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Holloways Youth Leads Ladywood AYS Programme

As part of Ladywood SDA Church Youth Emphasis Day on Sabbath 15th November 2014, the Holloway SDA Church Youth Department were invited to Birmingham to take their AYS programme. The programme, led by Holloway Youth Leader Annell Smith, took the form of a chat show entitled “Talk That Talk”. The team spent the Sabbath day with the Ladywood family and were made to feel welcome by brethren throughout. As the sermon was preached by Bro Troy Flood of Derby Bethal SDA Church, it became obvious that his sermon was divinely inspired, as it fit seamlessly with the AYS topics planned by the Holloway team. The sermon was about not conforming to the world and standing up for God’s truth no matter how unpopular it appears.

During the chat show, various cases (scenarios) were discussed to highlight the temptations and difficulties faced by Christian youths on a daily bases. To open the AY programme, 1Corinthians 10:13 was read to set the scene. The chat show presented three relevant day-to-day scenarios for discussion;

  • Working on the Sabbath
  • Dressing provocatively in search of attention & acceptance
  • Reactions to news of a family member questioning their sexuality.

Each scenario was followed by a “Reflective Break”, led by Holloway’s Youth Pastor, Alec Gage. Each reflective break opened the floor for some lively, frank and engaging discussions with the audience, along with reference to Bible verses as a means of encouragement for those who could relate to the scenarios. As the programme neared completion, the congregation were treated to a counsellor-type review of each scenario, taken by Bro Kirk Sobers, with poignant Biblical references given to emphasis that God will bring us through any situation or dilemma as long as we seek Him first.

The program ended with an alter call led by Pastor Gage and a reminder that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

The day was thoroughly enjoyed and was a blessing to all who attended as the Holloway youth team were thanked for presenting topics of great importance to both youth and adults alike.

Holloway Launches First Youth Church in History

The result of weeks of prayer, planning and preparation were about to descend upon Holloway SDA Church on 13 September 2014. The youth hall had been cleared and the chairs carefully arranged to receive an unprecedented number of young people for the first youth church of its kind in Holloway’s history.

As the clock approached 11am, the queue had started forming outside. The pianist stroked the keys with the chords of a familiar hymn; the Praise Team hummed gently as they made final adjustments to the mikes Pastor Alec sat poised behind the preaching stand, as groups of teenagers and young adults stepped through the swinging double doors to take their seats in the worship circle. 

No one expected Youth Church to be filled to the capacity that it was that Sabbath. By 11.30am the hall was filled with over 80 young people of all ages and backgrounds, ready to fully engage in the worship service, which they all did. 

“You are making history today” Pastor Alec said as he addressed the crowd of happy faces. It was clear that many had invited friends, family and their children to share the historical experience with them. But this is not to become a one time event, Holloway Youth Church is about creating an environment where young people who have or have not professed a faith in Jesus can bring their prayers, questions, testimonies, praise and offerings to God without inhibition. It’s meant to be a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing their weakness and challenges without fear of judgement or ridicule. 

There was no holding back the youth when it came to giving testimonies that day; hearts were uplifted and encouraged as countless people shared breakthroughs with their health, families, finances, work and studies. How many of these testimonies would have gone amiss without an environment where the youth could feel comfortable sharing with their peers what God had brought them through that week? 

As Pastor Alec highlighted in his sermon about the rich young ruler, many people still believe Christianity is something that you do, rather than something that you are. The rich young ruler met the real Jesus that day and realized that in fact the things that he thought he owned actually owned him! As the group pondered on these final words and the closing song was sung, the young people clearly wanted to linger a little longer in the atmosphere with their peers and with God, which is what Youth Church is all about.

Holloway Youth Church is a parallel service to the main church service held at Holloway SDA Church from 11:15am – 1pm, in the Youth Hall, the second Sabbath of every month.

 

 

Turkey, presents, carols and Christmas hats. Sounds like your typical family Christmas lunch doesn’t it? Well, this Christmas lunch took place around a very large table and the guests were not all from the same family.

On the 25th December 2013, Holloway Church decided to host a lunch for the homeless and other community members in need. Throughout the beginning of December, our church members collected donations of food items, clothes and toiletries to be gifted on the day and these were the highlight of the Christmas program. Our 25 special guests were greeted with a short carol service and then invited into the upper hall for a hearty three-course meal. After which, they were brought downstairs into the foyer to the ‘gift shop’. The generous church member’s donations brought wide smiles to the guest’s faces as they were directed to help themselves and fill shopping bags with whatever they wanted.

From tinned fish to toothbrushes to jeans, the ‘gift shop’ was a thoughtful and practical idea that proved to be just what our guests needed. One gentleman who had just been passing by the church and invited inside by an Elder remarked that he was “so glad he came” because his current shoes were full of holes and he left with a new pair of trainers, a coat and many food items. His excitement brought satisfaction to the member’s faces; many of which were young people in the church, encouraged by Pastor and Sister Gage and had given up their own Christmas day to help others. At the end of the day, we all agreed that it had been a success and we were glad we had come. It was also decided that we should hold the ‘gift shop’ more often.

Being able to offer those in need warmth, food and gifts reinforced our mission as Christians and although we do not know exactly what day Christ came to Earth; we do know what He came to do and through our Christmas Lunch, we believe we were able to help fulfil the work of Christ. 

To God be the glory.

 Hayley Mckenzie-Sealy

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Men’s Day at Holloway SDA church – November 30, 2013

Sabbath November 30 was not another Sabbath day of worship and of fellowship at Holloway SDA Church.   It was Men’s Ministries Day!  The Men occupied the driving seat all day from Sabbath School to Divine Worship and the AY.

The Sabbath’s events were the highlight of weekend packed with activities to celebrate our Men.  The theme for the weekend was ‘God’s Mighty Men’ (2 Samuel 23:8-39).  Elder M Pilgrim, speaker for the day, challenged the Men to stand up and be God’s Mighty as the Men of old. The Sabbath worship ended with prayer of rededication for Men to the service of God and to the community.

The Holloway Male Voice Choir was there, as always, on this colourful day in the church’s calendar.  We also were blessed with visiting family and friends from sister churches.

One of the surprises was the plagues awarded to three men voted ‘God’s Mighty Men’ for the year at Holloway SDA Church.  These men were recognised to have contributed to church life and also to God’s work.   The weekend events concluded with Men only prayer breakfast where the weekend’s theme was further explored with prayers and fellowship. 

 

Natural Church Development: Growth Strategy ‘takes root’ at Holloway

Holloway SDA Church is home to one of the longest standing, sturdy, and substantial SDA congregations within London and perhaps not the first place you’d think of, when developing strategies for church growth. Look a little closer however and you’ll see a few more vacant blue seats on a Sabbath morning, than there would have been 5 years ago.  Listen and you’ll hear members passionate about accessing a community who largely seem to observe us and even admire our hats, from a distance.  Listen closer still and there are stories of an aging and changing membership, some now too frail to attend, others perhaps tired of the weekly routine.

Are there still vibrant services, outreach activities and a large number of weekly attenders? Absolutely! Yet the discerning eye of Holloway’s Senior Pastor Samuel Ouadjo, recognised the need for something more. Cue in Pastor Tom Evans, Natural Church Development coach, for a Sabbath of reflection, troubleshooting and sanctified strategising from the 12th-13th July 2013.  This followed on from a self-assessment exercise, completed by an ‘elected’ representative sample of the church who were required to complete an extensive survey; evaluating the various aspects of church life.  The Natural Church Development survey is an instrument used throughout the SDA church to, assess the health of a church’s overall performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to support sustainable growth and vibrance within the body.

During the cosy, but candid Friday evening session, church board members were fed, watered and presented with the reality of the assessment results.  In addition to discussing possible reason for the findings, those present were asked to feed back on their own perceptions of the high and low performing areas of church life. In addition to using the Sabbath School period to observe the church, Pastor Tom Evans presented a thought provoking and inspirational sermon during Divine Service, introducing the concept of the ‘red carpet service’.  He suggested that the church should choose four key areas in which to deliver excellence and deliver them consistently.  He ‘upped the bar’ another level by referring to the even higher, aspirational standard of ‘purple carpet service’ that would not fail to please the recipients.

During the afternoon service he shared the NCD survey results with the wider church and engaged those present in strategising for success.

While Holloway was pleased to find that there were several high ratings the most sobering moment came with the confirmation that one of our worse scores was in an area that most adversely affected church growth.  It didn’t take a genius to deduce that if it was not addressed, all efforts to achieve growth would prove futile! And so the weekend of introspection ended and Pastor Tom returned to the US, leaving behind an enlightened and inspired church. Following this, an NCD implementation team has been constructed to ensure that the learning is applied and results are measured, enabling Holloway church to flourish.

Building Faith Through Prayer

Imagine waking up after a good night sleep. You keep your eyes closed trying to stay that little bit longer in bed. You move your head to the side and suddenly you feel something move down on your face.  Horrified, you sit up and frantically smack your face thinking it may be an insect. You look at your hand and see it is oil. You look up and see your mother praying over you with oil in her hand. She has just anointed me and prayed over me while I slept.

This was the type of woman that spoke to us on International Woman Day of Prayer on Sabbath 2nd March 2013.  Andrea Philip, leader of the Holloways Women’s Ministries Department, reminded us that Faith and Prayer work together to encourage that relationship with God. Holloway Church united with a prayer session and we were encouraged to build that connection with God by building faith through prayer and spending time in God’s Word. Sis Philip told us not to give up when we do not receive the answer we want from God. Everything happens in God’s time and not ours.

Before the sermon, Holloway was praising God through song and reflecting on his goodness in Prayer. It was a blessed Sabbath and we would like to encourage you to have a closer relationship with God through prayer and reading the Bible.

God Bless

Women and Well-Being Week

Holloway Women Ministries kicked off their annual week long seminar on the 23rd September, with Cecile Mwaniki empowering women to be starters not followers. We were reminded that “we can do anything we want with God’s help.”

The seminar covered many topics such as ‘Breast Awareness’, ‘Parenting’, ‘Clothes and Fashion’,’ Falling in Love with Jesus’, ‘From Miracles to Mediocrity’ and ‘Sexual Health’. The topics were presented by various speakers namely: Grace Adesina, Malika Bediako, Valerie Bernard-Allen and Patsy Reid.

The Women Ministries not only targeted women but also the youth of the church. Women were taught how to check their breasts for any abnormalities. Malika spoke about ‘Last Chance Parents’ and how to handle children and how to be supportive of children. However, the burning question that kept recurring was, “Where are the men when it comes to being a role model?” ‘Are you what you wear?’ looked at clothes and fashion and how particular we should be when dressing for different purposes. It is not just a matter of following fashion but it is knowing what suits the individual.

Friday night was a teen-focused topic where they were taught that when they fall in love with Jesus nothing can stand in their way. The teens came out with statements that helped us to reflect on the behaviour of older members towards them and how discouraging it can be at times.

Valerie Bernard blessed us during the divine hour with a thought provoking sermon where we were urged to keep going after the miracle has taken place in our lives rather than to settle into mediocrity.

AYS was taken by Patsy Reid, where members acted out different scenarios to make us become more aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. The programme was very educational and gave us food for thought.

On Sabbath, a pink bow was presented to all members to raise awareness of Breast Cancer and a special offering was raised which will go towards Breast Cancer Research.

Many people commented on the success of the programme and how they learnt a lot from it and would like some of the topics to be repeated in AYS to target even more young people. Praise be to God!

Holloway Women Ministries Dept.

Daniel Seminar Graduation

On 8th September, Holloway celebrated the graduation of 61 students following the completion of the Daniel Seminar. The graduates wore red for the day – symbolic of the blood of Jesus. They had each displayed determination and dedication in completing the seminar that started in May, and were now well versed in the prophecies revealed in the book of Daniel. Pastor Matthew Herel reminded those in attendance that although this ceremony represented their graduation day from the seminar, graduates should seek to make it their enrolment day for the kingdom of Heaven.

Written by Pastor Matthew Herel

Super Sabbath School

On 8th September, Sabbath School at Holloway Church was upgraded to Super Sabbath School. SEC Personal Ministries Director, Pastor Kirk Thomas, was the speaker for the day. He transformed lesson study from its usual class format into a rousing and inspiring study involving the whole church. Members and visitors alike were all encouraged to participate. Every person who made a contribution to the discussion was rewarded with a special welcome: a greeting from the entire congregation! The welcoming theme continued during Divine Service, where Pastor Thomas preached a stirring sermon on the overwhelming love of Jesus.

Written by Pastor Matthew Herel

African Skies!

Peering through the doors of Holloway Church on Saturday 7th July, one could see an exotic rainbow of bright colours and bold ethnic print. The congregation was smiling, the bongo drums were playing and the atmosphere was lively. ‘African Skies’; a fundraising concert brought colour, culture and excitement into the Church as the Church rallied together for a great cause. Rumbidzai Sithole and Hayley Mckenzie-Sealy organised this concert to raise money for Mboe Church in Zimbabwe because the Church is unable to complete their building work due to not having enough funds. The Church is made up of mostly farm workers and they are not able to fund the building project, therefore they currently worship in a School classroom, but are in desperate need of their own Church. The concert featuring a range of soloists, choirs, groups and poets including The Golden Chords, Praise and Poetical Princess. Each featured items in African languages and came magnificently dressed in African clothes or colours. Through the songs, poems and hosts, the concert emphasised that we should appreciate what God has blessed us with and in turn try our best to bless our Christian brothers and sisters in Mboe who do not have simple things that we take for granted such as communion glasses. All agreed that this was a worthy cause and generous Christian love was demonstrated as over £550 was made with more donations still promised to come. ‘African Skies’ was an inspirational and beautiful blend of African culture, unity, praise and love and we pray that the people of Mboe Church will be blessed by the generous donations that were given. If you would like to donate to the cause or find out any more information please contact Rumbi on rumbis@hotmail.com