Fellowship News



Fellowship Christmas Party

Party lettering with words A Party for Jesus
Our Christmas party is one of those “looked forward to events” in our church calendar and this one was no exception.

With a couple of hundred people (half of them children) thronging the church the atmosphere was fabulous. The chairs were pushed to the sides allowing a large space for traditional games such as Chinese laundry, musical statues, musical chairs, pass the balloon and more. What is impressive is how many adults get involved in what are really children’s games; we even had Richard running round playing musical chairs. After a massive game of pass the parcel, featuring four parcels and everyone in the church grace was said and we all trooped through to the hall for tea.

HappyChristmas_ChildrenWithCakeWhat always amazes me about bring and share meals is how it always seems to work out. Other than Brigade B&S meals where the food is predominantly cake the balance of savoury to sweet healthy to distinctly unhealthy (if you’ve ever tried David’s banofee pie, sadly missing this time) is pretty good and everyone always has plenty.

Once the food was gone and everyone replete we all returned to the church where the atmosphere had changed. The lights were down except for the spot lit platform at the front in preparation for a very important visitor. Steve, our minister, gave a short talk about the real meaning of Christmas and led us in some carols. Then, just when the children were beginning to wonder there was a knock on the main church door. In came Father Christmas all decked out in red with a big sack on his shoulder. All the children were given a present from the youngest at just a few weeks to the oldest, well you wouldn’t know they were still eligible to look at some of them.

The afternoon ended there with a lot of happy children, parents, grandparents, BUILD members and others.
Here’s looking forward to next year!
Merry Christmas

Steve’s Christmas Message

Photograph of Steve ChristianWhen I do my Christmas shopping every present is carefully chosen. There has to be planning in buying the presents so that they are wanted and each person gets the right gift. After all no one wants to buy something that will sit in a cupboard for 12 months or more waiting to be brought out, wrapped and given to someone else so that they too can just put it in a cupboard!

This Christmas our Advent series SENT is a reminder to us that the bigger picture of the Christmas story is that Jesus is God’s perfect gift to us, sent to save us and restore us to Himself.

It is my hope that through this Advent season we will explore deeper together why God sent Jesus and also through discussion ground deeper into our own lives and experience just what God has done for us. So during some of our Advent mornings, please be prepared, as I speak, to stop and to talk together, to share together, to listen and to learn from one another so that Christ may not just be put into the box of Sunday morning and God’s gift to us is not just wrapped up for Christmas, but instead enjoyed, appreciated and lived out in our lives all year round.

We wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

With love in Christ,

Steve, Maxine, Katie and Daniel

Albanian Shoe Box Appeal

ALBANIAN SHOE BOX APPEAL

ALBANIAN SHOE BOX APPEAL
BAPTIST WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP

The BWF held their last formal meeting in June this year but have continued to meet once a month informally in members’ homes.

When Steve spoke about the Albanian Shoe Box Appeal some of our ladies thought it would be a good project for us to be involved with. We collected together a large number of items which had been suggested on the sheet we had from the West of England Baptist Association (WEBA) and we were able to fill ten shoe boxes plus a bag full of other items that were over as we did not have enough shoe boxes for them. These boxes were taken to Cairns Road Baptist Church on 17th October where the whole project is being co-ordinated. They will be going to Albania in the next couple of weeks.

I would like to thank everyone who collected items for these boxes – it was so good to see them full to overflowing with such lovely things. I know that we all enjoyed this project and we were amazed to see how much was given from such a small group of people.

We just pray that these boxes will bring pleasure to those who receive them and that God’s love will shine through to the Albanian families.

 

Maureen Price

Katie’s Baptism

KatieBaptism00

Arriving at the church to the sounds of the music group practising “My Lighthouse” and seeing the baptistery prepared gave a feeling of joy for Katie who will be going through those waters in the service. The long banner above the baptistery reads:

“Here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptised?”

Going in the water with Katie will be Kaye who has been helping her on her journey to this point in her faith. Many other people pivotal in Katie’s life are here to join her celebration.

The service began with the music group performing “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord”. The music group is larger than usual with Adam joining them on bass and several friends of Kate joining to sing – as well as Katie herself of course! Its worth noting that most of the music for the service was chosen by Katie to reflect her own journey.

Steve (our minister) opened the service with a welcome for this special day to everyone who has travelled from far and wide. And invited everyone to the bring and share lunch afterwards.

Katie’s testimony started with a journey through her life. She led us through how growing up as a ‘minister’s kid’, as she put it had its good and bad points but despite learning lots about God she had never really examined her own belief. When she was 14 she worked through Stepping Stones 1 with Kaye and then decided to wait for a sign that she was on the right path before giving her life. Months passed and God seemed silent, she talked of how she was confused and rejecting, blaming her life for God’s apparent absence. She finally decided, following a talk about “sitting on the fence” at the Baptist assembly of all places, to get off her particular fence and went back to Kaye where she prayed her prayer of commitment. She led the whole church in that same prayer before thanking all the people in her life that had helped her reach this point.

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Katie, Steve and Kaye went into the water where Katie was asked if she rejected the devil and put her life and trust in Jesus Christ. She was then plunged backward under the water and rose to her new life and rapturous applause. While Steve and Kaye prayed with Katie in the water the music group led the congregation in the worship song “How Great Are You Lord”.

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KatieBaptism03

Steve’s talk “What do you do with Good News”

Reading from Luke 4:14-30 “Jesus Begins His Work”

Steve’s talk focussed initially on newspapers and the bad news they always seem to convey and how despite technological change the purveyors of news are much the same as they were when he was doing his paper round many years ago. He went on to say that in Jesus’ day the news was much the same with people wearing sack-cloth and ashes in mourning of their nation. Into this Jesus stood up and, to the condemnation of his peers, said that not only was Isaiah a message of good news but that it was a message to everyone and not just the Jews. Today the message of Jesus has not changed. Katie has reminded us that the message of the Bible is a message of good news, that God loves all of us. She also reminds us that God not only impacted her life but wants to impact yours. But there are two things we must do with good news.

Good news needs to be shared: Steve talked about beating Gordon at golf for only the second time in eight years and how he tried to share this good news, largely with deaf ears. This illustrated that what one person thinks is good news may not be good news to someone else, however it is still good news. We need to thank Katie for her witness because good news needs to be shared!

Good news needs to be received: Steve held up a five pound note and said the first person who reached it could have it, only three of our young people reacted and Anthony got the money. It was a real offer but very few believed it. This was to illustrate that just because you don’t believe something doesn’t stop it being true.

In a world of bad news where sin, death and the devil are alive and well, God has not abandoned us, God is with us, God cares about us and offers us life and hope. The question is what will you do with the news? Will you hear that news and will you act upon it? You may choose to reject it, that is your choice, but even if you reject it it doesn’t stop it being good news. My prayer, the prayer of this church and Katie’s prayer is that you will choose to receive the good news and come to God for forgiveness and hope.

After Steve’s talk Katie and the music group led the church in worship once again with the song Cornerstone.

Before the close of the service Katie was invited back out for prayer and to be presented with her baptism card which reads.

“You are my servant. I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:9b-10

All that was left was to close the service in song with “O Happy Day” and “My Lighthouse”

 

Photographs Copyright 2015 Sue Green www.imagescape-designs.com

 

Baptist Women’s Fellowship

In 1918 the Baptist Women’s League was started in Clarence Park Baptist Church. Over the years this afternoon meeting for the ladies and friends of the Church was well attended. Many folk drew great inspiration and help from those afternoons spent together.

In recent years however, numbers have dropped off and despite the fact that the programmes were always varied and yet still had a Christian content, ladies didn’t seem to want to come out in an afternoon. The leaders and members over the last few years have tried very hard to encourage folk to come but their efforts have been in vain. We know of course that ladies are working longer and there is so much more now to occupy their time.

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