My dear friends at Emmanuel,
Being with you on New Year’s Eve was such fun for Wendy and me. To greet so many dear friends, join in the worship, see the extraordinary videos and hear Joel enthuse about the vision for the future provided immense pleasure.
I wanted to add a few words which I hope will prove an encouragement. Few of you will realise that “Emmanuel” is actually the church’s fourth name. When we first gathered, forty years ago with 38 people, we did so as “Brighton and Hove Christian Fellowship”.
In those far off days new churches often used the title “fellowship”. It seemed somewhat presumptuous to call ourselves “The Brighton and Hove Church” or something similar, but we knew we were called to serve the whole Brighton area. We met at Connaught School, hence the so called “Connaught room” at Clarendon Villas, to remind us of our humble beginnings. As we grew, people brought their own deckchairs to sit on.
One day I was impressed that Clarendon Church in Clarendon Villas would be an ideal location for our growing congregation. Henry Tyler, David Fellingham and I on a memorable morning of prayer knew that God had heard us. It would be ours, and soon it was! We became Clarendon Church, simply embracing the existing name.
The Tree Vision
Very soon after we arrived Wendy was given the remarkable vision of the tree which was referred to on the video on New Year’s Eve. She was impressed particularly by its massive roots, which emerged above the ground like the huge shoulders you sometimes see at the base of a large tree trunk. She felt God also said that it would be impossible to be in the Brighton area without encountering this tree.
After various chapters of meeting in two, then five congregations, then at the Odeon cinema, the Comet warehouse was found and bought, after a huge prayer battle.
Millions of pounds were raised, once again through great times of prayer and the name “Church of Christ the King” was born.
One of the things that particularly thrilled me at the New Year’s Eve meeting was the announcement of your two weeks of prayer and fasting that has already started.
Your history is bathed in prayer. I believe the strong roots that Wendy saw represent a prayer foundation. I’m sure you know “Emmanuel”, God is with us, is not just a token name. As Joel proclaimed, it’s the basis of everything and it’s when we take time to pray that we acknowledge our absolute dependence on him and his powerful presence.
I once heard the great Arthur Wallis say that a work of God will last only as long as the spirit of prayer that brought it to birth.
May God wonderfully bless you, continue with you and demonstrate his powerful presence as you continue calling on him, trust and obey him with every fresh challenge and victory in your glorious future.
God bless you “Emmanuel”!
Your friend, Terry.