TLP Retreat Day report
The 2016 Thurrock Leaders’ Prayer Retreat Day took place on Thursday 7 January at West Thurrock Chapel in London Road, West Thurrock.
Able to be there for all or some of the day were:
David Bareham (team leader, Community Church Chafford Hundred, Chadwell St Mary & Basildon)
Andy Blakey (local leader, Thurrock Christian Fellowship All Saints Centre Grays)
Celia Brockhurst (formerly North Stifford Family Church, now St Erkanwald’s, Barking)
Alex Day (assistant pastor, Aveley Christian Centre)
Roy Edworthy (Craftsmen Simple Church, Foodbank & Besom)
Kim Ford (St Catherine’s, East Tilbury & Foodbank)
Chris Ford (St Catherine’s, East Tilbury & Foodbank)
Pastor Frank Gaisie (Destiny Chapel, South Ockendon)
Russell Godward (team leader, Thurrock Christian Fellowship, Corringham)
Tim Harrold (Craftsmen Simple Church & Transformation Thurrock) - facilitating
Rev Andy Higgs (St Mary's & St Cedd's, Stifford Parish)
John Ironmonger (West Thurrock Chapel) - hosting
Rev Jokey Poyntz (curate, St Margaret’s & Fresh Hope Community, Stanford-le-Hope)
Rev Bob Love ('retired', St Cedd’s, Stifford Clays)
Maggie Watts (Grays Methodist Church)
First Session - worship and opening prayers of thanksgiving
‘In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter –
I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins – and will rebuild it as it used to be,
so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,’
declares the Lord, who will do these things.
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills...'
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line, not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defences without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city; they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.
Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
Tim - Word over Thurrock: Isaiah 41:17-20
‘The poor and needy search for water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know, may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
This is the picture of unity God has for his church - diversity of expression fed by the subterranean river of the one life-giving Spirit
Alex - Acts: the disciples gathered together to receive different jobs
Second Session - praying for Thurrock using a map as a focus
Tim - Spirit, blow across Thurrock
Everyone present, being filled with the Spirit, blew the Spirit prophetically across the map by blowing.
We called for every people group, religious group, every age group, to come to Jesus.
Frank - walked on the map, stepping on hindrances and repossessing the land
Andy B - it’s an map and so its detail has changed, so we prayed for God’s change and transformation to come to the borough
Bob - God is widening our vision and birthing in us a bigger heart for what is yet to come. It is a stirring up and a revealing of a greater perspective
Bob - referenced the Magi in Matthew 2. God is working in us naturally in a supernatural way: we must be wise (wo)men who respond to the Word in the same way that the Magi were dreamers who applied their dreams (it was part of their culture to do so). God has given us each a tool box with the tools and gifts to do that which he has purposed us to do.
We prayed for one another and the area of Thurrock each represent.
This was followed by Communion led by John Ironmonger.
Third Session - praying for West Thurrock
John followed this by telling us a bit about West Thurrock Chapel, which was founded by one of the Vellacott family a century ago. John told us about the history of the village once surrounded by farmland (mostly owned by the Vellacotts) and the encroaching industry over the past century. The relationship the Chapel has with St Clement’s Parish Church was mentioned, and the newly trained evangelist Ray Barnard (formerly the Bar’N’Bus team leader for West Thurrock), who has a vision to reach the locality with the Good News of Jesus. We then prayed into all these things.
Fourth Session - The Five Fold Ministry Gifts
Tim facilitated a conversation arising from Bob's pre-distributed article (see link).
Tim had a picture of cords between churches that cause walls to fall - every line of communication causes the barriers between us to come down. This is God’s will - a denomination-less church, a city / area church in which denominations are not a dividing factor but the Spirit is allowed to be the uniting catalyst.
The foundations of the church should be of apostles and prophets and not pastors (Ephesians 2:20 - built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone).
Bob gave a short preamble and then we worked through the four questions posed in his paper.
Q1 Do we already see and recognise these gifts in our fellowships?
Do 'New Wine' style training events of our own in Thurrock
It is only out of relationship and trust that we can do a Pentecost event / mission together
Create a ‘forum of deeper opportunity’
Some church systems don't allow for the 5 fold gifts, but they exist in every fellowship because they are God-given to the whole body
The CoE are now appointing evangelists
Gifts work if there's recognition and encouragement in a fellowship - 'Jesus gave gifts', so we should facilitate them
Sometimes there is a problem in equipping / training - we must create cross-denominational ‘schools’ to help with this
Some facilitate dreams and visions of people who come to faith; it's not about professionals with 'loaded' titles
This is about gifts not governance
Many gifts remain latent
All gifts are present in all churches, regardless of style
The mandate of the TLP / TT is to draw this out of the church body (and thus foster unity)
Holy Spirit is not coming from Kent but from here - he’s already in the foundations, so raise expectations
Q2 How can we see these gifts and recognise and begin to use them in the context of TT?
Give permission to someone to see if any of the gifts are being used - which, and by whom
When we give the best away, it gives the second best the opportunity to grow to be the best (opposite spirit to the world’s way of doing things)
Bob: We need to be like a semi-permeable membrane (not like a condom!) - there's only one church and we're responsible for it (this is the very DNA of TT)
Q3 Can we develop a template for their use and testing for the common good?
This is not about being on the outside and telling us how bad we are, but being on the inside and helping us be better in developing and using the 5 fold gifts
Training is the bedrock of future discipleship
We can collectively ‘own’ the gifts, but don't take away the importance of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19
Andy B had with him two sticks - a rod and staff: these represented how far the church has wandered from its true path. The rod is to ward off predators and the staff is to lead the sheep. These days, only the staff is used, and we chop small pieces of grass to give to the sheep, but actually, sheep naturally feed anyway if led to fresh pasture.
Q4 Where and when do we start?
Begin to find ways to make this happen
This is just the tip of the 5 fold ministry gift iceberg
Good will come out of Thurrock
At the proposed interchurch Pentecost event, publicly give permission to each other to do this, taking these relationships that are being established to the wider church of Thurrock
The TLP will meet for a 4-hour gathering on Tuesday 9 February - Pancake Day - at Aveley Christian Centre
Tim said, “This is That!”
There is a very real sense that the conversation and broad agreement to work closer together with regards to releasing the 5 fold ministry gifts is significant and possibly unique
The difference with the North Kent ‘blessing’ is that this is churches-together
It is hugely important that the of unity principle is being outworked in Thurrock
David B - Isaiah 2:2-4:
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
The church is the agent of transformation
Fifth Session - praying for the Seven Mountains of Thurrock
We did not have time to pray into this, but Tim shared the vision for a series of cross-denominational prayer gatherings between January and July.
The TLP Retreat Day ended at about 4pm.
We would like to thank John Ironmonger for hosting the TLP Retreat Day on behalf of West Thurrock Chapel.
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." Henry Ford
"'Where there is no vision the people perish' (Proverbs 29:18). My translation: 'Where there is no vision, there is division.' 'Be Thou My Vision, O Lord.'" Leonard Sweet
“Stir the primal coals of your #movement, do what they did, say what they said.” Dallas Willard