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

Final Gift Day Results

On Sunday we announced the results of our final Building Fund Gift Day. Here is an update in case you missed it  – and it’s gone up a bit since Sunday morning too:

Our target was £300,000

That’s a lot of money and, along with a mortgage, that would enable us to finish the job – albeit our finances would be TIGHT! What we really wanted to do was beat that target.

After the first week we were just under the half way mark.

Following the second Sunday I have the privilege of announcing the final result.

The total amount raised consists of three parts:

  • Money given and now in our bank account
  • Money that people have pledged to give over the next few weeks
  • Gift Aid that, as a charity, we can claim on people’s giving – reclaiming the income tax paid on the money that was donated

Adding these three figures together gives us a total amount of

£498,287

Wow! That is a lot of money! It’s just under half a million pounds … given over two Sundays … following two other huge Gift Days this year!

And for the first time we actually beat our target. 😃

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Hooray!

This result means that we can do everything we planned to do, and perhaps (we cannot say for certain yet) we may be able to borrow a bit less than was anticipated, which would make a huge difference going forward .

Giving some away

Our plan has always been to give away a portion of this giving to  Compassion UK, to help fund a Child Survival Programme in Togo (for details click here) and the amount that is eligible for this is just over £40,000.

That money will be doubled under a matched funding initiative from the UK Government making it up to more than £80,000.

We received this short video from Justin Dowds, the CEO of Compassion UK and Ireland, saying thank you. Do give it a watch.

This video contains sub-titles – just click on the caption button to switch them on or off.

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

Thanks

I want to take a moment, on behalf of the Welcome Church eldership team, to say thank you for all your faithful giving. What a huge difference this is going to make to us as a church and to the lives of mothers and babies in Togo.

Gift Day: Reflections & Building News

Last Sunday (16th June) we had our final Welcome Church Gift Day to raise money for our New Building project. At this point we don’t know how much was given – we’ll announce it when we do know – but ahead of that news I wanted to share some reflections and some building news.

Seven Reflections

(Yes. I restricted myself to just seven. 😃)
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Reflections

My first reflection is how incredibly generous people in Welcome Church are. We are a church that knows how to give sacrificially! Whatever the outcome of these last Gift Days, we have given well in excess of £2m in one year. That is incredible. Miraculous even. I feel humbled, thankful and incredibly proud of us all. It’s a privilege to be leading this church.

My second reflection is the sense of responsibility this brings. We always need to be responsible with people’s giving, but the sense of responsibility feels higher with such a huge amount of giving. We will use it carefully.

My third reflection is that people have given to the building because it’s part of our mission together. We have to remember this as we go forward. It’s going to be a church building! It will be a centre for worship; a place for ministry; a resource to enable our mission together; a facility to serve and bless our town and the wider Commission family of churches. It’s not built to be a source of profit making; that’s not what people gave for so sacrificially.

My fourth reflection is the deep sense of unity we have. Despite a huge amount of change in Welcome Church over the last 18 months, people have been so clearly on board with this project and I’ve loved seeing the excitement it has brought.

My fifth reflection is that everyone has been involved. Although I haven’t looked in detail at what individuals have given, I’m aware of just how many people have given. Some have given small amounts and some have given huge amounts; both can represent a big sacrifice. Even our Welcome Kids have been involved, with some even emptying their piggy banks. My prayer for them is that this giving sets them on a path of generosity and trusting God that will stay with them for life.

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Everyone has been included in this

My sixth reflection is how God has blessed people in response to their giving. I’ve heard testimonies all along the way from people who have given in faith and afterwards have been incredibly, undeniably blessed by God’s unmistakable provision for them; Jo and I can testify to this ourselves. BUT EVEN IF THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED FOR YOU, even if you’ve given and have simply found yourself poorer afterwards, your giving does not go unnoticed by God; it is worship.

My seventh and final reflection is on the exciting future God has planned for our church. He did not give us this building just so we could run our Sunday meetings more easily. The way God has blessed this project creates an excitement in me that He must have some big plans for Welcome Church. Let’s look forward to our future as a church with expectation and faith!

I am so grateful to God

God’s blessing on us all along the way has been incredible. He deserves our worship, praise and thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to our first meeting in the new chapel; what a time of celebration that will be!

And whatever the result of these last Gift Days let me say thank you to everyone who has given! Even if all we gave last Sunday was a button and some chewed gum (it wasn’t 😮) our church has still given amazingly generously all along the way.

Some Building News

The building news I want to share is about God’s provision for us for these next few months. We need to move out of the Welcome Centre altogether from July 1st until the end of the project. We had been looking for a small office facility to tide us over, but we’ve been blessed far more than we could have ever expected.

Yesterday we moved into what used to be the Job Centre, just a stone’s throw from the Welcome Centre. We will be calling it The Annexe. A huge thank you goes to everyone who came along and made the move happen.

The amazing news is that this building has been given to us and to the Useful Wood Company, rent free, for a year. (Useful Wood is one of our Welcome Works. It is a new social enterprise being set up by people in our church to help long term unemployed people learn new skills and find employment. It will also recycle a lot of old wood.)

The Annexe is vast. It runs over three floors and I keep finding new rooms. It will meet every building need we have as a church during this time (except for Sunday mornings which will continue at HG Wells for now). It even has parking for about 20 cars.

The most amazing thing is that we weren’t even looking for a provision like this; God has given us incredibly more than all we could ask or imagine; he really did know what we needed before we even asked.

In case you need it, the official address for the building is: Welcome Church, 15-29 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6JT.

And when we know the result of the Gift Days – soon I hope – we’ll let you know.

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Time to get the calculator out

Saving Lives, Helping The Poor

On Sundays June 9th and 16th we will be having the final Gift Days for our New Building Project. We are going to give away a tithe (10%) of what we collect to a project working with the poorest of the poor … and the good news is that every gift we give to them on this occasion can be doubled!

Child Survival

As a church we are already sponsoring many children in Togo through Compassion UK, and it’s a country with a lot of needs. One of the big challenges is around infant mortality and health in pregnancy.

At present in Togo:

  • 1 in 20 babies die before their first birthday … and most of these are from preventable causes
  • 1 in 58 women also die

These are shocking statistics, and Compassion are working to change this though their Child Survival Projects (CSP). These CSP’s are run by local churches in Togo. They work with mothers throughout their pregnancy and for the first year of the child’s life to provide:

  • Medical support
  • Vaccinations
  • Basic provisions – including safe water, hygiene kits and nutritious food
  • Education – on how to care for a child – remembering that many of the mothers are little more than children themselves
  • Skills training – to teach work skills that can help them earn a living
  • Spiritual support and mentoring

These projects are so important that for a short while they are receiving matched funding from our UK Government.

Our donations to this vital work (before Gift Aid) will be matched, pound for pound, by the UK government

So what we give to them will be doubled

This means that if we hit our target of £300,000, and we pass £30,000 on to Compassion, it will be doubled to £60,000 – enough to fund a project for several years.

Jesus told us that he was sent to bring good news to the poor. Let’s join him in that mission as we come to our Gift Days.

If you have any questions, please do ask.

Gift Days: Week 2 update

Last Sunday we had the second of our Gift Days for the New Building Project, and ahead of this weekend I wanted give another update on our progress so far.

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Our giving brochure – copies available on request!

Let’s remember again what this project is for: this is all about mission. This is all about making us more effective in our calling to serve our town and further afield, and to tell people about Jesus.

Let’s remember the vision we have as a church:

“To see lives changed and communities impacted for good through God’s Grace in Action”

These Gift Days and this building project are all about moving forward in our vision together.

Once again it was wonderful to see so many people coming forward to give, and it’s been such a blessing to hear of money being given in faith as the week has gone by too.

I’m sure you want to know how we’re doing so far, so watch this video up date to find out where we’ve got to:

This video contains sub-titles – just click on the “cc” button to switch them on or off.

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

Be blessed and enjoy!

Gift Days: week 1 update

RESENT WITH THE CORRECT VIDEO LINK THIS TIME!

As a church we’re in the middle of three significant Sundays: we’re holding Gift Days for people to give and to pledge money to our New Building Project.

Let’s remember what the Building Project is for.:

In September this church will be 139 years old. We’re blessed to own land and a building in the middle of Woking. A previous generation, along with some who are still with us today, had faith for this church and put that faith into action to buy and to build. We now enjoy  the benefit of that.

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The current Coign Church building

Sadly the building we have is no longer big enough for us and doesn’t suit our needs, so we’ve made plans to build a new 675 seat chapel. We also want to repurpose the current building for children’s work, youth work, offices and serving the community.

In terms of finance, the project will cost around £4m. We can borrow around £2m of that, and we already have around £0.5m. So we need to raise £1.5m.

Remember, we’re not building a monument; this is about enabling us to be more effective in our mission to reach this town, and further afield, with the good news of Jesus. This is all about mission.

Last week was week 1 of our gift days, and you may be wondering how we did. If so, here is a one minute video update to excite you for this Sunday

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it. Its the one titled, “Our First Gift Day”

Enjoy!

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)