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Friday, 27 January 2012

Beyond 400

As part of the process of imagining futures for Baptists in this country, the BUGB futures group is inviting different contributors to add to a blog, Beyond 400.

It's well worth following - in the latest post our very own Carmel Murphy (Minister in training at Lydney Baptist Church) talks about risk:


I'd  also advise everyone to read this entry from Chris Duffet - even though you might not get to the end of the comments by the end of your lunch hour:


Catching up with our New Churches Initiative focus

 The WEBA New Churches Initiative is about a dream to plant 10 new churches in 10 years. Our focus in 2011 was Painswick, where the LEP had closed, and Roger Leigh of Cutting Edge Ministries was beginning to work with local people with the intention of forming a new missional group.
This update comes from the CEM blog . Thank you to all those churches who have faithfully given to our New Churches Initiative over the past year, enabling Roger to do this work, patiently planting, watching, and tending the seeds of kingdom growth in this part of Gloucestershire.

As you may know Roger has been working on behalf of the West of England Baptist Association during the past nine months. This required actioning a visitation programme in the well-to-do area of Painswick, Gloucester.If you receive the CEM magazine you would have read that its proved to be a difficult area to make any substantial progress in planting a Church. However, Roger has persevered and decided it would be appropriate to have a house Christmas Party to encourage awareness that the intention is to develop a "Fresh Expressions" or "Emerging Church" community group.

The response to the selective invites was very positive with some twenty people attending. Roger engaged with Brian, his able team member, the people assembled in both single and group discussion. All this amongst the beautifully decorated venue, with excellent Christmas music and sumptuous food which made for a very worthwhile and entertaining evening.

We look forward with a great measure of optimism that new people from this event will swell our numbers in the new year. Giving us lift off to a new community group which will allow people to explore their lives and understand more fully the message of Jesus Christ and his impact on our world.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Old Forge: Beyond 400 - baptists imagining life after 400 yea...

The Old Forge: Beyond 400 - baptists imagining life after 400 yea...: ‘Beyond 400’ is a new website, starting tomorrow, which has been designed, as far as I understand it, to provide a platform for raising so...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Passing on the Light at Bagley

It's completely dark.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
A match is struck. One central candle is lit. Two stewards light candles from this one and make their way down a central aisle, lighting just one candle at the end of every row.
If the light of Christ is going to spread, it will only be by you and I passing it on.

This is a tradition at Bagley Baptist Church, described to me by elder Bob Drew who has been around for these Christmas Eve Candlelight Services for forty years. What's striking is the way the growth of the church has mirrored the lighting of candles they enact every year.

Bagley Baptist Church didn't ought to be large; it's in a village of about 20 houses and the buildng they now use is hidden away, its roof tastefully concealed at road level to keep the planning authorities happy.

But it's a church built by faith. Bob and his wife used to take their children to Stoneleigh Bible Week, and on one occasion they were accosted by a stranger who chased them to their caravan.

"God told me to tell you that he's going to increase your church threefold" he said.

The Bagley eldership took this as God's word, and realising they would need additional parking space, bought some land next to the church. Soon - without doing anything different - they had doubled in size, and needed a new building.

"God brought the money in - and the experts we needed" says Bob. All this time, the church continued to grow.

The Candlelight Service has always had a good attendance. "In the old church, that would be 100. Sometimes we had to ask our people not to come!" The half-built new church was used - with walls but no roof - to fit everyone in one Christmas (see picture). The new building was finally completed in 2007, and then this year attendance on Christmas Even reached at least 280.

"It is a crazy place to have a church that holds 600" says Bob, "but this is where God's placed us." Clearly, it's also a place where many have been faithful in passing on the light.