Last weekend the entire leadership team were able to join many other New Ground elders and wives for a time of teaching, equipping, fellowship and fun in The Hague. About 150 people descended on the capital city of the Netherlands, travelling there by plane, train and car from across Europe- countries represented included England, Scotland, France, Holland, Romania, Italy and Switzerland. All the delegates were staying in one hotel which was a 20 minute walk across the city from the conference venue. The conference began with worship, before Dave Holden spoke on ‘Perfect Theology’, which included vital teaching on spiritual warfare. This first session ended in time for the entire delegation to have another walk in the cold Dutch air to the Italian restaurant where we were booked for dinner, giving us an excellent chance to catch up with old friends and to make new ones- on our table were leaders from Oxted, Guernsey and Rennes (France). The walk back to the hotel was interesting as we had to break off from our various conversations to dodge trams and avoid falling in canals. Saturday morning began all too soon, with an invitation to take breakfast from 7 with the morning session due to begin promptly at 9am. Musicians from the worship team from Redeemer International (the New Ground church in The Hague) helped us to enter into the presence of God, with contributions from several others helping us to see God’s Bog Picture for His Church. Steve Cornford from King’s Church Mid-Sussex shared the story of his healing from debilitating arthritis before Jim Partridge from the same church spoke on ‘Team Dynamics’, teaching and encouraging us to build unified and effective leadership teams. We had a short breakout time to explore who in our teams is an extrovert and who is an introvert, and how we should bear with one another in love now we know these things. Following on from this Jubilee Community Church’s own Simon Elliott spoke on ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and why awareness of it can affect how our leadership teams and our churches function. The conference ended with a buffet lunch before the first people began making their journeys home. JCC is exceptionally blessed with strong wider leadership, so the team felt confident that the church would be safe if we stayed on for another 24 hours to spend some time talking, laughing, eating and praying together, just the 10 of us. A lot of this time was spent in the bar/restaurant ‘Pavlov’ which is immediately adjacent to De Nieuwe Kerk (built over 300 years ago) where Redeemer International meet on a Sunday- the restaurant actually provided us with an upper room for our team time! After a lovely supper there in the evening we adjourned the proceedings until the next day and retired to the hotel. On Sunday morning we were able to join with Redeemer Church for their morning meeting- the worship and sermon were thankfully all in English. Several visiting church leaders were invited to share points for prayer and talk briefly about where they came from. Chris Taylor preached- many of you will remember him from when he and his wife Karin visited JCC last year. We then had some free time – some of us visited Primark, some of us visited the M.C. Escher exhibition- before convening back at ‘Pavlov’ for our last time of discussion, reflection and prayer. It was then time for us to separate into those going back to East Grinstead on Sunday and those staying over until Monday. It was a wonderful time and thank you so much JCC for enabling us to go. Next year, if the venue stays the same, our ambition is for a team bike ride- the cycling culture is admirable and not a stitch of lycra in sight! Oh, and the coffee was excellent too- highly recommended.

 

Elders and Wives

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