It’s been great to see more people starting to attend in person at church each week now that September is here. If you’ve started coming again recently, welcome back!
This Sunday we started our new preaching series for the autumn called I LOVE MY CHURCH, and we’ve given our series artwork a Welcome Church twist
I preached the first message in the series this week and, because all the rest of the series builds on this first message, I have a simple request for everyone …
… if you missed the talk, for whatever reason, please listen to it.
It’s a slightly longer message than normal because it’s laying the foundation for everything else to come, but don’t let that put you off. You can find it as a podcast from all the usual podcast sources, you can listen to it as an audio file by clicking here, or you can watch the video of the preach (the best option by far in my opinion) by clicking below. Why not make the time to do that before Sunday?
One more thing: Christopher Hawes has been working with an artist called Jack Seymour to create some beautiful illustrations to help bring the ideas in the series to life.This first one is below. Enjoy!
During our online communion meeting on Sunday evening, it was my privilege to announce a new staff member for Welcome Church. From September 1st Christopher Hawes will leave his role as a full time teacher to join our staff team. Chris will focus on preaching & discipleship and also on leading & developing the creative elements of all we do as a church.
Chris is married to Sarah and they have three young children. He’s already part of our eldership team, and I’m delighted that someone who carries our DNA as a church is going to be available to focus on this key role full time.
Chris will be undertaking our new Commission training courses, starting at level 3 and working through to the level 4 masters degree. By the way … there are some great courses available through Commission, including an internship year you could do at Welcome Church. Do let me know if you’re interested.
Chris and Sarah are a big gift to our church family. In addition to her work as an actress, puppeteer and motion capture artist, Sarah regularly hosts our online meetings and helps develop others in this too. She’s also part of the leadership of Welcome Kids.
I believe we have a good future together as a church. Coronavirus will not last forever.
This appointment will release significant time for me in my own role, and Chris will also be looking to develop other people in their gifts. I believe this appointment will serve us as a church in many ways and will help shape us for the years to come.
Because of Coronavirus we’re not permitted to meet together in person as a church right now, and it looks like this situation could last for a while. Because we really value community and want to improve how we meet together on a Sunday …
From this Sunday (5th April) there will be no more Sunday meetings through Facebook. From now on, to join in with our Sunday meetings all you need to do is visitwelcomechurch.online
This is a great new platform for us. As you watch you can comment on the message, you can ask for prayer and you can even read the Bible text alongside the preaching. We’re really excited about it.
The biggest change is this:
Our Sunday meetings will be broadcast LIVE at 9am, 11am and the slightly later time of 6pm
This means that if you don’t want to miss out you will need to put one of those times in your diary and log on to welcomechurch.online at the right time. Of course, because it’s live, it means you can’t rewind, pause or fast forward; it’s like meeting in person again!
There is so much value in gathering together at the same time, especially in this season of self-isolation, so we really want everyone to prioritise being online for one of those meetings.
Of course if you do miss it, you will be able to watch or listen to Sunday’s message, from Monday onwards, through our church website.
Our first Sunday Experience as a church online went really well; I hope you enjoyed it.
Some highlights following last Sunday are these:
He’s got the whole world …
As a very conservative estimate, well over a thousand people around the world have seen our Sunday message or heard the podcast.
We’ve had great feedback from people in Brazil, India, South Africa and many other places in the UK including Northern Ireland. These are not people who we would normally have expected to connect with us, so our footprint has grown overnight
Numbers of people from our church started their own watch parties on Facebook (some by design and some by accident 🙂) and found that their friends who would not normally be with them on a Sunday at church joined in and watched too
The daily encouragement videos have been shared by many of us, and are also now being viewed by a wide range of people. Prayer requests are starting to arrive from both overseas and closer to home. Do watch these daily videos at 4pm, and share them with anyone who you think would be helped or blessed by them
NEW PLANS for this Sunday
The lockdown that we are currently living under means that the recording for this Sunday will probably all need to be done at home. We will do our level best to make it as high quality as possible! We are also trying to incorporate some worship content, so watch this space.
The specific plan for Sunday has changed and is now as follows:
After that you can watch it at any time that suits you. Please share the link to your own social media accounts and directly with other people too
We will host watch parties as a church on our Welcome Church Facebook Page at 9am, 11am and 4pm each Sunday
If you want to watch in community with other people – which we hope you will -you can join in with any of our watch parties, or you could just start one of your own. These are a great way to interact with people along the way
The kids work will go live on both our website and our Facebook page at about 10am, so do make use of that too – it will bless your kids
Prayer is absolutely crucial at this challenging time.
Don’t forget that we are now praying online as a church twice a day via Zoom. All the details you need to join in, including the specific code to join the meetings, can be found here. Anyone is welcome to join us. I hope we will see you online to pray with us soon.
In case you missed it, here is a link to yesterday’s encouragement video: