South Ashford Baptist Church
South Ashford Baptist Church was started as a plant in the late 1950s from Ashford Baptist Church, Station Road, by a Baptist deaconess. The church has been independent since the 1960s, and called its first full time minister in 1973. For much of its history the church has been dependent on Home Mission, partly because the southern part of Ashford has significant social problems. The church holds around 120 but today the church has a congregation average of around 35, drawn from South Ashford and surrounding estates. Last year the previous pastor, the Revd Dr Daniel Clark, left to work with BMS in Peru, and the church was able to call a minister-in-training (MiT) who began in September 2015.
The church had a central role some 15 years ago in the creation of 'The Willow Centre’, a SureStart centre, nursery and community cafe, on land behind the church. This remains the church's primary means of community engagement and contact with the non-churched.
Things to thank God for:
attendance is increasing gradually, including some more children
rebuilding of good relationships with the Willow Centre, which had deteriorated in recent years, including the Centre paying for a new noticeboard for the church
a gift of some banners from another BU church has brightened things up inside.
whilst we have a few, we need more people in the 20-40 demographic, especially families with children, and wage earners. The financial position of the church requires prayer and faith!
for planning permission to be granted for the aforementioned noticeboard
for the summer BBQ to celebrate the Queen’s birthday (12 June) Holiday Bible Club (August) and Light party October) to be well attended and to go well.
The church exterior guttering and fascias (and a few other bits!) needs decorating yet there are only a handful of us who are able bodied. We have set aside week beginning Monday 1 August
, and if any one feels able to lend a hand, this would be much appreciated. (Our contact details are in the SEBA Handbook).
Myself and all the church family are very grateful for the way in which Home Mission has enabled the church to continue here, and more recently to call myself as MIT. We are thankful for this practical support, without which the church here would face an uncertain future. We are also thankful for the prayer support and fellowship of the wider Baptist family, expressed through SEBA and the local Network in South Kent. The long term vision is for the renewal of the fellowship here, both in spiritual and numerical terms, and for our ability to reach this deprived community with the gospel to be enhanced by this.
The Revd Andrew Mumford, Minister.
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