Update from Rachel (December 2016)

Hi everyone

I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last update. Time flies! It seems like only yesterday I walked nervously up the drive of Spurgeon’s for my first day but here I am in my second year!

College is still going well but it is still a lot of hard work. This year I seem to have more lectures about the church including doctrine of the church, church history and transforming congregations. This suits me well as the church is a particular area of interest for me. I want to know how the church can best embody the kingdom of God in this world and I think to do that we need to think about where we are, where we have come from and where God wants us to be. So for me all these lectures on church are great. We are also doing modules focussing on specific parts of the bible such as the Pentateuch (the first five books) and the Old Testament writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs). I’m also continuing to steadily improve at Greek and Hebrew. I look forward to the time where I can read these with only a little assistance from the dictionary – I’m still looking up most words at the moment.

My placement at South Norwood Baptist continues to go well. I preach or lead a service about once a month. Pete, the minister there, is very supportive and ensures that I get the chance to be involved in a range of experiences. Recently I got to observe a wedding, which was beautiful, and a school visit of 2 classes of 5 year olds, which was fun.

The church itself is a friendly church with about 100-150 attending on a Sunday. We feel that lately there has been an increased movement of the Holy Spirit which is a cause for thanks and praise. We also pray that it will continue, especially as we have also noted a corresponding increase in spiritual battles facing the church. Another area to be thankful for is that after a number of problems we finally got our leaky roof fixed. Feel free to visit anytime. I’m sure you’d be made welcome.

Thinking of college again, Spurgeon’s is going through some upheaval. Our principal, Roger Standing, after an extended period of sick leave has decided to resign. I understand he is recovering but has taken the decision to move on. One of our vice principals, Peter Morden, has also decided to go back into pastoral ministry at the end of this academic year. Therefore the college is looking for a new principal and vice principal (as well as a doctrine tutor). So if you know anyone who might be suitable please let them know about the vacancies. Andy Stockbridge has been appointed as interim chief executive to support the college through this process. It’s not all people leaving though. We had Andy wright (vice principal), Zoltan Schwab (Old Testament and Hebrew tutor) and Katie jack (deputy head of operations) all start with us this year; all of whom are excellent at their jobs as well as being nice people.

I will try not to leave it quite so long before writing again, but in the meantime please could I request the following prayers;

– That I will continue to balance my studies well

– That I will continue to develop in my walk with God

– That God will guide us in decisions about the future.

– For South Norwood Baptist church; that we will continue to seek God’s guidance and that we will act according to his will especially as we explore our mission in the local community.

– For Spurgeon’s college, as they look to find a new principal and fill other vacancies. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as well as support during the upheaval.

You are always in my hearts and prayers

Rachel Jeffreys

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