October 2011 Messenger

The Messenger October 2011


Dear Friends,

While I was away on sabbatical this year I looked very carefully at the way churches operated and I tried to focus especially on the way they reached out to people and lived out their faith in Jesus.
I realised that a successful church should be Spirit led, Bible based and able to demonstrate the love that he showed which is unconditional. In order to show that kind of love to people we have to make a real effort make a relationship with them.

One of the ways this church is doing that is through our ‘Life Springs’ church café. For many years this church has offered a welcome and friendship to those who came into our vestibule at the front of the church. They were offered a cup of tea or coffee and as the relationship grew with the regular customers many would share their lives and problems and they were prayed for if that was requested.

But it was obvious to me when I first came to Christ Church as the minister, that we needed to expand that work. Thankfully we have been able to refurbish the front of the church and the fitting of new sliding, clear glass doors have meant that we can put tables outside on sunny days to take our invitation of welcome out to the High Street.

The next phase we hope will be to put in a new kitchen and counter so that we can offer an expanded menu of light lunches which have already become popular on Saturday mornings.

We are not trying to compete with Starbucks or Costa because we have far more to offer than they ever could. We have the good news of Jesus Christ to share and as more and more people start to use the café to sample our very reasonably priced food and drink, we have a God given opportunity to begin the kingdom work of building their trust and making relationships with them.

Christ Church has been given an incredible place to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It sits in the heart of the Tonbridge Community and the Lord is truly blessing our Church Centre which is being used every day by numerous community based organisations. We should give thanks to God for the way that this work is expanding and for the work of the café which is our welcome mat.

When Sue and I came to Christ Church in 2009, I had a vision of a thriving church and church centre, with all the barriers removed in order to welcome all people of all ages and whatever their situation or background. There is much to do and we need to pray for others to join us so that we can offer teaching for children and young people and make the church attractive to families and all ages. I pray that as we reach out in love to all those who visit us on Sundays and throughout the week, we will all share in God’s mission to bring all his people back to him.

With love in Christ,

EMMAUS COURSE: A six-week course on basic Christianity
Where? Monday evenings at Christ Church
When? 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm
This course is recommended for anyone considering membership of the URC at Christ Church, anyone wanting to learn how to talk about their faith with others more easily and anyone who wants to explore their faith journey along with others. Please speak to Rev Jim Thorneycroft if you are interested in attending.

Tonbridge Baptist Church, Darenth Avenue Sunday 9th October at 6.30 pm

Guest speaker: Stuart Windsor, Chair of Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Please send material for the November issue to Lesley Cumming by Friday 14th October
You can email Lesley via the website here

FURY SERVICE at Christ Church 16th October
The Fellowship of United Reformed Youth (FURY) is a body of young people aged between 11-25 in the United Reformed Church.
On Sunday 16th October, 2011 the morning service at Christ Church 10.00 am will be led by members of the URC Southern Synod Fury Executive.
Please encourage young people you know to come along. Flyers are available from Lesley Cumming or you can read about this service on our at the link above. Young people and youth elders from our neighbouring URC churches have been invited to join us for this service.


It was with great pleasure that Adam and I attended the 9.15 am service at Crawley Baptist Church on Sunday 18th September to support Laura Lark as she was commissioned as the children and family worker there. We chose to attend this early service as we had to get our daughter to Gatwick for 8.00 am, so we treated ourselves to breakfast at the airport before driving to the church – God has a way of organising things! For some time CBC has had a vision for a children and family worker and it was obvious that they were delighted that they had been able to appoint Laura to this new post. We were made very welcome.

The church building is only a few years old and decorated with flags of all the countries in the world – a wonderful reminder that we are all part of God’s worldwide family. I would probably have spent time trying to identify all the flags had the sermon been boring! However the visiting preacher, Rev Stuart Davison, Chair of the South East Baptist Association, gave an inspiring sermon choosing John 3:16 as his text. He talked about his conviction that some Christians need to get away from a self-centred approach to their faith and a tendency to think “God saved ME so I’m OK” and look outwards. God so loves THE WORLD that he sent his only Son. The amazing thing is that God doesn’t need our help but He chooses to work through us. How often have we gone out into a new situation only to find that God was already there preparing the way for us to help Him? Rev Davison has a vision for a mission-focussed church going out into the world and making a difference for everyone.

It was CBC’s annual recommitment Sunday where the staff, the deacons, the members and the friends of the church were all asked to stand and reaffirm their commitment to their Christian family and its vision. Laura was singled out and asked the question: “As the newly appointed Children and Family Worker do you affirm God’s call to serve in Crawley Baptist Church, and do you promise with the help of the Church to do whatever it takes to fulfil your ministry? Laura confidently replied “Yes”. As visitors Adam and sat during this part of the service but I quietly reaffirmed my own commitment to being a member of Christ Church, Tonbridge.

CBC has so many members that they hold two services each Sunday, with coffee between the two. Laura will be working with the children – and there are a lot of them – during the 9.15 am service and then she and Alex will be free to worship at the 11.15 am service each week. I will miss Laura and Alex but I know that God has called her to Crawley Baptist Church and I am sure that many children will learn about Jesus and His love for them through her ministry there.

Lesley Cumming.


Dear friends,

Thank you for the lovely flowers you gave me on Sunday 4th September. My hand is a lot better.
Yours in Christ,
Maureen Cockerton

Dear friends at Christ Church,
Thank you for all the cards I had on my birthday from you and also for the lovely plant delivered by Linda Robinson on the day.
Thank you, too for your prayers for me while I am in hospital.
May God be with you all

Barbara Divall


We would like to thank everyone who contributed in any way to the Harvest Festival – those who attended the service, those who donated gifts and those who prayed – we greatly appreciate everyone’s involvement.
We were overwhelmed with the generosity of the congregation and of the Brownies (and their parents!) and spent yesterday afternoon and this morning sorting through numerous bags to create an easy to distribute system – one large bag each of socks, scarves, hats, toothpaste and brushes, general toiletries, etc.
Several people asked us how we distribute anything we take out with us. There are two main ways. Some of the “new ” homeless have only the clothes they stand up in. In that case, we kit them out as well as we can – with a tent, a sleeping bag, ground sheet, toiletries, warm socks, sturdy shoes if possible, and provisions. The second way is the people themselves – they will come to us with their needs, and we will do our best to provide them. Sometimes our Team doesn’t have whatever it is they are asking for – we may have just given out our last tent, for example – so we explain to them that we will contact the next Team out, and ask them to bring it. Our Team of volunteers also provides food, drinks and breakfast bags. These bags are a relatively new addition. They contain a carton of milk, a box of cereal, a breakfast bar, fruit juice, tea, coffee and sugar, and are proving a great success with our guests.
We will start giving out the Harvest gifts this Thursday, and continue each week until they are gone. Winter is coming, and the nights are already chilly – our homeless guests will be so pleased to receive these items, which will provide them with some pleasure and comfort.
God bless you all,
Jane and Nick.

Westminster College 2011 College Open Day
Saturday October 22nd 2011

Justice and Peace for all the world
Drop in any time from 10.30am until 4pm
Everyone welcome – no charge but please let us know by 15th October if you’re coming so we can cater for all!
Contact the college office by ‘phone (01223 741084) or email us at admin@westminster.cam.ac.uk

All day:
Refreshments available
prayers in the Chapel on the hour every hour;
‘journeying for justice’ – a labyrinth walk around the world
short workshops on responding to the cries of the world with the love of God; Commitment for Life, our inner cities, experiencing the world
bookstall with Westminster associated books and art cards
College chefs’ stall
Artwork by college staff and friends for sale
display about the Development and the Appeal

At specific times:
12 noon through to 2 pm: – buffet lunch
2 pm: Service in the Chapel, including Commemoration for our founders and benefactors
3 pm: Tea and Cake

Westminster College, Cambridge is a centre for learning within the United Reformed Church. As a resource to the national and local church and a full participant in the theological training of students within the Cambridge Theological Federation, Westminster is a place where all those in ministry can study and deepen their faith. It is a place for refreshment and learning available to all of those involved in the life of the Church from many different traditions, people from other faiths and those with no faith commitment. It is a place of welcome, community and new vision where radical and provocative faith meets wonderful and risky living.

There’s good news for people in this area who have put off making a Will or need to get it updated. Local solicitors are taking part in Will Aid’s ‘Make A Will Month’. Instead of charging their usual fees for a basic Will during the month of November, they will invite will-makers to make a donation to the Will Aid charities. The solicitors are now booking appointments and advise you to book early as demand is bound to be high.
Solicitors know only too well the hardship caused to loved ones when someone dies without a Will and are keen to help local people avoid the problems it causes. Many of us put off making a Will – often until it is too late. In the UK around 60% of deaths are intestate. This means that the deceased’s estate is distributed according to a precise set of rules which very often does not reflect their wishes. For example, people who are not legally married or in a civil partnership are not automatically entitled to anything from the estate of their partner. There are even financial limits on what a surviving legally married person can receive. This may be less than the value of the family home – possibly forcing its sale to pay off other relatives. As a result, many surviving loved ones may have to endure a drawn out legal process and a good deal of emotional stress.
Will Aid provides an affordable way to avoid leaving such a mess behind, protect loved ones and give to charity at the same time. The suggested donation is £85 for a single Will, £125 for mirror Wills or £40 for a codicil or change to a previous Will.
Will Aid has also teamed up with Certainty, the National Will Register, to offer Will Aid clients the opportunity to register the location of their Will – for free (usual cost is £30). When a Will is needed, the register enables loved ones to quickly and easily locate it.
This is a great chance to help loved ones by ensuring that they are provided for in the future and to help people in need around the world. The money raised is shared between the participating charities (ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire) and provides vital funds to help people to build their communities and improve their future in the UK and around the world. Last November, over nineteen thousand clients, made their Will with Will Aid, raising over £1.5 million, for the Will Aid charities.
It’s so easy to take part in Will Aid. Simply find a convenient solicitor at http://www.willaid.org.uk/will-makers/find-solicitor or by phoning 0300 0300 013. Call the solicitor directly as soon as possible to make an appointment for November and get peace of mind from knowing your affairs are in order.

Chris & Mark’s Wedding by Eileen Dawes – 20 June 2011

We have gathered together,
it gives great joy to say.
Celebrating the occasion
of Chris and Mark’s Wedding Day.

They first met during their school days,
well that is what is said:
Did they steal a cheeky kiss
behind the school garden shed?

Mark is famous for his jokes,
reeling them off one by one.
Just when you think he’s finished
He remembers another one.

They talked on the `phone for ages,
For seven long hours they say.
What did they find to talk about:
It’s not out business anyway!

Weddings used to be simple,
They are not what they used to be.
The whole service costing 10/6
with the Vicar thrown in for free.

Mark has a gift of music,
So willing to sing or play.
He is very, very professional
“Britain has got talent we say!!”

Chris used to sing in a choir,
so she likes music too.
Watch out Mark you’ve got competition,
but she can’t tell jokes like you.

`Snuggles’ is Mark’s nick-name for Chris,
we can guess the reason why.
But that is their little secret
And we really shouldn’t pry.

If Mark had written to Wills and Kate,
telling them about this marriage.
They might have been invited to the palace
and ride in The Royal Carriage.

They have a fairy godfather
who makes no claim to fame.
But has to them been a very great help,
Chris Hartley is his name.

`I don’t need my bed socks at night’ said Chris
`No, no what I do instead
is to put my very, very cold feet
on Mark’s lovely warm back in bed!’

Mark is proud of Judith,
for all that she has done.
For all her loving and caring for him,
He calls her “his Super Mum”.

So to Chris and Mark

Thank you for letting us celebrate
With you on this Special Day!
May God Bless you and keep you
Safe in every way.

May God grant you many years
as together your lives you share.
Putting your faith and trust in Him,
kept safe in his tender care.


Autumn Events 2011

The Autumn Feasts of the Lord
Food, fellowship, music and teaching

Feast of Yom Kippur: Saturday October 8th
St John’s Hildenborough Church Hall 7.30 pm

Feast of Tabernacles Thursday October 13th
Tonbridge Baptist Church 7.30 pm

Tickets for these feasts are available from Tonbridge Christian Resource Centre 01732 364897

CURRENT SMALL GROUPS AT CHRIST CHURCH (see also our small groups page)

Monday 8pm, Nigel & Deborah Munns, Kings Road
Tuesday 8.00 pm, Diane Farquhar, at Peter Foot’s
Wednesday 8pm, Jayne & David Laird, Cardinal Close
Thursday 10 am, Howard & Brenda Ansdell, Christ Church

Please feel free to come along to one of these groups. Contact the leaders if you want more information.

The United Reformed Church in Tonbridge, Kent