At the start of the year, Kirsty and I had a newborn baby girl to consider. So we started January a little gently. Kirsty (and baby Elisabeth) joined the Ladies Prayer group for a meal...
In February we did a leaflet drop in the local area of a thousand leaflets and called the project "Good Morning Stockport!"
In March/April we celebrated our second Anniversary as a bone fide church...hallelujah!
April was a very busy month. In fact it was "Mark Month!" We took the Gospel of Mark as our theme and... preached on it, studied it in House Group...
Read the whole of the Gospel of Mark out in our town Centre...
...and sent "Mark Facts" to everyone via text.
We also managed to upset a few Jehovah's Witnesses when Norman Lowndes and I leafleted the local Kingdom Hall's "Memorial Service."
In May we linked up with UK Partnerships for Christ, to put on a Ex-JWs for Jesus Day. It was an outstanding success, with Christians coming from all over the country, including at least two current JWs, who have subsequently left the Watchtower, one of whom has been born again! The video of the testimonies from this event is still bearing fruit now and has recently resulted in the salvation of another lady who was encouraged to leave the Witnesses after watching the videos.
It was also a blessing to baptise Charlotte and we were very thankful to Reddish Christian Fellowship for the use of their Baptistry.
In June we started the first of a three part outreach called "The Big Three!"
We preached, testified and gave away free Bibles in Stockport.
There was real spiritual opposition, so oppressive that many said they felt it.
As we carried on through the summer, we got some new people...praise the Lord!
We hit Stockport Carnival at two locations for our second summer outreach...
We gave away free Bibles and Christian literature and offering cold drinks and gospel tracts to those watching the Carnival procession.
Matthew and I managed to fit in a visit to North Cotes (New Tribes Missions) Bible College at the invitation of our good friend Dan. We stayed a few days, sat in on lectures and got to chat to some of the students and Lecturers.
We got back in time for our third and final outreach of the summer.
I also hooked up with my good friend Jason Thickpenny of UK Partnerships for Christ and made friends with a whole bunch of Christians witnessing at the Mormon Pageant in Chorley.
We slept (for free) on the floor of Chapel House Christian Fellowship and although the floor was hard, my heart was warmed by the fellowship I had with the brothers and sisters I met in those few days.
We were even allowed in to see the Mormon Pageant itself, although we had a security guard escort us...and they were rather large!
On October 5th, Tom and I went with some Christian friends down to the King James Bible Seminar in Dudley. It was a real blessing to hear Dr Jack Moorman defend the AV 1611 with skill and authority and we appreciated the hospitality of Hellier Street Gospel Hall.
As we headed into late October it was my great pleasure to ordain our brother Matthew Purves as an Elder of Stockport Evangelical Church. He has often provided wise counsel and his teaching has edified the Fellowship.
On the 31st October we held our Reformation Day Celebration. Instead of Halloween, I discovered that some churches have had a tradition of remembering this date in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door. It sounded like a good idea to me, so we had a meal, recreated the event...
had readings, teaching and singing; and remembered the martyrs that had given so much.
We also got a visit from Pastor Ian Moulton whose church in Chorley had graciously offered their building when we did the Mormon Outreach. Pastor Ian spoke on The Dangers of the Emergent Church.
In November Matthew and I were invited to speak at an Ex-Jw Conference down in Southend, called "Finding JESUS for Jehovah's Witnesses", organised by Martin Sarfas. It was a blessing to meet up with old friends again and to hear great testimonies. We left early as it was a long drive back and listened to an excellent sermon on the way home by Major Ian Thomas.
We finished a busy year by celebrating Christ's birth with our Christmas Carol Service. We only sent out about five-hundred leaflets, but we got a number of people in who had never been to the church before. The children also performed a Nativity and we used a projector and Scripture readings to tell the story of when "the Word became flesh."
We look forward to what the Lord is going to do next year and hope maybe you will pay a visit to Stockport Evangelical Church.
To everyone in the Fellowship, thank you so much for all your support and prayers throughout the year, for all the kind things you have said to encourage me and all the hard work you have put in to making 2013 such a successful year for the church. I look forward to pastoring you all for as long as the Lord wills. Happy New Year!