Welcome to the April 2017 edition of Oasis Life, our monthly Magazine for those both inside and outside of Oasis! The aim of the Magazine is to provide a longer, more in depth view of everything that’s been going on at Oasis lately, and everything coming up in the next month of so; it’s not meant to be a quick read like our Weekly Email Blast, but rather is something to be enjoyed in a bit more time so pop the kettle on and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. You can also fill in your email in the box below to get the every edition of the magazine sent straight to your inbox.
Oasis Life is organised into three sections: ‘Home’, ‘Life’ and ‘City’. Put simply, ‘Home’ is all about who we are, ‘Life’ is about what we do together, and ‘City’ is about what we do in Birmingham and Beyond.
An Exciting Announcement from Adrian…
Album Review: ‘The Stories You Tell’ by Midsummer
Mike Blaber: Midsummer is a home grown Oasis Church band whose rise over the past 2 years has been amazing. From an experimental act gracing the 2014 Oasis Carol service to an established band recently featured on Brum Radio, it has been quite an adventure for Midsummer. At our latest Impact gig at the MAC, they launched their first album, ‘The Stories You Tell’. Here’s a brief review of my experience sitting down to listen to the album this week…
‘The Stories You Tell’ makes an immediate impression on first listen. Beautiful melodies, soaring vocals, cheerful rhythms, layered sounds, and clever lyrics. It’s easy to like it straight away. But today I really listened. I just put on the album and listened. It moved me. This album is packed full of the whole range of emotion that makes up human experience of life. I found myself taken on a journey, the music lifting me beyond the pressing tasks that pile up on a typical midweek day and the songs connecting with what I know to be true — life is for living, emotions for feeling and stories for sharing. With unusual clarity, this album achieves the celebration of life, authenticates the full spectrum of emotion and shares stories we all carry with us. And it sounds so good in the process! I’ve always found that the best albums are the ones in which the music takes you where you didn’t realise you wanted to go. It’s a delightful surprise. This album genuinely did that for me today.
If there had not been another person in the room, tears would have flowed as I listened carefully to songs such as ‘Wasted Time’, ‘Come and Rest’, ‘Don’t be Anxious’ and ‘Summer’s Over.’ With delicacy, honesty and the beauty of mature musicianship they explore love, loss, companionship, hope, healing and new beginnings. It’s good to feel each emotion attached to those experiences in our lives and this album provides the perfect connection to facilitate that. The remarkable thing is, each song provides a sense of completion such that you are ready for the next track as the album journeys on. No jolt, just smooth transition. That’s rare.
Sometimes though, you just need to have a good old dance! This album provides many lifts of energy, brightness and fun to accommodate that need. Tracks such as ‘I was made in Birmingham’ and ‘1000 Days’ are full of optimism, compelling you to get tapping your feet and clapping your hands. Embrace the journey to your hoped-for destination and celebrate the places that have provided life’s big moments. And dance! In fact, in my household those songs have to be accompanied by uninhibited, even silly, frolicking around the kitchen. The mandolin beckons you — life is good, so dance!
Chris Taylor and Lizzy Daniel-Sam truly have unusual song-writing abilities. The album has no weak songs. None. And in Andy, Ben, Jenny and J they have a formidable cohort of talent. So, you would have thought it unsurprising that this project is such a success. Yet, the album is full of surprise. Because with each listen (I’ve happily had it on repeat) new layers emerge — an unnoticed harmony, a unexpected yet poignant trumpet solo, a background warmth of strings, an additional merry mandolin, a hopeful lift piercing an honest story. This project cannot be a one-off. It’s too good for that. So, let me encourage you to have a proper listen yourself. It will do you good.
‘The Stories You Tell’ is available to buy and download from www.midsummerfolk.bandcamp.com , or directly from Chris Taylor.
Creative Worship Encounter
Sunday 30th May: CWE is a place to come and worship in an open, creative and relaxed way. There’ll be lots of different creative expressions and strands, all united by a common desire to encounter God’s presence through worship. This Sunday we will be joining ChurchCentral at their worship night ‘The River’ at Central House, 13 Ravenhurst Street, B12 0HD, @ 7:30pm. For more on this event go here and for more information on all things CWE, join the Facebook Group here.
Our Last Sunday at Edgbaston!
Sunday 7th May: As you’ll hopefully know, our year of adventure as a church is leading us to move on from the Cricket Ground at the beginning of May, and to mark our last Sunday there, we’re going to have a Bring & Share lunch after our morning meeting, followed by packing away all our stuff! Join us from 10:15am for a 10:30am start for the meeting, and bring some food along to share afterwards! As a general guide, if your surname begins A-L, please bring something savoury, and if it begins M-Z, please bring something sweet. Oasis will provide drinks, and we’ll add it all together for a feast befitting our final Sunday at Edgbaston!
OKC Weekend Away
From Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th April, a number of our kids from OKC are going for a Weekend Away in Alvechurch; a unique opportunity for them to encounter Jesus, learn more about what it is to know him and grow with him throughout life, and have loads of fun too. Please do be praying for them over that weekend, and for Trina and the team organising things!
Recently we’ve been giving a renewed focus to Small Groups in Oasis, with interviews on a Sunday and follow up blogs in the weeks afterwards. You can take a look at all of those on our Articles page here, and there will be more to come in the following weeks! Check out the list of current Small Groups on the left hand side, and get in touch with email@example.com to be put in touch with one or to find out more about how to best connect in!
The Great Birmingham 10k
Sunday 30th April: Sunday 30th April is the Great Birmingham 10k run, with the route once again passing right outside our meeting room! We’ll be gathering from 10am to pray for the city, before heading outside to cheer on the runners when the first ones head past at about 10:45am. There’s no access to the Cricket Ground by car this year due to a route change, but you will be able to get into the MAC Car Park via the Nature Centre entrance on Pershore Road when the gate opens at 9:45am. This is a great way to bless the city, and an opportunity to represent Edgbaston itself and serve them really well as we leave, so do join us for the morning!
Loving The City Day
Saturday 6th May: Anyone who has been around Oasis for any length of time will know that as followers of Jesus, wherever we are and whatever we do, we can bring God’s colour and flavour to people around us. Often, that’ll be in the context of our normal, daily lives, but we’re also seeking to expand opportunities to reach out to those we might not normally encounter. That’s the heart behind ‘Loving the City’; bringing God’s colour and flavour to people on the streets and in the parks of Birmingham.
On Saturday 6th May, we’re having a day of training and outreach from 10am-4:15pm, based at Edgbaston Stadium but then heading out to engage with others in the local area. Lunch will be provided totally free of charge as well. Get in touch with Paul Samms at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or to sign up.
Birmingham Christian Football Festival
Gus Rosier: As I’m sure many of us know by now, Oasis Church has been running a weekly football initiative for the past 10 years called ‘Monday Night Football’. It is what it is…football that we play every Monday evening throughout the year (except on Bank Holidays), with players involved being a mixture of Oasis Church regulars, plus a number of men (and occasionally women too…who are welcome) with whom we have become connected over the years through any number of different links. We play with 4 main values in mind: hard but fair; lots of smiles and encouragement; no ‘dodgy’ tackles; and clean language as much as possible. Everyone who comes does their best to adhere to these goals, as well as score lots of goals…or stop them if they are defenders!
Over the past 3 or 4 years, Oasis has taken up to 30 men to the ‘National Christian Football Festival’ (NCFF) — a weekend event that is hosted annually by a charity called ‘Ambassadors Football’. The NCFF is a tournament that includes lots of football (obviously) but also incorporates opportunities to hear something more about Jesus and the influence he has in different people’s lives. It’s a winning formula in terms of the quantity and quality of football; the building of relationships between all involved; and the overt presentations of Jesus that build upon our ethic of ‘Godly’ football that we enjoy week on week at our Monday evenings together.
Last Saturday, on the back of the success of the NCFF, Oasis hosted the inaugural ‘Birmingham Christian Football Festival’ (BCFF). It took place at St Albans Academy in Balsall Heath and was a day’s 6-a-side tournament football based on the framework of the NCFF, hence its similar name. 7 teams of up to 8 men took part and included in the day was a lot of football (27 15-minute matches in total!); more friendship building; and a short talk at lunch time given by Gus that gave everyone the chance to hear more about Jesus. Just under 50 people were involved in the event, and on a day when the sun shined from start to finish, the first ever champions comprised a mix of men from Monday Night Football and their invited guests.
By all accounts, everyone enjoyed the day, and everyone respectfully listened to the talk at lunchtime which they knew was part of the day’s activities. There was also an opportunity to express interest in finding out a little bit more about Jesus through an upcoming Alpha Course planned for the Monday Night Football group, and some interest was indeed expressed, which was very encouraging!
It is hoped that this year’s tournament will be the first of many, and that the numbers involved will grow accordingly. Oasis will still look to attend the NCFF every year too, but with that and the new BCFF as annual events, we look forward to football continuing to be a way that we can introduce Jesus to our footballing friends.
The Bridge Birmingham
This summer The Bridge will be launching their biggest fundraising campaign to date with a crowd funding project that has a target of £5000. We’d love it if Oasis got behind this project in support of The Bridge. The easiest way to do that is to make sure you’re following their social media accounts which will provide you with all the updates when the campaign is launched. There’ll be several events over the summer to tell you more about the charity, the work that it does and what this crowd funder seeks to do in making a difference to addict’s lives. Please be thinking how you can help and get in contact with Ben Kyte on email@example.com if you have any further questions
The Bridge is a non-profit organisation bringing hope to men and women recovering from drug and alcohol addictions while also being able to serve the needs of those exiting prostitution. They run three supported accommodation houses in Birmingham, providing support in recovery, right through to re-engaging with employment and establishing independent living. They give people somewhere safe and comfortable to live — a place to call home. The Bridge also provides straight-to-the-point recovery groups that help people deal with the reality of addiction. These groups are a real lifeline, helping people get to grips with thoughts and behaviours that would otherwise trip them up. Finally they encourage people to find new, creative ways to use their time, including volunteering in the local community. Above all, The Bridge thinks that people need to be treated as people. Not as patients, clients or a problem to be solved.
Tom & Jenna Gallant: In the heart of Selly Oak there is a cosy house, stuffed with comfortable sofas, board games, free tea and coffee and remarkable people. This is the hub of a ministry called Canvas. We have been a part of this community for over 6 years, but now we feel God calling us to be full-time staff members. But what is Canvas?
“Canvas is about building real community for students, figuring out life and faith and bringing a bit more love to Birmingham.”
This includes reaching out to students of all backgrounds, providing a place to belong, exploring “what Christians really believe” and serving others in need in Birmingham. However, the most important part of what Canvas does is create friendships with students, through which we can share the amazing impact Jesus has on our lives, so that they may experience this too.
Our day-to-day work at Canvas will include:
· Delivering talks on faith at our weekly student events.
· Meeting one-to-one with students for deeper conversations.
· Discipling students who are on journeys of faith through Bible studies.
· Outreach to new students at societies.
· Planning and carrying out the fortnightly church-like services.
· Mentoring Canvas Interns.
We are inspired by the way Jesus conducted his ministry, and we aim for our outreach to look the same. This means going out with students and making sure they get home safely at the end of the night, or sitting for hours on end helping with revision for those end-of-year exams. Ultimately, we want students to experience God’s love through this ministry.
Alice came to Canvas in her second year of university. Previously, her only experience of Christianity was at the Catholic School she attended, of which she hated. After leaving school, Alice relied on drugs and alcohol when problems arose. Then she found Canvas. After a few days she was a regular around the ministry, after a few weeks her closest friends were those in this community, and after a few months she was on her own journey of faith. Alice got baptized in her third year and now relies on Jesus when new problems arise.
We are starting in September, but cannot do this alone. Team members fundraise in order to serve at Canvas and provide for the ministry. For us, this amount is £4000 a month, for 2 years. It is a lot of money, but we believe God will be faithful to what He has called us to; so far, we have raised £2,300 monthly pounds. We still need people to partner with us by supporting us financially and praying for our students as we meet and share the gospel with them.
If you would like to be involved in these ways or are passionate about student ministry, then we would love to talk to you! Come and join us in this adventure!
- Tom and Jenna