News from the Networks
East Kent network
Canterbury Baptist Church
St George's Place, CANTERBURY, CT1 1UT
Minister: Revd Andrew Fitzgerald
- Several times now we have been privileged to host concerts or charity events, such as by Tearfund and Compassion UK. In May we were delighted to welcome the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda as part of their tour ‘Signs and Wonders’. The church was packed, hearing testimonies from children who have lost one or both parents and raising money for the work of Watoto in physical care, medical intervention, education, counselling, emotional well being, moral and spiritual discipleship. We praise God for these opportunities.
- In early June we went on the first Church Away Day for years, generously hosted by Swalecliffe Free Baptist Church. Rev Steve Rouse from Balham Baptist Church and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity led us through the exploration of ‘Life on the Frontline’ – identifying those places where God wants us to make a difference for Him whether it be work, home, the gym or the school playground. Children’s and Youth Ministry were provided by external teams and with glorious weather we invested previous time in building relationship as well as growing in discipleship. We look forward to the next one!
- Andrew (Minister) is due to take paternity and annual leave this summer. Please pray for the family and for CBC during his absence.
- With substantial changes being made to our Staff Team for the new academic year please pray for the right candidates to apply, a fruitful recruitment process and those serving during an inevitable interim period. Give thanks to God for our Minister in Training (Tom Fisk) who will start placement here and training at Spurgeon’s College in September.
- Please pray for those leading and serving during a Canterbury Summer International Outreach in July. With the strong delivery of lunchtime and evening events, proclamation of the Gospel and new disciples made.
East Sussex network
due to a last minute request - as the church who were asked to contribute did not manage to submit anything - 2 churches from the East Sussex were kind enough to submit something at the eleventh hour - so both have been included
New Hope Baptist Church
16 Beach Road, EASTBOURNE, BN22 7EU
Minister: Revd Freddie Brookes
News & Prayer:
- The church continues to grow a year after moving into the newly refurbished premises.
- One of the great things that have happened over the last 2 years is that we now have a children’s ministry – missing for so many years. We can have up to 15 children ranging from 0 to 14+.
- We recently had a Funday which was advertised locally and in one of the local schools resulting in several parents bringing their children in.
- There were all kinds of activities to enjoy including face painting, board games and card making as well as general play in the upstairs children play area. Many adults came too and enjoyed playing the games and the cakes!
- At the end of last December we had 23 members – we now have 37 for which we thank God. Many folk have brought spiritual and well as practical gifts that we needed to strengthen the church.
- Last Sunday during a Prayer Walk many contacts were made and discussions had.
- Please continue to pray for us as we seek to reach out to the neighbourhood and especially with plans to open a coffee shop.
Victoria Baptist Church
Eldon Road, EASTBOURNE, BN21 1UE
Minister: Revd Dr Ian White
News & Prayer:
- In July Victoria Baptist Church will be embarking on their first ever camp under canvas. The rise in the number of families with children has prompted this venture which we pray will bring a wide variety of people to worship, have teaching and just enjoy fun activities together.
- We're expecting about 250 people (about half the church) to come at some point over the weekend which will have all the exciting things you might expect of a camp.
- So please pray it will be a point of meeting with God and great fun. Praying about the weather wouldn't go amiss either!
Reigate Baptist Church
Sycamore Walk, REIGATE, RH2 7LR
Minister: Revd Mike Williams
Praise the Lord! Reigate Baptist Church is an exciting place to be and we have so much to be thankful for. Our numbers continue to increase with new folk coming to church every week. We have already had 10 baptisms this year with more to come. The church is buzzing and people are hungry for God. We have stepped up in prayer with more opportunities to meet together and pray. Our Connect Groups are thriving with new ones on the way. We are connecting with 70 to 80 children and 60+ parents in the community through Toddlers every week, some have even started coming to church. Our children’s work has developed under Renata (our newly appointed Children’s Pastor) and seen increase.
On the Missions front, our youth are off to Romania in August and by the time you read this we will have hosted a community fun day. Our Youth Drop In is seeing great numbers come from Reigate School and our Knitting Group is bustling with new friends from the community.
The Marriage Course has been an outstanding success so much so that we are now running it twice a year, again with folk from the community wanting to attend. The Alpha Course as always continues to draw people in who want to know more about what the meaning to life is.
Please pray for:
- Renata as she settles into her new role as Children’s Pastor and that the right helpers would be raised up to work alongside her.
- Wisdom for Mike Williams, our pastor as he oversees our growing church.
- Bob Thomas who leads our Men’s ministry and has instigated many exciting changes.
- Colin and Vanessa Smith who are running the Marriage Course.
- Linz Daun our Youth leader as she oversees the Youth Drop In.
- Rachel Williams and our wonderful Toddlers Team.
Thank you Lord for all You are doing in our midst, we give You all the Glory.
Mid Sussex Network
Sheddingdean Baptist Church
Church meets at: Sheddingdean CP School, Petworth Drive, BURGESS HILL, RH15 8JT
Minister: Revd Trevor Beckett
And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling place in which God lives by His Spirit. (Eph 2:22 NIV)
Sheddingdean Baptist Church - Cornerstone
News & Prayer:
- The lease for the land on which The Cornerstone is due to be built should be finally assigned by the council during July. Pray for our continued fundraising. The above photo is of The Cornerstone.
- As we serve our local community we are heavily involved with our community fayre which will take place on 8th July. Pray for a great occasion and for an outdoor Songs of Praise the following day.
- As a church we want to demonstrate the Good News of the Gospel through our care for the environment. The inset photo is of a community litter pick organised by one of our young people.
North Downs network
Bookham Baptist Church
Lower Road, BOOKHAM, KT23 4DH
Ministers: Revd Steve Elmes, Revd Gill Hawkins, Revd Caroline Hughes & Revd Rob Stevens
- Our Lead Minister, Stephen Elmes, took a Sabbatical this March to May, during which he completed work on a book, published under the title 'Sexuality, Faith, & the Art of Conversation' (available on Amazon as a paperback and in kindle format). The book is intended as a resource for churches looking for insight and wisdom on how we welcome and disciple those who are same-sex attracted. Feedback received so far is very positive with readers finding the book accessible, compassionate, creative and genuinely helpful to those wrestling with this important issue.
- One of our values as a church is 'collaboration in Mission', which includes a commitment to working with others in planting and nurturing church communities - without having to 'own' or control what we are involved in. This year we have been working with some friends in Leatherhead (North) to establish a worshipping community there, and this is beginning to take off, with a number of our regular folk getting involved.
- Please pray for our members and regulars as they engage in conversation sessions about same-sex attraction and relationships (see news above) over the next few weeks.
- Please pray for the growth of church communities with which we are involved in Bookham, Leatherhead and Cobham. Remember especially, Caroline Hughes, one of our ministers, who will be giving more of her time to the Leatherhead situation in future.
- Please pray for Gill Hawkins, one of our ministers, who, from 1 July, will be dedicating part of her time to serving a local URC church in Bookham. This is an exciting development which we hope will deepen our relationship with the other church. We are already doing a lot together with the Anglican and URC churches in the town - including the provision of a community youth worker between us. So this is another step in an already fruitful partnership - collaborators in mission!
- Please pray for Rob Stevens, our minister with responsibility for youth and children (plus family support) and local mission, as he seeks to inspire and engage us in proclaiming the gospel in word and action.
North Kent network
Frindsbury Baptist Church
Cooling Road, STROOD, ME2 4RG
Minister: Revd Barry Dobell
Welcome to Frindsbury Baptist Church. Our church was originally a church plant from Rochester at the end of the 19th century and in the earliest days met in a smock windmill which probably accounts for all the grey hair in the congregation.
We are a small church that seeks to serve our local community in various ways including hosting a well respected pre-school, four mornings a week, where we have some children who are the third generation of the same family to attend. The pre school was started by the church and for many years run by members of the church, however, with the constantly changing regulations we now have a highly trained team of ‘Aunties’ who run it on behalf of the church and the local families.
We also have a Boys’ Brigade company and a Girls’ Brigade company both of whom have celebrated their 50th anniversaries during my time here.
Frindsbury, so I am told, is from the Saxon meaning ‘circle of friends’ which is how we like to see ourselves whilst at the same time reaching out to those around us. I find it both odd and a bit disturbing that many people I speak to don’t seem to notice the church as they pass by, because we are not a grand or gothic structure, simply a small property, actually three, in a road of terraced houses.
We are currently planning on running a ‘Holiday at Home’ club, open to all, during August which was very successful last year. In previous years we have run ‘Adventure Clubs’ for local children for a week in the summer holidays. We also had a motorcycle exhibition in the church one weekend!
Things to pray for:
- Please pray for the continued work amongst the children and families of our community, especially the BB, GB and Pre-School.
- Please pray for continued strength and encouragement for an older congregation who like to be busy and act with the vitality of much younger people but who are now feeling the burden of years.
- Finally, please pray for continued signs of growth as we seek to welcome new people into our fellowship.
May God continue to bless us all.
South Kent network
Walmer Baptist Church
Kelvedon Road, WALMER, CT14 7HX
Minister: Revd Seyan Tills
A Christian Community, for the community, in the community
- Despite the challenges of their Minister's ongoing Parkinson's Disease and other health issues, the fellowship continues to grow spiritually and numerically. Worship leaders and preachers have come forward to support Seyan in his ministry and a Home Group Bible Study has started with 15 regular attenders.
- The Government's 'Access to Work Scheme' has awarded 3 years funding for a Support Worker enabling the appointment of a Ministry Assistant.
- The church has recently relaunched its website and maintains a growing Facebook group - both valuable tools of the church's communication activity.
- The church maintains a very full and varied programme of Crossing Places activities that attract the community to the building and its lovingly attended grounds. The Sheddingdean Strummers, who performed for the SEBA Conference, began their Premier SEBA Tour at the church's Anniversary Celebrations where, SEBA Moderator, Michael Fanstone, was Guest Preacher.
- Our Minister, and the Church, both coming to terms with the limitation of his health conditions; for the Health Care Professionals and others who offer practical and financial support; and for effective treatment to ease pain and improve his mobility.
- Pray for the fellowship as it continues to develop its communication for and in community; for those taking up new roles and responsibilities especially on Sundays; for funding to become available for much needed kitchen improvements.
West Kent network
At this point, it is unlikely there will be an item from the West Kent network
West Sussex network
Worthing Hospital & St Richard's Hospital, Chichester
Worthing Hospital: Lyndhurst Rd, Worthing, BN11 2DH
St Richard's Hospital: Spitalfield Lane, Chichester PO19 6SE
Chaplain: Revd David Hill
To be present, to listen and to be a signpost - that is probably a good summary of something that I am called to do and be. However, to do this with a dead baby in your arms; a young grieving widow asking me to take a non-religious funeral for her husband, because she has appreciated my help in organising her wedding two days beforehand or when a nurse breaks down with emotional exhaustion in front of you – these are the privileged opportunities when I seek to be present.
Hospital Chaplaincy is a fresh and challenging take on Kingdom Work: holding people when they are falling apart, answering some huge ethical or existential questions; being available to all irrespective of religion; sharing faith and hope with those who have lost it and seeking to be something of the sacramental presence of the church to suffering people. After 25 years leading Broadwater Baptist Church, it has been my great privilege to stay in the same town and become the Chaplain of Worthing and St. Richard’s Hospitals. I love the role, even though it is exhausting.
Please pray for:
- My involvement in a new countywide service called ECHO through which I am encouraging the NHS to recognise the work that the churches are already doing in offering pastoral care to the dying and bereaved. I have been involved in helping Coastal West Sussex roll out a new service enabling those who want to die in their own home, supported by medical and 3rd Sector help.
- Emotional energy - some weeks I can take 2 or 3 funerals for people who profess no Christian faith, help in addition to working with many other sad situations can be exhausting. Like all NHS staff we are all overstretched but have a good sense of working holistically together in trying times.
- That I will be alert to the Holy Spirit at all times, for there are many opportunities to see Him at work when people are challenged with many problems.