A Constant Gardener by Pastor Anonymous: Slow grace?

Slow Grace?I met Neil seven years ago.

He came to our church, smiley, friendly, and obviously nervous. He knew that he was coming into a network of friendships, and we could see that he felt daunted about it. We knew that we needed to give Neil a lot of space to get comfortable amongst us, and that included all the hospitality and friendship that he wanted.

Given to us

Neil was approaching middle-age, single, and a bit of a mystery. We knew that he was very grateful for his church upbringing in another part of the country, and his commitment to his elderly mum often took him back there. We didn’t know who his friends were, and very little about his work. But that’s fine. The Lord had given him to us as someone we were charged to (to read more click here)

Pastor Anonymous is in full-time pastoral ministry somewhere in the UK.

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Catechizing our children (book review)

CATECHIZING OUR CHILDREN:Catechizing our children
The whys and hows of teaching the Shorter
Catechism today
By Terry L Johnson
Banner of Truth. 87 pages. £6.05
ISBN 978 1 848 713 000

As a parent, director of children’s ministry in our local church, publisher and trainer in children’s ministry, I picked up this book with great eagerness.

One family in our church has also recently started using a similar catechism with their children and I have seen the benefits of their efforts spilling over on Sunday mornings. Every so often there is an eruption of profound theological truth from these children and it’s simply heart-warming.

Although I am not new to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, I did find the concise and well-ordered history to be a good refresher. It would certainly also make for an excellent… (to read more click here)

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit our website or subscribe to en for regular updates.

Scottish independence rejected. Now what?

William Mackenzie assesses the public mood in the aftermath of the vote rejecting Scottish independence

How are things in Scotland now

Early September brought a high-pressure weather system over much of the UK, particularly over Scotland.

This resulted in an extensive layer of fog affecting the airports and the farmer trying to harvest his crops. Through the first three weeks of September this fog hardly shifted at all. It seemed that the weather was reflecting the political situation in the run-up to the Scottish Referendum on the 18th of September.

Amongst friends and family throughout Scotland and across the world there was a great deal of uncertainty, with many anxiously looked into the future, not knowing what was going to happen. Now the result is known, there are many who are even more anxious and some who are deeply upset. Social media was flooded with posts and tweets from ardent supporters of both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps.

Promises to keep?

While it was good to see passionate engagement in politics, it was sad to see divisions running deep. There were few clear, plain answers given. There were always responses but the answers were missing. Promises were made which many would consider… to read more click here

William Mackenzie,
Christian Focus Publications and Chairman of the en Board, living in Inverness.

This article was first published in the November issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Editors commentary: Terrorism in France

tricoloreWEBEurope has been given an horrific reminder of the threat of terrorism.

On 7 January, Islamic extremists stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with assault rifles and killed ten of the editorial staff and two policemen. Refusing to surrender, the perpetrators were hunted down and eventually killed by French police by which time another incident, in which an Islamic extremist held people hostage in a Jewish supermarket in the French capital, was taking place. More deaths occurred. We are sad for the bereaved and disgusted by these murders. The attackers claimed links to both ISIL and al-Qu’eda.

World War III

The terrorist threat against the West is ongoing and the French government spoke about a war being waged against free speech and the Western way of life. As we see the violence of extremist Islam across the globe we have to conclude that ….to read more click here

This article was first published in the February 2015 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to en or visit our website www.e-n.org.uk.

Do we shape our buildings or do they shape us?

Building up Bournemouth

Artist’s impression of the new building being constructed for Lansdowne Baptist Church

‘We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.’

So said Winston Churchill defending the adversarial nature of the House of Commons debating chamber. The same could be said of our church buildings. They are monuments to the era in which they were built and reflect its values.

Take the Victorian chapel which has been home to Lansdowne Baptist, Bournemouth, for 138 years. No street-level windows giving so much as a hint to passers by of what’s going on inside. It was a building originally designed to be open only for one day a week. A small vestibule makes a comfortable welcome challenging. It leads to aisles too narrow for pushchairs, wheelchairs and buggies. A three-sided balcony is reached by way of a winding staircase. At the end of the service there is limited chance of a meaningful meeting with anyone below, in the melée to exit.

There is a grand pulpit, of course. Forbiddingly high, far more than the six feet above proverbial contradiction. And, stretching out beneath the preacher’s gaze, row upon row of uncomfortable wooden pews, even with cushioned runners.

The whole edifice appears built to dissuade the worshipper from overstaying his or her welcome and makes a sense of community and corporate praise difficult.

Change on the way

But over the next two years dramatic changes are on the way… (read more)

Lansdowne Baptist Church

This article was first published in the February issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.