By Jenny Needham
During October more than 40 leaders from churches around the UK descended upon Lenham for our first cluster gathering since lockdown. Our time was, appropriately, called 'RE:CONNECT'.
At Pathways we are part of a family of Churches called Church of the Nations. More specifically, we relate to Dave and Carol Cape as our apostolic leaders, and our group of churches is called Acts Life Cluster.
Our cluster gathering was long overdue - having been postponed from last year due to the pandemic. We felt very honoured to be able to serve everyone by hosting in Lenham. We previously met here as a cluster in 2017, which must have been good as everyone came back! Here we all are in the Dog and Bear function room:
re:connecting with one another
Much of our time was spent eating and drinking together. It was wonderful to share lockdown stories, rekindle friendships and encourage one another. We shared news from our various churches, prayed for one another, and even heard from other church leaders around the globe via Zoom. Dave and Carol Cape were able to join us on Zoom from South Africa too.
We managed to fit in a local walk (organised by Estelle), which, although muddy, was a good time of catching up and showing off some of our lockdown walking routes. Here is a photo of us with the North Downs and Pilgrim's Way behind us:
RE:CONNECTING WITH THE ANOINTING
Another main purpose for gathering together was to corporately connect with God and allow Him to equip us for the new season - as our churches start meeting together physically again.
Dan Maudhub spoke about 'the anointing', based on Luke 4:16-21. This passage was Jesus' manifesto!
Luke 4:17-21, NASB
And He [Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
And He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all the people in the synagogue were intently directed at Him. Now He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Dan explained that the anointing is the power of the Holy sent upon us, to enable us to achieve a purpose. Jesus was anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to achieve His purpose. We were all encouraged to also receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit - that each of us would need for the time ahead.
In particular, the Friday night was very special. Jesus truly made His presence felt among us - and many people were powerfully impacted by the Holy Spirit in tangible ways.
Here we are with Neil Pattison (left), celebrating our very own local leaders - Johnny and Estelle McCabe - who shared their life experiences as they approach retirement from church ministry:
We finished the time feeling much loved by God - and blessed to be part of such a great family of churches. And we felt better equipped to help lead our individual churches into the new season - whatever it may bring.