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August 2018 News from the Colyers

Dear All,

What an exciting couple of months we have had. We have just about recovered and feel like we are now at home in Maidenhead after the wondrous upheaval of the last months.

The short version: We are well and loving living in our new house in Maidenhead and Kevin’s ‘vicaring’ is going smoothly!

Ordination was an amazing moment, both holy and joyful at the same time. We were all overwhelmed at many moments especially by so many good friends and family who joined us for the service and fun Hog-Roast party after. Thanks once again for all who travelled so far and also for the many helpers who made it happen. Thanks also to Nicki who made it happen in such a busy period.

We went from roasting hogs to roasting in the heatwave over the next few weeks. I learned very quickly that vicar clothes are not worn for pleasure or utility! At least not in 30 degree heat that is! To be honest the house move was hard enough in the heat. The week of moving passed and was followed with an intense week of introductions and ministry for Kevin. Fortunately as the holidays arrived it has all calmed down and we have unpacked and settled ourselves into work and life here.

Nicki started her shuttle runs to the schools back in Woodley and discovered that the traffic is not anything like as bad as we feared. Ellie completed another week of work experience at a vets and is now focused on selecting universities to study veterinary science. She had a wonderful week of intensive puppetry with the One Way Puppet Academy, returning exhilarated and with improved skills.

Sam is doing really well. His health returns bit by bit and the contrast month by month is wonderful. He will be looking for a local job soon so please pray he finds something suitable, flexible enough and confidence building.

Luc and Josh are super happy and love the new house, especially with the new ‘den’ off the kitchen that we have made a three metre long desk in front of the window for them to play and draw at.

Pluto has taken to the new house really well. He has spent a few weeks in the care of a friend and her numerous dogs during the moving week and our holiday in Norfolk and has come back more socially well adjusted. He is growing into a delightful dog and many people we meet out walking remark on him.

I (Kevin) am really enjoying my new role. The churches I am working in are great and very welcoming. I am starting to find my feet and learning some new skills in the area of funerals already. I seem to be going down well, especially in the family services that I have been leading and preaching in. I particularly enjoyed dangling buckets from the rafters of the church!

I am starting to get an idea of what duties the church will require of me (including ‘rebooting’ a toddlers group!) and starting to listen to the area. I am still asking and listening to God for what the bigger picture of what he is wanting me to do is. I am trying to take my time to listen before jumping in too quickly.

We would really appreciate your prayers for us all. This year, which started with Sam’s hospitalisation, has been quite stressful in both negative and positive ways. Please pray for:

  • Sam, for a job and continued health and confidence.
  • Nicki, for continued rest and rooting herself in Maidenhead.
  • Ellie, for her studies, puppetry and university plans
  • Luc and Josh, for new friends here in Maidenhead
  • Kevin, to grasp his new job quickly and be effective in mission and pioneering.

We look forward to hearing from you all and catching up with you soon.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

  1. Look here for some general photos of us!
  2. Please add any ordination photos you have taken here
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Spring News from the Colyers

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Dear friends,

Spring for everyone has been long in coming this year. We are no exceptions! Following our rather traumatic Christmas hospital extravaganza with Sam we all went through cold after cold with some flu thrown in as well. It has been a long winter. However, not without its bright moments too!

The brightest moment in recent weeks has been the arrival of Pluto our new Cocker Spaniel puppy. We have been looking for a dog for about four months now after we sadly said goodbye to Marvel. It is not easy to find a dog who is right for us but also will fit into future patterns of life and work. We think we have found the ideal dog though in Pluto. He’s about 10 weeks old now and just ready for his first walk. We got him, and I (Kevin) immediately departed for planned retreats and a training weekend leaving Nicki to do the toilet training and sleepless nights! Anyway, we are all sorted now and he is a bright little thing and learning well. It is hard to describe the joy and emotional benefits of having him around for all of us. He has even charmed the local policeman and chased off burglars too! But that is another story.

The last months have been great ministry wise. I feel like we are reaping much of what we have sown into many lives around us. Our work with Fusion goes from strength to strength. At the end of each term we have a party, where we invite all the parents and siblings too. Each time it gets better and feels more deeply rooted into the local community reflecting more of the make up of Woodley than anything we have done before. We have a number of Sikh, and Muslim families involved. It actually feels more like a Messy Church! This party was our last. Fusion has been Nicki’s initiative born out of her work with local families on the estate by the church. I have been helping out week, by week turning up to do the fun stuff with the kids while Nicki has planned, prepped, led and cleaned up. She has also left behind a strong team who will be taking it on without us. Many of the team are also from the immediate local area too. We will miss it and the children greatly but we have a huge feeling of accomplishment.

I have been handing over the running of Restores My Soul and Just Be and cementing these two groups into one fortnightly evening service. The team is coming together for this too and although not at the same place as Fusion’s team, will be running it without me from June.

Another sort of handover will be that Emmanuel will be getting a curate and a pioneer curate instead of me! I’m thrilled that Susie Templeton, whom I have been training with for the last three years will be taking our place. Although the diocese had other plans for me, they have still been open to Susie coming and Pioneering in new and familiar ways after us.

We have been reflecting on the past four years and how we have felt led by God in the area. Our heart (and constant message!) has been for mission and evangelism to be raised higher on the agenda and due to so many amazing people in Emmanuel and those new people God has brought, this has been increasingly the situation. It is exciting to be leaving as the church has grown from being a mature church plant in a church hall to being a parish church in its own right. It now has its own parish (and more importantly a strong local focus of mission!), funding is coming through for a new building extension to benefit the wider community as well as the church community and a curate to boot!

So, we enter Spring, ready to pivot into work in Maidenhead! We are starting to look for a house now and are getting quotes from removal companies. Susie and I are both ordained on 30th June at 10am in Christchurch cathedral, Oxford. All are welcome. We will be sending out invites to the ordination and a hog roast back at Emmanuel afterwards shortly but all are welcome! (RSVP to help us plan)

So, till next time,

Love,

Kevin and Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc, Josh and Pluto!

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November News Update 2017

Dear Friends,

We have good news to announce to you! Kevin has been offered a curacy with the church of St Peter’s in Maidenhead, starting next summer after Kevin completes his training. We are really delighted to have found a great church local enough that although we will move house, we need not take the kids from their schools. We won’t be starting from scratch all over again as all the kids friends are a short 20 minute drive away.

Finding a curacy is not an easy task. I (Kevin) hear from my colleagues the challenge of finding a place where we can be pioneering rather than just have a standard curacy. However, St Peter’s is very open to us coming as pioneers (they have had a pioneer curate before) and we think we will get along really well with everyone there. There are many similarities with Emmanuel and I have already taken Emmanuel’s building committee to meet some of the St Peter’s folks, as they have completed a similar project and had much to teach us from their experience!

So we are looking eagerly forward to our new placement. We will start to work on the details in the new year, as the housing is not secured yet for one. I get ordained on 30th June at Christchurch, Oxford, that I do know! The family are looking forward to it, although they were initially feeling nervous about moving. Luc in particular has a specific desire for a bay window to his bedroom!

The family have been up and down, and the stress of thinking about a curacy was magnified by the sad events that meant we needed to return our dog Marvel to the rescue centre. We had Marvel for six months and it was hard to send him away, but he bit Joshua rather badly for a second time, completely unprovoked. We realised we could not trust him with our kids or the many other children who visit us. He needs a more specialist home. It was really painful but as I write this it looks like he is being adopted again and has found a new home. For all of us this was a difficult and unhappy time. Joshua is not hurt or angry. However, we are starting to make plans to find a new dog as we feel ready to do that.

This season has been training orientated. Both of us are back to Church Mission Society for our courses. Nicki is working hard on her ‘Mission History of the Church’ on Mondays and I zip in on Tuesdays to do my ‘Missional Ecclesiology’ module. We miss coming in together but as CMS is expanding its student numbers it is ultimately a positive happening. This is the final component of Nicki’s certificate. She has done really well and it has been an amazing achievement given the amount pressure we have been under these last years.

I have also been away for two specialist weeks. The first was a placement to Bristol Cathedral, which was fascinating, but terrifying in equal measure. The team at the Cathedral were welcoming and gave me lots of experience and opportunities. Joining their Evensong celebration in the dark evenings, sitting right next to the choir (all are welcomed into that area if they wish) was a different but delightful spiritual experience for me.

I also went for a week of ‘Missional Entrepreneurship’ (which I highly recommend) that helps you go from an idea for a missional or social enterprise, refine it and prepare you to pitch it to a ‘Dragon’s Den’. It went well for me and I have a couple of business ideas percolating away now!

For our next phase we have some clear goals, which is to complete well all that we have started at Emmanuel. That is not a small task as Nicki’s Fusion club is now well established, we have numerous links and connections into the community, new services to build strong teams to support and many other plans and responsibilities to conclude.

We hope to be able to see as many of you as possible in the new year as we want to get back to both Plymouth and Stroud as we complete the final part of our training journey.

Lots of love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

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Blazing Hot June News from the Colyers

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Dear Friends,

Apart from nearly melting in the heat of my study (36 degrees Celsius before I escaped last week) we have been enjoying the surely brief summery weather! Hope you have too.

We have have a new member of our family: Marvel our new rescue puppy joined us eight weeks ago. Apparently 15 years of lobbying by Ellie has paid off! We are not sure what breed he is by the way so don’t ask. However, he has won a place in our hearts and dug many a hole in our garden! We are also discovering who is Alpha in our family!

Nicki’s Fusion club is going from strength to strength. Some of the kids are moving up to the next open youth group which is really booming at the moment. We have a lovely bunch of kids at Fusion, all fidget spinner mad and very lively. We thought we would have a small turn-out on election day as we had to cram into the portacabin as the church was a polling station that day. However we had 26 kids, as some parents discovered the club whilst voting! It was a squeeze but fun. Each session we finish with sharing something about God and it keeps going in drip by drip.

I have been been helping the Christianity Explored group become stable and have now left the group running happily by itself as they continue to explore things deeper. Instead I am co-leading a Wednesday night Alpha! This is also in the portacabin (one day they will let me in the main church!) which works for the group of folks who are coming. It is a wonderfully real and down to earth group. I was back in the portacabin on Sunday night as I led Restores My Soul, the contemplative evening service. We are really pleased how this is going and there was one groan of disappointment when I said we were pausing over the summer! It certainly seems to work for those who find a quieter and more reflective atmosphere helpful.

We were involved in two crazy church Fun days over the Whitsun holiday. Emmanuel hired a number of bouncy castles and the wonderful inflatable dome which Nicki worked her magic on turning it into a pop-up café again. Emmanuel is gaining strong appreciation locally for the Fun day and we probably doubled the numbers again this year. It was wonderful to talk to so many local people.

Sadly I had to zoom away from the fun day to go to college… to give a presentation on what I am doing at Emmanuel! Anyway I must have done a good job as three of the Cuddesdon students now want to do their final year placement with Emmanuel! Studies are going very well, with very enjoyable courses and projects. Thanks to all who helped with my orality project! I did well and learned a lot. We continue to find studying at CMS tremendously helpful and highly relevant. I can’t quite say the same about Cuddesdon – that blows more hot and cold! Nicki managed to get her Pastoral and Ethics portfolio in eleven months early too! To celebrate she has recently been up to Manchester to gain some training in running parenting groups that we hope will be up and running in the autumn to help local parents.

I have been at work fundraising for the church’s building project and also for the Ark project (Double decker bus for the homeless). The bus is getting closer and closer to starting operations. There is much to do behind the scenes in getting good training, governance, policies and… well everything you need to get a homeless shelter on wheels running! ARK is a charity now and we held our first family day which drew huge support. I enjoyed entertaining the Mayor of Reading who was delightful and very supportive! Even though the bus is not yet operating as a community several addicts have contacted us or have been taken to rehabs. Now as they are returning, the ARK team are working on ways to use the strength of the community around the bus to support, reintegrate and rebuild their lives. It is wonderful seeing so many of them discovering Jesus and the power of transformation in his name.

The kids are through the exams without hitch so our blood pressure is returning to normal! We are looking forward to a quieter summer and visiting our friends in Belgium too!

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh.

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Almost Spring 2017 News from The Colyers

Dear Friends,

The last months have been really hectic with a busy Christmas, kid’s mocks, wider-family health issues (aside from ongoing kids issues), college, work and new projects. We have just about squeezed a weekend away in for Nicki and myself, but have not found time to write newsletters! Sorry!

Work has been increasingly fruitful. Fusion club has matured well and we have great fun each week with the 20 kids who come. They are really enjoying it and we are discovering that for some of them this is the only club that they can come to and feel happy in. They are also asking more questions about faith and are even becoming almost silent when listening to us talk! Nicki has connected to the mums and is continuing her pastoral work with them. It feels good being rooted into the community around the church like this.

I (Kevin) have a number of smaller projects on the go and some bigger ones too. I help with the toddler group to allow more pastoral time for other workers and have made good connections with different parents including the Dad’s of the twins (we have three sets who come!) Parents of twins need a lot of support we feel! I have also been co-leading a Christianity Explored course and I am working on the church fundraising for the new building extension. I feel like a lot of the group work is paying off and more people are coming along from the groups to Sundays also.

I have started an evening service called Restores My Soul, that is a development of the Just Be group I was running.  It is a very meditative and gentle service. We use the Northumbria Community’s Evening prayer as a base but have a variety of meditations as well as some choruses and Taizé chants. I am really pleased to see the Just Be group leading so much of the service and with great confidence. The practice of the Contemplative prayer and Ignatian prayer has developed useful skills for this new service.

If contemplative prayer has really been effective then the inward pursuit of God should result in a fresh engagement in the world too. Over Christmas I have met Michael who has started the Ark project (http://www.caap.org.uk) to offer a bed, shelter and support to rough sleepers in Reading in a renovated double-decker bus! I have prayed a lot, visited and taken food to the homeless, first with Impact and then with others over the last few years, always asking what I could do to be more engaged and make more of a difference. I have joined Michael and team as a trustee as I felt the Ark had identified a gap in provision of shelter for Reading rough sleepers. It is a wild and challenging ride! We are setting up the charity and the bus is taking shape with heating, power and a paint job all provided for. Much remains to be physically done let alone work out how to operate and get the staff and volunteer capacity we will require. However I am really excited about it.

I am also pleased to be training with Nicki again at CMS. I missed her last quarter. We are looking at Pastoral Care and Ethics but I had a great week away looking at The Bible in Context led by the author and academic John Drane. I have a lot of writing and reading to do as I get two large portfolio assignments in for 25th April! We both continue to find the pioneer training at CMS stimulating and our fellow students fun and inspiring.

I hope that fills you in on where we are up to right now.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Diary Dates:

  • 11-12 March: Kevin visiting Plymouth and speaking at St Jude’s in the morning.
  • 22 April: Ark Bus launch party!
  • 25 April: Assignment deadline!

 

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Long Awaited News from The Colyers

Dear All,

Over August, ministry was quieter and our intention was to work more on CMS study assignments, although aware all four children would be home. We participated in the module “Introduction to the Bible”, focusing on the missional themes of the Bible. Kevin and I both prepared creative resources and made presentations on themes of Migration and Temples in the church.

However, the summer was harder than we anticipated as unfortunately Sam struggled increasingly as the time went on. We are sorry we did not keep you better informed although we are so incredibly grateful for so many of the prayer chains his needs went down this summer! At the end of July Sam’s chemo meds increased which slowly diminished his wellness, physically exhausting him and emotionally low and agitated at times. At the end of August his immune system plummeted and he struggled to fight infections. He was finally admitted to hospital for three days to treat cellulitis caused from ingrowing toe nails of all things!

The good news was that he received his GCSE results and we were thrilled that he achieved the five he needed to go on to do A-levels. Considering how much school he missed (since saying goodbye to the home tutors and returning to school in January he unfortunately was too unwell to attend school from Feb-April) we are all thrilled that he got particularly good grades for maths and English. Thank you for your extra prayers at that time.

In September, Sam was disappointed to only manage three days of A levels before he got another infection (again on his foot) and was admitted to hospital again for three days. Finally, we are thrilled to say he is getting back on track, after lots of antibiotics and his immunity is higher again. Please pray for his stamina to increase and his immunity to be protected. He is absolutely loving his A-levels (English Lit, Drama and Psychology) and he gets very frustrated when he cannot go.

Otherwise we have tried to get back into the new season and I am stunned that we are in October already! Kevin went on a wonderful trip to Canada with his father and sisters to see his fathers birthplace, as well as catching up with good friends there. Fusion kids club has restarted with good numbers again and more help from families in the local area.

As well as starting a new module on Church History at CMS, Kevin is looking forward to a new season of “Just Be” the contemplative prayer group, “Get Out of Church Sunday” outreach ministry and ministry to homeless in Reading among other things.

For myself, I am feeling rather tired from all that has happened over the last few months, as some of you may know my mum has been unwell too and has undergone many tests which has unsettled us all. Praise God, nothing sinister but she has ongoing health issues and values prayer too! Consequently, I am going to take a pause from this term’s study so that I can catch my breath a bit. CMS are very supportive of me postponing this module for a year. My intention would be to start-up again in January with “Pastoral Care and Ethics”.

It has been far too long since our last update, so please forgive us as it in no way reflects how we value your partnership and prayer support for our ministry. I am sure we have said this before, but really hope it wont be so long next time!

Much love,

Nicki and Kevin, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

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July Jottings from the Colyers

Dear Friends,

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We have had a wonderful couple  of months but incredibly busy! We are all well and healthy. Sam has finished all his GCSEs. We are very proud of him, he has worked hard. He’s enjoying a well-earned break! Thank you for all your prayers for him over the past few months.

Kevin has been covering for Sean (Minister of Emmanuel) and discovering that he makes a busy job look relaxed and easy! Don’t be fooled, Kevin has been kept really busy and has gained a lot of experience too. Judging by the feedback from the crowd at Emmanuel, they are easy to please! (or very, very tolerant!)

The biggest push was for the two Fun days we ran in the nearby green and play park. This was a huge jump for the church from a small fête in the past to a two-day spectacle. But everyone pulled together and we surprised ourselves by how well we worked and how delighted the community was. We made no charge for all the inflatables we hired and that was a good call as so many local people were delighted that they could just come and enjoy it.  Nicki and I ran the café tent selling low-priced cakes and drinks. We had many good conversations and feel like we really contributed to the local community.

We have continued with other outreaches. Nicki has been out into the local area and recently worked with Wokingham council on their Gazebo days. She conducted surveys, the fruit of which went into her college Portfolio as well as feedback to the council. I have also continued to push the homeless outreach and Get Out Of Church Free Sunday outreach to the car boot sale.

Fusion kids club has continued to grow. The most children we have had is 24 and the club is still growing. It is wonderful to see it thriving and the children having such a wonderful time. As we get to know the children better we are starting to see their needs and a growing interest in knowing God. They are a lot of fun and the club flies by!

Somehow in the midst of all of this we have managed to get our portfolio assignment in! Totalling 7,00 words over eight separate pieces of work it has been quite a burden to complete! Now we only have three more pieces to do for our next deadline in September! Phew! But we are learning a lot.

Love,

Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh

Diary Dates and Prayer Points

  • 17-23 July Kevin away for Summer School
  • 23-30 Nicki and Ellie away for New Wine

Holiday’s should be an easier time. Please pray for refreshment and for plenty of time to devote to study.