Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Friday, 27 September 2013

Making way for the new at Victoria Park

Rev. Brendan Bassett of Victoria Park Baptist Church in Bristol has sent some photos of the demolition of their church hall, which will be replaced by a new hall plus accommodation developed in partnership with Elim housing. These are the first physical signs of a long term project, Operation Nehemiah, which was under discussion for the whole of Geoff Starling's time working as WEBA's Trust manager. We thank God for the patient endurance of all concerned, and pray that God will bless this work for his mission in this part of South Bristol.

Brendan writes: One of the very interesting aspects of the architecture of the original hall is it reflected the architectural times. It mirrored what was known in the 1950's through to mid 1970's as the 'Brutalist Style' (or Brutalism) of building design which often featured high and sharp angles, which supposedly reflected what going on at the time of post war and cold war anxieties. Critic's of the movement often described brutalism as cold and unappealing.

This picture shows the demolition of the old vestry and hallway. Brendan writes: Although I am now the second longest serving minister I was almost the shortest! In Nov 2001 during my first ' VPBC winter' I put on the gas fire in the vestry and after while felt myself becoming very drowsy and nodding off. By God's grace I turned the fire off. It transpired that whoever had 'repaired the roof' the previous year had covered over the gas exhaust flu, although I laughed it off at the time it should have been reported to the HSE.
 This photo shows the now uncovered underground boiler room (still flooded!)
 Anyone whose has been at VPBC for a few years probably has their own stories about feeling cold or the heating breaking down. My worst memory was Christmas Day in 2011, it was a brutal winter and the outside temperature at 10am was -6C. When I got to church to open up for worship the heating had failed. I descended into the basement to discover the entire system was covered in ice, like scene from the North Pole. The temperature inside the church was -2C. I remember we had to wrap up a few elderly people with blankets and I cut things down to about 20mins!
I’m told that the basement has always flooded ever since it was built and a pump had to be permanently left on. I suppose if we were keeping the basement and as it loves water it could have become a congregational Jacuzzi (good for home groups and meetings), or perhaps a ministers private hot tub…
This picture shows the St Johns Lane trees now down. They were not very old but totally inappropriate to the proximity of the building. We will have some garden in the new development and we can perhaps plant some things that will be more appropriate, maybe some shrubs or box hedges.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Revd. Dai Davies at Westbury Leigh & Stormore Baptist Church sent us these lovely photos of the fun day the church provided for its community earlier this month:

We could not have asked for more. The weather was fine, the activities fun, refreshments thirst quenching, nourishing, and free, as were both events. What am I talking about  the two Community Fun Days arranged by the White Horse Team Ministry and Westbury Leigh & Stormore Baptist Church, held on Oldfield Park and at the Dilton Marsh Recreational Ground in August.

Well in excess of 100 people turned out at each event which was part sponsored by Selwood Housing, who along with the White Horse Children’s Centre were also in attendance.

So why a Fun Day? Rev Dai Davies said there were two main reasons: Firstly to give folk in these communities a free Fun Day in these hard economic times, and secondly by taking aspects of church life to where the community is, to demonstrate that although we may as Christian people we may have an additional dimension  to life, we are still normal – whatever that means – and like to have fun.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Crossing the Threshold

A visitor to a Baptism at Rodbourne Cheney Baptist Church asked if she could come to the church again.  During the conversation that followed, she pointed out that it wasn't at all obvious that there was an open invitation to come in. Helpfully, she then compiled the following list of suggestions that might help a church send a message of welcome to its community.
Some of them are obvious, but are they so obvious that they can get overlooked? Thanks to Paul Rhodes for sending this in.

Crossing the threshold of the building takes courage so we need to remove the ‘fear element’ and ensure that people know that they would be very welcome.

It would be helpful to have a noticeboard outside the building which allows fresh notices to be placed on it. There needs to be a very clear statement that: ‘NO INVITATION NEEDED - COME IN’ and the church is the people not the building.

     -    ‘Who’s who’ on a board outside or in the doorway;

     -    Photos on the board of people having fun, including light-hearted ones (e.g. Pastor in ‘David’  costume – ‘David’ is a character who tells the narrative at the midweek Kids Club);

     -    List of activities and who they are for.

The church could hold an open day when we have:

     -    Music                         -    Crafts                              -    Stalls

     -    Face painting               -    Bring-and-Buy                  -    Meet and Greet

     -    T-Shirts for kids with balloons being given out to passing children and their parents.

     -    Ensure Facebook page and Website are completely up-to date with a contemporary blog;

     -    Youtube videos;

     -    Leaflet drop to the local area making it clear that they are welcome to join us (possibly including ‘What is a Baptist Church’ from the talk on 18/8);

     -    Door-to-door survey asking people how they would feel about crossing the threshold.

They would ensure that everyone had a good first welcome and would hopefully introduce them to someone friendly and appropriate.

All of the above is about helping people to cross our threshold but ultimately we need to cross it and mix with the community.