July-August 2012 Messenger

MINISTER’S LETTER

Dear Friends,

This month as I wrote in last month’s letter, I am preaching a series on discipleship and looking at the calling, teaching and sending out of the first disciples. I want to then follow that by taking a look at three of those disciples, taking into account their gifts and personalities and the change that came over them as they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Some of the members of Christ Church together with others from the Synod Area, have just completed a course on the Holy Spirit which was led by Steve Allott. This course concluded with a session on being ‘Baptised in the Holy Spirit’ which is a gift that is given by Jesus to all his disciples. The Holy Spirit empowers his followers to do his work and after the Day of Pentecost when the first disciples received the Spirit they were transformed. They stopped being men who were fearful and uncertain in their faith to men who spoke boldly about their belief in Jesus Christ and preached the gospel with power and conviction.

I want Christ Church to become a fellowship of disciples who love the Lord Jesus, who are Spirit filled and want to live out their faith everyday. To not be afraid to speak out and tell people just what the Lord has done for them.

Our mission statement is: ‘Being disciples together and making disciples together.’ Let’s make that statement come true as we ask our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to fill us and empower us to serve him together.

With love in Christ,

Jim

SUMMER BARBEQUE

Saturday 18 August
Venue: John & Sally’s garden, Hadlow
Time: 2.30 pm onwards
More details from Sally and John Wynne.
Transport can be organised.
Chris Hartley will be cooking – please talk to him if you would like to contribute some food for the event.

CHRISTIAN AID WEEK 2012

The total amount collected by Christ Church during Christian Aid Week this year amounted to £1160.  Many thanks to all who participated .

St Peter & St Paul Churches (4), Tonbridge Methodist Church and Five Oak Green LEP contributed a further £4355 bringing the total from Tonbridge district to £5515.  A very significant contribution from the Tonbridge Churches working together .                     John Wynne

WEST KENT YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS

On Sunday June 10th, Horsmonden Methodist Church Hall was overrun by more than 50 teenagers from churches of different denominations across the Rochester Diocese from West Malling to Matfield.  It was exciting to see the beginnings of an exciting era for young people who don’t necessarily want to go to church but have a relationship with God and want to worship Him in a way relevant to them and not their parents.

The organisers, Grant Phypers and Caroline Turvey of Zone 12 Youth Ministries, had a vision last Summer of establishing connections between the smaller churches where there may only be a handful of young people, and to bring them together under one roof at regular events and services with the aim for them not to feel so isolated in their faith.  Highlights so far have been a gig by the popular Christian band, Tom and Olly, in December and an inspirational talk by an ex-prisoner, Darrell Tunningley, in May.  He spoke of his time before and during prison and the harsh reality of surviving gang culture; how he participated in an Alpha course whilst in a category A prison (solely to have an hour out of his cell plus free coffee and biscuits) and where he found that God was real and had the power to completely transform his life.  He now runs a large church, mainly for the 15-30s and is opening a free school in the heart of a deprived area in Runcorn.  His story had the teenagers captivated and inspired that they too could make a difference in their own communities.

Part of the work with Zone 12 takes Caroline and Grant into Bethany School where they run small groups alongside the Chaplaincy and are regularly seeing large numbers of teenagers come along to learn more about Christianity, having a faith and what that means in a society which is so ready to accept any alternative to the truth of Jesus Christ.

As the work of Zone 12 increases and links continue to be established with youth leaders and groups from far and wide, please pray for their work; that the young people they meet will be given the chance to understand more about Jesus and be allowed to come to their own decisions about God, his existence and relevance.

The next youth service is on Sunday 9th September between 7.00 and 8.30pm – venue to be announced (a different church in Tonbridge will host each time).

Please follow Zone 12 on facebook – or tweet us @zone12youth.
Our website: http://zone12youthministries.org/

CHILDREN’S MISSION APPRENTICESHIP

Run by Children’s Workshop, a project of Fegans
A 2 year, hands on Tonbridge training scheme
running from Sept 2012 – Aug 2012
Including:     -apprenticeship salary  -church placement
-skills development    -school placement
-Diploma qualification in Children’s Mission
For more information and an application pack please contact
Carol Booth: Tel 01892 538288; carol.booth@fegans.org.uk
Application closing date Friday 20th July
Fegans, 160 St James’ Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2HE

Letters page – From Helen Dalton

Dear friends at Christ Church,
Thank you so much for all the
cards and support you’ve given
me for the loss of my Mum, Gwen.
Thank you especially to Jim, Brenda and Lesley who took part in the service and also to Chris and Nick who prepared the food afterwards..
It was a blessing; now Mum is with Dad and the Lord.
With love
Helen Dalton

MORE PRAYER FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Pray for LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) and ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority).
Pray for all staff and volunteers working to make the Games happen
Pray for security at and before the Games: for the police, the intelligence services and venue security staff
Pray for safety and smooth running of all transport networks
Pray for chaplains and Games Pastors serving with More Than Gold, seeking
to be the presence of Jesus in the athletes villages, on the streets, in venues and at transport hubs
Pray that the places touched by the Games will be places where people find the presence of God.
Pray for the Games venue and training sites in and around Tonbridge including the Angel Centre, Brands Hatch, Hadlow College, Penshurst Off Road Circuit, Sevenoaks School and Tonbridge School.
Pray for places where people will gather to watch the Games on big screens
Pray for the places in Kent where the Olympic Torch Relay will pass through (including Tunbridge Wells on 17 July, Maidstone on 18 July and Sevenoaks on 19 July)
Pray for those participating in the 2012 Games, that they will compete honourably, and encounter the living God in a powerful way.
Pray for Great Britain’s own team – Team GB – and their families
Pray for the Games to be fair and free from corruption

GOING FOR GOLD

This month sees the start of the London Olympics.  The apostle Paul was also aware of the importance of the games in his day, as reflected in these words: ‘Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 3:13,14.  The Olympic athlete trains and competes with a clear focus on winning a medal; they say, ‘One thing I do.’ If we are to excel in any area our life, we have to say, ‘This one thing I do.’ Do we have a clear aim or are we simply taking whatever comes our way? For the Christian, our purpose in life is defined by our relationship with Jesus Christ. He calls us into a friendship with himself that can begin today and last for eternity. We can look the day when we stand before Jesus Christ and hear him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.
For Paul, the key questions to ask include:
Have I left the past behind and fully moved on?
What progress am I making in my life?
Am I passionately pursuing my hopes and dream?
Twelve years ago, Eric Moussambani, from Equatorial Guinea, became a cult hero at the Sydney Olympics when he swam a 100 metre freestyle heat as the only swimmer, and in a record slowest time of 1:52.72. However, because the other two swimmers had been disqualified, he won the heat! The crowd of 17,000 gave him a standing ovation and Eric became an instant sensation, though he still didn’t qualify for the semifinals.  Before coming to the Olympics, Eric had never even seen a 50m long Olympic-size swimming pool.  He took up swimming only eight months before the Olympics and had practiced in a 20m pool back home. Yet amazingly he is back at THIS year’s Olympics – as the coach of the Equatorial Guinea team.
His story can be our story in the Olympics of life. Yes, we may struggle, but we need to keep going. If we fix your eyes on Jesus, he will empower us to finish the race, which is what it is all about.  We can endure through his strength.  If we have the goal of winning in Jesus Christ, his victory will be ours!
Editor: Article from Parish Pump

Getting to know you – Sharon Tringham

There have been lots of changes in the church and congregation these past few years and I realised I don’t know much about anyone.  In order for us to get to know each other better I thought I would start this page.  If you need me to type up your story – let me know.

Time flies and this August I’ll have lived in Tonbridge for 15 years. Prior to this we lived in South Norwood, London, attending the Baptist church where Steve’s grandparents were 3 & 4 on the register after it was built.  I ended up here by accident!  Previously I attended Girl Crusaders, Woodside Baptist Sunday School & was a chorister at my local C of E church St Luke’s (they paid well).

God existed and Jesus undoubtedly his son, only I didn’t regard him as my personal saviour until one of those – ‘Yes I mean you’ –  moments and it happened right in the middle of an otherwise dull sermon.  I stopped doing my homework, left the building and during a long walk was convicted and then convinced I had to be baptised.  I had dreamt about baptism, but just kept ignoring the call.  Now Jesus’ death was not just an acknowledged event, but an amazing sacrifice made for me personally.  He wanted me, and he called me.

The minister was so excited (presumably under the impression it was the power of his sermon) that he offered to baptise me in 2 weeks without attending the usual baptismal classes.  My family thought I was crazy (I was the only Christian other than my rather lapsed Baptist Chapel grandmother), but they all turned out to support me.  Unlike the Boys Brigade boys I gave my testimony.  Only then did I realise the pool was full of water!  I like water and swimming, but only if no one is near me, and here was the minister about to hold me under.  I prayed, ‘Lord you wanted me to do this and so I have to trust in you’.  At sixteen I was baptized and being under the water was the most peaceful moment of my life.

Over the years I’ve attended small groups & run small groups.  I’ve run Crèche (Girls Brigade), been a Sunday school teacher for 5-7s and 11- 16s, and set up a church based community Toy Library (we need one of these here).  Moving away from family and friends was a big wrench.  Tonbridge was never our intended destination, but God apparently had other plans.  Coralie passed the 11+ for Tonbridge Girls Grammar and we landed up in a particular house in a particular street full of Christians – St Stephens (and the plant at Hillview school), Roman Catholics, Peter & Ronnie at Paddock Wood, Tonbridge  Baptists, and 3 lots from the URC!  We decided not to go to Tonbridge Baptist Church.  When God is everywhere it seemed wrong to drive past practically every other church to get there.

Finding a new church was like Goldilocks and the chairs – too big, too soft or too small – although I didn’t see the URC with its invisible exterior.  The neighbours kept asking us to go.  URC?  Who are they exactly?  Even when I transferred the girls from St Peter & St Paul Brownies/Guides we didn’t have to attend Christ Church – there were no monthly parades!  So near and yet so far.  The girls went to church occasionally with Emma Laird, and at a ‘birthday’ BBQ at Jayne’s the children could recognise a lot of church members.  I asked Steve, ‘Do you feel like a salmon being reeled in?’  No one knew we were Christians so it was both very lovely and very funny.
So here we are, members at Christ Church URC.

And me?  I’m a dyslexia tutor training to be a primary school teacher. It’s why I’m hoping to hand over the Lettings Officer job to someone else soon.  I like music – singing and playing.  Of the 30 years I’ve been married to Steve half of that has been here.  Coralie (26) still has fond memories of Howard and his Friday Night youth club, while Ciara and Charlotte enjoyed the tail end of our very busy Sunday School.  For 2 or 3 years since it stopped Jeran (16) has helped with the sound desk.  I’ve never worried about when or if my children will choose to make a personal commitment.  No one comes to the Father but that he calls them.  All we have to do is listen.

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

There are always memorable achievements at each Olympic Games, and many of us will remember special moments of triumph – perhaps Steve Redgrave in 2000, Daley Thompson in 1984, Mary Peters in 1972, the first Paralympics in 1960, and Jesse Owens in 1936.  Further back in time, in 1924 in Paris there were two remarkable victories: Harold Abrahams in the 100 metres and Eric Liddell in the 400 metres.

The story of these two men is the subject of the 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire.’ The title comes from Blake’s poem ‘Jerusalem’ where the poet says that he will not rest until he has built God’s kingdom in the midst of human lives. We hear the hymn of that great endeavour being sung at the end of the film, but it is the opening credits that captured the hearts when the film was first shown.  We see the athletes in training for the 1924 Olympics.  They are running in slow motion to the electronic synthesizer and piano of the music of Vangelis.  The relentless beat sounds out, and then we hear a triumphant, exultant melody as we feel the exhilaration of the British team running against the wind at the edge of the sea.

In that year the Olympic Games officially adopted the motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ – Faster, Higher, Stronger.  That desire to achieve and give of their best is seen in the drama of two lives, Harold Abrahams played by Ben Cross and Eric Liddell played by Ian Charleson.  The first runs to overcome anti-Jewish prejudice, the second for the glory of God.  Eric tells his sister that he will indeed leave his homeland to serve as a missionary, but first he must take part in the Games for ‘God has made me for China, but he has also made me fast.  When I run, I feel his pleasure; to run is to honour him.’  We hear the hymn verse ‘Run the straight race through God’s good grace’ as Eric reads from Isaiah that those who wait on the Lord will run and not be weary.

There are snippets of Gilbert and Sullivan and other melodies in the film, but it is Vangelis’ powerful music that truly expresses the drama and discipline of the two athletes, training and running to their highest endeavour to be an example and inspiration to the world.  As we watch the Olympics during these two months, we shall see sportswomen and men giving of their best.  We shall even hear Vangelis’ music ringing out as the Olympic flame is carried through the land to London.

St Paul knew something of the discipline and dedication of athletes training in Corinth.  In his first letter to the church there, he likens the Christian to an athlete in the race of life as God calls each of us to that sacrifice and offering.  In his day the victor in the games was rewarded with a crown of wild olive.  In our day it is a gold or silver or bronze medal.  For St Paul the prize is the trophy of immortal life, a wreath that never fades.  As we are called to take part in that race, we may even hear Vangelis’ stirring music spurring us on to give of our best.

Editor:  This is an article from Parish Pump which I wanted to include for two reasons.  ‘Chariots of Fire’ is one of my favourite films.  The opening sequence was filmed on the West Sands at St Andrews and I loved being able to walk on this dramatic seashore each time I visited our daughter Catherine while she was studying at St Andrews University.  The mention of Mary Peters who won a gold medal in the women’s pentathlon at the 1972 Munich Olympics, also means a lot to me.  Mary Peters was born in Lancashire, but moved to my home town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland when she was 11 years old.  She became a teacher and her athletics training was made more difficult by the IRA bombing campaign then going on in Belfast.  She is a Protestant and, after she won the Gold Medal, she received death threats but insisted on returning to Belfast although she was not allowed to go back to her flat for three months.  She has continued to live in Belfast and has worked tirelessly to improve lives in her adopted country of Northern Ireland, being made Lord Lieutenant of the City of  Belfast in 2009.

July events

On 4th July 1862 British writer Lewis Carroll made up the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to entertain Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boat trip.
On 6th July 1942 Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret annex at her father’s workplace in Amsterdam.
On 9th July 1947 Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
On 21st July 1972 Bloody Friday took place when the IRA exploded 22 bombs in Belfast, killing nine people and injuring 130.
On 1st July 1997 Britain returned Hong Kong to China.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY –July 2012

Sunday 1        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)
Evening Worship                6.30 pm
Monday 2        Munns’ Cell Group                8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group                8.00 pm
Wednesday 4        Sunbeam Club                    10.00 am
Lunchtime Service                12.45 pm
Thursday 5        It’s Thursday!                      10.00 am
Discipleship with Rev Jim Thorneycroft
Saturday 7        Elders’ prayer meeting            9.00 am
Men’s & women’s prayer meeting        9.00 am
Sunday 8        Holy Communion                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)
Monday 9        Munns’ Cell Group                8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group                8.00 pm
Wednesday 11        Sunbeam Club                 10.00 am
Lunchtime Service                12.45 pm
Thursday 12        It’s Thursday!                     10.00 am
Outing to Merriments Garden
followed by lunch at the Hawkhurst fish farm
Elders’ meeting                 7.45 pm
Saturday14        Men’s prayer meeting                9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting                9.00 am
Sunday 15        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)
Monday 16        Munns’ Cell Group                8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group                8.00 pm
Wednesday 18        Sunbeam Club – Picnic in the Park        10.00 am
Lunchtime Service                12.45 pm
Saturday 21        Men’s Prayer meeting                9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am

Sunday 22        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)

Sunday 22        Celebration Service for London 2012 Games on
Tonbridge Castle Lawn            3.00 pm
Monday 23        Munns’ Cell Group                8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group                8.00 pm
Wednesday 25        Summer Sunbeams
Lunchtime Service                12.45 pm
Saturday 28        Men’s Prayer meeting                9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am
Sunday 29        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)
Baptism service for Sally Johnson
at St John’s Hill URC, Sevenoaks        3.00 pm
Monday 30        Church meeting                8.00 pm

SERVICES IN AUGUST

Sunday 5        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)
Sunday 12        Holy Communion                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft
Sunday 19        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Diane Jenner)
Sunday 25        Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft
NB: There will be NO Wednesday lunchtime services in August

WEEKLY COLLECTION FIGURES

06.05.12    691.63
13.05.12    690.17
20.05.12    303.75
27.05.12    526.79
Sub-total    2212.34
Standing orders (May)    836.00
Total    £ 3046.34

Weekly average for 2011 to 31 May 2011 = £841.81
Weekly average for 2012 to 31 May 2012 = £814.70

BOOK REVIEW

Jerusalem –The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore
(Phoenix, 2012.  I|SBN: 9781780220253)

I am half way through this book, a fascinating account of the story of the city, beginning before David and describing its people and life. I have reached 1700 so am in the slow decline of the Ottoman Empire and have yet to cover the Mandate and the creation of Israel and the aftermath.  The book ends in 1967 as the author is uneasy about trying to cover more recent history as it is too charged with passion.

Not that passion is missing in the earlier story!  It is a cycle of grandeur and glory alternating with decay and devastation.  The glory of the first Temple and the emptiness after the exile; the rebuilding and the wonder that was Herod’s rebuilding of the second Temple but followed by the sack and destruction in AD70.  The Roman town rebuilt by Constantine as a centre of Christianity, sacked by the Persians and rebuilt by the Byzantines; the conquest by Islam and the building of the Dome on the Temple Mount as the third city of Islam; the conquest by the Crusaders and the rebuilding of the city and its fall to Islam again.  The pattern is the same with the same sad reflection of destruction through intolerance of differences; Jews; Christians and Moslems; none are free of the impact of religiosity overtaking faith.

Yet the book also describes how the city played its part in the definition and evolution of all three faiths; reflected in the communities there, with Orthodox and Kabbalistic Judaism; Catholic, Orthodox, Armenian and Syriac Christianity; Shia, Sunni and Sufi Islam to name only a few, and how all three faiths of the book changed and grew within and affected by the others in Jerusalem.

It is a book challenging certainties and often sad – the violence inflicted by all groups disgusts and depresses – the disputes are still going on and are still no reflection of faith – the city had periods of faith and awareness leading to acceptance of disagreements.  It is a book about people and their city.  Fascinating and thought provoking reflecting the best and worst of mankind perhaps.
Adam Cumming

FROM THE EDITOR:

The next issue of The Messenger is due to be published in September 2012.  News from any Christian organisation or charity you are involved with would be especially interesting for our readers—please send material for this issue to Lesley Cumming by  Friday 24 August.

I feel the time has come to hand over this job to someone else.

Do you feel called to take up the challenge of producing a magazine 10 times a year?  Do you have ideas about improving the format?
Do you have 3-4 evenings a month which you could devote to this task?
Could you help a new editor with the magazine by writing articles, collecting information or helping to collate and staple each issue?.
Lesley.