The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

Team England

I thought I'd lay out, in a little more detail, what our trip to England is going to be all about.

One of my closest friends from Harding, Michelle, lives and works with a church in Loughborough, England. This is, coincidentally enough, a church I went to on campaign in the summer of 2000. Michelle was in the States for Christmas, and spent a few days with me here in Nashville. We went to a meeting of our Singles lifegroup, she and my friend Lesley hit it off and began talking about missions. Pretty soon, they put together the idea for this trip. They asked me what I thought, and I loved it. We talked to the leaders of the singles group, as well as leaders of the congregation at large, and before we knew it, we were making plans!

We will be travelling October 14-23. We'll leave Nashville on a Friday night, and arrive in London Saturday morning. Most of Saturday will involve getting to Loughborough, but we're hoping to have some sort of social event that night, once we get there and have some time to relax.

Sunday we'll be leading worship and preparing for the rest of the week. Monday through Wednesday, we will be holding a Holiday Bible Club (or VBS). The schools there operate on a year-round schedule, and we'll actually be there during the fall break. In the afternoons we will have time to get ready for the next day, and some down time. Each evening we will have a different event - Bible studies, young adult activities, etc. Thursday we will do some community work, but we're not sure exactly what that will be, yet. We're also hoping to do some local sightseeing that day. Friday we will board a train, along with a few of the young adults from the church, and head to London. We'll do a short tour of the highlights, and probably go to a show that night. Then Saturday will be a free day for people to explore the city, shop, or even take a day trip to a nearby town if they want. Sunday we'll fly home.

The first question people have is, "Why England?" After all, it is a prosperous country, a Western country, and it in fact has a state church. Why would a congregation there need us to come help them? The first and most pragmatic answer is numbers. The congregation is small, compared to what most of us are used to, and they don't have the numbers they need to do things like HBC. They depend on groups like ours to help out that way. The other, deeper, more important answer, was laid out really well by Michelle, in a letter to our group.

England is steadily turning into a pagan nation. Less than 3% of the population attend a church service of any kind on a regular basis. More than half the population claim to be atheists. The Church of England preaches tolerance; practically any lifestyle is acceptable to them. It is definitely not cool to be a Christian in England. In fact, it’s barely even tolerated.

A main facet of the work Angie and I do is with young adults and children. Although adults tend to be very unreceptive to the Gospel, or even religion in general, we find they will happily send their children to our Sunday School, youth events and Holiday Bible Clubs.

We would also love for you to be involved in other activities aimed at the teens and young adults. We have a very social group here and we love to get together and have fun! We would definitely want you to be a part of that. Campaigners are very special people to the young folk here; you will be remembered forever. In the years to come, your names will be mentioned with fondness. A week is a short amount of time, but your influence will continue after you leave.

The theme of our trip is "Relationship". I believe with all my heart that God works primarily in our connections with each other. That's not to say that He doesn't perform miracles; my younger sister is a miracle, without doubt. But I think people don't believe in Him just because of miracles. If that were true, no one who saw Christ would have doubted Him. Our faith comes from our encounters with Him, and the first way most of us encounter Him is through His children. So we have a responsibility to reach out to each other in love, and to then spread that love beyond the church and into the world. It starts with one person, one relationship, one connection. We are going to England to form connections with each other, with our brothers and sisters there, and with the not-yet-believers there.

Michelle has a new blog with stories about the work she and her coworker Angie are doing. She also puts out a monthly newsletter of her experiences and efforts, and if you would like to get her emails, let me know and I'll see you're added to the list.

I know this is an unusually long post, and I apologize for how long it's taking you to read it! I hope you'll be in prayer for our team, the Loughborough congregation, and our time over there. I hope you have a beautiful day!

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