A very special moment happened at the end of August, as Rev John Huggins met to celebrate communion with Dave Cape and leaders from Pathways church at the Lenham chalk cross.
We have written in previous posts about how at Pathways Church, we have been involved in walking and praying with Dave Cape as he walks the Pilgrims Way between Winchester, Ramsgate, Canterbury and London. This is happening between 25th August - 29th September.
On the afternoon of 29th August, Dave and team reached the portion of the Pilgrims Way that passes along the North Downs above Lenham village.
As the team of walkers drew near to the cross, a heart-warming sight greeted them. A group of people could be seen walking up from Lenham Village to meet them on the way, the people spread out like ants in a line across the field as they walked up the hill. Among them were friends from Pathways, Jubilee church, and Rev John Huggins from the Len Valley benefice. The timing was perfect, as all converged at the cross at the same time.
The main purpose of gathering was to celebrate communion together, to remember Jesus and His love for everyone. We did this. Rev Huggins led us in a prayer, and we shared in the bread and wine. Afterwards Dave Cape knelt and washed the feet of both Dave Needham (from Pathways Church) and Rev John Huggins together in his bowl. They each placed one foot in the bowl. Then the act was reciprocated as they washed Dave Cape's feet. Washing feet like this reminds us of the servant love of Jesus Christ, and how we can serve one another.
In centuries past, relations between the different church denominations in the community have sometimes been strained, and even hostile at times. However in recent years, churches in the Len Valley (including Pathways and the Anglican churches) have developed good relations, and often help each other out, working together for the benefit of the community.
On the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend, a group from Pathways joined with other churches from our Cluster at St Augustine's cross near Ramsgate. This marked the official celebration of the start of Walking the Way as written about in our previous post.
As a church we are supporting Dave Cape as he walks the entire Pilgrims way between Ramsgate, Canterbury, Winchester and London, carrying his Cross and Bowl. The Pilgrims Way passes right by our village of Lenham, so it carries a special significance for us.
St Augustine's cross can be found at Cliffsend near Ramsgate, and marks the point which is traditionally thought to be the site of St Augustine's landing on the shores of England in AD 597. A plaque by the cross read that Augustine "preached his first sermon to our countrymen thus he happily planted the Christian faith which marvellously spread throughout the whole of England".
We started our service with some worship, then Dave Cape shared a few words. Neil from Jubilee Church Maidstone told us a bit about the history of the site. We read some bible verses and prayed, before sharing communion together. We also buried a peg with some bible verses written on it in the ground. It was a special time and felt significant.
"Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in."
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Over the next few weeks we will be following Dave's progress, and walking and praying with him at times, so watch this space for more updates!
Here at Pathways we are involved in an exciting initiative along the Pilgrims Way this summer. Dave Cape, an evangelist, who has washed the feet of the powerful and the poor in more than 30 countries, is coming to Kent as part of a 280km walk along The Pilgrims Way.
A few years ago some of us drew Dave’s attention to the chalk cross at Lenham, and encouraged him to consider carrying his Cross and Bowl along the ancient pathway. Since then this has become a reality, and we have been involved with some of the planning, and scouting out the route.
Having carried his Cross and Bowl throughout Africa and around the world for over 30 years, Dave will be arriving in Ramsgate on August 23rd and walking St Augustine’s Way to Canterbury. From there he will proceed along the Pilgrims Way, washing the feet of passers-by and stopping at towns and villages over a five week period until he arrives in Westminster on September 21.
Please do look out for Dave at the end of August, and encourage him if you see him, as he passes through Lenham with his Cross and Bowl.
If you would like to be involved or have any further questions in relation to this event please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the journey on Facebook.
An article by Karen Brook-Child.
As we come to the end of our most recent Freedom In Christ course, I think back and realise how much the Lord can show us in 10 short weeks.
We have looked at the truth of the word, how our heavenly Father really sees us, what are godly goals, how to handle our emotions well, forgiving others and much more. Each week is packed full of nuggets of truth delivered in simple language without any frills or fancy, making it accessible to all.
Dave and I facilitate this course because we know that all God needs is us to willingly to give up a little time and be prepared to see to the practical things like, booking the hall, buying the tea and coffee and being bold enough to pray and lead worship. He does the rest, He talks to people, He sets people free and He loves them, completely.
Every time we go through this process, I pick up something timely for me. Nothing massive, yet each time it gets deep down in my very being, making me feel like I have been given a gift so precious it is priceless. This time it was a word that I felt was not just for me, but for the young people and staff that I work with.
Those of you that know me, know that I work with young people with communication and interaction difficulties, and many of them battle with anxiety. In the course, we are told to take every thought captive. Sounds easy? Not always, but think about it like this, it was explained that we are like air traffic controllers. Thoughts fly into our mind and we have the authority to either allow them to stop and 'land' or send them away. I was chatting with our pastoral manager about this and she also said sometimes we need to park thoughts on the side to process later when we are ready either to accept them or send them away. What a great way to take a thought captive, it may help me to not just dismiss things because I don't want to/can't process them immediately.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Amplified Bible
We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ
I thank Jesus that He gives me the truth in the word and them places people around me to help me understand. I can't wait for the next course!
We all met together on Thursday evening to re-focus our minds ready for 2019, and to share together the direction that we feel God is taking us in for this year
We briefly reviewed 2018 which was themed 'YEAR OF ACCELERATION' alongside all of our Church of the Nations family churches. For us it certainly was an intense year in many ways. We ran Freedom in Christ and the Grace course which were both very challenging for many of our members. We also stepped up our level of serving the community with our 'Len Valley Ranch' burger stall at the Lenham Festival, and increased our collaboration with our Anglican friends in the Len Valley Benefice. We also undertook a 'ring of fire' prayer walk around our area, as well as our usual cell groups and Sunday celebrations.
Following on from that, at Pathways we have chosen the phrase 'ON THE WAY' to be our theme for 2019, as it captures the sense of moving forward into everything God has called us to do; both old and new things. Johnny shared that he has felt God impressing upon him that we should 'do something new' this year, and that God would bless us as we step out into new things.
One NEW thing planned is a potential trip to THE HAGUE to visit friends This looks most likely to be during the October half term (Thursday to Sunday), so keep those dates free just in case!
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
One of our strengths is that we have a very clear and simple vision statement that God gave us when we launched the church, and that we have stayed within the boundaries of that and managed to achieve it in many ways. Therefore we have organised our plans and dreams for 2019 around the headings of our vision statement.
Being a Loving Family
Cells and Celebrations will continue in the same pattern and format that we started in September. We also hope to visit some other churches in our Church of the Nations Cluster and organise some preaching swaps! Of course we will, as usual, also have some social events during the year where we can just chill out and have fun together.
Jenny shared our exciting NEW teaching theme for 2019 which is the gospel of Mark (from January leading up to Easter), then the book of Acts after Easter leading up to the summer. We will be looking at these book in both the cells and the Sunday celebrations.
Keeping Christ at the centre
Estelle shared what God has placed on her heart regarding walking and praying along the ancient pathways of the UK. With that in mind we will arrange some regular Saturday family walks around the area, where we can socialise, but also pray and proclaim God's word as we do so.
Another exciting NEW development for this year is that Dave Cape, who heads up Acts Life Cluster, is planning to walk the Pilgrim's Way on mission during August and September. We are situated right on the Pilgrim's Way so this is a great opportunity for us.
Serving our community
We will continue to be involved in the Lenham Family Festival, and Jenny and Gail are both on the committee this year. We will also help in some way at the Christmas Lights day
"ALTHOUGH YOU ARE SMALL, YOU ARE MIGHTY!"
Estelle closed by sharing the above phrase that God gave her for us:
We are being encouraged to believe what God says about us, not what it looks like in the natural. Although it feels like we are doing small things, the impact will be far greater than we imagine, for we serve a Mighty God!
In October, leaders from the Acts Life Cluster (of which we are part) joined together with Freedom Hill Cluster in the beautiful surroundings of Windsor for a weekend away.
Here is reflection on the weekend by Karen Brookchild.
When we were invited to go to the cluster weekend I was determined not to have any expectations, I just wanted to be open to what God was saying. However, I was excited at the chance to see some people that we had not seen for a while.
The hotel was lovely, the food was delicious and the staff served us incredibly well. We were quite late arriving as we had to finish work and get changed before setting off. On arrival we bumped in to Alex and Dorcas from a church in London, they recognised us and greeted us warmly. Louis Els spoke that evening about spiritual momentum and gave us a check list to go through.
Over breakfast the next morning we had an opportunity to share this checklist with a lady at a different conference, who was there seeking answers to a disease she had protracted. She shared much of her life story with us and before she went I felt prompted to ask if she had faith and offer to pray for her. After praying we did not expect to see her again.
More great teaching and opportunities to socialise followed. Imagine our surprise we we bumped into our new friend again! She thanked us for our prayers and declared they had already been answered as she had spoken to one of the top doctors who had offered her treatment. We prayed again and gave her our phone number, offering to pray any time she asked us too.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take
Upon reflection, I realised we had done what God was commissioning us to do through Dave Cape's message. He said nurture people, disciple them, encourage them. We looked after this lady, encouraged her with words and by prayer and we discipled her, demonstrating prayer.
I have been considering God's grace a lot as we go through the Grace Course and thinking about what it means to be available. The thing with availability is, you have no control over what you are available for, it's not like going for a job interview where you choose what you available to do. You trust your heavenly Father to send something or someone your way and you do what is required.
Trusting God can be hard at first as we have been let down by others so many times. However, it is well worth taking the risk because He always knows best, leading on paths of righteousness, extending grace and mercy to us each day.
Our Pathways elders: Jenny, Dave, Johnny and Estelle, enjoying time in Windsor
You may also be interested to read the following article about the weekend by Hazel Pattison from Jubilee Church
It was that time of year again - the Lenham family festival was upon us, and this year Pathways took up the exciting challenge of providing Western Style burgers for hungry festival goers.
After some lively planning sessions we came up with the idea of 'Len Valley Ranch'. A huge amount of skill and creativity went into the design of the stall. A big thank you goes to the Brookchild family and to Dee for all their hard work in making it become a reality. Everyone agreed that it looked lovely and welcoming.
When the weekend arrived we put up marquees, flipped burgers, took orders and many other things. People ate 'The Good', 'The Bad' and 'The Ugly' burgers, accompanied by 'The Magnificent Seven' sauces. All in all it was an exhausting time but great fun. It was great to see so many families enjoying time together, and it was a privilege to be able to help make that happen.
.Jenny and Holly opened up the afternoon's entertainment by singing on the outside stage. Other people from Pathways manned the information desk and gave out balloons. The electrical team was headed up by Dave. They struggled to find enough power for the stage and all the stallholders, but succeeded in the end after some perseverance and teamwork.
Sometime in the middle of all of this you could be forgiven for wondering what this is all about. Is this part of the abundant life Jesus spoke about? Should we always serve like this? I guess it is about attitude and motive: do all things without complaining and love your neighbour as you love yourself.
We showed that the Church can have fun, do things well and care for people. Yes, we took some flack along the way and our relationships were somewhat tested. After all the preparation, the setting up, the serving and putting away, it felt like we all needed a week's holiday!
But at the end of the day we are still:
A loving family
Keeping Christ at the centre
As we care for our community.
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!
This year at Pathways we are picking up the theme of 'acceleration' which has been embraced by the Apostolic Council as a word for the whole of Church of the Nations for 2018. As I was thinking about this subject, I realised that God had given me a rather good illustration.
Last autumn I started having problems with my car. I would be driving along and the power would just cut dramatically. This could be awkward in traffic. I discovered that if I put my foot to the floor the car would go normally, but it probably wasn't very good for fuel economy! Then one day it didn't work to put my foot down and it just got worse. I ended up having to drive with low power for a quite a few weeks.
Have you ever tried to drive with no acceleration? I discovered how many hills there are on my way home! I started looking forward to the downward stretches where I could get up a reasonable speed. But there is a very long hill where I would try and get a good speed up, but by the time I got half way up the hill I would have dropped to 20-30mph. Any cars in the distance would catch up really quickly and I would be very embarrassed! Eventually I got to the stage where I would turn off the main road before the hill and go home along the country lanes where nobody expected a car to go fast.
I started getting really annoyed if people pulled out in front of me. They would pull out and then speed off into the distance, leaving me unable to accelerate back up! One time there was a car stuck behind me for ages. Eventually the car sped past us, and I realised that it was a friend of mine! I never asked him about it.
We need acceleration to start something new.
When you start from standing still it is hard to pick up momentum. Here at Pathways lots of the things we are doing are new, and that’s when you really need good acceleration because it takes more effort.
We need acceleration during uphill times.
Difficult times in our life can feel like going uphill. Nehemiah taught us to expect challenges if we are building God's kingdom, and during these times we find out how well (or not) we are functioning as a team and as individuals. If you have built up some momentum then it is easier to keep going, so when things are working well press in and make the most of it.
We need acceleration to overtake
Overtaking was not really on my mind at that time because I just wanted to get where I needed to without embarrassment. We can also get into a survival mode in our lives. But sometimes we do need to accelerate to overtake or to get out of danger.
Strategies I tried for coping with lack of acceleration.
Push harder! At first I tried pressing the pedal down harder, which worked for a while but the fuel economy was not so good. So the trouble with just pushing harder is that it takes more out of us! We have to try a lot harder to get things done and we get tired easily. Other areas of our life suffer. We can also end up ignoring the fact that there is a problem and spend our whole lives exhausted.
Avoid the things we find difficult: I went on some torturous routes to avoid the hills on my way home! I was just happy to get home each day but it took longer than it should have. We find lots of ways of working around situations to avoid facing them, but the danger is that we get used to making detours. One day we could find ourselves in a place where there isn't an alternative, and then we can run into trouble.
The best solution is to sort out the problem!
I took my car to the garage which was a rather long saga. They misdiagnosed the problem a few times then finally they said it was the turbocharger which would cost £2800 to fix. I may as well have written the car off, so we asked a friend to have a look. When he took the turbocharger out, he found that a small lever on the back had got stuck. After cleaning it and making sure it was moving freely he put everything back. The car worked fine and we didn't even have to buy a new part.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Some lessons I learnt:
We need to look under the bonnet to find out what the problem is
We don’t always realise the value of looking beneath the surface of our own lives. There could be all sorts of things causing us problems, for example fears, bad experiences and hurts, strongholds and curses just to name a few.
God is the only one who can diagnose the issue properly.
Like the garage we might assume it is one problem when it is in fact another. In all my years of listening to God I have come to realise that he is very interested in transforming my character. He is committed to removing hindrances so I can function well in life.
The problem might look a lot worse than it is
Many of us are already aware of areas where we struggle and they can seem too hard to deal with or change. But like my turbocharger it might only take a small adjustment to change the whole situation!
Prevention is better than cure
We all know it's dangerous not to have our car serviced regularly. Why is it any less so for human beings? We can make it a regular part of our lives to allow God to transform and heal us. Don't wait until we fail or struggle in a situation.
As we receive this word 'acceleration' for 2018, I think it would be a good time to let God under the surface of our lives so He can prepare our hearts and minds ready for what's ahead.
By Jenny Needham