Updates and Encouragements

This week I want to share some updates and encouragements from life at Welcome Church:

1. Giving for Turkey: a fantastic result

Sadly the recent earthquake in Turkey & Syria killed more than 50,000 people. We talked on Sunday 12th February about how you can give, through Welcome Church, to help churches in our wider church family who have been affected by this. Despite being severely affected themselves, they are serving those in need through the provision of food, clean water, blankets, tents and more, and we can give to help fund this work.

As a church we’ve given over £21,000 so far!

This is a fantastic result and a huge encouragement. Thanks to everyone who has given so far. It’s not too late for you to add to this amount. You can access our online giving portal by clicking here. Do make it clear that it’s for Turkey.

2. Mark Caldeira: confirmed start date

It was great to introduce Mark, Alverna and Skye in person on Sunday morning. Mark joins our staff team this month (find out more about him here) as a full time Operations Manager, and we’re excited for him to start.

They move to Woking on March 20th, and we’ve confirmed Mark will start work with us on Monday 27th March. It’s a big adventure to move to a new country and I’m sure they will face many challenges. Let me encourage us all to be on the front foot to welcome this family as they arrive and to show them our love and support.

3. Preaching: an old series ends and a new one begins

Our Transformed Through Jesus preaching series sadly came to an end on Sunday. I loved watching a brand new Welcome Story each week; they were all excellent. You can watch them all again now by following this link. Let me encourage you to catch up on any stories you missed, and also to share them with people you know, especially via social media.

This Sunday we start our exciting new series on John’s gospel. It will run all the way through to the end of August and cover chapters 1 to 12 of this excellent book of the Bible. Next week I’ll post links to some resources to accompany the new series.

4. Rob Parsons: speaking at Welcome Church

Many of us will be familiar with the well known Christian author and speaker Rob Parsons, who is also the founder of Care For The Family. Following publication of his most recent book, The Heart Of Communication, Rob is doing a UK speaking tour and we’re honoured that one of these dates will be at Welcome Church on Tuesday 21st March.

Rob has written more than twenty books and sold over a million copies in multiple languages. His latest book is aimed at helping people who do public speaking to do it better 😃. I know that many of us do this in a church context and also in our various work places, so this will be useful to lots of us.

Although not strictly a ‘Welcome Church event’, we wanted to let you know about it. You can find out more and book tickets (£10 each) by following this link.

Thanks for reading this blog. Don’t forget you can subscribe to get it straight to your inbox. I hope you’re having a great week.

Some Welcome Church Summer News

I hope you’ve been having a good summer. Jo and I were not alone in having a trip to the sunshine cancelled, but we managed to get a few days away in the Cotswolds and also some time with friends in Honiton, including a sailing trip on the Devon coast where we were accompanied by dolphins 😃 (it was amazing)

I want to use the first of what will be several blogs in the days ahead to catch us all up with some church family news from the summer, in case you missed it …

We had our first Coronavirus weddings:

On Thursday 20th August I led the wedding for Leah Kapotwe and Allen Bower. It was great to see these two lovely families coming together with their five awesome boys. Allen is an Anglican Vicar and a widower. The new family will be based in Sunbury, so we’re saying goodbye to Leah and the boys as a church.

On Sunday 23rd August, Dean Guy led the wedding for Hannah Bathurst and James Oliver. It was a real joy for these two having had their original date cancelled due to the pandemic. I don’t have any pics from that one yet.

Coronavirus weddings are different, with numbers limited to 30, face masks compulsory and no singing allowed … but we did our best to make them special.

We had news of two new babies:

On Wednesday 19th August at 3.18pm, Pete and Mim Hewlett were delighted to welcome Caleb Edwin James Hewlett into the world – a firstborn son for them. Congratulations on this exciting event (and I hope you’re getting some sleep).

Precisely 30 minutes later at 3.48pm, Ben and Nancy Martin were delighted to welcome Hazel Grace Nancy Martin – a firstborn daughter. As if that wasn’t enough for them, Ben and Nancy also moved house to Hook this week, where Ben is now the Lead Elder at Life Church so it really is a final goodbye to them as they leave Woking behind.

We heard about a near disaster:

Two weeks ago Marian Boul, a much loved part of Welcome Church, had the shock of seeing her neighbours house (which is the other half of her semi-detached property) go up in smoke. The fire was caused (allegedly) by arson and someone has been arrested.

Marian is safe and well, but there’s been a lot of damage, including damage to her property as the fire was tackled. She now has the stress of dealing with both her insurance and the police, not to mention the horrendous smell. Please keep her in your prayers. It’s great that the Life Group and other church friends have been rallying round.

Lastly, we received news of a significant illness:

Janet and Mike Deavin are much loved by us all and have been a key part of Welcome Church for many years. Between them they have held many significant roles both in the church and the community. Sadly Janet was diagnosed this week with an aggressive, malignant brain tumour that the doctors say is inoperable and incurable. This news has come out of nowhere and Janet had no symptoms two weeks ago.

The doctors are working to prolong her life through the use of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but without genuine divine intervention in the form of a healing miracle, the prognosis is not good.

Mike and Janet are experiencing God’s peace at this time, and have been blessed by the love and care being shown to them by so many. As a church we are going to love and support them all the way, and we are also going to pray. They are very happy for us to pray for healing for Janet, and are also at peace in their faith if this is God’s time to take Janet home.

Let’s also pray for their wider family, several of whom are part of Welcome Church.

So let’s continue to pray

Currently we pray online each week on Tuesday and Friday mornings from 8.15am to 9.00am. Please join us if you can. We’ve seen some amazing answers to prayer in recent weeks, including for Mike and Janet’s prematurely born granddaughter Chloe, who is now at home and doing well.

If Welcome Church is your church, these prayer meetings are for you. The details for joining are all on our website. If you’re nervous about joining, feel free to come and observe for a bit; you can mute yourself and leave your camera off too while you get used to it.

Ephesians 3v20, which Leah and Allen had read at their wedding, tells us that God can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. Let’s come before him in prayer and let’s lift every situation we face up to him, and let’s do that both individually, and together as a church.