The words of Ephesians 3:20 appear at the end of many a prayer meeting. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” reminds us that we have a big and generous God. In his great wisdom, he builds his people – he builds his church – and does so in ways that often surpass our meagre prayers. It’s a glorious truth. A huge spur to pray with deeper confidence and expectancy… And a wonderful reality here at Biblical Counselling UK this autumn.
A decade ago, Biblical Counselling UK didn’t exist. Since then both our opportunities to serve the local church and the provision of people to undertake that work have gradually increased. Often the growth has been slow but as we begin a new academic year, we’re pleased to tell you about a “growth spurt” that has been made possible by a couple of incredibly generous donations from gospel partners.
A lot of the existing staff have been enabled to increase their hours. Steve Midgley, our Executive Director, has stepped back from his role as Vicar at Christ Church Cambridge and is now dedicating 4 days a week to his role within Biblical Counselling UK. Helen Thorne, our Director of Training and Resources, will similarly be working 4 days a week from September and will have increased capacity to write and teach. And Tarita Smallwood, the organisation’s Director of Finance and Development, will be working extra hours too and will be helping the organisation grow in structure and partnership. All alongside Amanda Naves, the Director of our Intern programme; Rachel Maclure, our Family Care Researcher our wonderful existing administration team: Sydnie Jordan and Anna Goodwin-Hudson.
But there are also 4 new faces to add to the Biblical Counselling UK family this month. And here on the BCUK blog, we find out a little about each:
Andrew Collins is our new Director of the Certificate Course. He writes: I’m married to Nicola and we are blessed with five children, Caleb (21), John (18), Hope (16), Seth (14) and Carys (12). I live in Northern Ireland in a town called Portadown, about 25 minutes south west of Belfast. I worship with a wonderful church family in Killicomaine Evangelical Church and serve there as an elder. For the last 16 years I’ve been working part-time as an NHS consultant psychiatrist, while offering a biblical counselling service from home. As well as doing some training on counselling issues for churches over those years, I’ve been involved with BCUK as a committee member, then trustee, and also as tutor on the Certificate course. So it’s a massive privilege to step into the role which Steve has held brilliantly as Director of the Certificate Course, and to join Sydnie and Anna in delivering a course which has been such a blessing to so many, as well as to me personally. The Lord’s face has shone upon us through the teaching of CCEF/BCUK – do pray with me that we may continue to know His lavish grace as the certificate course develops.
Andrew McKenna, our new Head of Communications writes: I’m Andrew. I’m married to Ruth, and we have two sons. We live in Surrey and are part of Christ Church, Banstead where I currently lead the music team. Over the last 12 years or so, I have served churches in pastoral ministry roles including overseeing music, media, and communications. Alongside this, it has been a joy to serve the wider church family as part of the Music Ministry UK team. I’m delighted to have joined BCUK as Head of Communications and I’m excited by the growth and development of this ministry. I’m looking forward to telling stories of how our training and resources are making a difference in local churches – to our discipleship, pastoral care, and leadership.
Ruth Roberts is going to be working part-time as Steve’s Executive Assistant. She writes: I have been doing a similar job for Steve over recent years in his previous role as vicar. I am excited at doing this now under the auspices of BCUK and having new colleagues similarly enthusiastic about working in the area of biblical counselling. I have lived in Cambridge for many years with my husband and our three daughters and I love cycling round and enjoying its many green spaces. In my spare time I am currently undertaking the BCUK certificate course and I also enjoy all things French from tv crime dramas to cooking.
Wendy Whiffin studied BCUK’s Certificate Course alongside her previous role as Operations Manager for Bishop Hannington Church, Hove. Prior to that Wendy held a variety of roles in the areas of finance and operations. Wendy writes: I am now responsible for supporting Tarita Smallwood with the financial management, operations, HR and development work for BCUK. My husband and I lead a small group at my local church and, when not working for BCUK, I enjoy spending time with people, opening up the Bible with them. I have two daughters at University.
Please do rejoice with us at the Lord’s generous provision of people. Please do thank God for those who have given so generously to make this happen. Please ask the Lord for wisdom as we all work out new patterns of working in this time of change. And please do pray that the Lord will use us for his glory. Maybe even pray the rest of that Ephesians 3 prayer for us all:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)