Claire's Blog

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Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye 

It was 12 years ago that I arrived here in Ipswich. Fresh out of bile college, unable to cook an egg and with nothing but enthusiasm and the ambition to change the world. Soon I was the proud owner of a new bed, an oven of sorts and a cookbook. I also soon felt welcomed into Burlington life especially by my now wonderful friends Ceri and simon. They took me into their family and taught me everything I needed to know about ministry living. Ceri taught me how to cook and care, simon helped me discover how to lead and pastor. Life soon felt like it was right, like I was exactly where God wanted me to be, doing exactly what he wanted me to do.

And so this continued and I loved it. God did fab stuff in the lives of the young people I was working with and I loved being involved with them. I remember happy girls shopping trips to London with young people where we spent as long in top shop as we did talking about Jesus. There were the camps and the team, the emerge groups and the socials. Most significantly there were the conversions and the baptisms… (well over a 100 to date and believe me that makes me smile.) 

Time moved on, as did my life. Getting married to rich saw my ministry change. And Burlington has changed beyond all recognition. The people have changed, the young people have grown up and new ones have come through. The church that once had a song, a prayer and a preach has become a place of worship, of God’s spirit being allowed to reign and where the kingdom of God really is coming to earth. I love this church even more than I did when I arrived all those years ago. 

So where am I now? .  I am not intending on returning to my job as youth minister this September. This is a huge thing for me.  There were times when I said I wanted to be a youth worker until I die and I guess there is a part of me that always will be. But God has asked me to look around and see the reality of the now and start opening my eyes to the dreams he has for our future. Let me explain…

I am an evangelist at heart. Nothing makes my heart sing more than seeing someone come to Christ. This drives me. Helpfully I am also a people person, my days are filled with people, coffee dates, and the girl who cooked rarely has become the girl who loves to feed people. These two things have led me to do what is natural to me, share my time and my faith with those God has called to my table. Some of them are interested in God, some aren’t but all of them need friends and all of them are a pleasure to share life with. 

Secondly though having children has changed me more than I ever imagined. As a new mum to Lucy 4 years ago I felt like all the goal posts of my life had been moved and it took me a while to rediscover them. I returned to youth work but always felt torn between what I was doing with them and what I should be doing with my family. The more I grew as a mummy, the more irealised the responsibility i had to raise Lucy knowing who God was. Lucy is often the most spiritual person in our house. She hears from God and loves nothing more than to dance around our lounge worshipping him. I needed to be there to help her and now Sam experience this amazing father God and learn to trust him. Even more than that, my friends kids need to experience God to. I am increasingly aware that there is no one else who will tell these kids about Jesus. Most of them would never set foot in a church and why should they… But they do set foot in our house and they do hang out with us, and some of these kids are really interested in who God is. 

So, where does that leave me, well it leaves me with a new job which begins with me asking some serious questions of myself. How can I help Lucy and Sam live by faith in God? What kind of Church do I want them to experience? What is God asking me to do for my friends kids so that they will find him? And what about my friends, those God has placed around me? 

This new job for me is also a supportive role, I long to see other parents really take seriously what it means to be a family on mission and what it means to living freely in Christ. Rich and I have loved supporting couple in marriage courses and look to do more of this, as well as parenting support stuff too. We are almost certain birthing a missional community in us at the moment so watch this space on that one. I plan on doing some more speaking too which a negated bit of gifting. 

Whilst I know this is right, I know saying goodbye to my official role at Burlington is really hard. I have loved being part of the ministry team there and count these guys as family, I have loved hanging out with the young people and would like to thank those both past and present for allowing me to be part of their life. I have loved leading services and being able to preach both here and all over the country, and I have loved being allowed to lead a church that is so willing to go where God asks. I have so many happy memories and a tonne of regrets but I know God has used me and I am so thankful to him for allowing me to be part of his story in the lives of so many. We will remain 100 per cent committed to Bbc and we know we have a part to play here…

God always told me he would only ask me to leave when he was calling me into something new. I know he is and therefore it is time to sign off as youth minister and say hello to the new thing God is birthing in us as a family.

Posted Sun, 14 Apr 2013 11:35:00 +0000 - View in WordPress

Where’s Wally?!

Who and Why?!?!?!?!

The who is David Abbott, the crazy, brave and fantastic guy who has lead our team of 22 down at Soul Survivor. The Why is because it is the last night of Soul Survivor and this is always dressing up night! It is always a brilliant night and this years theme is Where’s Wally! Can you imagine it 11,000 people dressed up as something from Where’s Wally? You have to love it!

In the midst of all the Wally’s, there will be a huge Worship Party tonight. This follows the final day of seminars and my highlight- the Communion service with 11,000 people. It is such a privledge to share commonion with so many who you have worshiped with and experienced God with. A wonderful way to end the week.

From the text messages and calls from our team it seems that it may have been the best year yet! The young people have grown as have the leaders, there have been many giggles (thanks guys for your redition of Wonderwall that you sent through on email!!) and God has worked in all of them.

Please pray for the team as they travel back through the night tonight and let’s pray for them all as this mountian top expereince ends and God teaches them how to apply all that he has been teaching them, back here in the real world.

Posted Thu, 16 Aug 2012 18:18:22 +0000 - View in WordPress

Soul Survivor Day 4

Oh dear, the rain and the wind has arrived! Well it wouldn’t be Soul Survivor without it would it! From my conversations with the team down there though nothing is dampening the enthusiasm and the work of God’s Spirit. Aside from the late night dancing and the many giggles, the main meetings have once again given the young people the oppertunity to really come before God and recieve all kinds of things from him.

God has been saving, healing, and equipping our guys over the past few days. Young People have been prayed for about recieving evangelistic ministries, deep healing and assurance of his love. Watch out world this generation is on the rampage against darkness and is fired up ready to bring God’s light. How exciting!

Please pray for this evening’s meeting. Pray that despite the tiredness, the wind and the rain, the young people will go hungry once again to meet with God and to bow before him in worship as well as hearing from him.

Please also pray for the leaders who are serving our Young People through cooking, praying and suppoprting. Tomorrow is the day where the tents come down and they drive back through the night so please pray for supernatural sleep for them all tonight.


Posted Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:47:54 +0000 - View in WordPress

Soul Survivor Day 2

Well that is it confirmed- I am responsible for the rain on day 1 of Soul Survivor. Let me explain, I have taken groups to Soul Survivor for over 15 years now and every single year Day 1 i.e the tent putting up day has always involved heavy rain! This year I don’t go and the tents went up in glorious sunshine! In fact I beleive Jonny Abbott is boasting a nice redness to his skin!!

On a more serious note, I have just spoken to David Abbott our SS co-ordinator and it sounds like it has be a brilliant start to their week at Soul Survivor. Last nights highlights included some incredible worship, watching the Olympics closing cermony with around 9,000 others and a good start to the relationships together.

Today has begun with some of the young people receiving prayer during the main sessions and a whole host of different seminars attended. David assures me they are eating like Kings and Queens and that so far Hannah Cotton is surviving her first camping expereince.

 Dry Shampoo is the only way to survive!!! Oh and wetwipes.

All in all Soul Survivor 2012 has begun really well. Let’s keeping Trusting that God will do something lasting in each of these teens.

Posted Mon, 13 Aug 2012 18:57:46 +0000 - View in WordPress

Soul survivor time

Tents, teenagers and tonnes of fun! Some t’s that describe what happens at soul survivor. Let’s start with tents, have you ever attempted to get teenagers to put up tents… It is a wonderful thing to watch! Some are pro’s, most are not and thus always creates the first funny moments of any soul survivor trips.. poles in wrong places, fly sheets flapping and many giggles. Add some rain and it is all the more fun!

And then there are teenager, 10,000 of them to be exact! (Well a few of those are young at heart adults and long suffering youth leaders.) But have you ever seen 10:000 people.crammed in a big top worshipping with all they have?! It is a wonderful, humbling and brilliant experience. The energy and passion that these guys have as the worship, have fun in the many cafes and join in with sports, skating, cinemas and seminars is infectious.

And the tonnes of fun bit! Well late night chats, card games, practical jokes, dancing to cheesy pop and lots of jumping in muddy puddles makes for a fun filled week.

So that is a little window into soul survivor but actually it is way more! For most of the young people soul survivor is a mountian top experience. It is a time where they go expectant to meet God and God doesn’t diaappoint. Thousands of young people every summer become Christians, hundreds are healed from physical ans emotional pain andanyany more of spoken to by God about their future.

The other wonderful thing that always happens is that you get to experience what real Godly family looks… Living together, praying together, worshipping together, encouraging one another, crying together, celebrating together, sharing needs together (who is packing the portable hair straighteners this year?) And sharing everything. This kind of community is exactly the kind of family we have been talking about through our summer Sundays. It is a wonderful thing.
So that leads me to ask you to pray for the 22 who are heading off from Burlington this Sunday… Headed up by Dave Abbott the group are in for a treat. Please pray for good relationship within the group, sunshine but most of all for God to be at work in all the young people. I can’t go thus year as baby nos 2 is a little too close to coming so join me in praying that this will be a life changing week for the teenagers and leaders.

And are there any bad points to soul survivor.. well the showers are gross, the field is muddy and the beginner guitar players love playing oasis wonderwall at 3 in the morning! Apart from that it is one special week! (And I am gutted to miss it).

Posted Fri, 10 Aug 2012 07:52:38 +0000 - View in WordPress

Tiddlywinks and Toy Library celebrate the end of term

If you have ever been to our Church Centre on a tuesday or wednesday morning you will be greeted by the sound of chatter, coffee cups clatter and children running around playing. Songs such as The Wheels on the bus will fill your ears and you will have the oppertunity to make wonderful things from paintings to a sticker butterfly.

Tiddlywinks and Toy Library are such wonderful ministeries within our church and if you were at a recent Church Meeting you would of heard of a wonderful year that has been had. To end it well, the team host a BBQ and give you a taste of what happened Dianna Swale (Tiddlywinks Team Leader) writes this…

I firmly believe in the power of prayer and when we trust in Our Lord Jesus all good things will happen. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-5

 Last Thursday BBC’s Tiddlywinks and Toy Library had their annual Summer BBQ for the Mums, Dads and Carers.  This year we decided that we would decorate the Church Centre and what a better way to kick off the summer with a beach theme. The walls were wrapped with palm tree beach scenes to create the beach mode, there were free standing umbrellas with hanging lanterns and palm trees hanging from the ceiling.  The tables were beautifully decorated with flowers and there was even a non-alcohol cocktail bar.  The buffet table was laden with the most scrumptious food.

 We had two guest speakers both who are members of Burlington Baptist Church. Our first guest speaker shared with us how she came to now Jesus, a very moving and powerful testimony. This was very well received.

 Our second guest speaker, spoke for the charity, Perspectives Pregnancy Advice, They are a Christian based charity and they offer free confidential support for those experiencing unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss, post abortion stress and post adoption grief.

This was followed by a craft demonstration; we all had the chance to make either a hanging heart or a bird. Through lots of prayer, faithfulness and determination the evening was a complete success.

Why not take a moment to thank God for the work of Tiddlywinks and Toy Library. Praise him for the faithful team of helpers, the many Mum’s, Dad’s, Carer’s, and Grandparents who find these places a safe and wonderful place to be and let’ Thank God for the work he is doing in the lives of those who come.



Posted Tue, 24 Jul 2012 11:00:04 +0000 - View in WordPress

Summer Sundays- Building Community

In the New Testament we find so many different analogies and pictures for the church. The Body, the priesthood of all believers, a flock, a family to name but a few. We are also introduced early in the book of Acts to the believers becoming a vibrant, active, prayerful, worship-filled community who not only loved Jesus but watched each others backs.

Our Summer Sundays will see us digging deeper into what being this kind of community really means. What Kind of Community does God want us to be? What would it really look like for us to be a community that puts God right at the centre? What does it mean for us to be a prayerful, worship filled community who shares needs and serves one another?

Throughout the Summer our services will see all ages worship together. They will be accessible for Children and adults and aimed to be shorter so you can get out and enjoy the Summer Sun! This also gives us the opportunity for us to build our community stronger so why don’t you use these weeks to invite someone new round for a Roast, get together as your small group for a Sunday afternoon walk or get together with your prayer partners and pray together.

Let’s make it a summer where we really build community rather than just talk about it.

Posted Wed, 18 Jul 2012 16:05:24 +0000 - View in WordPress

It’s kids weekend time

If you are reading this then we need you! We need you to pray. Whilst you have your cuppa please pray for the courageous team at our children’s weekend who are running a mad, wacky, God filled weekend for 30 8-11 year olds.

It is always a huge priviledge to take this age group away and share a fun filled weekend with them. Through games, crafts, activities, laughter, meals and worship these children will learn about God but more than that encounter him. Roots into Jesus will be grown and relationships with our almighty God will be started and fueled.

Please pray for…
1- every child experience God in a life chanigng way.
2- every leader to have all the resources they need from energy to enthusiasm and wisdom.
3- the weather! Especially on Saturday afternoon as we head out.
4- The catering team
5- saftey and sleep.
6- God to be glorified as a new generationg hear of his word.

Posted Fri, 13 Jul 2012 17:03:00 +0000 - View in WordPress

Whose going to Wembley?

As part of our youth weekend this year we have a HUGE treat for all who go…

We are off to Wembley! Check out why here…

Posted Wed, 11 Jul 2012 14:14:08 +0000 - View in WordPress

India, New Friends and God at work

This past week has been full of reminders that we have a great big God who holds the whole world in his hands and that this incredible God is at work in incredible ways. These reminders have mostly come from having Harriet, Ellen, Josh and Naomi with us from BMS Action Team. They have spent 6 months in Calcutta serving God in a variety of ways.  Check out the orgainisation they went with here Or grab an Engage Magazine from church this sunday.

The team had spent time working in a slum school, serving within Mother Theresa’s houses and working with a project aimed at getting women out of prositution. All the projects they talked about seemed to be running sustianable programmes and it was inspiring to hear the difference such servant hearted projects were making.

Take Freeset for example. This is a buisness that makes beautiful bags and t-shirts. It employs around 180 women all of which used to work in the sex trade. The only way for many of these women to escape such a life is to be employed by another company and so Freeset was born. The buisness pay the women enough so that they don’t have to work as a prostitue and offer childcare and a pension. Watch more about the project here

You can buy these items or support this project by going to the following website

It is fair to say that we plunged the BMS team in the deepend by asking them to lead out year 6-9 group at the church weekend. And what fun they had from eating toast with mushy peas on to building a slum the young people and the team all seemed to have fun! Read more about their experiences on Harriet’s blog

One of the best bits of the week was Curry Night. We had a group of young people join us for some amazing curries and they grilled the team about their time in India. I know it stirred some of our own Burlington Young People to once again think about Mission around the world and opened their eyes to what God is up to in places that are so different to our own experience.

Posted Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:23:54 +0000 - View in WordPress