“Come,” Jesus said. So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink. He cried out, “Lord! Save me!” Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” he said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14: 29-31 NIrV
In the days following his resurrection Jesus often used those words, ‘Do not be afraid’. His disciples had good reason to fear, given their association with the convicted man from Galilee, but it was more than that. ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ God had done a new thing, beyond the realms of imagination for ordinary working people who had given up their livelihoods to follow Jesus and then, on that first Good Friday, had seen his body broken and their dreams shattered. The risen Jesus lovingly, tenderly told Mary Magdalene not to cling to him; she had a job to do. She was to tell the other disciples (men!) that Jesus was alive – and that is the commission Jesus has given to all his followers down through history.
We don’t see Jesus face to face but in many ways we have an advantage because the Holy Spirit indwells all who trust in him and we are never alone. What reassurance that is as we are called to take Count Everyone In to a growing number of churches and events. We walk in those places that God has prepared in advance for us. Please pray that we, and others called to work with us, will be faithful to God’s call and choose to rely on him, rather than ourselves.
Some highlights from last month:
Travel – we always try to arrive in good time but twice in March we were delayed. Both occasions were totally unavoidable and all worked out well in the end but please pray that it doesn’t happen when it really matters!
Vacancies – ‘Funding the Family Business’ training with Stewardship (www.stewardship.org.uk) helped us think about growing the support team of people who give financially, pray for us and encourage us. This is increasingly relevant as Count Everyone In develops and spreads. If you would like to find out more and perhaps consider joining with us in this way, please get in touch and we would be happy to meet up and tell you more – no obligation!
Bibles – the ‘NIrV – accessible edition’ New Testaments continue to be received enthusiastically and the New Wine Accessible Church event in Leicester was one such opportunity.
Storytelling – on consecutive Sundays we were invited to tell our story to our sending church (Thirlmere Church – now Cornerstone – in St Albans) and our home church (St. Nic’s, Newbury). So much has happened, especially in the last year, and it is hard to condense it into just 20 minutes. We’d be happy to give it another go if your church is interested in hearing how God has led us.
Training – Know and Grow advanced training has at last seen the light of day as we delivered it to a dozen ‘guinea pigs’ in Worthing on 17 March. We were pleased with the response but will make a few tweaks before rolling it out again. Touching on issues of mental health, relationships and sexuality it is intended to stretch people in considering how the church supports adults with learning disabilities.
Word Alive starts on Saturday 7 April and we look forward to partnering with the Lodge Trust once again. Loose ends have to be tied up before we pack the car and head for Prestatyn. We are thrilled to welcome two new team members. Prayers will be appreciated for team and guests as we teach ‘Keep on keeping on – God’s way’ from the fascinating book of Nehemiah.
European Disability Network (EDN)conference – takes place in Latvia at the end of April and we approach it with trepidation as well as excitement. This is a fantastic time for Christians, many with disabilities, to meet for worship, fellowship and sharing of experience. Very little is understood across Europe about the spiritual needs of people with learning disabilities and we shall be addressing this subject at the conference. Pray that language and culture do not cause barriers. English is the language of the conference with interpretation provided for other languages. As English speakers we have also been asked to coordinate the worship, a responsibility that does not sit comfortably with us as we are not musicians and have no knowledge of which worship songs and hymns are commonly used across Europe. Please pray!
SEBA (South Eastern Baptist Association) disability awareness day have invited us to take part by speaking and exhibiting at this event to be held in Reigate. We look forward to working more closely with SEBA in days to come.
Here’s a reminder that we shall be visiting Northern Ireland from 17-21 May to meet with churches and groups, encouraging them to be more welcoming, accepting and accessible. If you, your church or anyone known to you might be interested in meeting us, or in in attending a taster training session or a celebration for adults with learning disabilities, do please put us in touch.
2018 Count Everyone In will be at:
Word Alive, Prestatyn 7-12 April
Catalyst Festival, Stoneleigh 28 May
Spring Harvest Holidays, France 4-11 June
Keswick Convention 23-27 July
NEW! Creation Fest 4-10 August
Westpoint Event, Exeter 24-26 August
How about joining us?
Diary dates for April:
Celebrating Easter at St Nic’s. Hallelujah, Jesus is alive!
Family day in Birmingham
Tuesday – Wednesday
Final preparations for Word Alive
Visit Dad in St Albans
EDN Skype meeting, then drive to Oswestry
Arrive in Prestatyn
Sunday – Wednesday
Word Alive meetings twice daily
Long drive home
Saturday – Sunday
Weekend off – good to be back at our home church
Dental check-ups, then off to Axminster
Planning with Keith & Gill Barnard for Spring Harvest holiday week in France.
Visit Dad, then meet ‘our’ Catalyst Festival band in Caversham
Meet with Jerry Newson (Regional Minister SEBA), then eat with Pastor Mike & Rachel Williams and family, Reigate Baptist Church
SEBA disability awareness day, Reigate Baptist Church
Worship and fellowship with our church family in Newbury
Last minute prep for EDN conference
Overnight at hotel near Gatwick
Fly to Riga
Friday – Monday
Friends? – Ten churches/groups have so far asked to be Friends with Count Everyone In. Is this something that you, your church or group would like to consider? Benefits are:
News and prayer updates
Priority notifications of events
Access to ‘Know & Grow’ training
Customised training for your team
Area support meetings
Use of CEI logo
Contact via CEI to other churches/ groups
CEI branded garments to purchase
Access to ‘members only’ section of website (being developed)
All this in return for a donation of your choice, ideally monthly or annually.
Give thanks for an invitation to run a learning disability programme at Creation Fest, Cornwall with friends from Karrek Community
Thank God for safe travel even when there have been accidents and incidents around us – and pray that we shall continue to be kept safe
Pray for our week at Word Alive
Pray for preparation and communication for EDN conference, that funding will be available for delegates to attend from across Europe and that we shall celebrate our unity in Christ
Social media – See www.counteveryonein.org.uk and you can also keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Please follow, like and share.
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