Planting in the Dearne Valley

Ben and Libby Keen and their two children, will be moving to Rotherham in August.  Ben is joining the staff team at Rotherham Evangelical Church (REC), charged with with a particular responsibility for exploring and assessing the gospel opportunities in the Dearne Valley.

Raised in the heart of the Dearne, Ben has most recently been serving Bristol City Centre Church (BC3) as an Assistant Pastor.  After a number of years of discussion and pre-planning, BC3 are partnering with REC to fund Ben and his family for an initial period of two years.  However, as this goes to press, there is still a shortfall in funding which, if not reversed, would mean that Ben would not be able to progress this work on a full-time basis.

Please join Gospel Yorkshire in praying seriously for the development of this work and for funds to allow Ben to commit himself full-time.


A women’s worker for the Valley!

Dear praying friends,

We want to thank you so much for your prayers. We’re convinced that the Lord is using them to bring about his purposes among us, and through us to bring his people to himself across the Spen Valley.  And, to that end, we have some really exciting news to share:

I mentioned in the last prayer letter that we are encouraged to have regular visitors with us, and to be getting to know people across the town and valley. In the Lord’s providence the vast majority of these, particularly those visiting us on a Sunday morning, have been women. Several of them have been very keen to dig further into the Bible and to explore what the gospel is all about. As we’ve prayed and thought hard about how to serve these women, and indeed the women among our members who need discipling, we’ve come back again and again to the thought that we should explore employing a Women’s Worker.

This has been something that has always been part of the long-term vision of Spen Valley Church, we want to free up gifted, godly women to disciple and serve other women. However, our experiences of the Lord’s providence since September convinced us as Elders that this was something we should explore now.

Therefore, we discussed this whole matter as a church a few weeks ago. As I mentioned earlier, the Lord gave us remarkable unity. All church members agreed that employing a part-time Women’s Worker was a vital need for us going forward. The church was also enthusiastically unanimous that we already have someone gifted and able to serve us in this way within the church. As a church we believe that Dawn is already seeking to fulfil this role, but is massively hampered from doing so by her commitments in secular employment. The church therefore made the decision together that we should employ Dawn part-time from September to disciple and train the women in the church, and reach out with the gospel to women in our town and valley. We were very careful to make these two decisions separately so that we can’t be accused of simply finding a job for the Pastor’s wife.

We’re so thankful to the Lord for this unity and clear expression of his will for us. Please do give thanks with us, and please pray for Dawn as she take on this new role. Please especially pray for her as she seeks to finish well at school over the remaining weeks of the term. Dawn’s been teaching for nearly twenty years and loves her job. Please pray for her as she transitions to paid ministry. Please also pray for us as a family, as we get used to both of us being employed by the church and serving together on a more formal basis. Please pray for us as a church as we seek to help Dawn fulfil her role. Mainly though, please pray that the Lord would bless this move and bring real gospel fruit from it.

This obviously has huge implications for us as a church, as we seek to love and support Dawn in her new role. It also has some pretty big financial implications. The Lord has been very good to us over the last year or so. We received more than enough money to fulfil all our commitments in our first year, and have carried some over into Year 2 (beginning in September). In fact, we have been so blessed that we can fulfil all our commitments for almost all of Year 2 at current levels of income and outgoings (ie. employing Derek and myself). However, in order to employ Dawn we need to raise £15000 for the coming year. We have really challenged ourselves as a church to fund as much of Dawn’s salary as we can, and believe we can cover between 10% and 20% at least, through increasing our own giving. However, we do need to raise the remainder from outside ourselves. We firmly believe that this is the Lord’s will for us as a church and are therefore confident that the Lord will meet all our needs.

Please do pray as we write to churches and grant-making bodies this week and next. Please also do pray about whether you could help us in any way. If just half the people who receive this prayer letter could give us just £10 a month then we would be able to raise nearly half the £15000! However, we realise that this won’t be possible for a lot of you.

We value your love and prayers in Jesus’ name above anything. Please do continue to pray for us in this.

New venue for Trinity

‘So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’

Matthew 6:31-33

Thank you for your prayers as we have sought a new space for Trinity Church Scarborough to meet on a Sunday. We are so grateful to God for all those around the world who have been asking our good Father in Heaven to provide what we need.

The good news is that we have had confirmation from Scarborough 6th Form College that we can use their building on Sunday mornings.

This new venue is a great provision from God. We will meet in a very contemporary and bright worship space, that will enrich the atmosphere of our meetings and give us some room to grow. There is a lovely modern spill out space for refreshments. There will be three rooms for our children’s groups, with more if we need them. There is a lovely outside space adjacent to where we will be meeting for the service. And there is loads of car parking.

Moreover, the college has a Sports Hall which can seat up to 250. So in future we have a potential space for a much bigger service. Do pray God will grow us so we need to use this!

Praise God for his quick provision.

News from the Valley

Spen Valley Church was planted, in conjunction with Gospel Yorkshire, in September last year. Since then they’ve been seeking to reach out into their community with the good news of Jesus. Their Pastor, and GY West Yorkshire Co-ordinator, Graham Thomson brings us encouragements and prayer points.

We’ve been really encouraged as we sought to establish Spen Valley Church in Cleckheaton since September. God has been very good to us. Some blessings we’re experiencing at the moment would include:

  • A number of new visitors with us on Sundays recently. Some of these are unbelievers who are expressing a real interest in knowing Jesus
  • We’re beginning to get to know a number of people in our town and valley, and have had many opportunities to share Jesus with them
  • A continued real spiritual hunger and growth among some who been with us for a few months now
  • Our first baptism on 6th May
  • An answer to our prayers about housing for two of our members, in an unexpected manner!
    The house in Cleckheaton they have been trying to buy for several months sadly fell through. However, a rental property became available in the town at almost exactly the same time. They expect to move in in the next few weeks. This will mean that all our members are now living in the Spen Valley.

We’re also asking the Lord to continue blessing us.
Some particular needs at the moment are:

  • The vast majority of the visitors who have joined us on Sundays are women. We’re very conscious of the need to disciple these women, and reach others with the gospel. We’d value prayer as we seek to find the best ways to do this.
  • We’re so thankful to the Lord that we have received financial support for many of his people. We do need some extra finances to fulfil our ministry for our second year, starting in September. We’d value pray for provision from the Lord’s people, especially as we write to churches, and grant making bodies to ask for help.
  • We realise that planting in the Spen Valley is a long term vision. Many of the people we’re meeting have no knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Please pray that we’d have patience during what may well be a period of sowing the truth of the gospel.

God has been so good to us. We’re excited about what he has in store for us in the future, and are praying that his name would be glorified in us here.

Trinity Church Scarborough need to find a new venue

‘So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’  Matthew 6:31-33

Dear beloved prayer supporters

We found out this week that our contract with the college we use for our Sunday meetings will not be renewed after it ends on 14th May 2018. The college have changed their policy and are now no longer going to rent the building to outside groups. This means we have 8 weeks to find a new building to meet in as a church.

How should we respond?

First, we don’t need to panic. God is our great provider. We have a loving Heavenly Father who has provided for our eternal salvation, who has provided for the life of Trinity Church so far, and who we can trust for future provision.

Second, we should pray. I am calling the church family of Trinity Church to pray urgentlyand regularly for a new space for us to meet. Would you join us? Pray that God will be warming the hearts of officials who need to be contacted, ahead of the phone calls and emails. Pray that God will provide a place that will lead to new growth. Pray for a place with a big space and other rooms for children’s ministry; that has storage; and car parking.

Third, we must actively plan. From Monday a small team will write down potential options and start the initial contacts. However, we don’t want to do this before we all start praying.

Love in Christ
Senior Minister
Trinity Church Scarborough

News for prayer from Trinity Church Scarborough

 Our God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked! Rather he is pleased when they turn and live! (Ezekiel 18:23). Our desire as a church in Scarborough is to know Jesus and make him know to as many people as possible that they might turn and live! See below how this has, is and will be happening in the coming weeks and how you can prayerfully support God’s work here!

– The gospel will be proclaimed in many places this year but one avenue will be through our church events. Please pray for our Quiz Night on the 2nd February and pray that people would respond in faith to the powerful gospel message.

– Please pray for arrangements towards our up and coming Christianity Explored course. Pray that many will join us and discover who Jesus really is.

– Please pray for us as a church family to be filled with boldness and courage, through the Holy Spirit, in order to make Christ known. Praise God for the conversations had in recent weeks with friends, family and colleagues.

We are preaching through 2 Peter and Exodus this term, please pray that we would grow together in maturity as we engage with Gods Word on Sundays and throughout the week in Growth Groups. Praise God that we will be starting up our 5th Growth Group soon and please pray for wisdom as we do this. Finally, do continue to pray for the Anglican Mission in England as it seeks to see many new churches planted throughout the UK. Please pray for great godliness, wisdom and zeal for all its ministers.

News for Prayer from Church Church Central, Leeds

One Big Prayer

“The godly man is not content to go to heaven alone but wants to take others there. Spiders work only for themselves, bees work for others. A godly man is both a diamond and a magnet – a diamond for the sparkling luster of grace and a magnet for his attractiveness. He is always drawing others to embrace piety.”  Thomas Watson

We’ve been preaching through Matthew’s Gospel this term and have just begun the Sermon on the Mount. As a new, small church please pray we would live the kind of ‘salty’ distinctive lives that result in others coming to glorify God. The pressure is to blend in, especially as most of us are just at the early stages of getting to know neighbours, colleagues, and school friends. We need the courage to believe holiness is a help to evangelism not a hindrance. So please pray we’d be the diamonds and magnets that Thomas Watson speaks of, and that we’d therefore be used to take others to heaven.

As a particular urgent application of that, this Sunday (10th) we’re having our carol service. Please pray for us to be bold and prayerful in inviting people, not least as most of us are so new to the city we don’t know many people well yet.

What’s Been Happening

Last Sunday was our 13th public service – this term has flown past! We’ve begun to settle on Sunday mornings at about 30 adults and 10 children. Some have found us through word of mouth, some through the internet but I think my favourite story so far is the guy from Hungary who bumped into one of our regulars whilst running in the park. He’d only been in the country a week or so but was intrigued enough to come along and has been back every week – please do pray for him! We’re also very thankful to have a couple of musicians which makes a huge difference to the services.  A highlight recently was our first baptism: Joel Kendall came up from our sister church in Derby to baptise Jonty and Georgina’s third daughter.

Each Wednesday we’ve continued to meet at Jonty and Georgina’s house, initially to think about the Incarnation and more recently to begin studying the book of Proverbs together. We’ve had a good number along meaning it’s getting tricky to fit in the lounge, so we’re hoping to move to a more central venue in the new year.  All the Derby movers have now arrived, though already a couple of regulars have had to leave us – hopefully temporarily – due to changes in circumstances. Last update we asked for prayer for jobs for some of those still searching: some have now got work, others still looking, so please keep praying. Instability in life inevitably leads to church still feeling quite fragile, so please pray for those involved to be able to settle into houses and jobs.

Give Thanks:

  • All the Derby movers have now arrived and are in work
  • For our first baptism
  • For a good group committed to the new church

Please Pray:

  • For our Carol Service this Sunday: for those who don’t know the Lord to come, repent and believe
  • For the core group getting to know non Christians, praying and witnessing to them
  • For our plans to begin a Sunday afternoon group for children in the new year

Many thanks for your prayers, we’re very aware of our debt to those outside Leeds who have helped get Christ Church off the ground in so many ways.

Jonty and all at CCCL

News for prayer from Trinity Church Scarborough

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever”  Psalm 118:1

We ought to be so thankful to our God and King for all the spiritual blessings we have “in Christ” (Eph 1:3) and we ask that you pray we would be a church marked by thankfulness.

Here are a few updates for prayer:

  • Playsongs (toddler group) continues to thrive and be a source of new relationships and friendships. Please pray that people will transition from that group to church on Sunday and other initial ways to hear more of the gospel.
  • Growth Groups continue to thrive and we pray that we would truly grasp that the authority is not in our own opinions but in the living and active Word of God.
  • On Sundays we are continuing to see new people and visitors trickle through the doors and so we ask that we would not settle into comfortable patterns but be prepared to challenge and encourage one another in the faith and welcome new people well.
  • The Women’s Craft evening is this coming Friday (1st). Give thanks for the variety of Non Christians and Christians who have said they will come and pray they do make it along. Pray for the evening to be filled with conversation about Jesus and pray for many people to want to find out more.
  • Give thanks for the variety of 1-2-1’s happening between members of the church family and also with those exploring the faith. Pray these lead to fruitful and effective ministry and the salvation of the lost.
  • Give thanks for the 15 members of Trinity Church who enjoyed inviting people to the Christmas events (see below) at the Scarborough Christmas light switch on.

Christmas events

We are looking forward to our big weekend of Christmas events on the 16th/17th December.

Please pray:

  • That many people would come along to each of these events.
  • That we would be wise, creative and efficient in our planning.
  • That all of the Church family would find ways to be involved.
  • That the gospel would be heard loud and clear.
  • That lots of people would sign up to our evangelistic course in January.
  • That we would see people turn in faith and repentance to the living God.

One Man, Two Roles

Martin Woodier has been commissioned as the new Co-Pastor of a church in North Yorkshire. But a key aspect of his role will be to lead a completely different church in West Yorkshire. We asked him to share the details.

At the end of September, my Commissioning Service took place at South Craven Evangelical Church. As well as serving as Co-Pastor, half of my role is very specific: to lead a new church plant five miles away in the town of Keighley.

When you look at church planting, it is sometimes done in a “missionary” style, where a church planter announces that he will be starting a church and seeks to rally troops from near and far to enlist alongside him.

South Craven Evangelical Church (SCEC), on the semi-rural border of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, is taking a different route. It is a church planting a church.

Assessing the gospel need

SCEC has been concerned for a number of years for areas which are quite distinct from the nest of villages in which it is found. They are all 15-30 minutes’ drive away on good, open roads. This has been heightened in the past six or seven years as quite a few people have been travelling in from three directions to gather with the church.

After a lot of careful thought and prayer the church became convinced that the way forward was to take on an extra full-time Co-Pastor who would, rather unusually, have a split role between:

  1. Helping to strengthen the preaching, pastoring, training and leadership of the growing church in South Craven, working alongside the Pastor Paul Gamston.
  2. Leading a church plant in Keighley, working with the people from the church who already live in that area.

It was clear, both from the point of view of what the current church needs are and from the point of view of simultaneously leading a church plant, that this was a role for an experienced Pastor who would add to the strength of the team.

That is where I come into it! 30 years of pastoring Bethel Church in nearby Otley counted as sufficient experience!

If current terminology had been around back in 1986 when I started out in Otley it would have been called re-planting or revitalisation. We had ten members (including my wife, Kim, and me) and a maximum of 15 gathering on a Sunday morning. The church grew in fits and starts but overall slowly. Last summer I handed over the pastoral role to Chris Haley who I had been training there for three years.

Plans for Keighley

In my new role I get to serve alongside Paul which is a great privilege. We have developed a good friendship over the past few years and we’re confident that we can work well together. We are clear between us and with the church that Paul is the lead Pastor of South Craven Evangelical Church, with me supporting him and sharing the ministry with him, taking the leading role when he is not available. I am the lead Pastor for the church plant.

The work in Keighley is truly at an embryonic stage. We have about 14 adults and 14 children who we can be fairly sure will start the church. Keighley is a very different place to the villages of South Craven. It is closer geographically to South Craven but closer socioeconomically and ethnically to central Bradford (10 miles away).

We have a lot of praying, thinking, planning and plotting to do as we see the best way to reach a town which is very diverse and largely segregated.

So please would you pray for us? Our aims are:

  • To reach the lost in the large town of Keighley in a culturally appropriate way.
  • To create a community of gospel people in and for Keighley.
  • To love each other as we love Jesus, knowing this has an impact for the Gospel (John 13:34-35).

Adapted from an original post on the FIEC website

Trinity Church Scarborough – October news for prayer

Dear friends,
Thank you again for your prayers. We are excited to say that we have continued to see God at work through his Word and the Holy Spirit. We are still burdened to see more people come to repentance and put their faith in Jesus.
We really do value your prayers for the continual work here at Trinity Church Scarborough and we hope that you find this prayer update encouraging.

  • Praise God that the Celebration weekend went really well! Many people came to each of the events and heard the gospel. We met new people, built on already existing relationships and have had the chance to follow up with a number of people. Thank God for the success of this weekend and pray for us as we follow up with different people whether Christians or not.
  • We are still encouraged about the new teenage girls bible study. There are 5 girls attending and we ask that you pray that they all truly come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Pray for the leaders to discern well how to pray and speak to each of the girls as needed.
  • We really want to  keep evangelism a priority and we ask that you would pray for an emboldening of the church family as we seek to speak to people about Jesus. Please also pray for the evangelism team as they seek to coordinate different events and outreaches.
  • Give thanks for the Church family, it is a delight to see people from different church backgrounds united together in our love for Jesus. Please pray we would learn to love each other well and learn to speak God’s word more into each other’s lives.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8

Love in Christ,
Trinity Church Scarborough