Thursday, 11 September 2014

Vision Fund Update

It’s that time of year when I write to update you on RFC's search for a permanent venue. RFC has continued to grow, and now gathers 400 people over three congregations on an average Sunday.

We've been diligently saving towards a deposit for our first home, although we haven’t yet found a suitable building to lease or buy. However, we have celebrated as we've seen God's provision for other local churches; LifeSpring’s new building is now fully operational, and our friends at Vineyard have recently moved their Sunday meetings to their newly acquired campus.

We can learn from these good news stories: both of these churches had around £500K in their building funds at the start of negotiations. Here at RFC, we currently have £276K in our Vision Fund. Thank you to everyone who has faithfully given into the Vision Fund over the past three years. The total given to date amounts to £305K, of which we are delighted to have given away 10% - primarily to help finance Starting Point Reading (SPR). (We will be celebrating the second anniversary of SPR on Wednesday 24th September at 6pm in Reading Borough Council offices. All at RFC are welcome to come along!)
To help us move towards our goal of a permanent home, we are setting aside Sunday 19th & 26th October as Gift Days for our Vision Fund. These Gift Days are part of our plan to raise another £100K over the next 12 months. This won't be easy: the initial excitement is long gone, and the hard work of stirring our faith and generosity might seem familiar and boring. But this is an ancient story: it was in the middle of a hard desert journey that God’s people were most tempted to give up. So please pray and consider your role in helping to raise another £100K for our Vision Fund.

As a church community, we have a 13 year history of faith-filled, joyful, generous giving; we have endeavoured to steward our time, talents and treasures for God's glory. So why give again? Because it's prudent to keep saving up for our first home. After talking to the leaders at LifeSpring & Vineyard, we have concluded that we need substantially more money to be taken seriously and to be able to move quickly when the opportunity for the right venue finally arises. 

I am asking all of us to give generously on the Gift Days for our Vision Fund - not because we have to, but because we want to. So if you don’t want to give, or aren't able to give this time, please be released from this request for finances and instead pray and rejoice with those who want and are able to give.

Friends, God is with us. A church that gathers 400 people on a Sunday, and is still growing, must surely need a permanent home at some point. Only God knows when, but we can play our part in preparing for that exciting day.

(On behalf of the elders & deacons)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Family Green update

I can't quite believe how quickly August has come and nearly gone ... so much has happened. 

Joshua & Lucy (along with 6000 other young people!) really enjoyed the youth festival 'Newday'. One of their highlights was camping alongside 17yr old Martha Collison who is currently on the Great British Bakeoff. This has made Wednesday nights 8-9pm compelling viewing!

Joshua turned 16 (which feels like a significant milestone), did really well in his GCSE's and will start his A levels in September.   

Our family holiday to Lanzarote was brilliant: the villa & pool was fab, the location perfect and the sun shone! I introduced the children to snorkelling and to our delight the sea was warm and teaming with fish. Our local beach / quay was also a hot spot for 'Dive Schools' so we often snorkelled over divers as they did their drills on the sandy bottom! Joshua perfected the art of 'bombing' and dived the three metres off the quay (I could only find the courage to jump in!).
We visited the Volcanic National Park and also some stunning wild beaches. There was plenty of time to read, I got through all my books plus one of Liz's! It was a holiday of family games, building memories and posing for photographs! 

And now our thoughts are turning to the new school term ...buying uniform, re stocking school bags & pencil cases. 

Happy days.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Cultivating a generous heart - Sunday 3 Aug

In case you didn't get one, here is the handout from today's Sermon... 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Proposed Deacons

In case you missed this last Sunday, we are proposing four more people to serve as Deacons within RFC. We asked that over the next 6-8weeks you to test them against the criteria laid out in 1Tim3v8-13. 
Scott, Richard or myself would like to hear feedback on them, either agreeing & affirming or alternatively with any concerns you may have.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Kingdom #Selfies

As a church, we want to keep being creative in the ways that we communicate and enjoy the truth of the gospel. We are currently developing a small film project about Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of God and we would love your help! In a world that is acquainted with ‘selfies’ and ‘vlogs’ – we know that most of us are happy to video ourselves!! 

Could you video yourself on your phone speaking, or reading one of the passages about the Kingdom of God (click here see suggested verses). We would like you to take your films in everyday places; in the supermarket, at the office, at the school gate, in the park. If you could then send your video to Josh in the office, he will work his creative magic on pulling a film together! 

Can’t wait to see what and where you film!

Friday, 4 July 2014

RFC Leadership Summit 2014

Last year we gathered over 120 people at Wokefield Park for our inaugural Leadership Summit – I can still remember the buzz and the sense of God’s presence as we worshipped together. It was a brilliant day. Since then we have established 3 congregations, added dozens of new people into the life of our church and kept smiling! Whilst we have much to thank God for, our ‘reservoir of Leadership’ is running low and needs refilling / investing in. 
As such, I would really like you to attend our Leadership Summit on Saturday 27th September. All Leaders need to be envisioned, encouraged & equipped and I trust this day will serve us in this. If you are an established leader in your work, leisure or church life please keep investing in your leadership gifting. If all this is new to you, please don’t discount yourself but book in and start exploring!

This year we have decided not to go back to Wokefield Park but rather use our own offices, allowing us to have two streams to the summit (And the £2k cost savings was used to offset the Madejski Stadium celebration!). Lunch & refreshments will be provided and each delegate will receive a book. Babes in arms are welcome but unfortunately we are unable to offer child care.

We must fan into flame the leadership gifts within the church and help new gifting emerge. Please consider coming along to this day and book in ... There’s always a cost to leadership!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Dad & Lad in the Lakes

Joshua has now finished his GCSE's so last week we went on a 4 day adventure to the Lake District. We stayed at a brilliant B&B which also provided a hearty packed lunch & filled your flask. Perfect.
I wanted to introduce Joshua to scrambles high up on the fells, the nearest being Blencathra via Sharpe Edge ... an exposed ridge scramble with a 200m drop either side. Wainwright noted: the crest is sharp enough for shaving and can only be traversed at some risk of damage to tender parts. Great views if you could stomach looking down! 
We also went for a scenic 20 mile ride from Keswick around Thirlmere lake via St John in the Vale - a delightful route.
The highlight of the trip was Helvellyn via Striding Edge & Swirral Edge, a classic Lake District scramble. Sadly the cloud came in so views were limited but the sense of adventure / danger was heightened .. for me at least!