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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
29 August 2021
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 email@example.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
18 July 2021
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.
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:
12 July 2021
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.
If you would like to make a donation please vist https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TrevorDobie
15 June 2021
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.
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)
AM Online church (no hybrid in-person services in the morning)
PM Socially distanced, pre-booked evening services at Ashingdon
AM Online church and in-person ‘offline’ service at Rayleigh (with limited provision for children)
PM Evening services at Ashingdon
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.
Simon, on behalf of the Ministry Team
13 June 2021
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.
5 June 2021
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!
30 May 2021
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!
2 May 2021
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
27 June PM: Our first EEC evening celebration/worship service with musicians and singers, not socially distanced!
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).
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.
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.
17 April 2021
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!
10 April 2021
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.
1 April 2021
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."
We will provide details of funeral arrangements when we have them.
28 March 2021
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!
1 January 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.
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.
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24 November 2021
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.