At the end of July more than 350 people from across the UK came to Reading for a conference that aimed to touch heaven and in turn bless Reading and our nation.
Organised by Barnabas England and supported by Reading Christian Network, ‘Touching Heaven, Changing Earth’ saw more than 20 church leaders lead a variety of sessions from Thursday 26th July to Saturday, 28th July.
The main speakers included Dr Michael Maiden, leader of Church for the Nations, Billy Kennedy, leader of the Pioneer Network, Christen Forster, leader of Supranatural Life and Chris Cole, leader of Cross Rhythms.
Also speaking were local church leaders including Bishop Joel Thomas from The Globe, west Reading, Rob Gardiner from Network Vineyard, Yinka Oyekan from Reading Community Church and Neville Hollands, leader of LifeSpring church.
National leaders also joined us to stand and make declarations over the nation. These included the Revd Grenville Overton, team leader of the Southern Counties Baptist Association, Don Double, director and founder of Good News Crusade, Hugh Osgood, president of CIC International, John Manwell, leader of Together for the Harvest and John and Christine Noble, leaders of ‘spiritconnect’, a movement within Pioneer.
On Friday morning we joined in ‘All The Bells’, a mass bell-ringing held to launch the start of the Olympic Games. People brought along bells to ring for three minutes at 8.12am, this was as a response to a prophetic word given over the nation by Beni Johnson.
The church in Reading has been extremely blessed by the event and the leaders will be planning how to follow it up.
To download the audio from the event Click Here
A glimpse of what God’s doing within Barnabas Fellowship of Churches
At the end of June Bob House from Wellington and Peter Bowen from Plymouth travelled to Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia for a week of “full-on African praise, worship, prayer, preaching, teaching & ministry.” Whilst there they not only taught at the Barnabas conference hosted by Bishop Leonard Chellah, but also got to teach and preach at an Assemblies of God church on the other side of the city. Here’s Bob’s amazing testimony: “The [AOG] church was hungry for new things, having fasted and prayed over a long period for God to break in. The anointing of the Holy Spirit came down from the start, and we saw almost every life changed in those two days, God delivered, healed, released and anointed even without us needing to lay hands on the precious folks there. Pete taught on Father & Son relationships, in the Godhead and then the Body of Christ – it moved so many people deeply. At one point, the interpreter was so drunk in the Spirit he couldn’t continue, at which point the laughter began to spread – what joy we experienced! Pete was invited back to teach on Sunday morning, and 330 turned up – hallelujah! Then came the four-day Barnabas conference held at Bishop Leonard’s main church. He oversees a number of churches (approx 10) who are all now a part of the Barnabas family. The opening seminar on the Saturday was a funeral service for the 23 year old praise leader in the church who died of AIDS, a heartbreaking story with a victorious memorial. Marko preached the most wonderful message from Psalm 90 and it set the scene for the conference as well as speaking to those family members of the young lady.
The theme of the conference was ‘a time of increase’, but God’s message was clearly about people and the church waking up, rising up, taking their place in the kingdom of God, and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit to grow the kingdom.
As with the AOG seminars, God moved in a powerful way, and the response to His call to rise up was almost unanimous. Once again towards the end a Spirit of joy came upon us all, and we experienced much release and laughter in the place. Pastor Elias Mambo (Harare), and Pastor Joseph Malyangu (Livingstone) joined the team on the Monday to great effect. Sam Mangisi from Kwe Kwe, who is Barnabas Southern Africa administrator was also there and under his guidance we had a fruitful meeting with all the newer Pastors/ Leaders in the Zambia churches. Pastor Joseph also met with the same group to plan for future growth. It is safe to say that Lusaka will never be the same, and the church there will grow in the renewal that has begun – all praise to Jesus!”
Closer to Home
Recently Keith Dolding and Alastair Gray from Leicester were at 7Cs Church in Kirkby, near Nottingham, with Keith leading the inauguration of David as an elder there. There was a wonderful time of celebration and blessing. Maurice led the service and Keith preached. After Keith challenged David he invited David and his wife Glynis to respond. The church were asked to confirm they would support David and Glynis, which they did. We then we prayed, prophesied and blessed them both. Local church leaders were also present and took and active part. Afterwards enjoyed a celebration lunch. Please pray for David and Glynis as they join Maurice and Betty in leadership of the church there.
I deliberately did not set myself any expectations for what I was going to find in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe. I just wanted to arrive there and allow the place, the people and God to have an effect on me.
The team (Keith Dolding, Bob House, Peter Jones and I) arrived at Harare airport after a 24 hour journey. After we had purchased our visas and passed through customs we were met by Apostle Marko Adonai and his friend. We were loaded into a people carrier and set off on the 3 hour journey to the Joy Centre, Kwekwe. During the journey two huge tyres rolled off a lorry, out of the dark, straight into our path! Thank God that Marko’s friend was alert and managed to avoid them. When we arrived at the Joy Centre we were greeted by Naomi, Marko’s wife. After a short break we enjoyed some lovely food.
The next day, Thursday, was a day off, a chance to recover from the long journey. During the day we met two Zambians who were to be part of the preaching team: Pastor Joseph Malyangu from Livingstone and Bishop Leonard Chellah from Lusaka. The final member of the preaching team was Pastor Elias Mambo, who has recently moved from Cape Town to Harare.
Friday morning was set aside as a Leaders’ meeting. All four of the team from the UK preached and there was such anointing that all sermons flowed together. Those of us from the UK had a feeling that God was going to do great things.
On Friday afternoon Bob, Peter, Naomi and myself went into the city to do some shopping and get something to eat. There was such a change in prosperity, even from when Bob was last in Zimbabwe; there were now cafes, the shelves in the supermarket were filled and one of the supermarkets had had a facelift. After we had finished shopping Naomi took me to the local traditional market to get some vegetables. I was sure I was being laughed at by some of the stall holders because of what I was wearing!
Friday evening was when the conference started. The praise and worship was amazing, the people worshipped both with their voices and with their bodies; they danced their hearts out. Peter and Keith preached and a time of ministry followed. There were encouraging signs of God starting to move.
Pastor Mambo started the preaching on Saturday morning. He told us that God had allowed him to meet President Mugabe. He is the only journalist from an independent Zimbabwean newspaper ever to interview the president and one of the few independent journalists not to be arrested.
On Saturday evening Keith introduced everyone to fire tunnels and that resulted in an amazing move of God. There were so many people meeting with God in a new way, and afterwards people were queuing to give their testimonies on video.
On Sunday morning I talked about the Hillsong kids song ‘Jesus is my superhero’ as part of my sermon. After I finished Bob taught everyone the chorus to the song, complete with actions. Bob preached after me and then invited people forward for ministry. Again God was present and again people were touched by God, some were drunk in the Spirit, including me. Pastor Cephas, who was leading the meeting, was unable to continue as he was so overcome by the presence of God.
It would take too much time and space to share everything that happened at the conference. The simple truth is that God was present and brought with Him the renewal that we have been experiencing throughout the Barnabas network.For me, it has been an amazing, life changing experience. I met loving, welcoming people with an honouring spirit and a hunger to meet with God. My testimony is that I met with God afresh. He has led me to be more reliant on Him, which is great and has made me feel freer than I have ever done before.