Bill and Jan have been married 40 years having met whilst they were serving in the forces in Cyprus. Jan left the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service when they married but Bill stayed in the Army in the REME. They both travelled extensively during that time and gained many different skills.
Both came to faith in 1992 and at first the travel continued, taking many trips to Hungary and Romania. Jan started nursing again and Bill became a handy man, this was until he went to college in South Wales.
This entailed another move, this time to Maesteg. Bill acquired a degree in theology from the Evangelical Theological College of Wales.
They were both called to Ndola Zambia in the Copper Belt area. Bill pastored, planted and literally built a church. Jan first had to take the Zambian SRN exam before she could Nurse. Then she was able to nurse and run a feeding program for underweight children. Along with that they ran a skills centre: teaching sewing, computers, first aid, nutrition and English.
They returned to the UK and pastored in Marden, Kent where they were engaged in evangelism and children’s work.
They have now been called to Puckeridge to replant a church in the Century Hall
PEOPLE HATE CHANGE BUT
Many changes have taken place in society over the last 50 years: space flight, computers, transport, the ‘information superhighway’, almost every facet of life has changed. An example is a micro computer that you can wear around your wrist; however we have become so reliant on technology that sometimes we think it can solve all the world’s woes.
We are living in a time where we expect change; this has both its good and bad points. Church is no different, it has changed from when God walked with Adam in the garden.
The Bible charts the changes of how humanity has interacted with The God of the universe. The changes of how and where God was worshiped are charted from Genesis right through The Bible.
Today God is worshiped in many different places and in many different styles and still God wants us to be His people.Why do we believe this is so? Back in Genesis God made a covenant and promise to Abraham stating that “His people would be a special people and would be as numerous as the stars in the sky?”
Later in history this people became known as the nation of Israel, unfortunately they sinned and strayed. However, from the beginning God had a plan to bring them back to him through His Son Jesus Christ; He who would become the perfect sacrifice that would set all free who believed in Him for their salvation. He would pay the price! It is not earned by us, (all of whom have sinned and been disobedient to God’s commands) but freely given, a fact that many struggle with.
The Gentile had no right to God’s kingdom in any shape or form, but in the infinite mercy of God we have been grafted in to His people Israel. We have been adopted into the family of his special people, (but not replaced them) and through that adoption we can enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We want to see even more changes. We want to see lives changed, transformed and we believe that through a right relationship with Christ lives are changed; however there is no promise of health, wealth and long life. Christ tells us to take His load (a life following Him) because it is light and that He will take our heavy load, (a life full of sin and its effects). Through Him we have had our debt of sin paid; we have been freed from of the weight of sin.
You are reading this on some form of technology; therefore you have already embraced change. “Church” should be the same, not stuck in a time warp dating back hundreds of years, speaking a language we do not understand, in a style that is alien to our culture.
At this time we have no traditions at Puckeridge Chapel. We actually do not know what went on before, so we have a clean slate. Our intention is to plan things that reflect the heart of God to all those coming through the door here. God loves to respond to our needs: friendship, healing, love, acceptance, but most importantly salvation. Sometimes people feel bruised by the world; and God has called us to be a place where wounds can be healed, where people can be set free from their past hurts.
God has called us to be a place of restoration and to add your distinctiveness, to his body because all people have much to offer with many different callings: skills, gifts, talents from just meeting people and talking, music, worship preaching, teaching, practical skills, teaching computers, making tea and coffee. It is our intent that you (the church) be released to exercise the unique gifts and talents that God has called you to use and we want to empower you to do just that!
GOD: There is only one God, who exists as three distinct and equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is the living God who is almighty, eternal, unchanging and knows all things past, present and future. As the sovereign Creator He is just and holy, gracious and merciful and exercises his sovereignty in Creation, Providence and Redemption. As the Maker and Ruler of all things he is deserving of all praise and glory forever.
THE RISEN LORD: The Lord Jesus Christ was shown to be the Son of God by his sinless life, teaching, miracles and his bodily resurrection from the dead, in fulfilment of the Scriptures. He has ascended in power and glory to the presence of God, where he now reigns and intercedes on behalf of those who call upon him in truth. God has appointed Jesus as Judge and there will be a final judgement. Those who believe in Christ will be raised in a glorified body and enjoy eternally and to the full the presence of their Lord in the new heavens and new earth. Those who do not believe in Christ will be banished from God’s presence forever into eternal punishment in hell.
THE SECOND COMING: God is bringing all human history to a climax which will be marked by the visible return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory at the Father’s appointed time.
THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit must work in us before we can enter into salvation. Through the gospel he leads us into an awareness of our sinfulness, and brings us to repentance and trust in Christ. He causes us to be born again, and by his continuing work enables us to understand and respond to God speaking through the Bible and so develops in us the fruits of love and holiness along with the spiritual gifts necessary to build the church.
THE BIBLE: The Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of life, faith and conduct. God has therefore revealed himself definitively for our salvation through the Testaments of the Bible as they witness to Christ.
HUMANITY God created human beings perfect and in his image, but after being tempted by the devil, they, by their own free choice, disobeyed God and became sinners. Humanity is now corrupted in every part, by sin, and so fellowship with God is broken and all humanity is deserving of eternal punishment.
SALVATION God alone can deal with human sin and bring about reconciliation to himself. To achieve this, God the Son became man in Christ Jesus. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless, human life and taught entirely without error. He suffered and died in the place of sinners, experiencing on their behalf the just punishment of God for their sins. God, in his grace, forgives and reconciles to himself all who turn to him in true repentance and who trust in Christ’s atoning death. God imputes to them the righteousness of Christ and adopts them as his own children. He thus sets all believers free from the domination of the devil and the corruption of their own sinful nature, and removes from them forever sin’s eternal consequences. Salvation can only be found through faith in Christ.
THE GOSPEL The gospel is given to us entirely through God’s free and sovereign grace. It is the church’s calling and privilege to proclaim the gospel to all people and to defend it against error. All who hear the gospel and respond in obedient faith receive the full salvation promised to us in Jesus Christ. To reject the gospel is to reject God and his grace and so leaves the one who does so without hope.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER: These have been commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ as an obligation to the churches until his return. 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 which was offered once for all, and involves no change in the bread or wine. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper of themselves convey grace to the receiver, but rightly received by faith are a means of grace.
THE GATHERED CHURCH Each local church is a fellowship of believers gathered by Christ and committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The church has no need of, nor should acknowledge any other authority over it than his. Through him, the church has direct access to God and enjoys fellowship with other assemblies of his people in a unity which transcends all barriers. The unity they enjoy in Christ is to be reflected in their love for one another and in seeking to serve one another in love.
PUCKERIDGE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
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