Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dear Feig, Love Hen

Oh I'm so sorry we never sent in a memory! To be honest nothing came to mind at the time(s!) you asked, but, yesterday it did as I sat in my armchair here. I had seen various online conversations...between you and Claire about your rabbit, between Andrew and Louise about Dan's job....all connecting but also helping each other in testing times....and I just thought what a lovely bunch we were and are. For some odd things that I felt we lacked at times, we gained in huge amount through personal and group friendships....real ones that continue to this day (as illustrated above). Likewise our faith has been proved real through extreme horrible times, such as your cancer treatment, or Tanya and John in very testing Bangladesh. I am thinking of using a poem that you once shared and I think you wrote in a sermon soon actually (my first one in a long long while, and one of the few of my life!)... Your poem you wrote during a retreat I think, about where was god, when he was silent. Also your experiences as a missionary kid (though generally wonderful, I'm thinking of the negative impact ones like going to programs etc) have made me think through and be very cautious about our own approach.

So despite being late to respond, those are my reflections on the good feig did for me and continues to do for me. Thank you for hosting the feast, praying in and welcoming our new baby Caitlin at the time (!), and being 'in touch'. Love Hen xxx


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Dear Feig, Love El

Dear Feig,

It’s been 10 years since my Dad mentioned Michael Volland and the group that would become feig.  10 years since I ‘braved’ coming to church again after a long absence; and bringing my, formally atheist, husband with me.
Those early days were full of G’s wide eyes at each unfamiliar concept or terminology, and full of my cynicism.  Defining myself by what I was against and what I wanted to leave behind.
Feig offered us welcome and taught us the art of hospitality.  It taught me also the discipline of staying with people that I may at first disagree with, looking past that to common ground and enjoying the fruits of friendship.
Feig recognises its place within the rich traditions and history of the wider church.  Feig values relationships and simple hospitality.  Feig encourages people to take responsibility for their own relationship with God.
People have come and gone but feig has remained a small community of people, a humble outcrop of the Church, seeking to love God and love each other.  Creating a welcome space to ask questions and a calling to be our ‘true’ selves.
I pray for feig often and ask for God’s blessing and direction.  I trust that God’s Spirit is with us, and whatever will become of feig in the future I trust that God’s Love will continue to work in and through and round us.  As for encouragement and a vision for the future I would offer Barbara Brown Taylor’s words:
“What if people were invited to come tell what they already know of God instead of to learn what they are supposed to believe? What if they were blessed for what they are doing in the world instead of chastened for not doing more at church? What if church felt more like a way station than a destination? What if the church’s job were to move people out the door instead of trying to keep them in, by convincing them that God needed them more in the world than in the church?”

With Much Love,


El


Friday, 16 September 2016

Dear Fieg, with love from the Clarke Family

Dear Feig,

It's been a privilege to be part of your journey. It's been amazing how you have held such a variety of people. You've held people for many years and others for the briefest of moments or encounters. I think you have reflected much of the hospitality of God and for those who have journeyed with or even just experienced something of Feig you have demonstrated the depth and breath of that Hospitality and something of what it means for God to reach out to us in Jesus.

You've never been afraid to experience life at its most raw; the joys, questions and even pain & heartache. I've been hugely challenged by this and it's brought greater depth to my life and helped me to journey with others in a more loving and open way. This courage to plumb the depths and questions of life in this way reminds me of the scripture that talks about love and fear, 'There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...' I'd love Feig to keep being fearless in their love of God, life and people, because you have much to offer the world you inhabit.

A stand out memory has to be some of the creative adventures we have been on. Hosting worship at Greenbelt, in particular our 'Postcards Home' installation at the Cathedral & the Festival. I've also loved the way Feig has always adapted and sought to connect with people where they are. Feasts, Brunch and Bounce and more. I've loved hearing about continued fun at 'Roots' and the Cathedral. I've loved taking some of that creativity to London and North London certainly enjoys Brunch & Bounce :-)

As a family we’ve been reading the Chronicles of Narnia series and we've just finished 'The Last Battle.' Towards the end the characters who have featured in the stories are reunited as Aslan brings heaven and earth together. The characters who come together have been through joys and pain, but as they are reunited they are invited to go further up and further in. I think that's a great invitation to Feig...
'An invitation to go further up and further in.'

with our love Steve Min Adam & Hannah xx


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Dear Feig, Love Louise

Dear Feig

You were around making up much of the background noise while I was first getting to know my husband Daniel. You inspired some of our conversations and even some  arguments but you helped me to get to know Daniel - his values, his worldview and his story in a way that I might not have done so easily or quickly otherwise.  Thank you for being a big part of the Gloucester that I was first introduced to, and in turn for helping to introduce me to my husband.

I first encountered Feig at the weekends when I commuted to see Daniel so it was a while before I got to an evening Feig meeting.  I loved sitting around the table with you all. You taught me that the best friendships are formed around tables and the best conversations are had over shared food and drink. Thank you for that. I continue to aspire to recreating that wherever and whenever I can.

Pre-Feig I had not been part of a church since my childhood and I was unprepared for how much some of the ways of speaking, ways of praying, bible studying etc brought back memories that made me cringe at best and angry at worst. Thank you Feig for forcing me to confront a lot of my inner conflict around this and thanks to Jennie in particular for listening to me and helping me to see that there are many ways of talking about God and none are adequate but people matter more than words and God is still worth talking about and talking to.

Feig has always been a diverse group with some conflicting opinions and this has brought challenges but also the opportunity to talk to people I wouldn't normally meet and to cut straight through small talk and on to real things in a way that is difficult when meeting people in other circumstances. Thank you Feig for broadening my outlook and for challenging my prejudices.

Thank you also for the consistently delicious food, including all the much needed meals brought to my home after I had my babies. Thank you for all the prayers. Thank you for the inspiration. But most of all thank you for the friendships.  I hope you will all keep in touch as I move on to whatever is next.

Love always,


Louise E


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Dear Feig... Love Claire

Dear Feig, 

Little did I know that when I was invited to start gathering with Michael and Rachel Volland in their home along with a few other lovely people as part of my Redcliffe College placement in 2006/2007 that ten years later that fresh expression of church would still be going strong in the plans and purposes of God! (I can still remember like it was yesterday approaching Michael at Redcliffe- I was curious about this young guy in a dog collar- and as he shared with me about his heart and ministry I knew God has crossed our paths for a reason!) 

Feig in it's early days challenged me to see God in every person that I encountered- a vital lesson for my ministry now. It prioritised relationship, which to this day is how I minister in Weston super Mare. It stretched me to connect with God creatively- which has equipped me for leading a small church, which in it's early days had no musicians! 

Feig came at a time when I was studying hard in the final year of my degree. Such times of life can bring with it unique challenges. My relationship with God had, if I am honest, got stuck in a rut. I was going through the motions- reading the Bible for my essays but not for my own discipleship. Feig helped me to connect with God in such a refreshing and genuine way. It took me out of my comfort zone and it raised my belief that God can and will move in our generation- if we simply trust Him. I built relationships with people who stood with me and showed Jesus to me- to be in an accountable community, who were interested in not just my input but in me, taught me the importance of inviting people into relationship (and to be fair, the food was pretty amazing! If you come to Weston today you will see that food is a big part of what we do!!) 

Since I graduated from Redcliffe in 2007 I have been working for an AOG church in Weston super Mare- I am now an Assemblies of God minister (Rev Rogers!), and have been senior pastor since July 2015 of Vintage Community Church. We are part of the Vintage Movement, whose heart is to plant new churches across Somerset. I had no idea that one day I would be re-envisioning a struggling church, and looking to plant news ones, when I was in Feig! But God knew- and a shout out to Michael and Rachel, you guys taught me more than you will ever know! Thank you for investing in me. 

In closing, I would encourage you as Feig to keep loving God and others. Truly, this is the highest calling we have. The love of Jesus transforms not just individuals and families, but whole communities. Keep true to what God has shown you to do. If I have learnt one thing in my nine years since leaving Feig, it's how much I need Him- how when we are weak God is strong- and how I cannot point others to God if I don't have a living relationship with God myself. Oh, and when the challenges come of being community, remember the plank in your own eye, before you look at the speck in others  

Praying God's richest blessings for you- here's to the next ten years! 


Claire 


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Dear Feig, Love from the Weedons

Dear Feig... Love from Jen, Mike, Isobel & Fraser.