I trust this update letter finds all of you well and rejoicing in our loving and gracious Saviour. It’s summer now in England and 2017 marks our first full summer in London and we are taking advantage of the many footpaths, parks and trails through and around the city. We started the summer off with a lovely BBQ on the church grounds. The Lord was kind to give us some wonderful weather and a good number of people. One of our church members counted nearly 70 people coming throughout the day, and it was especially exciting to have a few of our personal friends that we have been praying for come along, and to have visitors attend the following Sunday as a result of the BBQ. We pray that we can still reach out to our community in ways to serve them and speak the good news of Jesus to them.
This time of year in England many regular scheduled activities take an extended break, so many people use this time to go on long vacations and inevitably this affects attendance for church services. Because of this we are conducting our summer services a little differently. Last year and now this year we have been using the summer weeks to studying through Psalm 119, bit by bit. This year, instead of doing a full sermon from the front we are taking the opportunity to study the passage together, thus giving an example of how to read the Bible as well as interact with scripture together. We read the section of Psalm 119 out loud together, have a short introduction to the passage, and then divide up into groups to discuss three basic things: 1. What stands out to you about the passage, 2. What questions do you have about the passage, and 3. What is the passage wanting us to walk away with? The format has been encouraging so far as we all experience reading the Bible and interacting with it together—we’re praying this will develop a church culture of speaking truth to each other.
Though there is much to be thankful for we feel the growing pains of a small congregation. For example, when one person is unhappy it’s very apparent that it affects the whole body, or when someone moves away, they leave a big hole behind them. Both of these situations have happened to us recently and so we must continue to trust the Lord in these situations and carry on praying like Paul prayed for his congregation in Colossians 1 – “we continually ask God to fill [us] with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that [we] may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that [we] may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
We do covet your prayers as we continue to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and in the task of re-establishing his church here on High Road in North London. In September, our plan is to preach through our church doctrinal statement to solidify what we believe as a church in addition to establishing a church covenant. The church’s doctrinal statement was last updated in 1884 and as we church members represent so many different cultures and church backgrounds, discussion about what church membership should Biblically entail and look like will hopefully bring unity and clarity. This is a big step for us a congregation, and as one of our members recently told me (when I explained what I would be preaching on in the autumn): “these things will be very helpful—we need to know what being a member really makes us a part of.” I was excited to hear that she realises that the church is not just a Sunday club, but a living organisation/body seeking to put Christ on display to our community.
If you feel you would like to partner with us and our ministry through ABWE please contact us – our current financial need is the one-time funding for our residency application in January. This is a necessary step for us—as we have used up our allotment of work visas—and also a very expensive one. Any help towards that would be greatly appreciated—please let us know if you are able to contribute to this as we have a specific account with ABWE toward this goal and can earmark it as such if you let us know. We are thankful for your continued prayers and support for us and if you want to keep up on our church on a more day to day level we are on Facebook and twitter, so please do look us up and follow us that way.
David & Annalisa Wilson