John Willett of Zion Baptist Church in Bradford-on-Avon told us about this imaginative response to the challenge of being on a steep hill:
At Zion Baptist Church,Bradford-on-Avon, we have a very small and very elderly congregation which is now down to a maximum of seventeen. We have been greatly blessed with a lovely church, a beautiful organ, three organist's and fourteen visiting preachers and very generous finance. Our main problem is that the church is situated in the middle of a very steep hill. We have therefore decided to have 2,000 A4 invitations printed professionally (copy sent with second e-mail) which will be distributed throughout Bradford-on-Avon on Thursday, 4th November with the local free newspaper. You will see that we are offering a free taxi service to and from the church to overcome the hill problem. We are asking for prayer that some of these invitations will fall into the hands of those who would like to accept this invitation.
John, do let us know what happens!
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
WEBA Regional Minister Gordon Hindmarch is due back from his sabbatical on Monday. He's just passed on some more good news about WEBA's giving to Home Mission, as the figures to the end of September have just come out. This is what he has to say:
Having reached a total of £187,626 by Sept 30th, it now looks like the 2010 year end figure will definitely reach at least £245-250,000 - hopefully it will be more!
This time last year WEBA HM Giving was £162,967 for Jan-Sep 2009 and we reached a total of £238,792 for 2009.
Our HM Giving per member for Jan-Sep 2010 at £27.45 is the second highest of the 13 Associations (compares to £23.84/member in 2009) - it's very encouraging. In September our churches gave £17,878 which is good but not great - In August it was an exceptionally high £28044.
Home Mission currently helps to pay for a pastor or minister-in-training in 14 WEBA churches, in addition to providing grants for specific projects. This year there have been 19 applications for Mission by Ministry grants - so the need exceeds the resources available, even when giving is so generous. If you're in church leadership, do make sure that Home Mission is taken into account when discussing your church's budget.
Posted by Ruth Whiter at 04:17
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Maureen Phillips of Station Hill Baptist Church sent me this posting which has a few ideas for events the church can share with its wider community:
Station Hill Baptist Church in Chippenham are holding outreach events once a month called FUSION.
During the summer we had a walk along a canal towpath, and a quiz finding landmarks around the town.
Coming up there's ten pin bowling at near by by town and a jazz evening.
Three young couples are organising these events.It is great for the Church to come together and bring friends and family who would not normally be interested in Church.
This Christmas we are having our Carol Service on a Saturday evening.
Posted by Ruth Whiter at 05:25
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Some of you will be aware of the Lawrence Weston story - this small church on an estate on the edge of Bristol was near to closure when a variety of different people from larger churches felt called to help out - and the result has been not only transformation for the church but great blessing for them. One of them, John Woolnough, sent me some photos of a barbecue they held this September, supported by their two 'sending' churches:
Last Saturday we held a ‘ticket only’ free BBQ for the families of the children who we see during the week. It proved to be even more successful than the first one we held a year ago and well over 100 people came in families (Instruction to the children, again, was that entry is conditional on bringing at least one parent.
We had huge support from WOT Baptist on the BBQ cooking front and also increased, but smaller, support from Cairns who provided a 4 piece jazz band that played brilliantly for an hour.
All in all it was a huge faith building exercise which has helped enormously in developing relationships into friendships. We could never have done anything like it on our own.
If you think you'd like to explore the idea of partnering with a small urban church, then Re:Source Bristol would love to hear from you - see the Re:Source feature on our home page at www.webassoc.org.uk
Posted by Ruth Whiter at 06:04
Friday, 1 October 2010
Many of you will be aware of ‘The Stowe’, our new missional community south of Swindon. Alison Boulton and her family moved on to the new housing development last year with the aim of growing a spiritual focus for the new community. She began with welcome baskets for those moving in, and then a large scale outdoor community nativity play at Christmas. Soon, residents began to ask if they could meet at her house on Sundays. She has just sent me an excited account of their first baptism:
We baptised Emily in a paddling pool in the garden – which amused the neighbours when they saw us setting it up in dull weather the previous day - we then had a pool party, shared lunch and continued conversations about faith.
Emily shared her story which was a real testimony to the transforming power of God – she hadn’t written down anything but she said God gave her the words to say.
Someone commented that the baptism was like God’s first birthday present to us – and it was like that! It was amazing. I felt like we were watching people being transformed in front of our faces. God is bringing hope and transformation. Wow!
Posted by Ruth Whiter at 03:24