St Mark's Baptist Church, Easton
An inner city church in one of the more deprived areas of Bristol, is reaching out to the local multicultural community
Serving the community through a community café
With a new children's and youth ministry coordinator, funded through a Home Mission grant, good relationships with local families are developing
One of the West of England Baptist Association (WEBA) churches that Home Mission currently supports is St Mark’s Baptist Church which is situated in Easton, an inner city area and one of Bristol’s more deprived parts. St Mark’s Road, where the church is situated is a highly ethnic and eclectic community containing a variety of ethnic shops and restaurants and a mosque which is located immediately opposite the church building. The congregation at St Marks seeks to connect with the local community in different ways, not least of all through the community café which sells low cost food and is open in daytime from Wednesday through to Saturday each week.
Effective community engagement is a high priority for St Marks Baptist Church, but due to resource constraints, one of the areas the church has found more difficult to connect effectively has been that of children’s and youth work in their community. It was this reason that prompted the Revd Richard Skinner, their part-time paid minister and the church's leadership team to explore the possibility of seeking a children’s and youth ministry co-ordinator, with the help of Home Mission support.
It is unusual for a Home Mission grant to be awarded for such a role, but we now have the flexibility to consider this, and the WEBA Home Mission Grants Awards group felt that the particular circumstances of St Marks made this an application with significant merit.
In May this year Bethany Young was employed by the church to fulfil this role – to encourage the existing church children and young people and also to develop new mission-focused initiatives to reach out to children and young people in the wider and very diverse community of Easton. So far, Bethany has begun an activity with pre-school children and their parents or carers in St Marks Community Café with the future intention of continuing with further age groups in the autumn. She is building good relationships with customers, volunteers and the Manager of St Marks Community Café. And most importantly, she is engaging with the local community – for example, attending a community Iftar meal in St Marks Road during Ramadan (June), developing links with links with the Bannerman Road Children’s Centre.
Please pray for Bethany as she continues this important ministry and also as she seeks to deepen relationships with WEBA’S CYF Network and the Bristol Youth Workers’ Forum.
Thank you for your prayers and your continued faithful giving to Home Mission.
Alisdair Longwill, West of England Baptist Association
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