Friday, September 02, 2016

September news from Churches Together in Kent

In the first of a short series, Rev. Stuart Davison, Regional Minister and Team Leader for the South East Baptist Association offers this month's theological reflection.

Up a tree…

Maybe the wrong tree!

A Council has been accused of wasting £100,000 when it imported trees from Italy to create a boulevard – which promptly withered and died.

The trees had to be replaced with European Acers, a type of Sycamore.

Next month I shall again be in Israel/Palestine. Once more I shall look at the Sycamore-fig tree in Jericho and wonder how old it is. At the time of Jesus the tree would have been outside the town and Zacchaeus would have run ahead of the crowd in order to climb up it and get a look at Jesus.

He was an outsider who would have risked life and limb if he had mixed in with the crowd; a despised person who worked for the occupying forces; an oppressor of the people. So he did two things a Jewish man normally wouldn’t do – he hitched up his robes and ran and he climbed a tree – and that’s where Jesus found him. And the people of the town would have expected Jesus to mock him. But Jesus didn’t. He reached out to this outsider.

Earlier, on the way into the town, Jesus had another encounter. This time it was with another outsider but this time he was one oppressed – a blind man named Bartimaeus. Again the crowd’s expectations of Jesus weren’t realised: he reached and healed the man.

In the aftermath of Brexit we need to remember we follow One who met with and offered hope and life to the oppressed and the oppressor, the outsiders whether inflicted by others or self-inflicted, turning both their lives around.

Rev. Stuart Davison

#Just1Thing Exhibition in Dover

If you had to leave your home, what one thing would you take? That is one of the questions being asked by an exhibition of photos, artwork and video animations created by asylum seekers and refugees on display at St. Mary’s Church in Dover.

Running until the 10 September, it's been compiled by two local charities: Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN); and Samphire, a Dover-based charity working to support former immigration detainees and promote good relations between migrants and local communities.

There is a chance to learn more about the experience of refugees at a facilitated session with volunteers from the two charities on Wednesday 7 September 11am to 1pm. Do drop in if you can. Find out more here.

Positions vacant

A number of job vacancies with closing dates in September have come to our attention. Please share with those you think would be interested.
  • Family Trust in Maidstone are looking for a Children’s/Schools Worker, full or part-time. Salary £16 – 18,000 P/A Pro Rata, to be based in Maidstone.  For more information contact Alex Clark on  Closing date 16th September.
  • Guildford Baptist Church are looking for a Part Time Youth Worker, 22 hours a week. Applications close on the 19th August.  For more information contact Chris Toms on 01483 575008 or 
  • The Charterhouse is an almshouse based near the Barbican, providing residential care to a community of elderly gentlemen since 1611. They are seeking an exceptional individual to lead their ancient and highly-regarded charitable foundation through to 2020 and beyond. The closing date for applications is Friday 30th September. For a full job description visit their website or contact  Giles Jones at

Speak Up! Christian Aid Week of Action

Join Christian Aid and the Climate Coalition for the Speak Up week of action from 8-16 October. Last year over 10,000 people from around the UK came together to Westminster to meet with their MPs and speak up for what they loved This year, Christian Aid are inviting communities to engage their MPs in a local event to bring climate-change back to the top of the political agenda. For resources on how to involve you church and how to arrange an event in your constituency visit the Speak Up website.

Christians uniting for Creationtide

Christians around the world, and from every denomination, are being encouraged to engage with the World Day of Prayer for Creation and the Season of Creation that follows it. Running from 1 September until 4 October every year, Creationtide is originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, but has now spread widely among Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations, bringing Christians together to pray and work for the protection of the environment that sustains everyone.

The Church of England has commended a set of liturgical resources for the occasion, and a prayer has been published by a trio of pan-European church bodies for Christians to join in praying together during the season.  

Independent Living Advice Service

The Royal British Legion have relaunched their Independent Living Advice Service. They have several specialists who focus on particular issues that can trouble veterans and their families in the communities. Sally Shopland is the Independent Living Advisor for the South East and would be willing to speak to any churches about the service which may help elderly veterans in their congregations. For more details please contact Sally Shopland on or 0808 802 8080

URC Retreats Fellowship - Final Quiet Day of 2016

The Retreats Fellowship of the United Reformed Church, Southern Synod will be holding a Quiet Day on Saturday 1 October 10am to 4pm. Taking place at Swanley URC, High Street, Swanley BR8 8AT, it is open to all who want to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, reflection and silence and who would value the encouragement of others. The cost is £8 (bring packed lunch, drinks provided)

For further details contact:
John Gordon 01323 845380
Kathy Shaw 01322 557 656
Ken Lynch 01243 862801

Get 'on yer bike' and raise funds for your church!
The annual Ride and Stride fundraising event takes place on Saturday 10 September. You can raise money for your local church building just by riding, or walking around Kent and enjoying the late summer sunshine. Friends of Kent Churches have created this lovely film which gives you all the information you need about why this is such a useful cause. There is still time to get involved Sign up here, either as a church or as an individual!

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