June 2012 Messenger


Dear Friends,

I have been thinking a lot about discipleship lately and focusing especially on the last words of Jesus to his disciples just before he ascended to heaven.
Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded  you, and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:19-20).

Jesus didn’t say if you’ve got a minute in your busy day would you mind mentioning my name. He didn’t say go and build a church and make it into a nice cosy club where people can come, if they’ve got nothing better to do, to join in the various activities that you put on. Jesus said go and make disciples!

There are two words in that sentence that command us to do something. We have to go outside, not stay behind the four walls of our building but go out into the world. Then when we get there we have to make disciples. The word disciple means follower, someone who has faith to move and leave the life they have and follow Jesus to a new life. That means commitment, transformation, being born again, to go wherever the Lord Jesus leads us.

But no one can make a disciple if they are not a disciple themselves. So we who are members of Christ’s Church need to examine ourselves. Have we been transformed? Have we been born again? Do we have a commitment to the Saviour who gave his life because he loves us? If our answer to those questions is yes then why are so many churches, including ours here in Tonbridge not bulging at the seams?

I believe we have been given a challenge by Jesus Christ to be about his work. By the time you read this I and the elders will have spent a day away thinking and praying about discipleship. During June and July I will be preaching about it so that we as a fellowship will be prepared and inspired to become radical disciples and ready to reach out with the unconditional love of Jesus.

By the way we won’t be doing this on our own. Jesus said ‘I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.’ Wow.

With love in Christ,

URC General Assembly

In Acts Chapter 6 the disciples meet to discuss how they will share food and to choose new apostles, one being Stephen.  From the very beginning therefore the church has met together to discuss how it responds to God and to choose people to help it perform its mission.  This year I am attending General Assembly in Scarborough as one of the representatives of Southern Synod and of our Area.  So for a weekend at the start of July I shall be worshiping and taking part in discussions with the rest of the URC.  I find it exciting!

There will be several difficult areas such as the URC budget, with the proposed cuts in expenditure as the church does not have the resources to do all that it wishes.  I hope that the money that there is; the money that comes from churches, will be focussed on growth and service!  There will be discussion on how the URC responds to civil partnerships and more.  We need to seek the mind of God and I know that the weekend will include much bible study and prayer.

I will welcome your prayers now and at the time of Assembly.

Adam Cumming, Synod Area Leader

Editor’s note: I have spare copies of 2 booklets about the issues which will be discussed at General Assembly.


The Christian community has been involved with the world’s major sporting events. for over 40 years. In the early years denominations and agencies mainly worked independently of each other.  Then in the 80s and early 90s a number of sports mission agencies helped the local churches develop partnerships.  These made it possible for the churches to offer a wide range of officially sanctioned initiatives including: giving out water to the crowds; hosting athletes’ families; providing chaplains in the athletes’ villages; staging events with creative arts performers; and contributing translators and literature resources.

In the build up to the 1996 Atlanta Games an umbrella Christian agency, Quest Atlanta, saw the need for a uniting name and identity.  This would provide a flag for faith-based outreach, hospitality and service without overstepping any denominational or doctrinal boundaries and an interface between the sports event’s organising committee and the churches.  As a result, the name ‘More Than Gold’ has been used by the Christian community since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games for many international sporting events.

More Than Gold UK was officially launched in January 2007.  Please pray for the 2012 Olympic Games by using these More Than Gold prayers.

Pray for all those involved in making the Olympic Torch Relay happen, both nationally and locally: for good co-operation between those in the Torch’s entourage and the local Police; for wisdom and energy for those involved in coordinating evening celebrations.

Thank God for the Praise Bus as it follows the route of the Torch Relay – and those organising, worshiping and praying. Ask God for protection on every aspect, including mechanical. And that it will be a means of conveying joy and blessing.

Thank God for the Mission Teams coming from overseas to share God’s love on our streets this summer. Pray that, in communities where love is in short supply, God’s love be seen through them as they share their faith.

Christian families will soon be hosting people coming to the UK to watch their loved-ones compete in the Games, who would otherwise not be able to afford to come. May warm hospitality speak volumes about the love and kindness of God.

Pray for those getting ready to serve as Games Pastors, meeting the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of people passing through the major transport hubs. Pray the Lord will open their eyes to needs and opportunities and give them the wisdom to respond.

Pray for the 20,000 journalists and media people who will be housed in the Media Centre on the Olympic Park. Pray too for the chaplaincy team serving the media – the first time such a team has been in place.


Eric and Elodie Mutanda arrived at our church from Zambia in 2004. Joining the Laird’s Cell Group they asked if we would be interested in helping to build a church in Kabushi, one of the poorest and most dangerous townships in Northern Zambia.   We agreed – before we realised the scale of the task.  They needed £700 – just to dig and put in the footings – and even this seemed an impossible task. The whole project was explained to the congregation and the fundraising began. This included shared meals, Cream Teas, BBQs and a big African Night where ladies from London based churches came down to help out with the cooking.

In 2007, six of the cell group members visited Zambia to attend the opening of the new Church at Kabushi.  A lot of the funds may have come from the UK but all of the hard work was done by the congregation in Zambia. They worked tirelessly to make this church happen. The church in Kabushi, which now has around 500 members, is led by Pastor Lloyd.

The Cell Group also started a child sponsorship programme for the youngsters in the Kabushi church –  £50 per child per year covers the basic school fees and end of year exam fee and  means so much to all the families. The children need to obtain their High School Certificate so that they can find work or go on to higher education.  So far 20 children have finished their High School Certificates because of sponsorship from people at Christ Church.  More children now need sponsors in order to stay at school.

There is also the opportunity to send additional gifts of clothes, shoes and stationery packs via the AGAPE Gift catalogue scheme.
Please talk to Sharon Tringham if you are interested in sponsoring a child or purchasing an item from the AGAPE scheme.

On the next page are some sermon notes emailed to Sharon Tringham for Christ Church from Pastor Lloyd .
“PARTAKERS OF GOD’S GRACE” sermon notes by Pastor Lloyd, inspired by a sermon by Bishop Imakando, Bread of Life International Church, of which Kabushi is a part.

There was a time in life when I begun to wonder why certain people in the Church were not being blessed, while others were being blessed. I begun to think probably God has favourites, I begun to think that may be God’s blessings was a game of chance. I begun to wonder why certain people were so joyous in Church, while others were not
Then came a time when we would pray and some would quote the scripture that says ‘God shall supply all my needs, according to his riches in glory’. It is obvious that our God has riches in glory, but who could share in them? Philippians makes it clearer.
Philippians is Paul’s joy letter. That particular church in that Macedonian City had been a great encouragement to Paul. The relationship between the Philippian church and Paul was very special, so special that Paul reminds this Church that they shared in God’s grace Philippians 1:7
He says, ‘It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains, or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.’
As a matter of fact when Paul writes to the Church at Corinth he tells them  “Brothers we want you to know about the grace God has given the Macedonian Churches”
There is a grace that God gives as a result of what they do to others. Individual believers can access this grace of God – not only in service to the church, or in what they do for others, and, in what they do for the man of God. The Philippian church had grace from the Lord in supporting men of God – Paul  & others in their work for the Lord.

The believers were concerned about the needs and the troubles Paul was passing through. Paul had personal troubles, but the concern here was for his’ ministry related troubles and needs. These people were thinking about Paul, they were concerned about Paul, they were worried over Paul’s needs and troubles.
People who share in God’s grace are believers who get concerned on behalf of others.
Do you care what happens to your Pastor, do you think about the needs and troubles he goes through. Let me show you one of the troubles servants of God, or Pastors go through.  Read  2 Kings 6:8-14
The trouble here was that for helping the King of Israel and alerting him, the enemies of God’s people turned their fury on the Servant of God. There maybe times when a man of God alerts you, or helps you, but that does not please you, or the devil at all.

It may seem that this Church enjoyed to share, they enjoyed to give. They took giving as a real opportunity. When we look at giving as an opportunity then we are candidates of God’s grace. These people were looking for an opportunity to give, they viewed giving as a privilege, as an honour  – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

This word renew means they were doing something, then they stopped, but again they started*** We also have a chance to renew, to start again, a second chance. The verse points out that people had stopped supporting Paul and were not concerned for his wellbeing, but then they renewed their care, they renewed their hearts, they begun to give, they begun to share.
There is grace for those who renew their care for God’s servants

There came a time when Paul faced challenges and the only Church that came to his aid was this same Church
When Paul went to Thessalonica and no one was helping him there, this Church also sent help again and again (PHILIPPIANS 4:16)
There are times when there are challenges in a man of God’s life – and it is the people who respond to these problems who share in the grace

This is a church that gave again and again. Look again at verse 16
They gave of themselves – even when they had nothing to give – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

There were many Churches Paul started and ministered in, but look at what he says in verse 15. Paul singled out this Church in this matter

If you are one such as the church at Philipi:

1. THERE IS A CREDIT TO YOUR ACCOUNT – read verse 17 again.

2. IT BRINGS JOY TO A SERVANT OF GOD -Paul said I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me(10). He was not saying these things because he was in need, yes he was, but he was saying these things because he knew these people would share in God’s grace because of their renewed concern (11)

3. GIVING BECOMES A FRAGRANT OFFERING – it is an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

4. MY GOD WILL MEET ALL YOUR NEEDS – your needs will be met in a certain fashion, in a certain way. It may not always be as you want or expect, but He will do it according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

5.  Meeting the needs of those Men of God – In meeting the needs of your pastor there, in meeting the needs of others, and in renewing your concern for those who are in need – YOU WILL share in God’s Grace.

Synod Area Meeting

The latest meeting of our Synod Area took place on the 6th of May at Robertsbridge URC in Hastings.  As always it began and ended with worship, this time led by Rev Bernard Fidder who is Interim Moderator for Robertsbridge, and the business meeting, which lasted for about an hour and a half was punctuated by prayer.  As Leader, I think it important that we spend time committing all that we do to God and reminding ourselves that it is His work that we do.

Much of the meeting was taken up with the report of the Pastoral Committee from its convenor Steve Allott.  Jim serves on that committee which is responsible for supporting ministers and churches.  Particular challenges for prayer are the URC churches in Medway; Sevenoaks and Lenham.  The development of the Local Ministry and Mission review is going well and will affect us later in the year.  Lesley is involved but less so than planned thanks to her mother’s illness.

We do need more support, particularly with finance and property which are being covered by myself and the administrator Pam Rowden.  Regarding Finance, the meeting voted to contribute £50 per church towards the costs of the area including paying for travel and other expenses.

Finally the meeting always ends with news from churches learning from each other and sharing ways that God is working in WKESSA.  Please pray for the Area and those involved in it.

Adam Cumming

Global Christianity

One of the key pioneers in collecting information about Christianity and other religions across the world died late last year, in his 80s. Dr David Barrett had amassed a huge data base of basic numbers which now forms the core of the World Religion Database held in Gordon-Conwell University in the United States. Seven of his many areas of statistics may, however, be of special interest:
1) In 2012, there are 43,000 different denominations worldwide (340 are in the UK!).
2) In 1900, 70% of the world’s Christians lived in Europe, but only 26% in 2012. In 1900, just 2% of the world’s Christians lived in Africa, but 22% in 2012.
3) In 2012, there are an estimated 4.7 million congregations worldwide, just under half of these in Asia.
4) The number of mission workers globally is estimated at 420,000 people.
5) The world’s population will reach 7.1 billion in 2012, and 2.3 billion (33%) of these will be nominally Christian. A further fifth (22%) are Muslim.
6) Half (51%) of the world’s population live in urban areas, including 505 “megacities” with a population of over a million people. Of these, perhaps 41% are nominally Christian.
7) Half (51%) of the world’s Christians are Roman Catholics, a fifth (22%) are Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestants, one in seven (15%) are Pentecostals and other Independent churches, and the remaining 12% are Orthodox.
David Barrett’s final challenge was this: over a quarter of the world’s population, 29%, have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ, and remain unevangelised. What are we doing about it?

Next item


Saturday 2
Elders’ prayer                         9.00 am
Men’s prayer meeting           9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting      9.00 am

Sunday 3    Trinity Sunday
Morning Worship                      10.00 am
(Preacher: Charles Earwicker)

Jubilee Praise evening at St Peter & St Paul 6.30 pm
(followed by summer refreshments)

Monday 4
Munns’ Cell Group                     8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group                      8.00 pm

Wednesday 6
Sunbeam Club            10.00 am
Lunchtime Service        12.45 pm

Thursday 7

It’s Thursday!                 10.00 am

Saturday 9
Men’s prayer meeting            9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am

Sunday 10
Holy Communion                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)

Monday 11
Munns’ Cell Group            8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group            8.00 pm

Wednesday 13
Sunbeam Club                 10.00 am
Lunchtime Service            12.45 pm

Thursday 14
It’s Thursday!                 10.00 am

Men’s prayer meeting            9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am

Sunday 17
Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Angela Henderson)
WKESSA “Getting More of God into Us” Part 4 6.00 pm

Monday 18
Munns’ Cell Group            8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group            8.00 pm

Wednesday 20
Sunbeam Club                10.00 am
Lunchtime Service            12.45 pm

Thursday 21
It’s Thursday                 10.00 am

Saturday 23
Men’s Prayer meeting            9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am

Sunday 24
Morning Worship                10.00 am
(Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)

Monday 25
Munns’ Cell Group            8.00 pm
Laird’s Cell Group            8.00 pm

Wednesday 27
Sunbeam Club                10.00 am
Lunchtime Service            12.45 pm

Thursday 28
It’s Thursday!                10.00 am

Saturday 30
Men’s Prayer meeting            9.00 am
Women’s prayer meeting            9.00 am

Weekly collection figures

01.04.12    797.74
08.04.12    1084.00
15.04.12    235.57
22.04.12    659.25
29.04.12    522.30
Sub-total    3298.86
Standing orders (Apr)    1021.00

Total    £ 4319.86

Weekly average for 2011 to 30 April 2011 = £841.36
Weekly average for 2012 to 30 April 2012 = £830.00

“It’s Thursday”  June programme

7 June    10.00 am     Jubilee quiz and cake

14 June    10.00 am     Rob Bell’s Nooma DVD “Dust”

21 June    10.00 am     Let’s try chime bars
Summer lunch and cup of tea at Broadview Gardens

28 June    10.00 am    Jeremiah with Diane Jenner

Open to everyone.  No subscription required
For more information contact Brenda or Howard Ansdell (354351).


Tonbridge Churches  Together
“the story of Easter, dramatised in one amazing hour on Tonbridge Castle Lawn for the people of our town on Good Friday 2013”

There will be a script run through at Tonbridge Baptist Church in Wane Alexander’s office on Wednesday 30 May at 8pm.  This is NOT an audition – but an opportunity for anyone interested and available to learn more.  There is also a meeting outside St Peter & St Paul on 13 June at 7pm – again for anyone interested – to do a walk through the places where the play will take place.

Publicity to schools, drama groups, churches etc will go out in September for auditions on first two Sundays in November in the afternoon.

From the Editor:

The summer issue of The Messengerwill be published in July 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 22 June.
ljcumming@compuserve.com  Tel: 833774

The United Reformed Church in Tonbridge, Kent