News update from the Gilmores
MINISTRY: just a list of some of the opportunities and challenges
A good 80-90% of time and efforts are focussed on Italy. Wheelock Heath Baptist Church (identified as our ‘sending church’) has graciously accepted to validate this involvement and we continue to be encouraged to move ahead in Italy-related ministry.
Locally, Jonathan leads a Small Group and coordinates ongoing ministry at the local YMCA. The latter is particularly exciting. An ongoing weekly Gospel-activity has allowed for a climate of trust and partnership to develop. Besides giving us (individually and as a church) opportunities to interact with some of the YMers, there are now plans to expand further. This will include one or two regular follow-ups sessions (Bible-study and support group..) as well as the possibility (currently being defined) of Jonathan taking on a chaplaincy for several months. There are also other Gospel initiatives and opportunities and Jonathan continues to be very involved in all of this.
Back in Italy.. Jonathan and Annette continue to keep in close contact with a number of young Italian adults. Annette’s heart is for a group of young adult ladies she has a deep friendship with. It is her desire to keep encouraging them and investing in their lives. Jonathan meets weekly with 4 young Italian men in 60-90 minute, one-to-one, Skype sessions. Using as a basis a leadership-training course (Learn to lead), these are opportunities to mentor and share.
Italian Ministries continues to expand. Jonathan continues to shoulder much of the responsibility of leading this field-based missional network. In September we were blessed by the third Missione Congress. Almost 300 people attended. The teaching was great (Dr. Ajith Fernando), the fellowship encouraging and refreshing, the programme full (7 parallel ‘tracks’ led by 7 different ministries..), the blessing wonderful. (One of the highlights was certainly seeing about 70 people respond to the call to commitment and mission). Not all is fun. There are frequent pastoral issues and this can be quite draining and demanding.
UCBC: Earlier this year Jonathan was chosen to be a member of the National Council of the UCC (Union of Christian Bible Churches). This is a growing national network of like-minded churches, extending throughout Italy). Responsibilities include strategic thinking and planning and pastoral issues.
Acts 29: During June and exploratory trip to Italy with Steve Timmis, Western Europe leader for Acts 29, resulted in further conversations about Acts 29 in Italy. Recently this led to the development of an exciting coordinative responsibility for Jonathan of Acts 29 in Italy. This is currently being explored and defined further. But it could be massive. Watch this space.
The big question: what next? We had anticipated returning back ‘home’ to Italy this past summer, but Rox’s (daughter) situation made us prayfully re-think that. Now plan ‘A’ is we return back during the latter half of 2011. This may (depending on Rox’s situation) be further extended by another short time (Plan ‘B’). Alex (son) looks set to continue here in the UK to finalize studies. We will be returning back to Sicily (Our flat and things are still there) and will then take the next step (staying in Sicily? Relocating to another more central, strategic location?). Also: rather than be spread too thin, we are prayfully seeking His best for the coming years. Focusing in a few areas, maybe less ‘juggling’.
The timing for our return
Family: spiritual walk, health issues, financial needs (we are still very low..), Jonathan’s studies (extension given until Sept 2011)
The ongoing multiple ministry commitments: UK (local); Italy (IM, UCBC, Acts 29)
Jonathan and Annette Gilmore
(Taken from the GILMOREview)