Hopefully most of you will know that we are starting the
Alpha course on Wednesday nights 7.30-9.30 (beginning this Wednesday 18th
for 10 weeks). The alpha course is for anyone who is wondering if there is more
to life than this, what all this God stuff is about or what it means to be a
Christian. It is a time where we can join together for a meal, think about
life, the world around us and faith and chat to lots of different people.
Alpha’s national campaign at the minute sees Bear Grylls
speak of how putting his faith in Jesus has been his greatest adventure and it
really is a wonderful adventure! Many of the people of St Paul’s came to
believe and trust in Jesus through attending an alpha course and they all say
it was a brilliant experience. In Long Loaf this week Billy shared about how
alpha didn’t just give him a better understanding of who God is but also
brought him lasting friendships with the people that he attended the course
with – “the social part was just as important”.
So, maybe Alpha sounds like what you’re looking for? Great!
Sign up on the sheet at the back of church or let Greg or Kirsty know that
you’re planning on coming.
Maybe you’ve had a faith in Jesus for years, great! So who
could you invite to come to Alpha? Who is the one person that Jesus is asking
you to share your faith with? Invite them! Take as many flyers as you like from
the back and invite as many people as possible.
We want to see people join this amazing adventure: a life
with Jesus Christ.
Originally Printed in Newsletter 15-01-17
Hopefully, by now you are aware of the fact that we are
having a Christmas meal, here at St Paul’s on Christmas Day at 12pm! This is a free
meal (although donations are welcome) which is open to…ANYONE AND EVERYONE!
We want to encourage as many of you as possible to come down
and get involved… Christmas is a wonderful time when we celebrate the birth of
Jesus! We celebrate the willingness of God to come down to Earth in human form
and be “God with us”. It has also become a great time to gather and celebrate
with family and friends!
Not have many family members around here and want to be able
to enjoy Christmas dinner with good company? This is for you!
Not able to afford (with either money or time) to
purchase and cook a Christmas meal for yourselves and your family? This is for you!
Plenty of family, able to afford it but would like to
celebrate this incredible time with your wider church family? This is for you!
In Matthew, Jesus said that those he judges to be blessed by
His Father will be those who fed him when he was hungry and gave him a drink
when he was thirsty and this is a great opportunity for us as a church to do
just that! Of course, many of us have our own Christmas routine which is great
and you can be involved even if you can’t come along on the day. Perhaps you
would like to help financially towards the meal? Or assist Greg with some of
the preparation on Christmas Eve? Or by
simply spreading the word (especially to those in need this Christmas) that this
For those who would like to come and eat with us on
Christmas Day please tell Kirsty today or call Felicity in the office and put
your name down. If you would like to help with either the preparation of the
meal or support us in funding this event, please let Greg know.
Originally Printed in Newsletter 18-12-16
know, we are now in the season of Advent, a time of preparation and waiting for
Jesus to come again as the King who reigns in glory. Alongside that we are in a
time of preparation and waiting for the appointment of our new vicar. Due to
both of these, we have entered into a time of fasting as a church.
Some of us
are fasting food, cake, alcohol or social media but the important thing isn’t
necessarily about what we choose to give up but what we take up instead. Greg
preached a couple of weeks ago about fasting and told us how it means
“fastening onto” – fasting is a time for us to fasten onto Jesus.
not about punishing ourselves unnecessarily or about trying to convince God to
do what we want. It is about denying ourselves the things we want and using the
moments when we think about or long for those things to pray and seek the Lord
and His will instead. When we fast we put our trust and reliance more in the
one who is our sustenance – Jesus says in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me will never be
it said that it’s when we reach the end of ourselves that we hear what Jesus is
trying to say to us the clearest. How incredible would it be if we could use
our desires for cake, Facebook or wine to hear the energising wisdom and truth
of our Lord? So the next time that craving calls, call to Jesus – pray for
yourself, pray for St Paul’s, for Widnes, for our world. Praise God for all he
provides and seek his will for your life and the life of our church (especially
our new vicar).
Originally Printed in Newsletter 11-12-16
Many of you have probably heard of Extended Worship
Gathering (or EWG for short), but what actually is it? Well, the clue is in the
Essentially EWG is a monthly Sunday service at 6.30pm which
is a little longer. EWG was originally started because those who had attended
the New Wine conference in August desired a similar experience back here in
Widnes. As such, there is a longer time of sung worship, an often interactive talk
and then there is a longer time reserved at the end of the service to respond
to what is said in prayer by asking God to speak to us. We often ask for the
Holy Spirit to give us gifts of prophecy or healing in this time and we like to
leave enough space to allow God to do what he wants to do.
At the moment in EWG we are going through a series on the
sayings of Jesus in John’s Gospel where Jesus tells us about who he is: “I am…”
So far we have explored how Jesus is the bread of life and the light of the
world and tonight we will be exploring how Jesus is the gate or the door.
Everyone is welcome so please do come along… We believe that
Jesus is alive and wants to do something here in Widnes and in our hearts and
lives and we believe this is a pretty good place to start.
Originally Printed in Newsletter 27-11-16
The next habit in the St Paul’s Way for us to look at is one
of our monthly habits: “Visit Someone”.
This is as simple as it sounds – we as a church want to aim
to visit someone from church once a month. Perhaps we are most likely to do
this when someone is unwell – we want to hear Jesus say: “I was sick, and you
(Matt 25:36). However, this is a great habit, not only in terms of
visiting those who may be struggling to leave the house and so missing the
company and fellowship of church, but also to develop the connections and
relationships we have with each other across all of our balloons.
Visiting is a great
way to get to know each other better. One of my favourite parts of my placement
last summer was visiting some of you and finding out the part that St Paul’s
plays in your lives. I loved hearing stories of family, friends and holidays,
old stories about St Paul’s and Widnes and just generally having a cup of tea
and a chat with so many of you. (Thanks for your hospitality.)
Just like we visit family members, so it is really beautiful
to see the family of God visiting each other – showing each other they care for
one another enough to take time out to see how they’re doing. Likewise we need
to give hospitality to each other when someone comes knocking – 1 Peter 4:9
tells us to “Show hospitality to one
another without grumbling.”
So, let’s do this!
Let’s be willing to be hospitable and pop the kettle on when somebody from
church (no matter which balloon) comes knocking on the door… And let’s be ready
to go out of our way to visit each other – after all, we’re family… Sorry about
Originally Printed in Newsletter 20-11-16
This week we’re taking a look at one of the Monthly parts of
our St Paul’s Way: Serve Here.
The Bible is full of verses which tell us to serve the Lord and to serve
others. One of my favourite of these verses is from 1 Peter 4:10:
Each of you should use whatever
gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in
its various forms.
I love the fact that God has made
each of us unique with unique gifts. That means that only Linda can lead in the
way she leads, only Gary can sing the way he sings, only Barbara can make a cup
of tea the way she does, only Eileen can make butties the way she does, only
Jeff can greet people the way he does… God wants us to use whatever we’ve got
to serve - no matter how small it may seem! If Jesus can take 5 loves and 2
fish and feed over 5000 people – he can use “little old me” to serve his
There is so much going on in the life of St Paul’s
that you can get involved with not just within Sunday Services (welcoming
people, making tea and coffee, helping make sandwiches) but also through the
week at groups such as Long Loaf on a Wednesday afternoon who are always
extremely grateful of an extra pair of hands to chop some carrots or wash a pan
So, why not get involved? This is one of our monthly
ways but you can always serve more often if you like! Speak to Greg, myself or
any of the balloon leaders for more information about how you can start serving
Originally printed in Newsletter 06-11-16
Tots is our new Parent and Toddler group running every Monday morning during
term time from 10.00-11.30. It’s a warm, welcoming place where parents/
grandparents/ carers can bring their little one along, grab a cup of
coffee and a piece of toast whilst their little ones can run ragged and play
till their hearts content!!!
It’s early days and we have only been running the group for 3 weeks, but it has
been so encouraging seeing lots of new faces and seeing people bring along new
friends each week. It is beautiful to see both parents and kids enjoying
There are a variety of toys for babies and preschool children to enjoy, craft
activities, a simple Bible story and we round it all off with singing some
nursery rhymes and even doing the Hokey Cokey ( a family favourite!!!) So
if you have a little one or know of anyone who has then please come and join us
for just a £1 donation per family!
Thank you to everyone who has been praying and asking about how the group is
going. Please continue to pray that the group will be a place where people feel
welcomed, are able to have fun and that the group will be a way for
families to connect with the Church and most of all with Jesus.
As many of you will know, in both our Sunday services and
within these articles, we have been working our way through the 9 healthy
habits that help connect us to God, our Church and our World – the St Paul’s
Way. This week we are exploring the monthly habit of: “Do Something Different”
meaning seeking out other Christian experiences by visiting other balloons or
going to an event outside St Paul’s.
This month, my “Do Something Different” was attending the
New Wine North West gathering in Aughton on Tuesday night. This was an evening
of sung worship, a really encouraging message by Ness Wilson from Loughborough
and a time for prayer and response to Jesus. It was such a great experience to
worship with so many Christians from all across our region who although have
many different backgrounds, traditions, dreams and desires are united in the
loving family of Christ. Likewise it was fantastic to join together with them
as a region of Christians asking God to bless us with His boldness in order to
empower us to share our faith more openly with people through our words as well
as our actions.
habit is not to say that St Paul’s and the balloon(s) you currently attend
aren’t great but actually to encourage us to both meet other Christians and
share in a part of their journey as well as broadening the situations and
different ways in which we make ourselves available to Jesus to speak to us and
through us. So for your next “something different” why not try a trip to the
next New Wine gathering at 7pm on 6th November at St Philip’s in
Salford? You might just be amazed at what God does somewhere and in something
We started our September meeting with a time of worship lead by
Steve Shuttleworth the reading was from Philippians 4:4-9. We joined together in reading the Felgild
Compline from the Northumbria Christian Community.
Sophie Sharples, Safeguarding Children officer for St Paul’s
explained her responsibilities. We have
adopted the Safeguarding policy from Liverpool Diocese the policy requires that
church roles working with children have a job description. Workers need to complete safeguarding
self-declaration on diocese website and need annual review. Policy, including the position of
safeguarding officer needs to be reviewed annually.
Due to Reader training commitments Steve Shuttleworth has stepped
down as PCC Secretary. Nikki Lamb has
taken over the position. Steve was
thanked for all his hard work in the role.
The Arch Deacon has agreed for St Pauls PCC to take on the
responsibility for the Vicarage while it is vacant until a new Vicar is
appointed some-time after next Easter. The PCC has appointed Billy and Andrea Bromilow
as ‘Guardians’ to live in the Vicarage.
Once a new Vicar is appointed and there is then clarity if the Vicar
wishes to live in the vicarage further plans can then be made. Billy and Andrea moved into the vicarage
12th September 2016.
Sophie Sharples is going to be running a Parents & toddler
group starting 26/9/2016 – 10.00am, a great opportunity to open our doors to
more people in our local community.
Each year we try to donate 10% of St Paul’s income to Missionary
projects spreading the donations across Overseas, National and Local
organisations. We agreed to add two new
services to our list this year – Reach Christian counselling services and
OneTwo Sports Ministry.
Framework (see attached document)
The growth planning Framework which is used to monitor how all
aspects of our church is run, developed and expanded is reviewed at most
meetings to make sure that it is clear how we are progressing in growing St
Paul’s Church. (copies of the framework can be obtained at the back of church)
The full PCC minutes are at the back of Church
Next PCC meeting is on Monday 10th October 2016 at
Please remember the PCC
members in your prayers.
As we continue
our fortnightly look at the St Paul’s Way - Healthy Habits that help us connect
to God, our Church and our World - our attention turns to a habit that leads us
outward, “Missionary Moment”.
What does it look
like for us at St Paul’s to point someone who does not know Jesus towards him?
Not just once. Not once a year, or even a month, but on a weekly basis?
What does it mean for us to have a habit of taking the
opportunities that God gives us to introduce people to Him?
Now, I’ve been
around churches long enough to know that the moment we start talking about
evangelism, or anything that smells a bit like it, we can end up either feeling
rather guilty about missed opportunities, or feeling bad that we are not very
good at this sort of thing. These are understandable responses especially when
we think about the potentially awkward conversations we might end up having and
the associated potential for rejection. If you are feeling like that here are
some words of encouragement:
1. Point someone to
Jesus. This doesn’t mean once a week we all need to be street preachers, but
rather, that in our own ways, appropriate to our own jobs, communities etc we
offer pointers to Jesus. This could be inviting someone to Long Loaf, thinking
of a way to bless a work colleague (and then doing it) or praying with a friend
- or anything else you can think of.
about faith are great but we can easily be asked tricky questions. Offering
people prayer takes a conversation away from arguing about principles
and towards meeting Jesus.
3. You don’t have to
be an expert. In Mark 6 when Jesus sends out the 12 disciples, the thing that
has just happened in the previous passage is that he’s being rejected in his
home town, unable to do what he wanted there.
I find this encouraging
because Jesus doesn’t send us out saying we need to succeed each time but
rather he does it acknowledging that it is not easy - even for him.
So why should we
share our faith? Some closing words from the book of Philemon v6:
“I pray that you
will be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full
understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
If we want to know Jesus more, it seems pointing
others to him is part of that.