“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin …”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT)
This month we’d like to share with you something of what we believe God may have in store for Count Everyone In. This is for your prayers and consideration please.
When we launched Count Everyone In just 18 months ago, we did it in response to clear guidance from God, the like of which we had never known. At that time, we had no idea whether CEI would thrive or even survive beyond its small beginnings. We knew our task was to build God’s kingdom, not our own empire and we have always tried to make it clear that CEI is not ours but God’s. We are not caretakers maintaining something old; instead we are baton holders, breaking new ground but always with a view to passing on the baton to younger people who are already running the race and will take over apace as we eventually withdraw.
With just the two of us there are inevitable restrictions as to how much we can undertake and there are limits to our capacity for growth. With an average of 20 people with learning disabilities in every 1,000 people in our communities, and a total of 1.2 to 1.5 million across the UK, there is plenty to be done.
Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is huge. But there are only a few workers. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers out into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NIrV)
We would love it if you were to join us in praying that God will raise up people for this purpose; those who will develop CEI prayerfully, strategically and creatively. We already have one candidate ready and willing but that is not enough. Please pray that God will call not just one, not two or even three, but at least four new workers so that there is potential to make headway in equipping the church to share the love of Jesus with people with learning disabilities in relevant and accessible ways.
From the start, we have been blessed with favour from God through prayerful and financial support from individuals and churches. If ‘these small beginnings’ are to continue to cause the Lord to rejoice then we anticipate that new workers will raise support in similar ways through their own networks, although expenses would be covered from central funds.
So what next?
With the blessing and help of our support group (people who for nearly 17 years have met with us on a regular basis for prayer and counsel), we are applying for charitable status
We are praying that God will continue to clear the way for the person he has already called to join us
Please pray that we won’t be distracted from our core mission by trying to manipulate God’s hand in growing CEI our way
If you have any thoughts please let us know
Holiday: Never before have we reached our holiday destination so much in need of a break! Thank you if you prayed for us. Two weeks of sunshine, sea, mountains and rest in Madeira enabled us to recharge our batteries.
Training: On our return we spent a morning with the staff team at All Saints, Crowborough exploring how an accessibility agenda will affect every aspect of church. We look forward to a full day of training with their church family on 19th January. This will be open for others to attend so please get in touch if you are interested.
Celebrations: The following Saturday we were visitors at two regional celebration days, the first at Chessington and the later one in Portsmouth. It was heart-warming to see people enthusiastically enjoying Bible teaching, worship, drama, craft and much more.
Church: Next morning, we received a warm welcome at Littlehampton Baptist Church where we spoke about CEI and challenged the church to help disabled people find Jesus and grow in their faith.
Concert: After a lovely lunch we were treated to a concert by Worthing Salvation Army training band and junior songsters, with a retiring collection for CEI. Huge thanks to John and Sarah Holden for organising this for us.
Farewells: Christine’s dad’s funeral was a solemn and joyous occasion and we are grateful for your prayers. It makes such a difference to know where loved ones have gone. Last Saturday we enjoyed a family day to remember Dad and this included bread and butter with jam – a vital ingredient of any teatime for Dad!
Exhibition: We spent three remarkably enjoyable, interesting and useful days at the Christian Resources Exhibition, alongside friends from other Churches for All organisations. The event was opened by Jonathan Bryan, a twelve-year-old with cerebral palsy. Jonathan is the author of Eye Can Write – a memoir of a child’s silent soul emerging. He was joined by Sally Phillips, comedienne, actress, mother of a son with Down’s Syndrome and an excellent Christian ambassador for accessibility and belonging. She is extremely personable and we enjoyed some significant conversations. Together they were inspirational.
Apart from preparing for and presenting a couple of Know and Grow training days, we now have an opportunity to catch up with administration and finance, as well as touching base with festival organisers for 2019. Please pray that we keep focus and make real progress. With our new home in need of an office, we are awaiting a letter from the Council to agree that our plans fall within permitted planning rights. Until we have an office, our front room is crammed with furniture and boxes that don’t belong there. Please pray that it won’t be much longer …..
Know and Grow Training
Some places are still available for our November training dates so please look at the blue box to find out what we shall be doing, where and when. Book in with us (£15 per person cheques payable to P&C Winmill or ask for bank details) or pass details to those who might be interested. If there is nothing suitable, let’s discuss putting on an additional day that can then be opened up to others.
Diary dates for November
Sat 3rd Know & Grow advanced training at King’s Centre, Chessington
Sat 10th Know & Grow basic training at High Street Methodist Church, Harpenden
Various meetings with church leaders, professionals and supporters
We have had a hand in the production of an attractive Christmas booklet that you may like to give to family and friends, including people with learning disabilities. OUTSIDE/IN is a beautifully illustrated FREE booklet told from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and sages, outsiders who find themselves included at the very heart of the story. These resources will equip you to invite others into the story that is for EVERYONE this Christmas. Produced by Lifewords in partnership with Biblica, Livability, Torch Trust and Count Everyone In. Let the story of Christmas turn your church and your community OUTSIDE/IN. https://www.lifewords.global/christmas
Tua Phelps-Jones is supporting CEI through the sale of cards. She says “By going into my website https://www.flamingopaperie.co.uk/web/tuaphelps-jones and looking for the tab Customer Club you can get some more details and join. As you will see there will be special offers for you from time to time and you will get a small gift with your first order. The Christmas cards, wrapping, tags, advent calendar cards etc are all available as well as the general cards so I hope you will have a great time browsing and finding your favourites. Delivery is £3.50 but free for orders of £30 or over. Thank you so much for your custom!”
Give thanks for a wonderful holiday
Thank God for Dad’s funeral and good memories
Pray for future growth of CEI – how, who, when etc
Pray for the person who God has already called, that the way will become clear
Pray for West Berkshire Council to agree to our garage conversion
Pray for effective use of time during November
Count Everyone In will be at:
Know & Grow (advanced), Chessington, Surrey 3 November 2018
Know & Grow (basic), Harpenden, Herts 10 November 2018
Know & Grow (basic), Crowborough, East Sussex 19 January 2019
Word Alive, Prestatyn 13-18 April 2019
Cranham Baptist Church 29-30 May 2019
Le Pas Opton, Spring Harvest Holidays, France 3-10 June 2019
Keswick Convention (week 2) 20-26 July 2019
Creation Fest, Cornwall 3-9 August 2019
Westpoint, Exeter (Newfrontiers) 22-26 August 2019
How about joining us? Get in touch for further information and to book for training: email@example.com
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Our prayer for you
We thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for you. We ask that he will bless you, those you love and care for, your church and your community.
Please feel free to get in touch and do let us know if we can praye for you.