Once again I have not blogged for an age. Lots has been going on in the life of Redeemer. Since February we have been meeting on Sundays at Oddingley Hall next to West Heath Park. This has been a really helpful move to what we hope will be a long term venue for us. It was great to kick off our time here with a baptism on the first Sunday for which we crammed about 40 people into a changing room with a paddling pool in the shower area.
After settling in, at the beginning of May we officially celebrated our new home by having a House Warming Weekend which we invited all our new neighbours along to. Good fun was had on the Saturday with bouncy castles and candy floss and on the Sunday with a buffet lunch together.
At the end of May with the Catalyst Festival having a break year we held our first Church Weekend Away. This felt like a significant time of deepening friendship with each other and God. As well as having time to have fun together (including a talent and quiz evening) we spent two sessions seeing what the Bible has to say about our emotional health and starting to apply this to our lives.
July kicked off with our annual Hope & Healing Weekend, this was as nerve racking as ever but God once again showed up! Many people came for prayer with some returning from previous years. Numerous people took follow up packs and said they felt peace or/and the presence of God and several testified to physical healing. The Sunday was also a great time with 2 people expressing commitment to Jesus.
In July just before we went into our Summer Programme we had another baptism, which was the first baptism I have done which was too hot. We had to empty several buckets of cold water into the pool just before to cool it down. The pool was also being held together by sellotape as I discovered just beforehand it had a puncher but it did the job.
In August it was great to connect more deeply with the local community through a ParkLives event which we provided inflatables for. It was a lovely sunny day and it was a joy to work with other groups to put the event on.
So much has been happening which we are so grateful to God for but He also has so much more for us as we head into the Autumn term and the build up to Christmas! On Sunday the 10th September we kick off a three part mini series from Luke 13 within our wider series on the Gospel of Luke. This series is called Repentance, Healing and Wholeness and is intended to help us process the issues that we started to raise and dig into on our weekend away when looking into emotional health. Several people have said that they found the weekend away helpful but what do they do now. This series (as well as giving space in Community Groups) should help us to increasingly live a life of repentance, healing and wholeness.
The last of these three sessions is also going to kick off another new phase for Redeemer as we start Lord’s Supper Sundays. Up to this point as a church we have been celebrating the Lord’s Supper together in our monthly Community Prayer meeting. Now as well as this we plan to celebrate the Lord’s Supper once a term on a Sunday. The thinking is that this will give us a focus point for repentance & forgiveness but also space and time for us individually and collectively to genuinely work this out.
Still to come we have a Baby Thanksgiving, Light Party, Christmas events and then in the new year Alpha. This is not to mentioned the bread and butter of our normal gathering and dispersing. God continues to work in and through us as we by His grace increasingly love deeply and share widely the goodness of God in Christ together. What a joy!