Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I have just listened to the baptism stories from Easter Sunday and have made some brief notes. Two amazing stories made more significant due to the connection between the countries they are from. They are now good friends.

Antonio – Eritrean
He was kidnapped and forced into the army (at war with Ethiopia) – really bad experience saw lots of killing and forced to kill himself.
After 2 years he got out and went to Italy. Later moved in UK, his language teacher was Richard who helped him move into the Jericho Road Project. Often Antonio would tell Richard that he wants to change his life. Started going to king’s and on the Alpha course decided that he wanted to follow Jesus.

Simtao – Ethiopian
He was on the other side of the war. He had a very bad experience. In prison for 2 years, had bad torture and his back was broken. Also his wife was killed and his son went missing.
A refugee in the UK he found life very difficult. His language teacher, Francis, introduced him to King’s Money Advice for his debt issues. He went on Alpha and described one answer to his prayers. Still crying lots about his wife being killed he made contact with his son. He talks to him and one day hopes to bring him to England. He has found faith in Jesus on Alpha and loves coming to church.

What a wonderful message of reconciliation!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Housing Options Centre is moving!

I have worked in Lewisham for 7 1/2 years and throughout that time there have been plans to move the Housing Options Centre. As chair of the Lewisham Homelessness Forum I have expressed concern at the poor state of the building and how that contributes negatively to people's experience of the service. Finally the move is happening! Here is the press release.

On Friday 24th April 2009 the Housing Options Centre reception area at 3 Rosenthal Road, Catford, will close.
At 9am on Monday 27th April a new Housing Options Centre reception will open at 1a Eros House, Brownhill Road, Catford, SE6 2EG. If you or your customers are visiting us then you/they will in future need to go to Eros House to see any of the following services:
Housing options - initial assessment and homeless prevention
Housing rights advice
Homelessness assessment
Offers of temporary accommodation
The Rent Incentive Scheme
The Private Sector Leasing team
The 2010 team
Please telephone us on 020 8314 7007 or email HousingOptionsEnquiry@lewisham.gov.uk for further information.

In addition if you are looking for work this was sent through to me this week.
There are job vacancies at Shelter for Team Leader and Senior Adviser. For more information click here

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Social Action Conference 2009

This is a report about the conference that took place on Saturday, 15 of us from the Feast attended.

Where can the homeless person sit in your church? How does the non-reader learn about Jesus? How can the non-english speaking Asylum Seeker hear the gospel? With these questions Guy Miller challenged us to consider the poor in our church contexts.

Why would 250+ people travel to Milton Keynes on a sunny Saturday and pay good money to be challenged in this way? Because we as a movement are committed to preaching the gospel and serving the poor. Hundreds of us are involved in numerous projects, here in the UK and across the nations, helping reach those in need with the good news of Jesus Christ.

In the main session, Guy encouraged us to keep a sense of humour and to keep our FOCUS using the letters as a basis for his message. Faith, Origins (of poverty, shame & alienation), Church (not just projects), Universal sense of calling (to the nations), Salvation (not just works but also Word).

Seminars in the morning included, Peter Lyndon from Brighton used a tray of “seedlings” to show how nurturing gifting can lead to a seed-bed of social action within your church. Jim Harper, Elder at Worcester, answered the question Can people really be set free? Yes, they can! Nick Priggis from North Shrewsbury asked Can we really change our Communities? And, yes, we can! Tim Davies, Buxton Church in the Peak shared about their experience of linking in a very real way with the church in Clarens, South Africa and the growth and blessings that has brought to both churches.

Stands showed the work of Bethany Christian Trust (Homelessness), Boaz Trust (Asylum Seekers), CareConfidential, Community Money Advice, Christians Against Poverty, Life for the World Trust. Over lunch there were testimonies from a number of projects including Encounter Camp, seeing people with life controlling issues receive spiritual breakthrough.

In the afternoon, seminars were “How to’s”. How to: Start a project from scratch; Maintain good practice, Preach the gospel to the poor; Engage & have influence; and How to Fundraise.

Heather Miller shared with us stories of prostitutes they have met and helped on the streets of Bournemouth. Encouragements and set-backs, lessons learned and many tears shed.

The day ended with more challenges from Guy: Are we attracting the poor into our churches? Are we willing to invite the poor into our homes? Are we willing to live more simply and give away more to the poor?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Feast has definitely got talent!

Last night was a fabulous occasion at the Feast. It was our first 'Talent' night and it was such a delight. The Feast Choir, led so well by Miranda, performed 5 songs and had extra guests joining them on stage during the evening. Sharon compared and also sang 'Somewhere over the Rainbow', Andrew and Gary played guitar and sang. Francis did a karate display including doing the splits. Lucreta performed some poetry, Spider did a rap about the Feast. Peter gave his testimony which was a wonderful story of how God has revealed himself through the Holy Spirit. One final reflection on the evening was the joy people had in getting involved, best summed up by Malcolm's dancing through out the choir's performances. Hopefully I will be able to get hold of the photos to put them on the blog.

Do you want a volunteering opportunity??? There is a very important cleaning job to be done at one of the houses. If you can offer to help do a thorough deep clean on a Kitchen please contact me. I haven't got the date yet but we will provide all the equipment!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The Feast has talent!

Tomorrow night we are holding a different night at the Feast. Along with the choir there will be a number of performances and one of the contacts is going give his testimony of how he came to know Jesus. Please feel free to come along - anything could happen!

Also if you have not made your mind up, it is not too late to book into the social action conference which is happening this Saturday. After a slow start due to information going out late, there are now lots of bookings coming in and the total passed 200 today. I am sure it will be a fabulous day. All the details are available here.

I was not at King's this last weekend and I missed seeing Antonio and Simtayo getting baptised. What a wonderful demonstration of God's mercy and grace.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Social Action Conference 2009

Remember the Poor!!

The conference is only 17 days away and therefore I need your help to make sure all the bookings get in as soon as possible. If you are from King's Church you may book in yourself or we can book you in. At the Feast tonight the team will be able to book themselves in. All the details can be found by clicking here.

Please consider coming to the event. It is a great day to be reminded and inspired about why we are doing what we do. Guy Miller, our main speaker, will be inspiring!I love the worship at these days. There is such common purpose in declaring before God the truth that we are set free and that regardless of our background, education, financial status, criminal activity, broken families, unemployment, debt (and the list goes on) we are all equal before God. Also the seminars will equip us to do what we are doing better!

The other great encouragement to attend this conference is that you meet and hear stories of others who are involved in similar projects across the country.

It is not too late to book in - if you want to come along please do it today!