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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Alter-Ego of a 17 year old Worship Musician

SPECIAL NOTICE: To find about about supporting MND Global Awareness Day by buying Sam Evan's EP O Zi Placuta click here for all the information on the Welton Baptist Church site

I am Pastor of Welton Baptist Church, Midsomer Norton (www.weltonchurch.org.uk) and want to introduce you to one of our worship musicians, Sam Evans. Sam is a 6th form student who plays keyboard and sings as part of one the worship bands at our fairly large church, based close to Bath.

 Sam plays in an “improvised” style as he has benefited from a number of years informal
tuition from a superb jazz musician. This has developed a “feeling” in the way in which he plays and enables him to understand the sensitivities of the different styles and spiritual content of the worship music we enjoy at our church Sunday by Sunday, and as such has become an important part of our worship team. As well as this Sam also records keyboard worship pieces for our local
community radio station, Somer Valley FM, as part of their weekly religious program output “Faithtime”.

BUT...there is another, some might say darker, side to Sam! Not only does Sam engage in the rather dangerous activity/sport of Parkour (Freerunning) but he is also becoming a critically acclaimed musician and performer in his own right on the small venue circuit having played more than 50 gigs during 2012 in places from St. Austell to Sheffield, Bath to Birmingham as well as playing a
number of times in Romania including premier music venue The Mojo Club in Bucharest. Sam'’s recent gigs have taken him to Mama Stones, Exeter; Nambucca, Islington; The Fleece, Bristol and The Troubadour, Earls Court.

This video  features both Sam's music and some of his Parkour stunts: just don't try these around your church building!

And here's Sam performing on Bristol's Harbourside:

In November 2012 he recorded a single “Tomorrow isn’t Promised” together with his band to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital (see www.vibedeck.com/samevans for the full story behind this).

(As an aside, one of the other lads in the band (Andy Slade - who plays Sax and Cajon) is also involved in the church worship band at the Methodist church in Midsomer Norton!)

I thought your readers might like to hear about an active young person, engaged in church life and worship but who is “doing his thing” as he sets out to try and develop a career as a musician in the commercial sphere. Sam’s story (so far) might be seen as an “antidote” to those who see people involved in church activities as rather 2-dimensional (dare I say “boring”) personalities. Not only that but hopefully it will be an encouragement to your listeners that within the church today there are large numbers of young people who are actively engaged and using their incredible talents both in the church and outside of it!

Pastor Mike Howell, Welton Baptist Church

Friday, 1 March 2013

We're a church now!


This article appears in the Spring 2013 edition of WEBA News, which will be sent to WEBA church secretaries during the week beginning Monday 4th March.

Being part of a church is something most of the readers of this newsletter will take for granted.

It’s different for members of ‘The Stowe’ who have recently been constituted as a church and accepted into membership of the Baptist Union and of WEBA.

“It’s great that we’re a church now; not just a club” said one member. Another commented: “It’s amazing that our little dysfunctional group has been recognised as a church”. The group are so excited about this that more than 20 of them, including children, will be travelling to Blackpool for the Baptist Assembly this May, when The Stowe will be formally recognised as a new church.

It’s four years since Rev. Alison Boulton was first interviewed for WEBA news about her plans to move into the Wichelstowe development in Swindon. A year before that, someone at a prayer meeting had suggested that they pray for the planned housing development, and Alison had “one of those moments…I felt God was saying that we should be involved.”
Alison’s plan was to let mission develop organically through various activities. The group which began to meet at her house soon decided they wanted a Sunday morning gathering. By 2012 Alison’s living room was too small and the group, now called ‘The Stowe’ began to meet in a local primary school.

From the beginning, The Stowe’s emphasis has been to unconditionally bless the community. “The line between church and community remains rather blurred” says Suzanna Miles, Church Secretary. “A number of the congregation serve as trustees of the East Wichel Community Association or serve on the governing body of the Primary School; others are involved in coffee morning, art groups, Brownies, Wichelstowe Youth Theatre, baby & toddler groups, regular litter picks, and the community garden.”

She also lists special events that have been designed to bless the community: “a Pancake Party, a Jubilee Party, the Wichelstowe Olympics and Christmas celebrations to which everyone in East Wichel was invited.  An especially exciting trip took place on an extremely hot day in July; over 120 people in two coaches headed to Crealy, Devon for the day.  All of these activities and events are undertaken as a way of expressing God’s love for the community and serving those who live here.”

Becoming a church is, of course, only the beginning of a journey. “We are prayerfully considering what options are available to us in terms of opening the Bible and deepening people’s experience and knowledge of it” Suzanna explains, “as well as meeting the needs of those still on the edge of engaging with faith.  We also want to find ways of connecting spiritually with the growing number of children in a meaningful way.” 

These are challenges faced by every one of our churches, whether one year old or four hundred.