John Kirkby, founder of CAP, speaking at Welcome Church

This Sunday morning, 1st March, we are honoured to have an excellent and much sought after guest speaker at Welcome Church for our 9am and 11am meetings: Dr John Kirkby, the founder of CAP (Christians Against Poverty).

Everyone is welcome to join us for this special occasion.

CAP

About CAP

John started Christians Against Poverty in 1996, when God called him to sacrifice his career in finance and use his knowledge of the industry to help the poor. Since then John has seen CAP develop into an organisation serving tens of thousands of individuals every year, helping those struggling with debt, unemployment and life controlling habits, and equipping people to live well on a low income.

CAP has now helped thousands of people all across the UK to get out of life destroying debt. Our own CAP debt advice centre, which is one of our Welcome Works initiatives, opened in 2019, and is already making a difference to people’s lives. This adds to the work already being done with CAP in Woking by our friends at Christ Church and New Life Church too. You can see the full range of CAP services on offer at Welcome Church by clicking here.

CAP was featured last year in a BBC Two documentary The Debt Saviours, which followed the lives of some CAP clients and frontline workers in the middle of the current UK poverty epidemic. It showed how CAP is committed to transforming lives in partnership with local churches across the UK. CAP has also won many different awards, and John Kirkby himself recently received a CBE. CAP is also recommended by Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair of Money Saving Expert.

Come and join us for the morning

If you would like to hear John, please join us for either our 9am or 11am meeting. There will be great coffee, and tasty pastries and doughnuts available before and after each meeting – all free of charge. As for all our Sunday meetings there will also be kids and youth work taking place.

It’s an absolute privilege to have John with us, so make sure not to miss it.

Here us a link to the event on Facebook too.

Buildings: Finishing The Job Together

In case you haven’t noticed, our building work is well underway! Work on the new building (behind our current building) is progressing daily and is on track for us to move into during January 2020.

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There are now two challenges ahead for us:

The first challenge is the work to be done to our current building

There is a lot that will happen to the current building, including: an extension to create new offices, new professional quality kitchens, new toilet facilities, a new entrance, new doors leading through to the new building, a new reception area, a redesign of the current room layout, removal of the old baptistry and stage, a new boiler and heating system, electrical work, decorating throughout, cladding to the outside, landscaping, fencing, gates … the building will be transformed!

Our challenge is that on July 1st we will lose access to the whole site while the work is being done, and we won’t get it back until the job is finished in Dec/Jan. To make things more challenging, everything has to be cleared before work starts.

While the work goes on any ministries or meetings that would usually run in the building will NOT be able to take place there. The impact of this is being worked through with each ministry individually: some will find alternative venues, others will stop for a term. We are also looking to rent some office space off site for this period – more details on that when we have it.

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The second challenge is finance

Giving to this project has been phenomenal. Our Gift Days in May and November, plus some giving outside of that, have raised £1.935 million pounds. I want to say thank you for that generosity.

The challenge is that we still need a little more to finish the job, so we will be holding a final set of Building Fund Gift Days on Sundays 9th and 16th June. We would like these Gift Days to close the gap in the funding for our current plans, and we would also like to cover the cost of a few additional things/opportunities that have come up along the way. 

Some of the extra costs include:

  • Video: we would like to introduce video for recording our preaching, which will be key for our outreach and for reaching new places – we want to fund the equipment and infrastructure for that
  • Sound: this is very important and, after many quotes, we now know that it will cost more than we budgeted for – this is essential for us going forward
  • Folding doors: the folding doors we have need replacing (they are beyond repair) and sound proofing is needed above them too – this is not in the current plan
  • Drains: we have discovered that we have a collapsed drain, and twice during recent alpha evenings another drain has backed up and flooded the kitchen – these need to be fixed
  • Cladding: we are cladding some of the outside of the current building and want to do more than originally planned if we can
  • Windows: some single glazed windows do need updating – this is not in the current plan but would make a big difference if we can do it
  • And additionally it would be great if we could reduce how much we need to borrow from the bank.

Then there is one last thing. It is the most expensive thing, and in my view the most exciting one. I call this:

The Upper Room

This would be the addition of a completely new room above the new kids rooms in the current building; our architect has put together a plan of what this would look like and there are some pics for you to look at.

This upper room would have several uses: it could be a prayer room for people to use, a place for people to meet with God, a place for pastoral meetings, a place for quiet study. It’s different, it’s stylish and it’s ours if we want it … we just need to fund it.

I feel a real conviction that this is something we should go for if we possibly can, and like all the work we want to do, to do it now is much cheaper and far less disruptive than to try and do it at a later date, when the main work is finished and the building is in constant use.

We have a target for these Gift Days

We set very ambitious targets for our previous sets of Gift Days, and we didn’t hit either of them, but undaunted I’ll set one for us this time anyway! It’s a lot less than before:

If we can raise £300,000 we will be able to do all of this work.

Anything beyond that will reduce our eventual debt.

There is another factor in the mix for these Gift Days too. We are about far more than buildings, we are also about serving people and caring for the poor. So …

… a tithe (10%) of what we raise this time will be given to a ministry to serve some of the poorest and most needy people in the world.

I’ll tell you what that ministry is in my next blog. (Of course, if you want to give solely to the building fund, that’s fine – you can just let us know, no problem at all – but do at least look at what it’s going to first!)

And please remember: No one is under any pressure to give!

This is entirely between you and God. If we hit our target, great. If we miss it, we will do as much of the extra work as we can.

Open afternoon

One last thing to mention: we have a “New Building Open Afternoon” on Saturday 11th May, between 1pm and 3pm. This is a chance to visit the building site and see the work done so far; it’s a chance to stand on the site, walk around it, see how it feels, pray.

It is a building site, so you will need to wear sensible footwear (closed toes, no heels) and trousers would be ideal if possible. It’s also not really for kids – sorry!

Faith

I’m believing God that, with his help and blessing, we can raise the money to do all this. Ultimately He is the source of it all. Many of us have given generously so far, and God has not hesitated to bless us in response. I can testify to that personally.

Let’s go again in faith and finish the job together.

And remember this is all about our vision as a church. This is not ultimately about a building; it’s about our mission and calling as a church in this town.

Breaking New Ground

On Thursday this week we had the official Ground Breaking ceremony for our new Welcome Church building. Exciting times!

Mike Deavin (our Chair of Trustees), David Maskell (a fellow church elder and member of the Buildings Team) and myself (the new boy) each had a turn digging with a shiny new spade.

It was hard work so we soon gave up and drank champagne instead, letting the professionals get on with the job (not entirely sure what our Baptist forebears would say to that …)

Mike gave a short speech to remind us of the buildings journey we’ve taken as a church to arrive at this point. He and others have been working towards this for over twenty years now, so this is a significant moment for the Buildings Team.

 

 

I’m pleased to say that the building work is now well underway. The old houses are quickly being demolished, and the site should be fully cleared and ready for excavation to begin by the end of January. Soon enough, something new and exciting will start to emerge from the rubble of our site.

Finance

Don’t forget that we are still raising the last bit of money that will allow us to complete all the work we want to do, and we have £140,000 still to go (having already raised £1.86m).

You don’t have to wait for a special gift day to contribute. 😉

Prayer

Let’s all be praying for the work to go well with no delays, problems or accidents. I’m praying for three P’s:

  • Provision
  • Protection and
  • Progress

And here are some photos to show you what the site looks like right now. Enjoy:

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Faith and Flowers

Here’s a quick story about a husband and wife. They’re fictional, so don’t try to work out who they are …

The husband made a decision to do something special for his wife, to show her that he loved her, and he decided to do it with a gift. He thought about what to get her and decided that as she liked flowers, and flowers seemed like a traditional romantic gesture, he would buy her some.

beautiful-black-coffee-bloom-842862.jpgTo make things simple, he lived opposite a petrol station that sold flowers in the entrance to their shop. What could be easier?

He nipped over the road in his slippers, picked up a bunch that looked okay, not too big and not too small, paid for them, nipped back over the road and handed them to his wife, in a plastic bag, saying, “Here you go. I got you some flowers because I love you.”

It was a surprise to him that his wife was did not seem too pleased. She even seemed a bit grumpy! The husband asked his wife why she did not appreciate his gesture. She said this, “These flowers are a nice idea, but you’ve made no effort. You’ve nipped over the road to the garage and picked up the cheapest bunch that you could get away with. They’re not wrapped, they are not special and you haven’t even taken the price off – you’re just handed them to me in a plastic bag. I thought I might mean more to you than that.”

angry-bad-john-art-black-and-white-709732.jpgThe husband was a bit cross and said, “Are you meaning to say that you expect me to get all dressed up, get in the car, drive across town to a florist, pick a special bunch, maybe even have to go to the bank to withdraw money to pay for them, have them wrapped up and then drive all the way back over.

That would take up time we could use doing something else and it would make an impact on our finances too – we would have to adjust our budget … we’re not made of money you know.

Maybe you expect me to pay to have them delivered. Do you really expect me to go to all that expense and effort?”

And of course his wife said, “Yes!”

And she said yes because love is willing to make a sacrifice.

That’s what love does. 

Gift Days

This Sunday and also on 18th November, we are having Gift Days for our New Building Project. Because of the incredibly sacrificially giving of so many people on our Gift Days in May we are almost ready to move ahead now, but we do need to raise another £600,000 to be able to do all we plan to do.

The giving so far has been amazing, so I don’t want us to be casual this time around! Let’s not give God the equivalent of garage forecourt flowers! Let’s all be listening to God about what he wants us to do and let’s come prepared.

And remember that sacrifice costs … but that’s what love does. Let’s not give God a sacrifice that costs us nothing.

If the Gift Days are news to you, we have a brochure available with all the info … it looks like this:

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It tells you what we are doing, why, and the progress so far. It talks about ways to give. If you need a copy just ask. And if you have any questions please ask.

And remember we’re not building ourselves a temple or a mausoleum; this isn’t about doing something to serve ourselves. This building is all about the calling and the mission God has for us here as a church in Woking. We’re here to bless our town, and this building will help us do that so much more effectively. So let’s step out in faith and do something amazing together once again.

 

Permission Granted!

Last night (Tuesday 4th Sept) I had the joy of sitting in the viewing gallery at Woking Borough Council as the Planning Committee gave their unanimous approval to our new building plans for Welcome Church.

Permission Granted!

This is going to be a huge blessing: to us as a church, to the local area and also to the town more widely. We are so grateful both to God and to Woking Council.

There were lots of positive comments made by councillors at the meeting …

  • About the design: “This will provide a state of the art facility”
  • About the process: “They have worked hard to consult the neighbours”
  • About the impact: “This will be good for the town and the local area”

And there were also many positive comments made about us as a church, accompanied by positive comments about us coming to the end of a long road with this final (and “much appreciated”) application for development of our site.

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We have a lot to be thankful for

Let’s remember to give thanks to God, and also to thank the planning officers and the councillors who gave their time and effort to consider our application.

And let’s remember what we heard on Sunday morning during the worship time: “God did not give us an amazing site in the middle of town so that we can stand still”. We have so much ahead of us to do as we serve the town where God has placed us; the best days are not behind us!

What’s next?

We now have some key steps to take:

  • We need to finalise the finer points of the design
  • We need to raise the rest of the finance
  • We need to sign contracts with the developers
  • We need to prepare ourselves … including putting some things in storage, throwing some things away, working out what it means for how we work and what’s in the diary during the building process

Early warning: one of the first things to go will be our current car park … but we will make sure to communicate well ahead of time.

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A bird’s eye view of our plans

Gift days

We have done amazingly well with raising finance for this project so far. We now need to do the last bit, so there will be Gift Days for this on Sundays 4th and 18th November. Look out for information about that over the next few weeks, and do be praying and preparing your heart for what God may be leading you to do.

Double celebration

It’s actually a double celebration for Jo and I this week. Not only was planning permission granted, but we also passed our first anniversary at Welcome Church on Saturday (1st Sept).

Thanks for all the friendship, support and prayers along the way. We love this church and it’s a joy to be here with you.

Building Our Future Together

April is going to be a huge month for our church!

  • On April 22nd, at our Vision Focus Evening, we will be announcing the new name for our church, along with a new mission statement and a new vision statement (6.30pm at the Coign Church Building!)
  • In mid-April we intend to put in the planning application for our new building
  • At the end of April we will have the first of three Gift Sundays to fund the new building project
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Try to spot yourself

I feel like I’m at the top of a rollercoaster and it’s about to get very fast and very exciting! We’ve been climbing the slope together for a while now, and now it’s time to ‘go’.

The building project is key to our future together

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Please ask for a copy

To help communicate well with everyone, we’ve prepared a brochure which we’ve been giving out on Sundays (do ask if you want a copy – we can give one to you directly or post you one).

It looks like this:

The brochure contains lots of information about what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we hope to achieve.

It also contains information about the part we can each play to see this done

Standing on the shoulders of giants

As a church we are so privileged to have the land and the building we currently have, right at the heart of Woking Town Centre. We are reaping the benefits of the faith of a previous generation (some of whom are very much still with us!)

Now it’s time for us to step out in faith as others before us have done.

The first picture here shows an aerial view of the town centre, around 1930, and in the centre is our original building in Percy Street. The second picture shows our current building:

Why are we making these changes?

The building we have is not big enough for us and does not suit our purposes today – that’s why we meet elsewhere on a Sunday. It’s also in need of some work to bring it up to date. God is blessing our church, and we need a good building to do all God us calling us to do together.

What do we want to build?

Everyone has had the chance to see our plans and to comment on them, but in case you missed it: our plan is to create a new 675 seater hall at the back of our current site and to repurpose the current building to serve our kids work, our youth work, and our community. It will also host our offices.

This will give us several things:

  • A useable Sunday venue (no more 6.30am set up!)
  • A place to call home that will serve our church, with rooms for children’s work and youth work, crèche, offices, rooms for community use and more
  • A place from which to serve the community, in all sorts of ways
  • A place that will be a blessing to local residents; an oasis in a busy area of town 
  • A family home for our church in which we can grow and serve together

Ultimately we’re doing this to bring glory to God

This is about mission; this is about the Great Commission; this is about connecting with our town; this is about the gospel; this is about being a blessing to Woking.

These pictures give an idea of what we are planning to achieve:

Our next steps

The planning application should be put in during early to mid-April. Of course, in a process like this, we obviously can’t wait for that to come back before we start seeking funding; we need to raise finance now in order to secure the full funding we need.

I’ve talked elsewhere (and in the brochure) about what this will all cost, and our target right now is to raise around one and a half million pounds … ideally by the autumn.

Let’s see what God will do as we step out in faith together.

Gift Days

We will be holding Gift Days as a church on:

  • Sunday 29th April
  • Sunday 6th May
  • Sunday 13th May

The brochure contains information on lots of ways you can give to the building fund; some simple, some more complex. If you have any questions, please ask. We have also made a short video to explain what we are doing – you can watch that here:

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

There are three things we are now asking people to do:

  1. Read the brochure through – any questions, please ask!
  2. Pray for the planning permission to go through
  3. See what God is giving you faith to give, and then go for it in faith

These are exciting times for our church

Let’s step out in faith and let’s do something that will serve our church, serve this town and be a blessing to the generations that will follow us.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Jesus – Luke 6v38)

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(Paul – 2 Corinthians 9v6-7)

 

Onwards and upwards! Part 2: Buildings

During our recent Coign Church Vision Focus evening we highlighted a number of plans and changes ahead. Last week my blog focussed on some team changes we are making; this week I want to mention our building plans.

Buildings

We are so privileged to be on our current site. I suspect that if we did not already own it, we would be very unlikely to be able to obtain it today; there are so many other uses that the land would have been put to by now!

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Our current “totally awesome but also in need of work” building

Challenges

The current Coign Church building is too small for our needs; we already meet elsewhere on a Sunday (at the HG Wells conference centre) because of space constraints. The building is also in need of some work to bring it up to a good standard.

Over the years several attempts have been made to solve this issue – including some laudable attempts to create a self funding project – but none has succeeded. It does not seem that God is taking us via that route – and we have tried! 

Faith

Our current building location is great and we do not plan to give up ownership of even one square inch of it. People of faith got us into this place; let’s not have less faith than they did!

So let’s create something together that will serve our current needs, and also help us create our future together as a church. So on that basis, it’s time to take matters back into out own hands …

It’s time for a building project!

Whatever we do will cost money, and a large part of that will come from our giving. We will almost certainly also be looking to borrow some funding for the work to go ahead.

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable about the church spending money on buildings – and I understand why – but let’s remember: this is not the alternative to spending on mission!

A good building is both essential for and integral to our mission.

Everything we do as a church is mission; we are a mission organisation. And we can’t run the church we are called to run in this climate and this culture without buildings.

This isn’t a new or unique issue to us, and even in the Bible we see God’s people spending a lot of time an focus on buildings:

  • Read about David, or Solomon, or Moses, or Nehemiah, or Ezra.
  • Where did the first church meet? in a large upper room … in the temple courts … and also in homes.
  • Where did Paul build the church in Ephesus? He hired a lecture hall for two years.
  • How do we know these things? Because buildings matter and people wrote it all down for us!

Our plan for the future is fairly simple:

We plan to redevelop the current site to create an auditorium across the back, and then redevelop the front to serve our kids and youth work, our church offices and the community. Obviously this will all be far more complex and involved than it sounds, and we are now working with architects.

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The Team from Plan A UK: Paul, Darren and Steve

Our goals

  • Let’s aim for a building that looks good, and that people notice and know about
  • Let’s aim for a building that serves all of our church needs, including Sunday mornings and midweek
  • Let’s aim for a building that everyone in the community has a reason to come into at least once a year
  • Let’s aim for a building that will be a blessing to the community of Woking, the surrounding area and most of all to our nearest neighbours

The way forward

So we’ve started working with an architect called Paul Ginever, and his team from Plan A UK. We’ve had some great meetings with them, and we’re excited by how things are taking shape.

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Paul Ginever

In the New Year we will introduce them to you in person, and also start to talk together about buildings and the way forward.

Lots of people will have views and ideas that all need to be heard and feed in to what we do. And we need to consult with all the interested parties, including those who live nearby.

So let’s work together to do something fantastic. And one more thing:

A New Building Fund

We have opened a new, ring fenced, building fund, and every penny given to that fund will go to finance the redevelopment of this site; to finance our New Building.

You can give to it right away if you want to; I would love to see that happen and I know that some have started already. To  join in just give to the church as normal, but tell us that it’s for the New Building Fund. You might also like to consider making a legacy gift in your will – just ask us how.

In 2018 we will have some gift days – and we do need to raise a lot of money – but more info will follow on that in the New Year. And let’s remember

We are on a mission together, and God has  great plans ahead for us; plans to give us a future and a hope.

Let’s go for it in faith!