Christmas at King's
Click here for more
Building a diverse church
serving the communities of London

7th December 2017

Deb's Story

Those of you who were at King’s on Sunday will have heard me talk about my wife Deb’s first experience of coming to a church carol service – a spur of the moment decision that turned out to be quite significant for her! As we approach our carol service season, I thought you might be interested to hear the story from her point of view. So, here is my wife Deb, in her own words!

As Steve said on Sunday, I was not brought up in a Christian home. I think he actually said that I had never been to church before going to a carol service, but that is not quite true! I remember a burst of interest in Christianity when I was about thirteen, which led me to visit two different churches. One was with my grandfather, who was a Catholic, and the other was with my friend Anne, who went to a Church of England church. My memories of both occasions are of feeling terribly out of place – everyone except me seemed to know what to do: when to stand up, sit down, go forward for communion (what was that about?) and how to follow the service in some book we were given! It was rather bewildering and seemed pretty meaningless at the time. My brief exploration of Christianity ended after a month or so, and I decided at the beginning of my teens that I was an atheist!

Roll on several years to Christmas Eve 1982, when I was seventeen. I was in a local pub with some school friends and as last orders were being called, someone suggested going to the midnight candlelight service at the church up the road. She knew the church and promised we would enjoy it. The thought of singing carols by candlelight sounded suitably Christmassy, so off we all went.

My initial impressions were not what I expected: the church was warm (I’d assumed I’d need my coat), full of people who were all talking and clearly happy to be there, and welcoming. We were given a candle, a hymn book and shown to a seat. This was in the days before we worried about issues of health and safety, and with several hundred people packed into the church, each holding a burning candle, there was a beautiful warm glow in the room. It was quite atmospheric, and I began to feel intrigued about what lay ahead.

I remember being surprised by the volume of the voices as we sang the first carol. Not only did the people here enjoy singing, they also sounded as if they believed it. There were no embarrassing moments where I didn’t know what to do, and everyone seemed remarkably relaxed. But what I remember most clearly, and what I realise now, is that this was the first time I heard the gospel. At some point in the service there was a drama, during which a young woman stood in the middle of the stage with a torch and talked about Jesus being ‘the light of the world’. It was a simple message; it didn’t answer all my questions, but it caught my attention.

It was another 14 months before I actually gave my life to Christ, but that carol service in 1982 marked the beginning of my journey to faith. It left me with a positive impression of church. It caused me to question my unbelief and gave me a desire to find out more. It was some months before I acted on that desire, but the seed was planted on Christmas Eve, 1982.

Deb Tibbert

That is Deb’s story, and I am very grateful to the friend who invited her to that carol service. This Sunday marks the beginning of our carol service weekends at King’s, and I want to encourage you once again to invite your friends and family. I hope Deb’s story will be an encouragement to you. Who knows – perhaps your invitation will be the beginning of someone’s own journey of faith?

All our carol services are listed below, and more details can be found on the website.

SUN 10 DEC
5pm Lee

SAT 16 DEC
5pm* Catford

SUN 17 DEC
9.30am & 11.30am† Catford

5pm Catford & Downham

7.30pm* Catford

* with British Sign Language interpretation
† with kids' work for 0-9s


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
12:30


30th November 2017

What's In a Name?

Names are important – they are part of our identity. Even if the name we have been given has no significant meaning, the way in which it is used often does. How we are addressed by different people reveals their relationship to us or says something about how they see us.

To most people I’m just ‘Steve’, rarely ‘Stephen' - unless I’m in trouble, especially with my mother! Growing up, I was ‘Tibbsy’ to my friends. In our congregation at King’s I’m often known as ‘Pastor Steve’, a title which seems quite formal in my white British culture, and which it took me a while to get used to. Many of us who are married have affectionate names for our spouse which reflect the unique intimacy of the husband and wife relationship. And my three sons are the only people who call me ‘Dad’ - although they have been known to shout ‘Steve’ if they can’t get my attention any other way!

The names we use for someone are significant. They can reveal who they are, what they do and how we view them. The Bible is filled with numerous different names for Jesus: He is our 'Lord', our 'Saviour', our 'Comforter', our 'Counsellor', our 'Judge', our 'Guide' and our 'Rock'. He is the one who saves, who gives life and who frees us from our sin. Jesus is all this and more. Has one name ever encompassed so much? It is a beautiful name, and the reason we come to worship and celebrate at Christmas.

As you probably know already, we like to do Christmas in a big way at King’s. Across two weekends, starting on Sunday 10th December, we have no fewer than seven carol services for you to choose from. They take place at all three sites and include carols, readings, performance pieces, videos and a short talk that is fun and festive. Our theme for this year is ‘What a Beautiful Name’ and we want to take this opportunity to invite as many people as possible. Last year, some 3000 people attended at least one of our Christmas services, and we hope to exceed that this year. So now is the time to start inviting your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Dates and times are as follows:

SUN 10 DEC
5pm Lee

SAT 16 DEC
5pm* Catford

SUN 17 DEC
9.30am & 11.30am† Catford
5pm Catford & Downham
7.30pm* Catford

* with British Sign Language interpretation
† with kids' work for 0-9s

We ask you to collect tickets for yourselves and any guests you know are coming. Tickets are free and help to give an indication of how many people are likely to be attending each service. They are available for collection at all sites on Sundays. All information can be found on the King's website.

Who knows, perhaps your invitation could be the beginning of a journey for somebody? Perhaps they too will come to discover the beauty, power and significance of the name JESUS.



Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
10:00


23rd November 2017

A Weekend in Zimbabwe

It is probably an understatement to say this last week has been eventful!

As many of you will know, Deb and I were in Harare, Zimbabwe at the weekend. This was a trip that had been booked months in advance, our sixth visit to that great nation and to our friends in River of Life Church. We always keep a close eye on news coming from there, and although we knew that the vice president had been sacked a week or so earlier, we did not expect this to be the start of events that led to an apparent takeover by the army and Mugabe being placed under house arrest just a day before we were due to travel!

Naturally, it raised questions about whether or not we should go. We sought counsel from our friends on the ground and also spoke to fellow King's Church elder, William Dalziel, who was already in Harare. Everyone was able to reassure us that, at least for now, everything was peaceful. Deb and I prayed, talked and both felt certain that we should go and stand with our brothers and sisters in Harare.

There has been much discussion about whether or not this was a coup. Some have said that it could be described as 'a very Zimbabwean coup'. True, there were far fewer people on the flight into Harare than normal, but our impression on landing and then driving across Harare was of a country that felt both calm and cautiously hopeful. The army presence, what we saw of it, seemed low key and determinedly friendly.

We arrived in Harare on Friday and left on Monday, and over those four days we had a taste of the rollercoaster ride of hope and disappointment that Zimbabweans have lived with for years. On Saturday, as tens of thousands marched through the streets of Harare, we adjusted our programme so the River of Life Church leaders could join with the masses celebrating what they hoped would be the end of the Mugabe era. That evening we met with some of the Harare church leadership teams and listened to their own experiences of being on the march. Many described it as a street party, and their happiness and optimism were infectious.

On Sunday morning I had the joy of appointing and laying hands on three new elders and then preaching at the River of Life services. This is a church which we love and where we feel very much at home, and to be with them on this Sunday in particular was an honour. Then on Sunday evening we sat with our dear friends Scott and Claire Marques and watched Mugabe's live televised address to the nation. Expectations were high: WhatsApps were flooding in, people were recording it live and we were taking selfies to remember the moment, ready for what everyone believed was going to be his resignation speech. As his rambling statement continued for twenty minutes, it gradually became clear that he was stubbornly refusing to go. What a crushing anticlimax! For a while I was stunned – I'd seen a glimpse of what Zimbabweans have been going through for decades. So the four of us prayed together before retiring to bed, declaring once again our faith that God is sovereign and will have His way in Zimbabwe!

We are now in Cape Town and taking the chance to spend some time with Steve and Anna van Rhyn from Jubilee Community Church, another excellent church. I have also had the joy of spending an afternoon with their eldership team. Just before we met Steve and Anna on Tuesday evening, we received a message to say that Mugabe had resigned! As we watched footage of crowds of people celebrating on the streets of Harare, we shared in their joy and relief and the four of us drank a toast to our friends in Zimbabwe!

Zimbabweans are a people who have suffered greatly for many years, and their patience, tenacity and resilience never fails to impress us. The faith the church has shown, and their determination to continue to share the gospel and express God's kingdom in whatever way they can, is inspirational. To have walked these last few days with our Zimbabwean friends has been a huge privilege. We continue to pray for this great nation, for peace to continue and for God's purposes to be fulfilled.

Deb and I return to London on Friday and we are looking forward to being back at King's on Sunday.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
11:30


13th November 2017

Sharing Hope at Christmas

At church yesterday, Deb and I picked up our Big Red Box, ready to fill with a list of food items and Christmas treats. It is great to know it will be going to a family who might otherwise be going without. We have also just ordered our King’s Christmas Tree – we love a real a tree at Christmas, and all the profits from tree sales go towards providing hot meals at The Feast, our weekly drop-in for the homeless and vulnerable in the local area.

An integral part of our vision at King’s is to extend God’s love and mercy in practical ways to those who are hurting or in need. If you have been around King’s in the last few weeks, you will undoubtedly have heard about both Big Red Box and King’s Christmas Trees, and if you have not already done so, why not get involved by buying a real tree or contributing towards a hamper?

I have asked Alice, our Jericho Road Project Manager, to give an update on how things are going so far this year:

Big Red Box
We have had a great start to Big Red Box 2017 with over 200 boxes packed already! We have had more engagement with the local community than ever before with the Lewisham Young Offenders Service (YOS) helping us sort through donations, 32 GoodGym runners involved with our first packing evening and our local MP Heidi Alexander joining us for our second.

We have also had some incredibly generous donations from our times at the Sainsbury’s stores in Sydenham and Charlton. Each year, our Christmas hampers go out to some of the neediest families and individuals across South East London and are distributed by Social Services teams in Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich, Southwark and Croydon, as well as other local charities and organisations. With their help we were able to distribute 1,760 Big Red Box food hampers in 2016 and we hope to reach even more people this year.


If you would like to get involved then please go to bigredbox.org for more details or call 020 8690 5121.

King’s Christmas Trees
We’re reaching new heights with our King’s Christmas Tree sales, selling 100 trees online in the first week! Our mission is to share hope in our community not only at Christmas but all year round – that is why all of the sales and donations from the King’s Christmas Tree project go to running The Feast, our weekly Wednesday outreach meal, which not only offers a hot three-course meal but also advice, friendship and clothes to homeless and vulnerable people in our community.

Trees are available to buy now at kingschristmastrees.org. You can also volunteer to help at The Feast on a Wednesday night. Call 020 8690 5121 to find out more details.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
08:02


Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.

Subscribe to Steve's Blog via Email
RSS feed
Read Steve’s blog on the King’s App


BLOG ARCHIVE

2017

2016

2015

2014

Andrew Wilson
Annie Twort
Brett Melville
Charles Kimbangi
David Gayle
Hilary Dalziel
Kerri-Jane Lamb
King's Church London
Malcolm Kyte
Neal Glanville
Steve Tibbert