Although I’m a born and bred Cockney (someone from the East End of London, born in an area where the sound of the bells from the church in Bow can be heard!), I spent a lot of my life living in East Sussex, initially not by choice, as I was only 6 years old when my parents decided to move to East Dean, a little village just outside Eastbourne! – and while never wanting to lose my Cockney heritage, I’m a product of much more rural Sussex. Just a few miles up the road from Eastbourne is a village most famous for The Royal Observatory, Herstmonceux, second most famous is Herstmonceux Free Church (!).
When I started out doing ministry stuff, in my spare time from my job in a bank, I was with Wealden Youth for Christ (named because we covered the Weald of Sussex, and, in truth, pretty much all of the county), in its formative years (part of national British Youth for Christ). One of my jobs was to raise the profile of YFC in East Sussex, and I visited churches, many very rural, to talk about our vision for young people, and preach (I’m not sure how dreadful my preaching was in those days, but Youth for Christ grew exponentially from it’s inception in 1975).
One of the churches I visited from time to time was Herstmonceux Free Church, and although I went full-time with YFC in 1979, by 1980 we’d grown so much that we’d taken on another guy, who then did the church deputation visits. So 1978 or 79 could have been the last time I’d have gone to Herstmonceux Free Church: and I’m back there the weekend after next. It will be so good to be back. I’m praying that God will do there what he’s been doing for the last 8 months in Londonderry, and in Cali, Colombia….
If you’re within reasonable distance of Herstmonceux, it would be so lovely to see you. I don’t want to encourage you way from your church on Sunday, but if you’re ill, or have family or friends who are, I’d love the opportunity to pray with you. I can’t heal anyone: but after 30 or more years of seeing God do increasingly amazing miracles, I know that God has given me ever-increasing faith to see His power bring healing in people’s lives. If you read these blog posts regularly, you’ll know some of the testimonies….
Hope to see you in Observatory city on 4 and 5 February!