Jul 02

philsnelson2No doubt you’ve heard of “Street Pastors” but I wonder if you’ve heard about “School Pastors”.  Street Pastors patrol the streets of the town late on Friday and Saturday nights to help and support vulnerable people who are part of the night-life.  School Pastors have a similar principle but their role is to help and support young people on their way home from school in the afternoon.

It was very exciting last October, when the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) approached Street Pastors to ask whether they could provide support for school children.  From there, Richard Johnson, the chair of Street Pastors in Northampton, invited me and one or two others to be part of the new project.  Based on the national initiative for School Pastors we began to put together a proposal for a pilot scheme based in Northampton East.  Gradually we have arrived at a School Pastors project that will run for a year starting in September 2014 with the hope that not only will that continue but further projects for other areas of Northampton will then be approved.

The project is a partnership between CSP, Street Pastors, the local churches and Northampton Academy, all working together to help young people feel and be safer on their way home.  The initial patrols will be on a Thursday afternoon with School Pastors patrolling together in two’s or three’s – never on their own!  School Pastors have to be people who’ve been members of a recognised church for at least two years and so far we have an initial team of seven people on the training programme.  Our commissioning service is on 18th July, 7:30pm at St Giles in town.

It is so exciting that the local authorities are coming to the Church (in the form of Street Pastors) for help in the community.  What is more, CSP are already keen to fund and promote further schemes across Northampton.  It seems to me it makes all the difference, and “the world” notices, when the whole church sets aside our denominational interests and simply does mission together as one: Street Pastors and School Pastors are good examples of just that.

So the challenge is laid down to us as the Church to support and serve our community!!

We really need churches and groups to support the work in prayer, starting now with the training and preparing the way and then on into supporting the patrols from September onwards.

We also need more volunteers to train and become School Pastors as the project grows.  Karen is our co-ordinator if you want to know more (coordinator@northampton.streetpastors.org.uk).
There is also a Northampton School Pastors website with more information:  http://www.northampton.streetPastors.org.uk/school-pastors/

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Yours in Christ,

philsig

written by Park Avenue Methodist Church

Jun 03

Nutan2-small“When the day of Pentecost came… Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…All of them were filled with the holy Spirit .” (Acts 2:1-4)

It is assumed that Christians have just two major festivals – Christmas and Easter. But what about the Pentecost? The Bible tells us that Pentecost was held 50 days after the Passover, it was also called the Feast of Weeks in the Jewish calendar. It was one of three very important annual feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16) which is a festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops. Jews from different nations travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate this festival. Interestingly, Jesus was crucified at Passover time and he ascended 40 days after his resurrection. The Holy Spirit came 50 days after the resurrection, ten days after his ascension. I would like to point out here that these numbers are only guidelines for us to know when things happened roughly. And at Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues (see Luke 3:16). The fiery tongues symbolized speech and the spreading of the Good news of the Risen Lord Jesus.

Being empowered by the power of the Holy Spirit Peter addressed (Acts 2:14ff) an international gathering in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit convinced them of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. As a result, Jews coming from various nations believed in Jesus and 3000 people gave their lives to Christ. The encounter with the Holy Spirit made them never to be the same again. So after the Pentecost celebration those new believers went back to their places and began to talk about their new experience which no doubt may have resulted in further growth of the Christian fellowship.

God made his presence known to a group of believers in a spectacular way through a violent wind, fire, and his Holy Spirit. Do we expect God to reveal himself to us in such recognizable ways in our time? Do we also wait on God like the disciples did (Acts 1:12ff)? Do we ask God for his wisdom, approval and blessings when we make decisions?

Very often I am tempted to get on with things/jobs even when I know I run ahead of God. But sometimes waiting is a part of God’s eternal plan for our life. Let us not hesitate to wait on him and listen to what God is saying and how He wants to guide us to accomplish his mission. This is one of the ways by which we will realise how God’s timing and his power become effective in our lives for His glory.

As the early disciples did (Acts 2:42-47) we must ‘devote’ ourselves to reading the Bible, to fellowshipping with other Christians, to partaking in the Holy Communion and prayer. This cannot be achieved until we have learnt to sit alone with the resurrected Christ in his school of discipleship to encounter the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us be open to receive his power through the Holy Spirit to be a New People so that we may produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is not by our strength but the power of the Holy Spirit we can be what God wants us to be.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Nutan Suray

written by Park Avenue Methodist Church