Dear Friends,

A  Today at 10am we welcome from the South Sudan Francis Candiga and we welcome at 5pm our own Judy Gerber (serving in Nepal). Francis is the National Director of the Child Evangelism Fellowship of South Sudan – training Sunday School teachers in areas where there has been no Sunday School. We at St Thomas’ have played a small part in funding this work – and Francis has also worked in the refugee camps of Northern Uganda running holiday clubs and showing the Jesus film. It is a pleasure and privilege to have him with us.

And then Judy Gerber – a long-time member of St Thomas’ and a very experienced schoolteacher is now the School Director at KISC (the Kathmandu International Study Centre – a Christian school that provides education for the children of expatriates and locals) a school with a tremendous mission to Nepalese children. (Seeing how many report to her and seeing the complexities of the role we can only thank God that someone so able and gracious has taken the role!)

B  In September 1-8 we are organising a second Invitation Week and we would value your prayers. After the effectiveness of the one in March we are attempting again to offer the community  some resources from the local church. The first one was called “Some answers for hard times’, and this one will be “More answers for hard times”.

At this stage the programme is slowly coming together and looks like this:

Sunday Sept 1

  • David Robertson speaking at 8am and 10am
  • Simon Manchester speaking at 5pm

Tuesday Sept 3

  • Prof Melanie Lovell on Ageing, Care and Euthanasia (Prof Lovell is in charge of Hammond Care Research)

Wednesday Sept 4 – Friday Sept 6 (Being organised)

  • Children and the Media battle
  • Illness and the goodness of God
  • Freedom of speech and religion
  • Stress with lives, work and home

Sunday Sept 8

  • Simon Manchester speaking at 8am and 10am
  • Mike Clark speaking at 5pm

Please pray for this planning and effectiveness.

C   I tread a fine line between failing and succeeding. On the one hand I fail to keep up with every person, family, sadness, sickness and need. Recently I discovered that a sick member was unwell for 6 weeks with no call (getting through) from a minister. Thankfully about eight people from the church had made contact. Then I also discovered that a member who I thought was home was actually in hospital for two weeks – with no visit from me. This grieves me. But there is some success in that so many people appreciate the calls and emails and letters and visits that make them feel noticed and remembered and loved. But I realise there will always be a gap between the needs of the people and the care of the pastoral team – it’s just too hard to keep up with every grief and every family – there are over 800 on our rolls.

Can I ask you to do something?

  • Please let us know if you are going away for many weeks – or at least know that you may be contacted if we miss you.
  • Please let Amanda in the office know if anyone needs pastoral care as there is a team of faithful people in the congregation willing and able to help
  • Please know that the best network of support at St Thomas’ is through the lay network of small groups. This fits entirely with Eph 4:16 “as each part does its work”. Praise God for the faithful people who call and care for the members.
  • Please know that there are 2 ministers linked to 8am (Len and Simon) and 2 linked to 10am (Simon and Luke) and 2 linked to 5 (Mike and Gerard). We are doing our best to keep up with the situation but it’s the over 45’s who have the most stresses (and falls) and it’s the Body of believers who care the best for them.

D   Finally – have you ever wanted to help a younger believer grow but didn’t know how to do it and didn’t want to get locked into a very long system? I have produced a booklet (with Bo’s help) called “Fruit that lasts”. It has 5 brief studies on: Salvation: Assurance: Reading: Prayer: Fellowshipping. You can do these very easily one to one or even by yourself. They could also work in a group of young believers. They are simple and straightforward. You will find the booklets on the back bookstall. When you have looked through it why not do it yourself and then with a friend?

Yours in fellowship,
Simon Manchester