On 4th July 2019, a handful of us gathered at The Golden Hope in Sittingbourne to officially begin the process of Hope Church Sittingbourne becoming a registered UK charity. This is being done in partnership with our friends at Stewardship.
Up until this point we have been heavily dependent on our sending church, Cornerstone City Church in Medway. They have generously provided support, care, nurture and encouragement. Legally we have functioned as an extended small group of Cornerstone City Church, operating within their insurance, policies and procedures.
Since the Watson family moved in May 2018 to plant Hope Church Sittingbourne we have been overwhelmed by the goodness of God, witnessing the vision of Hope Church Sittingbourne resonate in the hearts and minds of many new friends. A small church community has been birthed in Sittingbourne a tad quicker than everyone had initially anticipated, and for that we are truly thankful.
Over this first year, a local core-team has been established who feel it is healthy that Hope Church Sittingbourne lean away from complete dependence on Cornerstone City Church and that we begin to take steps towards stewarding the local resources which God has entrusted to us locally for His purposes in Sittingbourne and beyond.
The process of maturity is the same for all living things, consider a baby as an example...
At first a baby is completely dependent on something beyond itself to exist (ie. a nurturing parent or carer). As the baby develops into a child it will navigate its first steps towards independence. It may learn to crawl, and then walk, to explore the world beyond itself and perceive any new discoveries through its own eyes.
Eventually the time should come when this developing child will venture beyond the parent and begin to explore and learn its own boundaries, making sense of risk and danger (and occasionally making mistakes and getting things wrong!). But throughout this process of initial development the parent remains close by, waiting in the wings to step in should the danger or risk become too high.
In the later stages of development (think late teens) this child is now becoming a young adult. It has developed its own sense of awareness, its own social network and will have developed its own distinctives and framework for how life should be lived. During this stage it may be likely that the young adult will become increasingly responsible for its own sustainability. This young adult may potentially work a job, maybe studying at university and managing its own resources, utilising its own intrinsic sense of challenge and risk as adapted from those early parenting days and subsequent lessons learnt through the journey of maturity.
The primary purpose regarding the maturing of all life is for that which has been dependent on something beyond itself to exist to adapt towards self-sufficiency and then multiply itself.
In the case of the child, to hopefully not become completely independent, but to choose inter-dependence as a way of life, remaining an intrinsic part of the family in which it was birthed, yet living true to its unique sense of place and purpose in the world.
It is with this understanding of intentional maturity that we are choosing to organise ourselves towards interdependence. We have this month released Cornerstone City Church from their generous support of the Watson family and have taken on the releasing of Gordons time 2.5 days a week as a church. Jonathan Butson has begun the process of taking on the role of church treasurer as we register as a UK charity and manage our own accounts and auditing.
Our new trustees will be as follows:
We are thankful for this fine group of men and women who have committed to diligently serving the local church through stewarding its legal and financial responsibilities as a UK charity.
Until elders are appointed at Hope Church Sittingbourne, Gordon Watson and Adam Voke (elder at Cornerstone City Church) will serve as the spiritual leaders of Hope Church Sittingbourne.
Hope Church Sittingbourne is part of the Relational Mission Community that Adam Voke leads. Within this RMC we will work out how we best care and support each of the local churches that are part of it, how we best leverage our collective resources towards extending the mission of God and also outworking a sense of accountability for us as a church as we continue to take steps of personal maturity towards establishing the biblical offices of elders and deacons.
Adam Voke will ultimately be responsible for the approving and appointing of an eldership team for Hope Church Sittingbourne in the years ahead. This role would be undertaken on behalf of Mike Betts and the apostolic team that leads Relational Mission, the family of churches we consider ourselves privileged to be a meaningful expression of.
We are excited that as we look ahead to January 2020 we should, by the grace of God, be much closer to the following:
The future looks exciting!
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