Val’s blog for the week – Saturday

It’s always good to reflect on a week of outreach. Every day was different. Some days I had a stream of people just wanting to talk, other days were quieter which gave me an opportunity to pray for the village – and it was often on these days that I had the most significant conversations. The last day was a good one! One man with his two young daughters who may start coming to our church (there were a few of those!), another young man who had had a long battle with depression and anxiety, a lady with back pain (no more!), a young man with big questions, and I wouldn’t have spoken to any of them had I not taken the time to pray and to be available.

I think that’s the big learning – and it usually strikes me whenever I set time aside to do something for God. So often we just need to make ourselves available and when we do God has no trouble using us just as we are to see him work in ways that are beyond us. I’m planning to make myself more available in this season – I’m going to enrol in a course because part of being available is making myself available to God. I’m also going to do more in the way of outreach mainly because I do sense that this is where we need to be as a church so watch this space. Thank you to all. 

Val’s blog for the week – Thursday

It’s good to rest in God’s presence – in many ways that’s what being in the square is all about.  Just resting and praying and being with the community, and today was all about just that.  Resting, praying and meeting, an amazing French Sommelier who told me all about his dad and his amazing ideas about why we’re here, a wise old dad still looking after his kids as best he could after they’d long left home, a local councillor who told me all about her family, local shop keepers most of whom would love me to bless their businesses, local personalities friends from church one of whom had ventured out of her house for the first time.  Listening, chatting and praying.

The general bonhomie and good feeling has been growing – I was surprised to see my face on the front of the herald – pleased to give cake to the staff in the pub who have been amazing, cheered by the drinks and offers of food.  Tomorrow is a day off but I’ll be praying for sunny Saturday – praying for God to do something big and something new.

Val’s blog for the week – Wednesday

Val’s blog for the week – Wednesday

Well the sun broke through today in the square – and so did God as one after another people came up for a chat – There’s so much need and God is doing amazing things!  I chatted with a student who’s atheism is in the process of crumbling, an ex-army NCO who was so open and so in need of hug from the Father, a parent who’s trying to adopt, a young man who’s had an experience of God, an older guy who was such a big fat juicy atheist – but was happy for me to bless his son!  An amazing guy who has too many problems to mention – and finally two lads who helped me put the tent away and weren’t expecting to hear encouraging words and a blessing from God!

And lots of people who’ve noticed me out there (hard to miss) and love that the church is meeting people in this way.  Someone even said that the atmosphere in the square has changed even though she’s not a churchgoer herself!  More Holy Spirit – more!!

Do pray for the momentum of what the Spirit is doing to build tomorrow and in particular on Saturday.  That God will really bless all the people that I’ve spoken to and that heaven will rain down over the square.

Val’s blog for the week – Tuesday

Val’s blog for the week – Tuesday

Today was free gift day!  Starting with a delicious coffee, then a mystery tea which I found after my run, a bottle of San Pellagrino and finally a pint of Guinness – all with me in the down time between conversations planning my sermon – lots to pray and think about with services resuming.  Particularly the church centre on the 19th July when we really want to welcome the children back to church (they’ve had a raw deal online).

I had some really significant conversations again – one of my friends said he’s been thinking about God a lot – (oh for another Alpha course) – another God-incidence when a girl I’d prayed for many years ago turned up with her new baby and boyfriend in tow – they live in Guildford and had just gone out for a drive and saw me!  Just good to be out there as well engaging with all sorts of different people from surveyors, carers, mums, seniors.

Thanks so much for your prayers Day 3 has started with rain – so I’m declaring blue skies over Liphook!

Val’s blog for the week – Wednesday

Val’s blog for the week – Monday

Something must have happened – I’m writing a blog. But I had to because today was AWESOME – I had visions of the vicar cutting a lonely beleaguered figure amidst howling winds and driving rain – a bit like Eeyore in the monsoon!

The opposite happened, as the summer sun shone down over us all, and one after another people came to chat – people from our church – people outside it – Atheists – Christians and some real needs – Do pray for a cat who’s injured (seriously!) – do pray for one of my friends who’s having real marriage problems – for another who’s asking big amazing honest questions – for a lady who’s just lost her husband – for a carer who’s really open to the spiritual side of life – for an amazing elderly woman who’s had such a tough old life. These are just some of the many conversations amongst smiles, hoots from cars (not rude gesticulating hoots but happy smiley ones) waves and ditherers who sort of want to talk but feel self-conscious – all of whom seem to love seeing their local vicar reaching out.

A big THANK YOU to all who are praying, and all who are patiently waiting on urgent e-mails!

Healing Conference Day – Guildford Cathedral

Healing Conference Day – Guildford Cathedral

HEALING CONFERENCE
“In the steps of Jesus.   Saturday 1st February 2020 from 10.00am  – 4pm.     Venue  – Guildford cathedral. 

For the past year Acorn Healing Trust have been holding monthly sessions in the Lady Chapel in the Cathedral – with the blessing of Bishop Andrew.   Attended by 25  – 30 people from the fairly local area. Every two years Acorn organise a day long  Conference at the cathedral ending with a Eucharist service led by the Bishop. 

This year the conference was held – pre Corona virus pandemic  – on Saturday 1st Feb. 
Below is a brief resume of how the day went.   You will notice the number of speakers and the breadth of topics covered. 

For me,  the day stated at 7. 30am at the cathedral,  in my role as part time roadie/helper.    Helping to move mountains of projection equipment and miles of electrical cables.    Between 8.30 – 9.30 we had to stop to allow a quiet service to be conducted… before the participants arrived at 9.30am.   A  busy but organised time… slightly stressful!. 

The morning session started at 10am with sung worship led by the Acorn Scratch choir and Rev.  Wes Sutton leading from his keyboard.

The choir came from various local  churches ( St.  Albans,  St. Luke’s and Church Centre).     It was glorious to sing at full volume in the huge cathedral… with minimal rehearsal time.   About 150 people attended this service  and joined in.    Amazing time of praise! 

The Rev Elizabeth Knifton (St. Luke’s Grayshott ) opened and introduced the day in prayer at 10.30am. 

The keynote speakers were  :-
1) Rt.  Rev James Newcombe Bishop of Carlisle.    Lead bishop in the House of Lords for Healthcare and the NHS… and also Acorn patron. 

2) Howard Flemming.   Senior Acorn national training manager. 

3) Rev.  Wes Sutton. Director of Acorn Healing Trust

4) Mrs Nonie Insall.   Psychotherapist and member of Acorn prayer ministry. 

5) Rev.  Paul Harcourt.   Vicar of All saints church Woodford Green Chelmsford.  Also New wine  conference leader. 

1st Keynote speaker  – Rt Rev James Newcombe – Bishop of Carlisle. Title of Talk –  The Church,  The NHS  and the future. 

This talk lasted for more than an hour and was very detailed.    I cannot do it justice in a short article.  The amount of detail shows the enormity of the strategic tasks facing both the NHS  and the Church  (and especially now as we try to relax some of the Lockdown) examples – NAH staff shortages of doctors and nurses.     A & E Delays.     Waiting times/lists for operations (hips, knees etc).    Volume of dementia cases.   Lifestyle issues including addictions,  obesity,  diabetes,  loneliness,  homelessness,  depression,  mental health etc. And the difficult one….. Ethical issues such as euthanasia,  Abortion,  palliative care,  seniors/ residential care,  genetic advances. 

And of course just recently PPE shortages with Covid 19 Virus. 

2nd Keynote speaker –  Howard Flemming.   Disability –  how we perceive it and respond.

Very compelling talk.. started with a slide of a woman in a wheelchair approaching an old building with lots of steps,  and no ramp. 
The second slide was of Hussain Bolt and Stephen Hawkins (in his adapted wheelchair).   Both are achievers,  so what is a disability? 

3rd Keynote speaker – Rev.  Wes Sutton….. Mental health issues in young people

With 10.3 million children between 4 -18yrs in UK there are 1 in 10 children with diagnosable mental health conditions.   75% are not receiving treatment.    Children under 16yrs are suffering with gender identity problems.    Other issues such as bullying,  social isolation of peers,  peer pressure,  trolls on social media,  suicide,  home breakdown,  single parent families (absent fathers) etc etc. 
How can the church help? 

4th Keynote speaker – Nonie Insall (psychotherapist)  – The emotional toll of the Healing ministry.

Examples –  carrying other people’s views,  letting go at the end of the working day,  upset when people are not healed,  and finding space in a busy schedule to relax and unwind.   The personal cost of caring,  active/intensive listening. Ways to relax and creating space. 

5th Keynote speaker – Rev Paul Harcourt – Living a life of integrity  and showing compassion of Jesus.

Healing values to display – pray with love,  faith,  Authority,  simplicity,  humility,  compassion and persistence. 
Power of (appropriate) touch.   Jesus touched people’s hands, feet, eyes,  ears,  legs, wrists,  skin (leprosy ) etc with love and respect.  We should do likewise.  Paul also touched on parenting.   He has two autistic children and the difficulties of  bringing them up…. powerful testimony. 

FINALLY,  the day had a double endings  first  a service of Holy communion led by the Bishop.   The congregation (after lunch) rose to over 200.    Valentine was one of many clergy anointing people with holy oil. 
Secondly people had the opportunity to be listened to,  and prayed for,  by the Acorn prayer ministry team,  in the little side alcoves all along the two side walls.   This lasted over an hour! 

What a “full-on” day!     It gave us all a revised perspective  of the NHS  and Christian healing ministry and just how complex some of the health issues are in our country. 

If you would like to hear more about this day then please speak to Sue Wood or  Jane Detrey,  Hilton Carr  or myself,  who attended from Liphook.

Keith Ireland  (Seniors Worker & Acorn Hospitality team)

World Day of Prayer

World Day of Prayer

WORLD DAY OF PRAYER  6th March 2020
Theme:  ‘Rise!  Take your mat and walk.’  Prepared by Christian women of Zimbabwe. 
Every year there is a short service to celebrate individual countries across the globe.   This year it was the turn of Zimbabwe. Historically these services have been organised by the ladies of the Church and was formally called “Womens world day of prayer”. Men have now been included….. thank you!  The service is held on the same day in almost every Nation so that it is literally  24 hour global event.

Our Liphook event was organised by Liphook Christians and included folk from each church  – Methodists,  Roman Catholics,  Anglicans, Trinity church and members of Haslemere’s 3 Counties Church (those who reside in Liphook). Approximately 35 men and women attended the service,  hosted by Anglicans at the Church Centre. The music and scratch choir were provided and trained by the Catholics (thank you Christina).   Refreshments served after the service were provided by the Methodists – thank you. 

The service was jointly led by Vivien Chamberlain and Mollie Ruff from 3 Counties Church…. and who has also lived in Zimbabwe. 
Mollie explained much about the African culture and brought some beautiful artefacts,  music instruments  and a large woven floor rug…. hung from a curtain rail. 

We sung some familiar hymns and one specially written by a Zimbabwean  composer.    There were prayers said by church representatives from each church.   And as a surprise the children from the Ark Pre-School joined us and sang one of their Christian action songs.   It was lovely to have them join us for a short while (thank you Ruth et all.)

It was an  excellent joyful service which reminded us that we are part of a global community of believers from many different denominations,  who keep Jesus Christ at the centre of their individual and corporate lives. 

Keith Ireland

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