Dear Partners and Friends of Welcome Network,
In this busy season and troubled global situation, we are praying that you may know the peace that only God can give, and this peace will guard your heart and mind.
God led the young expectant Mary to spend some time away with her relative Elizabeth at a very important moment in her life. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, ahead of facing her family and Joseph with her news. It was a special breathing space time for her! She had time to think about the angel’s message, to share with Elizabeth, as well as prepare herself for the joys and trials that lay ahead.
We are sensing that God may be giving us a breathing space in the Spirit over January through March as we go into 2024. You may feel likewise! God knows when we need these special breathing spaces. Let Him guide you as to the where, how long and when. We have found that even an afternoon of spending time drawing near to God in a quiet place can be very helpful!
EVANGELISTS & INTERCESSORS
This year both evangelists and intercessors have really come into the picture, and been a major help and blessing to us locally, in Northumberland.
In February, we invited Wayne Hudson, an evangelist from Manchester, to meet various church leaders from across the North East. This led to Wayne being invited to help with mission events in four different locations. His story of getting free from drugs and criminality is inspiring and as a result of hearing it, a number of folk responded to the call to follow Jesus.
Local evangelists from North East Fire, the Worship on the Streets team and an intercession team led by Ali Rimmer and Sue Sinclair of Community Watchmen Ministries have all provided input into our region as well. We are very thankful to them, and also to all our friends in the wider church for their help and support in sharing the gospel.
ALNWICK & SHILBOTTLE
Our Stories of Hope meetings in near-by Alnwick, have been an opportunity to hear about God’s goodness at work in our everyday lives, and this Autumn Bright River Chapel also started a once-a- month worship, word, prayer and sharing time, on a Sunday afternoon. Village chaplaincy work in Shilbottle continues steadily; it is good to be a part of community life here!
Mary continues to enjoy being part of an Open the Book team going into schools in Alnwick and Shilbottle. They act out stories from the Bible, encouraging the children to take part. In Finland she shared about Open the Book to a group of Church pastors. One lady pastor was very keen to go into the schools and was keen to know more!
In April, we celebrated forty years of ministry, as a couple – we counted the beginning as 1983, when we began a house church in Wiltshire that year. A lot has happened since! We hosted a zoom to celebrate, as well as having a local celebration in our home. It was a joy to reconnect with many old and new friends and family too! Thank you for all the gifts, messages, prayers and prophetic words given to us. We were very encouraged.
This year we followed up on our Sentness book, by getting together a stand-alone interactive handbook – Sentness Interactive (available on Amazon). Both books aim to encourage us to wake up to God’s purpose and direction for our lives.
NORTH EAST AND WIDER
In wider ministry work, we are loving encouraging people, from all over the region, through the various online gatherings that we host. This Summer, we were involved in prayer ministry at Cedarwood (a regional worship festival), and brought teaching input at a church retreat in Wales.
In the autumn we travelled to Finland and Estonia over two weeks, bringing encouragement to some leaders and their churches. It was our first trip to Nordic countries since Feb 2020, so it was great to pick up on relationships in person, and not just on zoom.
FIRE IN THE NORTH
In September we once again hosted an amazing revival gathering of leaders from all across Northumberland and beyond to connect, to share what God is doing in the rural communities, and to stir up one another. Connection is so important – the embers burn brighter when they are closer together, not scattered! (see Hebrews 10:25)
We are really looking forward to some of our family visiting us before, as well as at, Christmas this year, including three of our grandchildren! (Alex, Oliver and Jack -below!)
Much love and a very Happy Christmas!! From Bob and Mary Bain xxx
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Welcome Network is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Reg.no. 1197685), affiliated to Churches in Communities International, a member of the Free Churches Group and Churches Together in England.