News from the Networks
East Kent network
Newington Free Church
Although our fellowship is small in number and despite the difficulties with covid 19 we had quite a busy 2021.
We would appreciate prayers for our future ministry once Terry retires on the 24th of April.
During lockdown we had a service every Sunday evening on zoom which was quite well attended. Once we were allowed to have face to face meetings in the Church we had our regular Sunday morning services and until very recently we continued with our Sunday evening zoom services.
One of our Deacons prepared a chronicle of events in 2021, which you can download, by clicking here.
The Grandson of two of our members had a vision to create a Prayer Garden. We had a bit of secluded space at the side of the Church and a prayer garden was created, and we had an official opening of the Garden on the Saturday the 28th of August 2021.
About 40 people attended this event on what turned out to be a lovely day weather wise. A power point presentation was held in the Church before we all went outside.
Each person attending bought their own picnic and everyone was richly blessed on that day. The work on the prayer garden is still continuing and when the better weather comes we will have some of our Sunday morning services in the garden as we did last year.
We feel that we have a strong and caring fellowship at Newington Free Church and long may it continue.
East Sussex network
Eastgate Baptist Church
The service is in two halves’, first is breakfast and a short talk which is accessible to all, with some worship to follow. We serve a continental breakfast with good coffee, it’s a time of food, and fellowship / discipling, all taking place quite naturally.
After the break, there will be worship, a going deeper sermon and more worship, ending with prayer around the tables. Those who are on the edges of the fellowship or not believers will feel loved and cared for, and relationships will be built.
Since starting we have had more visitors than ever before, some have stayed and are coming regularly including two families with children.
However, we would really appreciate your prayers for those in the congregation who have found it difficult to adjust to the new way of doing things. Additionally, please pray for our advertising campaign which we have yet to start.
Godstone Baptist Church
We are pleased to have called Mark Humm as our Minister and his family here last September. It felt like a new start as we opened our doors again to meet. Please pray for Mark as he establishes himself and gets to know the church and the community.
Please pray for our toddler group (called Play Centre) and our Friday Lunch Club for seniors, that we would have opportunity to share the love of Jesus as we develop friendships with people.
Please pray for new and future initiatives as we seek to reach our community with the relaunch of our Community Cinema and look for other ways to reach out. That our new Monthly prayer meeting called 'Heart & Soul' would be well attended.
Pray at Easter, as we join with the local Anglican Church in giving every household in the village a 'Good News' newspaper and inviting them to church, may it bear fruit.
Pray for our children and young people, that we can run regular gatherings and have opportunity to encourage and grow them in their faith.' That we will see more families join us.
Please pray for the general running and upkeep of the church, that the right people would volunteer to fill positions that are needed.
Please pray for our Leadership Team, that we would be able to add 2 or 3 new leaders later this year and as we seek to hear Gods voice and his vision for GBC.
We have been encouraged since reopening the doors, there has been a buzz about the place especially on Sunday mornings and a sense of God moving. Much of this year is being spent laying a foundation for the future with updating policies and reestablishing the flow of church life and our community involvement. We are encouraged with seeing a few new faces at church and hope they will continue to come and get involved. Our vision is encapsulated in three words KNOWING (Jesus more), GROWING (in Jesus more) and GOING (sharing Jesus more), may we fulfill this every day!
Mid Sussex network
Haywards Heath Baptist Church
In September we started to run ‘cafe church’ one Sunday a month, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of young families, and we are very encouraged by how that has gone. Please pray for us as we are now hoping to appoint a children and families worker to help us respond to the new opportunities.
Our minister will be leaving us later in the year, and so we have begun the process of finding a successor. Please pray for us as we seek to involve the whole church family in a conversation about the future direction of the church and therefore the kind of minister(s) we need.
We have strong historic links with Christians in Ukraine, and so many of us are particularly upset by the horrors being unleashed there. Please pray for us to have wisdom and faith as we respond.
North Downs network
Mytchett Baptist Church
Mytchett Baptist Church, is one of the newest in our Association, It has been a full member for the last 4?...years but in the historical past it was a full member of he North Downs Association, but left because of difficulties in doctrine. Since the Rev Christopher Russell took over the pastoral role things have changed. A new Sanctuary and church hall have been built. The Church is proud of its child the Revive 'n' Thrive charity. This collects tools and educational equipment and sends them to the Third World. A great financial help for this work comes from the "bookshack" seen in our picture . This supports the Tools ministry to about £80 per week!
Photo: please note we have lost the "c" in Mytchett - it will be back in place soon
Calamity came when our pastor, had a type of cancer diagnosed and his wife (our organist) at the same time had a stroke which took away her capacity to play. We have had a lot of support from the Association and Christian friends. What was a difficult time has become a time of opportunity. The Church regularly meets and looks forward to the future.
North Kent network
Riverview Park Baptist Church
We are very thankful to Michael Fanstone who had acted as our moderator for a time, which included while we were closed due to the pandemic. We opened our doors after a very long time of not meeting in August 2021. Due to various reasons, we were not able to meet online at all and so kept in touch by sending out our services via email and hand delivering where that was not possible. We also kept in touch with each other via WhatsApp, text and the good old fashioned telephone call enabling us to continue to be able to share news and prayers with and for each other. But it was so good to see each other again face to face!
On 1st January 2022 our new part-time Minister, Sue Lutman, started with us. We recently had the privilege of being able to induct her.
We are one of those small churches with an aging membership and so when we were able to meet again sadly some did not return to church as they struggled with significant health issues. Having a period of time in which we were unable to meet together or offer missional opportunities to the community, and the changes that the pandemic has left us with, as well as having an aging and less able congregation, has meant a chance for us to rethink about what is realistic for us to be able to offer, resulting in the decision to lay aside most of what we used to do and concentrate on what is most important.
However, we do feel that a new year and a new Minister means we are at a new beginning for our church and recently one of our Deacons shared the story in John chapter 21 about Jesus inviting the disciples to put their net out to the right side of the boat where they caught an abundance of fish. We believe that this is a message for our church at this time – that it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of doing the same things always in the same way. How many of us stand believing that the one place where we cast our net, where we seek our desire, is the place where it will happen? It is the place we know and from which we have benefitted in the past. Why should it not continue? We feel that in this new beginning for our church that we need to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to consider prayerfully changing or doing things in a new way. To see where God is taking us in this new season.
We ask that you would pray for:
our leadership team as they work with the church to seek God’s will for us in this year and beyond.
that we will be open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to consider new ways of doing things and new opportunities for us in the community
that we will have new workers for the harvest. That God will send our way those we need to reach out to our community in a sustainable but far-reaching way.
that we find favour with people and businesses in our community so that we are provided with comfortable premises in which to work in and with the community as we currently meet in a community hall that is old, cold and uncomfortable.
South Kent network
Folkestone Baptist Church
The last few months have been a testing time for us at Folkestone Baptist Church but also a time of blessing. It feels as though we are rebuilding something, almost from the ground up. Before Covid we employed a full time facilities manager, a full time community worker, 2 senior ministers and a minister in training. We have lost all the non-ministerial staff. And a lot of the work amongst the poorest in society and among the regular users of our buildings has suffered as a result.
But we have a new Girl Guiding unit and have had a dozen or more girls to a parade service. In addition we have a regular Sunday School of five children. Our community meals are now twice a week and there is energy there too, with 20 plus attending. We've started Prayer and Praise evenings. There is an energy present which is beautiful and powerful. The Spirit has been with us.
Photo: from our Girl Guides coffee morning. Community is important as we build back from social isolation.
Financially, we are doing well, with some very generous givers in the church, and so this worry that is affecting so many is not an added burden for us. And so now our focus is turned outward once more with a question of rebuilding our community work in a healthy way. We are taking some time to consider this. Working with the very poorest in society, how do you help and not unintentionally make their problems worse? And how do we share the good news of new life in Christ, in a way that people can actually hear and understand?
Your prayers are welcome as we seek to build back better, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
West Kent network
Dormansland Baptist Church
It is an odd thing to go back to ministry in a church where you have served in the past. Mary and David McLachlan have taken up the post at Dormansland, having moved away some eight years ago.
They are working as joint pastors, which seems a healthy way of doing things! Not surprisingly, some things, and people, are much the same as before in the village and the church, but there has also been quite a bit of change. And it’s not just Covid. It feels like God is very much at work here and there is a movement of the Holy Spirit in the village, that God is inviting us to join in with. In a very mixed village, there are many needs, especially after lockdown and with the squeeze on costs of living.
The local council are keen to work with the churches, as is the group that is trying to revitalise the central War Memorial Hall to make it a resource for the community. The church has a real passion to respond and is exploring how it can support and serve the community in tangible ways, modelling a generous, gracious Kingdom way of living and sharing. And that is where we would value prayer support - praying that we would have the boldness, the faith and the wisdom to share the good news of Jesus and his Kingdom in practice, and through that to find ways to share the gospel in word as well.
West Sussex network
Goring New Life Baptist Church
We praise God for his protection over our little group during the worst of the Covid phases. Although we were unable to meet together during that period, and also had no online services of our own, we stayed in touch and encouraged each other in the Lord. It's so good to be back together at the school on Sundays. There's a very clear sense of the Lord's presence and ministry among us when we meet. This has been most encouraging considering we are a very small group of mostly elderly folk, who are increasingly aware of our limitations, and our need to seek him even more earnestly for help in all sorts of areas, both individually, and as a group. Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we seek the Lord's will on the way forward. He is faithful, loving, and strong on behalf of all who trust him. Our hope is in him. Thank you for your prayers.