I trust that you have all enjoyed the Summer, I know that many of you have been away and a number have attended Christian Festivals such as Keswick and Naturally Supernatural. As you may be aware, I have just returned from Uganda with our team of eleven and whilst no doubt everyone felt emotionally and physically drained, it has been the most uplifting spiritual experience for all of us. Trying to just put it all into words is a challenge, but Neal has included a summary of the whole mission and you can read our team blog at
for short contributions from the team.
I am hoping that the team will feel able to share in the morning services on September 8th, but they will also be pleased to share personally if you would like to chat with any team member. Certainly there is much to reflect upon and when we decided in 2017 that one of our priorities would be ‘Encouraging as part of our ‘2020’s Vision’ the exploration of how we build on the work we already do to encourage ‘world view’ of mission’, few would have anticipated such an outcome.
KMC has a history of individuals working on several notable overseas projects and of the church prayerfully supporting them. I think that the level of involvement and ownership of the whole church with this project has certainly been amazing. The team were very appreciative of all the prayerful support and messages received, but also for the way in which people support the fund raising activities which enabled so much of the project work achieved during our mission visit.
Some of my personal highlights include, the opening of the new toilet block and water supply at FACT which was enabled through the generous gifts of KMC, Zac’s House and Plumley at our Christmas 2018 services. This was a joy filled moment which I will never ever forget and one only made possible by our members and friends. Thank you all for transforming the lives of so many vulnerable children and young families. I trust that as our ‘2020’s Vision stated, that ‘we feel encouraged by what we experience and do together as Christ’s body in this place’’
Hosting the very first ‘Firefest International’ in partnership with PDN (Pastors Discipleship Network) with over 300 Leaders and Leaders of Leaders was quite a privilege for us and one which impacts so many different churches all around Africa! The fact that they actually had to turn away over 200 Pastors because of capacity, illustrates the hunger for theological teaching and for God’s word. The level of engagement was both challenging and inspiring, plus the worship certainly brought us into an encounter with God’s presence in true Firefest tradition.
My third highlight has to be actually meeting the child who Carol and I sponsor named George. I did not anticipate that this would be possible, but after sponsoring George and his education for a number of years, to have him actually run towards me and fling his arms around me, was quite a poignant moment. I was certainly moved by the experience, as were a number of our team. George is now a sixteen year old young man, so to meet him in person and to get to know him, was quite a privilege. I know that for others on our team, who had the opportunity to meet their sponsor child, it is such a significant event and adds yet another dimension to the whole mission experience.
However, the key thing in all of this, is that as well as seeing God at work in the lives of people in Uganda, He was certainly at work in each of our lives on the team. Whilst we were not given an ‘Upgrade’ of seats by our airline, it felt as though each of us were given a ‘spiritual upgrade’ in our walk with God. The challenge may now be, to continue walking with God in the same heightened awareness of our spirituality in our day to day ordinary lives.
In my first services back at KMC, I was preaching about the prophet Jeremiah and how his very existence was something of divine purpose – the purposes of God, even from his mother’s womb. I wonder if each one of within the church, could have that same sense of divine purpose in our own lives. Whether we go on mission to Uganda, or continue to participate in the mission Dei – the mission of God here in Knutsford, Northwich, our families, our work places and our social spaces to know that God has a plan and purpose for our lives is a real joy. Jeremiah 29 verse 11 reads “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
At the beginning of a new Methodist year, my prayer is that you will all have that sense of divine purpose in your own lives. For Carol and I, that means that we feel that God is calling us to move from Knutsford next summer. However, our hope is that this will be an exciting year together of seeing God’s vision realized in our church, Circuit and our own lives. Please do invite others to share in this faith adventure with us, particularly as we host Paul Jones (Manfred Mann and Radio 2) and his wife Fiona Hendley (star of stage and screen) on Tuesday 1st October at Giovanni’s. This promises to be a memorable evening together.
May you know the divine purposes of God for yourself and in the lives of those you love.
Your friend and minister,
Rev. Rob Cotton