by Tim Harrold
On Thursday 8 September 2016, the Thurrock Leaders Prayer group gathered at St Catherine’s Parish Church in East Tilbury for a day together simply called Refresh.
This is a quarterly event designed to give more time for strategic prayer into local concerns, matters of church unity, and ministry to each other.
Present were (in alphabetical order):
- David Bareham (Community Church)
- Andy Blakey (TCF)
- Celia & Dennis Brockhurst (St Erkanwald’s, Barking, but based in Thurrock)
- Roy Edworthy (Craftsmen Simple Church)
- Chris & Kim Ford (St Catherine’s – our hosts)
- Tim & Vera Harrold (Transformation Thurrock and Craftsmen Simple Church)
- Niyi Olujobi (Church Of His Presence, Grays)
We were joined late on by the recently retired Canon Paul Robinson of St Catherine’s.
Before Andy Blakey led a time of worship, Tim Harrold brought a brief ‘object lesson’ using a Budweiser bottle top he’d found in the road on the way up from the Coalhouse Fort car park. It has a crown on it and two arrows, indicating it’s a screw cap. Tim used this to encourage those present to remove the spiritual lids from their spiritual vessels and let the wells of the Holy Spirit spring up and out and overflow, trusting God to replenish the waters of eternity from the infinite wells and springs of heaven.
With quiet worship music on in the background, Andy asked for each to bring words of thanksgiving for God’s goodness – some of the scriptures mentioned were John 8:36; Isaiah 54:7; Psalm 139:1-24; John 1:1-5. We also sang praises to God.
Andy then recounted a meeting he’d been to where the CEO of Thurrock Council talked through the various symbols of the borough’s coat of arms in an inspirational way. The motto (‘By The Thames To The Peoples Of The World’) and symbols (e.g., Celtic cross; Tudor rose; oils; shipping; albatross etc.,) were referred to not only as indicators of Thurrock’s illustrious history but as aspirational signposts towards the future. Thurrock is a place of influence, its geography informing its history, and in turn its spirituality.
Andy referred to the Council’s recent 5 minute visioncast, https://youtu.be/P0NdHVKCpJ8, and asked:
- What is the church’s response?
- What have we done since the declaration of unity?
- What is the expectation of the church for growth?
- How do we intend to move forward?
Tim added to this:
- Colin Baker’s cross-church prayer vision: “My Elders were so moved by the Pentecost Declaration that as I preached through the fundamental elements of it we were compelled to pick up an aspect immediately and run with it. Simply asking church leaders or members how we can pray for their church seemed the most logical way of demonstrating that we stand shoulder to shoulder in ministry. Therefore, if we are praying for another fellowship in our community we share in their goal to change the atmosphere. We have also been blessed to be asked by fellowships further afield – the Lord wants us to be in prayer for all His people who are about the Kingdom’s work.”
- Colin was unable to attend because he had a meeting with council for Housing First as senior officers at council have agreed funding for the project
- Supernatural Evangelism (from Eastgate / Bethel)
- Following & Fishing (from Movements.net)
- Prayer gatherings & prayer actions on the land & prayer walking (Thames Gateway Prayernet considering revisiting sites to ‘steward the victory’)
- Stanford Boiler Room in schools news from Sally Harman: “Chaplaincy at Gable Hall… (4 people) & our first cafe with prayer space at Hassenbrook… (8 people). We prayed for the gates to open in schools. God heard us. We are starting the TLG mentoring at Corringham primary this term too. Performers college welcome bags going in this month.”
The following conversation was had (gist taken from brief notes):
- David: What is the dream? Difficult to describe
- Vera: Purpose of TLP to get to know each other intimately and allow strategy to emerge
- Andy: Send new people to a fellowship that suits them, thereby having a kingdom perspective not a church mindset
- Kim: 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 “Is Christ divided?”
- Vera: We should support each other in prayer (as per Colin’s suggestion)
- Tim: The early Salvation Army under General Booth, accepted the rough and ready, sent them to formal churches who rejected and ejected them – God is moving in the nation to reverse this through the establishing of disciple-making and multiplication movements among the working classes i.e., church outside of ‘church’ e.g., Newforms’ simple church models reaching, like those for whom the institutional and established church of formal religion is a barrier to knowing Jesus
- Andy asked David about the tipping point of Christians in an area being 7% and if this statistic is true for Chafford Hundred and does it therefore have a ‘kingdom culture?
- David: Despite high density of believers (including many pastors of churches outside the area) on Chafford Hundred estate, engagement with them all is hard work
- Andy suggested holding the TLP on a Thursday evening to include leaders who work full-time, and said we should intentionally promote each other, honour each other, and build on that culture of honour
- Kim: Foodbank story – for 7 weeks, no takers; today, everything taken
- Roy: Proverbs 29:18 – “Without vision the people perish” – revisit the original vision of unity and transformation
- David: be kingdom people / equipping & training each other / social action & community engagement – celebrate what we have but take steps to take it forward (movement)
- Tim: the testimony of one part of the body is the testimony of the whole body, as we are all in Christ, and it’s his testimony (in reference to praying for the Boiler Room’s work, e.g.)
- Vera: strategy and Isaiah 46:11 – “What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”
We prayed through these issues and then enjoyed a bring & share lunch together.
- Furthering Colin’s prayer vision
- Holding an evening TLP at some point – Tim to action
- Community Church – Church Of His Presence idea: Watchnight Celebration, 31 December 2017 – 1 January 2018 in large venue
- Tim meeting with leaders of all the 20 churches represented at the Thurrock Pentecost 2016 Declaration of Unity
With thanks to Kim & Chris Ford at St Catherine’s for their generous hospitality and fresh coffee.