Thursday, 19 December 2013

Partners in Mission - Somersham Baptist Church


God has really blessed our church in the first twelve months: we have received a Home Mission Grant. The church had been able to fund me as a Minister in Training, however they felt God’s call for a full-time Minister, which the grant enabled them to achieve. We have really seen the difference moving from a part-time to a full-time Minister has made in the life of the church and our outreach to the community. One area of particular growth is through our work with children and young people. We now have “Tots to Teens” ministries running in the church, during the week and as part of our Sunday Services. This has enabled us to reach the families of eighty children.

The impact has been increased attendance at the “Celebration Services” through the year, including Harvest where we had over 150 people attend a thanksgiving service on a farm. The increase in the time available to me as Minister has meant being able to spend more time in the community, building on the foundations of my first three years here. Linking with our children’s work I regularly take assemblies in both primary schools in the village. I am also being approached more frequently to conduct weddings, renewal of vows services and funerals.

However perhaps the biggest opportunity, and challenge, has been becoming Chaplain of the local Football Club. Knowing the children through school has enabled me to work alongside the Clubs’ Youth Teams but the Club were keen for me to be available to the “First Team”. This has been rewarding, not least in the First Team being promoted in my first season as Chaplain but more importantly the conversations about faith, about life and about really believing in God that take place. It is also an area of deep pastoral ministry. We have also been able to work more closely with the local Parish Church in joint services and events. This has included a shared Fish & Chip lunch after our Good Friday service, articipating in the community’s carnival week with a joint service and a monthly service in the local care home. With all of the above, and more, taking place within the community God has been blessing us within our fellowship as numbers steadily rise, with three baptisms this summer along with growing membership and Sunday congregation. We’re seeing more people encouraged to use their gifts in the life of the church and witnessing where they live and work.

There are challenges ahead as the church grows. Pastorally as new people come in with a myriad of needs. Practically as the 200 year old building is too small to house the growth and work we’re undertaking. Publicly as we become more visible to the community, ensuring the integrity of living out our faith. As we grow we are aiming to come off Home Mission within five years and we continue to regularly give to Home Mission, to support others, praying they benefit and are blessed as we have been.

Rev Bruce Daniels