George Varney: he’s a community hero!

Welcome Church‘s very own George Varney has deservingly won a fantastic award, and we could not be prouder of him.

The award has been given by Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network (CNI), who are an umbrella organisation for around 130 local projects working predominantly to serve people within the night-time economy, and this include Woking Street Angels.

aIMG_6734-1638x2048Because of George’s outstanding work as a Street Angel, where he is both a trustee and team leader, along with his most recent venture, The Useful Wood Company, George has been chosen as a community hero by CNI.

This is a Nation Wide Contest so George has done really well. You can read all about his award by clicking here – you may spot a few other familiar faces in the photos too.

Alice Potter, a Trustee from Woking Street Angels said,

“George has always been the person to step in the gap when we have had holes in our Duty Rota. He would be out until 4am in the morning and still turn up for an early start at church a few hours later. He has always gone the extra mile. He stands out in our Team and I am proud that he is part of our Church.”

Serving the poor and those in need is a key aspect of the Christian faith in action, so it is also central to us as a church. You can see lots more of what we do in these areas by checking out our Welcome Works initiative.

Welcome Worship Online

Our online Sunday meetings have been well served with worship songs recorded by members of our Welcome Church worship team.

Some of these tracks are now available for you to listen to online via Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube. Please click here to access them.

Enjoy the worship, and don’t forget to follow us. More of the tracks we’re producing as a church will be added soon.

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Special thanks (so far) goes to to Simon Field (for filming the videos), Jo Petch, Owen Petch, Steve Tait and Sophie White (for making the music), and Owen again for mixing the sound.

More people will be getting involved in the weeks ahead, so look out for that too.

 

 

 

Calling all Welcome Church Life Groups!

Life Groups have been key for us at Welcome Church during this time of Lockdown, so I went to say a massive ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to all our group leaders for taking their group meetings online so seamlessly and faithfully.

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Different groups have been taking different approaches during this time:

Most have been meeting weekly and some fortnightly. There have been quizzes, competitions, sing-a-longs, breakout groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings, encouragements, worship times, fancy dress, reflections on the Sunday preaching, drawing competitions, poetry, things for kids, virtual meals and a whole lot more.

The most important thing is that people have  connected to caring community during a time of isolation

There are three things I want to say to and about Life Groups:

1. I want to recommend a book and encourage Life Groups to study it together in the weeks ahead.

51ELoj+49hL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The book is called “Spiritual Feasting” and is written by Jenny Sanders. It has 17 chapters, and each chapter ends with three application questions that groups can work through together. I would recommend looking at just one chapter each week.

I know this will do us all so much good, whether you’ve been a Christian for years or are still just exploring the faith.

The book is available on Amazon by clicking here. At the time of writing it’s on pre-order for a reduced price, but don’t hang about; it’s released on Friday (the 15th May) and will be a little more expensive after that. There’s a kindle version available too.

The book is all about the reality of living life to the full with Jesus, even though we walk through challenges and difficulties. It’s well worth the time and effort to read and will serve us so well. If you’re hungering for a greater spiritual reality with Jesus in your life, this will do you good.

2. I would love to encourage group members to say “thank you” to their Life Group leaders

I suspect lots of people have done this already, but if not please let your group leaders know how much they are appreciated. Why not sent them a thank you?

3. If you’re not in a Life Group and would like to try one, you can

To arrange it, please email us on connect@allwelcome.uk and let us know you want to try a Life Group. Make sure you include your contact details so we can get in touch.

Let’s all be part of a caring community at this time.

“Welcome Church Goes Around The World” Reaches Eastern Asia In 3 Weeks! Dub Everitt to have Lockdown Haircut by seven year old! Read all about it here!

We’re now halfway through our “Welcome Church goes Around the World” challenge: 3 weeks in, 3 weeks to go.

The aim is to travel 24,901 miles (the circumference of the globe) in 6-weeks, and we’re AHEAD OF SCHEDULE – 13,704 miles travelled in the first 3 weeks! We’ve now reached Magadan on the eastern border of Russia.

Check out our update video here with Ellianora from Magadan giving us a personal encouragement:

We’re aiming to raise £1 per mile, a total of £24,901 for Your Sanctuary. We’ve reached over £8,000 so far, which is amazing, but would love to see this figure grow and grow so we can raise as much as possible to support the work Your Sanctuary are doing in supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

So … we would love you to Become a Team Member & ask friends & family to personally sponsor you!

It’s amazing the difference someone being able to personally sponsor you makes. By clicking on this link below, you can become a team member 

When you join the team, you can share a direct link for people to click on and invite friends, family and colleagues to personally sponsor you!

If 100 of us were team members and each raised £100, we could add £10,000 to our fundraising this week!

If 100 of us raised £200 each, we would add £20,000 and beat our target!

So, please do join the team and then invite others to sponsor you.

One more thing:

“SPONSOR DUB’S HAIR BEING CUT BY A 7-YEAR-OLD FOR YOUR SANCTUARY!”

Mike Reid & Eugene Engelbrecht (two of elders here at Welcome Church) have both offered to give £100 to our Your Sanctuary appeal if Dub allows his 7-year-old Will to cut his hair! Others have quickly joined in and pledges have already reached £500!

Dub has agreed for this to happen live on Facebook at 5.30pm this Thursday if pledges reach £1,000. Click on this video link to find out more

Let’s not miss this great opportunity to have Dub’s locks sheared off for Your Sanctuary!

Click here to donate on GoFundMe or click here to comment and pledge

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UPDATED!!! Building Community Together

DETAILS FOR SUNDAY EVENING’S ONLINE COMMUNION HAVE CHANGED BECAUSE THE PRIME MINISTER WILL ADDRESS THE NATION AT 7PM – SEE BELOW FOR UPDATED DETAILS

Coronavirus, social distancing and lockdown have created challenges for us all, including a sense of isolation. I’ve certainly had some ‘down’ days along the way and I know others have too.

There will be things we’re each missing, and one I’ve heard mentioned often is that people are missing meeting together in person as a church community. In response I want to highlight two things we’ve got planned to help us connect together.

Evening Communion

This Sunday (10th May) at 6.00pm (please note new time), we will hold ‘online communion’ together. Everyone is invited to join us for a ‘Welcome Church, Come As You Are, Online Communion’.

We will do this on Zoom, and all the details are shown in the picture:

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Everyone is welcome. Come as you are. Come as a family. You don’t have to be part of Welcome Church to join in; just bring your faith and an open heart.

At the end of our time together we’ll take communion, so please be ready with bread and wine (or Ribena or grape juice or whatever you’ve got). Please don’t worry too much what it is or put yourself at risk to get something.

The items that we use are always symbolic of a greater reality; what counts is being together as one body of people with Jesus at the centre. Jesus is the ‘bread’ we all share. His death for us is what we remember.

This is a great way for us to be together in the presence of Jesus

Virtual Coffee

Community is so important to us that as well as being able to post comments and to share “hearts” in the chat area during the meeting itself, we’ve now introduced “Virtual Coffee” after both the 9am and 11am meetings, for about half an hour. Please do grab yourself a drink and then come and join us online for a ‘Virtual Coffee’ and chat.

Everyone is welcome to join in – just log on and be friendly. If you’re new to our church or connecting from another town or even another country, you’re welcome too. Come and say hi for half and hour or so, and let’s build community, get to know one another and have virtual coffee.

Again, the details are in the picture:

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Hero of the year: Our Amazing Mayor

The incredible Beryl Hunwicks, who is part of our Welcome Church family, has been serving as the 46th Mayor of Woking for the last year.

She has done a fantastic job all year, working extremely hard, and her time in office was due to expire this month, BUT THERE IS SOME BIG NEWS TO ANNOUNCE:

 Beryl has been asked to remain in office for an unprecedented second year

The Council’s Annual Meeting and Mayor Making ceremony usually takes place in May, but this has been postponed until May 2021 because of Coronavirus. This means Beryl remains in place for a second term, as does Saj Hussain, who continues to serve as Deputy Mayor. I will also continue as Chaplain to The Mayor.

Speaking about her exceptional extended term, Beryl said:

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We love you Beryl!

“It’s a great privilege and honour to serve the borough in this capacity; to celebrate its achievements and to be an ambassador for all that is great about Woking and the things of which we are proud.

“Those who have served as Mayor before me will know how demanding the role can be, and I confess I was looking forward to an end of term break! But that was then, and now I am lifted by the bravery of our key workers, and the kindness, generosity and ingenuity that has come to the fore of late.

“I am truly humbled to be Woking’s Mayor during this time and will do all I can to support the recovery and rehabilitation of our wonderful and vibrant borough over the next 12 months.”

The restrictions put in place to protect people during the coronavirus pandemic have made life tougher for us all, but none more so than those living in abusive households, including here in Woking.

With this in mind, the Mayor will continue to support and fundraise for the domestic abuse charity ‘Your Sanctuary‘ during the 2020/21 Mayoral Year. This is a great moment to remind people about our own ‘Welcome Church Goes Around The World’ fund raising initiative for this essential cause – please click here for details and please give generously!

As a church let’s be praying for Beryl in the year ahead:

  • Pray that she has the health and stamina for all she is asked to do
  • Pray that she has wisdom and grace as she chairs the Council Meetings
  • Pray that she is able to bring the love and light of Jesus to everyone she meets
  • Pray for her husband Alan, a former elder of our church, a trustee, and a faithful man of God, now battling Parkinson’s Disease (we love you too Alan)

Beryl, we are so proud of you. We appreciate all you’ve done and continue to do for our town. And on behalf of everyone at Welcome Church:

“THANK YOU and WELL DONE!”

 

Exciting Staff News

We have some exciting news regarding a staff change at Welcome Church.

Part of our role as a church is to develop and release leaders, and this applies to those who are employed by us as much as to anyone else. 

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-22 at 16.57.38Many of us will know Ben and Nancy Martin. Ben has been employed at Welcome Church for a number of years, first as a Kids Worker, and more recently as our Children’s and Youth Pastor. About a year ago, as part of our plan for his development, Ben was offered a secondment to Gateway Church in Basingstoke.

Over the last year at Gateway Church, Ben has been involved in lots of activities to help him develop, including setting up a brand new CAP Debt Centre like the one we have here at Welcome Church, alongside involvement with discipleship, pastoral care and lots of other things that have nothing to do with children or youth.

Ben’s aim was to develop further as a leader, and I’m delighted to announce that he has now been appointed to a new, permanent role as Lead Pastor at Life Church in Hook. Life Church is part of the Commission global family of churches, just like Welcome Church, so we will still see him and Nancy at Commission events including Connect Festival next year.

Ben will start this new role on May 18th, and this will bring to an end more than ten years of employment with us, and also his secondment to Gateway Church. It also means he will not now be returning to us in the summer, as was the original plan.

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-22 at 16.57.31As part of this move Ben and Nancy will be relocating to Hook. They already have a buyer for their house and a purchase agreed – all subject to contract of course. In case you missed their other piece of exciting news, Nancy is pregnant with a due date this August.

Please do join me in congratulating them both on this step they are taking; this will be an exciting new phase of their life and ministry together. Ben and Nancy will be missed, yet this new role is a great step into their future together and will be a huge blessing to Life Church.

Here is a video that Ben and Nancy made to share the news in their own words. Enjoy!

 

 

Domestic Violence: Helping Victims, Getting Fit

During Lockdown incidences of Domestic Violence have risen at the same time as charitable giving has fallen , so we’re raising money for Your Sanctuary, a Woking based charity who help victims of domestic violence and their families.

Our Fund Raiser is off to a good start with around £1,500 being raised already and a distance of over 1000 miles being covered so far (which takes us across Holland and Germany and to the far side of Poland …)

We will post distance updates and photos on our Welcome Church social media accounts each weekend, so do look out for those.

You can check out the details of our ambitious plan by clicking here or reading this recent blog. People have been joining in by running, walking, cycling, scooting and even roller skating. However you get about, as long as it’s under your own steam, you’re welcome to join in.

We’ve started a Strava Club too – (“Welcome Church Goes Around The World”). You’re welcome to join that and help us rack up the miles. Why not see if you can top the leader board?

However long or short your daily exercise, every distance counts. We want everyone to join in, whatever their age or fitness level. Don’t forget to submit your distances by emailing them to aroundtheworld@allwelcome.uk.  We don’t mind if it’s in miles, kilometres, yards, centimetres, cubits, stadia, furlongs, fathoms or leagues – we will convert it and add it all up.

Let’s have fun doing this together and let’s give generously to make a real difference. This fun video will tell you more:

New Initiative: Welcome Church Goes Around The World

At Welcome Church, we love people and want to respond to Jesus’ call to support and help others, even at this difficult time.

During the Coronavirus Lockdown, incidences of Domestic Violence have risen.  At the same time charitable giving has fallen. Domestic violence destroys lives and families, and we want to do something to make a difference, so we are going to raise money for Your Sanctuary, a Woking based charity who help victims of domestic violence and their families. It’s a real privilege to get alongside them and raise money for the amazing work they do.

We have an ambitious plan

Let’s use our daily exercise over the next the next 6 weeks to see if we can go far enough to have circled the globe together – a distance of 24, 901 miles – and let’s do it to raise £24,901 for this amazing cause.

We want everyone who is part of Welcome Church to join together to do two things:

First, let’s measure and log our daily exercise distance each day

Walking,  running, cycling, roller skating, scooting or an exercise machine – however you do it – measure your distance each day and maybe take a picture of yourself doing it. Add up every member of your household, and then send it in each day, with any pictures you may have, to aroundtheworld@allwelcome.uk

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This data will get added together, and over 6 weeks we’re aiming to cover a distance that would have taken us right around the world. Everyone’s exercise counts, from the youngest to the oldest, from the longest to the shortest distance. This is a team effort where our church community, together within anyone else who wants to get involved, can combine together to complete this challenge.

Second, let’s invite the people we know to sponsor us as a church for doing it, to raise money for Your Sanctuary:

Let’s get as many people as possible to support us with this, giving anything from £1 upwards. Any amount, however small or large, will be appreciated.

People can be invited to give through our Go Fund me page, and don’t forget to share it to social media as well. Invite your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to sponsor us all, and let’s raise some money!

In the weeks ahead people will be able to follow our progress around the globe and see updates and photos of people completing their daily exercise on our Facebook Page  or Instagram

A target to go for

We’ve set a target to raise £24,901. This amounts to £1 per mile and, although we are not asking people to sponsor us ‘per mile’, it’s great to have something to aim for … and let’s all give generously ourselves too.

Whether we achieve the financial target or not, any amount raised will be amazing, and we can have some fun doing it

The Welcome Church Building Work Is Finished

I am delighted to announce that the building work at Welcome Church is now complete, bringing to an end an important chapter in our church’s history and opening up a whole new one. I’m looking forward to the time when Lockdown measures are over and we’re able to start using it properly.

We had expected the current crisis to delay completion, but government guidance permits building work to continue as long as appropriate hygiene and social distancing measures are in place, and our contractor made the call to continue. They were inspected regularly along the way by Woking Borough Council for compliance.

Yesterday I had to go over to the building to collect the keys. Sadly we were unable to have a proper ‘handover ceremony’ because of the times we are in, but I was handed the keys by Simon Powell, contracts manager for O&D Construction, on the end of a 2m pole!

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The new offices are looking good, as is the whole site, and hopefully these pictures give an idea of the finished result. Let’s pray it’s not too long before we all get to see it in real life and enjoy meeting together in person.

If you’ve never visited us at Welcome Church, we’d love to see you when we’re open again. In the meantime, you can join us each Sunday online for our meetings at 9am, 11am and 6pm.

There are of course some small jobs outstanding on the building which social distancing or availability of raw materials at this time have made impossible, and there will undoubtedly be snagging issues to resolve once we get in; we will deal with these along the way.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project. Please let me encourage you, as far as you are able (and I recognise that some are facing huge challenges right now) to keep giving generously so that we can meet our monthly mortgage payments, and perhaps clear the mortgage altogether.

God has given us this building for a reason and we have not been called to stand still. We are here to be a blessing to our town and further afield, and we have a big vision that we want to fulfil. I can’t wait to be back in our building again and I look forward to seeing you there!