Church vision... we long with Christ to be churches that:
Love - seek to grow together
Pray - continue to be healing places of prayer
Grow - make disciples growing from the Bible,
- Particularly growing children's and young people's faith
Serve - encourage the ministry of all; walk in mission,
- sharing Jesus & serving those outside the church;
- Seeking justice for the world
We pray that we will continue to grow as churches within the vision
granted us together...
St Helens Church
(The church on the corner)
St Peters Church
Walking with Jesus by the Spirit in Community
God regularly calls us back to renew the heart of our faith so that we may
experience afresh his love in our lives. At the heart of our faith is the
simple, yet profound, truth that we are called to walk with Jesus. It
was this truth that revolutionised my faith many years ago as I realised that
Christian faith was about a daily walk with Jesus through all of life, not
words to a distant God on a Sunday morning. But how does this happen? It cannot
be simply a matter of our effort or knowledge or even church attendence.
Rather, as the apostle Paul puts it, "God's love has been poured out into our
hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5). It is only by the Spirit
that we can live this life of faith, a life overflowing with love for the whole
of creation. We need to come to God aware of our own weaknesses and failings
and confess these, asking him to send his Spirit that we might know Jesus
walking with us in life. As we do so we will realise that our Christian life
can never be lived alone but wherever possible it is lived incommunity.
Church is not an outdated institution but rather a community of people who have
experienced God's manifold love by the Spirit and seek to walk closer with
What are the effects of this kind of life for us? Firstly, we experience the love
of God - a love that is shaped by Jesus, particularly through his death on
the Cross. Here is a love that faces the extremes of pain in our lives and in
the world and yet is able to bring life even out of death. As we slowly
experience this kind of suffering love so we find ourselves also reaching out
in love to others to create healing communities. Many people testify to the
healing power of church communities at times when life seems at its darkest.
Secondly, we find ourselves praying to God, knowing that he hears and
answers such prayer. This is a rich tapesty of prayer with something just right
for each one of us as we seek to hear God and offer our concerns to Him.
Thirdly, through prayer we find God stretching us and challenging us to grow
in faith. Christian faith faces the challenges of the world and the questions
as to its validity - it forces us to face the truth rather than escape from it.
The testimony of Alpha courses and others is that we can enjoy learning and
growing in faith as the Bible inspires us. Finally, through all this we find
ourselves called to serve God in the communities of which we are apart -
within the church, village, city, nation and world. Christian faith never rests
until the world is transformed by the love of God and all pain and suffering
overcome. God's mission is for a transformed creation and we are called to be a
part in that.
This pattern is seen through the Bible and can be glimpsed in one of Jesus' first
approaches to his followers after his resurrection from the dead. Two of his
followers were walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus not quite believing that
he could be alive (see Luke 24). Rather than turn to those who believed Jesus
shows his great love by coming alongside these two who were heading in
the wrong direction. There is a sense of God's concern and comfort that shines
through, and yet also the challenge to grow. Jesus challenges the two to
understand better the Bible's testimony to him, to go again over the stories of
God's working and discover how Jesus' death and resurrection fits in. And so
the two learn, but somehow do not recognise Jesus. They invite him in for
supper at the end of the long walk and as they share together Jesus turns the
ordinary into a place of prayer and worship as he blesses and breaks the
bread they share. Suddenly the two recognise Jesus and the experience is
overwhelming. So much so that they find themselves running back to Jerusalem to
serve others by sharing the good news that Jesus is alive and active.
Christian faith is a great adventure. One that is so simple that anyone can join in. Yet
one that is so vast that we will remain constantly surprised by God's working.
It is an adventure rooted in a loving community, in prayer and worship, in the
living word of the Bible, in charismatic gifting, in committed service. It is
an adventure with Jesus, by the Spirit as the Father calls and leads. Let us
carry on the adventure together.