Coronavirus and the Windsor Fellowship Church

I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7)

As Boris Johnson said yesterday, this current crisis is unprecedented in peacetime.  The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have just released this statement and we’re going to follow this advice.  Therefore, all formal group meetings of the Windsor Fellowship Church are postponed until further notice.  Whilst this is entirely the right thing to do, I feel deep sadness about this.  Meeting together as a church family is one of the great joys of being part of Jesus’ family.  However, we live in a technological age, so below are details of how we propose to deal with this crisis as a church.  First however perhaps I could offer some encouragements:

  1. We are all bound to feel anxious. It’s a sobering reminder of our human frailty and mortality and of the limitations of medical science and government.  However, if we trust in Jesus, our living sovereign Lord and loving personal saviour, we can be sure that he loves us deeply and we’re secure with him. (Romans 8:28). So may I encourage you tocast all your anxiety on him’ in prayer.  We have an opportunity to encourage one another, to witness to unbelievers, and to remain calm in the face of sickness and death.  Not because we are British, but because we trust in our living Lord and loving Saviour, Jesus Christ.
  2. At a time when many unbelievers will be afraid or even panicking, God may be giving us special opportunities to love and serve them – we really do have the gloriously comforting gospel – Jesus loves us so much he died for us and lives to offer us the certain hope of resurrection! We’re likely to have opportunities togive the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)

So, considering the wonderful technology available to us, this is what we propose:

  1. Sunday at 4pm

In lieu of physically gathering on Sundays we will ‘gather’ remotely.  We’ll use web conferencing software which will allow us to ‘meet’.  Further details will be sent out later in the week.

– It will include a time of prayer, a Bible reading, and a shorter than usual talk.  It will also provide an opportunity for us to interact with each other, to ask questions and to share prayer requests.  We won’t be able to sing together, but will suggest some songs that you could listen/sing along to after our time has ended.

– If you have children, we’d love them to join with the whole family gathered round your screen.  We will include some activities for the children as well.

  1. Prayer Meetings

– I will send out suggested ideas for prayer and would encourage us to all to join in prayer at the time of our usual prayer meetings.  The first being tomorrow at 8pm.  Regardless of whether you usually attend the prayer meeting, please do pray!

  1. Home Groups

– If you are in a home group, then your leader will email you separately with ideas about how to ‘meet’ and support each other.

– For those not in a home group, I will contact you about setting up a ‘virtual’ group.  This is so you also can be supported, prayed for, and know in what ways you can encourage the wider church family and love our community.

  1. Contact & Contact Nano

– These groups are postponed until further notice.

– We will think of ways our children and young people can still ‘meet’.  As they are so much more technologically advanced than we are they probably are way ahead of us!  We’ll send an email to parents with ideas about organising group ‘meetings’.

  1. Loving our Neighbour

– I’m in frequent contact with the other church ministers in Windsor about how we can support our community.

– Please do contact your physical neighbours about how you can help them.  If you would like one, I have a template of a flier I can send you to print out to put through letter boxes.  Also, I have ordered 300 short tracts – Hope beyond Coronavirus – to give out.  Please let me know if you would like some of these.

  1. Share one another’s burdens

‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Gal. 6:2) – We have the joy of supporting each other.  Please let me know if there is anything you need, so we can help carry your burden.  Also, please let me know if you have capacity to share the load of someone else.

And remember, ‘God is our strength and refuge, an ever-present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1)

With love in Christ

Pete Matthew

Senior Minister, Windsor Fellowship Church

pete@windsorfellowship.com

Your dreams for 2020

Happy New Year!

The new year is a time to think about your dreams.  What do you want your life to be like in five years’ time?  What steps do you need to take to achieve those dreams?  Perhaps this is even more so at the start of a new decade.

It’s the same for our church family, what are your dreams for the Windsor Fellowship Church?  What would you like the church to look like in five years’ time?  What are the steps we need to take to achieve those dreams?  What’s your role in taking these steps?  This is a great time for us to dream big.

In all our dreaming and plans, for ourselves and our church family, where does God fit in?  Today at church we’re thinking about 1 Corinthians 3, in all we do, with all our efforts, we need to look, trust and rely on God to do the work.  “Nether the one who plants nor the one waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”  (1 Corinthians 3:7)

So, in 2020, let’s dream big, let’s work together, and let’s trust God to make things grow.

We rely on God for growth, but we need to do the ‘planting and watering’:

  • Be regular at church to encourage each other.  Very helpful article by our Sam Allberry, Your Church needs you, can be found here
  • Be committed to prayer.  Come to the prayer meeting – our next one is tomorrow evening, Monday 6th Jan.  If God is the one who makes things grow then we need to talk to him in prayer.
  • Be involved in talking about Jesus.  God makes things grow, he gets the credit, but we’re involved.  Plant the seed, water it, and trust God.  Our next Christianity Explored course starts on January 16th.  What about your friend who came to the Jeremy Marshall evening/the wreath making/carol service/nativity?  Invite them to come along.

Happy New Year and see you this afternoon to encourage each other to rely on God who makes things grow.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us

We’ve reached the 5th request in our series on the Lord’s Prayer.  In our sermon (see sermon tab) on Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us we focused on the first part of the request.  Forgive us our sins.  The second half automatically flows out from us when we understand the first half.  Recognising the depth and depravity of our sinful hearts leads us to delight and depend on the magnitude of God’s amazing grace and forgiveness.  When our thinking about sin and forgiveness is orientated correctly we automatically become forgiving people.  The oft repeated cliche is helpful, “The unforgiving heart is the unforgiven heart” (see Matthew 6:14-15).

As we focused our attention on the our sin and the magnitude of Christ’s forgiveness we didn’t have time to ponder what it looks like for us to forgive those who sin against us.  As promised here is the link to the very helpful article I read this week which answers a number of our questions about this – https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/common-questions-christians-ask-forgiveness/

GAFCON III – What a week!

The above photograph was taken on the Temple Steps in Jerusalem, as the delegates at Gafcon III gathered together for a celebratory service and to have a photo taken ’10 Years On!’.  You can read more about the significance of this global photo shoot here.

It was a joy to be in Jerusalem, and hopefully this blog post will allow you to taste something of the flavour of Gafcon III and to place the conference statement, written in the form of “A Letter to the Churches”, in context.  (Also, I have taken most of this post from a friends reflection and she has let me ‘borrow’ what she said!)

“We will proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations!” 

This was the rallying cry repeated over and over again by the 1,950, or so, delegates at Gafcon 2018 and there is no doubt in my mind that it was more than a slogan.  This was a declaration of intent.  Gafcon is not a conference where people come to moan about the state of the church – instead it was a conference where those facing persecution and under pressure to conform, were reminded of the glorious truth of the gospel and inspired to return to their corner of the globe ready to share the greatest news of all with those they live among.  It has certainly been a personal challenge to me as I have met with friends and neighbours – will I proclaim the gospel to them?

Additionally, it caused me to think about us at the Windsor Fellowship Church, are we in maintenance mode or missional mode.  A church in maintenance mode is easy, predictable, everything is the same.  In contrast being in missional mode is hard, sacrificial, tiring.  Are we willing to proclaim Christ faithfully to Windsor?  If we are it’ll be hard, but it’ll also be glorious.

Global Anglican Futures Conference: Gafcon lives up to its billing.

Gafcon is Global: There were delegates from over 50 countries; from France to Fiji, Mexico to Myanmar.  Some national delegations were made up of hundreds of bishops, clergy and laity, (click here to see the Ugandans in fine song on the plane to Jerusalem) other countries were represented by lone voices, but to hear the Lord’s Prayer spoken in over 100 languages simultaneously was to experience something of what it means for God to be calling people from every nation, tribe, people and language to praise his holy name.

Gafcon is also developing truly global teams, networks and leadership, which overturn the sometimes neo-colonial expectations of the traditional Anglican structures.  It was a joy to have preachers, presenters and seminar leaders from six continents sharing their wisdom with us.

Gafcon is Anglican: In England we often downplay our Anglican connections – but at Gafcon the benefits of belonging to a biblically based, historically grounded, episcopally led global family, with a shared liturgy that allows us to worship together, is something to be celebrated.  The message was clearly stated in the “Letter to the Churches”, published on the final day: “We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the majority of the Anglican Communion seeking to remain faithful to our Anglican heritage.”

This is an Anglicanism which is based on a joint confession of biblical faith and a desire to support one another as we proclaim the true gospel to the nations.  It stands in contrast to those seeking institutional unity based on archaic structures.

Gafcon is looking to the Future: Many commentators have remarked on the ‘maturity’ of Gafcon III and there is no doubt that this conference has moved forward in tone, content, organisation and ambition.

In 2004, the Windsor Report warned that the proposed actions of The Episcopal Church would ‘tear the fabric of our Communion at the deepest level”.  In the intervening years, faithful Anglicans have prayed, protested and pleaded in their attempts to persuade the traditional Instruments of Communion (The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates’ Meeting, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council) to uphold discipline and restore order.  Their efforts have been ignored and, emboldened by the lack of discipline, other provinces have followed the revisionist path, which in turn has increased the size and depth of the problem.

The “Letter to the Churches” states:

“During the past twenty years, the Instruments of Communion have not only failed to uphold godly discipline but their representatives have refused to recognise our concerns and have chosen instead to demean Gafcon as a one-issue pressure group and accuse it of promoting schism, where in fact the schismatics are those who have departed from the teaching of the Bible and the historic doctrine of the Church. Slogans such as “walking together” and “good disagreement” are dangerously deceptive in seeking to persuade people to accommodate false teaching in the Communion.”

The letter expresses grief and repentance, but this is no outward display of hand-wringing, instead those present accepted that it was Gafcon’s responsibility to ensure the future health of the Anglican Communion:

  • Through the formation of a Panel of Advisors (made up of lay, clergy and episcopal representation of the Gafcon Provinces and Branches) to meet with the Gafcon Primates as a Synodical Council.
  • Through the creation of nine global networks to expand Gafcon’s ability to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations in both word and deed (see below).
  • Through a change in leadership:
    • Archbishop Foley Beach will replace Archbishop Nicholas Okoh as the Chairman of the Primates’ Council at the next meeting of the Gafcon Primates in April 2019.
    • Archbishop Ben Kwashi will take over from Archbishop Peter Jensen as General Secretary of Gafcon in December 2018.  He will be assisted by regional representatives, including our very own Bishop Andy Lines, who will be responsible for Gafcon’s work in Europe.
  • Through a final plea to the Archbishop of Canterbury to consider carefully who he invites to Lambeth 2020 and an agreement that, if the guest list includes those Provinces that have turned their back on historic Anglican doctrine and ignores those who are seeking to stand firm, Gafcon bishops are urged not to attend.

Gafcon is truly a Conference: One of the most extraordinary things about Gafcon is that it is a proper conference – the delegates are able to confer with one another – and their voices are listened to.  Those with responsibility for writing the conference ‘statement’ worked long into the night on Thursday, as they sought to consider every delegations’ response to the ‘Draft Statement’.  What emerged was the “Letter to the Churches” – a letter that I hope will encourage and challenge us all and one that we will wish to share widely for discussion and prayer.

Finally, one of the remarkable (and perhaps unique, in Anglican circles) elements of Gafcon III was the global participation enabled through social media and the live stream video output.  165,000 unique individuals tuned into the Livestream (and this doesn’t count the 5 million Nigerians who watched it on their local Anglican TV network), and more than 3/4 million individuals engaged with the official Gafcon Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds (#gafcon2018).  These are extraordinary numbers, even more so when one realises they do not take into account those who viewed content after someone else shared it, or after the conference closed or heard about Gafcon through the thousands of unofficial tweets and posts by delegates!

If all this makes you feel as if you might have missed out – do not fear – the official video, photos, news and blog is all there waiting to be watched, viewed, read and shared.

Video – https://vimeo.com/gafcon
Photos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/142366446@N02/albums
News – https://www.gafcon.org/recent-news
Blog – https://www.gafcon.org/jerusalem-2018/blog

So, if you are still reading after all that, what can we pray?

There is of course, much to give thanks for – God poured out his blessing on the conference in so many ways – allowing us to bear witness to the truth of Psalm 33:
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

I have also been reminded of Nehemiah chapter 6.  Gafcon is, I believe, a ‘great project’ and one that the enemy would love to destroy through distraction (6:1-4), fake news (6:5-8) and intimidation (6:10-13) – our prayer for those who are leading this movement, both globally and locally, must be the same as Nehemiah’s:
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking,
“Their hands will get too weak for the work,
and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah 6:9

 

Christmas is coming

Christmas is almost here – who can you invite to come along to one of our events?

Christmas is a great time of year. Fun, parties, presents, Brussels sprouts. And, of course, the celebration of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Plus, Christmas is a great time of year because it’s an easy time to talk to our friends about Jesus. People are more receptive to come along to a carol service or nativity. And that is wonderful because we want our friends to hear about Jesus.

In our sermons from Hebrews we’ve been reminded that Jesus is the only way to be saved. Jesus is stratospherically superior to any other option. He is the unique means of salvation, and that’s what our friends need to hear. So, please do invite a horde of people to come along to our various Christmas events.

Also, we have bundles of flyers to deliver around Windsor, so please do help with this distribution. And why not take a bundle to give out to your neighbours? On our Facebook page we have all our Christmas events so, if you are socially media minded, you could invite them that way.

Friday 1st December – Christmas Wreath Making – Ladies’ guest event – A fun, relaxed evening making Christmas wreaths. This is a ticketed event. Please contact Nicki Matthew if you’d like to come.

Saturday 9th December 6pm – Carols…in a pub! – Great fun, great carols, great atmosphere – Duchess of Cambridge pub – If you were there last year, you won’t need convincing to come along. If you weren’t there, ask someone who was and they’ll tell you it was brilliant!

Sunday 10th December 4pm – All Age Nativity – Everyone who wants a part is guaranteed a role – last year we had babies to granddads dressed up! A great event for all the family.

Saturday 16th December 7.30pm – Church Christmas Social – Beech House, Hermitage Lane, SL4 4Z. Bring a wrapped Christmas ornament and we will play a silly game!

Sunday 17th December 4pm – Carols by (some) candlelight – Traditional service of lessons and carols – the youth centre can actually look Christmassy!

Sunday 24th December 4pm – Low key carols – Relaxed Christmas Eve service.

Monday 25th December 10am – Christmas Day Celebration – Hopkins’ house – Beech House, Hermitage Lane, SL4 4AZ. If in Windsor, please join the church family in celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

Regards,

Pete Matthew
Senior Minister, Windsor Fellowship Church
07919 577676
www.windsorfellowship.com

A Monk’s Tale

“A hugely entertaining hour” The Times

A Monk’s Tale
Saturday 11th November
7.30pm-9.30pm
Windsor Youth & Community Centre, Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

Tickets £10 – More info or to book: pete@windsorfellowship.com

This show is about Martin Luther. And it’s for people who aren’t quite sure which Luther we’re talking about. With a feeling of Horrible Histories and Monty Python, A Monk’s Tale helps the audience understand the unfamiliar medieval mindset, and exactly what Luther was trying to do with his 95 Theses, which sparked one of the most significant movements in history: the Reformation.

The show is light, accessible and funny, using sketches, and songs to explain the specifics of the story: the indulgences, purgatory, the sacraments and theological disputes of the period. As the play unfolds, the audience will be informed and challenged as well as entertained and amused.

Suitable for all ages and all faiths, as well as skeptics, the fast-paced hour-long show also covers the Wycliffe and the Lollards, popes, princes and the seismic changes brought on by the internet of its time, the Printing Press.

“I laughed a lot… energetically choreographed, and packed with lyrical wit… smartly-judged art.” – Christian Today

“A great deal of silliness make for a hugely entertaining hour that revels in the absurdities of one of the biggest religious arguments in history.”
– Damian Arnold, The Times

Thank God for Harvest

Harvest is a great time of year to remind us to give thanks to God for all He is and all He does and all He has given us. Giving thanks also reminds us of how God has blessed us and that encourages us to be generous. Below is a wonderful photograph of some children in the Lebanon receiving some of the clothes donated by you. Thank you for your generosity.

We have a “Thank God for Harvest” event coming up on Sunday 1st October at 2pm. It will be a fun filled, all age family event. There will be games and crafts and activities and food, and a short talk about giving thanks to God for all he has given us. Please pray for this event and think about who you can invite to come with you?

Additionally, during our normal church meeting from 4pm, on the 1st October, we have Ruth from Compassion International coming to tell us about her experiences growing up in South East Asia as a sponsored child. There will be an opportunity for us to think whether we could sponsor a child ourselves, perhaps that could be your harvest gift this year.

Upcoming events:

Saturday 16th September 4pm – Church BBQ – a wonderful chance to spend time with each other – RSVP to arlenecarson@hotmail.co.uk

Thursday 21st September 7.45pm – Women’s evening with Sarah Sayer as guest speaker – RSVP to jenny.perry@lambrookschool.co.uk

Sunday 1st October 2pm – Thank God for Harvest – All Age family fun activity afternoon in celebration of Harvest

Looking ahead:

November 11th – A Monk’s Tale – A professionally performed comedy play about the reformation – Windsor Youth & Community Centre – Tickets and more details coming soon

What’s your vision like?

What’s your vision like? Not seeing clearly is a real problem. Without my glasses I stumble around and can’t find anything. That image is also true of us as a church. If we don’t a have a clear vision we’ll stumble around and be ineffective.

Therefore, to help us all see clearly what we’re trying to be like and what we’re striving to do here at the Windsor Fellowship Church we’re going to have a Vision and Mission Dinner on the 21st April. At this dinner we’ll have a great time together as a church family and think about our vision as a church. As a group, we will think about what God wants us to do and how we can work towards that goal.

Please put this event in your diary now and do all you can to be with us. It will be in the evening. Other details have yet to be finalised. We’re hoping this Dinner will enthuse all of us to want to be involved in all we do as a church family.

Upcoming events:

Monday 6th March – 7.30pm – Youth Bible Study – A new group for our teenagers to meet to discuss whether the Bible is true and how it might be relevant to their lives. For more information contact Pete Matthew.
Wednesday 15th April – 7.45pm – Monthly Prayer Meeting – 90 Frances Road, SL4 3AN
Saturday 25th March – Youth event and social – More details from Alicia Felce

Future dates for your diary:

Sunday 2nd April – 2pm – Thank God for Easter – Windsor Youth & Community Centre – A fun, family event which will flow into our normal Sunday meeting.
Good Friday 14th April – 10am – All age celebration of Jesus’ death on the cross – Windsor Youth & Community Centre – An interactive re-telling of the Good Friday story
Good Friday 14th April – 11.00am – An hour at the cross – Windsor Youth & Community Centre – Quiet reflection on Jesus’ sacrifice in our place for our sins
Easter Sunday – 16th April – 4pm – All age Easter celebration – Windsor Youth & Community Centre
Friday 21st April – 7.30pm – Vision Dinner – Details to be confirmed

Regards,
Pete Matthew
Senior Minister, Windsor Fellowship Church
pete@windsorfellowship.com
07919 577676
www.windsorfellowship.com

Rector’s Weekly Email

Last Sunday we started our Autumn preaching series looking though Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  I’ve been thinking this week about the amazing fact that we already have–past tense reality–every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Even though we (the Windsor Fellowship Church) are small and, in worldly terms, insignificant, we have everything already.  That gives me great confidence to keep going whatever health or circumstances I face.  Praise God for who he is and what he’s done for us in Christ.

This week we’re going to see, from the 2nd half of chapter 1, what these amazing truths about God cause Paul to pray for the Ephesian Christians.  The one key thing that Paul wants for them all is that they’ll know, understand, believe, the deep truths about God that he’s just told them in verses 3-14.  He doesn’t pray through a shopping list of needs and desires (although we should pray for those things too), he prays they will grow and mature in their knowledge and love of God.  And that’s what I’m praying for all of us too.

If you miss a week the sermon transcripts will be on the website and, from this week, a recording should be available too.

October events coming up:

Wednesday 19th –  Monthly Prayer Meeting 7.30 pm for 8:00 pm start, finishes at 9.15 pm. Meet at Beech House, Hermitage Lane, SL4 4AZ. It’s an opportunity for us to put into practice what Paul says in Ephesians 1:15-23!

Saturday 22ndMen’s breakfast – 8:15 — 9:30 am at the George Inn, Eton High Street.

Sunday 30thSASRA prayer meeting – 6:30 — 8 pm at Windsor Methodist Church on Alma Road.

Future events:

Friday 2nd December – Christmas Social
December 18th – 4pm – Christingle All Age Carol Service
December 18th – 7pm – Carols by (some) candlelight
December 25th – 10am – Christmas Day short service – 90 Frances Road (the rector’s house)
January 1st – 1pm-ish – New Year’s Day Ramble followed by cake and tea

Regards,

Pete Matthew
Rector

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Big QuestionsIn the run-up to Easter, Windsor Fellowship will be having a series of three talks entitled “Big Questions.” These sermons will be aimed at answering some of the most common objections to the Christian faith and will be an excellent opportunity for all of us to invite friends.

However, besides inviting friends, this is a great chance to ask people “if you could ask God one question, what would it be?” It could be the starting point for some very interesting conversations!

So, this Sunday we will be finishing off our series in Mark 10. Then we will look at:

  • Is death the end?  6 March
  • If God really exists why doesn’t he prove it?  13 March
  • Why do so many people suffer so much?  20 March

**********

Saturday, 27 February – Men’s Breakfast at the George Inn on Eton High Street. 8:15-9:45 am. Dirk Booy of World Vision will be leading a discussion on Christians and poverty.

Sunday, 28 February – Please plan to stay after the service for a church-wide meeting where we will update you on the direction of the Fellowship.

Our next prayer focus evening will be on Wednesday, 16 March at 7:30 pm. Please come along to Beech House, Hermitage Lane, SL4 4AZ and join us in prayer for WF, our community and the world.

Just as an update, there were 14 young people at the social last Friday. It’s exciting to see God at work in the lives of these teens!

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