One of our distinctives at Kerith, and therefore also at REAL is that we love to work with friends! We choose to work with friends, and so love to invite those we already have a relationship with to speak into our community and stand alongside us. We share ethos and values...and we have fun!
Last year at REAL we were so blessed to have Cathy Madavan with us - I know that God used her words in a really significant way for many women. In fact, one of our small groups has been studying her book Digging for Diamonds this last year, and have really loved it! They also highly recommend her James Devotional
Simon and I visited Cathy and her husband Mark (who leads Locks Heath Free Church) in their beautiful home this last Tuesday evening, and shared a really lovely evening together, devouring the largest pan of Paella I've ever seen, plus stories, laughs, friendship, wisdom and honesty - it was so good to be with friends.
On Thursday I had a great time chatting via FaceTime with Kemi Koleoso. We laughed, shared stories, and encouraged eachother.
I'm really excited that Kemi's going to be joining us at REAL this year. Kemi's based at Jubilee Church where her husband Tope is Senior Pastor - we've had the privilege of having him speak at Kerith. Kemi has been such a faithful friend to REAL, she's come every year since 2013, bringing a group of friends and fellow leaders. Then last year, she launched her own annual gathering for women - Courage Conference - it was fabulous! She'll host Courage for a 2nd year, two weeks after REAL, so if you'd love to hear more of Kemi, plus her special guest Priscilla Reid and Bianca Olthoff (we share our friends!) book in and pop along to north London.
I know that I'm the richer for these two women's input in my life. I thank God that He joined our hearts. In the best possible way, being able to chat, share and say "you too?" is so great for building friendship. One of the ways I'm clearly experiencing Jesus making a difference in my life is by Him by helping me be committed to going deeper, to honesty and to vulnerability. It's not easy (at all!) but it's worth it.
PS This Sunday at Kerith we're joined by our friends Krish Kandiah and Canon Andrew White :)