Hiccups and hallelujahs

Hiccups and hallelujahs! – June 2018
“May the Lord bless you and take good care of you. May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you. May the Lord look on you with favour and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-25 (NIrV)
A warm welcome to any new readers joining us this month. We are thrilled that you want to find out what we’re doing and to support us by praying. Do let us know how we can pray for you.
Hiccups and hallelujahs
Isn’t it good to know that whatever happens to us we have a God who loves us and cares for us? Perhaps you are experiencing challenging times and, as we write, we offer up a prayer for you to know God’s perfect peace that is beyond human understanding.
Life has had its ups and downs for us in recent times and, reading back over last month’s letter, it’s not altogether surprising considering all the changes. Here’s a summary:
  • The European Disability Network conference in Riga, Latvia:
    • Baptist pastor showed us his church, previously commandeered as a government radio station and the spire was removed. 82 people baptised in the last year, most after attending Alpha. This year the spire is to be rebuilt – God is on the move in Latvia!
    • Learnt about Latvia’s 100-year history and its troubled relationship with Russia
    • Surprised by joy – the unity and love of brothers and sisters in Christ despite, or maybe because of, disabilities and different languages.
    • Led worship alongside wonderfully gifted blind musicians, a Hungarian guitarist and a Finnish keyboard player
    • Spoke about CEI to people from countries where, in many cases, people with learning disabilities are excluded from churches
    • Breaking bread together was a humbling experience as we gazed at the Bride of Christ simply expressing devotion to our Saviour
    • What had we expected? We don’t know – but it far exceeded any expectations (and the hotel was excellent too!)
  • Weekend in Northern Ireland:
    • Never seen so many churches in such close proximity to each other!
    • Wonderful weather (mostly) and enjoyed the stunning Causeway Coast, visiting the Giant’s Causeway, also the Titanic Exhibition – fascinating but a total contrast
    • Inspiring meeting with Biblica (Bible publishers) and Tio (Christianity on Learning Disability) about the NIrV accessible edition, also with Anita Conkey, N.I. Scripture Union schools’ support worker
    • 100-mile round trip to a joyous group meeting at Richhill Presbyterian Church
    • Another 100-mile round trip to lead a celebration at Ahorey Presbyterian Church
    • Wonderful hosts Elsa and Peter Welsby in Bangor; we shall see them again at LPO as usual with their daughter Alison
  • Catalyst Festival
    • Thank God for an amazing worship band and team
    • Last minute changes of venue and time were unsettling
    • Morning celebration poorly attended – just David & Gill from our support group – but we carried on regardless!
  • Better response (50 approx) to Pete’s seminar ‘Not just, loos, loops and ramps – making church more welcoming and relevant to people with learning disabilities’
  • Attendance at 2nd celebration reached about 20
  • Where do we go from there?
  • Moving, or not?
    • We had signed contracts and were ready to exchange when our vendors backed out
    • We found another house but the owners haven’t found somewhere to buy
    • Rather than lose our buyer, good friends invited us to stay with them
    • All our furniture etc has gone into storage and technically we are ‘homeless’!
    • We were sad to leave our lovely home, amazing neighbours Brian and Sandra and such a stunning setting but we feel confident that God will provide us with a new home that will enable us to take a full part in church life at St Nic’s – and be good neighbours too
  • What next?
    • This weekend we go to France where we expect 11 people with learning disabilities, plus family and carers. Preparations are still underway. Please pray for the guests and for our team, Keith & Gill Barnard, Janneke Klos (first time on team) and ourselves. Our focus is on living as a Christian and the title is ‘What should I do?’
    • We continue to prepare for other festivals, including the Keswick Convention and Creation Fest, where we shall serve in partnership with the Kerrek Community
    • One more basic training day before the summer takes us to Long Stratton in Norfolk on 30 June; why not join us at £15 for the day, including a manual to take away? More days are booked for the autumn – see down for details.
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Thanks Tua for making this possible.
Looking ahead: 
Count Everyone In will be at:
Spring Harvest Holidays, France            4-11 June
Know & Grow (basic), Long Stratton, Norfolk            30 June
Keswick Convention            23-27 July
Creation Fest, Cornwall          4-10 August
Westpoint Event, Exeter            24-26 August
Know & Grow (advanced), Chessington, Surrey            3 November
Know & Grow (basic), Harpenden, Herts            10 November
Know & Grow (basic), Crowborough, East Sussex            19 January 2019

How about joining us? Get in touch to book for training counteveryonein@gmail.com

Diary dates for June:
Friday 1st
Final preparations for CEI week at Le Pas Opton (LPO) France
Saturday 2nd
Visit Dad in St Albans care home; party near Chelmsford to celebrate friends’ special birthdays & Ruby Wedding; stay overnight in Southsea
Sunday 3rd
Ferry to France and drive to LPO in the Vendee
Monday 4th – 11th
CEI holiday week with Spring Harvest Holidays at LPO
Tuesday 12th – 13th
Days off in France
Thursday 14th
Travel home
Friday 15th
Visit Dad
Saturday 16th
Safeguarding training for Westpoint Festival
Sunday 17th
How good to be with our church family today after 4 Sundays away!
Monday 18th
Day off
Tuesday 19th – 20th
Churches for All residential, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex
Thursday 21st
Creation Fest planning meeting in Exeter with Paul & Geeta of the Kerrek Community
Friday 22nd
Preparation for CEI week at Keswick Convention (week 2)
Monday 25th
Day off
Tuesday 26th
Visit Dad
Wednesday 27th
Skype meeting re publishing resources; Keswick prep
Thursday 28th
Keswick prep continues
Friday 29th
Funeral in Littlehampton, then drive to Long Stratton, near Norwich
Saturday 30th
Know & Grow basic training day at Long Stratton, then preaching Sunday
Prayer points

  • Give thanks with us for kind friends who invited us to move in with them; pray for them and that we shall soon find a new home
  • Pray for health, strength and safety as we travel and serve in different places
  • Pray for guests travelling by air, sea, rail and road to join us in France, for safety, calm and good health (and for one team member who is unwell at present). Pray too that we shall have a good week of fellowship, fun, teaching and worship together.
  • We’d appreciate prayer for clear minds and effective working as we put together the plans for Keswick, Creation Fest and Westpoint. Each festival requires an individual approach and a different programme of teaching etc.
  • Finally, please pray that financial support will continue to come in and that all the needs of CEI will be met as we look to expand and take on new people to serve alongside us.
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We continue to be humbled as we see how God guides, uses and blesses us.  Thank you for partnering with us in prayer, financial giving and interest. We couldn’t do without you!

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With love in Jesus,
Pete & Christine

Pete & Christine Winmill

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