News from the Networks
East Kent network
African Pastors Fellowhsip
c/o Station House, Station Approach, Adisham, CANTERBURY, CT3 3JE
CEO: Revd David Stedman
Dedicated but untrained and under-resourced pastors in remote, marginalised, east African communities struggle to effectively lead their churches. Working in partnership with denominational leaders APFs vision is to resource and enable pastors to minister more effectively through the local church, bringing individual transformation and building flourishing communities.
- APF is currently developing a unique and innovative solar powered android device called eVitabu. Vitabu means 'books' in Swahili and eVitabu will be a tablet pre-loaded with a library of resources: Bibles, books, commentaries, discipleship courses, basic doctrine, development tools and inspirational material for use by our partners as training tool across rural east Africa. Several major UK and US agencies are contributing material and eVitabu will also provide a platform for African academics, authors and pastors to publish their work. The potential reach is huge and we invite UK churches and individuals to stand with us in prayer for this Kingdom endeavour!
- For the launch of eVitabu in early 2018 including induction and training of beneficiaries
- For Dave Stedman and Geoff Holder travelling extensively in UK and Africa
- For opportunities to share the Vision of APF in local churches across SE England
East Sussex network
New Life Church (Blackboys)
meets at: Blackboys Village Hall, Gun Road, BLACKBOYS, TN22 5JY
Minister: Revd Guy Partridge
New Life Church 'Building Through Blessing
in Blackboys and Beyond.'
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
- We are excited about a new venture which will begin in September. The Grove Cafe in the village of Blackboys is run by 4 church members and is immediately adjacent to The Space a converted cowshed which the church use as their mid week base. These will be offered (jointly or separately) as a venue for Church away days, Alpha courses, Leaders meetings and the like. They will be available on Saturdays for either a half or a full day. For further details and costings please contact Guy on firstname.lastname@example.org
- On the theme of collaboration we were delighted again to oversee a Holiday club involving people from 4 other church families. We have only been involved in the last 4 years but a holiday club has taken place on the same farm for 38 years, with some who used to attend as children now bringing their own children along, or helping out as volunteers.
- As regards prayer we continue to look for a new home for our Sunday morning services. We currently meet in the local village hall which has served us well since we formally launched nearly 5 years ago. However we now have one children's group meeting in the small kitchen and another having to meet in a nearby home. We have explored many local possibilities and another one which looked hopeful now looks like it has fallen through. So prayers for a new venue would be much appreciated. As i write we are considering a rather unusual alternative but too early to say anything yet !
- Aside from this we need to reduce the work load on a core group who continue to do the majority of the work. I realise that this is an issue in church families of all sizes but we could really do with some more help in a few key areas especially when it come to Sunday mornings.
- Lastly in the Autumn we are going to be meeting together on Mondays evenings to work through the book of Romans, starting with a meal. Please pray that this will be well attended and received and that the majority of people will join in whether in the evening or at the alternative daytime group.
Earlswood Baptist Church
St John's Road, REDHILL, RH1 6DZ
Minister: Revd Jonathan Hardwick
- We have been greatly blessed this past year with worship leaders and musicians from Redhill Baptist and Reigate Baptist churches visiting on two Sundays a month. We give thanks for their willingness to support us.
- Last October we responded to the challenge that Halloween presents to the local church by giving away hotdogs and soup to people out trick or treating. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community with some amazing opportunities for conversations, new encounters and even some reconnecting with people that had been to groups and activities in the past. We really felt we were bringing light into a dark situation. This year we anticipate doing the same again but this team in partnership with the Parish church, St John’s.
- We are planning an Alpha course in the Autumn and would greatly appreciate prayer for this. It has been some time since Earlswood Baptist Church did an Alpha course and so we are very excited about the possibilities this presents. Please pray for this outreach opportunity.
- As always being a small church, resources are precious, not least volunteers. We are currently looking for new Deacons to join myself, the Secretary and the Treasurer on the leadership team. Pray that the Lord will raise up the right people for this important part of church life.
- Please pray for us as this new academic year begins as we seek to serve the Lord and our community. We are always thankful to God for the tremendous sense of fellowship and love at Earlswood Baptist Church and we want to see that spill out into the local area.
Mid Sussex Network
Portslade Baptist Church
South Street, PORTSLADE, BN41 2LE
Minister: Revd Philip Cook
- We have recently welcomed three new people into Church membership with the possibility of some more. Praise God.
- We are starting a CELEBRATION evening on the first Tuesday of each month with help and support from a couple (speaker & musician) from St Peter’s Church, Brighton. The evenings will involve lively worship, a Gospel presentation, testimonies, prayer.
- For more people to come into our worship through the free Friday Breakfasts.
- For the maintenance and expansion of our Youth Work especially through Urban Saints.
- For younger families and individuals to join the Church.
North Downs network
The Church on the Heath
The Key, Elvetham Heath, FLEET, GU51 1HA
Minister: Revd Patrick Butler
- It has been good to take part in the 'Who Cares?' initiative along with other Hampshire churches. This is where we went out into the community asking people to fill in a post card asking one question: 'What hurts the most?' We are now processing over 800 responses and seeking to discerning how we can help the community in appropriate ways.
- There have been two mission trips this summer, one to Romania and another to India, both visits to encourage existing mission links and to lead holiday clubs for disadvantaged children. We have been hugely blessed through these. At the time of writing our 'Summer Church' is going well. This is where, during the summer months, we start our service with worship through song and a reading, and then offer half an hour of either the talk, discussion, prayer space, immersive worship, or craft - all in different parts of the church. A creative way for the whole family to worship whilst giving our junior church leaders a break.
- For wisdom as we look at our church leadership structure and staffing needs so that we continue to grow in depth and numbers as a church.
- For 'Who Cares?' to bear fruit in terms of deeper engagement with our community as we respond in ways that are both practical and point to the hope of the gospel.
- For greater openness to God's Spirit as we seek to live out our vision to be 'a community where everyone can encounter the transforming love of Jesus'.
North Kent network
Strood Gospel Mission Church
Brompton Lane, STROOD, ME2 3BQ
Interim Minister: Revd David Bousfield
- The past twelve months has seen considerable change at the Mission. The previous minister and the youth pastor both left for pastures new and two long standing, faithful servants were called to be with the Lord. The loss of these dedicated servants was an immense shock and meant that sadly some of our activities had to close. It seemed as though the Lord was clearing the ground for something new to start. Therefore the church appointed a part time interim minister to help them in their search for a new minister and to seek a new vision.
- One highlight of the year was being part of Medway Winter Night Shelter joining together with Churches across Medway to provide overnight accommodation for the homeless. For six weeks the church was open to receive visitors and provide food and a bed for a night. Helpers were drawn from across various churches and it proved to be a wonderful time for coming together and meeting those from other churches who we don’t normally get a chance to meet. Our guests were also great fun to be with and appreciated the hospitality offered. At the end of the six weeks most of our guests had been found alternative accommodation. This was a cause for celebration!
- Please pray for the Church as it continues to work through the changes that have happened over the last year and as it prepares for more changes in the future.
- Pray that the new vision for the church is worked out as we seek to be committed to Christ, His Word and our surrounding community.
- Pray for the church as it seeks to appoint an new minister. Pray that the Lord would bring the right person to lead the church forward in its future ministry.
South Kent network
Ashford Baptist Church
St John's Lane, ASHFORD, TN23 1PS
Ministers: Revd Lorna Sylvester & Revd Rob Sylvester
- Water project: Namboboto is in Busia County Kenya, some 35km North of Lake Victoria, 450 km from the capital Nairobi. It is an incredibly poor place but with people who work hard to survive. The soil there is poor and rain unreliable. Namboboto Hospital has no running water and the current water tower has been condemned. The aim of project is to raise enough money to allow hospital to have access to water through different stage. (Stage 1-To pipe water from the reservoir to the clinic, install tower and 10,000 litre water storage tank & connections £3,000 Stage 2-To connect the water to the Minor Theatre & maternity unit and provide sinks, taps etc £1,500 Stage 3-To connect the water to the male ward, night nurses station and an extra sewage outlet £3,000 Stage 4-To attach 6 rain collecting tanks [2 to each of the three buildings] £600 each building.. Total £1,800. We are now raising money for stage 4.
- We give thanks to God for the Youth Alpha course and the following series on life issues for our group of teenagers.
- Missional communities: We have a vision in the future of creating groups in different areas in Ashford. Groups would spend time getting to know each other, their area of town, praying and seeing what opportunity for mission exist, and then making start with initiatives and activities. The aim would be to build relationships with people in our local communities and sow seeds for the gospel.
- Church Refurbishments : We ask prayer for God’s guidance and leading so that when we consider possible building works, our plans and ideas may be in line with where God is leading us as part of his body here in Ashford.
- Ministers' Sabbatical: We pray that God will bless the trip of our ministers, Lorna and Rob Sylvester, to Nepal. This has been planned to glean greater understanding of the Nepalese culture and rapidly growing church in order to increase our understanding us we seek to welcome, minister to and learn from our growing Nepalese fellowship in Ashford.
West Kent network
Dormansland Baptist Church
7 High Street, Dormansland, LINGFIELD, RH7 6PU
Church Worker: Revd Judy McKenzie Dunn
At Dormansland Carnival
- The Urban Saints group run by and from our church won first prize in the Dormansland Carnival float competition! The theme was Disney films…we chose UP! which seemed appropriate.
- For the past few years our church has run a community Art Project, a glorified ‘painting by numbers’ which involves lots of the local community and is highly valued by the Carnival organisers.
Disney’s Kingdom castle was our theme.
- Please pray for all our connections with the local community. We are increasing our support for the lonely and/or elderly people this term, as well as our continued work with Urban Saints and our new monthly family services. We are longing and praying for people to be saved and for our church to grow... pray for our prayer life...it’s the key to everything else and it can be hard going sometimes! Thank you so much.
West Sussex network
Sompting Community Church
meets at: Sompting Village Primary School, White Styles Road, SOMPTING, BN15 0BU
Ministers: Revd Colin Frampton, Revd Darren Lewis & Revd Allie Moore
News & Prayer:
- We have just come to the end of our annual Community Week when we offer six days of free activities on the local Green, including Messy Church each morning, a youth tent, children’s disco, quiz night, cream tea, sports’ day and lots more besides! It’s a really popular event in Sompting (150 children+ parents attending Messy Church and up to 50 teenagers in the Youth Tent), giving us great credibility in our community and offering many opportunities to share our faith. In previous years the Community Week has been the means of several people coming to faith and it was very encouraging to see them on the team this time. Please join us in praying that we’ll see more people becoming Christians as a result of this year’s event.
- We are in the middle of an important time of change in our church life. Colin Frampton, our senior minister for the last twenty years, will be retiring at the end of September and Allie Moore, who is currently our Community Minister, will be taking his place. Joining her team will be Julia Brunton, who we are in the process of appointing as our Children’s and Family Worker and Ian Upward, who will be our placement student at Moorlands College. Change, of course, is exciting for many but unsettling for some so please pray that this autumn we’ll continue to be united and focussed.
- We have a large number of young and newish Christians in our church and there are many opportunities for evangelism in Sompting, so please join us in praying that God will keep sending us the mature Christians we need to fulfil his purposes for our church.