This coming Sunday, we will be joined by Rich and Anna Ellwood. Having grown up in Oxfordshire, Rich and his Belgian wife, Anna, have spent 13 years leading a church in Brussels. They have now relocated with their family to the UK. Rich works for Christians Against Poverty, and as of September 2023, now leads Salt & Light Advance.
Proverbs 23:23 counsels us to "Buy the truth, don't sell it". This phrase has long been a principle in our family of churches, reminding us that we don't know everything; we are all learning; and we need to keep finding fresh wisdom for our churches as we seek to bring God's saving message to a fast-changing world. This posture leads us to welcome regular guest speakers, send leaders (staff and volunteers) to external conferences, as well as hosting conferences and training in-house. That's healthy for us.
Let me introduce Rich and Anna Houghton to you. We have known them for many years having been first connected in Kidlington. Anna works as a primary school teacher and Rich works as a project manager for a design agency. They have two children and are fun-loving people that love sharing life with others in Banbury.
There's a church just north of Oxford that we're family with! Although its exciting, being actively part of a wider family of churches may be a new idea for some of you, so we want to tell the story of how we got there, and how relationships are sustained today.
Chapter 1: Oxfordshire
In the 1970s, UK churches were impacted by a new movement that came to be called both the ‘charismatic renewal’ and the ‘house church movement’. It placed emphasis on authentic community, participation in worship, spiritual gifts, and meaningful discipleship.