Church in a Weekend
September is a busy month for churches and for FIEC: not only is it a new academic year (around which many church calendars fit) but it is also the time for inductions, plants, and church weekends. We thought it would be interesting to reflect on this last weekend.
Seeing what some of the FIEC staff were up to reveals something of the breadth and depth of what is going on in local churches. It’s probably an unusual weekend; nevertheless, our travels tell a tale.
Jonathan Bond, our Director for Smaller Churches, preached morning and evening at Market Overton Free Church. Market Overton is a village in Rutland. The church draws people from neighbouring villages, and a good group from The Lodge Trust, a Christian centre for those with learning disabilities.
Graham Beynon, our new Head of Local Ministries, was at Grace Church Hilton for their 10th anniversary. Hilton is a small but growing village to the south of Derby, far enough away to be its own place. The elders have a robust and thought-through model of bi-vocational ministry, and it was good to hear from Graham how happy a time it was together.
Elinor Magowan, one of our Directors for Women’s Ministry, was part of the launch team of a new church plant in Woodley (pictured), an eastern suburb of Reading. This is a plant from Carey Baptist Church and there were about 65 present on their first Sunday together.
I was preaching at Kingsway Church, in Kings Heath, Birmingham (pictured). Barnaby and Ro Pain came here to serve almost six years ago as part of a revitalisation project, and it is heartening to see progress that has been made, including employing a youth worker with help from the FIEC Mission Fund (which has also paved the car park). The church is growing!
Daniel Grimwade, our Director for Yorkshire, was preaching in New Hope Christian Church’s new building in Sheffield (pictured). New Hope is a church largely made up of immigrants and refugees from Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo but are seeking to work with the wider Christian family in Britain. They have been getting interest from the surrounding area and are having to think about translating services into English!
Churches appointing leaders
John Stevens, our National Director, was preaching at the induction of Richard Perkins at King's Church, Guildford. King's Church has only joined FIEC in the last few years, and it was hugely encouraging to see how Richard has been called to serve them.
Johnny Prime, our Director for Pastoral Care, was preaching at the induction of Jonathan Berry as pastor of Above Bar Church in Southampton. The church was full and the leaders are having to think through next steps in terms of growth. We’re grateful to God to see this work continue to flourish in an important city-centre.
Andy Hunter, our Director for Scotland, attended Craig Dyer’s induction at Hamilton Baptist Church. Hamilton is just to the southwest of Glasgow and the church is in the Scottish Baptist Union. Craig, who previously worked for Christianity Explored, has a long connection with FIEC and FIEC churches. On Sunday evening Andy was preaching at Wester Hailes Baptist Church in Edinburgh - they’re currently going through the process of appointing a new pastor.
And, of course, every one of our staff is stuck into their local church, worshiping, serving, and enjoying being part of the family of God. FIEC is a fellowship of local churches. We believe in the local church and staff employed centrally are privileged to serve local churches.
Our weekend just gone is not only a reminder that it is the local church which is the currency of the new covenant work of God, it is a powerful sign of a deep truth: the Lord is at work.
All glory to him!