Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Monday, 28 May 2012

Rediscovering Hope

The article below is from the summer 2012 edition of WEBA news which has just been sent out to all church secretaries. It launches our New Churches Initiative focus for 2012.

Our idea of hope is often based on certain ideas about aspiration (ie getting a job, personal achievement), but is that what Jesus means by hope? By living in community where hope seems all but lost is a way of rediscovering the depth of what hope is really about. In the process we find we have to deal with our own internal anxieties and prejudices – and get healed as we do that. That’s what I see as incarnational.  Rev Mike Pears

The WEBA New Churches Initiative is part of a dream to plant 10 new churches in 10 years. Like planting seeds, this is a task which requires great care and patience. This year’s focus will be Urban Bristol, where ‘seeds’ are now growing in some of the city’s most challenging areas.

Phil and Alice Lawrence and their three daughters moved to the Knowle West estate when Phil began his six year course on the Urban Ministry track at Bristol Baptist College. They are one of several families who have followed God’s call to work and live in that area, and form a ‘community of households’ to support one another for an incarnational approach to mission. The community have intentionally taken a long term view, letting relationships and opportunities develop organically. They are encouraged to see, growth is emerging in the gaps between the ‘community of households’ and the traditional churches on the estate.
Phil Lawrence
A local GP has run more than one Alpha course at his surgery; the most recent one attracted around 50 people. A café church was set up to cater for one group who’d done the Alpha course; this group of 10 has now grown to 30. Thanks to the enthusiasm of one local couple, an idea for a mens’ breakfast in the building where Knowle West Baptist Church used to meet has turned into a hugely

popular monthly event for everyone, with a full-on, all options fry-up that goes on all morning (there’s even black pudding). Recently people have started bringing instruments along to play hymns and songs during breakfast – and the church organ is getting some exercise!

Each of these groups feeds and cross-fertilizes the others, and there are usually conversations going on just outside the doors too. Phil uses the image of water splashing, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that splashes people who are standing nearby. The challenge is what should happen next. “At what point do people become disciples?” Phil asks. “Do we drag them into a service? What should grow, the community of households, the church services, or the breakfast?”

As co-ordinator of re:Source Bristol, Mike Pears wrestles with what constitutes church, conversion, and discipleship in these contexts. What does hope mean when no one in your family has ever worked, and there’s a suicide in your neighbourhood roughly every six weeks? He recognizes that there are levels of depression and despair most of us never encounter, and that the challenge is not to deliver the gospel but to rediscover it in the light of these circumstances. For example, he suggests, “our idea of hope is often based on  a certain idea of aspiration (ie getting a job, personal achievement), but is that what

Jesus means by hope ? We can’t know until we live in community and discover for ourselves, dealing with our own internal anxieties and prejudices. We get healed as we do that. That’s what I see as incarnational.”

This year’s gifts to the WEBA New Churches Initiative will help towards a transitional, start-up fund for urban ministry in Bristol, enabling people to take bold steps like the one Phil has taken with his family. “We’re working in areas where no church can offer transitional support” says Mike. Through the New Churches Initiative we can provide that together.
As in previous years, we would like to suggest that each church gives £200, or £75 for smaller churches. Please make cheques payable to WEBA, marking them New Churches Initiative on the back, and send them to the WEBA office.

Churches and individuals can also contact us to set up a payment by Standing Order.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

just wondering...: Where are the 18-30s in our churches

 Last week Sarah Sweet of Clevedon Baptist Church asked me to publicize the Missing Generation initiative. Today I came across this blog post on the same subject by a Baptist Minister. Note Nigel Coles' comment at the end. How can we react to this 'canary'? Any suggestions, please comment.

just wondering...: Where are the 18-30s in our churches: This week I came across a new website www.missinggeneration.com The Missing Generation website is an initiative of the Younger Leaders F...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Home Mission Giving update

Figures to the end of April show Home Mission Giving in WEBA down £10,000 compared to the same time last year - at £61,721 compared to £71,840 at the end of April 2012.

There could be several reasons for this, and of course we expect variation in when gifts come in, but perhaps some of you in church leadership might like to check that your budgeted giving to Home Mission is reaching us as planned.

Thank you to all our churches who continue to give faithfully to Home Mission in a challenging financial environment for many.

To discuss your church's giving, or set up a standing order, please contact Gordon Hindmarch.

Creative Calne

On Monday I visited Calne Baptist Church to plan a film we're going to make together with the BUGB communications team. It will draw together the rich history of Calne Baptist Church, which goes back to the English Civil War, and contains far too many stories to fit into our five minute film, and the creative ways the church is proclaiming the gospel story now.

I'm not sure whether we'll fit in this one - on Good Friday the church held a service 'in the round' and suspended a giant crown of barbed wire in the centre of the room. A clever technology teacher filled ice cube bags with red coloured water and froze them - by the time the service began they began to drip onto the communion table below, creating a powerful focus for reflection.

Calne's minister Sam King was called to the church thanks to a grant from Home Mission, and with his creative background he has acted as a catalyst, bringing into being desires to connect and transform that were latent in the congregation.  Our thanks go to all those churches whose faithful giving has made stories like this possible.

Friday, 4 May 2012


It's the first day of this year's Baptist Assembly in London, and Chris Duffet will be taking over as Baptist Union President this weekend.

It seems like a good time to mention our plans for the WEBA leg of Chris's Big Hearted Tour. Chris will be visiting this region between the 12th and the 15th October 2012. A Street Evangelist and Artist, Chris has an exceptionally big heart for sharing God's love with everyone around, and this will be the focus of the tour.

There will be something for everyone during the long weekend:

Pastoral Leaders (that's Ministers and those who do similar jobs) will be meeting with Chris on Friday 12th October.

Everyone else (that's you, if you're not a minister!) is invited to join him for a day we will probably call Big Hearted Living on Saturday 13th October.

There will also be a special event for youth on Sunday 14th October.

Full details, including other local events, will be published soon, but for now you might like to get a feel for Chris's ministry by reading this article from Christian.co.uk, which was reposted on Chris's excellent blog, Be the Light: