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Pastor's Annual Report - 2016


This report covers January to December 2016 and is our fourth year in Frenchay Village Hall. It is possibly one of our most exciting years so far where we have been involved in a number of mission initiatives and have increased our network of contacts. This report provides a very brief summary of the highlights and does not attempt to cover everything.

Looking ahead into the next year, in May 2017 I will be officially retired from my work at Hewlett Packard and will be able to give more time to serving and leading the church. For me this will be a year of exploration, according to the word God spoke to me in January.

Outreach/Community Initiatives

4Front Theatre

On Saturday 19th March, we hosted 4Front Theatre Company's production "Law and Disorder". We had not seen 4Front before and so really had no idea what to expect. We had faithfully publicised the event around the local area and also amongst our friends and family, but with that came the nervousness of "What if the whole evening is a disaster?" Well, this couldn't have been further from the truth. The production was truly outstanding. It was funny but at the same time carried a powerful gospel message. Several children were sitting on the front row and were completely captivated by "Gal" - one of the characters who told the most awful jokes imaginable. Just four actors in the cast, yet the story was rich and extremely well performed.

We stepped out in faith and invited a group we had never seen nor did we know anyone who had seen them. I'm so glad we took that step as there were many non-Christians in the audience and I know they went home challenged. Having felt so positive about the evening, we booked them in for Christmas.

The Christmas production was equally as good - a little more pantomime like. Again the evening was well attended and we were able to present a short 2 minute gospel message at the end. Their ministry is clearly growing as they said that for their next Easter production they were limiting it to large venues. However, they also said that they loved coming to us so much that if we wanted them they would come. them again for April 2017.

Frenchay Flower Show

In July 2016 we participated in the Frenchay Flower Show for the first time. It is quite unusual for churches to be allowed stands at this show but we were pleased that due to our increased profile and serving of the community, we had been allowed to set up a gazebo. Shining our blue and pink colours we erected our gazebo near one of the entrances to the large marquee. It was a perfect spot for catching people as they walked by and attracting them to our ongoing puppet show. We gave out 300 bright pink bags containing note books, daily reading, colouring pens, sweets etc. Everywhere you looked you could see our bright pink bags. Many of us were able to engage in good conversations with people as they passed by and I believe we were a good testimony for what church is about.

We are still waiting to hear if we will be given a stand this year.

Serving the Community @ Frenchay Village Hall

There were four main areas this year where we served practically the community of Frenchay, all centred around the village hall. These were the vegetable plot, the cleaning of the grounds and car park, and the internal lighting.

Support for the Poor

Around Christmas 2016 several initiatives were launched, motivated by different people within the church. These were mostly focused on providing food for the poor. These included:

Bristol Shelter Project

In November we started to prepare to be involved in the Bristol Night Shelter project. The vision of this project was to give a really warm welcome to about 10-12 people referred by the St Mungo's Outreach team, share a meal with them, and ensure a safe and peaceful night, offering a light breakfast around 8am the next morning. The project actually ran in January 2017 and was a huge success and all those within NLC who were involved were greatly blessed.

Churches Together

In 2016 we saw a strong coming together of several of the local churches in Frenchay and Stapleton, in particular: New Life Church, Waterbrook, St. John the Baptist Frenchay, Stapleton Baptist and Holy Trinity Stapleton. As leaders of these churches we met regularly throughout the year to pray and discuss joint initiatives. We all share the same heart of wanting to take the gospel out to the community, especially as we consider the new houses that will be built over the next few years around the Frenchay Hospital site. Here are some of the things we have done together over the year.

Easter Dawn Walk

Charles Sugden organised a walk early on Easter morning up the hill at Purdown where we gathered as local churches to worship together and pray over the city. Afterwards we all joined together for breakfast at Stapleton Church Hall. It was a wonderful time being able to walk together, chatting across church boundaries and sharing one vision for the salvation of our city. A similar walk is being planned for 2017.

Churches Together in Worship

As leaders we felt that one area that could unite us as churches is when we worship together. Our first one was held at Stapleton Baptist in June where NLC provided the worship and Charles Sugden preached the word. It was a beautiful evening and has led the way to two other worship meetings, one in October and one just gone in January 2017 hosted by ourselves in FVH. Our heart is to see these grow and for our links as churches to become stronger as God prepares us all for mission.

Seniors Lunches

As a church we have supported 2 senior citizen's lunches, one in July and one in December. These lunches are led by Waterbrook church and we were honoured to be able to be part of their team. In July NLC provided all the raffle prizes which were gifts from our church members beautifully wrapped and presented. For the December lunch NLC provided 60 boxes of chocolates as gifts. Thank you all for your continued generosity to these initiatives.

Prayer Walk through the Frenchay Hospital site

Another initiative from Charles Sugden was an organised prayer walk in October through the site of the old Frenchay Hospital which has now been demolished completely. We prayed over all the houses that are going to be built over the coming years and for a coming together of the churches to reach out to the community that grows there. We'll be discussing this year how we might develop a joint welcome pack from the churches together.

Open the Book

At the beginning of the year Kim was invited to be part of the Open the Book team. This is a national scheme recommended by the government for teaching bible stories to children in schools. This particular Open the Book team is led by Waterbrook church and Kim participated in about 10 sessions at Begbrook School. If you are free during the day and feel this is something you would like to get involved in then please talk to Kim about it; they're always looking for volunteers.

Joint Cards for Christmas

For the first time we sent one Christmas card from all the Churches Together to the houses and flats around Frenchay and Stapleton. In addition to this, we joined in the Carols on the Green and some of our NLC members joined with Charles to deliver Christmas leaflets.


We continue to support our work in Zambia through our ongoing sponsorship programme School4Kids, the annual Cave Gathering Conference and personal support for Pastor Evans Luwi. This year we have helped to provide finances for their own church building which also doubles up for use by Beacon of Hope School. The church building was a significant investment, but we believe that having such a base to work from will greatly assist the growth in the work, both in terms of the church ministry and also the development of the school.

Full details of our School4Kids work can be found in the regular newsletters here. Some highlights for 2016 include providing chickens at Easter for every family represented at the school, providing financial support to enable the school to move from its rented premises into the Path of Life Ministries church building, and the introduction of a special collection box for raising money to buy the school children special gifts from the children at NLC.

We had another successful Cave Gathering Conference in October where several hundred people attended from Solwezi and surrounding villages, plus a few from Lusaka. This year we held the conference in their own new church building.

It was also wonderful to be able to re-establish links with Hudson Luwi, Evans' brother. Our relationship with Hudson had grown distant over recent years but God laid it on our hearts to meet up with him again and renew our friendship.

General Church News

We held several prayer initiatives throughout the year and we have found these to be very valuable times for hearing God and bringing the prophetic into the church. We have also enjoyed several visiting speakers including Charles Sugden, Rob Scott-Cook, Pam Scott-Cook, Alan Sutton, Tony Martin, Luke Goodway and Samantha Goodway.

I continue to be blessed by the huge support of the church as a whole in terms of its basic running. Church simply couldn't function without the commitment of its members. I could mention by name how each of you serve, but you know who you are and I sincerely appreciate all you do.

The Pastor's Bit

What have I been up to?

Some of you might be wondering what specific things I've been up to. Well it's been a busy year for me also. As well as entertaining our visiting speakers, I've also been out preaching to other churches, including Waterbrook, Dunstable, Swansea and Glastonbury. I've found that networking amongst other church leaders to be really valuable and I believe over time this will bear fruit in our ministry. I have also increased my networking amongst leaders across Bristol, especially Rob Scott-Cook. I hope to see relationships grow through 2017.

As you all know, in December 2016 I was told that I was being made redundant from Hewlett Packard. However, this was not a complete shock. God told me whilst at New Wine in the summer that this time next year I would not be working at Hewlett Packard. I thank God that he gave me the heads up on this as it means I can step into 2017 full of faith in the knowledge that this is God's plan for me.

Looking ahead into 2017

At the start of this year God's word to me was "Explore", similar to what God said to Abraham when he entered the Promised Land - Walk the length and breadth of the land. To that end, my actions throughout this year are highly motivated by this theme.

Now that I am more available during the daytime I am looking forward to ongoing networking with other church leaders across Bristol. I am starting to get involved in the New Wine Hub which is headed up by Dave Mitchell from Woodlands which is bringing me alongside a whole new set of church leaders I've not met before. These times are for sharing, encouraging and praying into one another's ministries. I also continue to maintain my links with Global Horizons and in particular the SW regional leaders.

It has been a blessing to invite Luke and Samantha Goodway from Cynon Elim Church in Wales, and I will be visiting their church in March to preach. I hope to explore with them ways in which we might be able to support some of their community work.

As I said earlier in this report, I believe having visiting speakers to preach on a Sunday morning is a good thing, but with that comes the need to reciprocate. I am currently booked to preach in Dunstable, Glastonbury and Waterbrook over the coming months.

One particular area I feel I want to explore further is that of Mission. We have dipped our toes in the water a bit in the last couple of years as we've taken some initiatives in serving the poor and reaching into our local community. I want to see where we go next, and I've started to explore what has been happening in Reading, called The Turning. This is taking the gospel back out onto the streets and praying for people to be born again. I would love to see our church increase its burden for the lost, but I need God's wisdom on how best to do this. Please pray as I seek God in this important area of church life.

Included in mission are some broader youth initiatives - The Noise, and Hope 2018. These initiatives are aimed at encouraging young people to take their faith into the community to serve in practical ways. Sue and Alison have already started to get involved in some of the youth networking events across Bristol such as The Mix and the youth leaders' prayer meetings, and maybe these other initiatives may be something we will want to consider over the coming months.

Finally, I think it's important now that we create some official links to give our church credibility to those who view us from outside. To this we have now become part of the Evangelical Alliance.