Latin Link 26th April 2015

March 15, 2015 by  
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LL workers

On 26th of April we are welcoming Orlando from Latin Link to share with us about the work that Latin Link do in South America but aslo in Latino communities around the world.

As a keen musician himself he is also bringing along with him some young people that he has worked with over the last couple of years who will be providing some musical accompaniment to our Sunday service.

(from the Latin Link Website)

Who we are

Latin Link is an international community with a calling to love and serve God and our neighbour. Most members of Latin Link work in Latin American countries; some work with Latin Americans in other parts of the world. Others go from Latin America to work in Europe and elsewhere. This is our ‘Latin’ link.

Where we work

Latin Link is about Latin mission and our heartland is Latin America, so most of our personnel are here. We also welcome and encourage Latin mission in Europe and occasionally place people elsewhere.

Latin Link members become part of a country ‘team’ within their country of service. Although they may live and work in different places, the team structure is part of the community aspect of Latin Link. Members in each country meet up at least once a year for a team conference or retreat; they may support or advise each other at other times, and help shape Latin Link policy nationally and internationally.

What we do

Latin Link is involved in many different things, but our heart is expressed in one word: formación.

From Spanish, this can mean ‘formation’, ‘training’ or ‘education’. To us, formación speaks of personal development and spiritual growth, leading to wholeness. We would see these finding their ultimate fulfilment in Christ.

Business formación

BUSINESS formación is about encouraging ethical employment, creating social enterprise and providing microfinance.

This is a new area for Latin Link and one we feel passionate about. It springs from seeing poverty and underemployment, and a general lack of development and investment in many places. One of the most urgent needs, we see, is to help create employment that is accompanied by Christian ethics.

Business formación is about providing opportunities for disadvantaged people and to give them the dignity of providing for their own physical and material needs and those of their families. It’s about training in business, using Christian, biblical principles such as honesty, integrity, good stewardship and generosity. We believe these values will form the bridge between the purely material and whole life, spiritual transformation.

Economic transformation through business is just one part of the process which results in improved standards of living and a renewed sense of dignity for the poor.

Social transformation happens as families are better provided for, with spare resources that can be spent on healthcare and education.

Spiritual transformation goes beyond the economic and the social. When people become disciples of Christ, the resulting transformation has the potential to influence all aspects of society.

Church formación

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Church formación includes teaching and development, leadership training and whole-life discipleship for all ages.

Church is not just for Sunday.
Latin Link works with churches who ask us to help them go beyond the first stage of leading people to Christ, to become disciples, apprentices or followers of Jesus in a way that has an effect on every part of their lives.

Everyone wants to be a leader!
Some people are born leaders, natural leaders; others are surprised to become leaders. Latin Link seeks to model and teach ‘servant leadership’ and help equip the church at every level.

Praise God for the growth of the church in Latin America! Yet many churches are in their infancy. Few of the new pastors and leaders across the region have received training, and many find themselves in a position of unaccustomed power. Faced with complex challenges and with distorted teaching all around, it can be invaluable to have some personal guidance at hand, as well as help to develop their church’s activities. Sometimes we can help a church over a particular area of difficulty, or one it lacks expertise in.

Many leaders perceive the Latin American church to be in a critical state, in need of urgent input or, as one has said, ‘it may implode’.

‘In Colombia, the majority of men and women known and acknowledged as church leaders have no formal training whatsoever. This puts nothing of their legitimacy as leaders in doubt, nor even their suitability as pastors and preachers, of course. Incredibly, there are many who do a remarkable work. But it does point to a very obvious reason for the vulnerability of the Latin American church to all sorts of dubious teachings. In many cases we have a church that has abandoned the Word of God as its foundation. We have helped some churches to train their leadership in their own time  and in their premises, with us sending the teachers to spend time with them once or twice a week – that has proved very successful.’ Manuel Reaño, Bible Seminary of Colombia

Nurturing the body of Christ.
Bible study, teaching and preaching, mentoring, counselling – Latin Link members have been asked to do all these things and more. We’re keen to support church planting and growth, and to develop positive learning environments for the various groups within churches, who may be at different stages on their faith journey: children, young people, families, older people.

‘Originally from Northern Ireland, we have worked in a small evangelical church in Recife for six years. Here we have been able not only to inspire church members by using more dynamic Bible teaching methods, but also train them to teach others. Writing materials specific to the discipleship needs of the members has been a rewarding task.

‘Judith’s previous experience in accounting was exactly what the church needed to help them unravel their financial problems and get their legal registration sorted out.

‘But perhaps one of the most important aspects of our time here has been to try and show that no spiritual gift is more valuable than another, as we have motivated and led various building and repair projects in the church premises. 

Community formación

COMMUNITY formación is about meeting practical needs, restoring broken relationships and encouraging local Christians to play their part.

Latin Link supports churches in their involvement with their neighbours and the communities around about them.

Many of the churches Latin Link works with are in poorer communities, but not exclusively. We recognise there are needs in all areas and all levels of society. Some places may be lacking in any kind of meaningful community – here, the church can provide a centre.

Basic necessities 
Housing, education, healthcare, sanitation, employment, green issues… could you bring knowledge, skills or training to any of these areas?

Better relationships 
In cities, turf wars over drugs and between gangs can paralyse normal community activity. The church has a message of reconciliation and restoration – can you help bring it?

In rural areas in Latin America, communities are being torn apart by the arrival of modern technology, attractive to young people, and the traditional, unchanging way of life valued by older generations. Quechua young people seek better study and work opportunities in the larger towns and cities while the elderly are left in a state of abandonment with no state services and no-one to take over the farming of the land. In some places, there is huge pressure on land which can be commandeered, or sold over the heads of its informal ‘owners.’ Churches could have an advocacy role here – can you help?

‘We firmly believe that the gospel of reconciliation needs to impinge on all areas of life and relationships: offering salvation and relationship with God, seeking to promote peace and justice where there is conflict, and helping people to live with dignity and in harmony with God’s creation.

‘In our experience, the rural churches often receive little outside support, suffer from weak leadership and, frequently, tend to be inward looking. So a major challenge here is to strengthen the church itself, as well as to accompany and support the churches to develop a broader understanding and vision for outreach and ministry to the wider community.

Educational formación

EDUCATIONAL formación includes theological training and  preparation for mission supported by publishing and resources.

From teaching a module to supervising a PhD thesis, Latin Link sends well-qualified people to teach in Bible colleges and institutes, mission training institutions and Christian universities throughout Latin America.

Huge church growth has increased the demand and the need for trained leaders, and produced a new generation of people who want to go into mission in other parts of the world.

Latin American training institutions often struggle to pay staff, and in turn students may struggle to pay fees. Yet good training is invaluable.

Local study weekends and informal training sessions go some way to meeting basic training needs, particularly with pastors who may only be educated to primary level. Extension studies using prepared study materials have been effectively used in villages. Latin Link can help in all these areas.

Outsider formación

OUTSIDER formación means identifying with and caring for prisoners and their children, people with disabilities, street children and others at the margins.

How we approach the alien, the stranger, the marginalised and invite and welcome them into the kingdom of God is a huge challenge – and an important part of Latin Link’s heart. We have members working with Christian organisations in all the above situations.

‘I come from England having had a background in the education of children with special needs. I am currently based in Costa Rica, but my work takes me all over Latin America as I network with other Christians who have a concern for people with disabilities. Much of my time is spent in teaching and training people in ministry who want to be able to relate to those who have a disability.

By making the extra effort, adaptations, and most importantly, changing our attitudes, we can make people with disabilities feel truly welcomed and accepted.I also coordinate a ministry in our church in San José that provides some pastoral support for families who are struggling as they have a family member with a disability. Many of these families are single parent, almost all are in great poverty, and usually there is little state provision. They benefit from being able to share experiences and pray together, and sometimes they are able to support one another practically; those with more experience show others how to meet the challenges they face.

Personal formación

PERSONAL formación is about our relationship with God, an openness to lifelong learning, growing into spiritual maturity, and encouraging others to begin or continue this process.One-to-one or small group discussion about what it means to be a Christian can take place anywhere – in universities, in the workplace, in homes, in a coffee shop, on the street, even in church!

Latin Link members see the importance, not only of evangelism, but also of discipleship. Often, after making a first commitment, new Christians are left to their own devices. We want to get alongside people, to see them grow in faith and knowledge as they learn what the Bible teaches, and experience God in their lives day to day.

But what of the spiritual formation of Latin Link members themselves? Just because you’re in mission doesn’t mean you’re perfect, or immune from life’s difficulties! We all experience these at times in our lives. To help Latin Link members to flourish in their ministries and calling, we encourage lifelong learning and personal development through further study and retreats. Latin Link expects its members to be part of a worshipping community, have interests, take breaks and holidays.

Members on our Stride programme of up to two years are given a personal mentor to meet with on a regular basis. And each year our country teams have a conference. This is a time to share experiences, pray together and recharge the batteries. Rather than being set apart and isolated, we expect our people to play a full part in the local community as well as the Latin Link community and live life to the full.

Click on the box below to go to the Latin Link Website.

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If you would like to donate – click on the box here…

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Burston Chapel joined with St Mary’s for Mothersday 10.30am 15th March

March 10, 2015 by  
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Burston Chapel joined with St Mary’s for Mothersday.  10.30am 15th March

mothersday

What shapes our worship on a Sunday?

March 3, 2015 by  
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  • 1. God

    There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator; Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will for his own glory.

  • 2. The Bible

    God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.

  • 3. The Human Race

    All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please him.

  • 4. The Lord Jesus Christ

    The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.

  • 5. Salvation

    Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.

  • 6. The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply his work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.

  • 7. The Church

    The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.

  • 8. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into his Church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.

  • 9. The Future

    The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.

Funeral and Tribute of Mrs Joan Fisk

March 3, 2015 by  
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Joan has been a faithful member of our small congregation at Burston Chapel for over 20 years.  Having joined us for all the usual Christmas services and even a couple of Sundays into 2015, sadly, following a stroke and a short stay in hospital she died.  Her funeral service took place at Gissing Church, where a full congregation gathered.  Rev David Mill took the service and Pastor Sam gave the eulogy and preached the sermon.  Below is the eulogy that was read at her funeral.

Marjory Joan Fisk (or Joan as she was known to most of us) was born in Bromley, Kent, to Edward and Alice Wilkie.  Though circumstances were unclear, as a baby Joan was left on the front step of a nunnery and entered the care system.  At the age of 4 years old, on 7th Feb 1928 she was adopted by a man who she always referred to as her father a Mr Harold Philips.

Joan told a number of stories about her home life and other children she referred to as siblings.  One such “sister” amused us both.  This sister use to send her gifts for future occasions just in case she wasn’t around to send them nearer the time!  In the car on the way to Chapel Joan would update me when, in the middle of June, she had received a parcel in the post from this sister – not for the coming Christmas – but the one after that!

When the war came, as you can imagine, Joan got stuck into a number of things.  She did some work in a munitions factory and also joined the Auxiliary Transport Service (ATS). Having started a long career of voluntary work with St John Ambulance, she also entered a strictly regimented nursing training.  Her claim to fame was that she once appeared in a Pathe news reel drinking a cup of tea at a Salvation Army mobile kiosk amid scenes of a bomb-wounded London.  She has enjoyed many meals and cups of tea with the Salvation Army since.

In 1949 she joined the Womens Royal Army Corp. During her basic training she had a prominent role as part of a group of new recruits who refused to take part in drill practice on a parade ground that was thought to have been built on the site of military graves.  Their refusal was sustained and drill took place elsewhere.

At some point she went to Bagshot Park which is, of course, now the home of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.  In those days it was the regimental headquarters and depot of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department.  It had a sign by the pond which read “Please do not walk on the water”.  She went there for religious instruction so that she could have a role in patterns of worship that were required from time to time.  This, apart from the Sunday school at a little Mission Church that she use to attend as a girl in Bromley, was to establish a life-long connection to the Christian Church.

It was whilst she was stationed up in Ripon, where she was working as a clerk in the pay office for the army, that she met Raymond Fisk.  He was in the Royal Engineers.  She left the Army when they married on 28th October 1950 and the newlyweds went to live in Norfolk, where Ray came from.  They lived 56 Snow Street, Roydon.

She is remembered by many for a keen love of fishing and a few people have commented to me how they remember seeing her on bike rides with fishing rods on board.

In 1952 children started to appear.  Eileen came first in 1952.  Then, a little later, Raymond.  For many years Joan attended St Remigius Church in Roydon.  She served a number of terms as Warden and Raymond was the Sexton.  Joan enjoyed singing and has always been found performing somewhere.  She sang in the choir in Roydon and as many of you will know, spent a number of years with the Waveney Choir.  She sang with many smaller groups over the years and also sang in the 5 Parish Choir in this benefice. (Winfarthing Group)

She had a number of jobs in the locality and got to know many people.  She was also well liked by the many dogs that she came in contact with too!  She and Eileen worked a few of those jobs together.  They worked at the Kings Head Hotel that use to be in the centre of Diss,  they worked together at a mushroom production facility, at Stanton and after she and Ray moved to Gissing from Roydon, at Gissing Crown.  Raymond sadly died in 1994 and is buried here in Gissing.  Joan moved to 1 Common Road, Gissing.

However, retirement was never going to be retirement for Joan.  When I became the Pastor at Burston Chapel in 1998 Joan was working at one of the charity shops in Diss.  After a bad chest infection one year, which led to a hospital visit, she decided to properly retire from working.  Well, that lasted about 2 months!  “I’ve got a new job Pastor” she would say.  Then after the next bad chest infection and the next hospital visit she would retire – again.  A month or so later she would be announcing another job.

Joan has always been very active.  For years she has been immersed in the work of the Royal British Legion, certainly a reflection of the gratitude she felt to an army that, having started with so little in life, had given her so much.  Amongst her belongings was found the menu of a Legion meal held at Diss Corn Hall in 1956.  She certainly knew how to commit to a thing.  She started off in the Women Section and was a standard bearer but then became a member of the British Legion, taking up the position as chairman a few times over the years.  She felt she should step down when she turned ninety.

I have often said of Joan that when she left the army, the army didn’t leave her.  Even at 91 she was still displaying her constancy.  She was still quite determined to join us on the Green in Burston for Carols before Christmas when it is always freezing cold and dark.  Her get up and go never got up and went!