January has been a bit of a whirlwind. In the past month Trinity West has officially become a church, we’ve grown to two community groups, we’ve launched publicly and I went and helped out at King’s College London’s CU mission. In amongst all of that there has been the ongoing search for a long term venue, the design of a new website and the small matter of the transfer window, which with being a Spurs fan, inevitably over promised and under delivered. Teri and I enjoyed a great time back in Basingstoke over Christmas with family and also were able to have a few days off together back in Shepherd’s Bush.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of hanging out with the students of King’s College London for their mission week. The Christian Union at King’s was putting on lunch time events and in the centre of London at All Souls there were some London wide events going on in the evening. Reuben was the speaker for the lunch time talks, and I was a CU Guest, which essentially meant I did what the students did, inviting other students to the lunch time events and talking to people about Jesus. The week was great, we had good fun, and lots of people got to hear about Jesus. The highlight for me was getting the chance to sit down and read some of Luke’s gospel together with one of the CU members. The most encouraging part though, was that he has continued to meet up and read with the guy from CU. It’s been awesome to get a weekly text to say how they’re doing!
Straight out of mission week at King’s we had the launch of Trinity West Church. We still don’t have a permanent venue, so things weren’t ideal, but it was great to pack Charecroft out with friends and family. This Sunday will be our fourth meeting as a public church. It’s been encouraging to have guests join us, interested in getting plugged in to TW.
Since the beginning of January our Community Groups have multiplied too. We now stand at two community groups, it’s great to be in a smaller group where hopefully we can get to know each other better.
Obviously we can’t forget the transfer window… It did feel typically Spurs to leave buying a striker until the last minute, only to fail, have one striker’s team surprisingly get out of their group in the African Nations Cup, and then have our only remaining striker get injured. It’s OK though, because Adebayor is going to back for the game tomorrow… Oh no, he hasn’t come back yet. Never fear though fellow Spurs fans, Harry Kane was recalled from loan…
I’m sure the fact that Christmas is right around the corner hasn’t escaped anybody. The adverts encouraging us to buy the must-have presents have been circulating, no doubt supermarkets have had their seasonal aisles pimped and primed for months. Many a mince pie will have been bought, fewer will have been made by hand, and the mulled wine will have (or at least should have) flowed generously. Most will have settled into some sort of Christmas tradition by now, whether it be putting up the decorations, be that in the form of a tasteful tree or crass outdoor lights to adorn the front of your home.
The majority of people love Christmas, some for it’s the presents, giving or receiving, some, the time off work to rest and to enjoy with family. I went to my third carol service of the year on Sunday morning and was surprised by the accusation that came my way in the talk, “don’t settle for too little”.
We tend to get swallowed up with the world at this time of year among the traditions, the presents, the family, the food, and the drink to make sure it’s the best Christmas possible, but if we do that we’re missing the best thing. On Sunday morning we explored John 1:14, which talks about Jesus, the baby who was born in a manger as a child who was also God. There were three things for us to learn about Christmas and this man…
Revelation – Christmas is about God making himself known.
Identification – The word became flesh, God became a man. The word taking on flesh is God identifying with us in our humanity, (He can’t redeem us unless He is like us in every way). In Jesus, God gave up power, eternity, infinity and much much more to become like us in every way.
Salvation – The word became flesh and tabernacled among us. The tabernacle was where God’s Old Testament people met with Him, made sacrifice and atonement for sin. In Jesus there is a new meeting place between God and man, a new place of sacrifice and atonement, a new tabernacle.
Settling for anything less than the gift of Jesus, God with skin on, is to settle for too little.
On Sunday night Rather than our usual prayer meeting, Trinity West took over Twynholm Baptist Church in Fulham. Twynholm usually host their own evening service, but they were at an FIEC event. We were offered the use of their building so that there would be a service available for anyone who didn’t go with them. It also meant we had an opportunity to use their baptistry.
Baptism is something that Teri and I have been thinking about for nearly a year now. I think initially we were both a little sad that it wasn’t an option for us when we came to Christ. Having been baptised as babies, our church didn’t feel it necessary. But our thinking was sharpened when having a conversation with Teri’s brother on the topic. We spent a brief time talking about what baptism was and whether or not Jonny would take the offer to be baptised again at his new church in Birmingham. Since then we had talked about it a few times, but it was in the lead up to and immediately after our arrival in Shepherd’s Bush that we really grappled with the subject.
In our first week here we had the very first ever Trinity West members meeting. One of the subjects on the agenda was baptism, largely the church’s position. With many of us coming from Church of England backgrounds, some of what was said was new. Reuben explained that Trinity West will only practice believer’s baptism but that those who were convinced of a different position are still welcome into membership insofar as they can affirm the church’s statement of faith.
As part of my study programme at the church one of my early written assignments was on this topic. The task was to engage critically with a 60 page chapter on the argument for infant baptism and produce a two page paper in response. I did a pretty bad job at engaging critically in writing, but learnt an awful lot. After studying the subject and writing the paper I became convinced of the case for believer’s baptism – that baptism is an outward sign of the spiritual rebirth performed when someone becomes a Christian.
It was with all of this in mind that on Sunday night Teri and I were baptised. It was a slightly strange baptism service, a much more muted affair than one would normally expect, but nevertheless a joyous occasion. It was a pleasure to be baptised with Teri and with our new church family, and special to have been baptised by my boss! We were joined with one other girl who shared our conviction that the baptism we received as children wasn’t what we would believe of baptism in the New Testament.
Sunday night wasn’t just a significant event for me and Teri, it was also a significant milestone for Trinity West, our first three baptisms as a church and it’s pretty cool to be able to say I was the first person ever baptised at Trinity West Church.
Tomorrow will be the start of our second month in Shepherd’s Bush. It’s amazing quite how quickly the last month has gone, whilst it doesn’t seem like we’ve been here long, it also seems an age ago that we were in Winchester Road in Basingstoke.
As I said tomorrow will be the start of month two, but it took until yesterday for us to receive our second set of keys to the flat. When moving in we were told there would be two sets of keys in the flat, but there were none. You are probably thinking why it’s taken so long to get a second set of keys, surely we could have just popped to the locksmiths at the end of the road? Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple. The former landlord decided to install Banham locks in our flat, apparently these are some kind of super lock that mean you never get burgled. Part of why these locks are so safe, is that you have to go direct to Banham to get them cut, you can’t just go to Jonny Locksmith and get them cut. In fact it’s even more tricky than that, you need the keys, a card with a registration number on and up to date documents on property ownership. This is where things got tricky with our keys. As I said it was the previous landlord who had installed these locks. Apparently since then the property has changed hands, unfortunately for us however the landlord forgot to change over the details with Banham meaning our estate agents have had to go through the process of getting these documents changed with the help of lawyers.
You’re probably thinking, “just having one set of keys isn’t so bad, if one of you is going to be in you just knock on the door or phone and ask to have the door opened” you would of course be right, those things would solve the problem quite simply, and it’s quite nice to have the door opened for you once in a while. The problem with that though is that firstly the buzzer for our flat doesn’t work, and secondly Teri has an incredible knack of not charging her phone enough. Nevertheless, we have managed quite well, yesterday was only the first day where we were going to need to have two sets of keys as we had separate plans in the evening and the estate agents finally provided us with a second set of keys.
This weekend we’re going to the local primary school’s winter fair, hoping to do some successful DIY, put up the Christmas tree and decorations, listen to some She & Him Christmas songs, make mince pies, wear a suitably festive jumper, go to church and have people over for lunch. It should be good!
Today we’re coming back to Basingstoke, not because we’ve changed our mind on Shepherd’s Bush and the mission we’ve started at Trinity West, but to celebrate my Mum’s birthday with our family. It’s a happy excuse to come home and see friends and family so soon after leaving.
Last Saturday evening we had our neighbours over for a few drinks in the evening. It was great to spend a bit of time with them and meet them properly and they took us out to enjoy one of the local pubs which I think means they liked us!
This week was my first midweek bible study with the rest of Trinity West. We enjoyed a great meal together before digging into an even better meal in Philippians 3:12-4:1.
Today, along with Ben who is heading up the music at Trinity West, I went to the London Music Ministry Conference. It was great to learn from the Psalms about how we are to relate to God and to each other as we sing songs in our local churches. In the afternoon we went to a seminar on “The Bible, Music and Emotions” where we explored some of the Bible’s teaching on how we are to engage emotionally. Ben and I then split up. Ben went along to a songwriting and workshop whilst I attended a seminar on “Serving our Congregations”. It’s really exciting to be in the position we are where we’re starting something new and hopefully today’s studies will be really helpful as we work out how we do music and signing at Trinity West.
I’m finishing this post as I pull in to Basingstoke station on the train. I look forward to good times celebrating with family and to encouraging friends from St Mary’s Eastrop on Sunday morning.
At first look, those of you who know me well might think that this post will largely find it’s content in discussing, reminiscing and rejoicing in Craig David’s song of the same title. Fortunately or unfortunately, you would be wrong.
Today is the seventh day that Teri and I have lived in Shepherd’s Bush. Moving in last week was tiring and fun in equal measure, even if for a large part of the actual moving process it seemed as though our lovely two seater sofa would be stranded somewhere between the front door and the door to our flat on the first floor. Eventually (after knocking on the door many times) our neighbours came to the rescue and we were able to get it in.
The rest of the weekend was spent getting to know the rest of the members of the core group at Trinity West. Though we are few at 21, it is an awful lot of names! Everyone has been so welcoming and it’s been great starting to get to know people.
Monday saw my first meeting with Reuben. I was introduced to the Hummingbird Café which I think will become something of a home from home as I spend time reading. If you ever come to visit, it’s more than likely ill take you there. In the afternoon we went to Ikea to buy a dining table and some other bits and pieces. The rest of the week has seen me walking The Bush to get a feel for the area and reading. Teri is enjoying her commute on the tube and we had a great time at Wembley Arena last night watching The Staves and Bon Iver which was a mighty treat for the ears!
Tomorrow we’ll be helping some more of the core group move into the area and having some drinks with our neighbours. Life in the Bush is good.
note: For those of you who were looking forward to a bit of Craig David info, Seven Days was the second single off Craig’s first album, Born to Do it and was released in July 2000. It was the 17th highest selling single in Britain that year. Brill.
Hello! Welcome to Life in the Bush. The idea with this blog is to make it as easy as possible for you to keep up with how we are and what is going on in our new life in Shepherd’s Bush. The website itself isn’t quite finished yet, but it’s good enough for us to get started…
We will be moving to our new flat deep in W12 in the morning and then joining up with our new church family on Sunday. We’re incredibly excited to be joining Trinity West and looking forward to meeting the core group involved in planting the church.
I’m also really looking forward to getting back to work having spent the past few months unemployed. My new job as pastoral intern at Trinity West had been awaiting a start date while we raised money and found somewhere to live. God has generously provided both (even through some of you reading) to make this possible, and I can’t wait to get stuck in!
We’ve just ended our time in Basingstoke like any respectable person would, with a curry at The Agra with our nearest and dearest.