News

News

October 5th 2018

We met with much to give thanks for. The Lord has continued to bless and guide the group in Sunderland and the session of Gateshead Presbyterian Church. There were two large obstacles to overcome in order for the church plant to proceed in the new year; one of them was for Nathan to be licensed and ordained, and the other was sufficient funding. The Lord sustained Nathan through his licensure exams and he was licensed at the presbytery of the EPCEW on the 29th of September. There is a provisional date of November 17th for ordination. Our God has blessed, equipped and provided for the Hilton family as they prepare to serve in Sunderland. We thank the Lord for His grace and kindness. We continue to pray for funding, and have been encouraged by the developments and kindness of God’s people thus far.

Friday’s meeting was especially blessed. We hit our record number of attendees for the second time. There is a clear core group developing of loving and faithful believers. The group continue to be knit together in Christ and show great enthusiasm in prayer for one another and the work of the Church. Our studies in Acts continue to be a blessing. At our last meeting we considered the priority of God’s glory in all things. We live, serve, and worship to His glory.

August 17th 2018

It was a happy occasion for the Hiltons to be back with the group. There was a felt presence of the Lord amongst us through the attitudes, enthusiasm, and heart of the people. The prayer time was marked by sincerity and serious-mindedness as we praised the Lord and cried out to the Him for the city, our loved ones, and our needs. We continued our studies in Acts considering the flowering of the Covenant of Grace to the nations as demonstrated through Cornelius’ friends and family receiving the Holy Spirit – “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life”. What happy assurance we have that we are the inheritors of the promise through Luke’s emphasis on the activity of the Triune God throughout the chapter. We also took note of God’s preparation of Peter for the task, and His work on Cornelius and his household, making them primed and ready to receive Jesus Christ. These points encouraged us to pray that God would make us open to His preparation in our lives for service, and to to pray in hope that He might be working in the hearts of folk in the city to be receptive to the good news about Jesus Christ.

We were delighted to take a step towards the church plant by increasing our study frequency, and as a necessary adjustment, tweaking the time of our meeting. We will now meet every two weeks from 19:00-20:00. Please pray that the Lord would continue to protect, uphold, and bless us.

Summer Arrangement 2018

This summer, Nathan is with his family in the US seeking to promote the cause of Christ in Sunderland. After two years of ground work, Sunderland has developed a core group of people that are eager to commence Lord’s Day worship. To this end we are seeking partners in the US who will support the congregation financially and prayerfully. Nathan, Anna, Mary and Ruth have been well received in the US, travelling throughout nine different States. Already a network of likeminded churches committed to the commission of our Lord has developed. In Nathan’s absence the meetings have continued under the teaching ministries of the Rev Phil Baiden and Rev Steven Orange. Nathan will return to the UK on the 1st of August.

The previous two meetings have each had a good report. The last meeting saw the return of one of our folk’s daughters after completion of an education course. She was a joy to have at the meeting. The Lord has blessed us with a good range of ages, ethnicities, and cultures in the group. We are thankful for this beautiful expression of Christ’s Church.

May 24th 2018

We are so thankful to the Lord for His kindness and goodness to our small group. We met to seek the Lord’s will and guidance over our lives and circumstances. The folk, as always, were excited to be together again; there is a tangible and shared joy in meeting up when we do. People love one another and love the Lord. There were some who weren’t able to make the meeting and we prayed for them and their families. Our study took us back to Acts 9 where after considering Paul’s encounter with Christ we began to consider how the marks of Jesus’ grace were evident in his life. The questions raised initially by Ananias and the believers in Jerusalem were quite legitimate – can this man be trusted? Isn’t he the one who once persecuted the Way to death? These are questions we should be willing to ask ourselves and others around us. Being a Christian is not a self-declaratory statement – it is a person that loves the Lord Jesus Christ and bears the marks of His life in theirs. Do we resemble the Lord Jesus Christ in our thoughts, deeds, and words? This was my final meeting before our support raising trip in the summer. I am thankful to the Lord that the group will continue to meet throughout June and July with the help of some very able men. Please pray for the Lord’s protection over His sheep and this work – if He is for us, who can be against us?

April 20th 2018

The Lord continues in kindness towards us. A member of the group remarked after Friday’s meeting that ‘we’re starting to feel like a family’. There are fewer words that could be spoken to encourage our work than these. It is our desire to be known as a true family of God in our worship and adoration of Him, and in our friendship and love extended to one another and all visitors. We began to study the first conversion account of the apostle Paul in Acts 9. A striking feature in the text is that it was the glory of Jesus Christ that brought Saul to the ground. We firmly believe that through the faithful exposition of the Scriptures and the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit, God continues to reveal the glory of Christ to those who come under this ministry. It is our desire and hope that we should exalt Christ in all His glory to the people of Sunderland for He is altogether lovely. Several folk weren’t able to make the meeting on Friday, and yet we were blessed with fifteen souls who gathered around the Word of the Lord. Please keep praying for the Church of Christ in this part of the world.

March 16th 2018

It was such an encouragement to break our record on number of attendees on Friday with eighteen people gathering in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were very happy to welcome a visitor from Durham Presbyterian Church who came to see the new work and begin to pray for it, and also to have a complete family including four lovely children. The Lord has been kind to us. We spent time in God’s Word considering the precision with which God operates in the work of redemption whilst looking at the record of the Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion. The Lord continued to bless us with a unity, joy, and sense of anticipation in our fellowship and prayer.

February 16th 2018

In light of the apparent set back of persecution to the early church, Acts 8 shows how God works precisely through providence to lead His people according to His exact plan. Philip and many other Christian were scattered throughout all the region of Judea and Samaria, in fulfilment of Acts 1, and in fulfilment of prophetic expectation that the house of David would be raised up, and the kingdom united under Jesus Christ. We focused on the work of the gospel in Samaria and considered the need for the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the free and open offer of the gospel. We were joined by a new visitor, and whilst several of our group were not able to be with us, we still were encouraged to have ten folk praising God together. Please pray that our group would be added to, both in terms of spiritual maturity and numbers. We give thanks to the Lord for His many encouragements to us.

January 19th 2018

We enjoyed such an encouraging meeting on Friday. We were joined by three new faces, and there was a strong sense of unity and excitement for the Lord’s work. Our studies continued in the book of Acts as we considered encouragements we can know when the church suffers persecution. Our prayer time was blessed with an openness and willingness to share our burdens with one another. The room was full, our hearts were warmed, and we praised God.

December 22nd 2017

We were full of joy to meet on the eve of the Christmas holidays. The group were unwinding from work schedules, and delighted to be together in the Word of God. It was a great encouragement to see as many people come out to support the work during a busy season. Our time was spent considering the glorious doctrine of the incarnation. We look forward to meeting again next year!

November 24th 2017

The meeting was led by the Revd Phil Baiden from Durham Presbyterian Church. Phil was encouraged by the groups enthusiasm in the Word and prayer. We are thankful for Phil’s instruction from Acts 7 as he finished off the sad account of Stephen’s martyrdom. Stephen lived and died to the glory of God; may we all finish well by the grace of God.

October 27th 2017

There is nothing better than being with Christians and studying God’s Word. We gladly spent time considering Moses as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. How thankful we are that the Lord has delivered us from spiritual exile and is taking us to the heavenly country that He has gone to prepare. As the psalmist sweetly reminds us: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. The group needs the prayers of God’s people. Please remember us before His throne.

September 22nd 2017

Last night we had the joy of coming again to the Word of God. We considered how Joseph was raised up as a saviour of Israel, and a type of the Saviour of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a comfort to see that God was with Joseph, and therefore every attack of the evil one was transformed into a blessing for the people of God. As we consider the growth of the Kingdom in Sunderland, with all the opposition that will inevitably come, it is sweet consolation to know that God is with us. As promised by our Saviour: ‘and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’. The Lord answered our prayers. For over a year we have been praying for a young lady to join us who had expressed an interest in the group, and then she came. There are many dear souls close and afar off from us that we long to find rest in Christ. Please continue to pray for the work in Sunderland.

September 1st 2017

The love for one another and a sense of anticipation for the Lord to build His Church in Sunderland continues to grow. Our meeting was blessed with a sense of unity and tangible care for one another. We spent time considering Abraham at the beginning of Stephen’s defence in Acts 7. It was remarkable to see how at the foundation of the ancient faith were two foundations: the gracious revelation and promises of God, and a response of faith. These two pillars of the faith had long since been abandoned by many claiming to be ‘sons of Abraham’, but were whole heartedly embraced by Stephen and the disciples of Christ. It was refreshing to be with Christians hungry for the Word of God and eager to labour for one another in prayer.

September 1st 2017

The love for one another and a sense of anticipation for the Lord to build His Church in Sunderland continues to grow. Our meeting was blessed with a sense of unity and tangible care for one another. We spent time considering Abraham at the beginning of Stephen’s defence in Acts 7. It was remarkable to see how at the foundation of the ancient faith were two foundations: the gracious revelation and promises of God, and a response of faith. These two pillars of the faith had long since been abandoned by many claiming to be ‘sons of Abraham’, but were whole heartedly embraced by Stephen and the disciples of Christ. It was refreshing to be with Christians hungry for the Word of God and eager to labour for one another in prayer.

September 1st 2017

The love for one another and a sense of anticipation for the Lord to build His Church in Sunderland continues to grow. Our meeting was blessed with a sense of unity and tangible care for one another. We spent time considering Abraham at the beginning of Stephen’s defence in Acts 7. It was remarkable to see how at the foundation of the ancient faith were two foundations: the gracious revelation and promises of God, and a response of faith. These two pillars of the faith had long since been abandoned by many claiming to be ‘sons of Abraham’, but were whole heartedly embraced by Stephen and the disciples of Christ. It was refreshing to be with Christians hungry for the Word of God and eager to labour for one another in prayer.

July 21st 2017

We were delighted to meet again in the name of the Lord and spend time in His word. Mr Nathan Hilton led us in a study through the second part of Acts 6 under the title of Holy Aspirations. Not much is said in terms of Stephen’s earthly successes, family life, or education, but what is said is of incomparable value; he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. We were charged to strive and pray that the same might be said of us when we die. Several members were away due to work and holiday commitments, and yet by welcoming some non-regulars we were able to maintain our average of 12. Had the other three regulars been around we would have hit a new record of 15! Nathan was recently contacted by a local Christian who has asked for his email with a view to introducing two people living in the Sunderland area who are interested in the studies. Please pray that they would make contact and join our group. There was an increasing sense of unity, anticipation, and joy in Christ in the small group which exhibited itself in a warm time of prayer. We are thankful to our God for His kindness and look to Him for future blessing.

June 23rd 2017

On Friday we returned to finish off Acts 5, led by Mr Nathan Hilton. We considered four graces given to the Church: Power, Preservation, Perseverance, and Prevailing. It was such an encouraging time together. The room was full, people were thoughtfully engaged with the study, there was an enthusiasm in prayer, and a sense of excitement and anticipation at what the Lord might do in Sunderland: Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! We have begun to exchange our prayer requests through an email service so that we can continue fellowshipping together as one in prayer. There were several reports of answered prayer which was a cause of great joy and rejoicing. We also sing together at each meeting; on this occasion heartily enjoying Psalm 87.

May 19th 2017

Eleven of us gathered on Friday to enjoy time in communion with God together. The Revd Bill Schweitzer led us in a study of Acts 6 where we considered the offices that God has given to the Church for her wellbeing: elders and deacons. We learned the importance of an ordinary means of grace ministry: word, prayer, and sacrament. There was a generous and loving character to our time of prayer and an increased sense of cohesion and unity in our group. We continue to pray that others may join us, and that the Lord would use this small beginning to hallow His name in Sunderland. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance, protection, and blessing on our meetings and those who attend.

April 21st 2017

We were glad to have the Revd Bill Schweitzer back to lead our meeting. We were led in a study of Acts 5:1-11, where we considered the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, and the ‘great fear that came upon all the church’. We learned that we serve and worship an Almighty Holy God who is very close and dear to us, yet also to be revered. Our minster helpfully pointed out that Ananias’ heart had been filled with Satan resulting in his lie to God. We should always be guarding our own hearts and praying that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Several folk were not able to attend, but we were joined by another who has renewed interest to meet with us regularly. We are thankful for the small group that our Lord is drawing together. Once again, we knew God’s blessing in our time of prayer. Already we are enjoying the fruits of Christian fellowship, as we shared our trials, needs, and thanks with one another and before our Lord.

March 17th 2017

With several regulars away our group was smaller. There were seven of us who met to pray and study the word together. The meeting was led by Nathan Hilton, who taught from Acts 4. There we considered the features that mark the life of the Church, and particularly opposition. Nevertheless, we were encouraged to see that for all the gates of Hell will rage against the Church, God powerfully and graciously advances His Kingdom. The prayer time was blessed. There was a fervency, and a strong desire to see a new church work in Sunderland. The group continues to grow in familiarity and love with each other in our Lord, for which we’re very thankful. Please continue to pray for the Bible studies.

February 17th 2017

After a brief hiatus due to a family bereavement for some of the attendees, the Sunderland Bible study resumed. The Rev Phil Baiden from Durham Presbyterian Church led the group in a study of Acts 3. Here we considered the power of God at work in the early Church, and particularly the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the message of the Apostles. Though the group was smaller than usual, we enjoyed great encouragement in the warmth of our fellowship, and the energy of our prayers. We gave thanks for God’s tremendous kindness and grace which has been made known in the unusual comfort felt by a grieving family connected to the group. Other prayers offered up have since been answered by the Lord: A safe delivery of a child, recoveries from sickness, and sustaining through various trials. Prayers continued to be offered up for new church works to begin in Salford, Oxford, Birmingham, and Sunderland; the Lord has placed a burden on our hearts for this country of ours.

December 16th 2016

Our last meeting was lead by the Rev Dr Bill Schweitzer. He took us through the closing verses in Acts 2, where we learned about God’s ordinary means of building His Church: the Word, prayer, and sacraments. It was through these simple means, faithfully used by the early church, that God worked powerfully to ‘add to their number daily’. We were warned of the dangers of using non-ordained means, for ‘what you convert them with, is what you convert them to’. If we want men to be converted to Christ, we must use Christ’s tools. There was a warm and earnest spirit of prayer at our small gathering. We entrust our desire for an ‘ordinary means’ church into the Lord’s hands.

November 18th 2016

We last met on Friday the 18th of November. The minister of Gateshead Presbyterian Church, Bill Schweitzer, led us in a study of Acts 2. Here we considered the powerful coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost – the ongoing tremendous work of the Holy Spirit through the bold, corrective, and Biblical preaching of Peter which focussed on the death and resurrection of our Lord and resulted in 3000 being added to the Church of Christ. There were 14 of us, and we were encouraged to pray in dependence on The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit as we sought the salvation of family members, friends, and the city of Sunderland.