Yvonne’s ideas ... from the General Secretary’s desk

Hurray! Summer is almost here - I hope you are reading this in the sunshine. I don’t live far from the River Mersey and this evening we went and watched the sunset. The sky was like a rainbow with orange and yellow, green and blue and pink, truly beautiful and a chance to praise God for the beauty of creation.

I know Judith Mbaabu loves taking photos of sunrises but I am not usually up early enough to appreciate them (even with a toddler) so to enjoy the sunset was pure delight. I wonder what part of creation delights you – maybe you can share your photos in the next edition of the Congregationalist.

I still love: my job; meeting new people; and seeing how God is using the ordinary and the everyday to share his good news. I spend most of my time visiting churches and meeting people.

I wonder if any of you meet your friends at breakfast. It is a fairly new trend but a group of ladies in Bow, Devon, many years ago, used to meet for breakfast. The men wanted to join in and now, however many years later, the whole church serves breakfast to the whole community three times a year! When I visited half the school had come and the church was buzzing - people enjoyed fellowship and a full English breakfast but more than that - they left with a blessing from the church. This project could inspire a small church, who maybe already meet for a meal together, to pray and see how that can grow. Yet it can also inspire a big church to be generous, or even more generous, to the community.

Cake Sunday!I was also inspired by a teenager in Oakamoor church who had baked cakes that week and asked if she could sell them on the Sunday morning after the service to raise money for local disabled children. Something so simple but which is an example of faith in action - a real inspiration. Oakamoor have also started a brick club – using Lego to build relationships with the community and showing them the love of Jesus.

Another church using Lego and the theme of building is our signing church in Scarborough – they have a meeting called BUILD which meets once a month for families with deaf children. A family came with two boys – the younger is deaf – and the mother said it was the first time she had been his mum not his communicator – Praise God. I wonder how we could or would accommodate or welcome someone who is deaf.

Faith Builders BibleHelen Dean, who leads the signing church, introduced me to the Faith Builders Bible. The pictures are made from some sort of Lego but it has explanations and challenges. Don’t forget through the Mission and Society committee your church can apply for free Bibles to give out at a mission event your church is running this year.

Next year we also celebrate the centenary of Constance Coltman who was the first woman to be ordained into the ministry of the Congregational Union of England and Wales and of a mainstream British denomination.

A film has be made which forms part of the preparation for the celebrations and to share some of the plans to mark the centenary and to reflect on the legacy of her ministry. Watch out for more information on the celebrations but why not visit the Congregational Federation website or search on YouTube to watch the film.

Horningsham Congregational ChurchAnd finally in July it is the 450th Anniversary of Horningsham Congregational Church which is situated in the Longleat estate. The service of celebration which I will lead is on Sunday 17th July. Isn’t it lovely to be celebrating! I will include some photos in the next edition.

May God bless you in all you do

Yvonne Campbell
General Secretary