Update February 2013
Well it's been an awful long time since I last updated you on what we're doing down here. I guess it's been difficult because I've not known quite what to say.

It was pretty obvious to us what we were up to in Looe, and there were plenty of things to report on.

Moving down here we really felt that God was calling us to take a break for a while, to forget about everything else and to concentrate on Him. We found ourselves doing a lot of de-churching, stripping back the layers of our theology and practice to what was actually essential. I'm still working my way through a pile of books on this subject that I never seem to find the time to read.

I've seen some similarities between this last 18 months or so and the concept of being a hermit, somewhat withdrawn from society and even other Christians. At times this has been difficult, but at others it has freed us to determine what we believe, what is essential and what we can allow to fall by the wayside.

In the meantime we've given up trying to find the ideal community for us to fit in with and are instead engaging more with the chapel in the village. There may only be a few there, but they're faithful and willing to seek God and His will, so they're our kind of people! I'm now meeting with a couple of the old ladies early every Tuesday morning to pray God into this village and into the lives of it's inhabitants - it's amazing how many people they know between them, we have some catching up to do.

We're thinking up some ways to get to know the people in our street a little more and, inspired by some friends of ours, may well have a bbq in the summer (if we have one) for them all.

I'm planning on writing quite a few posts on my own blog in the next few weeks to start sharing some of the things we've been thinking about, so watch out for those.

Paul says that when all is stripped away you're left with faith, hope and love (to paraphrase a little). If Looe was all about Love (and that did seem to be a recurring theme) that last 18 months seem to have been about faith. I guess that means it's hope's turn next... :-)
We've moved to a new mission field
Hi all!

We've now moved to a little village called St Erth a short distance away from my not-so-new job.

So now we're looking at a new mission field and seeking God's will and purpose for us here!

Pray with us that we'll grow links into the community and see God do great things here!
Overdue Update
It seems I have been a bit remiss - hard to believe, isn't it?

First of all it's been a couple of months since I last updated you all and secondly, it appears I failed to ever mention that I had been made redundant mid-December!

So first, update on the last couple of months:

The prayer group have continued to grow with another couple being called into Looe meeting two of our existing members by "accident". It appeared that they both moved into the same street within a few weeks of each other. Praise God for His divine "accidents".

We're also continuing to grow spiritually. The last few months we've really been aware of several lessons that God has been and is teaching us:
  • It's all about Him (and it doesn't work if it's about us)
  • We need to Love (God, each other, our community and ourselves)
  • To be patient and learn to wait on God
We're still very much learning, but it's been wonderful to learn together and grow ever closer. God's turned us from a "group" into a family!

The Rusty Bucket (a Christian Coffee Shop & Community project) which was dreamed up by a couple in our group 4 years ago and is now fast approaching opening day. It should be open at the end of the month and, thanks to a little prayer and patience, is so much more than any of us could've imagined it would be a year ago.

Now an update on us and the work situation:

Firstly, Lucy is pregnant. I never mentioned that, either, did I? We found out on Christmas Day and she's now 15 weeks, a mere 25 weeks to go!

My search for work has been largely fruitless. Since finding out I was going to be made redundant I have had 3 interviews, despite apply for countless roles. 2 of those were based in Wales and would involve me travelling up a couple days a week and were before I finished working. Then it all went quiet.

Eventually a job came up in St. Ives. It was a bit far away but I figured I need to keep my options open, so I applied. Lucy and I prayed about it and asked the Lord to be in complete control - should He want us to move I would get the job, should He want us to stay He should intervene and close the door to me.

As time went by I also felt the Lord put Self-Employment before me as an option, so we again prayed and felt that the options were now two: St. Ives (and moving) or Self-Employment (and staying). Both seemed to feel right, but selfishly I wanted Self-Employment. I wanted to stay here, but we had put it before God so we had to wait on Him.

Today I attended a second interview, was offered and joyfully accepted the role in St. Ives. I'll be starting in April and commuting until the probationary period is up, at which point we'll be moving.

Prayer points:
  • Street Pastors:
    • need more people - both Prayer Pastors and the Street Pastors. At least another 25 people.
    • need to move into Looe (see above)
  • Rusty Bucket:
    • still has tight deadlines to get them open in time for the Easter holidays
    • needs to do well over the holiday season to sustain it through it's first year
  • Prayer Group needs a new host
  • Looe and God's work here
  • My new Job
  • For us to find a suitable and affordable home
First patrol with the Street Pastors
Last night was my first patrol with the Liskeard and Looe Street Pastors, we were the third ever patrol of Street Pastors in Liskeard (we haven't yet broken into Looe).

It was an excellent night, really very quiet but probably about right for our first patrol to settle us in. None of us had ever done this before (in fact no one within the whole Liskeard and Looe Street Pastor group has ever done this before) so we were just finding our feet.

During the course of the night we had a few good encounters with people, Spikeys turned out to be a really good conversation starter with women. But most of all it seemed that the 4 of us dressed the same was too much for people to ignore.

Two of us had a particularly encouraging conversation with a group of 4 (2 young ladies and a couple of lads) who asked us all sorts of things about who we were and what we were doing. It turned out one of them believed she had been spiked the week before so was particularly keen to make use of a spikey or two. The whole conversation, how we were received as well as the encounter with a recipient of a spiked drink just seemed to reinforce that we were on the right mission.

In the end, though, it was a really quiet night. Every one seemed to be looking after themselves alright (not that there were many left out), and there were only so many times we could walk around in a circle and introduce ourselves to the same people. So our team leader took the decision that we should call it a night and after one last patrol around the town, including the areas that the underage drinkers generally hang around (nobody there), we headed back to base for a debrief and then we headed home to bed.

I doubt very much that every week will be as easy as this week, particularly as the weather warmed up, but it was really encouraging and I can't wait to go out again.

Please pray for the Street Pastors of Liskeard and Looe. Pray for more volunteers particularly, as we don't yet have enough to adequately cover one area, never mind both. We need at least 19 more Street Pastors to be able to do both places on a Saturday night.
Kingdom building, not Empire building
I'm sure you'll realise by now (especially if you've read this document) that Lucy and I aren't in the business of Empire Building. We're not here to spread the Salvation Army or to grow Grace Community Church. We're here exclusively to build up the Kingdom of God. We don't care about denominations or different churches (lower case 'c'). We most certainly do not care about inter- or intra-church politics.

Today we met with a couple who lead a local group of Christians called the "Looe Christian Fellowship" - they have been in Looe for over 20 years and have been praying for it all that time, and were not aware of all that God has started here the last 5 years.

It was a privilege to meet with them and tell them of all that God is doing, and to invite them to join with us on a Wednesday for prayer.

We have no intention of absorbing their fellowship into our "group", and especially not to absorb it into the Grace family. Nor do they have any intention of stealing us away. But they may well turn out to be one of many interconnected groups which form the Church (big 'C') in Looe.

Their mission is their mission, our mission is our mission; the battles may be different but it's the same war, and we're on the same team. Gradually our small band of dedicated prayer warriors are starting to reach out and build links with the other Christians in Looe, it's incredible to watch it happening.

Please pray for tomorrows prayer group as we introduce Bob and Hilary to the rest of our rag-tag band of Jesus people, it will be an important step in the building of God's Kingdom here.

Please also pray for wisdom, that as we start to reach beyond our own circle and connect with those of different backgrounds that we express on the one hand love and mercy and on the other die-hard dedication to God's word. Pray that we will become all things to all men without ever watering down the gospel!
Street Pastors and Kingdom building
Hi all

Been a while since we've updated you all on what's happening here, so thought we'd update you on all the exciting stuff!

Both of us have been involved with the Street Pastor training, I'll be becoming a Street Pastor (Commissioning on the 5th December!) and Lucy will be backing us up with prayer as a Prayer Pastor. Preparations have gone well, with the exception of the key founding member and group coordinator being struck down with cancer and passing away last week.

If you want to help financially towards the Street Pastors in Liskeard and Looe, feel free to add a pledge to http://fundraising.twinklebob.co.uk/index.php?id=2 and I'll chase you up for it later. Anything in excess of the £300 I need to cover my costs will be added to their funds.

Some of our friends have progressed with their plans to have a Christian coffee shop in Looe (I think I mentioned it before) and now have a property. Check out therustybucket.co.uk and therustybucketcoffeeshop.co.uk. These are exciting times, a big Christian presence right in the heart of Looe and a fabulous meeting space.

The church at Morval recently had a meeting where they revealed a plan to invest into Looe big time, so we're looking forward to working with them in that respect. Hopefully this will take the form of a network of small groups, rather than empire building. If they don't go down that road, we certainly will.

So, few quick prayer points:
  • For Hugh's family as they prepare for his funeral tomorrow
  • Protection for the Street Pastors
  • Blessing for the Street Pastors as our formal training draws to a close
  • Blessing over the Rusty Bucket initiative and all the various things that includes
  • For guidance with building the Kingdom in Looe
Becoming a body
So it's finally done! The document I've taken 6 months to write is done! Hoorah!

"Becoming a Body - Rethinking Church" is a quick introduction to my current thoughts on Church, on being Church and doing Church. It's an introduction to the way that I'm going to do my future thinking about Church. Finally, it's an invitation to others to also think differently about Church.

The content of this document is going to seriously impact what we're looking to do here in Looe.

There really isn't much to show for it, but it's been difficult to get the content and tone right. Please understand that this isn't an attack on the way things are for the sake of it, but after incendiary thoughts were planted in our lives we had no choice but to investigate and we liked what we found.

Please feel free to make constructive criticism or to comment on the content - but if you don't agree, let's be grown ups and talk about it, rather than hurling insults at each other ;-)

God bless and happy reading!
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