Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Old Forge: congregations learn most from one another

The Old Forge: congregations learn most from one another: "This, amazing photo, was taken during the Vancouver riots following the ice hockey match last week. Apparently it's genuine, not posed - she..."

Friday, 17 June 2011

God Moving in Small Churches

Today I can't resist pulling together three little things that have come through the WEBA office. Grace Tucker at Ruardean Hill (membership: 7) sent me photos of their first baptism in twelve years yesterday. Then I had a request for any churches who might be able to lend Lawrence Weston (membership:11) a water heater for a baptism there. Then there was a request from the new Gospel Community Choir at Shirehampton, who have been borrowing Lawrence Weston's chairs for their rehearsals but now there aren't enough, and they wondered whether  any churches might have stackable plastic chairs they don't need.
Gordon Hindmarch (one of our Regional Ministers) remarked yesterday that exciting things are happening in our smallest churches. That's certainly how it feels today.
Please pray for the leaders and deacons of our Forest of Dean churches who are coming together for a quiet day tomorrow (Saturday 18th June). This is another new and exciting development for a number of our small churches.
And if you can help with the heater or the chairs, do call the WEBA office on 0117 965 8828. Thank you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Burnham's Transatlantic Baptism Service

Sophia Hurley with Steve Ayers
Steve baptises his daughter Becky
Burnham-on-Sea Baptist Church will be welcomed into the West of England Baptist Association at this Sunday's 3 in 1 Event in Weston-super-Mare. So it's especially good to share with you this baptismal service with a technological twist:

When Sophia Hurley was planning her baptism at Burnham-on-Sea Baptist Church she thought that one member of her family would not be able to see it.  Her Gran, Phyllis Hampshire, moved out to Canada fifteen years ago and she couldn’t travel back for the service. 

However the church was able to set up a link over the internet that meant that the whole family was able to enjoy the service together.  Phyllis, who had to get up at 5 a.m. to watch the service, was delighted to be able to watch the ceremony and talk to her family afterwards.  “It was amazing to see it and I really felt I was a part of it”, she said.  “It was very special and great to be involved.”

Church minister, Steve Ayers, was pleased that the all technology worked.  “We’d never done this before but it worked out really well.  I was really pleased that Phyllis could share in the ceremony with us from Toronto.  It was a particularly special day for me because I baptised my daughter, Becky, at the service too.”   

The Baptism Service was followed by a sit-down meal for 125 people.

Thanks to Steve Ayers for sending us this story, and to Drew Lawrence for the wonderful photos.

Struggling to be sceptical

This video isn't about Baptists in the West of England, but it's a really interesting look at a Liverpool church that is making a difference by an 'unshakeable agnostic' writing for The Guardian:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Home Mission Giving News

On Tuesday this week WEBA tried to hold its AGM.

Unfortunately there weren't enough church representatives present to vote, and so we're going to stage a re-run at the final 3 in 1 Event at Clarence Park Baptist Church on Sunday 19th June.

I felt a little sorry for those who had given up their evening for a meeting which will have to happen again, but we went through the substance of the agenda anyway, and one really useful bit was Gordon Hindmarch's summary of where WEBA is in regard to Home Mission.

All Baptist Union churches are encouraged to give at least 5% of income to this fund so that mission can be enabled across the country.

Recently, WEBA has been one of the highest giving Regional Associations. This May WEBA churches gave £22,228, which we think is brilliant considering the financial climate and the uncertainty faced by so many. There's really only one explanation: you, our churches, trust God, and you really believe in the growth of his kingdom.

What's really interesting, which Gordon pointed out on Tuesday, is that the 2010 total for Home Mission Giving in WEBA (£258,742) was so very close to the total we received that year ( £ 257,431 ) in terms of grants for ministry, projects, special grants to church planters and chaplains, and to the Association itself. So, as your church gives to Home Mission, mission in this region moves forward. A big thank you is due to all of you who make and approve the decisions to give. If you want to find out more about giving to Home Mission, please contact Gordon Hindmarch via the WEBA office.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nigel takes on big challenge of tiny church

Nigel Price is a member at Cirencester Baptist Church. He's a writer, consultant, science fiction critic, rugby supporter and amateur musician. Now he has taken on the challenge of leading Gloucestershire's oldest Baptist church. Today the WEBA office received this press release which we thought we'd share with you:

King's Stanley Baptist Church was founded in 1640 and flourished for over 350 years. But in recent times, the congregation became smaller and smaller until, last year, the remaining members were planning to close down the church. But the West of England Baptist Association, acting on behalf of the trustees, weren't ready to throw in the towel just yet. Having agreed a five-year stay of closure, they put together a steering group to investigate ways of reviving the church as a place of worship and a centre of service to its community.

As part of the steering group, Nigel Price, a long-standing member of Cirencester Baptist Church, volunteered to act as interim leader for the struggling church, taking weekly services and helping to organise activities once more.

“Once I started working here, I fell in love with the people, the place and the potential of this lovely church,” says Nigel, 54. “I became convinced that God was calling me to serve here and to see what we could do to build up this fellowship once more.”

With the agreement of the steering committee and the full support of his home church in Cirencester, Nigel has now taken on the formal post of pastor at King’s Stanley Baptist Church. He was commissioned in his new role last Sunday, 5 June, in a service led by the Revd Gordon Hindmarch, regional minister for the West of England Baptist Association. The normally small congregation was swelled to nearly 100 for the occasion by family, friends and well-wishers from Cirencester, Chalford, Stonehouse and Stroud Baptist Churches and from Malmesbury Abbey.

The guest preacher was Matt Frost, senior pastor at Cirencester Baptist Church. Using the story of the Bible’s King David and referring to Sir Winston Churchill’s wartime premiership, he spoke about the responsibility of a leader to bring inspiration and vision to those being led.

Nigel, who continues to support himself financially through his work as a writer and consultant, is under no illusions about the size of the task he has taken on.

“It’s a big challenge, but I remain optimistic and excited about what God is going to do at King’s Stanley Baptist Church.”

King’s Stanley Baptist Church is in the village of Middleyard, between Stroud and Stonehouse. Weekly Sunday services are at 10.30 am.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

This is what WEBA is for

On Monday, WEBA Regional Minister Alisdair Longwill and his friend Don Yeomans tackled Day 4 of their Lands End to John O'Groats cycle ride.

This took them from Weston-super-Mare to Stroud - more or less from the bottom of WEBA to the top, so they invited cyclists from WEBA churches to join them along the way, raising money for the WEBA New Churches Initiative which is helping a small group to re-plant a church at Painswick. Others turned up just to cheer us along.

It was a very rainy bank holiday Monday, and everyone involved got very wet indeed, but if you were to ask me why WEBA exists, I think the ride provided the perfect picture. Cycling 60 miles in the rain was so much easier because of the people who joined in for a while or just waited for us with their umbrellas. Surely the journey we undertake as individual churches is likewise better, easier, and more fruitful if we are there for each other at different times along the way.

Thanks to everyone who turned up on Monday, especially to Mary Thomas and friends from Pill, Cath Brown who led the way from Avonmouth to Almondsbury, and the crowd from Minchinhampton. Thanks too to those who've supported either the WEBA cyclists, or Don and Alisdair, by sponsoring them. You can see a little bit of the day on this video:

To give to Operation Restoration, go to


To give to Cotswold Care Hospice, go to


And for the rest of the ride:

Follow Alisdair and Don's blog: two 50s do LeJog