Love After Marriage

We are currently running the Love After Marriage workshop (www.loveaftermarriage.org) with 11 couples and have a desire to make it available to others in the near future. Love After Marriage (LAM) is a marriage course like no other, which we ourselves have had the privilege of doing. LAM was birthed as a result of a dream The Lord put on the hearts of Barry & Lori Byrnes who are part of Bethel Church, Redding California. The course is not so much pastoral in nature, but rather apostolic meaning that it is about creating a culture where marriages thrive. We believe God is wanting for there to be a revival of relationships meaning relationships, including marriages, which reflect Heaven's heart and model for them.

The strap line for LAM is 'Nothing Hidden' and this reflects the heart and vision of the course to be a place where couples are vulnerable with each other and vulnerable with others. Along with such vulnerability comes expectations of trust and confidentiality within the context of LAM. The choice to be vulnerable is down to individuals, but there is an expectation that those applying for and participating in LAM have a core desire to live vulnerably. It is not necessarily about bringing up every issue in your marriage, but more importantly about being led by Holy Spirit as to what to address. Our own experience is that the more vulnerable we have been the greater breakthrough and freedom we have got in our marriage!

LAM1 is an 18 session course, which is quite a commitment, but it is meant to be. Many of us make the time to commit to other things and yet our marriages are the most important relationships we have with another person, but so often we don't take the time to commit to working on and developing this vital relationship or we only make the commitment and take the time when we've hit a crisis!

Our desire is that this course will help us to have marriages that are healthy and flourishing in an ongoing way. We believe that it will cause husbands and wives to grow closer as well as relationships within Immanuel Community to go deeper too as couples journey with and support one another.

Our own experience has been that LAM is not just for young couples or newly-weds and in fact most of the couples that were on our course had been married for 30+ years!

"...been together 9 years & after 1 of these sessions know my beautiful wife better than I ever have..." (quote from a husband)

If you would be interested in participating in a LAM workshop in the future please contact us and we will keep you informed of future dates.

 

Blessings

Peter  &  Sarah

Peter & Sarah Taylor

Treasure Hunting Testimonies

It's always encouraging when we hear back testimonies of the difference we've made through our teams of treasure hunters who go out onto the streets of Romford to bless people every month. Two such testimonies have really encouraged us of late. The first relates to a lady whose testimony we heard being shared on Premier Christian Radio and the second involves a man who shared his testimony at a Foodbank training session at a local church...

Radio Testimony...

One of the mum’s of an Immanuel School pupil was listening to Premier Christian Radio one morning when a lady phoned in to say that she had prayed to God for reassurance regarding a matter. The next day she went to Romford and was outside a coffee shop when a lady and young girl aged about 7 approached her. They said they were on a treasure hunt and God had shown them a lady with a purple scarf and they felt it was her as she had a purple scarf on. They asked to pray for her and she agreed as she knew this was God answering her prayer for reassurance regarding the matter. They had told the lady that they were connected to Immanuel School. We found out who the team members were and they were so encouraged that God had used them that day!

Foodbank Testimony...

During Foodbank training at one of the local churches they were talking about how to offer prayer to the Foodbank clients when a man started telling of a situation that happened to him whilst in Romford. He shared how two young boys had approached him on the streets and offered to pray for him. He was amazed as they told him that he matched their description on their ‘treasure map’ of a man with dreadlocks. He was taken aback somewhat and could not handle them praying for him then and there, but said they could pray afterwards. He said the reason he found it hard though was because he could see the presence of God shining out of their eyes! As he walked away he turned and saw them closing their eyes and praying for him. He said that this had so encouraged him and he felt really cared for!

We hope you are as encouraged by these testimonies as we are because this shows us a glimpse of the impact our teams are having in transforming lives in Romford one person at a time as God leads!

Outsourcing motherhood

One of the most memorable aspects of yesterday’s Budget was George Osborne’s decision to give a tax-break for nursery fees, enabling both parents to go out to work.  The way the decision has been framed has caused outrage because of the inequality in its implementation; but of much more concern is the message it conveys to our nation and the values it underpins.

One aspect is the message it sends to mothers who see motherhood as a privilege and a duty, and choose to stay at home with their young children.  For these (and we understand that there are many who would love to do so but financial pressure or circumstances prevent them) there is no tax break.  Instead, society is encouraged to see them as feckless for not going to work, and scorn them for their lack of career.  Motherhood is fundamentally demeaned.

Earlier this week a government briefing document, claiming that mothers who stayed at home did not need as much financial support as those who work, was published on the Treasury’s website.  The document was later removed, since it fuelled claims that the new childcare scheme is discriminating against the traditional family.  It does!  The traditional family of two heterosexual parents and their children is under severe attack, and our government is doing nothing to protect it, despite Cameron’s claim to want ‘family values’ when he was first elected.

Secondly, parents are being actively encouraged to give away the most formative years of their children’s lives to the state.  It has been intimated that the new scheme will encourage some people not to take their full maternity allowance on lower pay and instead return to work sooner.  Children may be happy in a nursery for the vast majority of their infant life, but what are the long-term effects, and what values are they imbibing?

As the state becomes more and more prescriptive about what children at a very young age should and will be taught, parents get less and less say.  They are abdicating their responsibility to an unscrupulous elite who are determined to control the minds of the up and coming generation.  Yet God made it very clear to his people that the primary influence on our children should be the parents.  He certainly intended the parents to be fully engaged in their children’s upbringing:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Thirdly, even with a tax break, nursery fees are expensive.  Many parents are caught in the trap that they can’t afford to work less and give more time to their growing family because nursery fees are so high.   For families with multiple children, the problem is exacerbated.  Ministers have said they hoped the new scheme would encourage low and middle income earners to work full-time rather than part-time.

Perhaps there is an unwritten message to limit family size accordingly.  Yet again, God is clear that children are a blessing from the Lord:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth (Psalm 127:3-4)

The Government are packaging the new measures as a reward for hard work.  But can ‘outsourcing’ mothering possibly be the best way to create a healthy society?  No!  It’s all about market forces, parents’ needs and getting mothers back to work.

There are unchanging emotional needs of under-threes (and much older children too) in our ever-changing society.  In the first three years of life, a baby’s developing brain doubles in size.  Every experience and expression of unconditional love and affection impacts their security, their identity and their self-worth in later years.

Yet Elizabeth Truss’s recent policy document ‘More Great Childcare’ proposes to reduce staff-to-child ratios in nurseries and at child minders, which means that staff will have less time to engage with each child.  However good a job nursery nurses and child minders do, at best they ensure children are cared for, which does not equate with loving and caring for each child in the on-going and consistent way a good parent does.

Today key adviser, Professor Cathy Nutbrown, who reviewed childcare and qualifications for the Government, has reported that the plans to increase the number of children nursery staff can look after in England ‘make no sense at all’.  She remarked that the current proposals would ‘shake the foundations’ of quality nursery provisions.  She said:

Too few adults with too many little children; too few moments in the day for a toddler to have uninterrupted time with their key person, and too few early years practitioners to talk and work with parents.  Here is the rub, there is nothing relaxing about the proposal to ‘relax’ ratios.  It will lead to stress – for children, for parents and for early years practitioners, whatever their title or qualification.

Parents may convince themselves that working all hours is the means of giving themselves and their children a ‘good’ lifestyle, but it’s no substitute for giving children their love, time and attention, and the life-skills and values they want their children to observe and imbibe.  Parents who prioritise these foundational values provide a stable environment where children will develop the most secure and loving relationships.

The message from the Government is that you should feel guilty if you stay at home to bond with your children and raise your family.  Successive governments have brainwashed women into believing that being a stay-at-home mum is somehow letting the side down.  Thank God this is the opposite of the way he views parenthood and the family!

Join the growing pro-life movement!

Last weekend a number of cities across the world, including over 100 cities in Spain, hosted the annual March For Life, a rally calling for an end to abortion.  Rallies have taken place worldwide throughout the year.  Nearly 500,000 attended the January March for Life in Washington D.C.  In May, around 20,000 took part in Canada and 15,000 in Italy.

Christian Concern's Andrea Williams spoke to around 7,000 pro-lifers at a Rally for Life in Belfast in July.  Two more Conservative cabinet members, Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May, have said that they support reducing the legal time limit for abortion after Maria Miller came out in favour of a change last week.  Here at Immanuel Community we believe there has been a shift in opinion and that things are beginning to move in the right direction.

MP Daniel Kawczynski spoke for a reduction in the abortion limit on BBC News.  Go to: http://www.christianconcern.com/media/bbc-news-mp-daniel-kawczynski-interviewed-on-cabinet-ministers-support-for-cut-in-abortion-tim 

One of the ways you can join this growing movement is to take part in the National Day of Prayer on 27th October organised by Christian pro-life group Image.  Go to their website for more information: http://www.imagenet.org.uk/day_of_prayer.html

The Lord Carey of Clifton at Immanuel Community

Last Friday evening Lord and Lady Carey of Clifton were the guests at a meal in North Romford.  The former Archbishop of Canterbury came by invitation of local MP, Mr Andrew Rosindell, the founder and Vice-President of the Romford Conservative Christian Fellowship.  The evening was convened at Havering Grange and members of Immanuel Community and RCCF worked together to provide a beautifully cooked and presented three-course meal.

Lord Carey has his roots in our local area.  He proposed to his wife in Raphael Park, Romford, and they lived for many years in Dagenham, just a few miles from here.  Some of the guests at the meal were friends of theirs from their Dagenham days.  The meal drew together not only members of the Romford CCF but also many Christians from churches in the local area who share a concern for our nation and the erosion of the Judaeo-Christian values on which it was built.  Special guests included the Lady Mayor and her consort, and several local councillors.

Lord Carey addressed us on the subject of ‘Without a vision, the people perish,' taken from Proverbs 29:18.  He described how easy it is for life to carry on long after the vision for something has disappeared.  It’s not until a crisis occurs that people stop short and realise that they have no vision and therefore no strategies for coping with their present circumstances.  In the West we have removed many of the planks of the Judaeo-Christian heritage we all take for granted, without realising that so much of our lives are negatively impacted by their removal.  Future crises will serve to show us that the foundations have been removed and our nation will not know which way to turn.

There has been a distinct shift in the way people think in recent times.  For example, we use comparative language instead of confronting issues and saying they are wrong; we are subjective in our assessment of situations, using our feelings more than plain facts.  Lord Carey inspired us not to simply accept the status quo when we should be speaking out, even if the weight of public opinion is against us.  Jesus Christ is the hope for our nation and our nation needs to hear this message.

Lord Carey’s message had equal relevance for politicians and those within the church.  He presented the real challenge before us, and encouraged us to put our faith in God, with whose help we can bring about fundamental change.  William Wilberforce would not back down over the issue of slavery in the British Empire; the issues we face today have just as far-reaching consequences.

It was a privilege to hear Lord Carey speak and the inspiration and challenge he brought were a wake-up call to us all.

Love After Marriage

Friday 11th April 2014

Love After Marriage (LAM) is a marriage course like no other, which we ourselves have had the privilege of doing... The course is not so much pastoral in nature, but rather apostolic meaning that it is about creating a culture where marriages thrive. We believe God is wanting for there to be a revival of relationships meaning relationships, including marriages, which reflect Heaven's heart and model for them.

Treasure Hunting Testimonies

Wednesday 15th May 2013

Two inspiring testimonies of lives touched by the faithfulness of God and through the faithfulness of the teams that go out 'treasure hunting' month after month!

Outsourcing motherhood

Friday 22nd March 2013

In the budget the Government are packaging the new measures as a reward for hard work.  But can ‘outsourcing’ motherhood possibly be the best way to create a healthy society?

Join the growing pro-life movement!

Saturday 13th October 2012

Last weekend a number of cities across the world, including over 100 cities in Spain, hosted the annual March For Life, a rally calling for an end to abortion . . .

The Lord Carey of Clifton at Immanuel Community

Friday 12th October 2012

Last Friday evening Lord and Lady Carey of Clifton were the guests at a meal in North Romford . . .

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