Be still and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10
 

UPCOMING EVENTS:


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Welcome to Christchurch Abbeydale

We offer a warm welcome to all.  Christchurch is an ecumenical church which embraces four Christian denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, worshipping together as one congregation.  Whether you already belong to one of these denominations or not you are most welcome. 


We welcome children of all ages. A crèche is available for pre-school children. There is Junior Church for children aged 5 to 11 and ‘The Core’ for children aged 11 years +. Children stay with us for the first part of the service and then go with the youth leader to take part in planned activities 


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Dear friends

Warm and sincere greetings in the name of Christ.

Moving home is never easy and seldom

straight forward. Moving to Gloucester was a

challenge for us and it has involved a lot of changes,

and change is always challenging, sometimes frightening, sometimes exciting,

sometimes both. But God enables us to cope and triumph amidst change and

changing circumstances. When God calls us to embrace change, God gives us the

necessary grace to face and overcome the challenges that come with it. His

unchanging love meets our every need!

We live in a fast-changing world. Often we feel we cannot keep pace with

the changes. Technologies change rapidly, and what seemed new just a while ago

is now old hat. Perhaps this is why change in the Church is often resisted. The

Church should be one place where we can expect and enjoy the comfort of

stability. And yet, the Church is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit who is the

breath of life and the fire of God – and the Spirit wants change – desires

change that will glorify Christ and bless the mission of God in the world. Every

new vision for mission forces change.

As we continue to think about characteristics of growing and healthy

Churches, we discover that one of them is openness to change. Openness to

change in the Church is really openness to the person and work of the Holy

Spirit. It is the Spirit who is the instigator of spiritual change – and the deep

changes he brings result in the glory of God.

The most fundamental change is to cause an individual to be “born anew”

of the Spirit (John 3 v 3-8). The Spirit brings to birth in us new life – life lived

in a personal relationship of peace and joy with God, Father, Son and Spirit. The

Spirit changes our hearts into new hearts that love and deeply relate to God

through prayer and his Word. We become, thanks to the Spirit’s deep work

within us, new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We gain a new heart, a

new mind, and new will, a new hope. It’s all change!

But the change does not stop there. There is the ongoing daily change to

become like Jesus, to have God’s image perfectly restored in us. As the hymn

puts it so well; “Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place….”.

This daily change once again comes through the Spirit’s work in us, but also

through our daily repentance and our determination to live to please God and do

His will. The Spirit gives us the power and guidance to do this and achieve this

goal.

This is the most important change I want to see take place in our

Church. People becoming more and more like Christ, showing more and more of

his love, holiness and grace in their lives. Changes to the way we order the seats,

the colour we paint the walls, the way we serve bread and wine, the order of our

10 am worship service, the style of our worship or bible studies, really have

little significance compared to our personal and corporate sanctification. What

most affects the growth of the Church, and the healthiness, vibrancy and

relevance of our mission and witness, are changed and changing lives. That is

what gets noticed. This is what makes people stop and think and consider the

claims of Christ. People notice Christlikeness. His beauty and love make an

impact which in turn brings about change for good.

There is a beautiful song written by the blind song writer/singer

Marylyn Baker. Perhaps you know it;

Jesus, you are changing me, by your Spirit, you’re making me like you;

Jesus, you’re transforming me, that your loveliness may be seen in all I do;

You are the Potter, and I am the clay;

help me to be willingly to let you have your way.

Jesus, you are changing me as I let you reign supreme within my heart.

This is the change God longs to see within his people, within you, his Church.

But let me mention two minor practical changes of lesser importance.

The Sunday evening bible study will be moving from the 4th Sunday of the month

to the 3rd Sunday of the month from November – and it will no longer be

primarily bible study , but more about how “we grow and change as Christians”

through the Word and the Spirit combining to bring a fuller and freer spiritual

life. And also from November, our Church’s main prayer meeting will be on the

1st Sunday of each month (6pm-7pm), but it will be a meeting for quiet and

reflective worship, fellowship, prayer ministry and prayer for renewal, healing

and hope. In the words of another hymn;

O breath of life come sweeping through us – revive your Church with life and power;

O breath of life come cleanse, renew us, and fit your Church to meet this hour ……

O Wind of God come bend us, break us, till humbly we confess our need;

then in your tenderness remake us. Revive, restore – for this we plead.

Friends, be open to all the change the Spirit wants to bring about in your

life – more healing, more personal renewal, more grace in times of trial, new

gifts to use within the life of the Church, new spheres of service to explore,

different ways of being church in the 21st century, being an instrument of

change in our community, being led into new ways of spiritual growth, being open

to change in and through every act of worship you attend and participate in.

Yours in Christ’s love,

Peter




 

THIS ‘N THAT from Chris

As I write this, I am still coming down from the tremendous high we

all experienced when we had the privilege of singing Roger Jones’

Jerusalem Joy at Christchurch with Devon, our guest singer. He

recreated the role of Jesus that he sang when the Musical’s CD was

first released. It was just amazing, and we all felt deeply blessed by the

experience. Thanks to all who attended from Christchurch and other

churches in the area. For those of you who missed it, there is a video

that was recorded of the performance. It was a very special evening.

At the Annual Church Meeting we dealt with the business issues of

the church, and adopted our Annual Report. This will go to the Charities

Commission and to the denominations. My thanks go to all who

contributed. We are blessed that we have an active programme of

events and activities. These are not only for our own fellowship, but

through them we reach out to our local community. Thanks to all who

make this possible.

We continue to look forward to the start of Peter Clarkson’s ministry

here at Christchurch, and to his Induction Service on Saturday 27th July.

Please hold Peter and Julia up to the Lord in prayer as they prepare for

their big move. Change brings challenges to everyone. I pray that we

are all prepared to listen to God’s voice as He leads us on.

As those of you who were at the ACM know, I will continue to serve

you as Church Secretary for another year, but will leave Council at the

next ACM. I will have completed 6 years as Secretary by then and a

break from the responsibilities of being a Council Member beckons. I am

sure that God will have plans for Jan and I so we do not expect to be

twiddling our thumbs, but we do look forward to a break and some extra

space in the diary.

May God bless you all, and thanks so much for your love and support.

Chris