May 2012 Messenger

MINISTER’S LETTER

Dear Friends,

During my long career in farming prior to being ordained into full time ministry in 1999, the month of May was always one of excitement and anticipation because it was the month of first cut silage making and therefore the beginning of reaping the first crop of the new season.

In the church, May is also a month of excitement and anticipation because this year on the 27th May we celebrate Whit Sunday or the Day of Pentecost, when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit.

I’m not sure whether the disciples would have been excited as they waited together as Jesus had told them to. They had witnessed his ascending into heaven with his voice ringing in their ears to go out and make disciples. He had given them his assurance that he would be with them, but first they must wait for the coming of the Spirit of God.

When the Spirit came it transformed them from ordinary working men who had followed Jesus of Nazareth for three years into empowered disciples of the Son of God. A violent wind from heaven filled the house where they were sitting and what seemed like tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2: 1-4)

Jesus continues to call his followers to go out and make disciples. He continues to offer the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who believe on him. So may we as a church fellowship continue to pray for the Spirit of God to fill us and empower us as we reach out to those whom we meet with the message of forgiveness and salvation.

I told you it was an exciting month!

With love in the risen Christ,

Jim Thorneycroft.

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK Wednesdays at 12.45 pm

 A 20-minute lunchtime service  Prayers  –  Songs – Thought for the Week

 Please come and join us.   Everyone is welcome.

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Thoughts for Pentecost

The gift of the Spirit was a fruit of the resurrection of Christ.      John Calvin

Christ’s ascension into heaven was the real commencement of his reign.              John Calvin

The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for his people. A W Tozer

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Pentecost – the birthday of the Church

Pentecost took place on the well established Jewish festival of Firstfruits, which was observed at the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was exactly 50 days after the Passover, the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A feast day to celebrate the country’s wheat harvest does not sound exactly world-changing, but that year, it became one of the most important days in world history. For Pentecost was the day that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit – the day the Church was born.

Jesus had told his apostles that something big was going to happen, and that they were to wait for it in Jerusalem, instead of returning to Galilee. Jesus had plans for his apostles – but he knew they could not do the work themselves – they would need his help.

And so the apostles and disciples waited in Jerusalem, praying together for several days. And then on that fateful morning there was suddenly the sound as of a mighty rushing wind. Tongues of flame flickered on their heads, and they began to praise God in many tongues – to the astonishment of those who heard them. The curse of Babel (Genesis 11: 1- 9) was dramatically reversed that morning.

That morning the Holy Spirit came to indwell the apostles and disciples of Jesus: and the Church was born. The Christians were suddenly full of life and power, utterly different from their former fearful selves. The change in them was permanent.

Peter gave the first ever sermon of the Christian church that morning: proclaiming Jesus was the Messiah. His boldness in the face of possible death was in marked contrast to the man who had denied Jesus 50 days before. And 3,000 people responded, were converted, and were baptised. How’s that for fast church growth!

Of course Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit had acted in this world. All through the Old Testament there are accounts of how God’s Spirit guided people and strengthened them. But now, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, he could INDWELL them. From now on, every Christian could have the confidence that Jesus was with them constantly, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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 Alan Wharton

Rev’d Alan Wharton officially retired at the end of November 2011 .He and his wife Sue have had a long association with Christ Church so I hope the following brief article will be of interest.

Alan became a Christian while a teenager and was a founder member of an Evangelical Free Church.  He also experienced membership of a Baptist and an open Brethren Assembly before joining the United Reformed Church in 1976.  In November 1983 Alan was appointed as our full-time Pastoral Assistant, largely funded by members’ giving.  This was the culmination of protracted debates about appointing a second member of staff to work with the then minister, Rev’d Norman Smith.  Rev’d Brian Johanson joined us in April 1987 and six months later Alan left to train for stipendiary ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge.  He was ordained in 1989, and served in pastorates at Rochester & Sevenoaks, which also entailed responsibility for smaller URC churches at Cuxton & Marsh Green respectively.

For many years he served on the national committee of GEAR, the URCs Group for Evangelism and Renewal, and continues to applaud what that group seeks to do in turning people back to the true purpose of being Church – to transform the world of each generation in the name of Jesus Christ.

Alan says his introduction to the personal work of the Holy Spirit was brought about through a combination of good teaching from Bob Gordon at a Christ Church Tonbridge Church Camp, reading the works of Tom Smail and personal prayer ministry in 1979 (Freedom Through Christ).

He has had a heart for mission since his conversion and has felt the call of God to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ since his late teens, although this has only become an active component of his ministry over the past 10 years.

Alan’s introduction to the Cell Church model of being Church began in 1998 after a ‘chance’ meeting with a Pastor from Singapore at a hotel breakfast table on the last morning of an Ed Silvoso (author of ‘That None Should Perish’) conference on ‘city reaching’ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As a result of that 4-hour encounter, Alan re-structured his first sabbatical leave, in order to read up on Cell Church.  Following the call of God and the concurrence of the URC, Alan was released from regular pastoral ministry, from October 2002, to pioneer the planting of ‘cells’ and the training of cell group leaders, both within the life of the URC Medway area and, where inter-church relationships allowed, cross-denominationally.  His induction to this special category ministry was held at Christ Church.

Alan has received training from Singaporean Cell Church practitioners and is still being mentored in his work as a Cell Church Enabler by staff of Trinity Christian Centre, Singapore.

No-one who knows Alan will be at all surprised to learn that, although officially retired, he is still serving God in a new role as a consultant/trainer with church leadership teams!                           Lesley Cumming

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Christian Aid is to join rapid disaster response network

Britain is to establish a new rapid response network from top UK-based businesses and charities to respond to major international crises, such as famine, floods and earthquakes, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell recently announced.

The network, called the Rapid Response Facility, will mobilise life-saving support in the critical hours following a humanitarian disaster. It is the first time a British Government has brought together the power of the private sector as well as NGOs in this way to take part in emergency relief. The new facility allows organisations with extensive experience in disaster response to access funding and be mobilised in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.

Christian Aid is one of 34 organisations which have been invited by the UK Government to join the network. Other organisations include Guava International (Land Rover), Mercy Corps Scotland, Oxfam, medical relief experts Merlin, water purifier manufacturer Lifesaver Systems, and the information and mapping volunteer group MapAction.

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Alternative Therapies and Exercises

Many years ago my mother was offered, whilst at her doctor’s surgery, an appointment with a “healer”.  Though that appointment seemed to help my mother’s stress and anxiety levels it raised issues in my mind about the array of alternative therapies available but also types of exercises now being promoted in the media, and in my weekly women’s magazines.

For many it’s a confusing but persuasive picture.  And for Christians particularly there need to be “checks and balances” in place because these therapies and exercises are being recommended as pathways to better health and well-being of mind, body and spirit.  There is a need to be informed about what can seem quite innocent and helpful.  These include:

1. Alternative therapies including Aromatherapy, Bach remedies, Reiki, Kinesiology, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Acupressure and Shiatsu.

2. Exercises including Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Martial Arts.

3. Treatments now widely accepted into “main stream” care: Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Homeopathy.

So here are some questions you might find it helpful to ask:

1. Does the therapy or treatment have credibility with medical science and proven knowledge of the human anatomy?

2. Does the therapy or exercise have its roots, its foundations in other religions’ practices

3. Are there links to pagan (non-Christian) and occult practices, as with the use of divination, pendulums or crystals?

4. Does the Bible forbid such practices?

5. Where does the power come from in order to achieve the promised results and is too much promised?

6. As in the case of hypnotherapy and transcendental meditation, does it require the mind to be emptied in order to be open to other influences and instructions?

7. Is the “healer/faith healer” known to a local church who could vouch for their genuineness and calling?

8. Does the teacher of an exercise class for instance have personal involvement with the philosophy or religious practice which they might wish to implant in their pupils?

9. And, lastly but most importantly for the Christian, could receiving such therapy or instruction affect receptivity to God the Father and the spiritual life in Jesus Christ, even leading to a breakdown of trust?

 

For the Christian a person’s mind, body and spirit are willingly given into the safe-keeping of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Involvement in some of the therapies and exercises with the philosophies or religious practices behind them could compromise that relationship when we look elsewhere for wholeness and well-being.

Please ask me if you want more information about any of the therapies and exercise regimes listed.

Margaret Bolt

Elder with responsibility for the Prayer Life of Christ Church

Sources:

ABC of complementary medicine by Catherine Zollman, Andrew J. Vickers and Janet Richardson, Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition 2008.   ISBN: 9781405136570

Alternative medicine – A Christian perspective by George Smith, Article published in Triple Helix, Spring 2003

Christianity, Cults and Religion, Rose Publishing, 7th Edition 2010.  ISBN: 9789901981403

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Fire Of Faith Burns Bright In Bosnia

Murat and Amina were in urgent need of assistance when they arrived at an aid warehouse run by Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Bosnia. Amina’s husband was desperately sick and they had no means or money to heat their home. The OM Bosnia workers quickly added Amina and her neighbour Murat to their list of addresses for their firewood distribution project and visited them soon after. Having supplied the valuable fuel, the OM workers prayed for Amina, her husband and Murat, and left them with some Christian literature to read.

That was back in 2005 and over the following years, as the OM team distributed copies of scripture on the streets of the town nearby, they often saw Murat. He however had little interest in what they were doing. On one occasion though, he accepted a Gospel tract and to the team’s delight, he rang them a few months later. They were even more overjoyed when they heard this man from an Islamic background ask if he could join their Christian prayer meetings. Over the next weeks, Murat became a regular attender at church and made a decision to accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

His journey to faith in Christ involved numerous personal traumas and loss. After being abandoned by his wife and with his health deteriorating, he remembered the love the Christian missionaries had shown to Amina and her sick husband years before. He also recalled how the prayers the Christians said then were all answered and his neighbour’s life had improved dramatically.

Those realisations were enough to spur Murat into contacting the OM team and today he and his new Christian wife lead a Bible study group in their home. Murat can also be found distributing portions of scripture on Bosnia’s streets. “Most of my fellow citizens have never seen an open Bible—even less owned one. Yet they look for answers and hope, often turning to other spiritual forces,” he says. “They need God. God’s Word is powerful; it changed my life!”

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Letters

To all friends at Christ Church,

On behalf of all the Divall family

Thank you for your prayers over a long time for Barbara as she had so much illness to cope with.  She has now passed into a better place and is with her God.

Thank you for all your cards after Barbara died. So many people had included messages about the past and how they remember her.  Some were full of admiration for Barbara for the way she made superb cakes.  Others commented on her sewing skills.  One writer had two quilts which were family heirlooms.  It was wonderful how many found something nice to say about her.  But memories are not only about items that you can touch or feel: it was Barbara’s love of being a wife and mother that really matters.  Barbara was always there when she was needed and will be sadly missed by everyone.

Thinking back she was a great worker for the church: very often in the background but still doing a good job.  Barbara found many ways to serve her Lord and is now at rest.

Ron Divall.

 

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From Diana and Henry Daley

Dear Friends at Christ Church,

Just to say thank you so much for the beautiful flowers which will cheer us up so much.  Thank you to June for bringing them up to us – all very much appreciated.

Thanking you for all  your prayers and kindness.

With every blessing from]

Diana and Henry

 

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News from Peru (From Rocio)

My dearest friends,

How wonderful is having news from you!!! Let me tell you something about us.

1. We miss you all so much and we long for seeing you, at least one of you visiting us here. God will provide.

2. Pastor Rabbit ‘s son is ill so I and my sister Nelly have made some contact with a congresswoman in the we hope she will help him. During this week coming we will have keep on ringing so they will consider our petition.  This congresswoman knows us, and came to Pety many years ago to pray.  Last week she told us to keep reminding her about Pastor Rabbit’s son when she goes back to Lima. Please pray for it, that she will help in this situation.

3. I continue collecting clothes from everyone to send to the churches in the remote villages. Today I had 2 big bags, but I could not get down the hill into San Miguel village due to the rains.

4. The church here prays for you so much.  I would like to be in more contact, but due to the spending I have got with the lawyer at the moment to save our land, it is too expensive to have internet at home at the moment.

5. And now for the good news!!!   I have been clearing up the room all this weekend that will be used for the bakery.  This is so the technicians can evaluate where the oven will be placed for the bakery.  It cannot happen soon enough and will bless many children from the villages, and that is here in Moyobamba. Daniel is doing his best according his abilities and he looks tired but happy. I will keep you informed of everything that happens.

My friends, send all my love to all the family there in Tonbridge.

Please continue to pray for us.

Love

Rocio

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URC General Assembly 2012

The URC’s General Assembly 2012 will be held in Scarborough from 6 to 9 July.  Assembly is a gathering of all United Reformed Church synods, churches and members and with friends from other denominations, communities and from across the world.

I have copies of a booklet called “General Assembly 2012: coming now, to a church near you! which has been published as “there is a perception that Assembly is only those individuals present” and “to affirm the importance of each individual associated with the URC”.  The booklet is designed to encourage people to make their views known to synod representatives:  Adam Cumming will be going as one of the Southern Synod representatives.

To quote from the booklet “There are important concerns facing the United Reformed Church as we mark the 40th anniversary of our founding”  The Assembly theme is taken from the Catch the Vision prayer, “God’s people, transformed by the gospel, making a difference for Christ’s sake”.  “Making a difference that matters is about joining in God’s mission so we can be sure that the difference we are making is for Christ’s sake rather for our own personal sakes, or the Church’s sake.”

This booklet introduces some of the urgent matters on the Assembly agenda: what can we do about youth unemployment?; do we need to rethink ,our approach to ecumenism?; how should the URC manage its budget in the current economic climate?; what does the local church most need from the wider Church to enable and advance its mission?; should money be spent on a denomination-wide stewardship programme; what should be the policy on minister numbers?

The booklet also outlines three of the Assembly Bible studies:  the full content of the Bible studies is available on the Assembly website http://generalassembly.urc.org.uk/.

I also have copies of a second booklet called “Living with Difference: deepening dialogue” which concentrates on the particular issue of human sexuality and the possibility of registering civil partnerships on religious premises.

Anyone can attend General Assembly as a non-voting observer but if this is not a possibility for you please ask me for copies of the two booklets so that you can think and pray about the issues facing our denomination.

Lesley Cumming

 

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY –May 2012

Wednesday 2              Sunbeam Club                                                 10.00 am

Lunchtime Service                                          12.45 pm

Thursday 3                  It’s Thursday! Home Group                           10.00 am

Saturday 5                   Elders’ prayer                                                  9.00 am

Men’s prayer meeting                                     9.00 am

Women’s prayer meeting                                9.00 am

Sunday 6                     Morning Worship                                            10.00 am

(followed by Short Special Church Meeting)

Evening Worship                                            6.30 pm

Monday 7                    Munns’ Cell Group                                         8.00 pm

                                    Laird’s Cell Group                                          8.00 pm

Wednesday 9              Sunbeam Club                                                 10.00 am

Lunchtime Service                                          12.45 pm

Thursday 10                It’s Thursday! Home Group                           10.00 am

Elders’ meeting                                               7.45 pm

Saturday 12                 Men’s prayer meeting                                     9.00 am

Women’s prayer meeting                                9.00 am

CHRISTIAN AID WEEK 13-19 May

Sunday 13                   Holy Communion                                           10.00 am

Monday 14                  Munns’ Cell Group                                         8.00 pm

                                    Laird’s Cell Group                                          8.00 pm

Wednesday 16                        Sunbeam Club                                                 0.00 am

Lunchtime Service                                          12.45 pm

Thursday 17                ASCENSION DAY

It’s Thursday! Home Group                           10.00 am

Saturday19                  Elders’ away day

Men’s prayer meeting                                     9.00 am

Women’s prayer meeting                                9.00 am

Sunday 20                   Morning Worship                                            10.00 am

WKESSA “Getting More of God into Us” Part 3     6 pm

Monday 21                  Munns’ Cell Group                                         8.00 pm

                                    Laird’s Cell Group                                          8.00 pm

Wednesday 23                        Sunbeam Club                                                 10.00 am

Lunchtime Service                                          12.45 pm

Thursday 24                It’s Thursday Home Group                             10.00 am

Saturday 26                 Men’s Prayer Group                                        9.00 am

Women’s prayer meeting                                9.00 am

Sunday 27                   PENTECOST

Morning Worship                                            10.00 am

Monday 28                  Munns’ Cell Group                                         8.00 pm

                                    Laird’s Cell Group                                          8.00 pm

Wednesday 30                        Sunbeam Club                                                 10.00 am

Lunchtime Service                                          12.45 pm

Thursday 31                It’s Thursday! Home Group                           10.00 am

 

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Who’s who

MINISTER

Rev’d Jim Thorneycroft

Please call Jim or contact him via our Contact Form

The minister’s rest day is on Fridays

 

CHURCH SECRETARY

Lesley Cumming, contact via our contact form

 

CHURCH TREASURER

Nigel Munns

 

HALL LETTING ENQUIRIES

Sharon Tringham

Contact via the lettings enquiry form

 

MAGAZINE EDITOR

Lesley Cumming

 

CHRIST CHURCH

Tel: 01732 770334

www.christchurchtonbridge.com

 

SERVING ELDERS

 

Margaret Bolt

Adam Cumming

Lesley Cumming

Chris Hartley

Nigel Munns

Keith Robinson

Steve Tringham.

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Weekly collection figures

04.03.12                      660.70

11.03.12                      958.50

18.03.12                      336.15

25.03.12                      672.70

Sub-total                     2628.05

Standing orders (Mar) 816.00

Total                            £ 3444.05

 

Weekly average for 2011 to 31 March 2011 = £812.62

Weekly average for 2012 to 31 March 2012 = £806.96

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“It’s Thursday” May programme

3rd May          10.00 am         Raising of Lazarus  – Diane Jenner

10th May         10.00 am         Let’s loosen up – gentle exercise to music sitting down

Sing along with Diane

17th May         10.00 am         Rob Bell’s Nooma DVD “Shells” with Roy Parker

24th May         10.00 am         A brave new world –   a touch of humour with Fred

Sing along with Diane

31st May         10.00 am         Rob Bell’s Nooma DVD “Trees” with Roy Parker

 

Open to everyone.  No subscription required

For more information contact Brenda or Howard Ansdell (354351).

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From the Editor:

The next issue of The Messenger will be published in June 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 20th May.

You can contact Lesley via our Contact Page on this website.

 

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TONBRIDGE PASSION PLAY 2013                

TONBRIDGE CHURCHES TOGETHER

Imagine – the story of Easter, dramatises in one amazing hour on Tonbridge castle Lawn for the people of our town on Good Friday 2013.  That’s the vision.  To make it happen, we need actors, musicians, set-builders, costume makers, technicians, administrators, prayer supporters and many more.

If you have a skill to offer, or would simply like to find out more, please come to our introductory meeting:

Date:  Tuesday 15th May 2012 at 7.30 pm

Venue:  Lower Lounge, Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul

For more details contact helenlongley@btinternet.com