Joining God on his Mission

Bless is a missional movement with a vision to empower believers across Europe to trust the Father, receive the Spirit and tell the story of the Son. Our work began in the UK in 2003 as a new initiative enabling young adults to understand and experience mission on the mainland of Europe. We moved our base to France in 2009 to develop a centre for training and prayer as the hub of our activities, and extended our programmes to include participants from multiple nations. ‘Bethanie’, near Caen in Normandy, is a place of encounter and a sending base for mission. We welcome guests to Bethanie from across the world, and from Bethanie we are church-planting in three locations in France and empowering believers through prayer, teaching and a deep journey of worship to find their own connection with God’s mission wherever he has placed them.

Europe is a melting-pot of cultures and histories. Deeply marked over 50 generations by the Christian narrative, it is today struggling to make sense of its own story. For the new generations especially, the place of faith in everyday life is far from clear. Our task is to tell and re-tell the story of Jesus so that this same narrative, transforming in impact and universal in application, can hold its place in the Europe of tomorrow. We pursue this vision through three specific strands of activity…

A CORD OF THREE STRANDS

Through CHURCH PLANTING we are creating and supporting mission-minded gatherings of believers who come together to go deeper into the things of God for themselves and further in the purposes of God for the sake of others.

Through short-term and mid-term STUDENT PROGRAMMES we enable individuals – for the most part young adults – to encounter the God of mission and find their place in the mission of God.

Through our CURRICULUM AND RESOURCES we seek to encourage, educate and empower European believers to live-out God’s mission where they are.

Our goal in all these areas is to help every believer find their calling, develop their gifts and live for others wherever God places them: a movement of inspired worshippers in every European community, praying and working for the  transformation of culture.

Shaped to Serve

We are part of a movement re-imagining faith for the European context. We don’t see mission as something for specialists, but for every follower of Jesus. The key to activated missional engagement, we believe, lies in understanding that worship belongs at the heart of mission, and mission at the heart of worship. God invites us into the fulness of his love. It is as we respond that we are set free to live for others. Without the radical encounter with God the renews my spirit and rewires my thinking, I am powerless to play my part in the renewal of God’s world. It is when the worship encounter is shaped and fuelled by God’s passion for his planet that my part in his plan becomes clear. In the language of Jesus, we wait for the promise of God and having received, we are sent to the very ends of the earth.

The impact of bless is both local and Europe-wide. Our own church plants in France are implementing locally the principles we have adopted for our wider work, while across Europe we serve churches through training, resources and prayer.

OUR MISSION IS… to transform the lives of people in Europe by empowering Christians, through prayer, personal creativity and strategic partnerships to live for the service of others.

Our VISION… Bless is a Missional Movement with a vision to empower believers across Europe to trust the Father, receive the Spirit and tell the story of the Son.

OUR VALUES

Our commitment to pursue the love and presence of the Trinity leads to a movement that is:

WORSHIP-CENTRED, MISSION-MINDED, CHURCH-BASED, and KINGDOM-SHAPED

OUR CORE: “His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up.” Ephesians 4:20 ( J B Phillips)

The Bless Family

Team

Caroline Gwilliam

Caroline has been involved in bless since the beginning. She has three children, one married and one grandson. Caroline loves to create, sew, build and paint. She is passionate about seeing young people realise their uniqueness and value in God, and in the part of the world they occupy.

Gerard + Chrissie Kelly

Gerard is a writer, prismatic preacher-poet, mac lover, coffee drinker and twitturgist. Chrissie likes to fill her days with teaching,writing, planning, travelling, and visiting people and places. Together they have over thirty years of ministry experience as youth workers and church leaders.

They have lived and worked in the UK, France and the Netherlands and are popular speakers at conferences and church weekends.In 1995 they founded Cafe-net, the European missions project that became The Bless Network in 2004. In 2009 Gerard and Chrissie wrote ‘Intimate with the Ultimate’ together: a book on prayer and spirituality drawn from their many years of teaching and leadership across Europe.

Trustees

Carolyn Ros

Carolyn chairs the Board of Stichting Bless Holland. An American raised in Japan by missionary parents, Carlyn has lived in central Amsterdam for over twenty years and works with Youth With a Mission. She is an accomplished writer whose books have been translated worldwide. She is married to Johan and has four grown-up children and eight grandchildren.

Jane Rocke

Jane is a member of our French Board (Vivre Pour Les Autres). She is British but has lived in France for eight years. Jane and her husband Tim manage a language school – L’Alliance Anglaise – offering immersive english teaching to French business clients. They have five children – Hannah, Will, Jamie, John and Esther.

Jim Saker

Professor Jim Saker is the director of the Centre for Automotive Management and an Associate Dean at Loughborough University. He specialises in Marketing and Strategic Management and has advised and works with a wide range of organisations both in the public and private sectors.

Leewee Rietberg-Chew

Leewee is a founding member of Stichting Bless Holland, and administers our presence in the Netherlands. She is married to Adrian and has two sons, Robert and Patrick. Malaysian by birth, Leewee has lived in Holland for many years and teaches at the Business School of Utrecht University.

Marc Drader

Marc and Karla Drader are a French/Canadian (as opposed to French-Canadian) couple moving in 2015 to Normandy to become part of the Bless core team. Marc is an electronics engineer working in mobile technology, recently with STC Electronics in Grenoble and before that with RIM, the people behind the Blackberry. Marc chairs our French Board – L’Association Vivre Pour Les Autres – and is involved in developing our overall strategy and management systems. Karla is a songwriter, worship leader and spiritual director who has pioneered bilingual worship resources and oversees worship across the Bless movement. The Draders have two daughters – Lia and Kaia.

Marguerite Eccleshall

Private tutor for all five key stages. Almost equally 
fond of Jane Austen and Bill Johnson. Marguerite lives in the UK, is married to Brian and has four children and three grandchildren.

Martin Thomas

Martin Thomas is the global head of mobilisation at Viva. He lives in Oxforshire and is married to Charlotte and has two children. His creative work can be seen at makingsense.me.uk

Martin Young

Chair of Bless. Martin is Senior Minister of Rising Brook Baptist, Stafford. He is passionate about Mission as Social Action and has helped establish community projects locally and in cross cultural contexts including India & Africa. Martin also supports Christians in the arts and loves rhubarb and chocolate cake!

Pete Broadbent

Bishop – looks after NW London. Spurs fan. Loves London, culture and theology – and an argument! Also plays with Spring Harvest.

Susie Harrington

Susie Harrington, with her husband Trevor, is Senior Leader of freedom church, Great Barton. After spending 25 years working in professional environments Trevor & Susie planted a new church in Essex, which they grew and developed over the following ten years, before moving to Gt Barton in 2012. They have a passion for seeing men, women and young people reach their full potential in God and impacting their world around them.

Tom Gwilliam

Tom works as a Chiropractor treating patients and running a busy clinic. He loves to spend time outdoors; riding bikes, walking and running. He has a passion to see people live in the way they were designed, in harmony with our Creator and His creation.