Missionaries serving in U.K.
   Zach and Audrey Langford
    Two of our own were called to be missionaries in Birkenhead, England in September 2010. 6th Avenue had a farewell party for them in August 2010 (see pictures in our Photo Gallery). You can follow their adventures at their blog (http://atozlangford.blogspot.com).

Mission Trip 2007

    1) To meet our brothers and sisters in Christ to learn how we may better pray for them and serve with them in the future.
    2) To serve the congregations and the Liverpool City Mission.
    3) To be educated and concerned by the declining evangelical influence in the U.K.

To the left is a picture of the new church building in Birkenhead (1992). The original building and ministry began in the 1930's and survived the heavy bombing of the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Below are excerpts from pastor ken's blog
before, during, and after their journey to the UK...

church and mission in a strange world (March 2, 2007)
(Some of the following information is summarized from the book Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture, by Michael Frost.  Special Thanks to Zach Langford for bringing it to my attention.)

In the book, Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World (2004), author Stuart Murray writes about the decline of the church in the United Kingdom, “the Methodist Church will have zero membership by 2037…the Church of Scotland will close its last congregation in 2033…the Church in Wales will be unsustainable by 2020.”  By such numbers, Murray indicates that the United Kingdom is in the grip of post-Christendom which he defines as follows: “Post-Christendom is the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story, and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions decline in influence.”

One of the five Church of God congregations will be closing down this year.  One is a new congregation beginning out of a home Bible study in London.  The Church in the United Kingdom is definitely at a crossroads.

Is America too far behind?  George Barna reports that only 13 % of adults and 7% of teens make decisions based on Biblical principles (The Barna Update, February 2006, “Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings”).  Dan Kimball, in his book Emerging Worship, states that there is a growing restless with the increasing reality that the majority of our churches are 35 years and older, while asking where have the younger generations gone?

Our Church’s Vision has been “Touching the World for Christ;” to accomplish this, we want to be in partnership with a nation on every continent by 2010.  Working with and learning from the congregations in the United Kingdom help us not only create partnerships to Europe, but could help us increase our ministry effectiveness within the U.S. as well.

in anticipation (July 10, 2007)
while writing our regular e-newsletter to family and friends, in my excitement about our upcoming trip, i wrote the following...

the 6 of us leave a week from Friday!  I’m very excited!  We came to this little congregation four years ago with the goal of helping make their mission of “... to Glorify God by Touching the World for Christ” a reality.  In that time, we’ve watched our connection with the church in North America grow: we’ve begun financial, prayer, and personal relationships with South America and the Caribbean through Guyana; we’ve seen prayer and financial relationships begun with the South Pacific through the congregation in Auckland, New Zealand until we can personally meet with them hopefully in the next 18 months; and now, we’re on the brink of beginning relationships with the churches in the United Kingdom and with a sister who will join us from Germany!  The Lord is amazing in His providence and power to accomplish “more than we could ask or imagine” all for His Glory.  It is also very humbling—stepping off the plane with these young men and women next weekend in London will be a holy moment for me.  Please pray for our continued preparation, safety in travel, and for the Lord’s favor as we meet with, learn, and begin ministry partnerships in the U.K.

reflections on Guyana (July 10, 2007)
as we continue to prepare for our trip to the UK, our thoughts and prayers continue for our brothers and sisters in Guyana.  next week, July 16-22 the our brothers and sisters in Guyana will celebrate their 90th Anniversary of the Church of God ministering there.

what a blessing it has been to reestablish relationship with this part of God’s family.  i grew up hearing my mother and her parents share the culture of the Guyanese with me--from extreme hospitality and gratitude to a dedicated work ethic.  i also grew up with the legacy of a father, uncles and their parents ministering in Guyana during their time of revolution.  to return and enter into relationship again with the churches there is another demonstration of the Lord’s faithfulness to complete what He starts.

we celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Guyana and we will continue to bless the Lord for what He has done, is doing, and will do within and through the brothers and sisters there.  Praise the Lord for 90 years of fruitfulness -- Praise the Lord for the harvest that will continue until He returns!

uk anticipation (July 20, 2007)
we made it safely to the airport -- no traffic problems on our early start.  once we parked the van, it began a cold rain.  we felt that was our preparation for the cold and rain we will soon experience in the UK.  this video clip is just a silly little start to break the boredom after being informed our first flight will be delayed at least 15 minutes.  thankfully, we’ve got another layover coming in Detroit...

on the way to Birkenhead (July 21, 2007)
after a bite to eat, we find ourselves within 3 hours of our destination.  the minibus we’re riding in is much more spacious than the ones we shared in Guyana and Barbados.  we wanted to give you a glimpse of our journey from the view of the 2nd seat.

we're here! (July 21, 2007)
we were blessed with safety in our drive and our two flights.  we were blessed with efficiency at check-in’s and at immigration.  our only delay was a mild traffic jam after leaving the airport -- though most of us were fast asleep by then.  we had been up for many hours, with little sleep on the plane.  the plane was amazingly nice, and afforded us each with our own private movie and video game consoles to keep us entertained.  i tried to sleep as much as i could, but didn’t succeed.

i did get to begin a new book i picked up at Anderson Campmeeting, though.  the book is called, “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical” by Shane Claiborne -- it is recommended reading for incoming freshman at Anderson University this year and contains a forward by Campmeeting speaker Jim Wallis (of Sojourners).  the rumbling movement of fresh wind that Shane speaks of sweeping through his own life the Church was a gentle, disturbing breeze in my days at Anderson.  such desire and passion for the Body of Christ to rise up and be the Church still burn within me and fuel the leading of 6th Ave and this impossible vision of Touching the World for Christ.  it was such a joy to finally embrace Pastor John Pemberton at the airport, our newest partner in what we don’t yet fully understand, but what we’re certain the Lord Himself is orchestrating.

we arrived to the Barnstondale Centre at 5:30 p.m. local time (11:30 to us).  we’ve been traveling for far too long.  the Centre is beautifully landscaped and the buildings are picturesque in this rural English landscape.  we were shown to our spacious rooms and our “water rooms” (combination shower, sink & toilet in a tiled room) -- Ruth & Carol prepared our pot pies, chips (french fries), buttered bread, peaches & ice cream -- and our tea.  thankfully it stopped raining shortly after our arrival and the sun peaking through the clouds allowed us the opportunity to explore our new surroundings -- even though we could see our breath as we walked through the cool July evening.

Praise the Lord for His provision and the mission for which we’ve been sent -- Lord find us faithful to your still small voice as we offer our service, love, and prayers all for Your Glory!

Barnstondale Centre (July 21, 2007)
here’s a quick view around our side of the Barnstondale campus where we’re staying for our first 7 days -- had to take this quickly before it began raining again!

Our English Family (July 22, 2007)
once we got to bed, we all enjoyed a much needed first night’s rest here in Barnstondale.  we awoke to more hooting owls, and marvelous sunshine-in fact, there was very little rain again today!  we went to breakfast where we began with tea, cereal, and “wheatabrix” (cereal bars) -- we were pleased with the selection and began to eat gladly--we were surprised when the “canopy” opened and had Ruth offering us helpings of toast, “bacon,” sausages, and baked beans (all parts of “a good English Breakfast”)!

Once Brother John came to pick us up for worship, he began telling me on the drive what he had envisioned for the morning--”a congregational song, i introduce you, you introduce the team, a couple share, you share your vision, a song from Andrew, i’ll take back over until i turn it over to you for the message” -- SURPRISE!  i didn’t know i was speaking today -- no matter, be prepared in season and out -- so i shared about getting involved just as our heavenly Father has so wonderfully done for us.

we finished the service and a tea cart was rolled out for the congregation to share in a time of fellowship over tea, cakes, and “fingers.” we paused for several pictures before loading up the minibus and heading to the “manse” (parsonage) for a birthday fellowship we had been invited to join.  two ladies from the congregation, Denise and Jan, share a birthday on Tuesday.  we gathered in the home to busy ladies preparing what Church of God families have done for generations -- the carry-in dinner.  we ate so much, and were offered so much more we thought we were going to burst.  we also sat, stood, and leaned anywhere we could to join in the conversation and laughter that filled the home.  we shared tragic pasts with glorious testimonies, as well as the random and hilarious that happen when family gets together -- and that’s what it felt like, family.  we were so comfortable, even as we corrected each other’s misconceptions and tried to understand what the other was trying to ask or explain, we were at home together.  Praise be to God--from the many He has created one through His Son Jesus Christ.

after several hours of laughter, cup after cup of tea, and love, we took a short drive around town to view Birkenhead--we returned in time for the evening meal -- roast, potatoes, carrots, “mushy peas” (think mashed potatoes, only peas), bread, rice pudding--and of course, tea.  we ate as much as we possibly could before finding the lounge.  it was good timing for me to see the end of the British Open, as well as giving us all comfortable chairs for a power nap -- but it’s now 9 p.m.!  we’re settling down now to get ready for bed--tomorrow it’s off to the country of Wales.

Wales (July 23, 2007)
Today, we traveled south of Wirral into the country of Wales.  Thankfully, they still speak and use English, though keeping the Welsh tradition is strong and was beside or beneath every English sign -- learning how to speak names like “Llanfairpwllgwngyll” (an actual town in Wales)!  Their unique double consonant system was quite a challenge to say the least.

The country was simply amazing -- we likened it to a whole country of Gatlinburg, TN.  Crowded little streets weaving through various styles of old-style, European architecture tucked away in the midst of beautiful country--Brother John quoted the psalmist as we drove up to an overlook of the Snowdon mountain (2nd highest in the U.K.), “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”

We didn’t imagine seeing a lot of castles on our trip -- but we saw many once we came toward the coast (the pictures represent a few).  Though we were very cold in the morning, as we descended toward the coast, the sun came out and warmed everything up quite nicely -- praise the Lord for the glorious weather and wonders we are able to see as we continue to spend time getting to know Brother John, his wife Linda and their friend Christina (from Germany).

Tomorrow, we travel north toward Scotland, though not into Scotland--we will be in the Lake District where workers from the Liverpool City Mission are hosting a kids camp.  We will spend the morning and lunch getting to know them and observe their ministry before seeing more of the country.

The Lake District (July 24, 2007)
the Liverpool City Mission has most of their services suspended this week because of a kids camp they’re hosting for the children of the 6 churches the mission serves or is serviced by.  so John took us to the Lake District today to be able to interact with some of their staff, as well as to see the beautiful part of the country.

the lake district has, as its name would suggest, several large lakes surrounded by many majestic mountains -- the kind of thing that makes you want to jump out of the car and join in Julie Andrew’s chorus to the Sound of Music!

it really was a delight, just “lovely,” to meet and interact with the children -- we were inspired in our brief interactions with the staff.  50 children and many adults enjoyed a rustic English farm for archery, mini-golf, rock-climbing, kayaking, tree climbing, and many more wonderful activities while exposing some of these children to the Gospel alive in the staff members lives.

we met Dave who moved with his wife and family from Florida in 2005 to pastor one of the Liverpool congregations.  Paul, a former policeman, who now works with many of the programs.  “Cozee,” a former gangster with a big heart that drives the ministry to the street people--i was inspired in hearing his vision and sharing stories, and an honor to pray with him and for the harvest he works so hard to bring into the Kingdom.  after a long gorgeous day, we were able to drive through the Liverpool city streets giving us a glimpse of some of the interaction we’ll have tomorrow.

after lunch and looking around the camp, it was off to Windermere -- the most beautiful lakeside vacation get-away.  shops and activities from mini-golf, tennis, kayaking, day cruises, fishing, feeding swans and ducks, a pitch & putt course, along with hiking and breathtaking views.  we ate dinner in the minibus as the ferry pulled as across the lake and onto the narrow country lanes that eventually led us back to Liverpool and Birkenhead.

Birkenhead/Liverpool (July 25, 2007)
today began as we expected all of our days to be--cold, wet, and rainy -- though the rain was but a strong mist.  by the time we were picked up and arrived at the Thompson City Mission, the mist gave way and the clouds broke to reveal yet another beautiful day here.  (i spoke with Keli and i know that all are worried about the flooding here in the United Kingdom--but take heart that we’re safe, very dry and much removed from the natural disasters plaguing some of the Brit’s these days).

Thompson City Mission was founded in the late 1800’s and has faithfully served in the Birkenhead area since that time, mainly in the exact same location, with nearly the same building as we viewed today.  Charles Thompson began the ministry to serve poor children, and his daughter Annie carried on his work after his death in the early 1900’s and into the 1960’s until her death.  Pastor John, our host, contributes to this mission that came under the umbrella of the Liverpool City Mission organization a number of years ago.

The mission continues to serve and bless many in need today--food and clothing are the main services provided along side the living and spoken Gospel presentations of the volunteers and staff.  As there is need, the mission is also stocked and prepared to give needed furniture and basics for anyone getting onto their feet.  It was a joy again to hear and see the heart of the staff, particularly pastor Rob who we were able to pray with and encourage today.

We went from the old mission, under the River Mersey and into Liverpool -- a city in preparation to host the large, international and lucrative European Capital of Culture event next summer.  Despite all the construction and renovation projects, we were able to see much of the city as we drove to the Liverpool Cathedral.  This massive structure was begun in the early 1900’s and finished in the 1970’s -- though new in light of history, the old-style architecture, stain glass, and Anglican traditions were striking and made you feel as if you were stepping back in time.  But then, that step met with the contemporary -- across from the cathedral from the chalice that holds the holy water for christenings, you found a hip gift shop featuring exquisite prayer journals, city scape prints and postcards (i even picked up a Beattles postcard for Dad from the shop), beautiful religious art, British and Liverpool souvenirs, and an extensive Christian book store.  Above the bookstore in the Cathedral’s alcove, was a contemporary styled “mezzanine cafe and bar” (serving everything the name suggested!)

Back on the mainfloor of the Cathedral, the walls and different alcoves for specific prayer offered modern art, sculpture, and works from adults who were handicapped, children who had visited, and inspirations to continue to work to end poverty and other injustices.  The collision of the old world and new were everywhere--but it wasn’t tacky (okay, the gift shop’s location wasn’t quite what i hoped).  this was a place that was open to visitors, yet continued to inspire and convict through active ministry and simple decisions.  A service for widows of military personnel began in one worship alcove as we looked around, complete with organ music leading the worship.  the audio presentations included special and meaningful hymns.  the dedications throughout the cathedral were for acts of faith and courage -- the art all testified to the presence and power of God, not just in the art but in each accompanying description.  Challenges to end poverty and to work for the Kingdom were present.  The cafe even served fair trade coffee and  sugars -- one of the packets may have been from Guyana, actually!

a trip to Liverpool would not be complete without a trip to Anfield, home of the Liverpool Football Club (soccer’s finest premiere team -- in fact, we’re not allowed to utter the first syllable of any other club while traveling with John)!  unfortunately, we were not able to view the actual field, but spent some time in the club’s gift shop.  we loved the club slogan, “you’ll never walk alone.”

there’s more to come -- we’re about to be picked up to go see the New Brighton Beach lighthouse and area.  Then, it’s off to Terry & Audrey’s for supper (tea and “biscuits,” that’s cookies to us).  We’re continually blessed by the hospitality and the inspiration we receive from these brothers and sisters.  Praise the Lord for this budding partnership.

Chester (July 26, 2007)
Welcome to Chester!  it was begun as the Roman military outpost Deva (pronounced ‘Dewa’) in the early 900’s!  it’s protective wall continues to surround the most of the city and gave us quite a vantage point from which to view the history and contrasts of the surrounding hills, river, and city within.  as you enter the city, you may be greeted by the Town Crier representing the early English history in the midst of the Tudor style buildings that line the streets with their unique “row” style storefronts.  you could find historic shops offering you a piece of history, pricey (“posh”) wedding cakes ($840!), jewelry, clothing stores of any major retailer -- we chose to stop into the Apple store before making our way to enjoy a cup of Starbucks together!

near the center of the town is the Chester Cathedral -- much like the contemporary Liverpool Cathedral, this mammoth structure continues as a place of ministry and worship today, as their entry way sign (above) suggests.  like the Liverpool Cathedral, the outer courts were a wonderful collision of the past and present -- the only difference is that this place was begun nearly 2000 years ago!  ceiling joints had more decorative and intricate thought than whole sanctuary in the U.S.  unlike the Liverpool cathedral, you had to pay as you entered to view the beauty of the Cathedral (it can cost up to $12/minute to keep the historic site together and functioning, so we didn’t mind contributing a few pounds for our long visit).  contemporary art decorated the historic alcoves at the entrance, Bose speakers were hung throughout the seating area (but painted to blend in the modern equipment with the columns), and on the outer edges, television monitors hung to enable those who sit on the side to have a view of those leading in worship.  as Zach and i marveled at the wonder, beauty and ministry opportunities, he remarked about the amazing difference--here’s a church that’s been here thousands of years and is able to introduce changes for ministries present, but in our towns we can’t get churches to make little changes that have been here for only 40-60 years.

my favorite part of the Cathedral were the mosaics.  as you entered the sanctuary, to your left along the wall were four mosaics, i’d say 20 feet x 20 feet.  each of the four mosaics had a prominent Old Testament figure in its center, flanked by two scenes on each side representing their ministry or important lessons from their lives.  i was awestruck by the beauty, detail, and choices of each relief of Abraham, Moses, David and Elijah.  my favorite scene was of Hur and Aaron lifting Moses hands for intercession until Israel won the victory.  above each scene were smaller mosaics completing the larger image with additional verses from their lives or ministry.  i stared at these and marveled far too long, but not long enough.

after our day in Chester, we came back for “tea” (evening meal) -- then off to Birkenhead Church of God for Prayer Meeting. we had a wonderful time of prayer for one another and the ministries of the church.  we then went to Pastor John & Lin’s manse (parsonage) for “supper” (tea, coffee, ‘biscuits,’ crumpets’).  we had a wonderful evening with Lyl’ & David, Jan, and Terry & Aud’ (interesting how all the ladies shorten their names, isn’t it).  we shared pictures with our journey while continuing to stuff ourselves and learn of each other’s culture--and then we paid for our full tummies as we laughed so hard for so long as our interaction went on and on until midnight here.  we were grateful for the extra time with some of the church family, and we were glad to have an opportunity to express special thanks and appreciation to Pastor John, Lin,’ Terry, and Aud’ for all their hospitality and service to us since our arrival.

tomorrow will be a lighter day around Wirral, and we will be praying over the Egan road community where the church is located, as well as beginning to talk further about future ministry initiatives we can plan on.  the Lord has been good to us with new friends, hope for ministry, great hospitality, safety on all these excursions, and amazing weather -- today was the first day with any rain while we were out, and that only lasted till we finished the Cathedral.

Glossary (July 26, 2007)

all right class, you’ve no doubt been inspired by our journeyin’ and you’re ready to come see the UK, as well--that’s brilliant, but there are a few things that you should know before you come.  you’ve got to learn the Queen’s English here, and you may need to know a bit of Scouse if you’re planning to get along with the Liverpoolians.  so here are some free lessons on words you may and may not know, in no particular order....

brilliant - great, excellent, good job

lovely -
all good things and people are characterized as lovely--predominant adjective when referring to our group, so i hope it’s as good as it sounds :)

manse - parsonage
araf - slow or slowly (it’s the only Welsh word we could all remember and say correctly -- see entry entitled “Wales” for more on their unique language
brush & shovel - broom and dust pan
cheers - your greeting for everything, “hello, thank you, how are you, nice to meet you,...”
“tera, tera” - not sure of the spelling, but it is used to say farewell or goodbye
beaker - a juice glass
to let - for rent (many nice places to rent around here, several are aiming to stay)
football or footy - yes, we call it soccer, but as Pastor John says its a game you play with your feet, not with your “socks”
posh - ritzy, snooty
queue - 1) line; 2) congestion or traffic jam (you will see signs for form a queue or “q” or on the motorway warning you that “queues likely”
lad - a boy (used more often than you think)
m’am - a sign of respect in the southern US can get you crazy stares or nearly slapped -- it means “mum,” or mother here and they don’t care where you come from if your speaking to one who’s not your mum!
photy - picture/photograph

he’s “fit” - good looking

chuck - a chicken, but also (curiously) a term of endearment for children or ladies

da’gear - something really good (think, “the bomb”)

breky - breakfast

dinner - what we call lunch

tea - not just the drink (that’s drunk here whenever there’s a chance) -- it also refers to your evening meal (helps “tea time” make sense)

supper - a time of fellowship later in the evening (after tea) for tea and biscuits

chips - what we call french fries -- served everywhere along with fish as you can see from the sign at the top of this page -- every Chinese restaurant we’ve seen offers Fish & Chips advertised on their signs before Chinese cuisine!

pudding - dessert, doesn’t have to be pudding -- we’ve had dessert at every meal, every where (they know how to eat and how to feed you in this country)

crisps - what we call chips, usually in a “pouch,” what we call a “bag”

bacon - not like our bacon, more like Canadian bacon (very salted)

jacket potato - a baked potato

biscuits - a cookie, sometimes a candy bar

“booty” - not sure of the spelling here, but it means a sandwich (coincidentally, butter is the primary spread for sandwiches, ketchup contains much more vinegar here as does the salad dressing)

crumpets - we call them “English muffins” (ohhhh)

mate - friend, pal, or even casual acquaintance that you are addressing

toilet (sometimes, the “lou”) - not just the commode, the bathroom -- we’ve appreciated the honesty, but at the same time, we’ve been reminded of the benefits in the distinction as Michele overheard one lady tell another, “i believe they have some drinking water in the toilet.” :(

toilet round - toilet paper roll

roundabout - no four way stops here (see sign above for upcoming roundabout options)-- everyone yields into the circular roundabout and makes their way around to the appropriate street they wish to continue on -- it gets really confusing with connecting roundabouts

post - the post office (but they’re more like convenience stores and mini marts -- you can buy insurance, buy lottery cards, browse the card shop, buy birthday balloons, pay local utility bills--you name it, the post is a one stop service center!)

pub - yes, it can be a bar, but more and more it is just a restaurant.  Terry lamented to me that there are very few pubs anymore where you can just go in and have a draft while talking with your mates -- the ones that are primarily pubs, he said, are now blaring a jukebox in the corner and there’s no use talkin’

motorway - our interstate (so when you see M6, it’s like our I65)--motorways are marked by blue signs, and A or B roads with green signs, others with white signs -- street signs are usually not on a post, but on a building or house. smaller roads are designated with A and B, such that an A road would be similar to our US highways (like US31) and B roads would be similar to our state or county routes.  anything else may be a mere “2 lane” road -- but their 2 lanes can range be similar to ours, or as narrow as a single car width!

exits from the motorways are not set up with fuel (“petrol”) stations and fast food chains competing for your business -- instead, there are convenience exits with one stop everything centers, almost mini malls in nature.  you can buy your gas, go into nice buffets, sit in a bistro, waste money in an arcade, browse through the book store, etc.  all of this is under one roof with no competing centers at the same exit.  

quid - pound (our dollar, except our dollar is worth about 50 pence--wait, pence is cents to us -- so our dollar is worth about half a pound.  confused?--just be glad they did away with the shilling system which was something like 8 shillings to the pence and 12 pence to the pound!!!  anyway, the money comes in these coin increments: 1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound, 2 pounds.  the paper notes come in increments: 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds, and we’re told there’s a 50 pound note but we’ve not seen anything greater than 20!

this is just the tip of the iceberg folks, we’re learning and relearning the meanings to terms constantly -- i’m sure we’ll have more to add to this listing!

6th Ave   |   Service Times

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6:40pm Worship/Prayer Time
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