Busy year for Transformation Thurrock

Tim Harrold reports on a busy year. For further information please go to www.transformationthurrock.com

2010 has been a year of challenge on a number of levels, but also a year of making headway. I’ve been taken deeper in some directions, while others have been cut off. The challenge of church unity remains my underpinning vision.

“May they be brought into complete unity” – Jesus Christ

Transformation Thurrock (TT) has now got its own bank account, while I continue to be sponsored separately. For banking purposes, I am the secretary; Roz Wilson has kindly agreed to be treasurer; and Colin Baker is Chairman.

TT has had enough income thus far in order to be able to be generous towards those who helped make the Thurrock Day of Prayer happen.

Events and people TT and I have supported, promoted and connected in with are (not in any order, not including specifics mentioned in this newsletter):
the new interchurch monthly youth service, UNITE 30/31
The prayer stop at T-Fest
Stanford Festival
Mardyke Fellowship
Paul Cave, port chaplain with the Lighthouse London City Mission
Thurrock Council Christian Union and their Carol Service
The Churches In Unity Carol Service
Stanford Boiler Room
Thurrock Faith Forum
East Thurrock United Service (two prayer services)
Nigel Sykes of the Warwick Business School
Thurrock Constituency Election Hustings in May
Thurrock Healing Rooms
Seabrooke Rise Community House
South Ockendon Forum

The website is updated every week by at least two articles, and a weekly email sent out notifying people of new news, upcoming cross- and non-denominational events, and other articles of interest. This is sent to 260 people, plus a few others if relevant.

Friends of Transformation Thurrock

Over the past year a small body of people have come together who support and agree with the ethos of Transformation Thurrock, that is, to facilitate and resource united prayer and united mission across the borough. It’s not a ‘board of reference’ as such, but a means of helping me, exchanging ideas, and steering Transformation Thurrock forwards.

This small group currently consists of me, Colin Baker (Grays Baptist Church); David Bareham (Chafford Hundred Community Church); Barbara Brown (Thurrock Healing Rooms & Gateway Peoples Centre); Ayo Gbajabiamila (New Covenant Church, Stanford-le-Hope); Rob Groves (Fresh Hope Community, Stanford-le-Hope); and John Guest (St Margaret’s, Stanford-le-Hope). Roz Wilson, Treasurer, has an open invitation to sit in and advise on things financial.

Transformation Thurrock Prayer

This has taken place most months, on a Saturday morning. In the summer I took the decision to take the TTP gatherings from being in church venues to being in ‘secular’ locations around the borough. However, support has wained and I am considering whether the TTP ‘season’ is coming to an end as we look to fresh strategy in the borough (see below). TTP originated from a desire expressed at the 2008 TT launch breakfast for Saturday morning prayer meetings so those unavailable during the week can attend, but this no longer appears to be the case.

Thurrock Day of Prayer

Held on Saturday 16 October at Grays URC, this included three streams of interactive prayer in the afternoon, each with a prophetic emphasis (Treasure Hunting with Dave Webster of Gravesend; Prayer Walking with Jane Almond of Romford; and Intercession). In the evening there were testimonies from the afternoon’s activities and a time of worship led by Mike Davies & Band (from Nottingham) – the prophetic broke through and significant words were spoken and declarations made.

Numbers were down on 2009, but participants were incredibly equipped, encouraged and empowered, and expressed appreciation of the format, which came about in response to the Lord’s leading with respect to the venue’s size and facilities.
Under consideration for next year is a change of name and continuing with this many-streamed and evening worship format.

Grays Leaders Prayer
This weekly gathering for ministers and church leaders in the Grays postal area is now in its eighth year. The ‘GLP’ meets each Thursday morning, 8.30-9.30am, except on the second week of every month, when we meet for prayer followed by breakfast on a Friday, 8-10am. The first Thursday in January is designated a fast day and in 2010 everyone met at the Grays Community Prayer House (aka The Old Tennis Courts).
I ensure that venues are booked and send the emails round. The GLP fulfils TT’s vision of united prayer and I attend most weeks unless other commitments prevent me from doing so.

Thurrock Leaders Lunch
Only one of these has been held, in September, but I am hopeful that these regular events at which clergy ministers and leaders can gather in relationship in various venues around the borough can be fully resurrected and become an opportunity to grow in friendship and unity.
STOP PRESS: The Friends of Transformation Thurrock have met and decided the way forward for this is the Thurrock Leaders Network. This will be a 4 hour long opportunity for leaders to gather to worship, pray with each other, and eat together. The first of these will be on Thursday 10 February, 10am to 2pm. Venue to be confirmed.

Over the first eight months of 2010, the three local teams (Corringham, Grays and West Thurrock) continued to serve and minister to young people and the local communities. In my role as Thurrock Teams’ Coordinator, I visited each one regularly and when necessary was substitute when teams were low in number. However, due to restructuring at the Bar’N’Bus Trust, my contract was concluded at the end of August. Since the idea of a Bar’N’Bus bus for Thurrock was first suggested by Grays Police in 2004, in all I have overseen and helped to train five teams and been involved in regular fundraising activities.
TT will continue to publicise the Bar’N’Bus teams and fundraising events although I am no longer personally involved in their running, because Bar’N’Bus fulfils the unity-in-mission aspect of TT’s ethos.

Thurrock & Havering Schools Prayer Day (Pray For Schools)
Held on Saturday 2 October, this Pray For Schools’ sponsored event (one of many around the UK) was held in partnership with Havering Scripture Union and the Balstonia Trust (Thurrock). I facilitated the event on behalf of TT with children’s worker Suzanne Pearson of Hornchurch Methodist Church.

Positive aspects were the worship; the content of the keynotes speaker’s word; and the displays, especially the excellent Prayer Space for Schools room put together by Carla Taylor. Negatives were some miscommunication of vision which resulted in some vague prayer; an overly ambitious programme; and the event’s failure to attract more interest than in 2009.

In 2011 we will cut back the content and readjust the programme in order to reassert prayer as the emphasis, and so drop certain aspects. The purpose of the event is to promote prayer for and in schools – for schools workers, teachers, governors, support staff, students and pupils, all of whom we wish to attract to this highlighting day.

Epicentre Thurrock / Rock Thurrock
This cross-denominational outreach programme to Thurrock’s young people was dreamed up by Edwin Hughes (Grays Baptist Church). A number of local churches are involved and working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). TT’s involvement is because of this unity, supporting it through publicity.
The initiative has both prayer and missional elements which demand as wider unity as possible. The recently inaugurated interchurch youth service UNITE 30/31 is an early outcome of discussions surrounding Epicentre and, although I am not personally involved in its planning, TT aims to encourage the continuation of this by financial support (alongside the churches represented) and ongoing publicity.

Transformation Thurrock – 2011 and beyond
Some of these are ideas in development, some are dreams to be realised; some are my own, and some are others’ under the TT umbrella:
Healing The Land – Thurrock Prayer Walking Strategy with Roy Edworthy and Barbara Brown of Thurrock Healing Rooms
Regular prayer training events in Treasure Hunting etc. building on the TDOP model
Community Festivals – prayer tents at T-Fest and the Stanford Festival; a festival facilitated by the church on Pentecost Sunday & Global Day of Prayer (12June)
Street Parties’ promotion (e.g. Royal Wedding, 29 April) – Rob Groves
London 2012 Olympics & Festivals’ development training with Share Jesus International / More Than Gold – to take place early 2011 continuing promotion and development of vision and projects
Community Passion and/or Nativity plays in collaboration with the Royal Opera House Purfleet
Arts Centres in west, central and east of borough, to include youth excellence programmes (with ROH and Inspiration Youth Call)
Schools and Youth:
Celebrating RE Month (March) – helping Thurrock SACRE to promote the project and facilitate training
Schools Work Audit – with Steve Morris (CHCC)
audit to determine youth provision across the borough – by Rob Groves (FHC)
Pray for Schools – Thurrock & Havering Schools Prayer Day set for Saturday 1 October
Schools & Churches Adoption Scheme – John Guest
Epicentre Thurrock / Rock Thurrock – Edwin Hughes (Grays Baptist Church) & BGEA. Launch breakfast at Thurrock Hotel on Saturday 7 March. Will Graham gospel presentations at Civic Hall 24/25 September.
GSUS Live – Autumn term 2012

Tim Harrold, 29.12.10

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