An update on London Life || Sophie Clarke

 

Hello!

My oh, my, three, nearly 4 months, in and it's about time for another update. Three months, a quarter of my time here, good grief, it’s going quickly. I am happy to report, I am loving it. Praise God. London is a busy place, work is also a busy environment this means, of course, I am busy so I’ll try and update everyone as much as I can.

 Our NEARLY full, staff team. Photo was taken at the start of the year and we've had a few editions since. 

Our NEARLY full, staff team. Photo was taken at the start of the year and we've had a few editions since. 

Firstly, thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers, it has been so encouraging for me, when at times I’m tired, overwhelmed or frustrated. Thank you for your support, it is hugely appreciated. Where to begin, September went by in a flash, it was the start of everything in the church and it was a brilliant (very busy but brilliant) time for me. Everything was new and exciting, my first proper job and I was raring to go. I enjoyed watching how the different ministries worked within the church. This was also a huge time for us to find our feet in the job. We were still down in numbers as a team but the (so far) 4 of us got on very well and everything was made a lot less stressful when a bit of banter was involved. It took a while for us to get to know our shifts, there are so many different ministries within the church, it was all of September before each one of us had worked at least once at a regular event. I was quickly coming to realise the benefits that came with the job. One of the huge perks is food, there is food at every event and it is glorious! It makes a huge difference when you do your tasks on a full stomach and it’s something I’m very grateful to the church for. 

 

 The CA dream team (Amy, me, Andy, Andrew, Josh and Stephen) 

The CA dream team (Amy, me, Andy, Andrew, Josh and Stephen) 

 Staff lunch a.k.a my favourite time of the week

Staff lunch a.k.a my favourite time of the week

In the middle of the September, I finally acquired a roomie, Ellie. She’s a youth apprentice and had been a church assistant for the 2 years previous. She is great, very easy going and knows exactly what being a church assistant is like, which is handy if I’ve had a bad day. Finally, in October we received the final two Church Assistant recruits. We were now a full team — yay! Having 6 of us made a big difference to our workload, things eased off a little with much less pressure placed on us which was very welcome! On top of our usual shifts, we have special events which are always interesting to work. We’ve had UCCF (shout out to Matty Guy) in with us hosting a concert, we’ve had the BBC concert orchestra in hosting charity events and we’ve had Songs of Praise in recording for a show (tell all your grandparents). The versatility and diversity of the job are my favourite things, no week is the same which keeps everything fresh and is really making the time fly in! 

 

 The Life Explored set up before everyone arrives for a good feed

The Life Explored set up before everyone arrives for a good feed

My ministry placement for this term, is Life Explored which started in October and it’s been a very encouraging time. L.E is on Monday nights and I co-lead with two others on the table. Rico Tice leads from the front which is pretty cool. It starts with us eating a meal together, which is such an important to do with one another. Eating with someone is being in community with them, it also provides a time when people can just chat about their day, their problems and their general aspirations. I love eating with my table. We then watch a video related to the topic, followed by a second video explaining the passage for the week. We spend about an hour and a half chatting through the study which is a great time to show people Jesus and clearly explain the Gospel message. We are about to complete our penultimate week, I’ve really enjoyed L.E, it’s pretty brilliant in its design, causing people to really think about the big questions in life. The questions are to individuals searching for something bigger, something they couldn’t live without, this provides the perfect evangelical opportunity to answer each individual's questions and therefore lead them to Christ. Christ is the answer. 

 

 BBC Concert for Children in Need

BBC Concert for Children in Need

London is just great (I am repeating myself but it is), and you have to take opportunities when they come. My time here has allowed me to take part in wonderful things, like The Last Night of the Proms, seeing different plays and shows and getting involved in the diverse culture here. I have had the privilege of lots of visitors which has just been amazing. One of my favorite things to do is show them around All Souls and take them to a church service. The worship within the church is so uplifting and edifying, people really sing and I look forward to each week belting out a cracking hymn. It is always a total joy to see a face from home. I had our very own Rosie come for a visit in October which was so wonderful, this was closely followed by a checkup from Gilly who was in top form as per usual. Now we are nearly into December, it's going to be such an exciting time for All Souls, we have an event every evening so it’s going to be very busy. Be sure to tune into the One Show on the 15th of December, Matt Baker and Alex Jones will be in All Souls chatting to our rector along with a carol rendition featuring full choir and orchestra! 

Prayer points

 

Firstly, there’s a lot going on in the Church of England at the minute, specifically a new Bishop of London is being appointed. This is going to have an impact on All Souls, so obviously it’s a big part of our church family prayer life. Pray for a Godly leader who will Biblically lead the church. Pray that the individual will feel lead by God to take the call to this potentially stressful position and that the Lord will sustain them throughout their ministry in London. London is becoming increasingly darker, pray that Christ’s light will continue to shine brighter than ever revealing the Gospel to more and more people within the city. 

Secondly, pray for us as Church Assistants, as we enter December it is going to be a hectic month, particularly for us in the staff. We will be expected to do a lot more than usual to fulfill all the events we’ve got planned and booked. Pray for our attitudes, that we will always approach these tasks with a joyful heart. Pray that we will arrive to work refreshed both in our hearts and physically in our bodies. Pray for rest for all of us, we are going to be stretched to our limits this month so relaxing and recharging will be key to doing the job well. This month is going to be a marathon and a sprint at the same time and ultimately we want to be competent in our job and glorify God through our actions. 

Pray for the individuals who have taken part in Life Explored, that they will come to know Christ as the gospel is read and revealed to them. Pray that their hearts will be soften and their eyes will be opened to the love of Christ. That their understanding of Christs sacrifice to us will be made real to them and they will start their own personal relationship with Him. Pray for us as leaders, that we will have clarity of mind and wisdom to know what to say and how to answer their questions (there has been a lot over the last seven weeks). Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and reveal their need for a saviour. That this won't just be an eight week course, that they'll pursue church and other ministries in the new year. Pray for Rico Tice as he enters a new year of ministry within All Souls and the wider church, for refreshment both in body and soul. Pray that individuals will be directed towards and attend Christianity Explored starting in the new year.

Finally, pray for safety. Tensions are rising in central London, it’s appearing more and more in the news and in everyday conversation in the church. Pray for wisdom for those in charge in the church dealing with these situations, that they will know what to do if situations arise and how to best protect our the church family. Pray for personal safety for each one of us as staff, that the Lord in His mercy will continue to protect us as we go about our daily work. Pray for the people of London that attacks will cease and remind us daily of the confidence that evil has not won. Direct our thoughts during these times to the cross. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been concentrating on the Psalms, what a great book. One has impacted me specifically and is something I try and read every day for encouragement. I want to leave you with the joyous praise of Psalm 103.

 

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;

2 all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases, 

4  who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbour his anger forever; 

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities. 

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

and his righteousness with their children’s children—

18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, 
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding, 
who obey his word.

21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, 
you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion. 
Praise the Lord, my soul.

 

I miss CE, the people and the banter, as you have been praying for me, I have been praying for you. These past four months have been wonderful, I’ve been learning so much and I pray that may continue. I’ve grown in His word having time to read and pray more, learning to prioritise time with God, I pray daily to get to know the Lord more. Blessed assurance, Christ is mine, for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

See you at Christmas. Much love to you all, God bless. x