November 2011 Messenger

Christ Church URC Tonbridge
The Messenger
November 2011

MINISTER’S LETTER
Dear friends,
This year seems to have flown by and here we are in November which is the month when we have Remembrance Sunday.  But as we pause and remember with respect and gratitude those who have given their lives so that we can have freedom and peace, we must also think if those who still serve in the armed forces in many parts of the world.
In Matthew 24:6-14 Jesus was talking about the signs that will come a the end of the age.  He said, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, bur see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All of these are the beginning of birth-pains.”
Jesus then warned of the persecution of his followers: “Then you will be handed over t be persecuted and put to death and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.  But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
I want us as a fellowship of believers to remember these words of Jesus and not to be frightened by them.  We live in a world where it feels as though many of these prophetic words of Jesus are coming true right now.  But Jesus said: “Do not be alarmed”.  We don’t know when the end of the age will come and we don’t need to, we just need to be ready, to continue trusting in our lord and hold firm to our faith no matter how tough it gets.
As we remember those who gave their lives in battle, let us remember above all the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for the whole world.  Because no matter how hard the devil tries to deceive us or tries to frighten us with the fear of the unknown, we know that he has lost the war and our saviour Jesus Christ is the victor and lord of all.  He has defeated sin once and for all and those who believe in him are saved.  Hallelujah!
With love in Christ,
Jim

WHAT PLAN DOES GOD HAVE FOR THE USE OF OUR BUILDING

Prayer morning – 12th November 9-12.30

Over 30 years ago, members at Christ Church faced a difficult challenge, how to take the church building forward to meet the needs of the late 20th Century? How could they replace the old damaged structure with something that would witness to the love of Christ for the next generations? Their decision to stay as a church on the High Street, to undertake the hard work they did to create the Church and Church Centre we have today, is something we are all grateful for.

As a new Eldership team under Jim’s leadership, we are asking a similar question: “where is God’s vision taking us in the early 21st Century and how do the buildings need to be developed to meet that need?”

In the last two years, many more organisations have started to use the Church buildings, and with the wonderful new frontage and LifeSprings Café, there is a great deal more  happening during the week and on Saturdays. In addition to church events such as the growing Thursday morning “Home Group”, Sunbeams and LifeSprings, we have numerous visitors and two charities (Parents+Plus and Children’s Workshop) based here full time.  People come here from: Mencap, KCC Social Services, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Crisis Recovery, Art Classes, Dance classes, Brownies and Guides, NHS Health Trainers and many more.

But what do these visitors see of Jesus working in us when they visit?
On Saturday morning, 12th November, we are asking as many members and friends as possible, to meet together in the church to pray about the vision for our work. Specifically, we want to ask God about how we should develop the buildings further and who we should work with. Questions we are discussing at Eldership include:

• How do we engage more with existing users of the building so that we can really witness about our faith and what God means to us?
• How do we manage the practical aspects of the building to better serve the community and manage the resources we have – concerns include access, security, cleaning, decoration, technology, equipment, heating and lighting, kitchen facilities etc
• How do we fund any changes – should we seek or accept funding with other organisations including those who use our building?
• How do we meet specific users needs whilst ensuring the vision for Christ’s work here is at the centre of what we do?

As you walk round the buildings over the next few weeks, please look at what we have, value what was done 30 years ago and the uses being made of that hard work today. And please ask where God is leading us now so that we can all pray about this and make the decisions that mean we are following his plan for Christ Church.

Jim Thorneycroft and Christ Church elders

ADVENT SUNDAY
As November closes, Advent begins.  The exact birth date of Jesus is not known, but during the 5th century the date of 25 December was chosen to become the Feast of the Nativity, or Christmas.  By the sixth century, the Christian Church was in the habit of spending several weeks leading up to Christmas  in prayerful,  expectant preparation.  The fourth Sunday before Christmas Day became Advent Sunday.  ‘Advent’, of course,. means ‘coming’, or #coming in’, and traditionally special candles have been lit, and more recently, advent calendars used, as the Church prepares itself for the coming of the Holy Child, the long-awaited Messiah.

LETTERS
Jean and Malcolm Miller would like to thank our friends at Christ Church for the beautiful flowers received for our ruby wedding anniversary. We had a great day celebrating with our family

I would like to thank everyone for the lovely presents and cards I received on my birthday.  Also for the lovely plant and card from the church.
I don’t know who came with the plant and card because it was so noisy with children running around that we never heard anyone knock
Thank you too for the lovely flowers Brenda brought me last Sunday.  I do miss church and everyone but hope to be back soon,
God bless you all.
Love
Grace

Dear friends,
The Tonbridge Philharmonic Society will be giving a choral and Orchestral Concert on Saturday 3rd December at the Tonbridge School Chapel, starting at 7.30pm.   The programme is: Overture ‘The Wasps’ – Vaughan Williams; Five Mystical Songs – Vaughan Williams; and Belshazzar’s Feast – William Walton.  Further information and tickets can be obtained from members of the choir, Brenda, Margaret and me.

With best wishes,
Clive Batson

Once-in-a-Century Remembrance Day – 11-11-11-11
At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011, the nation will pause to remember those who have given their lives in fighting for this country.
This year is doubly special: 2011 is The Royal British Legion’s 90th anniversary, and also this is a once-in-a-century Remembrance Day.
At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 2011 -11-11-11-11 – we will be remembering those who were willing to lay down their lives for their country.
The British Legion is inviting people to be a special part of this unique occasion, by leaving a message to go on a poppy to be planted at Wootton Bassett. That is the town where thousands of people have paid their respects during repatriations in recent years – you may have seen this on TV.
The British Legion explains: “Many people associate Remembrance Day with heroes of D-Day or the Battle of Britain’s Spitfire pilots. Some people think of the deeds of the SAS during the Falklands conflict or, of course, Flanders Fields from World War I, carpeted in poppies growing where so many men lost their lives. But in the last few years it’s also been about the nation showing its support for the soldiers returning injured and traumatised from current conflicts.” So if you would like to put your name to a poppy, please visit: https://donations.britishlegion.org.uk/RBLDonation/

Telling the journey – of YOUR faith
Parishpump.co.uk is partnering with the Association of Christian Writers in a competition for the best article about a faith journey. Do YOU have an experience you would like to share?
The article should be up to 800 words and can be either an interview or a first person account, suitable for inclusion in a church or parish newsletter or magazine.
The competition, open from October 1, will close on February 29, 2012, and is open to all. Entries should be previously unpublished.
Prizes of £50, £30 and £20 are offered for the first three places. There will be an entry fee of £5 for one entry; £8 for two. No entrant may submit more than two entries.
The first round of judging will be done by members of the ACW committee, to produce a shortlist of the best 6 to 10 entries, all of which will be put onto the parishpump.co.uk website and available for anyone to use in their publications, with due acknowledgements.
The shortlisted entries will be judged by Anne Coomes of parishpump.co.uk together with an experienced journalist to be appointed by ACW. All those shortlisted will receive a year’s free subscription to ACW and to parishpump.co.uk. The winning entry will also be published in the Christian Writer, ACW’s members’ magazine, and on the ACW website.
TO ENTER: send your entry as an attachment via email to admin@christianwriters.org.uk and send a cheque (either £5 for one entry, or £8 for two entries) payable to Association of Christian Writers to PO Box 551, Hounslow, TW3 9NX. IMPORTANT: Please don’t forget to include details of your full name and address with both the email and the cheque. Acknowledgement of receipts of entry plus cheque will be sent by email.

CHRIST CHURCH  CHRISTMAS FAYRE

For more details see this page:

For more information see the web page here

http://www.christchurchtonbridge.com/christmasfayre2011/

BOOKS      GIFTS      CARDS ADVENT CALENDARS        STOCKING FILLERS

• LifeSprings Café open  for tea, coffee and cake.
• Have lunch at the BBQ

For more information contact Chris Hartley

SATURDAY 26th NOVEMBER 10am to 4pm

FROM THE EDITOR
Please send material for the  Winter issue of The Messenger to Lesley Cumming by  Friday 18th November.