Break in at Noddfa brings out the best

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You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

I had just arrived home from our church Christmas meal, well fed and ready for a lazy evening (thanks Gabby’s). Sadly this did not happen! Long story short; the Mothers and Toddlers fund had been stolen from the church and the perpetrator(s) had broken out through my office window.

We keep nothing of worldly value in the building (1 John 2:15) , other than a (well hidden) box that contains the Mothers and Toddlers collection. The fund goes towards toys, books, biscuits, drinks and snacks for the children. At the end of term the surplus is then spent on a party and goody bags for those who come.

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I do not want to go into too much detail, but, we have been told that the extensive movements of the perpetrator(s) throughout the church building left many clues for Crime Scene Investigation who are hopeful.

With Police support we published what had happened on our Facebook page. The community quickly rallied around their local church, setting up a crowdfund page that has raised nearly £600 in less than 24 hours. As a church we are terrifically humbled by this gesture and thank all those who donated, offered their support, encouragement and prayers. We are so blessed to be in such a community, surrounded by so much love and generosity.

We are just a small independent church supported by our members. We are not part of a larger denomination, we do not have fancy ornaments and relics to maintain, and you do not see me walking around the village with costly ministerial garb (more like trainers, jeans and a Parker jacket). The little money we take in during the Sunday collection goes on the facilities maintenance and bills, to ensure it remains a safe and welcoming place for all those who come throughout the week. The rest of the funds go towards serving the local community God has given us.

As a church we love everyone in our valley just as Christ loved us (1 John 4:19). We long for opportunities to show this love, by sacrificially giving and supporting the community we have been called by God to serve (1 Peter 4:10).

This is why I am so horrified by such a crime and pray deeply for the perpetrator(s).

I grieve for them and for the desperate situation that they must be in this Christmas, to risk so much for such a small collection box. If they had simply come in to see us, we would have rallied around them and supported as best as we could. They simply did not need to break in.

So, on behalf of the church I would like to reach out to the perpetrator(s) and say:

  • We understand that everyone faces difficulties in their lives and that these often lead to misjudgments and mistakes. I have made several myself (1 Timothy 1:15)! The Bible tells us, that this is human nature, none of us are perfect (Romans 3:10).
  • Please know that church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. We are not a place of duty driven religious nuts, but a loving community of grace who gather in thanksgiving.
  • As we gather knowing that none of us are perfect, we do not judge anyone who comes in (Matthew 7:1).
  • Our unlikely unity as a family of all ages and backgrounds, is a unity unseen by worldly institutions, radiating from the love of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
  • For these reasons we welcome all who wish to come, whatever the circumstance and this means you to!

During this festive season we remember how low God came, in love, to raise the weakest of us up. He (Jesus) left the glory and perfection of Heaven to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). He chose to be born into the lowest of families, spending His first night on earth in an animal feeding trough (Luke 2:7). He grew up to live a life of poverty (Matthew 8:20) and suffering that peaked in the most unimaginable pain of crucifixion. Where on that Cross He took on Himself the justice we deserve for our failures, the consequences for our sins and gave us His perfect life despite our imperfections.

By accepting that God has done the “religion for you” (In Jesus Christ) and repenting of your ways, seeking to follow Christ’s example, Christians can know a fresh start. A clean slate that we as a church offer (by God’s grace) to you today! What a gift this Christmas  (John 3:16) .

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25.

As Christians we do not come to a God who cannot sympathies with life’s difficulties that you maybe facing, because in Christ Jesus, He faced the world at its very worst! (Hebrews 4:15). In Christ, we do not come to a God of judgement but one of love and compassion (Psalm 145:8). The God who by His grace (not by our merit) forgave us for our failures (Ephesians 2:8-9) and in this same strength, we as Christians can forgive all those who have caused us pain to.

This is the real meaning of Christmas! Hope, in our loving God, who paid the price for our failures.

It is a shame that such profound love that we are reminded of at ‘Christ-mas’ has been replaced by a big red man that shows no mercy to those on his naughty list. It is a greater shame that Christmas has driven such social pressure on families that some have had to go to extreme lengths simply to fund the season.

If the perpetrator(s) is reading this, we have a number of events going on over Christmas and you (as well as all the community) are most welcome to come and join us to find out more about a love that you will not receive anywhere else, a love that can forgive and forget all things. (1 John 4:8).

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Let there be Light!

Last week we welcomed over 40 local children (many un-churched) to our light themed holiday club.

Each morning began with games around the chapel; from guess what is in the boxes, to blindfolded ‘put the flame on the candle’, shadow puppets, Simon says and activity sheets.

We then gathered to hear God’s Word and I gave a brief message.

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Monday we took the children time travelling, back to the very beginning of everything, where God said let there be light (Gen 1:3). Tuesday I shared my difficulties on going to the bathroom during the night, treading on Lego and tripping over toy cars and doll houses, and how I need a torch to help guide me through safely. The world is a dark place and Jesus is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105). Wednesday Peter spoke on the Parable of the ten virgins, digging out an old mining lamp to show the children (Matt 25:3). Thursday I tried to light up the church by putting a lamp under a chair (Matt 5:15) and on Friday I showed the children that a flame on a match casts no shadow, there is no darkness in light, we have nothing to fear in Christ (Psalm 27:1).

After the message, we all conga’d up to the hall for craft, where the children made light/dark plates, lighthouses, lanterns, light jars, sparkly footprints and candle stands.

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We then played various games and had refreshments. 

Each day finished back in the chapel, we’d go through the memory verse (which they all remembered the following day), a quiz and prizes. On Friday the children enjoyed a “treasure hunt” to find logs (brown painted toilet rolls) which were brought back to a fire and we all had marshmallows on sticks during the message.

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We then finished with a presentation back up in the hall. The children all received a copy of Matthew’s Gospel and the parents came in to see their child’s craft and have a cup of tea.

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The week concluded on Sunday with our (light themed) Look Up family friendly service.

These evenings are intended to be a “church taster” so we can build bridges with the community. We sang two hymns, read God’s word and I spoke briefly.

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We welcomed many from the community, most from outside the church. They came into the chapel (a big step for some of them) and I believe we broke down their assumptions that church is a boring and fearful place, but a Christ centered community of love.

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Fellowship continued, where we gathered outside to see the chapel lit up with lazer’s, the children enjoyed sparklers and lanterns were let off into the night sky.

We then retired into the back hall, decorated in fairy lights and LED balloons, where we enjoyed hot-dogs and spent well over an hour getting to know people from the community. The Lord seems to be softening hearts in what is a very dark valley. 

Prayer requests

Please pray for all those who came, that we will see them again. 

Pray for all those that thought about coming, that we may welcome them next time. 

Pray for all those who chose not to come, that they will see Noddfa as a home for people who once thought church was “not for them”.

A big thanks to my loving wife and everyone in the team who helped put on a wonderful week for our local children. May the Lord Bless the seed that was sown. To Him be the Glory. Amen

 

 

New Term and we are Open for Business.

“Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Ezekiel 37:3

The new academic year has begun and after a long summer break our various meetings are now back!!!! We are open for Business!

All are welcome, you do not have to be a Christian to come to any of the below!

Please take just a few minutes to watch our “Year in Picture” at the bottom of the page to see what you missed last year, and hopefully we can welcome you to join in the fun over the coming weeks.

Noddfa’s week.

Sunday

11am- 12:30pm – Morning service and Sunday School

Take a break from the world, recharge your batteries and enjoy time with you maker. We sing hymns, pray and share a message from the Scriptures. The children are taken to Sunday School during the service, to have a story and craft. Tea, coffee and biscuits after the service for us to chat and meet new people.

5pm (when advertised) “Look Up”

A monthly Family Friendly service, where we sing hymns, share a short message followed by a seasonal activity. (Fireworks, Christmas Party, Valentines Craft, seed planting etc).

Monday

6-7pm Monday Club

For Primary School aged children. A story, quizzes, games and refreshments. Prizes at the end of term and special “cinema nights”. Children”Graduate” after six meetings and receive a Bible of their own.

Tuesday

10am- 12 noon Mothers and Toddlers

Pre-school age meeting for the community, includes lots of fun toys to play with, games and activities, refreshments including toast and fresh fruit for the children, a short story (and a good opportunity to catchup with friends and meet new people from the community). We ask for a £1 donation per child to cover some of the cost.

Wednesday

11:30am-12:30pm Prayer meeting

The engine room of the church, where we meet to hear a short message and to share prayer points, concerns and encouragements. We then set aside quiet time to be with God and pray for the work and the community we serve. All are welcome.

Thursday

10am- 12 noon Mothers and Toddlers

Pre-school age meeting for the community, includes lots of fun toys to play with, games and activities, refreshments including toast and fresh fruit for the children, a short story (and a good opportunity to catchup with friends and meet new people from the community). We ask for a £1 donation per child to cover some of the cost.

Coming Soon……

Friday 9am – Clinic, held at local cafe for people that want to chat over a cup of tea in neutral surroundings.

Friday 7:30pm – Youth group (name TBC) – Teenagers welcome, a safe place to discuss topical issues with of course games (we have a pool table), been bags to sit in and refreshments (probably chips….i like chips).

Sunday 5pm – An informal evening service, Bible Study or DVD and discussion.

And a half term Holiday Club!