Pater" is found three times in the New Testament, all in prayer. It is the form Jesus used in His anguished cry in Gethsemane, "Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will." (Mark 14:36)

Today: Praise God for His generous, fatherly love; Give thanks that God is your King and Lord and Father, and ask God to reveal Himself as Father.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 10 June 2022

God answers prayer

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NLT)

We don't always know exactly how to pray for others, or even for ourselves. In Colossians, we read Paul's prayer for the believers in that church. What is interesting is the absence of many of the requests we might normally make while talking with the Lord - for health, financial needs, or deliverance from difficult situations. Paul's prayer is focused on the believers' spiritual needs, and it's a pattern we can all follow as we pray for others and ourselves.

Often we are impatient in prayer and want God to respond even before we say Amen. In contrast, Paul wasn't burdened by a quest for immediate answers and never gave up speaking to the Lord about the Colossians. He was confident that God would hear, and he also knew that spiritual growth is a lifelong process, not a quick fix.

Paul didn't settle for a simple appeal of "Lord, bless the Colossian church." He really cared about the people there, and he focused on what God desired for them - that they would know the Father's will, walk worthy of Him, and be strengthened with His power.

The Lord desires to answer petitions that line up with His will. Of course, we should also talk to our Father about our physical or emotional concerns, but we must not overlook our need for consistent spiritual growth. Through Paul, God has given us an example of an honest prayer that He longs to answer.

When you don't know how to pray for others, let this prayer of Paul guide your requests. Then be patient, knowing God answers prayers in the best way and with the best timing.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 2 June 2022

A Double Celebration

Pentecost Sunday, is a day of celebration, a day when we remember how the Holy Spirit came and transformed the lives and the future of the first disciples. This year Pentecost Sunday is also part of the weekend of celebration for the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.

You are invited to celebrate with us on Sunday morning at 10:30am, in person at Estuary Elim Rayleigh, or online via Facebook or Zoom at https://www.estuaryelim.church or at 6:30pm Sunday evening in person at Estuary Elim Ashingdon.

In many ways, Pentecost is the day when the future shape of the church was born. We celebrate the fulfilment of the promise Jesus made to His disciples in Luke 24:49, "I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven."

The Holy Spirit is an important part of the trinity, but perhaps the least understood.

The concept of a Holy Perfect God we get, the concept of God as Creator makes sense, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, we are comfortable with the concept of Father God.

We understand that Jesus was real, He was born, He lived a perfect life, Jesus willingly went to the cross, and even though He was sinless, He died in our place, as payment for the sins of those who trust in Him as their personal Lord and Saviour, and on the third day - Jesus rose triumphant from the grave, His resurrection, the evidence that He was who He said He was, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, Jesus, we are pretty comfortable that we know, what we know we know.

Understanding the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives today is an area where some of us may feel out of our depth. I would suggest that as Pentecostal people, we can know more about the Spirit than we do, we can draw closer to Him in our everyday lives, we can sense His presence within us, and we can allow Him to work in us and through us, we can experience a fresh sense of purpose.

Our desire should be that we would not just know more about the Spirit but that we would experience Him in our lives as we allow Him to work in and through all of us.

Let me encourage you to allow yourself to be inspired, moved and changed by the Holy Spirit.


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 27 May 2022

Functional Faith

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds, you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Here is a controversial statement "Everyone has faith." Every person in this world has faith in something or someone. Atheists have faith that there is no God. They believe all of the complexities of life and the universe are all accidental. Atheists are blind to the realities of a personal relationship with the wonderful, creator God. Instead of a functional faith in God, they place their faith and trust in random chance and evolution.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us "it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him."

Because of a lack of faith, Jesus left the town of Nazareth, "He did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:58). The problem for the people of Nazareth was not a lack of faith, the problem was their faith was misplaced in other things instead of placed in Jesus.

The world may distract and confuse ideas, theories and empty promises, but Jesus provides the right way, He is the truth and the life. The promises of God assure our future; the fact we are forgiven when we repent and turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviour is true. Our salvation is a past fact, not a future promise.

You can look forward to spending eternity with God and functionally walk in the truth that you can "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7).


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Rev Dr Dean Courtier

 14 April 2022

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. The word "Maundy" is derived from the Latin word for "command." The "Maundy" in Maundy Thursday refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another.

This evening at 7:30pm there is an in-person communion service at Ashingdon.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that we need to examine ourselves before we take communion, I would suggest that is something we should do each day and not just before we take communion; we need to be honest with ourselves and honest with God.

It was Victor Hugo who wrote, "I feel two men struggling within me". The apostle Paul also had a realistic view of the tension between good and evil that rages in every soul: "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing... I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:19, 23-24)

Maybe you have grown distant from the Lord, you are still following Him, but not as close as before. Maybe your lifestyle and your conversation are denying the Lord. Perhaps even without examining yourself you know, you are not doing what you should or living for Jesus in the right way.

The day that Christ was crucified was the darkest day the world has ever witnessed. On that day mankind revolted against the love of God, refused to accept Christ as God's Son, and slew Him by nailing Him to a cross. In spite of the awfulness of crucifying Jesus the disciples came to understand that, in the death of their Lord, God had done his kindest work for people.

Why would the sinless, stainless, spotless Son of God have to die? Why did He institute a meal in which the elements were given great symbolic significance as a memory of His death on the cross? To have the correct answer is to have the key to Christianity. To understand Christ's death is to discover the essence of Christianity. To grasp the significance of His sacrificial death is to understand the heart of God's revelation of His love, mercy and grace.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to reveal the evil nature of sin. Not only in our age but in every age, people have attempted to minimize and excuse sin. There are many who deny that there is any such thing as sin. There are others who joke about sin and treat it lightly. Others tolerate and welcome sin in their own hearts and lives.

Jesus died on the cross because of our sin. Had humans not been sinners, it would not have been necessary for Him to die. If sin were not something terrible, dark, and destructive, Calvary would not have been necessary. It is the testimony of the Scripture that Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). The elements of the Lord's Supper speak to us about the deadly, destructive, evil nature of our sin that required the death of Jesus Christ for our deliverance and forgiveness.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem and save us (Mark 10:45). Jesus was the perfect substitute. He died to ransom us from sin (Mark 10:45). He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep. The Sinless One assumed the burden of our sin and suffered in our place that we might obtain His perfect righteousness (1 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ died on the cross to enlist and inspire our service. Because Christ died for our sins, we should be inspired to die to sin and to devote our lives to a life of righteousness, both in our relationship with God and in our conduct toward our fellow humans (1 Peter 2:24).

Next to our salvation, the privilege of Service is the greatest gift of God to humankind (Phil. 1:29; Rom. 12:1). Gratitude for God's unspeakable gifts, through the Saviour who was willing to die and who triumphantly lives again, should cause us to dedicate ourselves in Service to Him.

Next time you partake of the bread, which symbolizes Christ's body, and the wine, which symbolizes His blood, take the opportunity to examine yourself and rededicate your life to your Saviour.


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Rev. Simon Law

 22 January 2022

NEWS for Week Commencing 23 January 2022

It was wonderful to see the church filled with guests last week as we gathered to celebrate Megan's baptism.


Yesterday, the youth group had their first outing since lockdown - a joint bowling event with Life Church, Ashingdon. We have gone through a difficult period with the pandemic, and whilst we are not back to 'normal' yet, we can see the green shoots of new life. As followers of Jesus, we have reasons to celebrate, for confidence and for hope. We follow a risen Lord!


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Rev. Simon Law

 8 January 2022

NEWS for Week Commencing 9 January 2022

Gripped by Grace
I wonder what has your attention this morning? This year's theme for us as church is "Gripped by Grace". To be gripped by something means it really has your attention! As we start this new year let's choose where we place our attention, to allow God's goodness, the riches of his grace to grip us!

This Sunday, 9th January, our morning in-person services will be at Rayleigh. Our morning in-person service at Ashingdon will restart on the 16th January. Our online services and evening services at Ashingdon are unaffected.

AGM MEETING 22 January 2022
This year's AGM meeting will take place at Ashingdon at 3pm on Saturday 22 January. There will also be an option to join via Zoom. All are welcome to attend, however only church members are allowed to vote for those standing for a 2 year term on the Church Board as Deacons. The annual church report has been emailed to all members. If you haven't received this please check your spam folder then let me know - either we need to update our records, or we need to have a talk about membership! After the AGM there will be a fish and chip supper. Please let Andrea know if you plan to stay behind for the food.


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Rev. Simon Law

 3 January 2022

NEWS for Week Commencing 3 January 2022

UPDATE: IN-PERSON MEETINGS
Following the move to the UK government's 'Plan B', we will now adhere to the following:
Face coverings are compulsory for all in-person meetings whilst indoors, including when singing (unless you are medically exempt). If refreshments are served, you can remove your mask to eat/drink!
Lateral Flow Tests
Please take a lateral flow test prior to attending an in-person activity
If you are leading services, preaching, or in the church band as a singer or a wind instrument musician, you do not need to wear a mask while undertaking these activities. However, you do need to take a lateral flow test prior to attending the service (and have a negative result ...).

Ventilation:
We will open the windows to ventilate Rayleigh and Ashingdon buildings prior to services starting. Please come dressed appropriately as it could be colder than normal! Windows may be closed during the service, and will be opened again once the service is over.

Please do not attend in-person activities if you have symptoms of COVID, or a positive lateral flow (or PCR) test result.


2021 News & Blog


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Rev. Simon Law

 18 December 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 19 December 2021

This time next Saturday it will be Christmas Day, so today's blog post is planned to cover the next couple of weeks, barring any surprises!

As we prepare for Christmas, whether we are meeting in-person, or prefer to stay online, together we celebrate Immanuel, 'God-with-us'. Jesus' birth shows us God's love-in-action, his kindness towards us, his creation, reaching out to us in our helplessness. At this time in our nation, as followers of Jesus, how do we model this kindness to those around us?

UPDATE: IN-PERSON MEETINGS
Following the move to the UK government's 'Plan B', we will now adhere to the following:
Face coverings are compulsory for all in-person meetings whilst indoors, including when singing (unless you are medically exempt). If refreshments are served, you can remove your mask to eat/drink!
Lateral Flow Tests
Please take a lateral flow test prior to attending an in-person activity
If you are leading services, preaching, or in the church band as a singer or a wind instrument musician, you do not need to wear a mask while undertaking these activities. However, you do need to take a lateral flow test prior to attending the service (and have a negative result ...).

Ventilation:
We will open the windows to ventilate Rayleigh and Ashingdon buildings prior to services starting. Please come dressed appropriately as it could be colder than normal! Windows may be closed during the service, and will be opened again once the service is over.

Please do not attend in-person activities if you have symptoms of COVID, or a positive lateral flow (or PCR) test result.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 12 December 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 12 December 2021

PLAN A
News stories this week have been very focused on the government's 'Plan B' actions to slow the transmission of Omicron, the latest variant of COVID. Indeed, we have had to respond to these new mandates and guidelines (see below). As we enter another period of uncertainty during this pandemic, it's natural to wonder what lies ahead as we look forward to Christmas. It's particularly in the difficult seasons of life that we look to what is certain. We know that God loves us, his creation and brings hope out of 'hopeless' situations. In this season we remember his 'Plan A', God coming down to live with us, Immanuel. We follow a saviour, Jesus, who shows us how much God loves us, how hope triumphs over uncertainty, how love wins!

UPDATE: IN-PERSON MEETINGS
Following the move to the UK government's 'Plan B', we will now adhere to the following:
Face coverings are compulsory for all in-person meetings whilst indoors, including when singing (unless you are medically exempt)
If refreshments are served, you can remove your mask to eat/drink!
Lateral Flow Tests
If you are leading services, preaching, or in the church band as a singer or a wind instrument musician, you do not need to wear a mask while undertaking these activities. However, you do need to take a lateral flow test prior to attending the service (and have a negative result ...).

Ventilation:
We will open the windows to ventilate Rayleigh and Ashingdon buildings prior to services starting. Please come dressed appropriately as it could be colder than normal! Windows may be closed during the service, and will be opened again once the service is over.

Please do not attend in-person activities if you have symptoms of COVID, or a positive lateral flow (or PCR) test result.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 4 December 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 4 December 2021

Last week I asked the question, "What does love look like?" The apostle Paul links love to patience and kindness. In his letter to the Ephesians (4:2-3) he says, "be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." As we move into the winter season with the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and the emergence of new variants of Covid-19, it's important that we do what we can to keep each other safe, to demonstrate love in the practical steps we take.

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, we have received new guidance from head office. Singing without a mask is a higher risk activity, more so given the transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

We are therefore advising that anyone attending church without a face mask takes a Lateral Flow Test prior to attending in-person services.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 28 November 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 28 November 2021

WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?
Shoeboxes!

76 shoeboxes packed with toys, (3 of these online), a large bag of knitted hats from Neil's Knitting Group, a couple of boxes of pens, pencils, soap and flannels, and £135 of donations. This has been our best year so far for the Christmas shoebox appeal - a very practical way of showing God's love to children and their families. Thanks to Paul Clark for organising us all so well! If you haven't had a chance to see the boxes at Ashingdon, take a look here.

Chocolate!
Estuary Elim Church donated two thirds of this year's appeal for chocolate selection boxes from HARP (the homeless charity in Southend). As they have now met their target, they are asking for alternative donations of 'smellies', shower gel, soap etc. Once again, please contact Alison Iley if you want further details.

UPDATE TO IN-PERSON MEETING GUIDELINES
NEW: In line with government recommendations, we are strongly encouraging everyone to take a lateral flow test before attending the main Christmas services on 19th December (AM Family Carol Service at Rayleigh, and PM Carols by Candlelight at Ashingdon). These services are usually very well attended and will not therefore be possible to maintain social distancing.
REMINDER: For all in-person services, we encourage the wearing of masks. If you do not wish to wear a mask throughout the service you will be directed to seats as near to the front of the church as possible. Those who wish to wear masks will be seated as far back as possible.<

Here's a summary of our plans are for our Christmas celebrations:
19 December
10:30am - Family EEC Christmas Celebration at Rayleigh (no service at Ashingdon)
7:00pm - Evening EEC Carols by Candlelight at Ashingdon

24 December
YouTube EEC Christmas Communion service (online only)

25 December
All-Age EEC Christmas Morning Celebration! (No online service)

26 December
YouTube & Facebook online service only



...
Rev. Simon Law

 21 November 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 21 November 2021

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well (Romans 12:6). What does this verse mean? Well, for some, it may mean that you're comfortable with PC's and could volunteer either at Rayleigh or Ashingdon to cover the PC and sound desk. It really is simple and is a key ministry to help us continue to be able to run multiple in-person services. Or, it may be that PC's are not your thing, but knitting and making new friends is! If that's you, we're looking for people from the church to support the new Knit to Nuture group at Rayleigh on Thursday's 10:30-12:30pm. You can check out more details on the church calendar. If you're interested in either of these opportunities, please let me know and I'll provide you more information.

BAPTISMS 2022.
We are starting to plan for baptisms in 2022. If you are wanting to be baptised in 2022, please contact a member of the Ministry Team and we'd love to have a chat.<

Please note, Discovery with the Durhams will start at 7:45pm this week (all welcome).


...
Rev. Simon Law

 14 November 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 14 November 2021

LADIES FILM NIGHT
Ladies Film Night at Ashingdon on Monday November 15th at 7.30pm (film starts at 7.45pm). If possible please tell Alison Iley or Liz Durham that you will be coming, but feel free to just turn up if you decide to come at the last minute. Face coverings are optional but recommended. We will enable those with face coverings to sit separately from those without.

SIMPLY STRINGS CHRISTMAS CONCERT
*** ALL TICKETS NOW SOLD ***
Tickets are no longer available for the Simply Strings Christmas Concert on 18th December at Rayleigh Elim Church at 7.30pm. Please note that all payment will be at the door on the day (in case there is last minute cancellation) but tickets must be ordered in advance from Maureen (text 07814 144515) Another difference this year is that there will be no refreshments provided during the interval, so bring your own (non-alcoholic) to consume at your seat. This is to avoid the usual 'scrum'. Tickets usually sell fast, so don't miss out!


...
Rev. Simon Law

 26 September 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 26 September 2021

This week, Boris Johnson referenced Kermit the frog in his speech to 193 leaders in the UN General Assembly in New York. Following his example, I'd like to quote from the song 'Get Here', performed by Oleta Adams in the early '90's. In the song Oleta lists all the ways she can travel to be close to the person she loves. She lists, railway, trailway (?), plane, caravan, tree climbing, donkey, wind surfing, carpet ride, border crossings and a balloon trip. Unsurprisingly she finishes her song with "I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can"! As we move into the Autumn with new patterns of meeting together, I want to encourage you to "get here if you can", whether online or in-person. If you know someone who cannot connect online or in-person, give them a call and encourage them. We are part of a body, and we need each other!

Harvest In-Person Sunday Services:We will take a collection for harvest goods at our in-person services this Sunday. All physical goods will be donated to HARP, a homeless charity based in Southend. Unless indicated otherwise, financial offerings will be designated for Trevor Dobie's London Marathon charity raising run. Trevor is raising funds for Kintsugi Hope, a mental health and wellbeing charity.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 5 September 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 5 September 2021

One of the lessons we've learned over the past 18 months is the need to be flexible as circumstances change around us. Our message, the good news of Jesus, hasn't changed, but it's right that we recognise that the world we inhabit has changed and respond to the needs of this generation so they can hear the good news for themselves. As we try new ways of 'being church', of meeting together and serving those around us, let's remember patience and above all love - to seek to be a blessing to those around us!

NEW THIS WEEK
Available Now! Check out the latest EEC weekly Bible study from Anne O'Brien.

Sunday (5/9): We are restarting our in-person 10:30am service at Ashingdon. This will be a hybrid service, a mix of videos and in-person activities. Our kids work (ages 3-10) will restart at Ashingdon for the whole group.

Monday (6/9): Art Club will restart in-person at Rayleigh, Monday's 1.30pm to 3.30pm. It is a space where everyone is welcome. You may bring your own materials to paint, draw, knit, sew, make cards - or whatever you enjoy. Or you can just borrow some materials and 'have a go'. Just turn up, or for more information email aobrien60@gmail.com.

Tuesday (7/9): RevUp with Redbond LINK group will be running online during September. starting Tuesday 7th September 8-9pm.

Friday (10/9): Youth Group (4Real). We have loads of fun planned for young people aged 11-16, games, table tennis, snooker, trips out (bowling, etc). Friday's 7:30-9:00pm. To find out more, contact Alison Iley or Simon Law.

Sunday (12/9): In-person youth Bible Class (ages 11 to 16), will restart.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 29 August 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 29 August

We're still working on our plans for September, however, here's what we have so far:
Estuary Elim Worship Team Practice will restart in-person at Ashingdon on 1/9 at 7:30pm. This will run every 1st and third Wednesday of the month. All are welcome - singers, musicians, sound desk tech team, even Dave!

BBQ for Youth (& their families) We will be restarting in-person activities for our young people starting with a BBQ on Friday 3 September at 7pm. Everyone is invited, you just need to be aged 11 (year 7) to 16 or bring a young person (and families) with you! If you haven't already, please let me know here if you are coming.

'RevUp with Redbond' II, this LINK group will be running online during September, starting Tuesday 7th September 8-9pm (click here to join).

Art Club will restart in-person at Rayleigh on 6 September. This will take place on Monday's between 1.30 and 3.30pm. It is a space where everyone is welcome. You may bring your own materials to paint, draw, knit, sew, make cards – or whatever you enjoy. Or you can just borrow some materials and ‘have a go’. Just turn up, or for more information click here aobrien60@gmail.com.

New Estuary Elim Bible Study material will be accessible both online and offline - produced by our very own Anne O'Brien. Bible Studies by Anne O'Brien


...
Rev. Simon Law

 18 July 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 18 July

As we move from a period of legally mandated measures to recommendations to help mitigate the impact of COVID19, it's clear that this virus will not disappear on 19 July. We are grateful that the vaccine program has been so effective, yet as the government has acknowledged, we are not 'out of the woods' yet and need to move cautiously as we manage the risks that come from reintroducing in-person activities. As the body of Christ, what is also clear, is that our approach is to 'prefer one another in love' (Romans 12:10). All of us will have different responses to the pandemic and the risks involved. The question for each of us is how do we 'really love', to 'take delight in honouring each other' as we carefully navigate our way forward.

COVID19 UPDATE
Thank you to everyone who responded to the ChurchSuite survey on the return to in-person activities. If you haven't responded, you can find the survey https://estuaryelim.churchsuite.com/forms/zikv7ccx. Over 80% of respondents identified the need for some additional safeguards as we return. Whilst we are still working out some of the details, we believe the following safeguards are appropriate as we honour each other in love:

  • The wearing of masks is strongly encouraged for all indoor activities, including singing.
  • If you do not want to wear a mask, seating will be provided for you in the front rows of the church.
  • Ventilation will be maximised (windows will be open) when we meet indoors.
  • The use of hand sanitiser is encouraged.
  • Plastic barriers to remain for the worship team and preacher.
  • We will maintain a booking system for in-person meetings during August. If you cannot book online we will book you in when you arrive.
  • For now, individual communion cups will be used.
We will keep all of these safeguards under review as we see how the summer progresses!

IN-PERSON SERVICES
August
Sunday Morning: Bookings for our in-person morning service 10:30-11:30 AM will be available soon (if you cannot use the online system you can sign in on the day).
Sunday Evening: Bookings for August will be available soon.

TAPESTRY EXHIBITION 27 JULY to 7 AUGUST
Don't forget to register here for free tickets to visit the exhibition depicting our local history over the past 1000 years, and see the fabulous 2 foot by 3 foot tapestry panels (plus knitted items, accompanying drawings, historical information and children’s activities).


...
Trevor Dobie

 12 July 2021

Will you support my fundraising effort for Kintsugi Hope?

I will be running in the Virtual 2021 London Marathon on 3 October 2021.
I have a target of raising 1,000 for Kintsugi Hope.

I know of many people who have suffered with their mental health. Therefore when the opportunity came along to help Kintsugi Hope I literally jumped at the chance as they provide much needed support to so many people who are suffering with what is now fast becoming an epidemic across the whole spectrum of society.

Although I have never run a marathon before I run regularly plus I am a member of a local running club, and I am about to start my training in earnest.

Look me up on Facebook and Strava to track my progress.

Thank you
Trevor Dobie

If you would like to make a donation please vist https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TrevorDobie


...
Rev. Simon Law

 15 June 2021

ROADMAP UPDATE: Return to In-Person Meetings - Phase One

Here is a quick update on our plan for the phased return to in-person meetings which we have revised following yesterday's government announcement.

SUMMARY:
Here are the highlights:
1. Online church is continuing throughout this period
2. Evening services at Ashingdon are continuing throughout this period.
3. June and July online AM, Ashingdon PM
4. August and September AM in-person services will continue as previously communicated (August: AM Rayleigh; September: AM at Ashingdon and Rayleigh)

DETAILS:
July
AM Online church (no hybrid in-person services in the morning)
PM Socially distanced, pre-booked evening services at Ashingdon

August
AM Online church and in-person ‘offline’ service at Rayleigh (with limited provision for children)
PM Evening services at Ashingdon

September
AM Online church, in-person morning service at Rayleigh (offline) and in-person morning service at Ashingdon (a hybrid service). Provision for kids and youth will be at Ashingdon only for this phase.
PM Evening services at Ashingdon

As you will have spotted, the key change is that we will no longer start our hybrid service at Ashingdon in July. After the announcement on 19 July, we will adapt to any new social distancing regulations.

Please contact me with any questions.
God bless,
Simon, on behalf of the Ministry Team


...
Rev. Simon Law

 13 June 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 13 June

Donald Rumsfeld, a Secretary of State for Defence said in 2002 that we have "known knowns", and "known unknowns". He was widely teased for this statement, but on reflection, it makes a lot of sense. When we think about what the government may or may not say on Monday, there's a lot of "known unknowns" - we can't say at this stage what the government will declare, nor how this will impact us. However, as followers of Jesus, we have a lot of "known knowns!" Regardless of what is announced, we are called to love deeply, to be generous, to forgive, to encourage, to show kindness to others, and to ourselves! As we wait to see what transpires, let's not forget to continue with what we do know as we connect God's compassion, through the church, with the community.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 5 June 2021

NEWS for Week Commencing 6 June

It was wonderful to enjoy a couple of days of sunshine this week - the promise of the summer to come I hope! As we look forward to summer, we now know that the government will announce on the 14 June their plans for the relaxation of social distancing etc from the 21st June. We will confirm after the 14 June, our plans for the phased return to in-person meetings and activities. As we wait, can I encourage you to think how God can use you in this new season, whether online or in-person? As Paul the Apostle said, "God has given each of us different gifts for doing certain things well" (Romans 12:6 NLT). I will issue a request in the next couple of weeks for volunteers - we have lots of areas where we need help, online (both technical and non-technical) and in-person (welcome team/stewards, worship team, youth and kids work, refreshments, practical help, lifts etc). We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other, working to connect God's compassion, through the church, with the community. Watch this space!


...
Rev. Simon Law

 30 May 2021

Quick update

We're keeping a close watch for the details of the government's announcement on the next 'roadmap milestone' of the 21 June. Our current plan is still to extend our morning in-person meetings using a phased approach. In July, we will have the opportunity to meet together at Ashingdon, where there will be a 'hybrid' service (a mix of live and online) with provision for children and youth. In August, our morning in-person service will be at Rayleigh, and in September, we will hold in-person morning services at both Rayleigh and Ashingdon (full kids and youth provision will be at Ashingdon for this phase). Once we hear the details of the government announcement we will update as necessary and let you know of any changes.

Whatever happens 'online church' will continue!


...
Rev. Simon Law

 2 May 2021

Exciting plans

The Estuary Elim Church (EEC) is one church in 4 locations, Ashingdon, Rayleigh, Southend and online. At the moment, our in-person meeting is limited to a socially distanced Sunday evening service at Ashingdon. However, change is coming! Assuming the government's current targets for the roadmap milestone on 21 June are met, we have exciting plans for the rollout of non-socially distanced in-person services across the church locations. You can read the details below, but in summary, we are taking a phased approach to rollout the new in-person services. This will ensure we can trial each new way of meeting together and ensure we know what we are doing before rolling out the next part of the plan. Throughout all of this, we will continue to develop and run online church - a key part of our ongoing expression of EEC. We'll explain more later, but for now, I've listed the key dates below.

ROADMAP TO PHASE ONE IN-PERSON SERVICES
Assuming the 21 June removal of all social distancing measures

June
27 June PM: Our first EEC evening celebration/worship service with musicians and singers, not socially distanced!

July
4 July AM: EEC hybrid service (online and in-person) at Ashingdon begins for a 4 week initial period (4th, 11th, 18th, 25th). This will include provision for children and youth. All are of course welcome to attend! Online morning church will continue as usual.

Evening worship services to continue at Ashingdon, (not socially distanced).

August
1 August AM: EEC morning unplugged (not online) service at Rayleigh throughout August with limited provision for kids (e.g. colouring in sheets, videos in hall). The hybrid service at Ashingdon will not run in August (online church will continue).

Evening worship services to continue at Ashingdon, not socially distanced.

September
5 September AM: Rayleigh will continue to meet with the same offline, in-person focus. Services at Ashingdon will re-start as hybrid (online and in-person). For this phase, the Ashingdon site will have the primary focus for families, children and youth. Online church will continue to run. Everyone is welcome to attend any of the locations (physical and virtual).

EEC evening worship services to continue at Ashingdon, not socially distanced.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 17 April 2021

Spot the difference


I've never been very good at 'spot the difference', but for the eagle-eyed among you, I expect you've noticed that our logo has changed. As we move into this new season, it's been very clear that Estuary Elim is one church, whether we meet online, or at our physical locations in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend. The new logo reflects our identity as we move forward. We will be unpacking what this looks like in the weeks to come, so watch this space!


...
Rev. Simon Law

 10 April 2021

In-Person Meeting Survey Results

We had nearly 50 responses to the survey - thank you! The survey asked the question: "When we can meet in-person, without social distancing, what kind of church gathering will fit your lifestyle best"? The summary results are:
35% respondents wanted to meet primarily in-person
5% respondents want to meet primarily online
60% respondents want to meet both in-person and online.

We are working through the details of the survey results and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this season as we plan how we gather as church in the future.
The survey is now closed.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 1 April 2021

Rev. Tony Tween

3 February 1944 - 31 March 2021


It is with great sadness that I am issuing this update to let you know that Pastor Tony passed away late last night. Although we mourn his loss, we do not mourn as those without hope. He knew, as we do, that he has gone to a better place and is now with the Lord. At this Easter time, we remember that Good Friday is not the end. For God's daughters and sons, resurrection day is coming!

We'd like to share this wonderful tribute from Tony's daughter:

"Wow what a legacy he leaves us, a life devoted to his family and dedicated service to the Church. A life of selfless commitment to others, a listening ear, a wise counsel, a shoulder to lean on and a hand to hold, a man described as a rock to many. Day and night always ready to help those in need. A preacher of many a sermon, giving words of life and hope. Even when he was so poorly he still encouraged and prayed for those he met. A life that simply made a difference to so many. The Reverend Tony Tween now in glory with his maker.

But to us he was our Husband/Dad/Ra Ra/Grandad/brother/uncle he made us smile, we knew we were loved and cherished always. We knew he was so proud of all of us.

And we love him. We miss him. Always in our hearts."

Amen!

We will provide details of funeral arrangements when we have them.


...
Rev. Simon Law

 28 March 2021

A quick survey

Spring is finally here, and with it we naturally look forward to the summer. As a leadership team, the ministers have been working on a plan for when we can meet in-person without social distancing, and other COVID related restrictions. To help us with our planning, please could you complete this very quick survey. The survey will help us understand in this new season, how the church is looking to gather, in-person, online, or both!


...
Rev. Simon Law

 1 January 2021

Welcome to 2021

2020 was a tough year. For many, a very tough year. Yet, we are not people without hope. Our living, confident hope is not one based on our circumstances, but the resurrected, living Lord Jesus, whose birth we have just celebrated - the outworking of God's rescue plan for all of us! Jesus is the "Yes!" to all of God's promises. Let's rest in these promises as we look towards all God will do in this new season of 2021!

Please note that due to the increased number of COVID-19 infections in the local area, all socially-distanced evening services are cancelled until further notice.

ANNUAL CHURCH MEETING - 23 January 2021
Our annual church meeting will be held online at 3pm on 23 January 2021. This meeting is open to all. It is an opportunity to review the past church year and to vote for those standing as Deacons for the Church Board (the Church Board comprises of Deacons and Ministers and has oversight for the running of the church). If you are a member of the church, you will shortly receive an email with details of how to cast your vote online. Members who are not online will receive postal voting slips. Given the unusual circumstances of 2020, the AGM report will contain updates from the Ministers and Church Administrator rather than all church departments. Printed Reports are available on request.

KEEPING CONNECTED
Check out our podcasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, worship @ home videos and recordings of Sunday services on our Youtube channel, accessible through the church website.

Don't forget to subscribe and to click on the alarm icon next to 'Subscribe' if you want to receive notifications of the latest uploads.


2020 News & Blog


...
Rev. Dave Redbond

 24 November 2021

Secrets Shared

I discovered while I was having an afternoon sleep that a visitor had arrived at our front door. My wife, Maureen went and answered the door when she heard a very familiar knock. The visitor asked Maureen whether she and I wanted any Heroes chocolates.

My wife, Maureen responded with a very definite No and then revealed the number of Heroes chocolates stored in my office.

I was horrified that chocolate had been turned away and without Maureen's knowledge sent a text stating how disappointed I was at missing out on having more chocolate.I received a reply that there were still chocolate available and so a text was sent asking for a delivery but for it to be done secretly.

I recognised that this was not a correct way to act since there should be no secrets between husband and wife and I duly confessed what I had done. The chocolate has arrived and been added to the supply.

When it comes to secrets some should be kept if it relates to a confidential situation but there are many secrets which should be shared. When King David committed adultery and murder God exposed David's sinfulness.

Are there secret areas in our lives that we hide away from those around us including family and friends because we do not want them to know what we are really doing or what we are really like? If so we need to find someone we can trust that we can share our struggles with so that we can find both help and release. When David owned up to his failure then God accepted his cry for forgiveness.

If you have a secret which relates to some failure in your life then be assured that there is a heavenly father who is waiting for you to come to him so you might receive forgiveness and healing.

There is an old song which has these words:
The chimes of time ring out the news
Another day is through
Someone slipped and fell
Was that someone you?

You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
For I have news for you

It is no secret what God can do
What He's done for others, He'll do for you
With arms wide open He'll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do

There is no night; for in His light
You never walk alone
Always feel at home
Wherever you may go

There is no power can conquer you
While God is on your side
Take Him at His promise
Don't run away and hide

It is no secret what God can do
What He's done for others, He'll do for you
With arms wide open He'll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.


Secondly, we find that the Apostle Paul also speaks about a secret. In his case it is the secret for living a contented life. There are so many who live in a state of discontentment. This can relate to relationships, possessions, achievements, career or even oneself. Paul states that the secret to a contented life is to know the strength that comes from knowing and being in relationship with Jesus.

This is how different bible translations reveal this secret in Philippans 4v11-13:
The Message Bible
Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

The New Living Translation Bible
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

The Amplified Bible
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.

I came across this outline regarding the secret of a contented life:
The scope - Everything
The source - Christ
The secret - Strength

So as you continue on life's journey ensure that there are no secret areas of your life that will impact upon your relationship with your Heavenly Father and with those around you.

In addition, recognise that the secret to a contented life is found in a relationship with Jesus.