ReSource News & Events:
Welcome to ReSource News and Events: this frequently updated section holds information on upcoming happenings nationwide that ReSource has a hand in. We also cover recent items of news, so do check back for updates on what we're up to!ReSource News ReSource Events
A Vision of a Voyage
God has been reminding us recently of the image of a Viking
Ship through which God spoke to us at the beginning of ReSource’s life,
crewed by people with different experience and giftings working
together, its sails filled by the wind of the Spirit. We have recently
welcomed some new crew members – Sally Ann Ison who took over the book
distribution last year, Frances Hazell who joined in October as Rooted
in Jesus administrator, and Nicky Clark who keeps the RinJ finances in
The vision was not about plundering and pillaging (!), but one of setting forth on a voyage of adventure, to a destination unknown. From our prayers in those early days, “A picture of a Viking longboat with all sorts of people on board. Some row, some hoist and set sails, some repair holes; some prepare food or study the heavens and draw up maps for navigation; and one stands at the stern with a hand on the steering oar, exercising oversight and setting direction.
“This is the spirit in which we set out. We come without status or pretension, travelling together to engage with those to whom we are sent. ReSource will work as a diverse team, differing in gift but pulling together in Christ.” And so it has been, and as people leave the crew and others join there is just a momentary pause, a resting on the oars, the creation together of a new crew – and then under weigh again, seeking ever that horizon of the boundless ocean.
These voyages can have unexpected results, as we were reminded by the Christmas letter from our friend Robert Ward in Newcastle upon Tyne. Last summer the churches in Newcastle had received a letter from YWAM in Norway, offering to help with the Olympic events in the city and,“‘We’d also like to say sorry for our invasions ; the looting, pillaging and plundering our ancestors committed a thousand years ago in your neck of the woods’, they added. Robert says, “we replied, ‘No need, we’ve forgiven you all many times, and anyway, most of the locals up here are half Viking on account of the other activities your ancestors got up to’. They went away and came back and said to us, ‘Well, if you won’t let us say sorry, we’d like to come and say thank you for a thousand years of Norwegian Christianity’. ‘How so?’ we enquired. ‘Well, a thousand years ago our King asked yours to send over some missionaries to lead us out of our wicked, plundering, etc ways into the Light of Christ. Your King sent them over and we’ve never looked back’. ‘That we can gladly live with’, we replied”. 300 enthusiastic young and older Norwegian Christians arrived in Newcastle for ten days of mission and volunteering, most of them by air but 50 under sail and oar in a classic longboat …
New for 2013 - ReSource Day Programmes
Over the last few years we have been building up a portfolio not just of publications, but also of day programmes on topics of pressing importance to the spiritual health and growth of the church. We are planning a brochure which will list these and which will also be available on our website – but if you would like to talk to us about hosting a day in your church, or church grouping, on any of these topics please do get in touch with us:
• Follow me – living and
growing as disciples of Jesus
• Doing What Jesus Did – embracing the resources made available to us by the Holy Spirit
• I Am the God Who Heals – getting to grips with the healing ministry
• Confidence in the gospel
• Made new for Mission
• Living Beautiful Lives – sharing the good news with friends and neighbours
• The Language of Transformation
• Preaching and Renewal
• Inspired by the Word – getting the word of God off the page
• Renewed by the Spirit
• Spirituality for mission
• Who do you say that I am?
• Renewed in God’s Love
• Going Deeper - harnessing the power of poetry
• Growing Healthy Churches
It’s been another good year for our publications. Pursuing our
policy of only writing what people have told us they want to read, this
year Roger Morgan has completed The
God Who Is There, our discipleship
programme for the UK, by adding The
New Community and Shining
Stars to the existing book Beyond Ourselves. The New Community
be being particularly well received, with one clergyman telling us
recently that even at the first session, people ‘were taken to a place
they had never been to before.’ Like Rooted in Jesus, The God Who Is
There is not meant to be a cerebral course, but a
which enables people to connect with God and with one another in new
and life-changing ways – facilitated, in The New Community
Like Stars, by Phil Lawson Johnston’s enabling worship CD.
2012 also saw the publication of our first poetry collection, Distilling Life – poems for reflection and meditation. Based on a small booklet Martin and Alison put together for a retreat on preaching and renewal in Winchester Diocese, it has proved very popular – you may even have had it for Christmas! We know from analysis of our website that our poetry pages are among the most visited – poetry is an antidote, perhaps, to a hurried world; poetry, said Robert Frost, is a way of taking life by the throat. And that, of course, is what we are about.
Bovington Tank Museum
The Purbeck Filling Station led by Dottie Palmer-White held its second meeting in December, as we’ve reported elsewhere, and Martin was invited to speak on ‘The Word of God – living and active?’. It was a great evening, well attended and with fine worship and singing, and an excellent response. One of the interesting facets of the evening was that there was some evidence that some Christians stayed away because of the nature of the venue, frowning on the fact that this was a place which glorified war. I must say I don’t see it like that, especially as Dot started the evening with a prayer sanctifying the surroundings and then giving thanks for all those who had given their lives in the cause of freedom and against tyranny and bondage. I remembered my own elderly friend John, great supporter of ReSource and an ex-Churchwarden, now living in a Somerset Almshouse, who had fought with distinction against the Nazis in the battle for Italy, with the Royal Tank Regiment. It was helpful, too, to talk these things over with Richard Smith, the Museum’s new curator, who is a Christian and came and joined us in the worship; and spoke of his passionate belief that Museums are ‘guardians of the truth’. That seems right to me. Airbrushing history helps no-one to avoid repeating it.
Working with Local Churches
Much of what we do continues to be with the local church. Roger Morgan is working increasingly with church leaders, and is now directly involved with 25 churches through EQUIP and more widely around the country, and acting as a sounding board and consultant, helping to foster confidence and creativity. This means many of his weekends are spent away from home but gives him the satisfaction, he says, of allowing others to learn from his mistakes. EQUIP NW continues to flourish under the leadership of John Benson, and we have had much appreciative feedback from those involved. Alison enjoyed working with Canford Heath church over a weekend in November, when the sun shone in Sidmouth Bay and members of the congregation responded in poetry as we thought together about what it means to follow Jesus, individually and together. Alison and Martin hav spoken at various Filling Station events, in venues varying from Bovington Tank Museum to fog-strewn Mendip villages. It has been a joy to watch Oakhill Methodist Church here in Somerset increasingly seeking the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, encouraged in part by the experiences of both Chris and Nicky Clark who have been on Rooted in Jesus teams.
It's great on occasions in this itinerant life just to be on the receiving end of fine ministry, and so it was to be with the full congregation at 'The Tubestation' in Polzeath, Cornwall on Remembrance Sunday, led by the pastor, the Revd David Matthews. There was deeply moving testimony from former soldiers, a wonderful preaching of the Gospel, a reading of the "We shall not grow old ..." passage, which I learned for the first time had been written in Polzeath; and then we all moved down to the beach to scatter rose petals on the sea and to receive communion from one another. I suppose we may have been to more moving Sundays of Remembrance, Cesca and I ; but I can't remember when, or where. Thanks be to God for his Bride, the Church.
Winchester Diocesan Spirituality Day
We were glad to have an invitation from the Diocese to be part of their Spirituality Day held at Romsey Abbey in November, and hosted by the new Bishop, +Tim Dakin, and the incumbent of Romsey, Tim Sledge, both old friends of 'ReSource'. Martin led a workshop twice during the day on 'Praying in the Spirit', and saw some animated involvement from those who came. The scriptures came thick and fast, from Jude 20 and Ephesians 6:18 to the anguish of Psalm 51:11, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me" and the pursued sense of Psalm 139:7, "Where can I go from your Spirit", resting in that constant sense throughout the Book of Judges, "The Spirit of the Lord came" and then the comforter, the parakleitos, the 'one who comes alongside' of Isaiah 34:16 and "His Spirit will gather them together". We explored all the senses in which we understood the phrase 'praying in the Spirit', including a wonderful image of the Pilot standing alongside the Captain as the great ship is gentled up the river of our lives to its home mooring. We looked at the Spirit who can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10), who teaches us in our praying (Luke 12:12), and who stops us (Acts 16;6-10). We heard stories and powerful testimonies, struggled with questions, considered the wonder of Romans 8:26,27, and pondered the constant throughout scripture from Genesis 1:2 to the end of the Book of Revelation of the Spirit coming down and the Word going out, the vertical and the horizontal of God. Best of all, we prayed together in the Spirit, and the Lord moved among us.
Word on the Wind in Kettering
Alison was delighted to be invited to be the main speaker for this year’s Winter Glory Women’s Day Conference organised by Jane Follett of Christ the King, Kettering. It’s been running for 10 years or so, growing year by year, and 320 women from all over Northamptonshire braved the snow to meet in Kettering’s new conference centre. The venue sparkled with a snowflake theme, we worshipped and relaxed and lunched, and Alison spoke on Word, Spirit, and Confidence in the Gospel. There were stalls and uplifting afternoon seminars, discussion and laughter, and much positive feedback. One group decided in the car on the way home that Alison is ‘a good woman of great depth communicating truths that make a difference to our lives in a way that we can understand’. Alison’s not sure about that, but she did enjoy the day, meeting with friends old and new –and was touched to be presented not just with a generous cheque but also with a handmade gospel jug, now full of Somerset teasels!
The School of Leadership in Liverpool
Each year Linda Jones and Sandra Holmes of the Diocese of Liverpool organise a three month ‘School of Leadership’ for 12 clergy. It starts and ends with a two day residential at Whalley Abbey, and this year Alison and Martin have again been invited to lead these. Alison travelled up to Liverpool in January to help a diverse and dynamic group think afresh about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus; Martin will follow in March. It is a great privilege to work with a small group of this kind, allowing time both for stimulating ‘big picture’ thinking and careful consideration of the local situation – we gain as much as we give. The small group atmosphere is much appreciated by participants – ‘SOL is easily the best training I’ve ever done’. Liverpool is, as Martin said last November when working with the Readers, ‘a diocese of character and style’, and we think the SOL is unique in the UK.
‘Worship is a meeting at the centre so that our lives are
centred in God and not lived eccentrically. We worship so that we live
in response to and from this centre, the living God. Failure to worship
consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every
advertisement, every seduction, and every siren. People who do not
worship are swept into a vast restless epidemic in the world, with no
steady direction and no sustaining purpose’ - Eugene Peterson
Many of you have downloaded Phil Lawson Johnston’s article on worship from our website this year (ReSource magazine issue 6). Phil is a gifted worship leader, and we have been delighted to have him working alongside Roger Morgan on a worship CD for The New Community and Shining Like Stars. The CD is designed on the same principle as Phil’s unique and popular series ‘Worship in the Room’ – that is, to enable individuals and small groups to comfortably join in with led worship in the company of Phil and his musicians, who sound just as if they were in the room with you. The songs are sensitively chosen, some are by Phil himself, and the CD is ideal for personal use. It is available for £5 from our website, comes with a booklet of the words, and can be used completely independently of the course. Phil’s book Song of the Father’s Heart is also available from the office for £8. Why not make a new year resolution to take worship more seriously?
Please note: Phil’s CD is covered by copyright – we have made extra copies available at low cost for individual purchase, and we would be grateful if you are a group leader and have bought the original CD with the leader’s manual that you encourage people to buy their own from us, and don’t allow them to merely copy yours! Without being too pious, we need to practise the Gospel as well as preach it and teach it.
Lent in Frome
In many English towns the church struggles to maintain both numbers and
morale; and yet there is always the potential for growth. Churches
Together in Frome have decided to run the ReSource Lent course Season
of Renewal, and invited Alison to launch the groups with a
presentation. About 20 people gathered one Sunday afternoon in a high
vaulted Victorian schoolhouse to think together about what it means to
be renewed by the Holy Spirit. Books flew off the table and everyone
went home encouraged - as well as warmed by tea and delicious chocolate
There has been great demand again this year for Season of Renewal - one group of churches in Wiltshire bought so many sets that we’ve had to order an emergency reprint. We’ve had some great feedback – with people wanting to renew their baptism vows, or continue meeting together after the course ended, or experiencing ‘Spirit-led changes’ in their lives.
In October Alison was delighted to be invited to speak on ‘Living as disciples of Jesus’ at the first international Anglicans Ablaze Conference, held in Johannesburg and attended by 1400 people from 27 dioceses within the Province of Southern Africa. It was an inspiring and uplifting few days, and an opportunity for people from a wide variety of national and ecclesiastical backgrounds to meet together, and a great step forward in unity. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Alison and Bishop Graham Cray spoke to the three elements of the provincial mission statement, and others offered presentations and workshops to help the conference develop a strong practical edge. Worship was deliberately eclectic, with the Anglican Youth Choir leading us in a riotous rendering of ‘Jabulani’, and a choir from Zululand offering a more anglo-Catholic form of worship. The conference closed with a magnificent eucharist at which robed bishops led us in worship, incense ascended to heaven, and Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland was introduced as the newly elected first woman bishop in Africa. Representatives of many dioceses already using Rooted in Jesus were present, and there have been many requests for training conferences for 2013 – all of which will now be overseen by Trevor Pearce of Growing the Church in South Africa. A number of people were already familiar with some of our publications, particularly Alison’s books The Wild Gospel and The Word on the Wind, and we are talking with Trevor to see how we can make our UK discipleship programme The God Who Is There available to churches in more urban and professional settings.
Rooted in Jesus
Rooted in Jesus is our discipleship programme for Africa, now entering its eleventh year. We are becoming less surprised at its expansion – invitations continue to arrive unsolicited from new places, and by the end of 2013 it seems that RinJ will be in use in 63 dioceses or denominations in 18 African countries – which is about 17%, in Anglican terms, of the total. We are excited at the way the work in Africa and the work in this country constantly inform and renew one another. In 2012 we introduced Rooted in Jesus Junior, for children aged 8-14, to three dioceses in Tanzania and one in Zambia. We saw a most remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Dioceses of Kiteto and Mount Kilimanjaro, as Martin Cavender and Tim Davis led the clergy in a soul-searching time of prayer, repentance and recommitment to the future after serious conflict had damaged both, in different ways, over the last few years. Teams worked too in South Africa, Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, Zambia and Burundi. But what has been particularly notable this year is the feedback from some of the UK team members, who have written in to say how encouraged, inspired, rewarded, enriched, humbled, moved and touched they have been – and how that will impact their lives and ministries here at home. We have much to learn from those whom we serve.
‘All the sins of DMK have been burned’; ‘the morning star has risen over DMK’ – participants write down their pain, their confession, their forgiveness of one another and burn it.
The Elected Leadership of the Local Church
The PCCs evening continues to be a staple of our work, and so it was on
a very cold evening in Evesham Deanery in November, when we saw a very
good turn-out in the Village Hall. A hardy lot, those Eveshamites. We
sang and prayed together, considered scripture and its application in
the parishes, looked at what it meant to be an essential part of the
spiritual leadership of the local church - and enjoyed a good deal of
banter and rural fellowship. There was some deep debate on the ways in
which the church was making contact in the community, the ways in which
it was nurturing and/or growing people in faith, or not; and what the
next steps could be.
The parish of Emmanuel, Stoughton near Guildford took the work further, and in a different way. Under Vicar Frank Scammell they gave a whole day to considering the making and growing of disciples as apprentices of the Master, in an intentional community, and there was lots of feisty interplay, with a serious application to those next steps which needed to be taken.
In both of these very different cases I was struck by the humility and application of the people involved, the optimi sm they brought to the work and the common understanding of the importance of these days in the life of the churches. Archbishop-to-be Justin Welby is right to speak of his confidence in the Church nationally, and it's rooted in churches like these and so many others with whom we deal all the time. To quote again those words of the American social writer Eric Hoffer, "In times of turmoil, learners inherit the earth ; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world which no longer exists".
Towards the Re-Evangelisation of the North of England
We continue to work around the country and abroad on the key issue of being and making disciples. Earlier this month Alison and Martin spoke at a day on evangelism hosted by the Archbishop of York, ReSource’s patron, for representatives of parishes from every diocese in the Northern Province – one of a series under the ambitious title ‘Towards the re-evangelisation of the North of England.’ Following our conviction that effective mission comes out of effective discipleship, we called the day ‘Living beautiful lives – good news in the local community.’ One surprised parish representative wrote afterwards: “I have to say yesterday was like being plucked out of earth for 6 hours and seeing a glimpse of heaven. I have never experienced anything quite like it before – everything from the worship in the chapel, the fellowship with some amazing people, the teaching from Martin and Alison and, of course, the input from the Archbishop. It was all really wonderful and I have come away feeling REALLY fired up to expand this work! I just have a feeling that something great is about to happen.” If you would like to read more do google the Archbishop of York’s website and read the report.
Distilling Life - Poems for Reflection and Meditation
Several years ago now we received an invitation out of the blue to work with Sherborne Abbey. Why us, we asked? Because you have poetry on your website, came the unexpected reply. Lifelong lovers of poetry, this made us think. So when in July last year we were invited to lead a 2 day residential retreat for the Diocese of Winchester on ‘Preaching and Renewal,’ we decided to put together a little collection of poetry which we hoped would foster a reflective and creative approach to the task of preaching. The response was unexpectedly and overwhelmingly positive, with people discovering and rediscovering a side to life which so often gets squeezed out through sheer busyness. One participant rejoiced in what she called “the affirmation that aspects of discipleship which feed me, like meditative prayer, wide-ranging reading, poetry, art, are not selfish indulgences but ways the Holy Spirit is topping me up so I can ‘bubble over’ with life for others.” The few spare copies ended up wandering the country, being used most notably in a ‘mission-shaped’ poetry group in Leicester, with Christians and non Christians sharing their responses and pondering life together. So great has been the demand that we have now put together an expanded collection of poetry (it took a year just to assemble the appropriate permissions!). Edited by Alison Morgan and Martin Cavender, it will be published in September under the title Distilling Life – poems for reflection and meditation. Many of the poems are accompanied by illustrations, they range in date over 26 centuries, they are by both Christian and secular poets, known and unknown (one or two may even be by some of us…), and they are put together not by date or alphabet or topic, but in an order which we hope will gently guide the reader through a spiritual landscape and draw him or her closer to God. We think it’s unique of its kind – order yours through the office or from our website – you may even want to give one to a non-Christian friend…
Shining Like Stars
We are delighted to announce the publication of ‘Shining Like Stars’, the third book in our discipleship series ‘The God Who Is There’. ‘Shining Like Stars’ focuses on what it means to live as effective Christian disciples in the midst of the challenges of daily life, and its aim is to equip people to live with compassion and integrity as Christians in the community and in the workplace. Designed for use with small interactive groups, ‘Shining Like Stars’ may be used either as a follow on from the first two books ‘Beyond Ourselves’ and ‘The New Community’, or as a stand-alone course. It includes a music CD by Phil Lawson Johnston, and can be previewed or ordered by visiting our website. Inspired by our African series Rooted in Jesus and founded on Roger Morgan’s many years of working with small groups, ‘The God Who Is There’ is unlike anything else currently available in that it’s based not on ‘knowing it’ but on ‘living it’ – independently, together and in the presence of God.
As our work expands and develops we are looking to work more closely with a small number of ‘beacon’ churches. These will be churches with whom we have enjoyed a fruitful relationship for some time and who are willing to become local centres for ReSource, working with us to support others in their area. We see this as a mutually beneficial relationship, extending the ministry of the ‘beacon’ and enabling ReSource to have a more effective regional presence. We thank God for networks like ‘New Wine’; but this will be different from those, having its own distinctive shape and personality in each case. Do contact the ReSource office for details.
Partners in World Mission, Oxford
Martin spent a day in June with this gathering at Boars Hill, under the leadership of the Bishop of Reading. These meetings of different mission agencies can sometimes be bureaucratic diary-fillers; but not this time. Bishop Andrew, freshly back from working in Ethiopia, is keen to see the world mission scene impact Oxford Diocese. He spoke about missional principles discerned in Ethiopia, including the fact that effective leaders are always disciples first; and that their primary task is to disciple people for real life. The local church is God’s hope for the world. He reminded us that the average Anglican churchgoer worldwide is black, 26 years old, female and African. All of this was music to our ears and we happily spent a couple of hours expounding ReSource’s work with “Rooted in Jesus” and the making and growing of disciples in Africa, with the huge effect that follows in making and growing disciples in the UK. ReSource’s “The God Who is There” is as far as we know unique in being a discipleship programme for the UK which began its life in Africa.
Ordinations in the Diocese of Peterborough
Alison was invited by Bishop Donald Allister to lead this year’s retreat for those being ordained priest and deacon in the Diocese of Peterborough, and to preach at both services in Peterborough cathedral. The commitment and calibre of the ordinands was high, and the atmosphere in the full cathedral excellent – it was nice to be welcomed back to the Diocese, and encouraging to see the vision for growth which it now has. The retreat for the 18 candidates was held at Launde Abbey, in Leicestershire. DDO Steve Benoy wrote afterwards “The ordinands have described what you shared as amazing, thought provoking, stimulating, challenging, provocative. Many have commented appreciatively upon the helpfully recurring themes of journey and community. During the retreat, and in direct response to your teaching, I had the privilege of praying with two people who were released from many years of emotional hurt and pain.” The ordinands themselves wrote “Thank you so much for leading our retreat. You are truly inspirational”; “You and the words that you bring have been like a breath of fresh air, bringing me refreshment and renewal, connecting me, once again, with the core of myself.” Alison’s not sure she got it all right – it’s interesting speaking to people who are not allowed to speak back – but she did enjoy it!
Martin spent the Fathers’ day weekend in June with this parish in Bucks, together with others from the Deanery. Under the leadership of the Revd Claire Wood, Olney has seen 30% growth in 2010, 20% in the year following, and the good news continues. We spent Saturday working with the PCCs and leaders on being made new for mission and the centrality of prayer, finishing with a prayer school; and worked with the Deanery clergy on Saturday evening, exploring issues together. On Sunday Martin preached on Mark 4:26-34 and the growth of the seed “though he does not know how.. all by itself”; and 2 Cor 5, living “by faith, not by sight” in this new creation. Both passages seemed to fit Olney church well as the work with children and young people grows and Claire leads, encourages and releases members of the congregation into leadership. The buzz in the church is infectious, inviting as well as welcoming.
Calverley @ Sneaton Castle
In July Cesca and Martin travelled to Whitby for their fourth and final weekend this year with Calverley parish from Bradford, uniquely designed to prepare the church for the retirement of its Vicar of 18 years, John Walker, and to look forward into and beyond the vacancy. We had done some preliminary teaching in the previous three weekends so were able to concentrate on the crucial need to be hands-on disciples or apprentices in an intentional community. ‘Church’ is, after all, the plural of ‘disciple’. Cesca taught on ‘the all-consuming fire’ of God, and the essential call to commitment and sacrifice; that we might all become disciples rather than mere consumers, and the church a place of purpose instead just of refuge. It was a fine weekend with this renewed and welcoming church, and we wish them well as they travel through the vacancy and then receive their new leader.
Oast Houses Weekend, Northiam
Annie Chance emailed us to ask if Martin, for ReSource, could lead a weekend for some 24 people at the Oast Houses in Northiam, Kent, using the model of the well-known Stewards’ Trust gatherings. A couple of planning meetings and lots of prayer and preparation later the weekend arrived and unfolded, based around the love, the Word and the call of God. Annie and the team had done a fine job of inviting, organising and shaping the days and the Kentish weather was glorious. One person came to faith, others were healed and the whole weekend was filled with fellowship and laughter among a very diverse group. One person said, “I’ve learned more in the last 24 hours than in the whole of my life in the church” and another, “This has opened my eyes to the practical steps to become a Christian”. There had been some apprehension on behalf of some who were not church-goers, or only fringe members; but there was plenty of space for comeback, with a chance to ‘skewer the speaker’ each evening, with tough questions and animated discussion. It was judged by one to be “Excellent teaching, appropriately pitched, well presented”, and another as “three superb days of leadership”; and the evaluations seemed to bear those out. It is great to get down to brass tacks with genuine enquirers who pull no punches.
Discipleship at New Wine
Over the years we have enjoyed and benefited from our friendship with the New Wine network, and we are often to be found refilling our spiritual tanks and enjoying animated conversation with dynamic bunches of New Wine leaders. This year we were delighted to have an invitation from Mark Bailey for Alison to offer a seminar on discipleship at the New Wine CSW summer conference. She called it ‘Living Beautiful Lives – being a disciple of Jesus today’. At ReSource we are convinced that discipleship is not so much about what we know as about who we are becoming, and not so much about Bible study as about apprenticeship to Jesus – maybe the best definition of discipleship is ‘apprenticeship in community.’ We are all called to be disciples of Jesus – in fact we might say that the plural of disciple is church. So the question was: How effective are you and your church as disciples? The venue was full, and Alison particularly enjoyed meeting people who have had contact with us through our work or our publications, many of whom had remarkable and encouraging stories to share with her.
St Albans Clergy Conference
It is great to receive invitations to be involved with Clergy Conferences around the country, especially where the Diocese is getting serious about mission, with a leadership which is both strategic and clear-minded for the long haul. Martin went off to Swanwick at the end of June to offer a workshop under the Conference title, “Equipped – Meeting the Challenge of Mission and Ministry”. In the way of these things the carefully prepared script was tossed out of the window as he drove north, praying, and was replaced by an offering on being a disciple in mission. The response and the interaction were animated, and one person wrote afterwards, “Huge thanks that in a world of too many words and too much, you offer just enough of pure gold. Your workshop was truly inspirational – down to earth and totally relevant”. We have learned over the years that people, especially clergy, don’t need to be enthused; they just need to know that the speaker/leader understands reality and is prepared to offer answers to real needs in ministry and mission – not just shouting advice from the touchline, but running onto the pitch with a sponge.
Working with Local Churches
Much, if not most, of our work is with local churches, and most weeks one or other of the team is to be found leading church weekends or meeting with clergy and other local leaders. Alison spent a very happy weekend at Lee Abbey with All Saints, Weston, Bath, following the themes of ‘Called by Jesus’, ‘Teaching the Word’, ‘Inspired by the Spirit’ and ‘Living in God’s story.’ She also spent a day with the gathered ministers of churches in and around Chippenham, thinking and praying about discipleship and church growth, and that has led to an invitation to Roger to do some further work with Dayspring Church. Roger is working with an increasing number of churches, sometimes offering specific training, often just walking alongside the church leader as a mentor and consultant. Many of these leaders form part of his South West EQUIP group, but he wanders further afield too – the last few months have seen him working with St Paul’s Finchley on small groups, with the parish of Edgware on discipleship, and with churches in Middleton, Manchester on mission.
Rooted in Jesus
Rooted in Jesus continues to spread in Africa, acting as a catalyst for life-transforming discipleship and growth wherever it is used. It has just been translated into Alur and Lugbara, for the Diocese of Aru in the DR Congo, where a team from Chester diocese led by Martin Daly is working, and into Runyoro, for the Diocese of Bunyoro Kitara, where a team led by John Lee will go in November. Translation into Dinka and Luo is underway in the Diocese of Wau, South Sudan, where a team from Poole led by Simon Brignall will also be working in November. This means that RinJ is now being used in some 33 languages, and by the end of the year will be active in 45 dioceses or denominations, with more on the way. RinJ in South Africa is now run by Trevor Pearce, director of the Growing the Church Initiative, and we hope to release it in the same way to other countries as soon as there are people there with the ability, experience and time to take it on – beginning with Tanzania. Due to the continued demand, we are looking to appoint a part time PA to assist Alison, working on database entry and routine correspondence. The potential for the gospel in Africa is huge, and RinJ is increasingly recognised as one of very few resources specifically written for the African culture and context. Feedback? ‘This work has moved me from one level of faith to another,’ one local coordinator in Zambia wrote to us recently. One church in Mozambique has, after 7 years of growth, now become 53 churches. The Diocese of Mara is currently organising its own RinJ conferences in each deanery. A church in Somerset is opening itself in completely new ways to the Holy Spirit after one of its members went on a RinJ team and found herself asked to invite the Holy Spirit – who came – and was prompted to try it at home. But the main testimony comes from bishops, who write as did Bishop Gaddiel Lenini of Kajiado in Kenya recently: “I am the new Bishop in the office and I would be glad to partner with you in the gospel. I have seen the impact you made in the diocese of Kericho.” Please continue to pray with us for this work.
Confidence In Discipleship
One of the primary tasks of our generation is to re-examine the way in which we think about Christian discipleship, so we have been delighted to work recently in partnership with the dioceses of Oxford, Carlisle and Liverpool as they focus afresh on how to help people do that. In March we worked with Oxford to support its Living Faith programme, meeting over 6 days in March with some 360 clergy and over 1300 PCC members, all of whom had been personally invited by their bishops to take part in a series on ‘Confidence in Discipleship’ . The series was facilitated by Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan, led by Diocesan Missioner Michael Beasley with the full involvement of Bishop John Pritchard and Area Bishops Alan, Andrew and Colin. The clergy days were full of learning and challenge, prayer and reflection, discussion and laughter, and the PCC evenings crowded beyond expectation. We are looking forward to returning to this dynamic diocese for a series of follow-on days later this year and into 2013. If you would like to explore with us the possibility of doing some work on discipleship, or meeting with local PCCs to consider the mission of the Church, do let us know.
Thank you very much indeed for what you gave us the other week. The response from the laity in particular was astonishingly positive and the clergy were stimulated too. You have given us some rich material to work with” - Bishop John Pritchard
“I attended the PCC Discipleship evening at The Manor School, Abingdon and just wanted to say a huge thank you to both of you for your inspiration. I am a relatively new PCC member and many things you said were relevant, timely, will be inwardly digested and actioned!” - Karen Hyde
Sheffield - New Spiritualities
Led by Steve Hollinghurst this Church Army Conference took place in Sheffield in April and brought together practitioners from all corners of the UK who are working with the new (and not so new) spiritualities in such happenings as Mind, Body and Spirit fairs, Psychic gatherings and Pagan and other festivals. It was all quite edgy stuff, as might have been expected, and it was good to have the safe navigation of people like Steve, and theologians like John Drane. We went along to hear the latest thinking from the people at the sharp end of this vital ministry and to draw some of that into our own work for renewal in the Spirit. We learned a lot – and not least that these are heady, mysterious and victorious days for the Gospel.
Methodists In Sheffield
It was good to meet again some old friends from the group of Methodist evangelism advisers at Whirlow Grange, led by Ed Mackenzie, and to have the chance to open up some of ReSource’s most recent thinking about discipleship as apprenticeship, and about the concept of the intentional community, which is the Church. It was clear from the interaction and the questions that while renewal in God’s Spirit and its outcomes in the building of sacrificial purpose and mission were hallmarks of many ministries, in the footsteps of John Wesley and the models of the Method and the class system, much of Methodist thinking has moved over quite a few years to a shape which is less about proclamation, in the way of ‘evangelion’, and more about social concern and justice. It was intriguing to hear some of the details of the work of Food-banks in places like Plymouth and to see their engagement with the Gospel, good news for the poor and the homeless.
Cherstey St Peter – A Fine Weekend
From the Revd. Tim Hillier – “The church is clearly buzzing, with home group leaders contacting me this week in order to say how profoundly members were affected. The Holy Spirit was clearly at work on so many different levels and the church has been spiritually ‘oxygenated’ through your ministry. The weekend was remarkable in so many ways ; a great many people have spoken, phoned or emailed to say how deeply they appreciated your leading”. We had a very happy time in Chertsey, which demonstrated for us a phenomenon we have noticed elsewhere over the years, that where the leadership has been in place for more than 12 years or so, and is trusted, people feel safe to respond; and respond they did, in everything from engaging with the teaching, to opening themselves individually and together to the Holy Spirit, the happy gathering around the pig roast in the Churchyard on Saturday evening and the full church on Sunday. For us one of the markers of the weekend was the shared meals ; and the fact that, nothing daunted, 46 members of the congregation turned up to be trained in prayer-walking on Sunday afternoon – and then set off two by two on that fine afternoon to pray and walk around their community. Talk about the body on the beat!
New Publications: The New Community
We are pleased to announce the publication of the second volume of our
discipleship programme The God Who Is There.
Based on the conviction that discipleship is not so much about ‘what we
know’ as about ‘who we are becoming’, it is designed to help people get
to know God in and through one another, so that faith becomes part of
their daily lives. The series is in three parts: Beyond
Ourselves, The New Community and Shining Like Stars.
The first part came out last year, and The New Community
can now be previewed or ordered from our website. Shining
Like Stars will be available later this summer.
We think it’s the only course available which enables participants to discover what it means to be part of a group of people who are seeking God in and through their relationships with one another. It includes worship, with a specially commissioned CD by Phil Lawson Johnston. To preview The New Community please click here. As with our other courses, support and training is available. Comments on The God Who Is There continue to be encouraging:
“We have just had our third week and gotta say we are both loving it. The content has got people involved and is full of interest; it’s also challenging and a great talking point” - Kevin & Nikki, members of a group in Wallington, Surrey using The New Community
“We bought 20 copies of Beyond Ourselves and have been blessed using this course with a very enthusiastic group. We have seen several people’s faith brought to life by studying God’s Word and encountering the Holy Spirit; we’ve seen a couple of people come to faith in Christ” - Revd Martin Cannam, Biddulph
To find out more, do visit the new prayer page on our website, where we have posted a meditation on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Or get hold of a copy of Alison Morgan’s The Word on the Wind, which sets out much of our thinking on this important topic – with real life stories to match!
Now reprinted: Growing Healthy Churches
The Growing Healthy Churches booklet by Robert Warren and Janet Hodgson is a tried and tested way of helping a local church identify areas for growth and open the door to renewal in the Spirit. We are delighted that the Diocese of Norwich has decided to use it across the diocese, and that the new look, third edition of ‘GHC’ has just reached the office. For more information click here to visit our publications page – or to find out how we can support you as you use it contact us at the office.
Beautiful Lives is a course by Roger Morgan, designed out of years of experience to help people share their faith naturally with friends and neighbours. One person wrote to describe how she had got on with one of the exercises, which encourages people to slow down and focus on those they meet in the course of an ordinary day: “Went to Tesco and tried to be aware of everyone there and lift them to God. A lady dropped a carton of drinking chocolate and I bent down to pick it up. She said “Thank you, my back’s killing me”. I said “Sorry to hear that, I pray God will make it better”. She then started to tell me about her husband Harold who died 3 years ago and how much she misses him and that 40 years together wasn’t enough. She continued to share in the middle of the Tesco aisle for at least 20 mins. Then I noticed and paid attention to the deli lady, a lady struggling to reach frozen pizza and the checkout young man. I’ve had other good conversations last week, but this week has been the best so far. God is amazing and I am just waiting to see who else he will put in my way.”
Liverpool school of leadership
Alison had opened the latest series with the School of Leadership, back in January ; and it fell to Martin to complete the process in March at this 36 hour retreat for leaders from the Diocese of Liverpool, held at the Gladstone Library of St Deiniol’s, near Chester. This was a happy and thoroughly interactive gathering, working with a wide spread of understandings and traditions, all under the leadership of Linda Jones and her small team. We looked at the love of God, the Word of God, the importance of story and lots of other things ; and the Prayer ministry was clearly needed and appreciated. The sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit with this great group of church leaders was extraordinary.
Redditch, Ipsley Weekend
“To be surprised” was what Philip, a long-standing member of the congregation, said he was hoping for from this May weekend ‘at home’ led by Martin in this Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist, under the authority of the Lay-pastor, Gary Noyes. As Martin left Philip confirmed that he had indeed been very surprised, by the large number of church-members who were wanting to give their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord. It was a fine weekend, which says a great deal for Gary’s humble and inspired leadership. This was a community with a growing sense of its own identity, speaking into a needy community across all social and other barriers. More, please!
Stories from Africa
The God Who Is There takes its inspiration from Rooted in Jesus, our practical discipleship programme for Africa. Rooted in Jesus continues to spread from place to place, and is now in use in 42 dioceses or denominations in 14 African countries. The flow of work and engagement continues to grow. This year Fr Edmund Cargill-Thompson has led 5 weekend top-up conferences in the archdeaconries of Zululand. The Growing the Church initiative has adopted RinJ as its main strategy for discipleship across the whole of Southern Africa. The Revd Mike Cotterell and his team have been working in Nzara Diocese in new and troubled Southern Sudan. Bishop Martin Breytenbach has met with existing and new group leaders in follow-up in Mara Diocese in Tanzania and says, “I have no doubt that God has commissioned and anointed this course for Africa in much the same way as He is using ‘Alpha’ in more urban and western settings”. Canon Alan Bing led a return team to Burundi at the invitation of the Archbishop, working in the Dioceses of Muyinga and Matana. We envisage a new partnership with ‘Alpha’ in Burundi, serving different needs. Another return team was led by Archdeacon Kevin Roberts, to the Diocese of Lusaka in Zambia; this time including specialists in children’s ministry to introduce RinJ Junior to Sunday School teachers. The reports from all of these can be found on www.rootedinjesus.net.
Feedback was encouraging. Participants in Zululand said:
“I was taken by the testimony of faith by Lauren. She prayed for someone who had a leg problem. That person was healed” Fr Z. Myeni
“When I came here I had anger within myself, but with this workshop it helped me settle down and have peace within myself because I am forgiven” Misiwe Mhlaba
“The teachings were illustrated or emphasised by demonstrations; sharing best experiences was motivating; facilitators were very helpful and they are full of the Holy Spirit; teaching and presentation to me on the Holy Spirit was the eye opener” Sibongile
“If it may happen, I would have loved it if we could have this conference 3 times in a year because it is so helpful it changes people's mind life” Mnguni Thondeka
One white South African team member wrote movingly of the way she had been healed of family prejudice against black Africans by the overwhelming experience of praying and worshipping together; "I came away from the conferences having a deeper understanding that we are all just the same, the same desires, the same struggles, the same experiences." UK team members also wrote of the blessings they had received in their own lives:
"It fully lived up to what I expected and then exceeded those in terms of impact on me and my wife and opportunities to share the story with colleagues and family here who do not know Jesus yet. I had no idea I would be rewarded so richly for this step of faith!" - Mike Langworth (South Sudan team)
“It’s made me think harder about people with a non-book culture (most of my congregation!) and it has encouraged me that God’s word can still take root and change lives. It was very encouraging to see how the material doesn’t have to be delivered by educated experts to be effective. I would encourage others to go because it does help you break out of a narrow UK perspective on the Kingdom of God” – Revd Sheila Bridge (Tanzania team)
“I came back inspired, encouraged and desiring more of the simple life” – Revd Morey Andrews (Burundi team)
There is a growing partnership between the Church in this country and the Church in Africa, with huge benefits both ways. Rooted in Jesus and The God Who Is There are woven together; we all learn from one another. The God Who Is There is the first course adapted for the western world from one originally developed for Africa. Alison has been invited to give a plenary address on discipleship at the ‘Anglicans Ablaze’ Conference in Johannesburg this October – a daunting but exciting prospect. Do visit the Anglicans Ablaze website for more details!
A Filling Station In France
Our happy relationship with the Filling Station, a concept led by the Revd Richard Fothergill, took us to France and the area of Poitou-Charentes in May. This work, based around Limoges, covers an area twice the size of Wales under an ICS Chaplain and 25 other ministers in 15 centres reaching 500 English-speaking people. We were there to bring encouragement, in three sessions over a couple of days, and saw a fine response. Chris Taylor led the worship and has since written to us – “Dear Martin, a big 'thank you' for your ministry here on May 9th/10th. It was a joy and a blessing, and gave much food for thought! Also, if you recall, you prayed for my (nearly 40 years) back injury. I said at the time, this was the first time I had noticed a difference after prayer. That continues to be the case, The healing continues, my spine is now much straighter, and I'm being able stand for much longer periods of time than before. I praise God for this, and thank Him ....also, until 2 weeks ago, my voice used to 'give out' after (or during) worship leading, I would have almost lost it by the end of the meeting', suddenly It's stronger, and I have sung for successive nights, heartily, with no problem! Isn't He good?”
Praying For Healing In Salisbury
ReSource is closely involved with the ministry of prayer for healing. Our healing course In His Name is now in its second printing, and we offer close support to churches and groupings wishing to deepen their engagement with this crucial aspect of ministry. It was a great privilege for Martin and Alison to be invited to give the keynote addresses at a Celebration of Healing and Wholeness held in Salisbury Cathedral. Hosted by the diocesan healing group, the day included workshops, prayer tunnels, and a eucharist at which the new Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, presided, and was attended by the Bishop of Sherborne and some 300 others. If you would like to read Alison or Martin’s talks you will find them on the Salisbury website, Shalom in Sarum, along with testimonies from those who attended. We were particularly intrigued by a friendly roving reporter from the BBC, who apart from conducting the usual interviews was also to be seen gently poking her microphone into the prayer tunnels. Bishop Nicholas wrote afterwards to say “Thank you so much for all the care and thought that went into the Wholeness and Healing day at Salisbury Cathedral. It fulfilled all our hopes and expectations.”
A Trip To Cambridge University
Alison climbed into her car one chilly morning in February for the long
drive to Cambridge, where Libby Forrest of the Christian Union had
invited her to give a talk on ‘Dante Alighieri – the spiritual journey
of a poet’ to members of the English Faculty, as part of the run up to
the university mission. Apart from a short session for the Wells
Cathedral School medieval group a few months before, it’s the first
time Alison had spoken publicly on Dante for some 15 years. But then,
he is probably the greatest Christian poet of all time – and more of
Alison’s talks contain nuggets from the Divine Comedy than may be
apparent! Libby wrote afterwards, “Thank you for the time and effort
you put into the talk, which captured a really great balance between
being literary and thought-provokingly Christian.” Dante has a new role
as a 21st century evangelist.
February was a busy month, when Alison also enjoyed speaking in Carlisle, for the Charismatic Leaders Retreat held at Rydal Hall in Windermere, and in Langport as part of a Lent series organised by Churches Together in Langport. She also enjoyed a day spent at St Mellitus Theological College in London, working with first year ordinands on confidence in the gospel. They are a dynamic bunch; and Alison’s street cred at home received a boost as she was tweeted by Andy Croft before she’d even made it back to the train!
Many of you will remember that a while ago we devoted an issue of our magazine to the topic of Sabbath. So what of our own sabbaths – you tell us we seem so busy! Well, we are proud to say that Roger, as county team captain, has for the second year running led Somerset to victory in the regional chess championship; and after a surprise win against Yorkshire in the national quarterfinals they will now play Middlesex in the semi-finals. Ornithologist Alison is part of the monitoring team looking after the young cranes being reintroduced to the Somerset levels – this involves regular expeditions brandishing telescopes and assorted radio receiving equipment to count them (we currently have 33). Martin is auditioning for a part in an Arthur Miller play, “The View from the Bridge”; and plays cricket for his local team, Axbridge, where he and Cesca are increasingly involved in the community. Paula and Johan enjoyed three full weeks of South African sunshine at the beginning of the year. Our gardens are growing, our sons and daughters flourishing in work and play, and our gratitude to God is constant.
We are grateful to all those who invite us to serve them, those who work with us, those who pray and who support us financially. If you would like to find out more about our publications do visit the publications page, where you can also find resources for prayer, online articles, details of our magazine, and many more things. If you would like to support us financially you can also do that online, by taking out a standing order, or by using the orange donation button below. If you would like to join us in prayer do download our latest prayer diary.
Looking ahead in Liverpool
2012 has started for us with a bang. Alison leapt onto various trains and found herself transported from a retreat at Cuddesdon for graduates of the Oxford and St Alban’s Ministry Course on ‘The Word on the Wind: made new for mission’, with a group of about a dozen dynamic people now mostly entering into their first incumbencies (cold corridors and a roaring fire), to a teaching session on Healing and Mission at St Mellitus Theological College in London (where the atmosphere seems to get more dynamic year on year!). She then swept on up to Whalley Abbey in Lancashire, where ReSource has been invited to help with the Liverpool School of Leadership. Each year Liverpool diocese offers a high impact 3 month course to a small number of clergy who are keen to set aside some time to reflect on their ministry and on their shared task of growing their churches, and Linda Jones of the Church Growth Team had invited Alison to lead the opening residential on the subject of discipleship. It was fun to work with a very diverse group, both in terms of churchmanship and type of parish, and Alison enjoyed herself hugely. As we explored discipleship as ‘apprenticeship in community’, it became clear that this group were looking for more than a series of one-off engagements, and this has led to an invitation to Roger and John Benson to go up to Liverpool in October to look at ways of helping the diocese to begin an EQUIP peer mentoring programme. Meanwhile Martin will lead the closing SOL residential in March, focussing on spirituality and leadership. Alison ended her two days at Whalley with an open evening on discipleship in Warrington, attended by about 40 people interested in using Beyond Ourselves – again, this will be followed up by a training day led by Roger. Was it worth all the travelling? Well, lovely to see the gentle rain in Lancashire – but one clergyman said the retreat was the best thing that had happened in his ministry so far – so, on the whole, yes!
Father Michael Bolley has been ministering, with his wife Monica, for over 12 years in Southall, one of the largest and most intensively Hindu/Muslim/Sikh communities in the country. Holy Trinity church is wonderfully anglo-catholic, renewed in the Spirit and a missional community which works on the streets and in homes for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the assistant priests, Fr Yaqob Kushi, described Holy Trinity to me as, “a landmark, a gateway to Southall in its mission and experience”. It certainly has the broadest spread of ethnic origin of any church with which ReSource has worked. It was a privilege to be there and work alongside the ministry to bring support and encouragement for a weekend in October. It’s about unity, again. The Anglican churches in Southall have joined themselves into a Group Ministry, which is quite a rare beast in these days of Teams. The Group gives real partnership among the churches, for all of whom the focus is the community of Southall and its “cure of souls”. Further, Fr Michael had written to all the Holy Trinity churches of London Diocese to invite them to pray for this renewal weekend, and the notice-boards were covered with cards and letters from all over the place, pledging prayer in groups and congregations – and it felt like it. The sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable – like one of the session titles, it was a matter of “The Living Waters of God’s Spirit in Southall”. Fr Michael was clear that in the church’s life this time was one of a new emergence of relationship and fellowship, a key moment in the church’s journey, a time of struggle and challenges but good heart. This was a time of God shifting things, and it showed in all we saw of God’s working in the weekend.
Supporting discipleship in Carlisle
The diocese of Carlisle has defined ‘growing disciples’ as its key priority for the next ten years, and Bishop James Newcome has appointed Canon Tim Montgomery as the diocesan Leadership and Strategy Adviser to help deliver this exciting vision. Alison was delighted to be asked to join a small Leadership & Strategy Development and Support team within the diocese, and after a stimulating 24 hour meeting at Rydal Hall we are looking forward to helping them deliver what is the UK’s first diocesan-wide vision for discipleship. Tim commented: ‘These two days were vibrant, robust, challenging and Spirit-filled. We all look forward to working together and helping our various leaders to lead well and see the disciples grow and the Kingdom of God expand in Cumbria.’
Relationships are at the heart of the Gospel. God, who is himself relationship, calls us into relationship with one another and with him. We believe these relationships are best developed through small groups. Our experience in Africa has underlined that for us; and wherever we go in this country we find that small groups are at the heart of growing, healthy churches. ReSource has therefore produced a small leaflet on “Growing a church through small groups”, and we will be glad to send you a copy – or, best of all, come to your church to run a training day on this vital part of the church’s life. Whether your church is small or large is immaterial for, to quote the words of Jesus, “This is my commandment, that you love one another … By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,35)
Martin had a fine time in late October delivering a lecture on Evangelism to a full-house of students and others at Swansea University, standing in for our old friend Michael Green. The Bishop and his Archdeacon came along, the questions came thick and fast (not least from Muslim students) and a happy time was had by all. It would be good to think that this might lead to further work in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. However that may be, great thanks are due to the Revd Nigel John and the Chaplaincy team.
Prayer visiting in Wellingborough
One of the joys of our work is that we are able to share models of good practice among churches– and vitally in that, good practice in prayer. Many years ago we picked up one model for ‘prayer-visiting’, from a church in East Anglia; and we began to tell people about it. Following some work by Martin with Wellingborough deanery chapter, he and Alison spent a happy evening helping members of the Bozeat churches prepare to launch a new ministry of prayer visiting. The church had requested some facts and a case-study, so we went back to some old friends in a team of small churches in Chatham and Walderslade who we knew had been on the streets – and were amazed at what they told us. The churches in that part of Kent have been prayer-visiting the 10,000 homes constantly for the last 13 years and are now on their fourth lap; they have only been turned away from 2 doorsteps in that time; there are always prayer needs for the team; people have come to faith on the doorstep and many have signed up for Alpha; the scheme is backed by a team of intercessors and prepared by a mail-drop the week before; the visiting is done entirely by members of the small congregations and is now seen as an essential part of the Church’s ministry, facilitating the community. The evening in Bozeat was attended by members of different churches. Organiser Matthew Beeby described the input as both ‘fresh and inspiring’ and ‘innovative and amusing’ (?) – but more significantly reports that there is now a ‘major appetite’ for the initiative.
Meeting with God in Madagascar
Over the last couple of months we have sent out several Rooted in Jesus teams to train church leaders in leading small discipleship groups – working for the first time in Nigeria and in Madagascar as well as in a new diocese in Kenya. As always, much time is spent in prayer during the conferences, and many people experienced God in new ways. In Madagascar, priest’s wife Louise (pictured) received a vision of Jesus on the cross; gazing at him in adoration, she suddenly cried out as a heavy pain oppressed her wrists and ankles, only to gasp again moments later with joy as the pain was taken from her, leaving her feeling closer to Jesus than she had ever imagined possible. Pastor Noeli (so named because he was born on Christmas Day) told the conference that he had known about the power of the Holy Spirit as this was mentioned in his ordination service; but that in the prayer times he had now experienced that power for himself for the first time – and he was not alone. Meanwhile in Nigeria some 160 leaders in 2 missionary dioceses were trained by a valiant team of two, +John Hayden and Simon Holloway, the others having been forced to withdraw through ill health. And in SW Kenya, where the team worked cross-denominationally among the Masai, team member Chris Clark said the visit was one of the top 10 experiences of his life. They met some inspiring people – not least the pastor to whom they gave a small financial gift in recognition of his hospitality, and who went straight out and spent it on hare lip operations for two children. It was a privilege to be working among such brothers and sisters in Christ – and to watch the birth of new relationships and new hopes for the future.
In 1997 the town of Tamworth engaged in an ecumenical mission, using the title of “TIME”. Michael Green led the mission team, all the churches of every type, tradition and denomination from New Churches and Pentecostal to Methodist, Baptist, every kind of Anglican to URC and Roman Catholic joined in and it turned out to be a mission which was blessed by God. The team included a Serbian worship band, and it was great to be led by them in humble, sacrificial Christian prayer and praise just as the crisis in Bosnia was reaching its height, or depths. Many came to faith, influenced greatly by the example of unity among the churches, and many were renewed in their faith. So effective had the mission been that the churches came together a year later to proclaim over Tamworth a Mission Covenant involving all of them, based on 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake”. That fine Covenant still runs. It was good for ReSource to go back in October to meet again with all the church leaders, many of whom had been serving the community for all the years between; to study God’s word together and to do some dreaming for the future of mission in the town. There was a real desire and commitment to the work and to prayer, to the making of disciples and to evangelism. It was all a fine example of what the psalmist is talking about in Psalm 133:1,3 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!… For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life for evermore”.
New life in Bexhill on Sea
St Barnabas Church was due to be closed in 2009, but God had other ideas, sending Fr Roger Crosthwaite as retired priest in charge. After a diocesan healing day held in Chichester in February 2010, at which Alison Morgan was the speaker, Fr Roger invited Dr Mike and Ann Hutchinson to train some 40 people in the healing ministry using ReSource’s training course for healing prayer teams, In His Name; and over the last two years a growing number of non-churched people have come into the church to hear the good news and to receive healing in the name of Jesus. The church now holds a monthly healing service, 70 people attended the first Alpha course, and 7 home groups have been established. We gather that closure has been put on hold…
This edge-of-Bradford-and-Leeds parish is moving towards a vacancy, as the Revd John Walker is retiring after 17 years as Vicar – and, urged by John, the church is taking the unusual step of preparing itself practically and spiritually both for the vacancy and for what and who comes next. In November Martin went to preach at the Remembrance Sunday service and then stay on to run an afternoon of training for the PCC. During Lent the church will follow the ReSource Lent Course, Season of Renewal, which points onwards after Easter towards mission – and then at Pentecost Martin will return to preach and teach on the Holy Spirit. Finally the church will take itself off to Whitby with ReSource for a residential weekend to look at what it means to be and to make disciples in an intentional community. A full programme of work! In January Martin and Cesca, as part of this grand scheme, spent the weekend with the church “at home”, and it proved to be a wonderful experience for all of us. The evaluations were extraordinary – – “The weekend restored my faith” said one; and “It has relit my fire” said another. One person wrote, “The spoken word linked with heart knowledge. I felt strangely warmed while just sitting, listening and absorbing”; and another, “Every second was a blessing. Profound truth after truth. Teaching, scripture spoke loudly to me. It’s all about Jesus – loved, loved being in His presence. Didn’t want the weekend to end”. The turnout for all the sessions was terrific, with almost the whole of both congregations, family and traditional, attending on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The worship, led by Greg Leavers from North Wales, was great – and it was humbling to see how people engaged themselves with input on the Love of God; the Word of God; Relationships – the good, the bad and the ugly; Telling stories and dreaming dreams; and then the model from Acts of the Church standing forward in the Spirit, followed by a community lunch of the highest quality. It will be very exciting to take this further at Pentecost and in July – but it does all pay tribute to the selfless and Spirit-filled ministry of John Walker and Michelle and their brilliant family over so many years. We have often said that ReSource has the best job in the world. Churches like Calverley bring that claim to life, in all its fullness.
Working across denominations and traditions
One of the joys we have in ReSource is the opportunity to build relationships across denominations and traditions, and we have done a fair bit of that recently. Alison’s new book The Word on the Wind has been well received, and has led to a number of invitations to speak at conferences. In September she was at Swanwick with the East Midlands Baptist Ministers Association (below), and in November again with 300 members of the Vision in Action group of churches, part of the Pioneer network, helping them think and pray about mission in a changing culture. In December Alison spoke at Wells Cathedral School on miracles (a topic chosen by the students from the GCSE syllabus), and was able not only to share some of her own experiences but also to show a remarkable dvd from the ministry of Damian Stayne, a Roman Catholic layman and founder of the Cor et Lumen Christi community based at Chertsey in Surrey. Damian is a regular attender at the annual invitation-only Charismatic Leaders’ Conference, of which Alison and Martin are also members. A group of students signed up for Alpha as a result, and one, previously an atheist, says he is now an agnostic. We continue to pray for these students and those in the other Somerset schools with which we have been involved.
Someone has to do it…
“A weekend of God being at the centre while I surround myself in God” was how one person put it after ReSource had been working with St Kea Church from Truro, under the title “Rest for the Soul”. The venue was the excellent Esplanade hotel next to Fistral beach in Newquay, where we were cosseted and cared for in the warm while we watched the surfers doing their stuff from morning till night. Well, someone’s got to do it! A wonderful place in which to be reminded of God’s glorious creation and receive rest for the soul. Kea has long been a beacon for the Gospel in Cornwall, and it was great to see 130 people sign in for the weekend, with lots of children. This travelling in discipleship isn’t always easy – one person wrote afterwards, “I was challenged about how I bind up my family with my self-serving ways. I am asking God to deal with me”. But it seems that God always meets us who and where we are ; another person wrote, “Best things were Martin’s second talk – I’m a theorist! And Cesca’s relationship talk – transforming ugliness into loveliness – I’m a Counsellor!” This was a fun weekend with a fine response, and part of a strategic work as the Revd Charlie Peer and his team lead the church into the next stage of their journey together.
Preaching and Renewal in Winchester
In July Alison and Martin offered the first of what we hope will become a regular event - a CMD residential conference, organised by the Diocese of Winchester, for clergy and readers, titled ‘Preaching and Renewal – releasing Word and Spirit.’ Working in the conviction that preaching is not so much a midweek chore as a rhythm of life, we chose not to focus on preparation technique or skills practice but rather to take the opportunity to stand back, look at the big picture, and re-engage with what it means to live and speak the live Word of God. We did this through a mix of plenary input, personal reflection, exercises and not least questions – what do we mean by words, and how do we use them? Does our human understanding of words limit the way in which we think about the Word and words of God? What is the relationship between Word and Spirit, and how can we make sure that we live and speak the Word as something not merely conceptual but also incarnate and personal? What is the role of story in our speaking and preaching? How can we use poetry to help us engage more deeply with God? The 48 hour conference was attended by 19 people from a range of backgrounds and traditions, and we found ourselves opening doors to one another in a way we never expected. One participant wrote afterwards that she most valued “The affirmation that aspects of discipleship which feed me, like meditative prayer, wide-ranging reading, poetry, art, are not selfish indulgences but ways the Holy Spirit is topping me up so I can ‘bubble over’ with life for others. It was all helpful – fostering confidence, interesting speakers, stories, course content. Lots of good resources, the offers of help for the future, and time made for individual guidance. The course allowed space for us to continue our private conversations in our heads, hearts, souls. Honestly, it’s the best course I’ve been on here, and I hope there’ll be an opportunity for more!”
Missioners at Merville, northern France
One of the great privileges for ReSource is to be involved with Christian brothers and sisters who work in mission in all parts of the UK and beyond. The Diocesan Missioners are the embodiment of Matthew 28’s “Go into all the world and make disciples”. They are also an experienced, humble group of people who would agree with Eric Hoffer’s words, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists”. In June the Missioners took themselves off for their annual Conference in a welcoming French Convent, to learn together ; and Martin was called to offer the morning Bible studies for them, with Alison bringing the closing reflections for the Conference. We explored together what the Bible means when it so often calls a person to “go back”, to take stock, to reflect, to be radical (in the sense of going back to roots); and personally and as a Church to “return to Galilee” in the Spirit, for that is where we shall see Jesus Christ (Mark 16:6,7 and Matthew 28:7,10). We considered what it meant to move from conversion and belief into “discipleship”, that apprenticeship to Jesus as part of an intentional community. We recognised that it is one of the marks of a disciple that she or he has crossed a crucial threshold into a new place of understanding who she/he is in Christ; and that the word “disciple” appears only in the four Gospels and in Acts, precisely because it is about following Jesus and doing what Jesus did. Again, it is not so much about what you know as about who you are becoming. There was lots more – about proclamation, the Church and its mission, about liberating the captive and freeing the prisoner, and all the rest of Jesus’ manifesto in Luke 4. It was a fine gathering, and great for ReSource to be so closely involved. Do listen to Alison’s reflections, on www.alisonmorgan.co.uk, under “Talks” and to what she says about that “long obedience in the same direction” which is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Word on the Wind and Newcastle Diocese
June saw the publication of Alison’s latest book The Word on the Wind, timed to coincide with the Newcastle Diocesan Conference, at which she had been invited to launch it. The conference was held at Edinburgh University, and Alison was delighted with the response she received - and equally delighted to have the chance to listen to Fr Gerard Hughes, who was the main speaker at the conference. A mini launch was also held at Holy Trinity Leicester. Early responses to the book have been encouraging – Bishop John Inge of Worcester wrote ‘Alison’s writing is a tremendous gift to the church… I am busy recommending it to all and sundry – particularly the clergy of my diocese’; and others have been equally kind.
Living Beautiful Lives Conference in York
On 25th May Alison headed north to York to speak at the inaugural conference of the Centre for the Study of Discipleship Formation at St John’s University. The new Centre forms part of the Methodist York Institute for Community Theology, and Alison’s talk ‘Beautiful Lives – Christian discipleship in rural Africa’ gave a name to the conference, which was titled ‘Living beautiful lives – contemporary perspectives on discipleship.’ Alison was delighted to find herself speaking alongside Martyn Atkins (General Secretary of the Methodist Church), Roy Searle (from the Northumbria Community) and Roger Walton (from Durham University). The primary aim of the new centre is to support and initiate cross-disciplinary study and research into discipleship formation. The Institute for Community Theology is directed by Revd Richard Andrew, and they can be found on the website www.theologyinthecommunity.org.uk. All of the four talks from the conference will shortly be available on the website.
Discipleship, home and away
Rooted in Jesus continues its
expansion in Africa. So far 9 teams have gone out in 2011, with 3 still
to go, and we have a rapidly filling diary for 2012. By the end of the
year the course will be in use in 37 dioceses or denominations in 13
African countries, and thanks to Richard Thomas we have a brand new
website to celebrate (www.rootedinjesus.net). Sadly, after 2 years as
the first RinJ Administrator, Richard will be moving overseas with his
wife Jane as she takes up a senior position in education. We are
however delighted to appoint Jonathan Rendall to succeed him. Jonathan
has been involved with RinJ for several years, and as an ex head
teacher will take particular responsibility for RinJ Junior. He will
combine his new role with his existing part-time position in the
Education Department of the Diocese of Worcester.
The hands-on emphasis of Rooted in Jesus
has led to
so many requests to use it here that thanks to the tireless work of
Roger Morgan, working with Anita Benson and a team of contributors (and
with Paula Smit grafting away at the computer), we have now published
the first book of a new home discipleship course entitled The
God Who Is There. This may be the first time that a course
developed in Africa has come to the assistance of Christians in the
Western world! The first book is called Beyond Ourselves,
and full information may be found on www.resource-arm.net . Beyond
Ourselves has been piloted in several places, with
encouraging results. We know of a number of people who have become
Christians, and of one church where they are rejoicing at the coming of
the Holy Spirit on so many of them through the course. One young woman
told us that that her mother had become a Christian and that one of the
exercises had enabled her to sort out some of her own long-term
relationship problems. This underlines our view that discipleship is
not so much about what we know in our heads as who we are becoming in
our hearts and lives.
We are keen to support those using our materials, and if your church is interested in using Beyond Ourselves we would be delighted to talk with you about it, and to offer some support and training for your group leaders to help you get the maximum benefit from it. Please contact Roger Morgan through the office for more details.
Stewards Trust and Monkton Combe
For the second year in a row ReSource led a week at Monkton Combe school near Bath as part of the Stewards’ Trust series of summer weeks which happen around this country and also at centres in France. Some 130 adults and 70 children came together for teaching and fellowship, worship, games, enjoyment and reflection, and a good time was had by all. Because it was the second year we were invited to go deeper in our input, and covered subjects such as self-worth, the love of God as an all consuming fire, Word and Spirit, the church as an intentional community, the disciple as apprentice, doing what Jesus did, and the truth of stories. It was a fine time of real engagement and we saw lives healed and renewed and people committing themselves afresh to the living God. One of the high spots for many was a fire/prayer tunnel through which everyone passed, prayed for by the whole community – one person, senior in ministry, said, “the prayer tunnel was awesome! I wanted it to go on for ever, and to go round again a second time!”. For many people this was a first time experience and both emotionally moving and healing. The same person went on, “Martin’s final talk seemed to make sense of the whole week, and we had a great time in our group, sharing our stories as you suggested”. Another couple wrote, “One of the real joys of this summer has been meeting and understanding more of what it means to have a heart to heart connection with Jesus”. We thank God for the Stewards’ Trust which works so powerfully for the Gospel among children, young people and adults in this and lots of other ways and is indeed a faithful steward of the Gospel.
“God in the Way”
ReSource has been asked to work with Clapham Holy Trinity, William Wilberforce’s church which was at the heart of the great evangelical movements of the 19th century, in a number of different ways over the next couple of years. The church is also using ReSource materials such as the Lent Course and the PCC resources to help carry forward its ministry and mission. We all enjoyed a fine and responsive weekend at Pilgrim Hall in Sussex with members of the church really joining in the journey as an intentional community of disciples, under the enthusiastic leadership of the Canon David Isherwood. One person said the most helpful had been ‘Everything - it touched every aspect of the Christian life’. Others said, “I appreciated being introduced to new ways of thinking about things I was familiar with, “ “Understanding about redeeming and not accusing in our relationships”, “The uplifting-ness”, and, ”It has been refreshing, expository and inspiring to know God better from a variety of perspectives. I was taken to a new level in Christ”. It is one of the great privileges of this wonderful job that ReSource is invited to be part of the journey being made by so many enquirers and faithful believers, around this country and beyond.
Return to Southwark
In the last Newsletter Martinsuggested that “one thing leads to another” for ReSource, and so it had proved with the connection between Clapham and a Pentecost evening in Southwark Cathedral. This was something of a return for some of us because the final Service to celebrate the closure of the 12 years of Springboard’s life had happened there, in the presence of three missionary Archbishops, in 2003. It was good to be back, and particularly so for the first Pentecost for Southwark’s new Bishop, the Right Revd Christopher Chessun. It was a fine evening of worship, prayer and praise. Martin had been asked to preach, and chose to speak on Peter and Cornelius and the stunningly ground-breaking nature of that passage in Acts 10. He writes: “It seemed to me to point to the fact that discipleship is not about what we know but who we are becoming, not about learning so much as about apprenticeship (to Jesus Christ); and to the New Testament message that this apprenticeship is always served in community, that intentional community that Michael Frost in his fine book Exiles calls ‘communitas’. After I had spoken, Bishop Christopher came and sat on a bar-stool in front of the Holy Table, where he was questioned about his response to the sermon, for Southwark, by one of the heads of Comedy/light entertainment at the BBC, also on a bar-stool. It was a great exchange and encouragement for so many in that buzzing Cathedral, and we were left with the final question (and laughter) ringing in our ears, “Bishop, for you is it Lady Bishops or Lady Gaga?”. One thing does lead to another. We are now invited to be part of the Southwark Diocesan CME training in 2012. Separately, Bishop Christopher has said to us, ”I hope this will open the door to renewal for the Diocese”. May it be so, Lord, in Southwark and every other Diocese and Church.”
Christ Church Dore
Archdeacon Ian Bishop for ReSource led a very successful weekend with the parish church of Dore in Sheffield. The church had taken over the whole of Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire, and said that after five years of reflection, review and analysis they were looking for “a step beyond”. They wanted in particular to respond to the ReSource tagline, to become a church “diverse, local, renewed in the Spirit and effective in mission” – and that was the brief to which Ian was working. A fine time was had by all, with many finding that “spiritual way forward” that they had been seeking. As one person said, this was like Peter with Cornelius and his friends in Acts 10 – “breaking out of known ways – stepping onwards from the past and its understandings”.
ReSource always seeks to work across denominations and traditions, so it was great to spend a Sunday with the Baptist Church in Ruddington, Nottingham under the leadership of Pastor Mike Fegredo. Increasingly we find churches regard Sundays as their teaching days, and it was good to find 70 people happy to work together industriously from ten in the morning through a wonderfully generous Bring and Share lunch until late afternoon, considering God in His love; God in His Word; God in His Grace; and God in our Life; and praying for one another. Just reading that through reminds me how intensive the day was, carefully planned with the local steering group – and demonstrating that when there’s a will, everything is possible.
Leadership and prayer; the ways in which God works
A weekend with the little parish of Branston (where the
comes from), near Burton upon Trent, reminded us that where there are
faithful, praying believers and courageous leadership, God works in the
most wonderful ways. Two years ago, with just three people in the
Sunday morning congregation, the church was facing closure; but that
remnant was praying.
God’s answer was to bring the Revd Mick Ellor and his wife Jan to lead the willing faithful towards the promised land. The result has been growth, largely through new conversions and teaching in proper 30 minute sermons in Word and Spirit, so that the morning and evening congregations now average 35 each; and a burgeoning children’s work, with a fine summer Holiday Club. £45,000 has been raised by the church members to allow the removal of the decrepit organ and the building of a kitchen and lavatory, and a large Upper Room for Youth work, in the space; the appointment of willing Children’s and Youth workers; the installation of a new PA and worship music system; and good connections with the community, with Mick on the Parish Council and serving as the Mayor’s Chaplain. All in just two years. It can always be done, under God and through fervent prayer.
A Sussex mission week
In 2010 we had been doing some work with the parishes of
Clymping, Yapton and Ford near Chichester, and all of that morphed into
a week of mission earlier this year. This was a “stage one” mission,
with just two people from ReSource and no larger team, and a programme
which was deliberately limited, built around a series of events. These
ranged from a Women’s breakfast, Christening celebrations, coffee
mornings and lunch parties and a Men’s curry night which took over the
local Tandoori restaurant, through to an evening on “How to
juggle everything”, another exploring the question, “What
would Jesus say to Richard Dawkins?” (which filled the
Village Hall and led to an hour of animated questions and answers) and
a final “Saturday Night Live” in a relaxed magazine
style, with a marvellous testimony from Sean Freake, who had driven
from the Forest of Dean.
Throughout the week the questions came thick and fast, the tears and laughter were never very far away, there was deep controversy and struggle, and some anguish; and a very great deal of honesty and integrity, some of which has carried on into email and telephone relationships for the ReSource team members since. People were helped to faith for the first time, and many were renewed and taken across new thresholds in their journey. For me one of the highlights was at a Skittles evening for those recently married by the Vicar, Richard Hayes. It all seemed very low key, with a good skittles match (men versus women – was that wise?!) and a gentle word of epilogue – but then a man leaning against the wall at the back who had been quiet until that moment suddenly asked, “How can I find what you’ve got?”, and the whole evening exploded into life. It was yet another proof of those words of Robert Lewis – “A church is a community of people who present living proof of a loving God to a watching world”.
Listening before we leap…
The vision of ReSource is to help the church in renewal for mission in the power of the Spirit, but sometimes that can take unusual forms. With St Paul’s in Finchley, for example we have been working with our friends for some seven years on matters of management, leadership and renewal and having the privilege of watching the church struggle, grow and flourish under its incumbent, Nicholas Pye. In other places such as East Bristol and Shirley in Southampton it has been a matter of acting as consultants as churches consider their future and take radical steps in renewal for mission. In the glorious church of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol we responded to an invitation from the Reverend Simon Taylor to help the church look at its governance, examine its remarkable history and take stock as it prepares itself for the next stage in its life.
One thing leads to another
One of the many great things about working with ReSource is that there are constant connections being made. Last year Martin and Cesca led the Stewards Trust retreat at Monkton Combe; from that came an invitation from Clapham Holy Trinity, looking for help in questions of renewal for mission. Roger Morgan and Martin have now preached in the church and then worked on small groups, and with the PCC. From that has come a connection with the Christian cell group at News International in Wapping, where Christians from different churches meet to pray and study the scriptures, and to run an Alpha course spread across The Times, The News of the World, The Sun and all the others in that great building. We have also had an invitation to be part of and preach at Pentecost Praise in Southwark Cathedral, as part of the new beginning for the Cathedral and the leadership of the new Bishop , Christopher Chessun, under the title ‘Come, Holy Spirit, Come’.
Without rose-tinted specs it is marvellous to see the enthusiasm and engagement in Dioceses and churches around the country, a great deal of it interactive and fresh in its approach to communicating the Gospel. It is good for ReSource to have this kind of rolling connection going on, with recommendation following recommendation: but the really important thing is the way in which the Church in all its parts, whether fresh expression or traditional inherited, is seeking renewal for mission in the power of the Holy Spirit, discipleship as an apprenticeship in community, abundance of life and human flourishing. The guidance of prophets like Bob Jackson, Robert Warren and George Lings is bearing fine fruit, and “the forgotten ways” of the Gospel of Jesus are being rediscovered. Now that really is good news.
We are delighted that our latest publication, Alison Morgan’s The Word on the Wind – renewing confidence in the gospel, has now arrived. We are honoured that Archbishop Rowan Williams has written the foreword, and that it has received so many commendations. The Diocese of Newcastle invited Alison to launch the book at their clergy conference in June, the theme of the conference being Confidence in the Gospel. To find out more or to order a copy please visit our publications page.
We now have 20 clergy who have enrolled in our mentoring program. Roger Morgan leads the centre in the South West and John Benson, who is based in Chester, runs the group in the North West. EQUIP meetings are all day affairs and happen every four months. Then Roger and John pay visits to the different parishes, working to support the clergy locally. Being a church leader can be lonely and these people appreciate having a friend at a distance with whom they can consult. There may be scope to expand quite rapidly since we have contact with other experienced clergy who are interested in running groups in their areas. For more information visit our EQUIP page.
ReSource Trustees—Ave atque Vale
June saw us holding a party in Somerset to say ‘thank you so much and farewell’ to Canon Felicity Lawson—a long-standing Trustee and Chair of the Trustees both for ARM and ReSource who has done a magnificent job with wisdom and prayer-filled grace over the years, and ‘has borne the heat of the day’. Felicity was presented with a Wedgewood bowl and a gert (as they say in Somerset) bunch of flowers as tokens of our enormous thanks. We wish her well, both as Parish Priest in Gildersome and as a Trustee of Scargill. Now in through the door have come new Trustees — Philip Carver, Accountant, Mike Edson, retired Priest and Archdeacon, and John McGinley, Vicar of Leicester, Holy Trinity.
Worcester – The Gifts of the Spirit
Alison spent a happy day in March teaching on the gifts of the Spirit at a day conference organised by the Worcester Anglican Renewal Ministry (WARM) group. About 70 people attended – a stretch for Holland House, the diocesan retreat centre, but beautifully managed by them. Using Alison’s book Doing What Jesus Did – taking a fresh look at the gifts of the Spirit, we reminded ourselves that the gifts are given to us not as individuals or as possessions, but collectively and as tools – tools whose primary purpose is to enable us to do the things that Jesus did. "Alison’s talk was measured, deep, humorous and full of the very Holy Spirit she was talking about”, one person commented – but actually the sense of the presence of God amongst the whole gathering was wonderfully encouraging. This is a day which we have been modelling in a number of places, and hope to offer more widely – contact us if you would like to know more!
Supporting Mission in Peterborough Diocese
Following a meeting with Bishop Donald Allister, ReSource has been asked to support the deaneries of Wellingborough and Corby as they seek to reach out to their communities. Following meetings between Martin and the two rural deans, we kicked off with a combined PCCs evening for the Deanery of Wellingborough. Encouraged by Tony Lynett, the rural dean, 153 people turned out for what proved to be a dynamic evening of discussion and engagement, focussing on the mandate of the PCC to work alongside the vicar in supporting ‘the whole mission of the church, pastoral, social, evangelistic and ecumenical’ (as the PCC (Powers) Measure of 1956 puts it). Laughter, determination and decision-making characterised the evening; “food for thought and inspiration to act” was how one person summed it up. We look forward to the next stage – probably some form of clergy retreat to think how best to take things forward.
Ferry – gliding in Basel
If you fly to Basel in Switzerland and go to the Cathedral on the hill, wander around the precincts and look down at the Rhine you will see one of the great wonders of Basel; and one which has resonances for Christian believers. There are four ferries across the Rhine, and they all operate in the same way. The boat is just attached to an overhead wire, which stops it from being swept away; and it travels across the river with no motor power except the current of the river itself, harnessed by judicious use of the large rudder. The whole process is silent and yet extremely powerful, and it’s called ferry-gliding. It is all a wonderful reminder of ‘my Grace is made perfect in your weakness’ and all those early verses of 2 Corinthians 12 – and even Zechariah 4:6, ‘Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts’.
Martin had a very happy weekend in Basel with the Anglican Church and its Chaplain Geoff Read: first up in the Alps at Langenbruck where we worshipped, prayed and looked together at discipleship for mission, and then with the evening congregation in the chapel attached to Basel Cathedral – again, a quite full house and an excellent response. This is the fifth year we have worked with Geoff and his chaplaincy in Basel, engaging with this wonderfully diverse group of people from all parts of the English speaking world and especially from Germany, France and Switzerland and working with them towards a major work of mission across the whole community. Like the effortless power of the Basel ferry – gliders, I believe this will be a work filled with the power of the Spirit and in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
Being disciples of Jesus
We are increasingly finding ourselves being asked to help people get their minds round what it means to be a disciple of Jesus – discipleship seems to be a word growing in currency, a word inviting a new understanding. Discipleship, we are convinced, is not about what you know; it’s about who you are becoming. The biblical word for disciple is mathetes, which means something much more like ‘apprentice’ than ‘student’. What does it mean today to be apprenticed to Jesus? Alison was invited in May to speak on ‘Living beautiful lives – Christian discipleship in rural Africa’ at the inaugural conference for the Centre for the Study of Discipleship Formation, Martyn Atkins (General Secretary of the Methodist Church), Roy Searle (of the Northumbria Community) and Roger Walton (from Durham University). The Centre is a significant new initiative supporting the growing interest in discipleship, and forms part of the Methodist York Institute for Community Theology. Following a visit by Martin and Alison to meet with Bishop James Newcombe and his senior staff last year, and the recent involvement of some of the diocesan clergy in Rooted in Jesus in Zambia and Burundi, we have now also been asked by the Diocese of Carlisle – the first UK diocese to identify discipleship as its strategic priority for the next ten years – to introduce and support our new UK version of Rooted in Jesus across the diocese. The first volume, Beyond Ourselves, is at the printers; and The New Community and Shining like Stars will follow soon. This new course is edited by Roger Morgan and Anita Benson, and Phil Lawson Johnston is working on a companion worship CD to accompany volumes 2 and 3.
RS published this course about a year ago and it is beginning to get known and used. The course is available to any group of Christians who want to learn how to reach out with the Gospel to their friends, neighbours and work colleagues. The answer in a nutshell is ‘Live a Beautiful Life’. We are beginning to get stories back. One man who did the course spoke to his neighbour, discovered that the man had a painful back, offered to pray, and is now regarded by his neighbour as having a great gift as a healer. Do invite us to introduce this course in your area.
Roger Morgan has been busy with youth work, all of it based down here in South West. He led a mission at a public School in Taunton and then went to preach at another public school in Street. Both these schools have excellent chaplains and some very good Christian staff and support. Roger’s task was to use his gift as an evangelist and God gave fruit in both schools.
Close to home Roger is working long term with groups at the Blue School in Wells and also at The Cathedral School in Wells. These two schools also have Christian staff and the work is expanding both at lunch times and after school. It helps that Roger is a governor at The Blue. ReSource runs a monthly evening meeting at a local restaurant (see www.1sttuesday.info)which is also aimed at the younger generation. Some of the young people we are working with are proving to be strong Christians and will undoubtedly be leaders for the future.
St Paul’s Theological Centre – Healing and mission
Alison Morgan was delighted to be invited back again this year to teach at St Paul’s Theological College on Healing and Mission, working with a dynamic group of second year ordinands from all over the country. As last year, Alison was deeply encouraged by what is happening at St Paul’s, and it was a privilege to share in the journey of such a committed group of young leaders.
Working together in unity
Psalm 133, John 17, the letter to the Ephesians – there is a constant flow in scripture towards unity: not uniformity (perish the thought) but a real unity between brothers and sisters working together in harmony. That really is where God commands his blessing. But sometimes there is a subtle trap waiting. Like renewal , togetherness is not enough on its own. Just as, to quote Bishop Tom Wright, ‘Spiritual renewal is not given to provide people with the spiritual equivalent to a trip to Alton Towers’, so togetherness needs to be for a purpose – ‘to carry the victory of the cross into the world’.
Bishop Graham Cray and Martin were very glad to be invited to meet with Churches Together in Wiltshire on a Saturday, when a large gathering of people joined in a fine new church hall to look at the whole question of mission, and what it was to be disciples in a church in the 21st century. We provided keynote addresses, but the real work was done in the animated discussions around the tables, and the comeback to us in questions; and the response was excellent, with a real sense of eagerness to get on with the Gospel job in the local church and community. This wasn’t togetherness for its own stifling sake; it was unity in the Spirit for God’s mission in his world, crossing thresholds into new life.
Confidence in the gospel
Alison Morgan’s new book The Word on the Wind –
renewing confidence in the gospel, will be co-published by
Monarch and ReSource in June 2011, and launched at the Newcastle
Diocesan Conference. A sequel to The Wild Gospel,
new book comes out of 7 years of experience on the road, both in this
country and in Africa with the discipleship programme Rooted
in Jesus. The book is in three parts. The first part offers
an analysis of the context in which we now minister, and suggests that
we can be confident that we still have something which is wanted and
needed by people today. Part Two examines the tools which are available
to us as we seek to share our faith with others: looking first at the
Word and then at the Spirit, Alison shows that it is open to us to
minister powerfully and effectively to those we meet. The final part of
the book asks to what extent we need to change the way we do things if
we are to offer the gospel effectively to others. Alison suggests that
two things are necessary: first that we develop our understanding of
discipleship, and secondly that we think constantly and creatively
about church. Throughout the book, the big picture of the world in
which we live is interwoven with the personal stories of people whose
lives have been changed by their faith, and with examples of churches
of all types and settings which have found ways to reach out creatively
to their communities. Each section ends with includes poems, scriptures
and questions for reflection and discussion.
The Word on the Wind will be launched at the Diocese of Newcastle Conference on Confidence in the gospel. For more information and to read what people are saying about the book click here.
Rooted in Jesus
2010 was good year for Rooted in Jesus,
ReSource’s discipleship course for Africa, and we are excited and
challenged by what is happening. We have just published our annual
report, which can be found by clicking here, and we are updating the
website, where you will find individual testimonies and links to the
individual trip reports. Rooted in Jesus is now in
use in 21 Anglican dioceses and 3 denominational groupings, in 10
countries and 23 languages. This year we have launched Rooted
in Jesus Junior, for children aged 8-16, struggled with the
demands of putting it into Arabic, and held our first Rooted
in Jesus day conference, hosted by Christ Church Abingdon and
attended by 50 people. Perhaps the highlight this year was returning to
E Zambia and finding that a young woman we had prayed for 2 years
previously, then suffering from genital sores and AIDS, had been
completely healed, and has now tested negative; or the more recent
testimony of 10 prostitutes who have turned to Christ and who now form
a RinJ group. But there have been many encouraging stories – the team
member healed of a 3 month illness on the plane as he flew out to
Tanzania; the excitement of Sunday School teachers beginning to use
RinJ Junior in Uganda and Tanzania; the invitation to work in the whole
province of Burundi; the challenges which come from the diverse country
which is South Africa; the sparkling eyes of the UK team members who
return to their churches spiritually challenged and refreshed; the
remarkable ways in which the intercessors here pick up the reality of
what is happening in the heavenly places as they pray for the teams...
Nobody planned RinJ, it just happened – and we thank God for it, and
for all those who give their time and talents to it, and for the glory
which is his as his purposes are worked out through the inadequacy of
our own human capabilities. Please continue to pray with us as we seek
to follow the Lord’s leading.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
When in Rome...
“But I wasn’t thinking of moving over to Rome”, protested one clergyman on seeing our latest publication... We were able to reassure him that despite its timing, When in Rome is a new guide written for UK members of Rooted in Jesus teams to enable them to avoid some of the pitfalls of cross-cultural mission. It takes a light-hearted look at some of the differences in thought and custom between the UK and Africa, and includes practical information on what to expect. If you’d like a copy do contact us.
Everybody, even itinerants, should have a grassroots ministry in their own community – and two years into our time here we are beginning to do that in Wells. Working with a small cell group of Christians from around the city, we have launched a monthly youth event called First Tuesday. Held in the upstairs room of a local restaurant, First Tuesday is open to all but is designed primarily for students from the two local secondary schools, the Cathedral School and the Blue School. Working closely with the chaplains and staff in the schools and alongside the local church leaders, our aim is to strengthen youth work in the town by offering a midweek, accessible event open to Christians and non Christians alike. We play games, consume muffins, enjoy live music and discuss life issues in a way that assumes no faith commitment but offers take-home wisdom from a Christian perspective. Topics so far have included ‘How to deal with difficult people’, ‘How to make your first million pounds’, ‘How to live with me and what I am like’, and ‘The case for evolution and the case for God – and can we have both?’ The Cathedral School has run its first Youth Alpha course, and some students from both schools have now begun to meet weekly to consider in more depth what it means to be a Christian. We hope to model something which could be used elsewhere, and we have been asked to work in a number of other schools in the South West. It is a great privilege to work alongside local teachers in supporting the young people of Wells. Do visit our local website, www.1sttueday.info
Roger Morgan led a mission to Wallington in South London,
the Revds Steve Coe and Martin Breadmore. Roger took with him a
ReSource team, a group which he later described as “the best team I
have ever led in mission”. Those praying for the mission were
encouraged to pray for “at least 100 converts to Christ” – and it
became clear at the end that 101 had either responded directly to
Christ or made a commitment to take things further. We have a God who
pours out His generosity, pressed down and flowing over.
These are just a few of the stories of people who responded (names have been changed):
Ben is moving ahead in his new life; we meet twice a week, we are just tackling his drink issue (5 men prayed with him after the service on Sunday), and he is meeting up with a Christian specialist to get help. It feels like a corner has been turned.
Philip is alive in the Lord and has committed himself to an Alpha course. Before the mission his and Jane’s marriage was on the point of ending but she too is, while I write, meeting with Dawn and Elizabeth for follow up with the Decision booklet.
Brian made a point of saying that the evening you spent with him and Janet has changed his life; since the mission they have joined a small group.
Martin Cavender has been working with Canon Chris Hancock
developing thinking about Executive Retreats, intended to provide space
and teaching for executives, directors and others at a high level in
the business and professional worlds as a means of bringing
encouragement and refreshment to a community which can often feel
itself surrounded by practical atheism. We are moving towards our first
such work, but building it on the experience we have found in other
areas, particularly the Christian Leadership Forums led by Chris and
involving young Christian leaders from China, India, the UK, the US and
other parts of the world. The intention is to provide real excellence
and value added input for those who come, we have been assembling a
stellar group of speakers and leaders. We should welcome your prayers
for this work, and your comments and guidance.
NEW! Sharing our faith
‘Beauty of life causes strangers to join our ranks. We do not talk
about great things; we live them’ – Marcus Minucius Felix, 160-240 AD.
Roger Morgan's group course Beautiful Lives - sharing our faith with friends and neighbours has been successfully piloted in Pontesbury, and will be available as a new ReSource publication from July. 1 Peter 3.1-2 speaks of ‘the beauty and reverence’ which should characterise our lives as Christians, and Roger believes that it is beautiful lives, lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, which lead others to faith. The course is designed to help church members develop the confidence to share their faith naturally and effectively with others.
Roger's other publications, Stay Evangelism: how to reach the people next door, and Decision, an explanation of what is involved in becoming a Christian, are also proving popular, and we have given out hundreds of copies of Decision in the two missions ReSource has led recently. Many people say that it is now the best resource available for potential or new Christians. It's available on our Publications page, but if you would like to place a bulk order please do get in touch with us. It makes a great resource for Alpha.
The healing ministry
We place a high emphasis on prayer and prayer ministry,
number of the team are involved with the ministry of healing. Cesca
Cavender is a member of the prayer team at Harnhill Centre of Christian
Healing, where Barry Smith is also one of the trustees; and Alison was
delighted to be invited to give the annual Arthur Dodds lecture there
in April. 130 people came to hear her speak on 'Healing in Word and
Spirit - from intensive care to rural Africa'. One person commented "It
was faith building - the idea that healing is the essence of God is
exciting! Could have listened a lot longer"; and many said how
encouraging and inspiring they had found it to listen to Alison's story
- from the remarkable healing of her husband after a road accident 14
years ago to her experience of seeing the Lord at work through the Rooted
in Jesus course and conferences which she heads up in Africa.
If you would liketo hear Alison's talk please drop her an email (email@example.com),
and she will be delighted to post you a CD - cost £4 inc p&p.
We have continued to support the ReSource healing course In His Name. Alison led a day on healing for the Diocese of Hereford in November and one for the Diocese of Chichester in February, and John Woolmer is due to lead one for the Diocese of Worcester in May. Both Alison and John were invited to speak to the On Fire conference 'Beauty from Ashes' in April; On Fire is a sister organisation devoted to renewal for mission through word and sacrament, and we are delighted to be working ever more closely with them.We have been encouraged to see the level of faith and the commitment to starting healing teams in churches where this has not previously been a feature of the church’s ministry. Again we were encouraged by the feedback from the days; comments included "Thank you for the day. I thought your talks were spot on and your style of delivery absolutely the best for making this ministry accessible and real”;“inspirational”; and "definitely the best diocesan healing day I’ve attended". Meanwhile we continue to support individual churches as they take people through the course – please do get in touch with us at the office if you think we can help.
Rooted in Jesus
Rooted in Jesus, the discipleship course for Africa first written in
Leicester and edited and directed by Alison Morgan, is now run as a
project of ReSource. It continues to have an ever widening impact.
Following its introduction to the Diocese of St Mark’s, South Africa by
a team from Holy Trinity Leicester last year, we have received the
following comment from Bishop Martin Breytenbach: "I have no doubt that
God has commissioned and anointed this course for Africa in much the
same way as he is using Alpha in more urban and ‘western’ settings. We
are already starting to see remarkable things in this Diocese as people
and congregations are set on fire with the love of Jesus" . Invitations
are now coming in from other South African dioceses as they hear about
what is happening in St Mark’s. In the meantime a team led by Amanda
Johnson has been to Narok in Kenya to continue working with the Masai
pastors of the Covenant Church International, and another led by Martin
Cavender has introduced Rooted in Jesus to the Diocese of Lusaka,
Zambia. Another team led by Bishop John Hayden has just returned from
Angola. Over the next few months teams are due to go out to Uganda,
Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa, some to support what is already
happening, some to introduce Rooted in Jesus or the new Rooted in Jesus
Junior for the first time. For more details click here or visit www.rootedinjesus.net.
A new commissioning
To cope with the rapid expansion of Rooted in Jesus,
a generous donation to ReSource enabled us to appoint a part time RinJ
administrator, Richard Thomas, for an initial period of one year. We
have also been delighted to welcome Clemency Fox as our Intercessions
Coordinator, working with the team who have offered to pray for the
teams and the receiving dioceses. In March Richard and Clemency were
both commissioned in the Bishop's Chapel in Wells by Bishop John
Hayden, under whose leadership RinJ was first pioneered in Tanzania.
John presided over a eucharist and we were able to pray for Richard and
Clemency as he laid hands on them. Richard and Clemency have been doing
a stunning job, as have all the intercessors.
Church renewal weekends
The rhythm of the year is always reflected in the church weekends which are going on week by week and all around the country. This last period has seen us, among many others, working with the Revd Tim Jones in Taunton St James, where Roger Morgan led a teaching weekend as part of a strategic work for the church on growing into evangelism and mission; with the Revd Ray Adams in Haydenwick, Swindon for a fourth visit by ReSource to help carry the church forward in its strategic thinking about growth and mission in their area of Swindon and the Bristol diocese; and a February weekend with St Martin’s in Basildon under the Revd Esther McCafferty, where the prayers of the church included:
That there would be a recognition of the need for repentance
That fresh faith would bring strength through the knowledge of the Word
That this would bring about a release of joy in the Lord on the church
Protection on the church binding strongholds that have held them from moving on
Esther wrote recently: “The Spirit is at work amongst us so much more evidently since the weekend you led for us in February.” If you would like to explore the possibility of a ReSource team member coming to lead a weekend for your church please contact the office.
Renewal weekend for St Paul's Warwick
Don Brewin led a small ReSource team on this weekend at the end of April and the title “Come to the threshold – then go out”. Don and the team offered four plenary sessions of teaching and three simultaneous workshops. There was a strong intercessory support for the weekend. Don wrote afterwards, “Although it is early days, and much work needs to be done, there was a real sense that the spiritual atmosphere changed on the Saturday evening, so that ‘going out’ through the thresholds was now possible. Jonathan (the vicar) was encouraged to take the lead in this, going out ahead of the congregation and inviting them to choose whether or not they wish to follow – but he was going out anyway!” This was the latest in a number of connections between St Paul’s and ReSource, all as part of travelling together into renewal and evangelism.
Holy week in Gildersome
Cesca & Martin spent Holy week travelling with Canon Felicity Lawson and the parish of Gildersome towards Easter day and the resurrection of Jesus. It was a wonderful time of looking at the journey together, and considering the people encountered on the way – from Judas Iscariot to Peter, Mary and the other disciples and Jesus Himself. Responses afterwards ranged from “everything was a blessing” to “the clarity of the message denoting the sacrificial love of Jesus and culminating in a challenge to look afresh at the call to service and a deepening of faith in our Lord.” The Easter story touched everyone afresh and there was a real sense of a common journey being made. One testimony stands out - Felicity wrote afterwards about “the recovering alcoholic who testified on Easter morning that on Good Friday she had ‘chosen life’ and knew a peace she had never known in her life before. She had started drinking when she was thirteen and described very honestly and graphically to the congregation the depths to which her drinking had taken her until she joined AA two years ago. Without exception she had been dry since then and had certainly committed her life to Christ. She was not aware that she had not yet taken the third step, but in responding to your invitation she discovered what it was to surrender completely to God. The impact on the congregation was amazing, as you can imagine.”
New ReSource administrator - Paula Smit
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Paula Smit as the new ReSource administrator. Paula will join the team at the beginning of February. Paula was born in Zambia and then lived in Zimbabwe and latterly South Africa. She moved to England in 2008 with her husband Johan. Paula and Johan have two grown up sons, Terence & Jason. Paula worked for many years as an administrator with Mercedes Benz in South Africa. She was also involved in mission in her local church for approximately 10 years, of which the last 6 years were in a full time capacity together with Johan. Paula is thrilled at the prospect of working for ReSource and looks forward to joining the team at the beginning of February 2010.
The ReSource team
Thanks to Roger Morgan’s hard work and travelling in the last year ReSource now has some 80 leaders who are committed to working with us as a team – the fulfilment of a dream we have nurtured since the beginning. We have started a series of regional team meetings around the country with a day’s gathering in Taunton St James on 27 August, where we concentrated on Roger’s paper on seeking fruitful leaders and fruitful churches – and had a fine day of story, theology and profound discussion. The next such meeting is in Reading on 1 October; and then Chelmsford (probably 12 November); Halifax on 10 December; Loughborough on 7 January; and Carlisle on 22 April. It is great to be working with such a dedicated and creative bunch of people – and we should welcome your prayers for them all. MC
We have been busy respond-ing to invitations to talk with dioceses and diocesan officers about how we can support the mission and ministry of the church in their patch. Martin and Alison had an excellent evening talking about mission with the bishops, archdeacons, area deans and lay chairs of Gloucester diocese, and a couple of days at the invitation of diocesan missioner Dave Elkington, meeting with the bishop and area deans of Newcastle diocese. Martin and John Benson are talking with Birmingham diocese, and Roger and John have been asked to provide some input on mission in Deaneries in the dioceses of Hereford and Gloucester. We are also preparing for a number of parish missions and mission weekends. All these will lead to mission training and mission support. Our work is expanding, and our team growing.
Congratulations and prayerful best wishes for Spirit-filled ministries to a number of ReSource supporters who have recently taken up the mitre in different places – notably Alistair Magowan in Ledbury (Hereford), Mark Rylands in Shrewsbury (Lichfield), Graham Kings in Sherborne (Salisbury) and +Alan Smith to be Diocesan of St Albans. It is great to see such fine appointments. Please pray for them and all in leadership in the Church of God. Isaiah 45:2,3 seems to be a good text. MC
Getting involved in mission
We continue to look for opportunities not just to talk about evangelism but to actually do it. In May I was invited to share my story with 40 women over breakfast in Keynsham, which led to a rather pleasant combination of croissants and questions! In June we worked alongside the chaplain at the Blue School in Wells, where Roger has become a governor. The Blue is a comprehensive of 1500 pupils only a handful of whom identify themselves as Christians – it’s been a funny thing for Katy and Bethy to move from multi-faith Leicester where it’s normal to talk about God, to a cathedral city where it’s definitely not cool to be Christian. We put on an evening event called ‘The Big Debate – has science made God unnecessary?’, and welcomed 70 students to pizza, fruit salad and a chocolate fountain. I spoke for 30 minutes, after which we opened it up for discussion. What followed was I think the most animated, engaging and searching debate I can remember, as 70 teenagers, most of whom had no church background, bombarded us with questions. In the end we had to ask them to stop – but some signed up for Alpha and others asked for more events of the same kind. Partly due to the success of this event I was invited in September to launch the Wells Cathedral School Christian Union programme for the new academic year. I spoke with about 20 students, some Christian, some not, on 'The meaning of life - does Christianity work?'. It was great to be all crowded together in an upper room at the end of the oldest continously inhabited street in Europe - and to be bombarded once again with an astonishingly wide range of good humoured yet searching questions. Afterwards the teacher wrote: ‘It made such an impact on some of them that even later that evening whilst I resumed my boarding house duty I was aware of this. One girl just lay on the sofa in the common room for the whole evening with the 'birthday feeling' saying 'Mrs Bennett, now I know!'. She has now started to go along to the Vineyard church, comes to CU - all from nothing. The attendance is growing - 17 last week.' The two schools are hoping to work together on similar events in the future. Not the end of the story! AM
Roger led the ReSource team for this 10 days/2 Sundays mission at the beginning of September, working with the Vicar Andrew Evans. We shall be putting a full report of this on the website, setting out the numbers of people who came to faith, the transformation of the churches in the Benefice, the house meetings and coffee mornings and all the rest. Suffice it to say here that it was an excellent experience for everyone involved, and very much based around the ReSource book-let, "Stay Evangelism" and its clear mantra – "The people who will come to faith in Jesus Christ are the people you already know". MC
Confidence in the Gospel
We have continued to work with groups of clergy and lay leaders on the topic of confidence in the gospel. We led a Saturday for lay leaders in Ashby de la Zouch as part of our ongoing support for the Leicester diocesan programme ‘Shaped by God’, a workshop at the Bath and Wells 1100 anniversary celebration day in Glastonbury (alongside another on mission), and a series of days and half days for clergy in the Stoke archdeaconry in the diocese of Lichfield. We are struck by the diversity of experience and approach in different parts of the country – but also by the consensus in all these places about the need to focus the gospel meaningfully into a confused and changing world. Martin Luther once said that if you preach the gospel in all its aspects with the exception of those which relate specifically to your time, you are not preaching it at all, and history shows that it’s when the church rises effectively to the challenge of a changing world view that it grows, and when it gets submerged uncritically in a new cultural story that it declines. We live at a pivotal point in point in history – some theologians have suggested that we face the greatest challenge to our way of thinking and being since the Reformation. We need to spend time thinking together about what that means and what difference it makes to the way we think and do things. AM
Wholeness and healing
Salisbury diocese is wanting to raise awareness of the healing ministry, and following the publication of our healing course In His Name, Alison Morgan was invited to lead a couple of what turned out to be quite dynamic workshops at their diocesan conference, on Wholeness and Healing and on the Gifts of the Spirit. She has also been invited to teach on Healing and Mission at St Paul’s Theological Centre in London next year. John Woolmer led a well attended evening on the healing ministry in Shrewsbury, and we are working with several local churches in various parts of the country to support the introduction of In His Name. We have been delighted by the rapid takeup of the course – we have already had to reprint it. Meanwhile The Wild Gospel is on its third reprint, and our Lent course Season of Renewal sold out this year too. AM
Promoting the whole mission of the church
ReSource is increasingly asked to run training evenings on mission for gatherings of all the PCCs in a particular deanery, usually alongside daytime days of theological reflection for the clergy. We have done this recently in Somerset, Oxfordshire and for half of the deaneries of the Stoke archdeaconry in the diocese of Lichfield. Some 400 people have attended these events over the last few weeks. It’s easy for a PCC to get bogged down in the practicalities of parish administration – and yet the PCC (Powers) Measure 1956, section 2 subsection 2a, clearly states that ‘the functions of a PCC shall include co-operation with the minister in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the church; pastoral, social, evangelistic and ecumenical’. Many clergy have said to us how helpful it has been to encourage a PCC to think through the implications of this missionary responsibility – and how good it is to laugh together as they do so… AM
Thanks to encouragement from Sarah Cawdell, the Diocesan CME officer, we are seeing some very good contacts with this lovely, rural Diocese – notably in Bromyard and Pontesbury Deaneries. The work is shaping, and Michael Whittock, Rural Dean of Pontesbury said after one planning meeting with Roger Morgan, John Benson and Fr David Picken of ReSource that he thought it had been "the best such meeting I‟ve experienced in 30 years of ministry". Onwards and upwards! MC
Stewards' Trust in Yorkshire
“Parcevall Hall” always sounds like something out of Narnia – but it’s actually the most beautiful country house, set high in stunning gardens in Wharfedale above Skipton. Cesca and I were there in lovely weather at the beginning of September for a week of teaching, worship and prayer with 25 guests of the Stewards’ Trust . Well, someone’s got to do it .. One man said, “I’ve been coming on these weeks for years, but this has been by far the best and most important for me”. Another said, “I came on this week with apprehension, but have found a new depth and fulfilment in God and the power of His Spirit that I never knew existed”. There’s no doubt about it – He rescues us because He delights in us, as Psalm 18:19 puts it. MC
I seem to be getting into a rhythm of weekends at Lee Abbey in Devon, and that is a delight. The community there is in very good heart under its new Warden David Rowe and his wife Pixie, and everything seems to be flourishing – with lots of old friends like Dave Hopwood, and Hannah, in tremendous form. This time I was there as a weekend speaker at the original behest of Oldbury Benefice near Calne but with lots of other churches represented as well, pursuing the theme of “Going Deeper with God” and looking again at Ezekiel 47. It was a very good time, with lots of happy evaluations and follow-up – and the sun shone in all its splendour (as it always does, of course, at Lee Abbey). MC
Playing at Home and Away
Rooted in Jesus, our discipleship course for Africa,
to grow and develop. This summer teams went for the first time to the
diocese of Muhuraba in Uganda, the dioceses of Masasi and Newala in
Tanzania, and the diocese of St Mark the Evangelist in South Africa,
and for the second time to S Rwenzori in Ugandan and Nord Kivu in DR
Congo. Meanwhile news from Kenya is encouraging – the prison chaplain
at Narok prison writes that the impact has been so great that he has
been invited to introduce Rooted in Jesus to the other Rift Valley
prisons, including Naivasha, one of the centres of the recent post
election violence and a high security prison. Reports from Northern
Zambia where Jon Witt of Dignity International is using Rooted in Jesus
to plant new churches in rural areas are encouraging too. Jon writes: It
seems to me that in this world, people can broadly take two approaches.
Firstly, one group may attempt to change the world through using
technology, possessions and material items that we would call ‘things’.
The second group are concerned with people. They recognise that to
truly effect change in any community means to see change in the hearts,
minds and situations of its people.I’m firmly in the second camp. I
believe in people and their God-given capacity for great things. The
pastors now write: ‘The impact of consistent discipleship using the
Rooted in Jesus course has been tremendous - we have been empowered
economically, socially and spiritually to do the work of God’.
Meanwhile we have invitations from the dioceses of Eastern Zambia, Lusaka and Angola for 2010, as well as one to train the students at the National Prison Warders training college outside Nairobi in conjunction with a return visit to the Covenant Chruch International in Narok. We were delighted recently to hear that Spring Harvest has given us a grant of £1000 towards the development of a ‘Rooted in Jesus Junior’ course for Sunday school children. Nicky Plumbley has already begun work on this, and it will be piloted in Uganda next year. Funding Rooted in Jesus conferences and printing is an increasing challenge as the work expands, but God continues to provide just enough for us to cover our costs.
At home, Alison spoke at the annual SOMA conference on the theology of mission, alongside Jane Grayshon on prayer. It was a privilege to meet up with some of the intercessors who pray faithfully for the SOMA mission teams, and to celebrate our longstanding and fruitful relationship as sister organisations. AM
- ReSource’s administrator and PA, well known to many of you from happy telephone conversations and emails, fell and broke her ankle in July, and then had to spend 6 weeks out of action getting better. I’m very glad to say that all is now well with the ankle, apart from aches and pains which are gradually receding. Christine has now decided, though, to resign from her post with ReSource and move on to pastures new at some stage before December. This is a sad happening for all concerned, but we wish Christine very well for the future and are doing all we can to support her onwards in her journey. MC
For such a time as this…
The first paragraph in The Wells Journal on 31 December
interesting “ReSource, an evangelical Anglican organisation,
has officially opened its national office in Wells with a launch in new
premises above the Romna Restaurant in Sadler Street”. It was
great to have the coverage in the local newspaper together with the
photograph of the Bishop cutting the tape and surrounded by a crowd of
local people – but it is interesting how often that word
“evangelical” is used when what is meant is
“evangelistic”. At least it prompted one of our
catholic clergy brethren to write to confirm that he was delighted to
be involved with an “evangelical” organisation! He
knows that in fact we work with all traditions and denominations.
In his welcome Bishop Peter Price, of Bath and Wells said “it is good to be here to welcome ReSource with all its imagination and vision. It has true potential for the future”. We took the opportunity at the launch party, which was all mulled wine and mince pies and managed to cram some 70 people into the two rooms of the new office, to explain how ReSource works and to talk about local churches, renewal weekends and parish missions, speakers, quiet days and retreats and all the other elements of our work whilst surrounded by books, booklets and ReSource materials. It was a good and happy party and a confirmation in the Spirit that however strange it may seem in terms of the national travelling times we have been brought to this right place for such a time as this. As we said on the evening, we look forward to serving the Church and the City, as a part of our national and international brief.
The Church Army
Alison Morgan was delighted to be invited by Mark Russell
lead a Quiet Morning at the Church Army’s annual AGM in
London. About 100 Church Army Evangelists young and old were present,
many of whom work in challenging, cutting edge situations. Alison spoke
on knowing God’s love, and everyone then spent an extended
period of quiet time in prayer and reflection. One of those present
wrote to us afterwards:
“I just wanted you to know that since your visit to Church Army’s Quiet Day recently God has pulled me through some of those downs that I have mentioned, and this has been a direct result of what you had to say to us all that particular day. I know beyond all doubt that God loves me now! I know that should be something that is obvious to an experienced Church Army officer but it was truly revolutionary for me on that day ; so much so that I was given a vision of Jesus reinstating me and asking me to tell those people on the street about His love for them, and that there is a better way than the seeking of financial gain, greed, rage, anger, (the list goes on). Since then there have been two possible job opportunities both with an aim to reach the marginalised in our society.”
It was interesting to be back in London, the city of my birth, a few months after moving to Somerset. I was struck by the frenetic pace of life, as I wandered, at a speed that reflects both my new life in Somerset and the fact that God loves me, through the Tube and along the streets of Euston. People rushed past glued to their mobiles, dodging one another in their haste, and one unfortunate man went flying over my case of booklets about Jesus. Jesus was unharmed. The man, I’m not so sure.
A trip to Jersey
David Morgan runs a men’s group in the island of Jersey and invited Martin to come to speak on an evening in December, on what is now the familiar subject of “Science and Faith—Is Dawkins right?”. We had a great evening in a pub on the seafront in St Hellier, with men coming from widely different churches in all parts of the island. Once again, there was a huge spread of opinions on the subject, and lots of animated debate around the tables afterwards, with no one wanting to leave until after 10 p.m. It was good, also to be able to refer to the ReSource book on the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit, namely “The Wild Gospel” by Alison Morgan—which one person had found to be “spine tingling, a very exciting read”. So it should be, when one is dealing with a Creator God who loves you and calls you into truth.
The ReSource healing course In His Name,
by Alison Morgan and John Woolmer, was published in November. We have
been encouraged by some early responses, including this one from Revd
Paul Springate, Director of the Harnhill Centre for Christian Healing: “Just
a note to thank you for the copies of In His Name. I have had a look
through them and they are very good indeed. With your permission I
shall suggest them to churches that I go to that are looking for a
healing course. It covers so much and makes participants think along
the way.” We are hoping that this course will make
a real difference to the ministry of those who use it, and are very
happy to offer support and training in its use – do get in
touch with us if you would like us to help with the teaching of the
course or with a healing weekend in your church.
Lent is coming up, and we are reprinting our Lent course Season of Renewal. Again, feedback has been very positive since the course was launched 2 years ago. Canon John Gunstone wrote: “It was unanimously agreed that it had been the most inspiring and helpful Lent course we had ever shared in,” and a delighted parish priest wrote “it is a huge encouragement and a great blessing as 4 years ago no one had even been in a small group or a Lent group, and only a handful of people had heard of the Holy Spirit!“
A Methodist Anniversary
Martin and Cesca were invited back to Highworth Methodist
church for their anniversary weekend in November, which they had chosen
to call “Wading Deeper”, based around Ezekiel 47: 1
– 12. This was our fourth visit to the Highworth area of
Wiltshire and we approached the weekend in a new way, beginning with a
men’s breakfast on the Saturday and then moving through a
series of four teaching sessions on the Saturday, followed by preaching
on the Sunday. It seemed right, with the approval of the Superintendent
Minister, John Wiltshire to include a session on evolution and creation
entitled “Water in the Wilderness – Is Dawkins
Right?”, and based around Isaiah 43: 18 – 21 and 1
Peter 3: 15. This proved to be controversial and it became clear quite
rapidly that there was a spread of opinion in the church, from
“six day creationism” to a scientist who was
involved with carbon 14 dating and was himself clear that the earth was
billions of years old. What certainly came out of the evaluations, for
us to pass on to the Minister was the comment that “more
teaching on evolution and creation, human sexuality and the occult
would be helpful for the church” and we suspect that would be
true for lots of churches around the country of different traditions
and denominations. We had a good time with our old friends from
Highworth and we thank God for their faithful ministry alongside all
the other local churches in this part of Wiltshire.
Where God commands his blessing
It was very good for Roger and Martin to travel across
to work with a Rural Dean and a local incumbent to see if there are
ways in which ReSource can support and resource the work of the deanery
and its churches. Like many deaneries this one has a spread of church
traditions within its boundaries, as well as a great variety of
understanding of mission and evangelism. In situations like this the
teachings of Jesus are clear, with all the words about unity running
through scripture in lucid terms, such as Psalm 133 and the prayer of
Jesus in John 17. Nevertheless, helping it to happen is not always
straightforward. With Satan’s dabbling, there are two
principal enemies in the process towards unity and these are pride
– even from small churches; and control or politics, with
people playing games. We believe that as we said in this case there are
also some cardinal principles in unity, and these include friendship
– which is always the beginning of working at unity among a
group of churches, and needs to engage the leaders and not just
representatives, with a commitment to regular meetings, and a
willingness to listen, to understand and to be vulnerable. The whole
thing is marked by kindness and courtesy, grace and commitment which
Advent is a time of year which offers us the opportunity
reflect on our faith in Jesus. It’s a season of waiting, and
of learning how to wait. As one rabbi has put it, "The wait
for Messiah is not a passive waiting, as if we were simply passing time
at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to arrive. It is a passionate
waiting. A deep, heartfelt longing. It is an ache for His coming, for
His appearing. To properly await Messiah, our hearts need to break with
the anticipation ... At the same time, it is our hope of being united
with Him that gives us meaning and hope every day." For many
churches, Advent offers a helpful way to focus our spiritual lives on
Jesus in the midst of the many demands made on our practical lives, and
we were delighted that Alison was invited to preach on Advent for the
Bath and Wells diocesan renewal service, held this year in Clevedon
A vision of Holiness and Renewal
The vision of ReSource has been clear to us from the
been from the beginning one of those ‘stand on the hilltop
breathe the air’ or perhaps ‘wake up and smell the
coffee’ sorts of vision. It has inspired us all along, even
those times when things have been difficult and the going tough.
It’s a vision of holiness and renewal, stepping out in
It has been tremendous to see the injection of encouragement and
enthusiasm which has come both from our move to Wells and from the
creation of the new staff team. For the first time we can meet to eat
and laugh together, study the Bible, think and pray. That means we can
develop and drive forward the vision we’ve been given, and
will find our latest thinking on that on our ‘What do we
do’ page and in our magazine, the latest issue of which is on
Christine Treanor wrote her story in the last issue of ReSource. The other new member is Canon Roger Morgan, who, like Christine, has made a major impact from the start. He led the Milford on Sea mission in September, where we saw some 30 people come to faith in Christ and the church transformed; and even on holiday found himself preaching in tiny Hawkridge church on Exmoor, where four of the 18 in the congregation also professed faith in Jesus Christ. Roger is an evangelist, but is also in the van as we increase the number and use of ReSource Associates and Missioners across the country, especially through regional teams days.
Roger says, ‘The person who has contributed most to developing our vision is Alison, but what we all want to do is to offer the Church optimism and power. We do not have personal experience of God raising the dead, but we do know from our own experience that God is real and powerful and able to bring new life to individuals, churches and communities. We also know that He does this in all manner of ways, in all age groups and in the context of many denominations and church styles. Our mission in ReSource is to tell the Church again about this God and, by listening carefully to them help church leaders and their congregations to try new things and trust God to breathe new life into them’. Please join us in this as we say together, ‘yes, Lord, take us and use us’.
A variety of approaches in High Wycombe
“Inspiring – new ideas, made me think
about transformation through Word and Spirit” was what one
person thought most helpful about an evening in Loudwater for lay
leaders in the churches of the Wycombe Deanery, addressing
“Transformation in the Gospel”. Another said she
was impressed with “How small the steps need to be to start
with. Little people doing little things can make a
difference”. One man was caught by “thinking about
church differently”, in “very well presented and
stimulating presentations, pitched at the right level”. As
ever there was a desire to go on longer, to have more time, to spend
“more than an evening”.
The evening was part of two days of teaching, training and consultation in Wycombe Deanery for the clergy, the PCCs and the other lay leaders. This is one of the biggest Deaneries in this country, and covers the whole gamut of Church traditions. The Rural Dean, Fr David Picken, had seen in Wakefield Diocese what this model of working could do in bringing refreshment and challenge to a group of churches in an area. The result was terrific, with a fine response on the second day from the Deanery clergy and the PCC members. One member of the clergy spoke about “a different way of looking at things” as being most helpful – and we see that wherever we go. These Deanery happenings can be hugely fruitful for ministry and mission, and it’s clear that coming at the questions from a new point of view can be a big part of that.
Among the Maasai
“My father was the village witch doctor and had five
wives” is a great start to anyone’s story of faith
– and so it proved when David Ole Kereto came into our Wells
office to meet us to plan “Rooted in Jesus” work
among 300 churches in 3 Dioceses of the Covenant Church International
in Kenyan Maasailand, scheduled for next March. “I was his
first-born, and therefore the one to be apprenticed by him as the next
witch doctor in the village”. David, or Tiway as he was then
named, carefully learned from his father all the spells and curses, and
was doing a fine job in his apprenticeship – but then it all
went wrong (or right).
His best friend from primary school, Daniel, became a Christian. David/Tiway could see the difference. When Daniel invited him to a Christian meeting he took a bit of persuading because “Christianity and witchcraft can’t mix”, but eventually agreed to go on condition that he could hide away at the back. But God wasn’t having that. It was the first time David/Tiway had ever experienced the inside of a church, or seen Christian worship; but it was the speaker who did for him, under God. When he invited a response David/Tiway found himself propelled by the Spirit to the front, to kneel in front of him - to the shock of the assembly. From that moment everything changed. Nothing would ever be the same again.
David described to us how he “was attacked by demons on the way home” but Daniel was with him, and he knew he was safe. Not so safe at home, though, when the village elders encouraged his father to kill him. David ran away to save his life, was sheltered by Christians, trained at Bible College and 8 years later returned to his village proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, to “save his family from the lake of fire”. He started his first church, and saw many come to the Lord. The Church grew rapidly, spreading across the Maasai area – and now he believes it needs the systematic teaching brought by a SOMA team comprising Alison Morgan, Andy Sachs, our old Tanzanian friend Stanley Hotay, and Martin Cavender, using ReSource’s tried and tested “Rooted in Jesus” material. Please pray for us as we seek to support this brave man and his growing number of ministers in bringing the truth of Christ to this part of Kenya.
A new healing course from ReSource
We are pleased to announce the publication of the new
healing course, In His Name – a training course for healing
prayer teams. Written by Alison Morgan and John Woolmer, it’s
a deliberately hands-on course. Although the authors are careful to
build a proper foundation in terms of both theology and good practice,
the emphasis is on equipping the participants to engage in an active
ministry of healing.
Why a new healing course?
With the rise in spiritual experimentation in our society, we see an increasing determination on the part of churches to offer a safe, effective and powerful ministry of healing in the name of Jesus. ReSource is increasingly receiving invitations to run healing weekends or to help train healing prayer teams. This Taking account of the increased spiritual openness both within the church and among those still outside it, Alison and John offer a powerful and contemporary navigational aid for churches and Christian groups wishing to offer healing prayer to those suffering physical ill health, emotional disease and spiritual oppression.
John and Alison are both experienced in the healing ministry in the UK and abroad. They combine a characteristically no-nonsense approach with a firm expectation, based on experience, that physical, emotional and spiritual healing is meant to be part of the living reality of every Christian life.
The course will be published in early November and will be available in packs of 1 Leader’s Manual and 10 participants’ coursebooks for £30. Both the Manual and the Coursebook are available separately.
'Far and away the most balanced, informed, practical guide for church healing teams. The authors have seen much healing - physical, psychological and spiritual, and have the theological and biblical underpinning to ground it. The course is interactive, beautifully written and has been tested over ten years. Simply invaluable'. - Canon Dr Michael Green
Mission in Milford
“It’s only 72 days to go until Christmas
– and I can’t wait!” Those words were
recently spoken by a young man, who along with his wife and many others
came into a glorious living faith in Christ during our Big Event
mission. We were greatly blessed by a wonderful team from ReSource, who
were with us for around ten days and who in that time at various
events, from house to house and in private conversation, told their
Christian story and the Good News of Jesus.
It is still too soon fully to assess the impact that the mission has had upon church and community alike but from comments received there have been some profound changes in people’s lives. Church members went out way beyond their “comfort zones” and found that God had gone before them. One woman, an experienced and mature believer, said that she had never trusted God so much since her days of service in Africa, whilst others invited friends and neighbours into their homes to meet team members and whether two or twenty two (literally) turned up, found that these were exactly the right people for that particular occasion. Others within our congregation have been deeply challenged about the need to be committed to Christ and not simply to believe in Him.
It’s been a time of lights going on for people. One young couple, on the fringes of the congregation, said that it was only in that week that they had realised that being a Christian was not about going to church and obeying certain laws but was about a relationship. During the week the wife prayed a prayer of commitment and the husband is well on the way. We are also encouraged that around fifty people turned up for the introductory Alpha supper some few days after the Mission.
"Having been involved in about twenty missions myself I can honestly say that I have never come across such a grounded, mature and spiritual team as the ones who came to us from ReSource. They became not simply a Mission Team but our brothers and sisters in Christ and our friends.”
- Dominic Furness, Vicar, All Saints’ Milford on Sea
Bringing the good news to Stoke on Trent
The knock-on effect of our work is a constant, which is
encouraging – and also keeps us on our toes, because we try
never to offer the same thing twice. We are always looking for
God’s new way of working in this place with this group of
Last year we spent a week with the whole of Wakefield Diocese, clergy and PCC members. The response was excellent, and has spawned a number of other happenings in Wakefield Diocese; but the final event was a Bible teaching day for the clergy of the Diocese. The ReSource Missioner was Bishop Gordon Mursell of Stafford. It was an inspiring day. At the end of it Bishop Gordon asked about what had been happening in the Diocese – and whether ReSource might come and offer something similar in his patch, in the Stoke Archdeaconry of Lichfield Diocese.
There followed a series of meetings, and then Martin spent two days in October visiting all the eleven Stoke Rural Deans individually, fitting together the varied shapes in the area to make a mosaic of different works and approaches which echoes the spread of church traditions and needs, across post-industrial towns and deep moorland country. As one Rural Dean put it, “This is a place for the long haul, a vocational place. You come to this area because God has called you here. Spiritual renewal rests in embracing that, and all it entails for you and your family”. He also spoke movingly about “being treasured by the community” as their local Parish Priest, and the deep sustenance of prayer – especially through the 2C7 Prayer group which serves the whole area. One of his congregation had said to him the week before, “Have you noticed? Since we’ve been praying we’ve had no problems with money in this Deanery. We’ve stopped worrying about money and talking about it all the time”.
Stoke is an area which calls for a very particular offering, and new shape of work. It’s too early to say what that will be, but we covet your prayers as we work it through together with the Church leaders and their congregations.
Church renewal weekends
with Shirehampton, Bromley, Yeovil Holy Trinity,
Basel ACB, Colchester and two Gloucester churches, with Marlow in Bucks
and St Matthew’s in Wookey.
Church weekends continue to be a staple of ReSource’s offering, and the last few months have seen some corkers, all around the country as well as in Basel, Switzerland (where Keith Powell and Matthew Frankum had a fine time). We believe in supporting “the little, the local and the ordinary”, as these churches are proud to be known, and it is a joy to see them come alive in God’s Spirit, with signs and wonders following.
The Revd Liz Kitching said she was “walking on air, six feet off the ground” after Keith Powell had led a church renewal weekend at Wydale for the Cloughton group of Yorkshire churches in June.
The move from Abingdon to Wells, and the new team
The move from Abingdon to Wells which took place in the
has not just been a relocation. There has been a real sense of
God’s blessing on it all – and while we are very
grateful for our starting years at Abingdon (where our growing book
distribution element will stay, led by Sharon Grossmann), we are very
clear that we are called to Wells. We still operate all round the
country – nothing of our itinerant nature has changed
– but it is wonderful to have the whole core team based
together in a place where we can pray and study the Bible together, get
to know each other as people – and also save some costs! It
has been a great move, and exactly right for the growth of this next
stage in the life of ReSource.
Prayer and muscle – Michael and Jennifer with John and
3 Eds (are better than one), moving from Abingdon
A sea of boxes, Wells
ReSource and the offerings at New Wine
Alison Morgan and Martin Cavender had a fine time at the New Wine, Central and Southwest Conference in August, speaking on subjects such as the Word of God, Transformation and “Is Dawkins Right?” This last one proved so popular that numbers of people couldn’t get into the venue and had to be turned away—which meant it had to be repeated later in the week!
Teams Days in the Midlands and South-West
The vision of ReSource is for people, churches and
brought to life by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. As you will
see from our new vision statement in the website and
“ReSource” Magazine, we have learned a lot in the
last four years – and we are looking to make a difference,
grow confidence, enable change and create community in the pursuit of
our strapline of “renewal for mission in the power of the
Holy Spirit”. We are seeing results all over the country,
thanks to the encouragement of our faithful supporters and the doors
which are opening to the offering. As I have said elsewhere, this
really is a watershed moment for this fragile initiative.
But how do we deliver the goods? Well, if you’ve been praying for us you will know from the Diary that it has largely been down to a few people who have been able and willing to act as Associates or Missioners for ReSource, often working sacrificially and over long hours. The returns have been extraordinary, out of all proportion to numbers. Now, though, we are able to expand the team around the country – and have been running teams days to help do that.
Two new mission booklets from ReSource
We are finding increasingly that we are being invited to work both with mission partnerships and groupings and with individual churches to provide support and training for mission. To help meet this need we have just published two new ReSource booklets by Roger Morgan. Roger has for years been involved in mission and evangelism, working amongst university students, for a time with Daniel Cozens and Through Faith Missions, and latterly in his own parishes of St Columba’s Corby and then Holy Trinity Leicester. Roger has now joined the ReSource team as a strategist and specialist missioner.
The first booklet, Stay
Evangelism, is written to encourage ordinary
Christians to develop a transparent and friendly lifestyle which makes
it possible to share their faith unthreateningly and in a
servant-hearted way with others. The second, Decision, is for those who
are thinking of making a step of commitment, and is ideal for use with
Alpha or in the context of parish missions and outreach events.
ReSource is on the move!
This summer sees some important changes in the life of
ReSource. We are grateful for your prayers, never more needed. This is
a team moment for us, in which we move from the foundations to the
building, and outwards. The team is gently growing to cope with the
response to our work, with Sharon staying in Abingdon to handle the
increasing demand for book and magazine distribution; while the rest of
the staff team moves to Wells in Somerset, based around our new office
at 13 Sadler Street (BA5 2RR). We welcome Christine Treanor as the new
Administrator and PA, and Roger Morgan as strategist and planner to
work alongside Alison and me. All very exciting, bringing new calls and
This is a team moment, too, in the wider working of Associates and Missioners all around the country and beyond. We had a wonderful meeting of 24 at Market Harborough a few days ago, and look forward to similar gatherings north and south in the autumn. We have about 50 people, laity, clergy and bishops working in different ways for ReSource; all motivated and caught up in the vision of renewal for mission in the power of the Spirit. We thank God for those faithful people grafting away in the politics of the Church at Lambeth and GAFCON and elsewhere, an essential work; but we want to stick to our primary calling, the direct engagement with people and churches for renewal and mission.
I have more than once said this is a watershed, with change both painful and transforming. One geographer among the team said recently, “Usually you come to a watershed after walking uphill, and arrive at a great view. A watershed means a fundamental change of expectation and vision”. That’s just what it feels like. Please pray for us and journey with us as we travel into this new territory.
It’s been a busy few months, with a good variety of
work local, regional and national, and some exciting things in the
pipeline. Here’s a selection of what we’ve been up
The formula of gathering men together, usually on a Saturday morning,
for a good breakfast and a stimulating talk and discussion, is a very
powerful one. These last couple of months have seen us working with
churches in Stanford in the Vale, Warwick and Poole, and the response
has been very animated. Intriguingly these recent ones have all asked
us to concentrate on the debate between reason and faith, science and
theology, with titles like “Is Richard Dawkins
That seems to be a major question for men – and one man in
Poole certainly nailed his colours to the mast by saying,
“I’m really grateful to Richard Dawkins and what he
says. I find it comforting, because it means I don’t have to
go to church any more”. I must say I find that odd. Dawkins
may have important questions which need to be addressed, but most of
his argument is unscientific, illogical and ranting – and
hardly “comforting”. One US Professor has said
“Dawkins makes me ashamed to be an atheist”, and I
have had similar comments from others. The balance in Poole was struck
for me by another man who said, “The more I follow Jesus
Christ, the more I am overwhelmed by the sheer awesome beauty of him
and of the Christian faith. My life is constantly being changed by the
size of it all, emotionally and intellectually, and my soul is
fed”. The Vicar, Andy Perry, wrote afterwards, “I
was struck by your encouragement, in the face of Dawkins and Co, to
hold firmly to our confidence in the Gospel. It was healthy to be
reminded about the seductiveness of the “I did it my
way” soteriology of Frank Sinatra, and the challenge to
rediscover and release joy in our churches”.
“Your prayerful love, affirmation and wisdom for which I
offer my profound thanks” and “Reminder of the big
story” were typical of the comments received in answer to
“What was most helpful?” in the 30 hour Deanery
retreats with clergy which have been happening on a regular basis
across the country in the last few months, often bolted together with
an evening for PCCs.
Looking ahead – to Missions?
ReSource has been building its work with care, determined to get the
foundations right without quenching the Spirit in his work. We have
sought to follow the Spirit’s leading at every turn while
making sure that the theological basis is clear. If “renewal
for mission in the power of the Holy Spirit” is our
strapline then we have wanted to “have a reason for
the vision that is in us”, to paraphrase 1 Peter
3:15. We have concentrated on what it means to be renewed in Christ as
a Church and as people.
But what about the mission bit? We have always been clear that mission is not just something the Church does but the heart of what the Church is. It is in the nature of the Church to be missionary. For the last few years it has been popular to see part of that mission expressed in process evangelism, with work such as “Alpha”, Emmaus”, the “Y Course”, “Start!” and “Essence”. That has been hugely effective, and we thank God for it all constantly. But now we are receiving requests which have a new edge – “We’ve been using “Alpha” (or whatever), and it’s been very powerful, but now we would like to have a mission to the area – will ReSource please help us?” The answer is “Yes, with pleasure”; and that’s one of the reasons we are delighted that the Revd Roger Morgan is joining the team, with effect from August. Roger has wide-ranging experience as a mission leader, both in many years of parish ministry and before that with Dan Cozens and Through Faith Missions; and is also himself called to be an evangelist. He is already working on a ReSource mission to Milford on Sea for the autumn – and we expect other invitations as we get into our stride, afresh.
Mike Carson Associates
One interesting element of the shifts that are taking place in the
world is a reappraisal of the sacred and the secular and how they sit
together – indeed, if there is any separation between them.
Despite all the alarums and excursions of Richard Dawkins, Christopher
Hitchens and others, we find that there is a quieter seeking after
spiritual answers to the questions of life. Some of that surfaces
through the work of MCA, with which Martin has become associated, which
acts to bring Christian principles into the world of business. It helps
business leaders to look at such questions as risk-averseness,
forgiveness, the principles which sit behind the company or firm, and
at matters like spiritual intelligence and personal meaning. It is
wonderful to be involved with such a work, not least because it appeals
to me as an evangelist! I love the sense of nurturing proper human
flourishing and constant renewal, and the knowledge that God is at work
everywhere and always. MCA and ReSource are vitally connected. Please
pray for Mike Carson and everyone concerned in this fine and Godly
Words, Works and Wonders at the Baptist Mainstream Conference
Alison Morgan has been fascinated by words for as long as she can
remember, and this January she was delighted to be invited to pursue
these thoughts by speaking at the Baptist Mainstream Conference at
Swanwick, the theme of which was Grasping the Gospel - Words,
works, wonders. Her brief was to speak on Words
(yes, that’s words in the plural) alongside Malcolm Duncan of
Faithworks on Works and Ian Andrews of the
International Association of Healing Ministries on Wonders.
Alison was asked to stimulate discussion by reflecting on questions
How is the truth of the word revealed in our culture?
In a church culture shifting towards community involvement, what is the role of proclamation?
How can our words be heard and understood among the cultural clamour?
How do our words reflect the Word of God - is a holy book now a major obstacle to mission, or can the Living Word still be found in and through scripture?
What does it mean to base our understanding of gospel on the Word of God?
Each input from the main speakers was followed by a time of reflection and discussion, with people posting questions and comments on flipcharts around the auditorium. It was a great privilege to be invited to be part of such a dynamic gathering, to be able to spend time thinking through an exciting and important topic, and last but not least to benefit from the challenging ministry of Malcolm and Ian.
Working with ARM Wales in Wrexham
Thanks to the hard work of Mary Newsom, Martin and Alison had a good
day in Wrexham in April with great worship (thank you, Garry and Jan
Harney; and, later, the River Dee Community Church), thinking and
praying together about what it means to be Made New in the Countryside.
These were the faithful in renewal, looking to see what the Lord was
doing now in renewing his people for mission, and there was a fine
response from the day, with one person glad about the “prayer
ministry, and that the Welsh language was included and
respected” and another about “the sense of
encouragement, and reassurance that things are still happening, and
that renewal has a future”.
Fresh expressions in Newcastle Upon Tyne
I had never come across the like – a large Anglican church in
a run-down part of a big city, closed by the Bishop because its
congregation had dwindled almost to nothing ; and then, a year later,
handed over to an energetic Priest in charge with instructions to set
up from scratch a network church, a fresh expression. Here we were with
Robert Ward in Newcastle St Luke in a vibrant Anglican church with fine
worship, deep prayer and a real sense of community – and,
after just four years of life, some 70 mostly young people worshipping
God and hearing the Gospel with delight. It was brilliant to spend the
weekend with Robert and Alice and to see what the Lord is doing in and
through them by his Spirit, and then to go on to a Church
leaders’ meeting in Jesmond. It’s worth remembering
that “the fire fell and the dead were raised” in
Monkwearmouth under the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth, and
it’s wonderful to see the Spirit at work again in all his
power and grace in that part of the country.
The ReSource Lent course Season of Renewal has been
widely used again this year, and we have received some very positive
feedback. Pat White wrote from Sheffield as follows:
“I am writing to thank you for the Lent Course for Season of renewal. It has been a Spirit-led change in my group of Mothers’ Union ladies. Last year my vicar suggested it for our Lent study when I asked for suggestions. Because there was so much in it, we repeated it again this year with some changes, etc. Because I felt it was so good for the ladies, I found other groups in the church asking me what I thought about it. We ended up with four groups in the Church doing the course over Lent this year. I think most people from teenagers to the elderly felt there was something in it for them. Today we had a Renewal of Baptism vows in the morning Service and had 18 people rededicating their lives to the Lord. So I felt (never done before) that you must know about it and it will encourage you as well as us here at St Saviours Church, High Green, Sheffield.”
A weekend at home
Occasionally churches decide to have a weekend “at
home” before setting out on something residential
and away. There are all sorts of reasons for this, among them the fact
that it can be a very good way of introducing the concept of a church
weekend to an uncertain congregation. A couple of years ago it was St
Germain’s in Edgbaston, and there have been others since. St
Mary’s Shirehampton, Bristol, decided to do it this way in
February (as a taster for their residential weekend at Lee Abbey this
September) – and a good time was apparently had by all! One
man wrote afterwards, “It’s no
exaggeration to say something very important and powerful happened to
our congregation this weekend and I can testify personally to the
effect of the prayers you inspired. I am sitting next to a wife who is
positively buzzing to do God’s work. Thank you for such an
exciting message of renewal and refreshment – may God give us
all the grace to make it real. Lee Abbey, here we come!”.
Supporting the healing ministry in Middleton, Manchester
Roger Vaughan had visited this Parish in Spring 2007 and had worked
with them in a day on the Healing Ministry, using his brilliant
ReSource workbooks on “Saints Alive – Healing in
the Church”. Roger’s offering had been beautifully
timed for Middleton, and well received. Martin was then asked to follow
this up with a Quiet Day on a Saturday, followed by some work with the
Healing Ministry team and a Praise evening in the church; and then
preaching on the Sunday at the two, very different, morning services.
It was a fine experience, and a great insight into how a church like
Middleton, under Canon Nick Feist’s leadership over many
years, lives and works in this strong community which has seen so much
We are currently the sole stockists of the well-regarded ARM
publications Life in the Spirit (by John Finney and
Felicity Lawson) and Healing in the Church (by
Roger Vaughan). Both these courses have sold thousands of copies over
the last few years. We often get surprised looks from people who have
been told they are out of print - so the good news is that we have good
stocks of both courses!
Both courses are updated editions. ‘Life in the Spirit’ is a course written with the aim of helping to bring renewal into the life of the Church. It has proved useful for people enquiring about the Christian faith, seeking deeper commitment, exploring the work of the Holy Spirit and for baptism and confirmation preparation. It would make a good next step for new groups who have benefited from the ReSource Lent course Season of Renewal. ‘Healing in the Church’ makes a practical and informative course for groups of Christians wanting basic introductory training in the healing ministry. It is suitable for churches of all traditions, and has 9 sessions covering all the main issues in the healing ministry. Both courses consist of a leader's manual and a link workbook for each participant. Leader's manuals now available at only £5; Link workbooks £4. To order click here.
The ReSource website
Our website is maintained by Ed Morgan, and its use continues to grow steadily. Over the last year we have had about 50,000 visits from nearly 17,000 different people, at a rate of 133 people or 1,325 hits each day. Most of these are from the UK and US - although we are delighted to be visited by small but steady numbers of people from Islamic countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Iran. Over 3,000 people have visited our Lent prayer and poetry pages, which have been the most popular over the last month. And do visit the newly updated Vision page!
Stop Press: New publications
We continue to produce written resources in response to the needs
expressed to us as we travel. ReSource is now a registered publisher,
and in January 2008 we are producing two brand new booklets. The first,
by Alison Morgan, is entitled ‘The Word of God
– what does it mean?’ Alison takes a
careful look what we mean by words and how we use them, and then asks
whether our human understanding of words limits the way in which we
think about the Word and words of God. Alison has long been fascinated
by both words and Word, and she is speaking at the Baptist Mainstream
Conference in January on this topic.
The second new booklet is by Keith Powell, a ReSource Associate and Renewal Adviser for the diocese of Bath and Wells. Keith writes with passion and experience about the neglected discipline of Fasting. He says: 'As a minister I have found fasting to be an essential part of the Christian's toolbox. For me it is a natural part of my Christian journey, part of the way we are called to walk in, to find rest for our souls. May this book encourage you on the ancient path of prayer and fasting, one that will bless you and bring you closer to your Father in Heaven.'
Both booklets may be ordered from our office or via our publications page.
The work in the last few months has been massively varied, with a whole Diocese (Wakefield) crammed into one week; another Diocese (Leicester) following a more piecemeal approach; a wild bunch of Parish evangelists in Rochester and a more sober group of Local Ministry leaders at a consultation in Swanwick; meetings and discussions in parishes and Deaneries all over the country, lots of renewal weekends led by different ReSource Missioners and Associates, a fine trip for a week of teaching in France; people coming to faith in Jesus Christ, being healed and in some cases delivered and always set free; Quiet Days and retreats, meetings with Bishops and Archdeacons, preachments and all the rest – and that’s not to mention a house-move for the Cavenders somewhere in the midst of it all! It’s been a terrific time, when ReSource seems to have moved into a new gear, and the invitations and responses have been coming thick and fast. We do praise God for what we have been witnessing.
One of the great surprises of the last couple of years has
been the eagerness with which Dioceses have grasped the vision of
ReSource, and invited us to involve ourselves with helping support and
encourage their work. Surprising? Well, we make no bones about the fact
that we are about renewal for mission in the power of the Holy Spirit
and I suppose we expected the less “culturally
charismatic” parts of the Church to be a bit wary. Leicester
was first out of the blocks, though, with an invitation from Bishop Tim
for ReSource to help deliver the “Shaped by God”
initiative over the next two years, and a number of other Dioceses are
in the offing – and then, thanks to the hard work of
Archdeacon Robert Freeman and his wife Chris, came Wakefield.
Martin spent some time in March working with the Rural Deans to shape the work, part of the Diocesan “Transforming Lives” initiative – and then filled a week there in mid-October with a team (pictured right) comprising Alison, Fr David Picken of Anglo-Catholic Renewal and Stephen Dinsmore, the new National Director of SOMA. We worked around the whole Diocese, spending the days with a total of 160 clergy and the evenings with some 800 PCC members, and always offering the concepts of transformation, confidence and renewal for mission.
Again, fitting the offering to the expectations of
Herculean task, but the responses and evaluations were massively
positive, especially from the PCC evenings which were a buzz of noise
and engagement. The opportunity to reflect with others was felt to be
vitally helpful, and lots gave great thanks for the serious theological
input from Alison, as well as for the practical outworkings offered by
David and Stephen. For many of the PCC members it was a brand-new
experience, and in many cases here was high excitement and real
enthusiasm – and a strong possibility that some of the
practical decisions made will be put into action. We had shaped the PCC
material in particular to allow for a personal response to Jesus Christ
at the end of the evening – and I shall remember for a long
time the long queues waiting to be anointed in the name of Jesus,
perhaps especially in the Quire of Wakefield Cathedral on the Tuesday.
It was a good time. One clergyman said this was “Great
content – to the heart of our life as followers of
Christ”. A number wanted more time to “ponder
and discuss”, and we have noted that –
but many agreed with the one who wrote that most helpful was “the
time to reflect and focus on my calling as a minister of the Gospel of
We followed up the week with a happy day at Lepton in late November, where Bishop Gordon Mursell of Stafford, a ReSource supporter,and missioner for the day, brought a wonderful Biblical exposition on the books of Genesis and Exodus to some 55 clergy, and reflection/feedback on the nature of the Church and her ministry at this moment in her life. “Brilliant”, said one participant; and so it was.
Alison and Martin had a good time in November with 50 plus Curates in Chelmsford Diocese as part of their CME course, and the responses were excellent – though demonstrating how complex it can be to get things right for everyone. One person said, “Completely focussed, with a very positive and clear programme. Should be in every Diocesan CME and at regular intervals. Sessions could have been a little shorter”. Others said that most helpful were, “Reminder of personal renewal and prayer”, and, “Time for personal Bible study and reflection”. This continuing ministerial education series in which ReSource has been involved in a number of Dioceses over the last 3 years is clearly one of its most effective offerings, right at the heart of ministry and new leadership. One curate said, “One of the most useful CME sessions we’ve had”, while one wrote, “The silent meditation time was BRILLIANT – I need that space!”. Another was more pithy – “It scratched where I itched”. That’s the role of ReSource, to scratch where the Church itches, and bring the challenge to renewal for mission.
Peterborough Praise 11 November
A hundred people gathered on a cold evening to praise God and open themselves to his work in their lives, through the Holy Spirit. It’s always good in this itinerant ministry to walk into a group who really want to worship and pray together, and among whom there is no need for complicated explanations about the third person of the Trinity – it just felt like a family coming together in mutual affirmation and encouragement. The response was terrific – “excellent, encouraging, inspiring” said one - and the prayer ministry time went happily on and on. I think my favourite evaluation, though, was one which said, “The teaching was theologically almost correct”. I wonder what it was that I got wrong?
“Encountering Jesus, the wild Gospel bringer” was
the title of the weekend, and 52 licensed Parish evangelists from at a
Retreat House in West Wickham to worship, pray, talk together and learn
from God, all under the redoubtable leadership of Canon Jean Kerr and
with input from ReSource. We had a great time looking together at the
unexpected Jesus and what it meant to be in relationship with him and
with one another - and the Prophecy workshop just refused to finish,
even reconvening after the weekend had closed!
It was a great time, and the Holy Spirit was at work among his people, from all traditions and shapes and sizes of church, in all his power and grace. One person wrote afterwards that most helpful in the weekend was, “The time to step outside ministry – to draw away to look at the Word and see the new things that God is revealing to me about himself, his character, his mission, his Kingdom and the part he wants me to play in his story”.
Mid-September saw Martin and Cesca in France, at this beautiful Abbey
Dinard/Dinan in Brittany with some 50 members of the
Stewards’ Trust – and the Holy Spirit was there,
too. We praise God for the work he was doing among his people during
lovely week, when the sun shone and we walked the lanes and the
beaches, among the mussels and the oyster-beds with views forever.
Well, someone’s got to do it...
The responses to the ministry were humbling and wonderful. The leader
said “Your presence and message was a blessing in
so many ways. In your faithfulness to the Lord in word and deed you
conveyed the freshness and reality of the Gospel to us all, and I
believe none was untouched by the Spirit in some way and at some
level". One man wrote, “We
have both been challenged and renewed, relished in fellowship and fired
up to go out”. Another person said, “Excellent,
some new insights, practical, refreshing, fed my spiritual hunger; and
emphasis on Jesus as the Word v helpful – deep desire to be
reckless” (this a response to Eugene
Peterson’s description of faith as “a
reckless, adventurous life commitment”).
The Lord was wonderfully at work – bringing some to conversion, others to renewal and freedoms in healing and deliverance from oppressions and more. The worship during the week was led by David Hunt with grace and a sure touch, taking the gathering into wonder, love and praise. It was a good week – summed up neatly by one person who just said that the high point for him had been, “Meeting God afresh, and meeting such lovely people”. Another spoke of, “So many memories – so much laughter”. Thank you, Lord of grace and mercy, and laughter.
Parish Renewal Weekends
These have rolled happily onwards through the autumn, with the ReSource missioners like Richard Zair, Fred & Ellen Brodie, Alison Morgan and Martin and Cesca Cavender working with diverse churches such as Stanford le Hope St Margaret, Didcot churchplant, Islington St Mary, Flackwell Heath, Dartford St Edmund, Congresbury near Bristol, Walderslade near Chatham and Middleton in Manchester to encourage and support renewal for mission. We have seen the Holy Spirit working in wonderful ways, and unexpectedly.
Rooted in Jesus: a discipleship course for Africa
In the first week of November Alison Morgan led a SOMA team to Tanzania
to meet with the 156 group leaders who have now led their groups
through the complete Rooted in Jesus course. It was deeply encouraging
to listen to their experiences and observe how they have grown in faith
and confidence. An evangelist named Japhet told how a Muslim had come
into the church during the group meeting saying that his feet had begun
to burn as he walked past, and he didn’t know what they were
doing but he wanted to do it too. In one Masai village the elders now
pray together over their decisions. Most leaders said people were now
reading their Bibles, have stopped worshipping the wrong god, and have
developed strong personal prayer lives. Drinking, wife beating, the use
of ‘medicines’ on crops, visits to witchdoctors
have all stopped – one woman bitten by a snake came to the
group for prayer instead (and was healed). Group members pray for the
sick (and see healings), and witness to others (who become Christians).
One leader said his whole village had changed dramatically; many said
that their church is now full. A new generation of leaders has been
appointed – including, for the first time, women from both
the Gogo and Masai peoples – and the number of groups will
Rooted in Jesus is printed by ReSource – for more details order a sample pack from the Publications page, or visit www.alisonmorgan.co.uk. Written especially for Africa, Rooted in Jesus is introduced at the invitation of the host bishop by a team from SOMA. It’s now in use in 7 countries and has been translated into 13 languages. If your diocesan link is looking for a programme to train ordinary Christians in discipleship, please get in touch!
ReSource Booklet no. 7, 'Who do you say that I am?', is now available. How well do you know Jesus? Is your Jesus a familiar, settled figure, or is he the unpredictable, unexpected Jesus of the Gospels? In this booklet Alison Morgan offers some challenges to our preconceptions, using image, poetry and testimony as well as the gospel stories to get behind some of the assumptions which so often tone down our picture of Jesus. Written to accompany her recent seminar at New Wine, the booklet invites you to renew your relationship with the unexpected Jesus. Buy one for an enquiring friend!
The response to my Pentecost letter has been magnificent, and the sense of encouragement and affirmation from all around the country has been wonderful. Thank you so much for your part in that. The pile of encouraging letters and donations has been extraordinary, with the total of financial giving so far exceeding £30,000 – way beyond what we had hoped for or dreamed. The Lord truly provides. Thank you.
The prayer and personal support for ReSource is a solid foundation which is growing and deepening, and the financial and other practical gifts and offerings build on that and allow the ministry to flourish and develop.
I would love to be able to move on from financial questions, and instead apply all our energies to the work of the Kingdom to which we believe ReSource is called. All the signs are that we are doing that, bit by bit. With your help we have come a very long way in the four years since ReSource was brought to life, and have seen a remarkable engagement with the vision to which we are called. People and churches are coming afresh to faith and life. Alison Morgan and I will be saying a lot more about all this in the Partners’ and Friends’ Days and Evenings which we shall be leading around the country in the next 12 months, which began in Warwick at St Paul’s Parish Church on Saturday 7th July.
It feels, in fact, as if we have come a long way in just the last three months. The original ReSource picture of the Viking ship with its different crew members remains a good one. The water has been very choppy in the recent bits of the voyage, as if God has been causing or allowing that, so that we get ourselves straight with Him and with one another in a fresh way. The Trustees have done a fine job in keeping their nerve. The team has been wonderful, and most have now chosen to take huge cuts in the way they are paid for their work, often down to nothing. They are giving their time and energy as a gift. All are willing to do this because of our commitment to the vision of ReSource. The ship feels lean and taut for the next stage in its journeying, and is moving eagerly to the wind of the Spirit.
I don’t go in much for corporate plans, preferring
to look to the Spirit for his direction and vision – working
then “not with wise and eloquent words, but with a
demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Cor 2:4). I
do, though, have a dream over the next three years or so of seeing
ReSource becoming self-sufficient, and of much more than that
– I want to see ReSource working in renewal with every
Diocese and Church in the UK, and beyond ; I look forward to a growing
network of Beacon churches carrying the principles of renewal for
mission in the power of the Spirit ; I can see a bigger team answering
the increasing demand with efficiency and grace; ReSource publishing
its own resources with proper ISBN numbers; and I can envisage an
increased input into national thinking, where we have already had an
impact way beyond our tiny size. These are amazing days, and this is a
fine adventure – thank you for all your help in making it
happen, and thank you for coming so sacrificially and faithfully with
us. May God bless and keep you in all your life and ministry.
Rooted in Jesus in Mozambique and Malawi
Alison Morgan led a SOMA team to Mozambique and Malawi in
to provide further training in the use of ReSource's Rooted in Jesus
evangelism and discipleship course. It was our first trip to Malawi; in
Mozambique Rooted in Jesus is already used for confirmation preparation
and church planting. We were encouraged to hear that in one Yao village
an evangelist has helped 22 Muslims to find faith in Christ through
Rooted in Jesus (highly unusual in a tribe which converted to Islam en
masse when Livingstone began to oppose the slave trade, on which their
Rooted in Jesus is now in use in dioceses in 8 countries, and with increasing demand it has been decided that it will become part of the core ministry of SOMA UK, which will enable us to make it available more widely. Please do pray for those using the course, and especially for the diocese of Nord-Kivu in D R Congo, where Simon Brignall will taking a team to introduce it in November.
Continuing Ministerial Development in Salisbury diocese
Martin and Alison had a good time with the clergy of Salisbury diocese, leading a day on renewal for mission as part of the diocesan CMD programme by Revd Jane Charman. Seventy people came, and we spent a happy day thinking and praying together. Feedback was very positive: one person wrote afterwards that it was ‘the best CMD day I have ever attended’, another ‘it has opened my eyes and heart’, another ‘so uplifting, inspiring and encouraging!’. We were uplifted, inspired and encouraged too, by a group of people who are so clearly determined to make a difference; and we look forward to engaging with them again in the future.
Working within the structures
One of the things which differentiates ReSource from most renewal organisations in this country is that we are committed to working within the structures of the Church. We were therefore delighted that in May Alison Morgan was invited both to become a member of the Archbishops’ College of Evangelists, and to take part in the ‘Hard Questions’ series of lectures organised by Fresh Expressions at venues all over the country. Alison spoke on ‘The gift of the Spirit and the shape of the church’. The series will be published as a collection of essays by CHP in time for Lambeth 2008. We are excited by the constant flow of news of fresh expressions of church springing up all over the country, and Steven Croft and his team are much in our prayers.
Season of Renewal – the ReSource Lent course : ‘a gentle way into the whole concept of renewal’
Although the ReSource Lent course was finally printed
later than we would have liked, take-up was very good, with orders
coming in up to the last minute. Comments included:
Our five Lent Fellowship Groups have all responded enthusiastically to “Season of Renewal”. The music and ‘arty bits’ were movingly effective. It is wonderful to have a course which is “Into God” rather than “About God”.
It went really well. There was something for everyone because of the different teaching styles. It was easy for me to use as well. We are all going to do the spiritual exercises as our ‘doing something for Lent’.
Your Lent course is underway here: four groups meeting. We’re praying that not only will it renew people, but that we’ll see more small groups starting up at the end of it.
The course will be available again through ReSource for next year, and Lion Hudson are hoping to publish it and advertise it more widely for 2009. The course is deliberately designed not only for spiritual depth for renewed churches but also as a thought-provoking work for churches who would not see themselves as “culturally charismatic”. It is also intended to make the crucial linkage between Easter resurrection and Pentecost mission.
Guildford Prayer Day
“What a blessed day we had at Guildford Cathedral. Your insight/openness to the Holy Spirit was indeed profound ; Keith, John and I had never met but we clicked immediately when we met to prepare and I believe we offered a day of blessing to those who came. The written responses are extremely positive, and anecdotal evidence agrees with those. Personally I was enriched beyond measure by knowing these two ministers of the Gospel ; their ministry on the day was such an encouragement”, wrote Richard King, Diocesan Spirituality Adviser, after this great day which was led for ReSource by the Revd Keith Powell from Exford on Exmoor and Canon John Holbrook from Wimborne Minster. It was a day of plenary input and workshops, prayer and worship, and combination of Keith’s prophetic gift and John’s contemplative pastoralia was wonderfully anointed by the Holy Spirit. More than two hundred were there, and the response was terrific. The Lord was much at work among his people.___________________________________________________________________________
Well, in the words of a friend, “someone’s
got to do it”. In June Martin & Cesca travelled to
Langenbruck in Switzerland to lead a renewal weekend for the Anglican
Church in Basel, led by their Chaplain, Geoff Read. It was intriguing
to see the way in which the Lord is working in a congregation which
looks across the Dreilander of Switzerland, Germany and France, with
people living in scattered communities in all three countries
– and themselves drawn both from local roots and from a wide
spread of English-speaking others. The title for the weekend was
“Food for the Journey”, and we had a fine time!
In the evaluations, we asked about what was best about the weekend. One person said, “It restored relationships, to God, to myself and to the church; and helped to put things into the right priorities”. Another said, “The balance between the Bible and life”, while another suggested it was, “That God moved, and binds us together in love through the Holy Spirit”. One of the marks of our time together was a series of optional gatherings over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, called ”Going Deeper” – and we did. Loads of people came. There was real vulnerability, and a sense of covenant relationship, sharing at a profound level – and on Saturday evening we moved to an invitation to the Holy Spirit to come and minister to us all corporately. In the words of one evaluation afterwards, “Everything was AWESOME!” - as it should be when people are open to the working of the living God.
Swiss cheese? Well, it seemed to come in a zillion different varieties and with every meal, along with ham – very tasty, and real food for the journey!
We have had a season of Regional Days on Saturdays
through the last few months – in Newcastle in March, Taunton,
Bootle and St Matthew’s Walsall in May, Lincoln in June and
then Warwick in July. We do wonder whether it might be better
occasionally to move from a Saturday to a weekday evening, or a Sunday
afternoon. What do you think? Please do let us know, and perhaps
suggest venues which you believe might be good, and popular.
The idea has been to worship and pray together, share some of what we are finding on the road, and do some thinking and theology in a group – led variously by Fr Peter Denton, John Woolmer, Alison Morgan and Martin Cavender. The numbers attending have varied between 12 and 50 and the days have each had a different emphasis – from Spiritual warfare and the Healing ministry to the reformation in the Church and Confidence in the Gospel. One evaluation suggested we need to offer some more work on and ministry in the Gifts of the Spirit, and we shall be doing that – but all have been overwhelmingly positive – from Warwick, for example, most helpful was found to be “The sense of worship from the very outset of the day. The small group feel. The space to reflect”; and “ excellent input, clear and inspiring”. We always try to use the local church for these days, and we are very grateful to the local clergy and congregation for that chance.
Church renewal weekends
The last few months has seen a number of these in various
parts of the country – on the Isle of Wight with Sheet St
Mary, in Scarborough with Filey, near Sizewell Power Station in Suffolk
with Wickham Market, in Trowbridge as a follow-up to some earlier work
with Trowbridge St James, and involving various ReSource leaders
including Keith Powell, Mark Brown and Martin & Cesca Cavender.
It is always a great privilege to be asked to engage with the local
church because every local church is always different from every other,
and some are more different than others!
What we are finding are constant marks of openness to the Holy Spirit, gracious and humble leadership, great desire to worship God and lift up the name of Jesus and to explore the Bible as God’s Word, real willingness to be vulnerable to one another and to learn together as a family. We always try to include an opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit to come and move upon his people corporately as well as individually, and are always surprised by joy at what he does and what he brings – in one case a moving outbreak of reconciliation among estranged members of the congregation, with tears and laughter.
The invitations for these weekends are regular in our calendar, and we always welcome more. Ask us! We have a particular heart for “the little, the local and the ordinary”, and we believe that that is where God is very obviously at work in building disciples and growing his Church both numerically and spiritually.
ReSource will be joining with New Wine in Shepton Mallet this August, with Martin giving a seminar on ‘The Holy Spirit and mission’ and Alison speaking on ‘A Wild Gospel – encountering Jesus today’. Alison’s new booklet ‘Who do you say that I am? The Unexpected Jesus’ is at the printers, and Martin is working on a Grove booklet on “Growing Healthy Churches”, in the Renewal series. We are looking forward to working with the dioceses of Wakefield and Leicester in the autumn, in each case supporting their core diocesan programme, and we have a number of regional days and parish renewal weekends in the diary, led by our expanding team of Associates and Missioners (for details please see our website). If you think we can help you with your mission and ministry, or just encourage you with stories and concepts we’ve acquired on our travels, please do get in touch!
Thinking the Future
One of the things we are trying to do in ReSource is to serve church leaders in their task of discerning how to offer the gospel in a way which is both creative and faithful in the context of a rapidly changing culture. Recently we have had the opportunity to do this in a number of ways. Alison Morgan was invited by Christian Research to speak at their annual Strategic Thinkers Forum on ‘Confidence in the gospel as public truth – contending for faith today’. Her presentation, alongside that of Baptist pastor Steven Hembery, led to a lively and challenging discussion with key leaders from Tear Fund, the Evangelical Alliance, Global Connections, the Bible Society and the new thinktank Theos (if you haven’t yet come across this exciting new initiative, do visit www.theosthinktank.co.uk). This issue of confidence in the gospel is one which we will be looking to develop more in response to the conversations we are having both with local churches and with dioceses.
Psychic Piglets and Speaking Trees
The new year saw Martin and Alison in Glastonbury, where we had been asked to lead a retreat for the clergy of the Bristol West Deanery. As so often, we came away deeply encouraged by the commitment and determination of this diverse bunch of people working in different ways in different – and not easy - situations. We find in each place that in addition to anything we are able to offer to those we are working with, we ourselves come away refreshed and challenged by the sharing of experience - things which in turn we are able to pass on to others. Comments included ‘a sympathetic challenge, and teaching content which gives us much to work on in the future. Pointing us in the direction of good resources was extremely helpful. The sharing of stories was inspiring!'
But perhaps the thing that most struck me, on this my first visit to Glastonbury, was the visible illustration of G K Chesterton’s comment that ‘when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything’. The high street is full of shops with names like ‘The Pyschic Piglet’ and ‘The Speaking Tree’. A faded sign points to the ‘Miracles Room’ hidden at the back of an alley full of buddhas and crystals. Everyone seems to be wearing the same vaguely gothic-cum-rustic clothing - and yet they all look unwell. Middle aged witches coughed and limped their way up the street, travellers sold spiritual-looking bunches of dusty herbs on the pavement, and a solitary busker spluttered down a recorder. A few yards away stood the majestic ruins of one of England’s foremost abbeys. I wonder what God makes of it all?___________________________________________________________________________
Healing in Bideford
Last November John Woolmer, Alison Morgan and Heather Carver set off to Devon, where we had been invited by the Ven Mike Edson to lead a weekend of teaching on the healing ministry for the Bideford group of churches. The weekend was carefully planned by our hosts to include a variety of different events. John spoke at an evangelistic breakfast in a local hotel (with glittering Christmas trees and magnificent food…). We shared our experience of both praying for physical healing and working through prayer ministry for inner healing, and were able to pray with a significant number of people individually as well as offer training for future teams of prayer ministers. One woman testified on the Sunday to immediate healing of a shoulder problem – which as she is a professional flower arranger she was grateful to the Lord for! Others have written to us since. For ourselves, Frances Edson treated us to a most magnificent blow on the beach on the Saturday afternoon, and we left with the pounding of surf echoing in our heads and hearts.
Always we come away from such weekends feeling there was more we didn’t do than stuff we did – but aware also that we are just a small and momentary part of the ongoing ministry of those we serve. We are very grateful to those of you who join with us in continuing to uphold in prayer those with whom we have had the privilege to work, however briefly.___________________________________________________________________________
Mary, "Little Voice" and the coming of the New Year
A good time was had by all at the New Year Celebrations in the Harnhill Christian Healing Centre near Cirencester, where a full house of some 20 people enjoyed a mixed programme of teaching, worship, prayer and space to think and breathe in beautiful surroundings and supported by great hospitality from the in-house team, led by Paul and Bryony Springate. We even had a (very cold) trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park on New Year’s Day where we enjoyed the penguins blasting around their pool chasing fish (from a bucket), admired the albino rattlesnake and the rhinos, and got shouted at by a hungry bunch of otters. It all happens on a ReSource weekend.
The spoken input was provided by Martin and Cesca
around Mary and the annunciation. New Year is an odd celebration for
Christian believers, coming as it does between Christmas and Epiphany
in the calendar; but there was food for thought in Mary’s
dealings with the messenger-angel which helped us prepare ourselves for
the arrival of 2007. “Do not be afraid”, said the
angel; and then, “Nothing is impossible with God”.
Mary’s wonderful response, “May it be unto me
according to your word” is one for each of us as we step into
whatever the new year unfolds for us ; and may we say, with her,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my
It was a great time, with lots of laughter and a real coming together of the group, forming ourselves into a little cell of ministry to one another. One person was healed of a long-standing bondage, and others set free in other ways. One man found it helpful to have “time to be still and think without distraction – to learn again how to concentrate and think conclusively”. Another spoke of “meeting people from different backgrounds, circumstances and life experiences – and learning more about what the Lord is doing among his Church” ; and a clergyman said, “The teaching was excellent, very interesting and helpful. I learned a lot. I thought you were very kind to us in many ways – and am so pleased you gave us a paper resume of your teaching”. One lady said, “I really enjoyed the fellowship, and all the input – even the terrible jokes and the leg-pulling!”
“Little Voice”? Well, one of the most profound parts of the whole time together was the period we spent sharing, with great vulnerability, some of the things which were important to us – perhaps from a painting, or a piece of poetry, or a photograph. One brought a clip from a video of the film “Little Voice”, that extraordinary picture of a reclusive girl who has wonderful talent and learns how to use it for the delight of others, through her own pain and loss. The language is sometimes choice and the redemption hard reached, but it spoke to a number of people about the reality of the world and its needs. Of the whole weekend and the work of the Holy Spirit, one person said, “It has for me been a mystery opening up”. That will do nicely. Thank you, Harnhill.___________________________________________________________________________
Interesting QuoteIn one single day in 2005, there was as much trade as during the whole of the year of 1949, as much scientific research as during the whole of 1960, as many telephone calls as during the whole of 1983 and as many emails as during the whole of 1990 (Family Care Charity).
“A different reality – mission in Word and Spirit”“Inspiring stories and scriptural insights” were the things one person found most helpful on this day away at Offa House near Leamington Spa for the Greater Chapter of clergy and lay leaders from Buckingham Deanery, led by their Rural Dean, Kevin Ashby, with Martin Cavender of ReSource. Others thought it was “The chance to meet and share ideas and thoughts in an open and non-judgmental way”, which made the sessions “fun and stimulating”. This was a day for exploring the theme of what it means to be involved in mission in Word and Spirit, built around the prayer, “Lord, transform your world; renew your Church; and start with me”. We engaged with the different reality of working in the power of the Holy Spirit, and what that meant to Jesus, beginning with his baptism in the River Jordan. One person found most important the fact that the day “made us focus on ourselves, our own motivations and adequacies”, and especially in the ReSource renewal exercise which is designed to do just that, as we grasp what it means to be members of a missionary church in a needy world. In the end it was a day of “hope, vision, encouragement”, as one person put it, “with good, clear Biblical teaching”. It was also a day filled with lots of laughter, sharp questions and good humour, and a marker for the way in which a Deanery can engage with Gospel mission and the relationship between the individual, the local church and the community.
ReSource gets a patron!
From A Spark To A Flame (Heinz Beans...)
The last few months may not have had fully 57 varieties, but it has felt like it! "From a Spark to a Flame" was the On Fire Anglo-Catholic Renewal Conference at High Leigh, led by ReSource, with input leading us from blowing on the embers of our faith to the all-consuming fire of mission. It was a great Conference, with lots of Eucharists and Solemn Benedictions, incense and blessings, signs and wonders, and a huge sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in all his healing power.
It was a shock to move from that to the Proclamation
Men's Conference on the Holy Spirit, with 5000 men worshipping together
in the Albert Hall and Dick Lucas one of the speakers - a fascinating
shift, and again with a strong and proper emphasis on the authority of
In June we were working with the Methodist Church in Andover, teaching
on renewal for mission. Pentecost saw us up in Fortrose, Scotland,
preaching on that great Sunday in both the Episcopal Church and the
Church of Scotland, and seeing the Holy Spirit come in power upon his
people. Then came a retreat at Launde Abbey with Repton Deanery
Chapter, led by Alison Morgan and MC. Again, the Spirit made his
presence known, this time in unifying a group of clergy and in healing.
A work later in the month with Repton Parish showed once more how
important in door-opening is the mission audit material, "Growing
Healthy Churches", which ReSource has recently reprinted. We do find
that it makes the way for longer and deeper work on renewal, and
mission in the power of the Spirit.
The Ruth Fazal Conference shared by SOMA and ReSource at Swanwick in June was reported in the last ReSource Magazine. Reverberations from that continue to be felt - only last Sunday I was in a church where the preacher began her sermon on the Book of Jonah by referring to that amazing Prayer Gathering with Ruth. We then went on to the Diocesan Missioners' Conference, which is reported in the next Magazine: and shortly afterwards to run a Lunch for General Synod members at York University, which brought some incisive questioning both about the theology of renewal and about ReSource's work. Interestingly, one of the questions was about confidence in the Gospel and confidence in ministry, which we have also picked up from other parts of the Church. We came away from that lunch with a real sense of encouragement and support from General Synod members.
Preparation works in York, Dringhouses, and in Filey out on the coast were followed by a day in Ulverston with the Diocesan Renewal Group in Cumbria, working together on renewal for a mission-shaped church. David Munby led a Parish Renewal weekend with St Paul's church in Morley, Leeds, and Mark Tanner and MC a similar weekend with our old friends from St Germain's, Edgbaston at Hothorpe Hall.
Meanwhile the fine work begun by John Woolmer with the Prayer Team in Christ the King, Kettering has carried over into fresh invitations for ReSource, with Alison Morgan leading an evening teaching there on "Wounds", and Cesca Cavender planning for a November evening on "Bondages".
The Diocesan Missioners' Conference has given rise to lots of ideas and invitations, including time with Peter Massey and Howard Male in Hereford planning the 2007 Lent Course on renewal for mission, and organising for ReSource to provide support and resources for that. Recently we have had a four-day Parish Renewal weekend with Newbury St Nicolas which was very fruitful - and leaves us feeling that all weekends ought to last for four days! Looking ahead, the diary is filling with work for all the members of the ReSource team - in Parishes and Deaneries, across traditions and denominations, in areas and Dioceses. One new element is the building of a portfolio of work led by different ReSource Associates and Missioners in regional meetings on such things as "Healing and Wholeness", "Leadership in Renewal", "Prayer with Creation", "Confidence in the Gospel", "Renewal for a mission-shaped church" and others.
Please do contact the office for details.
Experience of an end-user
We work in many different ways in many different contexts,
always trying to shape our offering to the local need and expectation.
Sometimes, happily, this involves sticking with a church or group for
the long haul. Here is one response to that kind of work:
Client confidentiality is generally regarded as a Good Thing, and ReSource is very good at Good Things - but that does mean that we don't often read or hear about the work that ReSource does at parish level, with the "little, local and ordinary" to use that wonderful phrase. Yes, there's no questioning the value of what the team does at an institutional level with dioceses and deaneries, and that must be encouraged, supported and affirmed. Descriptions of this more local area of its work tend however to be missing from the news, or are only included in very general terms. As one of the many "little, local and ordinary" who have benefited enormously from the work of ReSource over the last couple of years I'd like to help fill that gap. I write from the perspective of one who was a lay leader for part of the relevant period, and a very interested observer for the remainder.
I belong to an evangelical Anglican church in a North
suburb. The last couple of years is a story of the induction of a new
vicar who brought with him a new vision and style and new ideas, with
the inevitable accompaniment of new tensions and challenges. It is a
case study in how ReSource can help a bemused, defensive and (in parts)
hurting congregation move forward towards a shared vision and
ultimately into renewal. Our situation is unique to us, but the key
features of ReSource's involvement are fully transferable into other
It all started when Martin was invited to speak at our Pentecost celebration service in May 2004. In what I now know to be his characteristically gracious but no-messing style he used vocabulary, and threw out challenges based on the Revelation 3 letter to the Laodicean church that were new to many of us, and touched nerves. Renewal for mission in the power of the Holy Spirit - yes, a great idea ; but as a congregation we were suffering from relationship problems, differences in understandings of leadership, and a lack of vision which were causing paralysis. Survival rather than spiritual renewal felt like the priority for most of us.
All of those features began to emerge when Martin came again, a fortnight later, to facilitate the PCC and other leaders in the first stage of a Healthy Churches audit, and became clearer when, a few weeks later, he returned to help us go deeper into some of them. That process continued with his subsequent involvement in a small group meeting of core leaders, where certain specific problems were discussed further and a way forward agreed in principle. More recently he's contributed to a strategy session on spiritual renewal, helping our Vision Group think through what it means in practice to have identified spiritual renewal as our top priority. Throughout this period he's been very generous (and patient!) in making himself available to our Vicar and lay leaders, being variously a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a go-between with Archdeacon and Area Bishop and a wise and trusted counsellor.
Two years later it feels as if we have bottomed out. We have still have our difficulties, but we also have an agreed vision, with spiritual renewal as its top priority and a commitment by the PCC to an action plan that will help us in our journey. The Lord has been very good to us, and one of the ways he's shown his goodness is by introducing us to ReSource at a time when we were struggling, disorientated, and in need of a reminder of his love and of the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome every obstacle we were throwing in his way.
The Commissioning of ReSource at Burford Priory by Archbishop Rowan Williams
18th November 2004
"I welcome ReSource as a refreshing addition to the support for the Church as she moves into growth and renewal. Among other things I am glad to see the emphasis on Scripture and prayer, on proper theology and the prophetic - and the breadth of the approach of this initiative. I believe that the combination of renewal and mission, Word and Spirit are key to the communication of the Christian Gospel in this generation. I see ReSource as one of the many streams of development which are beginning, by God's grace, to flow together at this important time in the life of the Church."
Archbishop Rowan Williams, October 2004
Felicity Lawson and Martin Cavender with Revd Richard Coombs, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and Abbot Stuart Burns
A Celebration Eucharist to launch the ministry of ReSource, York Minster. November 30th 2004
In addition to the work we do with churches, deaneries and dioceses, we offer various open events to which everyone is welcome. These are organised regionally, and led by experienced facilitators on key topics to do with renewal for mission in the power of the Holy Spirit (do let us know what topics you would like to see covered). We are also planning to hold Partner days for those who support us financially and spiritually - more details soon!
ReSource events 2013
ReSource evening events
We are running a series of evening events which are open to all. Led by Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan, the theme will be ‘I am the Lord who heals you’, and each evening will include worship, teaching, prayer and the opportunity to ask questions and browse our resource materials. There will be no charge for these events – do come, and bring your friends! Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start.
· 15th May at St Peter’s Gildersome, Leeds, hosted by Felicity Lawson (for flyer click here)
· 5th June at Emmanuel Church Guildford, hosted by Frank Scammell (for flyer click here)
· 11th June at St Mary’s Great Baddow, Chelmsford, hosted by Philip Ritchie (for flyer click here)
· 4th July at St Andrew’s Maghull, Liverpool, hosted by Nick Wells (for flyer click here)
Most of our work is in response to invitations from particular churches or groupings, but some are open to all. These are some of our upcoming engagements. If you would like to pray for these and others, please do contact the office for a copy of our prayer diary. And if you would like to invite us to work with you we would be delighted to hear from you!
22-23rd May : ‘Doing what Jesus Did – the ministry of healing today’, a 2 day residential as part of the Winchester Diocese CMD programme, led by Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan. For more information click here.
29th May: Confidence in the Gospel: An evening for Poole Deanery, led by Alison Morgan
11th June : ‘Renewal for mission.’ A day for the curates of the Diocese of Chelmsford, led by Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan
14th September – A day on Healing and Wholeness for the Diocese of StEdmundsbury and Ispwich at St Mary’s Hadleigh – speakers Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan
7-16th October – A series of PCC evenings and deanery days on ‘Unwrapping the gifts of the Spirit’ for the Diocese of Portsmouth, speakers Martin Cavender and Alison Morgan
11-15th November : ‘Making Christian Disciples’, a week at Lee Abbey led by Alison Morgan. For more information click here.
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