September and October are always months of intense activity as the whole city wakes up after a summer slumber. It is no different for us! The kids went back to school, with Ellie to secondary school in French with Dutch immersion. She has found it a challenging time particularly as she has needed to make an entirely new friendship network, which when considering the transition time ahead has been hard. She is making some good choices though and things are getting better every day.
Nicki has been fighting the dust and disruption caused to Alternatives by the big renovation project in the YWAM building that I am managing. It has been really quite disruptive to the work of Alternatives and with all the building work dragging on. The team have soldiered on however and can see the end in sight now. There is good news as a new YWAM team member, Lies (pronounced Lees), is giving two days a week to the Alternatives team so Nicki is busy training her up. Her English, French and Dutch skills will prove very useful as well as her nursing training.
The last two months have seen a lot of clarity into what we are heading into with the move back to England. In between the many meetings with builders and the architect needed for the renovation I was away a lot to the UK and Spain, meeting with other European YWAM leaders, meeting Pioneer church planters, visiting Reading and starting my two days per week secondment to the Fresh Expressions movement.
I visited Reading to meet with the church leadership of Emmanuel Woodley for further discussions. It is exciting that at the same time the church approached us to work with them, the small YWAM team started in the area too. Whilst I was there I met with a group of 20 year olds whom I am hoping to form a Fresh Expression of church with. They are a lively group, part of a strong network that the church’s youth work has formed over the last ten years. There is a growing sense that God has indeed some very significant plans for the area.
Working with the Church and YWAM Reading will form a part of the work we will do. I have also committed to working two days a week on secondment to the Fresh Expression National Team (the group that is multiplying the movement). Fresh Expressions is an initiative of the Anglican and Methodist churches and now includes the URC church, the Salvation Army and the Church of Scotland! It is a very exciting time as fresh expressions of church are popping up everywhere. As many as four out of ten Anglican Parishes are starting a fresh expression. Do check out the website that is packed with great articles and interesting videos of what is happening around the UK and beyond.
My role with the national team is still being formulated but it looks like so far I will focus on helping YWAM integrate with Fresh Expressions, finding new churches YWAM is planting and being a catalyst to help YWAM in England (and in Europe) plant more churches under the Fresh Expressions banner. I also will be writing a booklet on relationship support raising to help with self-funding leaders in the Fresh Expressions movement.
We are going to Reading in just over a weeks time to visit the church and schools. Please pray we find a place to live and the right schools for the kids! We will continue to be self funded as YWAMers whilst we start this season of working within the church and with the Fresh Expression/YWAM partnership. Kevin will continue the process of applying for training within the Anglican church for ordination but we feel that we should take one step at a time and at this stage are uncertain as to the exact timing of when (or even if) we can be fully funded within the Anglican church. Please pray with us as we take each step.
Of course that is not all that we have done in the last few weeks (it really has been very busy – the next two months will be quieter). We have also been doing local teaching, service leading, preaching, running Pain et Vin and a huge day of celebration for YWAM’s 30 years of work in Belgium. Busy times!
Till next time,
Kevin, Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh
- 1 – 6 Nov: Week in UK looking at schools etc. and visiting Woodley.
- 13 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec: Leading Introduction to Contemplative Prayer sessions (Pilot programme)
- 15 Dec: Kevin speaking in Vineyard, Gent.