We have had three wonderful years at Christ Church. I have enjoyed such a broad range of things: leading and preaching, weddings, funerals and baptisms, working with children and young people, visiting Jessop House and Belmont school, learning from the finance committee, offering pastoral care and running Alpha. We will be sad to leave but are excited about how God is leading us. Thank you so much for your love as we have had the privilege of serving alongside you at this special time.
Hasn’t it been a time of amazing growth?! We joined in June 2013, before Acton Green Church integrated with Christ Church Turnham Green and before St Alban’s Acton Green became the third part of the Christ Church W4 multisite team. We have been part of a wonderful and growing staff team. It’s been an honour to see over 150 people come through the Alpha course, with many stories of lives changed. I’ve so enjoyed journeying with the youth on Friday evenings; the group now has over 30 on the list. When we came to our first weekend away there were a handful of young adults and now we have over 50 of them! It’s a wonderful thing that God is doing, all glory be to him.
It’s also been a time of great fun! Before we arrived, Chiswick Buzz announced that we were having a baby before we even knew! My season as Captain Ketchup is forever marked in my mind. Interviewing Ezra (aka the Vicar!) isn’t something you do every day. Ottilie will miss a constant supply of cakes at church and Jessamy will miss regularly being mistaken for Lydia’s twin at Sunbeams. We will both miss the dinner parties, especially the most raucous ones with the ladies in their seventies – you know who you are! And I still don’t know why I got gunged at Holiday club?!
In terms of what’s next, I’ve been accepted to study a full-time PhD in Theology under Professor Tom Greggs at the University of Aberdeen (also a St Mellitus Visiting Professor), starting in October 2016. This distance-learning route works because we have been generously offered rent-free accommodation for the duration of my study. Our housing is only 10mins from Gatwick, which makes it easy to get to Aberdeen for seminars and periods of work. Monthly supervisions will be via Skype and we will be an active part of St Peter’s Brighton, where I will help run the evening Alpha course.
In order to undertake this research, I need to raise a remaining £42,000 over three years (£14k p.a) to cover tuition fees, living costs, transport and books. My project will focus on German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and how to speak the Gospel clearly and effectively today. This should lead to a book on Bonhoeffer’s Theology of Preaching (a new contribution to the field of homiletics and Bonhoeffer studies) and the empowerment of deep, confident, and effective preaching of God’s word, across the church. It will also qualify me to train ordinands and others.
Thank you again for everything and we look forward to visiting you in the future and seeing all the more that God has been doing,
Grace and peace,
Keir, Jessamy and Ottilie.
The church will be helping to support Keir and Jessamy (and the PhD) through a thanksgiving offering which will be taken up in the weeks leading to their last Sunday at church on 26 June. There will be a goodbye picnic on Turnham Green following the 10.30am service.