September is here, a new year has a begun! Perhaps more than usual this year, the autumn can be a time of particular hope, vision, and expectation. As people move to Oxford during Sept-Oct, it’s our habit to take a few weeks looking at our vision as a church. But this autumn, we’re spending four weeks looking at both vision and money. Why would we do that?!
In 21-22 we want to invest in development / growth / breakthrough, especially in our four Future Focus goals.
To do this we want to invest in releasing more time from some members of staff and leadership, in order that they can increase their focus. Ideally, we want to increase capacity (time) for these people. If you're not sure who's who, look here.
On Sunday 18 July 2021 I gave a verbal update, on behalf of our Covid working group, about OCC's plans for Sunday services after 'Freedom Day' Monday 19 July.
For more details on what I said, please visit www.occ.org.uk/coronavirus#services
Last Sunday, Steve shared with us that God wants to punch holes in long-standing barriers... ethnic barriers, geographical barriers, and cultural barriers. One longstanding barrier in the city of Oxford is between different socioeconomic groups, expressed as 'town and gown', or 'rich and poor'.
As a church, we know that Jesus' death on the cross was the birth of a new community, not joined by ethnic identity, economic status, or geographic location, but by our shared commitment to following Jesus!
As we all know, there are going to be further easing of lockdown on Monday 19th July and even though we know some of what will be said, we don't know the full extent of what changes there will be for churches. So, before we can respond fully, we are waiting for the government to publish advice and legislation next week.
In the meantime, Steve shares some news and thoughts about refreshments, restrictions and the word of the Lord in this next season!
As we looked at Isaiah 51-52 we saw the repeated encouragement (that's a gentle British way of saying "challenge"!) from God to his people to wake up, and really get what he wants to say and show them. A short paraphrase of the passage could read: "Listen, listen, listen! Awake, awake; awake, awake; awake, awake!"
This week marks the beginning of Step 3 in the English roadmap out of lockdown. There are new freedoms and opportunities. As the elders were praying earlier in the week, we thought about some of the different ways that we will all be feeling and responding as we emerge into relative freedom.
Maybe you feel like a bear emerging from hibernation with a sore head! For you, the lockdown has left you disorientated, maybe slightly grumpy and uncertain about what the world is like now. You don't want to be awakened, and as you emerge you wonder whether anything has changed!
In my Sunday message from Isaiah 42-44, I commented on the prophetic words shared with OCC earlier in the year. Will you join with me in prayerfully reflecting on these words, and asking that God will he help us see what he wants to do in our city and communities?
It was a big day in the life of Lifehouse Community Church in the afternoon of Sunday 25th April 2021. After not meeting in person for over a year during the pandemic we met together again for our first Sunday gathering. It felt a bit like going on holiday crossed with Christmas Day! For Katherine and I and our family there was a level of excitement and nervousness - constantly checking the clock to see if it was time to get in the car yet! There was a growing excitement and an expectation of what was to come.