by Mark Chamberlain

Sharing in the Mission of God in faraway Ipswich

It was such an enormous blessing to be invited to speak and bring a word of encouragement from New Zealand to Anglican leaders in Ipswich

A few weeks ago I stepped off the plane in England to meet people involved in church planting, find out what was working and why, and to attend the 'Multiply' Church Planting Conference in London on Thursday 22 June. But on the day I arrived I was invited to speak to a large group of clergy and lay leaders from Ipswich who had gathered for a training evening! After 30 hours of travel, I somehow managed to stay awake!

It was such a privilege to talk to them about what God was doing in our Diocese - how the Diocesan Mission Action Plan had made us much more intentional about mission. I also shared about the blessings of the Leading your Church into Growth conference last year and the new outreach initiatives that some of our parishes were undertaking.

In turn I learned a lot about what God was doing in Ipswich! Ten parishes are now running 'Top up Shops' - a form of low-cost food bank for families struggling to feed their families. I visited the St Matthew's Top up Shop and over 100 people arrived and for 2 pounds bought a substantial box of food. There have been many opportunities to share the gospel through this ministry. I also learned that there were a number of successful church plants that had taken place in the last two years - new people are coming to know God and joining the church.