PICT1808Pete & Mary Howe made their last visit to the Grays Leaders Prayer Breakfast last Friday morning (14 January).

The Howes were until recently leaders at Thurrock Christian Fellowship’s Grays Congregation which is based at the All Saints Centre in John Street. They’d been leaders there since 2002 when TCF went from being one congregation to being three, the two other church plants being in Corringham and Tilbury.

In the early days of their leadership in Grays, there were frequent 24-7 Prayer Weeks held in the All Saints building, with often six prayer rooms covering different themes open for an entire 168 hour week. Tim Harrold remembers being with Pete in the ‘Wave Room’ on one occasion and standing under a big wave that had been constructed. As a CD of waves continuously rolled on in the background, the two men stood under the wave and got well and truly touched by God’s awesome (oar-some?) presence.

On another occasion at a 24-7, in the dead of night, the two of them found themselves ‘slain by the Spirit’ on the floor of the All Saints’ kitchen for what seemed like a couple of hours, unable to get up, but again soaking in the presence of the Lord. Neither of them made it into any of the prayer rooms!

Pete & Mary also travelled to Toronto and the Airport Fellowship where they did a course, returning to do many ‘soaking’ nights, which were very well attended for their duration. They also travelled to Florida, Lagos, and Australia where they have relatives.

After the period of the 24-7s and the All Saints Centre being a ‘house of prayer for all nations’, Pete & Mary saw the building converted into the thriving ‘Treasure Children Forever’ Pre-School, which is open on week days. Pete, being a carpenter by trade, was involved in much of the work.

Pete & Mary have felt the Lord call them away from Grays and Thurrock to Felixstowe in Suffolk, where they already have relatives living and a good rapport with the local Community Church. They are excited by the future and see the move as more of a door opening in front of them than a door closing behind them.

PICT1803The Howes have been regular supporters of the GLP since it began, nearly 8 years ago now. They have often hosted the GLP in their house and also in the room-above-the-porch at the All Saints Centre. Their natural pastoral gifting has often shone through as they’ve encouraged us to pray for one another as friends in Christ and not just a bunch of professional people doing similar jobs ‘in the Name of Jesus’.

From the picture above (taken by Andy Blakey of TCF Grays) you can see that this month’s GLP Breakfast was well attended with folk wanting to make the most of the opportunity to send Pete & Mary off with a blessing. From left to right these are:

  • Roy Smith (St Thomas RC and GLP Breakfast host)
  • Lanre Gold (pastor, Mountain of Fire & Miracles, Chadwell)
  • Maggie Smith (Grays Methodist Church)
  • Tim Harrold (Transformation Thurrock & church-in-the-house)
  • Colin Baker (pastor, Grays Baptist Church)
  • Rosemary Pritchard (minister, Grays Methodist Church)
  • Akin Laosun (pastor, Gates of Praise, Grays)
  • Andy Higgs (minister, N Stifford & Stifford Clays)
  • Jean Catton (Grays Baptist Church)
  • Pete & Mary
  • Margaret Smith (St Thomas RC and GLP Breakfast host)

PICT1804A number of the assembled prayed over Pete & Mary, particularly Akin (left), who thanked them for their encouragement to him when he first arrived in Grays. He and various others read scriptures over Pete & Mary, who responded by reciprocating blessing with blessing and remarking on the seeming uniqueness and obvious inclusiveness of the GLP group.

The GLP shall miss Pete & Mary’s input, openness, honesty, genuineness, integrity, depth, wisdom, humility, love, fun and humour. But our loss is definitely Felixstowe’s gain!

In the past year, TCF has restructured itself into Mission Shaped Communities, based on a way of being church modelled by St Andrew’s, Chorleywood. Their website – www.thurrockcf.org.uk – says the following:
Thurrock Christian Fellowship is a vibrant, growing, local church in Thurrock, south Essex. We meet each week in Mission Shaped Communities, & express our mission and ministry through this network of communities in the towns of Corringham, Stanford-le-Hope, Grays & Tilbury. These communities provide the opportunity to ‘Build Community, Deepen Discipleship & Grow through Mission’. We then gather as a whole church for celebration every First Sunday of the month at the TCF All Saints Centre, John Street, Grays @ 10.00am. Ultimately our aim is to create a community of people who are passionate to ‘Love God and Serve the World!’