During the early May bank holiday, Pathways elders Johnny, Estelle, Dave and Jenny journeyed to Sidmouth to join with other church leaders from the Acts Life Cluster. Pathways is part of the family called Church of the Nations, and Acts Life is a smaller group of churches that relate as a family within that. Acts Life is headed up by Dave and Carol Cape, who were with us over the weekend. There were also leaders from South Africa, London, and other parts of the UK.
Part of the aim of the weekend was to spend time together and build friendships. This was achieved over some leisurely meal times with plenty of time to talk, and also with free time in the afternoons where we could enjoy exploring Sidmouth in the sun. Some even went for a swim!
Accelerating the dream
Another objective was to provide helpful input for the church leaders, and this input was based around the theme 'Accelerating the Dream'.
Hazel shared about how some dreams have to be laid down in order for God to bring something new. Some things need to die, and we let God choose which are resurrected and which are not. Dan talked about 'dreaming kingdom' and what that looked like in the book of Acts in the bible. He compared 'pipe dreams' which are 'I' based to 'Kingdom dreams' which are God based
We had a special treat on the Saturday evening when Mike Davies joined us from Okehampton. He is a church leader, politician and has been the Mayor of Okehampton several times. He was a delight to listen to, and reminded us what it's all about; walking with Jesus, being ourselves, and going out to be a light in the community.
On the Sunday Claire shared about engaging people in the dream, Neil shared about Navigating the Changing dream, and Kara reminded us to keep in mind what we are leaving for the next generation. Dave Cape rounded off our teaching by reminding us that nothing is impossible with God.
On the final morning Josh spoke about turning passion into purpose. Blair encouraged us not to give up if our dream seems to unravel, but to look to God. Dan wrapped up the morning with some practical pointers.
The weekend finished with sharing communion together.
Dave Cape spoke some prophetic words. Some people washed each other's feet. Others prayed together and spoke words of encouragement. Altogether it was a perfect way to finish an uplifting weelend
The overriding sense throughout it all was that God is doing something new among many of us, both individually and in the churches we lead. There was one song which seemed to some up the message of the weekend, which is 'New wine' by Hillsong Worship, and I will leave you with that song.
A more comprehensive set of notes can be downloaded here.
By Jenny Needham
Sunday 29th April was a significant day for the churches in Lenham. Over 80 people joined together in Lenham community centre for a combined act of worship. This included people from the four churches in the Len Valley benefice together with members of Pathways church who hosted the event. There were all ages present, from young children and families to older folk.
We started the morning with coffee and catching up with each other, leading into a fun time of writing poems in small groups. This proved to be very popular and we discovered some enthusiastic poets among us as we considered the beauty of the area that we have the privilege of living in. Musicians from the various churches joined together to form a combined worship band, leading us in an uplifting time of singing, focusing our attention and worship onto the greatness of the God that we all serve.
Rev John Huggins from the Benefice led us into communion, and it was wonderful to have leaders from Pathways serving alongside leaders from the Benefice, and to see everyone receiving communion together. Then Johnny McCabe from Pathways spoke, and brought a clear message encouraging us all to express the love of Jesus by serving our community.
A collection of over £300 was taken which will go to the Katie Piper Foundation. Thank you everyone for your generosity.
We finished with drinks, and wonderful cakes provided by the ladies of Pathways. The mood was upbeat, and the comments were positive. For some the style was different to what they were used to, but all agreed that it had been a good morning, and that we should do it again in the future!