News from the Networks
East Kent network
Margate Baptist Church
4 Cecil Square, MARGATE, CT9 1BD
Minister: Revd Stephen Biddall
- Our Holiday Club over the October Half Term was again very successful this year, with about 50 children coming each day from 9.30am until 3.30pm (see the above picture). We also ran a breakfast club for about 15 children each day. We used the Scripture Union “Guardians of Ancora” materials, and our team of 30 leaders included many of our young people. It is greatly encouraging to see young lives growing in faith and confidence.
- This year we are again engaged in schools work at several different levels. Our minister conducts assemblies on a regular basis; and we act as host church for two special events - “Christmas Unwrapped” and “Easter Cracked” - which welcomes year 6 children to the church to explore the real meaning of these Christian festivals, through games, music, quizzes, stories and cookery! Volunteers from the church help to organise and run these events, which we regard as an important part of our mission.
- Please pray for our leadership team. Three of our experienced deacons have recently stood down, which means that we now have just six deacons. Pray that the team will gel together, and will be able to give good and visionary leadership to the church, at a time of challenge and change.
- Please pray for our Messy Church outreach. We run Messy Church every two months, and we are getting an average of 40 or so each time. These are families who do not normally come to church – pray that we may be able to build trusting relationships with them, and that we can gently and sensitively share Jesus with them.
- Please pray for the Thanet Winter Shelter Project, which aims to provide beds and warm meals for rough sleepers during the coldest months of the winter. We, along with several other local churches, are involved in setting up this project currently. It is planned that the scheme will start on December 1st and run through until the end of February, with a different church acting as host each night, and teams of volunteers providing meals and other kinds of support.
East Sussex network
Beulah Baptist Church
Buckhurst Road, BEXHILL-ON-SEA, TN40 1QA
Ministers: Revd Dr Graham Holliday & Revd David Lockwood
- The first news item is the encouraging development of our B4T service at 4pm on Sundays.
To reach families at a time which is suitable, given that Sunday mornings are either dominated by sport, shopping, or other activities. We aimed at 4pm because families can find that time of the day free in their schedule. Some have even suggested it can be a difficult time just before tea time, bath, and bed in the case of families with young children.
While it is like Messy Church in style, B4T provides activities, crafts, acoustic worship, and teaching for the whole family followed by food. Families leave around 5.30pm but some hang on longer if they get into conversations. In this way, it is simply bath and bed for preschool children when they get home.
We have been so encouraged with the response which has led to dedications, an occasional communion, and a baptism. Celebrations, with activities using the various rooms in the church, at Harvest and Easter inviting the whole church family have been well attended. The last one we saw 90 people attending from outside the regular church family. There is one planned for Christmas.
- Every year Bexhill on Sea holds an event called the Festival of the Sea. 20,000 people pass through all the stalls and presentations over the first weekend in September. Beulah provides a stall for families with both activities and information and this year we have seen many families and individuals asking about the life of the church. It is a good witness both to the community and the visitors and we have seen people attending the church consequently.
- The B4T celebration in December and the town wide publicity to be effective in encouraging people to attend either of our two Carols by Candlelight services and the other Advent services.
- Revd David Lockwood, our Associate Pastor takes his sabbatical next year which will require us looking for extra support for the Senior Pastor and the leadership team.
- For unity and clear decision making as we consider the redevelopment of our premises.
Godstone Baptist Church
Godstone Hill, GODSTONE, RH9 8AJ
Minister: Revd Philip Hughes
Evangelist-in-Training: Ben Tucker
- On the opportunities side - Contact with our local community is crucial for a village church. New initiatives, like our monthly community cinema and new schools work are strengthening community ties alongside our weekly toddler and lunch club work and annual village events. Ben, is our second consecutive home-grown student minister and is supporting mission and leadership in the church.
- On the challenge side- Leadership is in short supply having had a number of key leaders move to take up new opportunities around the UK. Many of our volunteers are money ‘rich' but ‘time’ poor so we continue to struggle to develop children and youth work or to move forward in renovating our premises.
- That our community initiatives become ‘crossing places’ for many people into a journey towards Christ.
- For creative ideas to release people’s time for corporate ministry and leadership, so that we keep the church ‘sustaining' and not ‘draining’ for those who worship here.
- That we will continue to invest in our vision to KNOW God and each other, GROW disciples who look like Christ and GO to save him his our everyday lives.
Mid Sussex Network
Arabic Community Church
Church meets at: Southern Cross Evangelical Church (103 Trafalgar Road, PORTSLADE, BN41 1GU)
Sundays: Arabic worship 4-5.30pm first & third Sunday; 4-6pm second and fourth Sunday, followed by fellowship.
Wednesdays: Singing 4.30-6.30pm
Bible Study 6-9pm
Minister: Revd Gadalla Tiab
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22- 23
We have recently celebrated our 10th anniversary as the Arabic Community Church in Brighton. It is only because of God’s faithfulness that we are in Brighton, serving and ministering amongst Arabic speakers.
10 years of service: A journey of faith, harvest and blessings
2006 was a difficult year for us as a family. We were trying to discern God’s plans for us and whether we should stay to serve in Brighton. In the September we began by having a meeting for a number of Arabic speaking people at Montpelier Place Baptist church in the centre of Brighton. FIEC supported our meetings spiritually and in time God provided a full time job for my wife Ester.
Three months later, we applied for Charity registration (which was granted) which gave us as a Church an opportunity to apply for funding, in order to support the Churches activities. God blessed us with a large gift from an American organisation which covered all our expenses for three years.
In 2007, God prompted us to pioneer a church in Birmingham. Each month we would go to support the work of the church, until God appointed a Pastor from a Muslim background. This church has continued to grow and is doing good works in the city of Birmingham.
By 2012 it seemed right that we should start a charity in Egypt. A place where many of our church members call home. Initially, we did mercy ministries amongst poor communities which then in later years led to us providing micro loans. These micro loans are used to set up or improve family businesses which provide an invaluable support to families struggling to make ends meet.
By 2014, we were approached by a church asking for help with covering the costs of some children’s education. We agreed to pay school fees and tutoring for children who would not have the opportunity to flourish due to economic disadvantages.
Also in 2014 we were welcomed into membership by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and by the South Eastern Baptist Association and from that time we have received annual financial support through their Home Mission Fund.
Furthermore, in July 2014 God opened a door to start leadership training in rural churches in Egypt. By 2015 we began partnering with the Catholic Church in Egypt to support them also with leadership training. I also began filming Christian TV programmes to reach a wider audience. Leadership training with churches and filming TV programmes is an important way of encouraging the Church in Egypt. A place where Islam is prevalent so the Christian community needs constant encouragement to help them be a light in their communities.
During this time, the Church continued to minister in Brighton and also with an online church for Christian believers in the Arabian Peninsula (which ran for 2 years).
When we look to the past, we find a fruitful ministry through God’s leading and His guidance. No matter, whether the congregation is big or small, God provides and meets all our ministry needs.
North Downs network
Godalming Baptist Church
Queen Street, GODALMING, GU7 1BA
Reception Tel: 01483 414544.
Minister's Office Tel: 01483 422105.
Minister: Revd Marcus Dickinson
- Kitchen and Meals at GBC
We give thanks to God for our dedicated team of cooks, washer uppers, waiters and waitresses and drivers who gather every other week to gather people from across our town and serve them a generous 3 course meal at our Friendship Lunch Club. Over the years our kitchen has served us well in serving others but now the time has come for a refurbishment of our facilities. It has been a long process as we have gathered plans and costings for everything from a slight alteration all the way through to a full refurbishment (which is what we will be looking to do). As I write we are awaiting the final stages of the planning application and are anticipating a green light to be given very soon.
A new kitchen will not only be a breathe of fresh air for our Friendship Lunch helpers but also for the team that gathers each year, made up of people from different churches across the town, to serve a hot meal on Christmas Day for people who would otherwise eat alone. As we look ahead to next year with a new kitchen we also have some thoughts to explore offering an affordable midweek evening meal for families.
- MAD week 2017
We are delighted that SEBA have agreed to hold a Make A Difference week at our church next October half term. This is mission work to help and support the work of the church with either a new initiative or encouragement with something we have already started. We are a church with a generally older congregation but we have a young family demographic who have recently moved into the area and we would like to rise to the challenge of welcoming these families in the name of Jesus. We also have a lot of families already on the fringe of our church life with a thriving toddler group. We have yet to work out in what practical sense we will do this but we have already muted family meals, giving a welcome gift to new residents and extending our holiday club as last year we had more children wanting to attend than we had helpers. We have introduced this exciting project to our church and will gradually try to encourage all in our church community to become involved in some way from the youngest to the oldest.
Please pray that the final approval will be given for our new kitchen to be fitted in the New Year and that there will be no hidden costs as work starts.
- Roof Repairs
After 18 years of keeping out the rain, parts of our roof system have sprung leaks – mainly due to the mess that pigeons have left in gutters – please pray that the work recently carried out will give us at least another 18 years of trouble free cover. And as much as we love God’s creation, right now we would like to say goodbye to the pigeons that have found a home at our church!
- MAD week 2017
- Please pray that the whole church will embrace this initiative
- That our young people will be inspired to become part of the core team
- That MAD week will just be the beginning of ongoing and exciting mission work in our community.
- That we will see the growth of families and young people developing a relationship with Jesus
North Kent network
Borstal Baptist Church
Borstal Street, Borstal, ROCHESTER, ME1 3JS
Minister: Revd Julie Aylward
- We completed our building work which included extending the building at the front to incorporate a lift so all levels in the church are now accessible. We also installed a disabled toilet. The final cost was £120,000 which has been paid by a loan of £30,000 from SEBA, for which we are grateful, and the rest was given by our amazing members along with some gifts from other churches and friends.
- We had a Grand Opening with the Mayor at the end of September when we also launched a Coffee shop two mornings a week and a Time Out activity afternoon once a month. We had discovered that Borstal has the highest percentage single occupancy accommodation in England so wanted to reach out to the lonely especially. The Medway Messenger gave us a great half page article.
- That the two new ventures, along with our other outward facing activities, will serve the community and draw people into the knowledge of the love of God. (We also have one or two other activities that we hope will start in the summer: a youth drop in and re starting our Community Choir)
- We give thanks for two Baptisms this year and attendance at an Any Questions course last year. We pray that the people and families we are in contact with will come to faith and bring new ideas and impetus.
- We have used much of our reserves to cover some unexpected expenditure during the build so we need continuing generosity from God and our small congregation so we can continue to operate our activities free and meet loan repayments
South Kent network
Zion Baptist Church
Tenterden High Street, TENTERDEN, TN30 6BB
Co-Ministers: Revd Neal Stanton & Revd Jerry Newson
News & Prayer:
Over this last year we have seen some exciting changes as we as a church have explored together what it means to grow together in our faith of Jesus, and reaching out to our community with the love of Jesus in a relevant way. Jerry reduced his hours to half time to enable him to become a Regional minister a year ago and this dovetailed with my arrival as full time minister. We have as a church been able to take a fresh approach in looking at what God has for us as a community in this new season and how we can show and share the love of God with all those we meet. Two recent examples of this are as follows:
1. Family outreach
- Running a monthly ‘Messy Church’ style afternoon called ‘Who Let the Kids Out?’
- Welcoming new children into church through our nativity service
- relaunch of ‘Rainbow Tots’ toddler group on Tuesday mornings. Having had a few years without a toddler group due to extensive renovation work to the building, we have been led to relaunch the successful Rainbow Tots ministry. This will preview on 13 December before starting on 10 January on a weekly basis. A chance for those with under 5s to have a safe space to meet together, building friendships to support one another, and to hear stories from the Bible in a non-threatening environment.
2. Partnering with Fareshare
- Fareshare, through our local Tesco supermarket, is a project aiming to reduce food waste. Twice a week we collect fresh food that our local store and once a fortnight we collect ambient foods from a depot. All of this is food that the supermarkets are unable to sell but yet is still perfectly edible. This food supplies our church cafe, ‘Frugal cafe’, which aims to provide simple, wholesome food at an affordable price, and the town youth project that the church runs. Both of these projects have enabled us to form relationships with the community and has led to us being aware of those struggling financially. Through the amount of food we are given from Fareshare we are able to provide food parcels to people and ease some of this burden.
- Please pray as we talk with many families and people of all ages. For there to be a supportive and encouraging environment where people can develop and grow together and live life to the full
- As a result of these new God-led initiatives there is much work to do, please pray for strength from God and wisdom for all we are involved in
- Please pray that our church would remain healthy and that as we pray together and move forward discipling disciples, pray for both protection and growth in the Kingdom of God and for us to shine His love in our community
West Kent network
Nothing yet this month!
West Sussex network
Findon Valley Free Church (Baptist)
1/11 Lime Tree Avenue, Findon Valley, WORTHING, BN14 0DJ
www.fvfc.org.uk Email email@example.com
Minister: Revd Andy Gilbert
- We welcomed our new minister Revd Andrew Gilbert at the beginning of September who has been settling into his role well and into the manse which is adjacent to the church. His focus in his first few months has been top build relationships with church members and all those with whom we have contact through our activities. These include our weekly mums and toddlers group, lunch for seniors and Friday morning coffee shop. Together with our monthly Messy Church these events reach over 150 people. It has been great to see new people coming to church recently and to see some coming to Sunday services, having attended other events; particularly some of the parents and children from Mums and toddler groups and Messy Church.
- We will be renovating the entrance to the church in the New Year which we hope will provide a more welcoming and accessible space for visitors and may enable us to make better use of our church buildings in the coming years. We have some wonderful meeting rooms that are fully utilised during the week by community groups as well as church run activities and being at the hub of the community (opposite the GP Surgery and library and at the end of a parade of shops) gives us a great opportunity to make Jesus known.
- Please pray for us as we seek to build relationships with those who only attend weekday activities. That through our friendships we will be able to both offer support and introduce people to Jesus so they can make up their own minds about Him.
- Please pray for the development of new relationships with the local school and other local community groups and for fostering of existing relationships with these groups.
- We give thanks for those who God is bringing into our community as a sign that God is building His church in Findon Valley. We pray that 2017 might be a fruitful year as we explore how God is leading us as a body to use the resources and gifts He has given us to partner with Him in extending his Kingdom.