I am truly excited to be able to update everyone on some new gospel projects which St Mary’s is supporting both here in the UK and overseas.
The resources we have as a church are entrusted to us by the Lord, through the generous and sacrificial giving of his people, to use to build his kingdom. It has long been our practice to use these resources to help fund the Lord’s work not only here at St Mary’s but also around the country and world. We do this each year through the funds the Parochial Church Council (PCC) sets aside for UK and Overseas Mission.
In 2018 and 2019 St Mary’s was blessed to receive some large donations and a large legacy. At that time the PCC earmarked a portion of those funds for us to give to support gospel ministry beyond St Mary’s in the UK and overseas once suitable projects could be identified.
In addition to this, the PCC decided in 2022 to limit the funding we provide to the Diocese of Oxford. We did this with sadness due to the teaching of our bishops which is contrary to God’s word in vital areas. We now make a grant to the Diocese to cover the cost of paying our Vicar and the cost of the Safeguarding services we receive but we do not contribute beyond that. At the same time the PCC committed to use any funds we did not give to the Diocese in 2023 and 2024 to support faithful gospel ministry in our area.
During the course of 2023, with prayer and careful consideration, the PCC decided to use these additional resources to fund some new gospel projects both here in the UK and abroad. These gifts are time-limited and are in addition to the support we are giving to our existing UK and Overseas Mission Partners.
UK Project: Children, Youth and Families Worker at St Paul’s Slough
The UK gospel project we have chosen to support is the appointment of a Children, Youth and Families Worker at St Paul’s Church in Slough. We have been working in close partnership with St Paul’s since Tim Wambunya was appointed Vicar there in September 2020. We give thanks to God that since 2020 weekly attendance at St Paul’s has grown from an average of 75 to 195 people. The number of children and young people attending each week has also increased dramatically and now ranges from 45-75 with many more for major services. All of this has taken place without a paid children’s minister in post. We are delighted to be able to support the appointment of a dedicated Children, Youth and Families Worker at St Paul’s to lead the gospel work amongst the young people the Lord has brought along. St Mary’s has committed to contributing £30,000 towards this post this year, and all being well two further gifts of £30,000 in the next two years. This will fund the vast majority of the cost of the post. We expect the new worker to begin in the first half of this year. We look forward to meeting the new Children, Youth and Families Worker once they are in post and to and receiving regular updates from them and Tim Wambunya at St Mary’s Evenings so that we can continue to support in prayer.
Find out more at https://stpaulsslough.org.uk
The PCC are also keen to support projects to build God’s kingdom worldwide. In early 2023 a PCC sub-committee was formed, consisting of Rhys Mitchell (chair), Richard Crane, Rob Hurley & Jo Jobson, to receive proposals for gospel projects overseas. The sub-committee did fantastic work collecting and analysing proposals and in November 2023 the PCC decided to give to the following projects.
Build Partners – Training for gospel leaders in Rwanda (£50,000)
BUILD (Biblical Understanding for In-service Leadership Development) is an East African initiative that delivers biblically faithful training to local church leaders. Our gift will be used to train evangelists and church leaders in Rwanda.
A project to develop online discipleship training courses for people from other faith backgrounds (£25,000)
Many Christian believers from other faith backgrounds live in places and situations where printed books are difficult to access and could endanger their safety. Our gift will be used to develop online discipleship courses. Please speak to us if you’d like to know more about this project.
Anglican Church in Peru – Clergy training (£11,500)
Our Mission Partners, Juan Carlos and Penny Marces, have been working to improve the biblical and theological training of those in leadership in the Anglican Church in Peru. Our gift will fund an online Master’s Degree for one member of clergy and an in-person Bachelor’s Degree for another at CEP (the Bible college in Chile where Luke Foster taught until recently).
Africa Inland Mission – Reaching unreached people groups (£10,000)
Our gift will fund gospel partnerships of African and non-African workers seeking to share the gospel and grow disciples amongst unreached people groups in North Africa.
Latimer Church Trust – Ministry apprentices (£3,500)
Latimer Church is an evangelical Anglican Church in Christchurch New Zealand. They are a founder member of the Church of Confessing Anglicans in Aotearoa New Zealand (CCAANZ) established in 2018. Our gift will support the training of future leaders for this faithful new Anglican grouping.
The funds will be given to these projects over the next three years. The team here will keep in touch with the beneficiaries so that we can hear how the work is going and support in prayer.
Please do join me in giving thanks to Almighty God for the resources he has entrusted to us as a church which enable us to support his work not only here in Maidenhead but also in these other places. Please also pray that the Lord will graciously be at work in these projects to bring people to Christ and grow them as his faithful disciples. If you would like to hear more about any of these projects please speak to any member of the PCC – PCC members are listed on the website here.