This Autumn, our church is looking at what we believe, and using the Nicene Creed as a basis for exploring this (this creed is an ancient declaration of the Christian faith dating back to AD325 and the early church communities). Last month, Dan Slatter asked us if we might create a short film recording of the creed. You may have already seen this film at church and recognise some of the voices on it!
We decided to record many different voices because we wanted to build a diverse picture of what it means to be part of church family – the young and old together, from many backgrounds and upbringings, all united in their love and adoration of Christ. So, on this recording you will hear Scottish, Irish, English and even Afro-French accents! In the western world we value highly our individualism with “I” and “my” being some of our most frequently used words. Christ knew that it was “we” - the church - that would become a beautiful family of relationships - his bride and treasure on earth. He knew that if we continued to view the world and understand ourselves with an “I” outlook, that we would fall to confusion or comparison. “We believe” is then a transforming creed, “we” are whole within the body, we are valued within the body and “we” are sheltered within the body.
We hope that the imagery we have woven into this film will help others who are on a journey of faith to distil, contemplate and rest in these ancient statements. We are “one” in belief, connected to our brothers and sisters of faith through many generations in Christ. “We” can play our part – not with fear, comparison or insecurity, but with confidence. “We” belong – accepted, loved, forgiven and free. “We” can rest when we are tired, question when we doubt, and be carried when we can no longer stand because we share in the love and the legacy of others who have gone before us.
Neil & Julie Haydock
Here are the words to this glorious declaration of Christian faith:
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
A Level results are out! We are thinking of those across the country who have now received their results. For many, these results will determine 'what's next'. Let's be praying for students who are coming to study here in Chichester this year, and for those returning in the coming weeks.
If you are coming to Chichester university this term, we'd love to hear from you. Keep an eye on our student Facebook page to stay up-to-date with freshers and autumn term events: www.facebook.com/revelationfamilystudents/
Dwell - Neil & Julie's new album!
If you were at church on Sunday 2nd July you'll know that we were interviewed about our prayer resource - Prayerscapes. We’re super-excited to announce the release of our new album “Dwell”, now available via iTunes, Amazon and on our site at prayerscapes.com.
Some of the material on “Dwell” is taken from the videos that you may already have seen in some of our church meetings. The album weaves inspirational poetry, foundational scripture and song ministry together with filmatic soundtracks.
"If you are looking for a recording all about Biblical meditation and reflection you won't find anything better than the prayerscapes albums. We've used them for years at our creative prayer workshops. What makes Dwell even more a winner for us is that a lot of our talented friends are involved on it. Yet again Neil & Julie prove that they have a God given talent by producing this unique new album."
Ishmael & Irene Smale
(Ishmael - singer/songwriter - writer of "Father God, I wonder" and numerous children's albums.)
Much of the material on the new album has been born out of some of our life experiences over the last few years. "May the Road Rise Up to Meet You" came out of praying for Julie, soon after our second child was born. I stumbled over this ancient Celtic blessing and found myself praying/singing it for her. It became a gentle reminder that whatever stresses we face (and these were plentiful with a small baby & a six year old child!) God holds us in the palm of His hand, and His faithfulness and love will never let us go:-
Other tracks have emerged from flashes of inspiration and creativity. The words to the track "Prayer Connects" came to Julie as one continuous stream of ideas - she scribbled the words down with the aid of a torch during the middle of the night! The poem is read by the wonderful Ant Stewart and is about God's amazing gift of prayer, charting the many different ways in which we encounter this gift in our lives:-
There are also tracks on the album which take the form of ministry songs, such as "Take my Hand". This song seeks to carry the love, grace, healing and hope that we have in Christ for those who are suffering. We played this track a couple of weeks ago in our morning meeting together:-
Dwelling is about finding a home, about connection with our Eternal Creator, pushing our roots deep into God’s Kingdom. To find “home“ we need to settle, unpack, relax and feel welcome. ”Dwell” is an open door leading us to moments that crystallize our beliefs, shelter our troubled hearts and inspire us to connect, to rest and to seek after the love of Christ.
It's possible to explore the album further by visiting this page and clicking on the samples from the tracks on "Dwell". Clicking on the track titles will take you to the lyrics, scriptures and poems that are on the album. Here you can also buy the album, either as mp3s or as a good old physical CD!
Neil & Julie
Robert Armstrong has started up a blog called “Easy Money” to help and encourage people to manage their money better, and he already has quite a few followers in Revs. Here’s a link to it:
He says his blog is about “making it easier to manage money on a day-to-day basis by organising our finances so that we only have to think really hard about money (which we don’t like doing) very occasionally.”
Robert is also the point of contact for Christians Against Poverty (CAP) within Revelation Family Church and recently trained as a CAP Money Coach. CAP helped more than 8,000 families in the UK with financial problems last year.
Robert believes that how we manage our money is central to our walk with God, and when Jesus said “I have come to set the captives free”, this includes being free from debt and financial worries.
Chichester Anna Chaplain to Older People
Part-time, 14 hours a week £7,200 - £9,200 pa dependent on experience
The Anna Chaplaincy is a post promoting the spiritual wellbeing of older people. It is a pioneering role offering spiritual support to older people living in care homes, sheltered housing and within the community. It includes supporting relatives, friends, and care staff. The Anna Chaplain will recruit, support and sustain volunteers in this work.
The Anna Chaplain also has a wider role within the community as an advocate and champion of the contribution older people make to society. This is an opportunity to draw alongside people of all faiths and none, as well as encourage the wider church to celebrate and cherish older members of their congregations.
The applicant would be part of a growing ecumenical network of such chaplains, developing links with our national partners, the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), through the Gift of Years – “resourcing the spiritual journey of older people.”
It is an occupational requirement for the person appointed to be a professing and practising Christian (Equality Act 2010).
The role is a part-time one of 14 hours a week, times to be agreed though some flexibility will be required, increasing to 21 hours following a review of the service. Enhanced DBS and references will be required.
Chichester Anna Chaplaincy is registered 1172058 with the Charity Commission.
For more details and how to apply, please visit Chichester Cathedral’s website at: www.chichestercathedral.org.uk (go to the About Us tab then to Job Vacancies).
The closing date for applications is Monday 15th May by 17.00hrs.
Interviews will be held on Tuesday 6th June 2017.
It is highly desirable that the appointee be available to attend the formal launch of the Chaplaincy in Chichester on 7th July
NT60 - RICH LUSH
As we head towards the final couple of weeks in the New Testament, it felt like the perfect time to reflect on this season. I don’t know about you, but for me there has been some real challenge in what I’ve read. Not only in terms of the scriptures, but practically fitting it in as well. Life is busy, as I’m sure we’re all aware and reading four chapters some days feels like more effort then perhaps we’re willing to put in.
Still, it has been a great joy to engage with the scriptures. For me it has felt like someone has put me on a physical workout plan or set diet for a season - and I feel the benefits of that in my daily walk. I’ve found that parts of scriptures have come alive in a way that I’d never really felt before. The book of Acts no longer felt like a record of events, but a story where I felt Paul’s pain as he said goodbye to the leaders of the Ephesian church for the last time, knowing that prison awaited him next. Where I could read about the churches he visited and read the letters he wrote to those same churches, whether he wrote in excitement to them or in desperation.
Reading through the letters, it was good to be reminded that the culture Paul was speaking to was not completely removed from our own as so often is claimed. Instead these were churches, much like our own, were working through day to day life, with ordinary people wanting to live a Godly extraordinary life, whilst dealing with fear and worry, questions around death and life, issues of how to connect with the culture and how to be a light to it. The world they lived in was filled with sexual promiscuity, drunkenness, con-men, judgment and a government that petrified many of them by the actions they took. This could easily be any English city.
For me all of this reminds me again and again that this book that we hold is still as relevant today as it has ever been - it still carries a great weight and is still a model of God’s authority in our life. When I don’t know the answer to an issue, the answer is probably in the Bible. And if it isn’t, then the way to work it out has probably already been modelled in the Bible!
Too often our culture wants to claim that this book is worthless, but it should be precious to us - as it holds truth in a world that wants to claim there is no truth.
In closing, I don’t know whether we’ve realised how revolutionary this time has been, to be a modern church intentionally reading their Bible heavily over a set season - there are plenty of churches out there whose congregations don’t read the word - whose pastors, as I read today, have said we need to stop “valuing” it in the same way; but I would argue that the Bible is no less relevant today then it was 2,000 years ago, and when we feast on His word through the eyes of the Holy Spirit and put it into action, both practically, thoughtfully and prayerfully, we will see His Glory.
Linda Roberts shares some of her thoughts on NT60 readings from Matthew...
"In Matthew chapters 1 and 2 I noticed that God spoke to Joseph three times in his dreams, giving him vital information, instructions or warnings. I don’t think God’s ever spoken to me in a dream (if he has I’ve missed it) but dreams are still such a common way for Jesus to make Himself known to Muslims.
I’ve read recently of Muslim refugees in England becoming Christians after Jesus appeared to them in a dream, and even of former members of ISIS seeing Jesus in dreams and visions. One former ISIS fighter who had killed many Christians said that he had begun having dreams of a man in white who came to him and said, 'You are killing my people.' The ISIS fighter said that just before he killed one Christian, the man said, 'I know you will kill me, but I give to you my Bible.' The Christian was killed and this ISIS fighter actually took the Bible and began to read it. In another dream, Jesus asked him to follow him and he is now asking to become a follower of Christ and be discipled! (source: YWAM)
Reading through the New Testament with Revs I’ve been reminded that however God choses to speak to us, through dreams or reading the Bible or an infinite number of other ways, He’s always communicating."
How does God communicate with you and what has he been saying recently?
In what ways might you be able to nurture a deepening of relationship with him?
I love these lyrics. They talk of a God whose character, His very essence, is that of a father. You're a good GOOD Father, that's who You are.
And it talks of humanity, not communally but personally. It talks about me, it talks about us. The individual and the whole.
It talks of our identity, that I am (that you are), LOVED, that's who I am. That’s who you are.
The fact that these two phrases are next to each other is not by chance, but an incredible statement:
It is reminding us that our identity is wrapped up in God’s character. That because God’s character is that of a Father...He loves us.
When Jesus died on the cross He chose that path, knowing that was the only way to our access to fullness of relationship with the Father. God sent Jesus because HE LOVED US. We weren’t even alive at the time, but God still sent His son for everybody. God’s character pulsating with love.
Matthew 6 v9-11 says;
"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
When I see parents in church all I see is them loving their children. Parents make their children out of love, and when I see parents watching their beloved children taking their various steps in life all I see is the love in their eyes. If as a church we see our children this way, how much more does our Heavenly Father see us like that?
I believe that God’s saying to us that just because He is our wonderful father in heaven, He loves us. Cherishes us. Favours us. Not because of anything we do, but simply because of the fact that He is a father and He's overflowing with love.
By knowing we don't have to earn God's love by actions we can just rest in it. By knowing God’s love isn’t dependent or linked to MY character or MY actions. But because of His character and His actions, we unlock our identity;
That we are loved more than we can understand.
Andrew Benson is involved in leading a discipleship course called Ignite at Revelation Church every Monday evening. He is a passionate follower of Jesus, married to the wonderful Rachel and together they are a huge blessing to our community here in Chichester!
"At the end of May, we will be embarking on an adventure that is scary and exciting in equal measure. After much prayer and consideration, we have felt God’s calling to leave Chichester and move to Hong Kong to spend 2 years volunteering/training with St Stephen’s Society, which is the work of Jackie Pullinger amongst the broken, addicted and poor. We know that there will be challenging times ahead, but look forward to stepping into God’s plans for our future as we learn to live by faith and put our trust in Him more and more."
To find out how you can support Joel and Joelle, please join us for an evening together at Revelation Central on Wednesday 16th March at 8pm when we will be hearing more of their story and covering them in prayer.