Dear friends

Warmest greetings in the name of Christ our SaviourI believe we have made a very positive start to the new year despite the continuing sense of concern, caution and anxiety within our society. It was a joy to lead the Covenant Service at the beginning of January. I for one needed to recommit my life to Christ, and I felt led to focus on the theme of consecration within that service.This was followed up with our second main service of the year which was devoted to the great theme of fellowship.

Our fellowship as a Church will need to be strengthened as we aim at recovery throughout 2022. That word “recovery” is at the heart of my prayers for Christchurch. To recover is “to return to a normal state of health, mind and strength.” This must be our aim, especially in the first half of 2022, and kindling our fellowship into a flame will be a major priority as we welcome people back and seek to encourage and support each other.

Recovery will require a level of determination from each of us at Christchurch. People aiming to recover from a stroke or a serious operation have to really commit themselves to a programme of recovery. They have an important part to play in their own recovery, and they have to make a significant effort to get well. Likewise, we each have a part to play in the recovery of our own fellowship and service within Christchurch. I pray that you recover well during the course of this year, and I pray that we experience a full recovery of our life and vitality as a local Church. Let’s commit ourselves to recovery. God our ever-present strength is with us.

At our recent Café Church, a service which really lifted my spirits, we were thinking about ways to “keep the home fires burning.” How do we fan into flame our faith, hope and love in Jesus? There are certainly 5 areas in a Christian’s life which can contribute to this challenge of maintaining our spiritual fire and fervour (Romans12:11).

Those 5 areas are:

  • Aiming to be a part of as much Christian worship and fellowship as possible.
  • Reading our bibles, studying them, allowing God to speak to us so that our hearts are kindled through personally hearing God’s voice. (Luke 24:32)
  • Keep prayer as a priority, and praying to be filled with the fire of the Spirit.
  • Using your gifts, fanning them into flame, serving God with joy and faithfulness .2 Timothy 1:6
  • Sharing our faith with others. Sharing our faith and hope with others nearly always fans our faith into flame because it stirs up the activity of the Spirit in us and others.

During Lent and in the run up to Easter, I would like us to make great strides in attempting to complete LYCIG (Leading Your Church into Growth). There are 3 areas of Church life that we will be considering in our next LYCIG discussion meetings. These will be:

  • Our calling: Telling our story and helping people meet Jesus (Personal evangelism)
  • Our journey: Growing and going deeper into Jesus. (Spiritual growth) 
  • Our heart: developing worship that helps the Church to grow. (The place of worship in Christchurch)

As before we will be organising 3 Saturday meetings to tackle some of the issues relating to the above topics. These will be held on the followingSaturdays; please note that one of these meetings is in the afternoon.

  • February 19th (10am-12)
  • March 5th (1pm-3pm)
  • April 2nd (10am-12)

I do hope we have good attendances at these meetings. The three meetings we held last autumn saw between 15-20 people coming along and sharing in important discussions. I hope and pray that this can be repeated; perhaps the attendances could be a little higher this time?

There will be a notice in the entrance of the Church for people to sign if they can be present, and this will give me a good idea on prospective numbers.

Please continue to pray for LYCIG using the prayer card you have received. If you have not got a prayer card – please ask for one. There are some in the Church office. There are still plenty to give out and give away!

We will begin to sense God inspiring us to new vision and new activity forHis Kingdom. Some people are already beginning to start new ventures and share new exciting ideas and initiative. Chris and Jan Pearce are opening their home up one morning each month to encourage and deepen fellowship and friendship – an idea that has come to them through participating in LYCIG and then trying to discern what the Spirit is saying to them.

Where might God be leading you? What gifts can you share? What is theSpirit saying to you? How is your heart being stirred and directed? As BishopRobert shared with us on the 16th January: “we are the body of Christ and each one of us is a part of that body.”

We have all been given gifts by the Spirit. We are all called to serve theLord Jesus who is our Head and Lord, our loving Saviour who can turn water into wine – the very best wine.

May the grace and peace of Christ be with you. May we all be kept and blessed in the love of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May God be at the centre of our recovery this year. To God be all the glory and praise for His great faithfulness! Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among us. (Joshua 3:5)

Yours in Christ,

Peter