The Holy Living column with Peter Dodson

Ripon Community Church currently uses Hugh Ripley Hall on Skellbank.
Ripon Community Church currently uses Hugh Ripley Hall on Skellbank.

On this Thursday, the worldwide Church celebrates John Chrysostom, the revered 4th/5th Century Bishop of Constantinople and “Teacher of the Faith”.

Famous as a powerful speaker and preacher, he is still popularly known as “Golden Mouth”.

What has this early Bishop to do with Ripon Community Church? They both represent loving devotion to Jesus Christ, enthusiastic proclamation of God’s Kingdom or Rule, as well as sacrificial willingness to serve locally and beyond.

Ripon Community Church, currently using Hugh Ripley Hall on Skellbank, became rooted among Ripon’s population in 1993. It is a partner in the UK’s “Kingdom Faith Church” founded by former Anglican vicar the Reverend Colin Urquhart, whom I knew. In the 1960s and 70s, he became involved with the “Charismatic Renewal Movement”.

Colin was initially influenced by my own “Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer”, with its emphasis on being silently focused on the Bible’s divine language. I was often invited to charismatic renewal meetings, to encourage what had become gatherings of noisy worshippers, to listen to God in total silence. The title of Colin’s earliest publication “Listen and Live” reflects this. In addition to his prolific devotional writing, Colin became, like “Golden Mouth” Chrysostom, a renowned speaker.

Kingdom Faith Church states that “We’re Christians from loads of different cultures and backgrounds with one thing in common... we love Jesus Christ!

“We’re passionate about Jesus and worshipping Him and, for us, that’s what life is all about!

“Our desire is to know God more and to help everyone discover how amazing He is!”

Colin’s Urquhart’s son, Clive, now leads London’s Kingdom Faith Church with his wife Jane. They also help to organise “Faith Camps (UK)”.

I received a friendly email from Ted Bell, our local Community Church’s Pastor.

He wrote that “as [our church’s] name suggests, our heart is to reach out and serve the community in which we live with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Our mission statement is ‘to know God and make Him known’ and our overall vision is that through the truth of God’s word, we equip the church to serve one another in the love of God and in the community, through practical outreach and evangelism.

“Our vision is outworked in ... creating a house of prayer and a people of worship ... being a supportive family of believers ... helping [to] build unity in the Body of Christ [and to reach] out to a needy community.

“We believe that it is God’s desire that all people come to experience His life and, through faith in Christ, we can live it to the full.

“As a church we are a mixture of young and old, meeting together on a Sunday morning for family worship, with Life groups and operating a food bank called ‘Bread of Life’, a ministry to the needy, which supplies food every fortnight.

“We also run a Holiday Club for junior-aged children during the school holidays.”

I am very grateful to Pastor Ted for this helpful introductory “Mission Statement.”

The Church’s website adds the following: “We are a house of prayer and a people of worship.

“We are a supportive family of believers. We are a builder of unity in the body of Christ ... We believe the Bible is inspired by God [and that Bible teaching] ... must show itself through love for each other, practical service and social concern.”