Mar 2012 Messenger


Dear Friends,
We are in the season of Lent now which is a time of personal preparation. Easter is a few weeks away and it’s a time to remember what Jesus has done for us on the cross and a reminder that we serve a living Saviour who has offered us salvation and forgiveness. When we take a step of faith and give our lives to Jesus, we commit to the change that must go with that decision and Lent is time to review that change and see how our lives are being shaped and moulded to become more Christ like.

For five Monday evenings during Lent we will be looking at five Nooma tapes by Rob Bell (more information here) starting on the 5th March with ‘Breathe.’ This film touches on the topic of Spirit, life, Image of God, the sacred, and breath.

On the 12th March we will watch ‘Tomato.’ We all get consumed with ourselves; sometimes we’re not even aware of it. We learn from a young age that life is about winning and impressing. This film is about surrender, cycle, vanity, self-improvement, ego, life and death.

The third film on the 19th March is ‘Shells.’ Do you often find yourself saying, ‘I’m so busy’ or ‘I have so much to do?’ The topic is about time, balance, values, importance, and saying no.

Finally in March on the 26th we will see ‘Trees.’ We want to know why we are here, if our lives really matter, how our faith is relevant to this life. The topic covers life, significance, meaning, eternity and redemption.

The final film for this short Lent course is ‘Dust’ on the 2nd April. Believing in God is important, but what about God believing in us? Believing that we can actually be the kind of people we were meant to be. People of love, compassion, peace, forgiveness and hope. People who try to do the right thing all of the time. Who act on the endless opportunities around us every day for good, beauty, and truth. It’s easy to feel ‘not good enough’ or that we don’t have what it takes. But maybe if we had more insight into the culture that Jesus grew up in and some of the radical things he did, we’d understand the faith that God has in all of us.

Join us if you can for these five Mondays in Lent at 7.30pm and let’s share our thoughts, experiences and prayers.

With love in Christ,

The next issue of The Messenger will be published in April 2012.  Please send material for this issue to Lesley Cumming by  Friday 23rd March.  Tel: 833774


Tonbridge Methodist Church, Higham Lane
FRIDAY 2 MARCH at 10.30 am
“Let justice prevail”
Service written by the women of Malaysia.  All welcome.  Refreshments will be provided after the service.  For more information please contact Sally Wynne



Love Wins : at the heart of life’s big questions by Rob Bell
Collins, 2011.  ISBN: 9780007420735

Faith and Doubt – John Ortberg
Zondervan, 2008.  ISBN: 9780310253204

If you liked John Ortberg’s other books (including Everbody’s normal till  you get to know them and If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat) then Faith and Doubt will almost certainly not disappoint.  Both Sharon and I were reading this at the same time as reading Love Wins (as we were studying it at cell group). It was hard not to compare the writing styles of Rob Bell and John Ortberg – Rob Bell manages to use language both very efficiently (it’s quite a short book) and beautifully. While readers of John Ortberg’s books will be very comfortable with Faith and Doubt, many of Rob Bell’s readers will not be at all comfortable with some of the ideas in Love Wins.

Faith and Doubt: John Ortberg discusses how faith and doubt are intrinsically linked. Is it possible to have true faith unless there is also doubt? Would we even need faith if there was not doubt?

I found the book reassuring – in that it helped me understand how normal doubt is and it showed me more about how faith really works. Worth a read, though in some ways it does take a long time to cover its material. Maybe it needs as many examples and different contexts to help those of us struggling with doubt to understand the points he is making and help us live a more faith filled life.

In contrast, Love Wins seems much sharper, it gets to its point more quickly and when it gets there – it really is a challenge. The book describes itself saying “A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” The title signposts the fundamental big point – that God’s love is so big, so all encompassing that it wins over everything in the end. The problem for many evangelical Christians is that Rob Bell really does mean that God’s love overcomes everything – this includes the specific constraints the evangelical church has sometime put around who is saved and how. Via discussions on heaven and hell, Rob Bell seeks to show that the Bible does not say some of the things we may believe it does.

In doing this, Rob Bell has really stirred up controversy and in my view he hasn’t completely answered some of the questions he poses in the book. There is fierce debate about the book – does it accurately represents what the Bible really says compared to how we have often heard it – or is Rob Bell mistakenly challenging the very essence of what we believe. Worth a read and then some study of what he says against scripture.

Steve Tringham



Dear Everyone,
I find it difficult to write, but thought it was time to.  I have been in Cornford House for about 2 years.  There are quite a few activities but I only join in the weekly service.  Only 1/2 hour but not very lively.  Still I’m not very lively!  Can’t do much except watch TV and eat. Ruth is able to come most weeks.  We go out for lunch.  I will continue to think of you all and pray for you.

Next item

Tonbridge Philharmonic Society
The next concert to be held at the Tonbridge School Chapel will be on Saturday 31 March 2012 at 7.30 pm.  We will be performing Bach Mass in B minor, an absolute must for those who love sacred music!
Tickets can be obtained from Clive Batson, Margaret Bolt, Brenda Ansdell, the Country Garden Florist 191 High Street and of course at the Chapel door. Tickets Prices: Adult £13, Senior £11, Student £6.



The search to find more than 800 volunteers to act as Games Pastors during the London 2012 Games, has begun.  Games Pastors will be deployed at main transport hubs and where large crowds gather. Their roll is to respond to the practical and spiritual needs of an estimated extra 800,000 people as they visit London and other Games locations next summer.

More Than Gold, the agency set up by all the main denominations to help churches engage with the 2012 Games, is responsible for recruiting, training and supporting this army of volunteers.
David Willson, CEO of More Than Gold said, ‘There will be many lost, confused and lonely people coming through London during the Games. These Games Pastors are going to be a lifeline for them, which makes this a great opportunity for Christian service’.Leading More Than Gold’s Games Pastors initiative is Mike Freeman MBE, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He said, ‘This is a great opportunity for church communities to engage with potentially thousands of people in a caring supportive role, actively demonstrating the love of Christ.

He added, ‘Those applying will need full support from their church leader. And be ready to face a variety of challenges. However the rewards of providing such a service to others can be immense’.

Sergeant David Turtle, Christian Police Association, Metropolitan Police, said, ‘This is a fantastic way for the Police and the churches to work together for the good of our communities. The help Games Pastors will provide will be invaluable to the police service and we are very excited to have such willing volunteers to help us during the Games’.
For more information about becoming a Games Pastor, please go to


Come and Join at Christ Church on Thursday mornings at 10.00am

March programme
1st March        10.00 am refreshments
10.30 am Poetry reading with Eileen
Bring your own favourite to read
8th March        10.00 am Refreshments
10.30 am ‘Let’s study Thessalonians with Roy
15th March        10.00 am Refreshments
10.30 am Quiz time
22nd March    10.00 am Refreshments
10.30 am “Women in the Bible” a talk by Fred
11.15 am Sing-a-Long with Diane
29th March        10.00 am Refreshments
10.30 am Greetings card making
12 noon Fish and Chip lunch

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

Next item

Saturday 31st March 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Lifesprings Cafe open
Books   – CDs  – Easter eggs home made jams  –  craft stalls
More information from Chris Hartley 07412 145498



01.01.12    732.01
08.01.12    1153.80
15.01.12    267.45
22.01.12    677.47
29.01.12    404.97
Sub-total    3235.70
Standing orders (Jan)    536.00

Total    £ 3771.70

Weekly average for 2011 to 31 January 2011 = £849.56
Weekly average for 2012 to 31 January 2012 = £770.83

The end

The United Reformed Church in Tonbridge, Kent