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"Wherever God's people meet he is present there with them"

Cathy Buntin on life at Laird Street Baptist Church

‘The building at Laird Street Baptist Church in Birkenhead has remained closed.  I’ve been challenged to embrace the changes we find ourselves in’, writes minister Cathy Buntin  

Laird Street Baptist Church is not presently open. We’ve been joining with the weekly service and reflections with the NWBA and our Regional Minister Phil Jump has been amazing and preaching into the situation that we find ourselves in. It has been difficult to do our online service as it would exclude the majority. So we set up a WhatsApp group and, apart from six members, we all engage daily with this. This has been a great blessing as we have shared devotions, music and specifically prayer requests. The list is growing every day for those who need our prayers. We also have a weekly prayer meeting via Zoom with the Anglicans and this has been a great source of strength and encouragement.

I have been challenged to embrace the changes we find ourselves in, and seeking God as to how we can reach our community and do church. I feel these times are an awakening for the body of Christ as a whole and the question I think we should be asking is not when can we open and get back to normal, but what is God saying and asking of us in these unprecedented times we are facing. I think we are highly privileged to be serving our Lord in these days and feel God is saying, just like Esther, we are here for such a time as this.  

Laird-Street-leaflet-Hope-in-tThere have been great opportunities for serving the Lord. We engaged with our local Anglican church who put together a gospel leaflet with the theme of Hope and a message to our community. Our fellowship engaged in this by addressing envelopes and stamping them and posting them. Following on from this I did an online Alpha Course via Zoom run by the local Anglican church. I then had a call from a bloke who had just moved to the area, and when the leaflet dropped through his door he was on the point of taking his life: when he saw the picture of the cross and the word Hope he read it and phoned me. I was able to pray with him and support him. Even as we the church are not visibly seen in our community God is still actively present through his Holy Spirit. How amazing is our God.

I am planning to do a prayer labyrinth in the church car park with a cross and an invitation for the community to place prayers on the cross, and engage the church in praying for the needs that appear.

Walking through the streets a couple of months ago I passed about four churches that were closed and I prayed in my spirit: “God, how sad it is to see your church buildings closed.”

The Holy Spirit just spoke to me straight away and God said: “Cathy, my church buildings may be closed but my church is very much alive.” I laugh at the enemy’s tactics as he closed every church globally and God opened a church in every home. The church is not a building but the people and wherever God’s people meet he is present there with them.

This article was first published in the Spring 2021 edition of Baptists Together magazine. Click here to download a pdf version of this article.

Cathy Buntin is the minister of Laird Street Baptist Church, Birkenhead.

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