'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…'

Both my children got engaged this year, so this may explain why the old bride rhyme is running through my head. It does provide a peg to hang on two stories of God reaching out to those who do not know him through the ministry of ICS.

The ‘something old’ story started some twenty years ago and gives a sense of the wonderful mixture of people that make up so many of the churches that ICS supports and resources. Folli, a migrant from Nigeria, who found himself in Lyon, writes:

‘Arriving in a cosmopolitan city such as Lyon for many would be daunting and even more so when you don’t speak a word of French. Seeking a worshipping community that speaks English was then paramount. Through the work of ICS, there is a worshipping and flourishing English-speaking congregation in which I found a home! I was nurtured and cared for by the community, especially by the Chaplain and his family. They recognised my vocation, nurtured and supported it. After a number of years and after serving in various capacities in the chaplaincy, I was sponsored for Ordination Training. Thanks to the work of ICS, the Lyon Chaplaincy, and the Diocese in Europe, today, I am the Vicar at St. Mary’s Oatlands, Diocese of Guildford.’

Folli now serves on our Council and energetically supports ICS as we continue in our mission. The story goes back even further, my records show we established the work in Lyon in 1853 and 166 years later it is still a vibrant community reaching out to people in the name of Christ. 

Fast forward one hundred years to the 21st Century and I have been privileged to meet people from North Africa who have come to Christ and are now being trained to be the leaders of the future. I have been sent mobile phone videos of baptisms taking place, as new believers affirm their new-found faith, in places where to do so has risky consequences. You will be encouraged to know that ICS continues to fund and support ministry in places we cannot talk openly about and where the fruit will only become apparent in years to come.

My ‘something new’ story comes from a recent note an ICS Chaplain wrote to us a few weeks ago about this encounter in one of our resort missions:

‘In the early evening, I met a couple looking around the church. They asked about how I became a Christian as both were brought up with no faith. I went through a gospel tract including the prayer for salvation to which both made a positive response. They left the church excited and wanting to know more. They came back for the next Sunday Service and he produced the gospel tract from his wallet which he had taken away with him and said he is keeping it forever. Follow up has already been arranged.’

I thank God for these stories, old and new. We achieve our mission through the most generous support of those people who stand alongside us and give sacrificially, financially, in prayer and by volunteering. Thank you so much, your partnership is invaluable to us.

Therefore, I ask you to consider making a gift towards the work of ICS this Autumn. It may be £50, £500, £1000 or whatever sum God lays on your heart. Secondly, if giving regularly is something you find convenient, could I ask you to consider starting a new standing order or increasing your existing regular gift to ICS? We are only able to do what we do because of the often, sacrificial support from our members and friends. Thank you for standing with us as we continue to fulfil this Gospel ministry.

Richard Bromley