So, how do you serve?

On Sunday Pete was talking about how we serve.

Japanese football supporters do it by clearing rubbish at the end of each match and see this as a way of honouring their hosts and being good guests.
My mum did it by being the trusted arbitrator in our street, bringing harmony to her neighbours and offering pots of tea as balm to hurt feelings.
My sisters and I do it by caring for my mum as she struggles with dementia, patiently reminding her who she is and taking the blows and harsh words with good grace.
My team mate at work does it at a local school, helping kids to improve their maths and reading skills, giving up her lunch hour to give something back. 

It's part of our God-given human nature to reach out into our community and offer a helping hand, to give time to those who ache for an empathetic ear, to offer respite to those travelling through troubled times.

Jesus led by example and stated his position clearly - he said that he came to serve.  And to hammer the point home he knelt down and washed each of his disciples' dirty feet despite their protests. Even the feet of Judas.

When Jesus taught he distinguished between those who follow him by how they serve, because by serving the weak and disadvantaged they are serving and loving him.

So, ask yourself: how do I serve?


"When you serve,
start with the feet.

And when you serve,
get down low
with a towel and a water bowl.

And when you serve,
find your honour not over,
but under.
Not higher,
but lower.
Not first,
but last.

So when you serve,
don't wait your turn,
but push your way
right to the back.
And there you'll find
nothing to prove,
nothing to hide
and nothing to loose
but your pride.

Yes, you heard,
when you serve
observe his example:
Undo a sandal
and start with the feet.
And there you will be blessed."

Church with colour

Ealing is a magnet for the world, with over 170 nationalities represented within its borders.  From WWII Polish refugees to millennial Syrians.  Each community has made a home here and has added its culture, its recipes, its colour, its recipes, languages, its recipes, its traditions and its recipes to the existing smorgasbord that is London.

The family of Redeemer London reflects some of this smorgasbord - it's one of the things I love most about getting together on Sunday mornings. 

This Sunday (20 May) we'll be celebrating this multi-national nature of our church with many sporting their national dress.  You'll be most welcome to add to the colour.  Meanwhile, here's my personal manifesto for an international church.

"I believe in one international church. I believe in an inter-racial and unbiased church of many nations.  I believe in one church of many traditions.  I believe in one church not hemmed in by history or by man-made borders.  I believe in a God for whom his pallet of skin colours reflects his love of diversity.  I believe in God-given racial differences.  I believe in one creator God who made all mankind equal.  I believe in a church that reflects her maker's love of difference.

"I do not believe in uniformity.

"I believe in the common language of love for one another, for neighbours and for enemies that transcends local dialects.  I believe in one sundry collection of priests who are called to serve one God together, saved by one sacrifice once and for all time.  I believe in the promise of a resurrected church drawn from all generations to meet her bridegroom.  I believe in one eternal wedding feast which features everything from the finest vegetable samosas to the richest steam puddings.  I believe in one extravagant Father who has built one massive mansion with many rooms so all his people can come and dwell together.

"I believe in God's - Kingdom - come. "

Happy Birthday, Pete!

Last month we celebrated a significant birthday for Pete Cornford, the founding pastor of Redeemer London.  We had a party - obviously.  We told embarrassing stories - obviously.  And we thanked God for Pete - obviously.

This poem seeks to capture a little of Pete and we thought those of you who know him would appreciate it.  Those of you who don't know Pete, you're welcome to come along on a Sunday morning to Ealing Town Hall - if you can't see him (he's not that tall), just follow the laughter.

We meet to celebrate Jesus each week, not just on his birthday - obviously.  


It won’t be a surprise, you know what I'm saying?
I - just - love –Ealing, whether working or playing.
I've been on my travels, I've been here, I've been there
I've followed my Jesus, ‘til He led me here.

And now I can't help it, I love every street
and as I turn 50, people ask, 'Pete,
why are you stirred to serve this old city
with Isaac and Josh, with Lois and Nicky?'

'Oh, golly', I say, 'Isn't it clear?
It's the call of Jesus each day that I hear.'
But, hand - on - my – heart, it's a challenge - isn't it?
How do I serve, when I'm five foot six?

Now I love a good quote. I know you don’t judge,
but some people say I love them too much.
I love a great movie, but sit at the rear
so people around me won't notice my tears.

I love a good read, I've got books wall to wall
and I love the Arsenal when they're on the ball.
I was in the Olympics, did I tell you that?
If you look real closely you might see my cap.

I love Redeemer, the believers who gather,
how they will turn up to worship no matter.
I love just how creative some of them are,
the wannabe poets, the guys on guitar.

Now I mustn't embarrass anyone here,
but I love my dear wife, just so that's clear.
I love my three kids in no special order;
as they keep on growing I’ll cheer ever louder.

And each day I go walking, I might even run,
cos by living with passion I might serve the Son.
I - just - love – Ealing.  Do I hear an Amen?
Let's stride out together!  Redeemer-London!