News from the Networks
East Kent network
Margate Baptist Church
Greetings from Margate Baptist Church. We value your prayers for us at this time.
Please give thanks for:
Sunday worship slowly getting back to normal, with increasing numbers at our services
Thriving youth work, with very good numbers at our Friday evening activities, and a successful Holiday Club over half term
Our Kairos Cafe has re-opened on Saturdays and Tuesdays, offering coffees, snacks and friendship to our visitors.
Please pray for:
Those who have not yet felt able to come back to Sunday worship in church
Our on-going outreach via livestreams on Youtube
Those who have been bereaved in recent months, and who are still coming to terms with their loss.
East Sussex network
Freedom Church Bexhill
Isaiah 58:10 If you give food to the hungry then your light will shine in the dark place like the noonday sun.
As we were coming out of Covid lockdown Guy our pastor preached on “What will the church look like after covid? It can’t stay the same.” So, after 3 months of research, visiting other food banks in the area and beyond, wading through more legislation I thought possible, checking costs and feasibility not to mention phone calls, zoom meetings with other food charities an outline of how we could run a community larder was born. Questions were raised about how could we make it work without creating embarrassment or a stigma? How can we connect it to the church? how can we share Jesus in an accessible way to the local community? How can we pay for it?
What we have done is opened a community larder called The Marketplace. Using the natural layout of the church we opened The Marketplace using a one-way system which takes people into the food hall where for £2 they can get a mixture of Fare Share fresh foods including bread, cheese, vegetables and on a good week fresh fruit along with stock cupboard items.
We then direct people down the corridor into the café area where most people stay for coffee and a chat with friends and neighbours. After the loneliness of covid lockdown this is a real tonic for many people. The buzz of chatter and laughter coming down the corridor is wonderful. Up to 30 people have come so far and that’s after 4 weeks! mostly folk who would not normally come to church at all. We have a reflection time for the last 20 mins of the café time, announced by a flyer on the tables inviting people to stay and nearly all of them do, giving us the opportunity to share the simple message of hope Jesus gives. Last week 1 of them prayed out loud which was a surprise to everyone.
CAP also has a table in the café space giving people for opportunity to sign up for help with debts.
Our weekly challenge is having enough food to give away. Tesco have been fabulous and other businesses in the area are keen to be involved and helping. Even the local café who make cakes for our café. Free of charge !
The estimated cost of setting up The Marketplace was £2148. The actual cost was £94.77. God is so good
The local primary and secondary school are actively involved in The Marketplace along with other businesses and pubs and clubs.
As the scripture says Feed the hungry and your light will shine as the noonday sun. Isaiah 58.10.
Redhill Baptist Church
Mission at Redhill Baptist church looks a lot having a cuppa with a friend. RBC Community Worker Miranda has developed relationships with the community as a ‘friendly professional’, offering advice, signposting and practical help to those in need. The local community partners include other churches and charities, where through termly network meetings ideas, projects and plans are formulated to meet the needs of the community. Redhill’s dedicated team of volunteers from within the church and those who have benefitted from ongoing ministries come alongside Miranda, pioneering to put things into action.
The work is incarnational: being the people of Jesus joining in the mission of God, mostly through COFFEE & TEA two acronyms we use that mean:
C - Connecting (going where the needs are just as Christ did)
O -Offering (time, advice, gifts, listening ear)
F - Freely, with ‘no catches’ watching openings to bring in Christian spirituality
F - For the other (putting aside self for the other)
E - Entering in, (into their story)
E - Empathy (requiring active listening doing with not for)
T - Telling my story of faith in Jesus and His rescue plan
E - Equipping others to do the same + eating (the Lord loves to use food and I’m up for that!)
A - Availability (being wholly available to God and His direction)
S - Sacrificial servanthood (the leadership model of Jesus)
Over the years the our ‘misseo Deo’i has looked like this: hot dinners to families in school holidays (TLG’s Make Lunch), weekly ‘Babygrow’ sing and play sessions for young families & babies under 1, litter-picking, carol-singing, face-painting, and serving refreshments at the local Cromwell estate’s fun day.
This year Asylum Seeker families were relocated to the area and alongside a local homeless charity Redhill Baptist Church have hosted a World Café as a place to meet, eat and play. This November, after a year’s planning following Covid-19, a community group, both ecumenical and interfaith are launching a Bereavement Advice & Support Service offering a specially trained listening ear to those grieving.
We are reminded the church of Christ’s words to His followers:
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ 45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ Matthew 25:44-45 New Living Translation
Miranda is employed as a Community Worker & Safeguarding Lead (part-time) for Redhill Baptist Church and is also a Student (3rd year part-time) studying Theology, Mission and Evangelism with The Light College, part of Chester University
Mid Sussex network
Portslade Baptist Church
2021 marked the 60th Anniversary of the present Chapel in South Street. However, the Church has existed in one form or another since 1870!
The Church originally met in the back room of a public house, the Clarence Assembly Room, in North Street, after being rented out by Rev. Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon sent one of his students, Mr. E.A.Tydeman, to preach at the very first meeting on 18th December, 1870.
Since then, there have been 3 chapels, the first built in 1873 in Chapel Place, off North Street.
The Church quickly grew out of its original chapel, and a new one was opened in 1892. This chapel was the home of Portslade Baptist until 1957.
In 1957, the Church purchased the land to construct a new chapel in Upper Portslade. This present chapel was opened on 25th March 1961.
Over the 141 years since that very first meeting, the Church has changed a lot! Here is a list of Ministers of our Church: (1870-1875) Mr. E.A.Tydeman & Rev. W. Townsend; (1875-1877) Rev. F. Harvey; (1878-1888) Rev. S.G. Gamble; (1889-1893) Rev. J.O'Neill Campbell; (1839-1919) Rev. H.J. Dyer; (1920-1929) Rev. George Burrett; (1929-1934) Rev. A.E Johnson; (1934-1949) Rev. A.J. Phillips; (1950-1974) Rev. E.C.Hearsley Starling; (1974-1979) Rev. Raymond J. Webber; (1980-1986) Rev. Gordon Steer; (1988-1994) Rev. Colin R.W Weller (Moderator); (1994- 2018) Rev. Phillip O. Cook; (2019 to date) Rev. David M Meikle.
The church leadership would like to thank our members for your faithfulness in giving and support as we continue to seek God’s will for the future life of our church family.
We have opened our church every Sunday for months now, with morning service at 10.30 am, livestreamed. If you cannot access our livestream on You Tube, we can send you a CD version of each service. Just ask for this.
The following activities also take place:
Monday evening choir rehearsal and service, 7pm and livestreamed alternate weeks at 8:30 pm.
Take A Break on the third Tuesday evening at 7 pm. A relaxed monthly evening for ladies.
“Little Lights” parent and toddler group started on Thursday Mornings on 16th September, 9.30 to 11.30 am
Open Fellowship led by Sue, every Thursday at 2.30 pm. including a time of prayer.
We have self-defence classes using our building on Thursdays, early evening, for children and ladies.
Friday breakfast on Friday mornings from 8.30 am to 10 am, open to all the community.
Arabic church service on Sunday afternoons at 4 pm.
We have a praise and prayer service on the first Sunday evening of the month at 6pm.
We would love to be able to restart our children’s and youth work, which has been closed since the pandemic, as soon as possible.
We plan to have early evening carol services on each Sunday in advent, starting on 28th November at 5 pm.
Special event in September in our church:
September 12th, we had our 60th anniversary of the church building, with a special service at 10.30 followed by lunch. This went really well, with many people taking part and sharing their testimonies. This, as all our services, is available from our website and You Tube channel.
Photo: Open Hearts and Voices Choir, at our 60th Anniversary Service
So, it is an exciting and busy time as we head up to the end of the year.
It is a privilege to partner with SEBA and the BU in all in these ventures for the Lord’s kingdom. We value all your prayers, and wherever possible, your presence. May you know the love, presence and leading of our Lord each day.
North Downs network
Farnham Baptist Church
As it has been for so many churches, the last eighteen months has been challenging, but God has proved himself faithful and sustained us.
Apart from confronting the challenges of the pandemic the big news from 2020, was that we took possession of a newly completed building extension. The Church had been feeling the need to significantly improve its hall and kitchen for a number of years, and building work began in October of 2019. The works took much longer than anticipated in part because of the impact of lockdowns during 2020. However in October 2020 the works were completed. We now have a larger hall and kitchen along with additional classrooms, office accommodation and toilet facilities. We are grateful to God for the way in which he has provided for the work.
Taking possession of new facilities which we could not immediately used in the way that they were intended to be used was however a little strange. We are thankful in the Autumn of 2021 that we are beginning to see the facilities being used in the way that we hoped they would.
As I write we are in the process of looking to add and Assistant Minister to our ministry team.
Some prayer points:
Do pray for us as we seek to recruit and Assistant Minister. Pray that God would lead us to the right person for the job.
Pray that we would use our new buildings well. We want them to be a tool used to further our mission and ministry, rather than for them to merely be filled with activity.
Do pray for the leadership as our worship continues to return towards normal. Pray that we would make wise decisions about what we need to do like we did before and what needs to be changed.
North Kent network
Nothing this month
South Kent network
Willesborough Baptist Church
Greetings from Ashford to all our SEBA network; thank you for the opportunity to bring this brief update and prayer pointers. We have seen many answers to prayer in recent months! The church is still in celebration mode at present as this past Sunday we welcomed Katie James as our second Pastor who joins us from Fishponds Baptist Church in Bristol. This is the most recent stage in the expansion of our team here at WBC. We have also celebrated two baptisms in the past two months with two coming up (7 this year in total) with 6 currently on our exploring baptism course, some of who have come to faith this year.
Two Sundays ago we launched a new evening service which has already reached some people who have never previously been part of a church. Our cafe which we launched last year continues to be a great meeting place for the community and continues to be a place where people can have significant conversations about faith and Jesus. Like many, we have recently launched a Renew Wellbeing space in our cafe for those struggling with mental health both in the wider community and the church family. We are well aware of how much the church has changed over the past 18 months, mostly for the better, but also how the loss and trauma which has touched everyone has disproportionately affected some. In the midst of reasons to rejoice and new opportunities, we also face many pastoral challenges and recognise the need for weeping too, thanking God that we face these struggles as a family with Jesus at the centre.
Please pray for Katie as she begins her ministry here, thanking God for her and all she brings to our church family.
Thank God for those who have recently given their lives to Jesus, those who have been baptised and those who are exploring baptism. Pray for God’s protection over them and for them to know more and more the fulness of life Jesus has given them by His Spirit.
Please pray for those struggling in our community and in our church family. That we could minister to them with wisdom, grace and sensitivity.
Please pray that God would continue to open doors for the gospel in our community and that the whole church would grow in confidence to make disciples.
Please pray that we would maintain the unity and the momentum we have in the Spirit as a church, not rushing ahead of God, having the wisdom to know when to rest.
Thank you for your prayers
West Kent network
Vine Baptist Church
Like most places, we’ve been trying to juggle the COVID restrictions and the needs and wellbeing of our fellowship as we have reopened our premises in 2021. We’ve continued our live-streaming and began meeting in person at Pentecost (it seemed like a good date to join together again!), and largely we’ve seen more blessings than the challenges faced!
We particularly thankful for:
witness to the surrounding neighbourhood as we’ve sung and worshipped outside all summer
links made to the thriving Baby & Toddler Group and the families joining the church family through this
home groups and the church cafe restarting
We’d really value your prayer for:
our search for a new part-time Children’s and Youth Worker
the reopening of our Friday night youth work
for the leadership team to be strengthened in number to share the joy of leadership
Thank you for all your prayers - with love from Vine Baptist Church
West Sussex network
Ferring Baptist Church
As a church we were among the first to ‘live-stream our services during the lockdown, and so it was only to be expected that the church voted to return to ‘in person’ worship as soon as we were allowed.
Whilst some have chosen to remain at home following the lifting of rules regarding meeting at church, the great majority of the church have now returned, indeed we have seen significant growth and now number around 70 at our services.
Our belief has always been that we should allow people the choice of online or in person services and not be scared that some may stay away if our online services are too good. Instead of this our online services have directly lead to growth as Christians or previously churched people have moved into the village and discovered us online before seeking us out in person.
Thus, as as well as meeting in person, we continue to live-stream over social media and provide audio only access via zoom for those without internet access, and believe that this ‘hybrid’ approach will continue for the foreseeable future.
Thank God that we have so far come through the pandemic losing none to the virus.
Thank God for the musicians that have stepped up to lead us in worship week by week.
Thank God that we can now meet again in person, and pray that this will continue.
Thank God that we are about to have a Church Secretary for the first time in many years.
Pray for a continued sense of unity within the fellowship as we look to the future and where God is wanting to lead us.