Months later…

Do you ever reach the end of a book where all the strands are neatly tied together and wonder ‘what happens next?’ to the characters?

I love books which feature the same characters, as essentially I get engrossed with them and want to know how things work out for them, not just for the plot I’ve read.

So, just in case any of you who’ve read this blog are wondering ‘what happened next?’ and haven’t kept up with the news on the church blog, here is an update.

We moved into the building in June 2010 and had the official Open Day in July 2010. Since then, we have had plenty of meetings in the building:

1) family services
2) Bible studies
3) Communion services
4) prayer meetings
5) badminton nights
5) Mums & Toddlers
6) youth meetings
7) coffee mornings
8) carol services
9) a wedding blessing

We have had new windows put in the community hall and have put our old building up for sale. We had hoped to have sold it by now, but so far, it’s still for sale and we would still value prayer that we will be able to sell it in the New Year to ensure that the final terms of the sale can be met.

We have seen new people come to church and lots of people from the community attend different meetings. We have welcomed a new baby into our church family and congratulated two members on their graduations. We’ve baked lots of cakes and eaten lots of food together and are looking forward to seeing in 2011 with our usual New Year’s Day party.

Months later, then, we can testify to God’s faithfulness, provision, ongoing care and unfailing love and we rejoice in all He has done in us and for us in 2010.

New blog!

This blog will soon be running out of things to say, since it was created specifically to chart the progress of the church as it renovated St Mark’s. Once I’ve got all the details down about the Open Day, I won’t be posting here any more.

But do not despair! The church will continue to flourish and I will continue to chart that progress, just on a new blog! You can read all about it at:

http://goldthorpepentecostalcommunitychurch.blogspot.com/

See you there! (The link at the side should take you directly there.)

A House of Prayer

One of our prayers is that the new building will indeed become a house of prayer. At the Open Day, we listed the many answers to prayer we have seen over the journey to acquire St Mark’s and renovate the building, and we look forward to recording many more answers.

A colleague at work made these praying hands (thanks, Ali!) as a vivid visual reminder of all that we want the church to be.

May we always be a people of prayer and may this building be a place of prayer.

Even more photos!

I’m still working through all the photos and there are so many to share with you!

I think this photo captures the hard work and fun in the kitchen! (and satisfies the Health & Safety person in me, since it shows the First Aid kit!)

Proof that Stephen did practise for the evening celebration (look at the time!) and also a good view of Gary’s presentation, showing on both the small screen and the large screen:

More fun on the Wii-fit:

… and playing pool & air-hockey:

Proof that Gary did get away from the computer!

Having made a mask and now colouring…

It really was a great day, with so much activity and so much fun.

The evening celebration

I was too busy taking part in the evening celebration to take photos, but I’ve just been given these photos from the meeting (thanks, Mark!)

Dave during the first sermon:

Stephen during his sermon:

Esther singing:

Garry preaching:

Mark preaching:

Strength will rise

I love this photo of Joan, feeling exhausted after the tea and just before the evening meeting. The week leading up to the Open Day was truly exhausting and I don’t think she can be blamed for feeling the pace or needing the energy drink to keep going!

The Bible teaches us that God is never weary or tired and never slumbers or sleeps (Ps 121:4). On the other hand, it recognises the truth that “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40:30), but goes on to say:
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is 40:31)

Those who were weary during the day can testify that they received the strength they needed to get through all the activities, and for the record, Joan was there on the Sunday, ministering to people who came into church through prayer, just as always. God helps us even when we’re tired.

Comments

During the Open Day, we had a ‘visitors’ book’ in which visitors could write their comments about the church refurbishment. Here are some of the comments that were written:

“An excellent example of the Church working with and for the community – WELL DONE.” (Deputy Mayor, Cllr Parkinson)

“A wonderful achievement – good to see everyone working together. Very well done!”
(Deputy Mayoress, Mrs Linda Parkinson)

“God is love and God’s love is in the Goldthorpe church and fully in His people in it.” (Jimmy Hadfield)

“God’s blessing on you all as you begin this new journey.” (Margaret Jarvis)

“Jesus said, ‘I will build my church’. Every blessing.” (Mark Reasbeck, Barnsley Methodist Circuit)

“We celebrate with you – use it all to the full to the glory of God.” (Pastor Joy Gascoigne, Grimethorpe Pentecostal Church)

“Fantastic. The fulfilment of decades of prayer for Goldthorpe.” (Garrie-John Barnes, Hope House Church & Head of Barnsley Christian School)

“Fantastic! Well done! Praise the Lord!” (Bell Marsden, Barnsley Methodist Circuit Church, Valley Darfield)

“God answers prayer!” (Adrian Lee, Salvation Army, Goldthorpe)

“Lovely to see St Mark’s reopened and lovingly restored.” (Lisa Goddard, Bramley)

“Absolutely amazing building – God has brought about a miracle.” (John & Eunice Marrow)

“Well done. A fantastic resource for God’s work in Goldthorpe. May God’s Spirit be encountered by all who enter.” (Pete & Sue Sherrington, Maltby)

“What a fabulous job you have all done – be proud! God bless you all abundantly as you keep pursuing Him and serving Him in your community!” (Ant & Sarah Lee, Wakefield)

“A very homely feel to a beautiful church.” (Adrian, Julia, Tess & Jay)

“Great to see activity and fun in the area” (Terry Noble)

“Terrific job you’ve done. Congratulations!” (Graham Newton)

“Keep looking to God for guidance.” (Grace Clark, Wath-on-Dearne)

“God has honoured your faithfulness. You are reaping after sowing!” (Eileen Cooper)

“May God’s blessing and inspiration continue in this place and community.” (Joyce Barrass, Wickersley)

“Really made welcome. God bless.” (Edith White, Holy Trinity Methodist Church, Wath-on-Dearne)

“Hallelujah! Amen!” (Shirley Smith, Holy Trinity Methodist Church, Wath-on-Dearne)

“Every blessing be poured over you as a church body. May the power of the Holy Spirit be so evident as you start this new journey. May the love of the Father lavish His love so strong that all come to know the Lord in their lives. Honoured to come to the opening, praise Jesus in everything!” (Lisa & James Besley, Father’s House, West Melton)

“What an amazing God we serve! We are so thrilled at what the Lord has done in and through you all. We used to come and help you – I think we need you to come and help us!! We pray that the glory of the Lord will fall upon you all, that you will be soaked in the Holy Spirit and have many, many opportunities to overflow into the community.” (Joan & Ian Bland)

” ‘Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts upon pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.’ Psalm 84:5-7. This church is a ‘place of springs’ for your community.” (Mark & Angie Wapples, South Elmsall)

Our thanks go to the many friends who came along on Saturday and who were so generous in their support and in their comments. We pray that God will bless each church represented and that there will be great unity amongst churches working together in this area for the glory of God.

We have also had comments from friends overseas:
“If only I could be there!!!! I would send you a dozen roses if I could find a florist who delivers overseas!!!
You will be on my heart all day, and I will pray for God’s glory to be revealed!
I am sure I hear my Father saying “well done, good and faithful servants!”
I love you dearly!” (Jillian in Wyoming, USA)

“I had to think of you today and of your special day! I hope that you had
a great day with the church today!” (Rahel Weiss in Norden, Germany)

“What an achievement! I’m so delighted that the prayers and hard work of your congregation had meant that you have a lovely building from which you can be a light in your area.” (Helen in Canada)

May God’s Spirit be poured out over all the earth. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

After the evening meeting

After the evening meeting ended, we returned to the community hall to finish the buffet and to chat with people.

Proof that people who had been here all day were still smiling by the end!

The clock shows we’ve been there over twelve hours!

Chatting with friends who have strong connections with the church:

Some people were still working (and talking!) in the main hall:

And the kids still had the energy to keep on playing!

Community consultation

One of the aims of the Open Day was to consult with the community about what people want to see in the new building. We had a ‘suggestions table’ where people could write their suggestions and ideas for activities and the leadership of the church will look at how we can implement some of these ideas over the next few weeks and months.

The ideas suggested were:
Book Club
Badminton Club
Art & crafts
Karaoke nights
Disco nights
Parties
Older people’s meetings
Saturday coffee mornings
Christian Singles’ nights
Alpha courses (for younger people as well as for adults)
Teaching young people a trade

Perhaps the one I found most encouraging was the comment “more days like today” which was seconded by other people writing underneath! Having fun and showing people that church and fun are not incompatible are important.

The badminton club will definitely be re-starting and we hope to run Saturday coffee mornings from September. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in helping with these activities or has any more suggestions, you can contact us by emailing church@gepc.org.uk

Worship, prayer and the Word

The essentials of Christian meetings have often been summarised as worship, prayer and the Word. In Acts 2 we read that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” In our church, we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus through the breaking of bread each Sunday morning, but in the evening celebration meeting, we wanted to keep largely to the basics of what we ordinarily do. We’d certainly done ‘the fellowship’ aspect all throughout the day!!

So we began the meeting with songs that focussed our heart on the greatness of God and on all that He has done for us and all He is.

We prayed. And we listened to our elders each bringing us encouragement from the Word – about the way God has worked in our lives on this journey to the new building, about how God has multiplied all that we had to bring about the miraculous, about the need to give our whole lives over to God as our ‘reasonable or spiritual act of worship’ (Romans 12:1) and about the dedication of Solomon’s temple where the glory of God fell in such splendour that “the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:14)

We also listened to ministry through songs, given by Stephen (ably assisted by other musicians and Ruth) and Esther. We do appreciate the ministry of both our own church members and those who travelled especially to be with us to serve in this way.

And, in true Goldthorpe style, we also sang a children’s song for the many children in the congregation. The yo-yo song, written by Garry for one of our family services last year, is definitely unique in its subject matter and style, but the lines ‘Know the truth/ Be set free/ Jesus gives stability’ are as relevant to adults as they are to children!

A great evening!