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