‘The body is a unit,
though it is made up of many parts: and though all its parts are many, they
form one body. So it is with
Christ. For we were all baptised by one
Spirit into one body’ 1
Corinthians 12 vs12 – 13
What makes a body function well? It is surely when each and every part is co-ordinated to perform one task or function. That is, I believe, how we have been during this last year – one body, working and functioning together.
During this year we have lost to death, no members of the Church although several members have lost relatives and in some cases we, as a church, have been able to minister to the family. We celebrated one marriage, Lucy and Richard and one Dedication Service of Keeva Copin.
During the year we held an Open Air Service in Glenmore Park (which we followed by a picnic) and, although we did not attract a crowd, one or two passers-by and one resident in a local house, showed some interest – but we were doing what Jesus had told us ‘to preach the good news’ Matthew 28 v19.
Alongside the other ‘Churches Together in Shepshed’, we held our annual Christian Unity Week Service and then later in the year, the Songs of Praise, in which we sang a medley of old hymns.
As always, the special services for Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Harvest are highlights in our Christian year and I am truly grateful to the choir and IGnight who work so hard to enhance these great times of worship and praise. And as I’ve just mentioned IGnight and Pauline, I am so thankful for the way they enhance and lift our worship Sunday by Sunday but, more than that, I’m grateful that they also bring Spiritual Gifts into our worship, thus helping each one of us to release the worship within us.
IGnight of course, held their own ‘Cafe Church’ worship times which were well attended and much appreciated by a wider audience than that seen on a Sunday.
It’s here that I want to offer real thanks to Pam Frost and the Ladies of the Banner Group for providing us with works of art that speak to our souls and draw us into praise. I really don’t know how you achieve so much through needle and thread.
This year we have been truly blessed with visits from Judith Ellis, our link missionary in Nepal and Revd. Dianne Tidball, our Regional Team Minister Leader. They brought to us a word of God that both thrilled and challenged us – and surely the Spirit of God was upon them both.
ndeed, the Spirit of God has been moving powerfully amongst us – some have received gifts of joy, some of healing, some of assurance, some have been ‘slain in the Spirit’. This is but the beginning – God has yet more work to do amongst us but perhaps there are things for us to do first.
Our most recent Deacons’ Away Day has been centred on the work and witness of the Holy Spirit in Revival and Renewal and we have much to pray about, and much to do, as the Spirit leads – but I believe we are about to witness mighty acts of the Lord amongst us!
I am always thrilled by the number of folk who attend our Bible Studies – but of course, as a Pastor, I long for more, indeed for all the Church to be involved. Just look at the subjects we have looked at this year – John’s Letters, James’ faith that works, Hope: your hearts deepest desire, Images of Christ, The 12 Disciples, Angels and Meeting the Spirit. I feel sure that all of us who have shared in these studies are wiser, deeper, and more challenged in our love of the Word – and yes, longing for more.
Furthermore, our sermons on Sundays in the mornings have dipped into ACTS, LUKE, JOSHUA, MATTHEW, JUDGES, JOHN and 1st SAMUEL, whilst the evenings have been engrossed in HEBREWS, PHILLIPIANS, EPHESIANS, THE EARLY PARTS OF JOB, 1 THESSALONIANS and TEACHINGS ON THE NEW BIRTH.
I think that all these subjects have been causing us to grow in the Lord and I think He will be pleased with our progress.
I hope that, like me, you feel that God’s hand is upon this fellowship, guiding us, calling us, leading us to new, exciting opportunities of serving Him – and new exciting opportunities to speak, act and live out the Gospel Message of ‘Jesus Saves’, empowered by His Holy Spirit.
Finally, the Deacons and myself went to the Baptist Union Annual Assembly held in West Bromwich, I think we were all disappointed by the Assembly and found it lacking in verve and Holy Spirit power, however, it made us even more thankful for God’s anointing among us here. Rev Howard Ketton
I have chosen to use words written by the Baptist Missionary Society to open this report.
‘We are part of God’s mission to a world in desperate need of His transforming love.’
begins with each one of us, in our church, in our community. The life of our church on Sundays and
throughout the week continues to work towards that aim.
The Ladies Fellowship meets each Wednesday where Hilary reports that we have certainly seen God’s blessing upon us this year and answers to fervent and loving prayers for those of our number who have gone through difficult times. We are so very happy to have Jean Allen and Anne Mickleburgh back with us and also prayers answered for Joyce Roberts, now settled with Adrian in her new flat. We have been missing fellowship with Belle Wright, Madge Massey, Kath Newbold and Dorothy Beech, all of whom have been suffering with pain and age-related problems but who are a real encouragement and example to use in their steadfast faith. We continue to hold them up before the Lord in our weekly meetings. Numbers have been maintained and the ladies are eager to meet to pray, sing and hear God’s word which has been brought to us by speakers from CRBC and from other churches. We are grateful and indebted to them all. We have continued to take an active role in the Loughborough Federation of Baptist Women in attending and hosting their various events through the year. We intersperse our devotional meetings with social events which this year has included two Afternoon Teas (at the Manse and the home of May North’s daughter) an outing to Whatton House and our New Year Party. The Ladies are now looking forward to more times of sharing, support, encouragement and blessings as we venture into another year together.
Luncheon Club average about 28 diners where excellent meals continue to be provided by the team led by Hilary. Grateful thanks for all they so ably do for us and also thanks to Lee for her extra help. Speakers have included our own Barry Newton, Brian Walbey and Allan Scott with the addition of a visit by our MP Nicky Morgan who confessed that this was the first time that she had eaten beef pie in church – two portions!
We are thrilled to have two new groups meeting regularly now. The Men’s Group started in April 2014 and is a social group for the men of the church but also welcomes those on the periphery, including men who might be uncomfortable with the idea of ‘church’. Since they began, Geoff reports that they have met once a month, apart from October, on Thursday evenings or Saturdays, and have been long alley skittling, walking in Derbyshire, enjoying dvds of ‘Captain Phillips, in a member’s home, and ‘The Railway Man’, in church. They have also been ten pin bowling, enjoyed a trip on a working boat on the River Soar, and had breakfast at St. Joseph’s and an evening Italian meal. Attendance has varied from six stalwarts who braved the heights in Derbyshire to more than 20 who watched ‘The Railway Man’. So far, 23 attendees have been fellowship men with 2 non-church men.
A group for women was launched in December and became Women Together. The ladies meet for social events and, again, hope to reach out into the community. Irene reports that the first outing was to a country Christmas Craft event at Bradgate Park which was very successful. This was followed with a 'bring and buy' sale with nibbles at Judi’s house which raised funds for future events, and a craft evening where we showcased our talents. Watch out for news of further events for these two groups, contacts being given in the weekly news sheet or on flyers.
For the young people of our community, we have Girl’s Brigade and Sunday Club. Rachael, our GB Captain, reports on the year for the 2nd Shepshed Girl’s Brigade which meets weekly. The 2nd Shepshed Girl’s Brigade has had a very busy year. We have had four new girls join us and currently have 18 members. Teresa has now completed her training and is a fully qualified officer – a big well done!! The girls have been busy completing their badge work and have also taken part in a range of other activities. The girls planned and organised a fund raising cake bake event, where they served home-made cakes and cups of tea to raise a total of £100 for their chosen charity, The Redgate Animal Farm Sanctuary. Some of the girls had a trip to the farm to present the cheque, which was gratefully received. The girls collected canned and packet food items and decorated the church windows at the Harvest Festival. The food was then donated to the Carpenters Arms for distribution to local people in need. The girl’s sponsored guide dog ‘Tilly’ has recently graduated and is a fully qualified guide dog working in Birmingham with Mike. Mike has said that Tilly has totally transformed his life. The girls have become more aware of the challenges and barriers that affect visually impaired persons and are excited to have sponsored a new pup ‘Star’. The girls have also joined in National Brigade events by making cards and praying for the missing Nigerian girls. Some of the missing girls are Brigade members and the girls have been praying for their safe return. The cards that they have made will be sent to GB headquarters and then forwarded on to the Prime Minister. The girls had an end of term fish and chip supper in June. There was also a night of party games and cakes at Christmas, with Santa making a guest appearance. The meeting nights remain noisy and filled with laughter during the games, crafts and activities. The girls find the Brigade a safe place to come, to let off steam among friends and most importantly to learn about Jesus.
Rachael would like to thank her dedicated officers Caroline and Teresa and helper Wendy for their time, love and support given to the Girl’s Brigade. Thanks also to the other ladies who pop in and help occasionally by providing craft sessions and other support.
Sunday Club has shown an increase in numbers this year with 9 regulars in the ‘Xstream’ group, 5 in the ‘Bubbles’ group and 4 crèche children. In addition we have seen several visitors to each of the groups. We continue to follow the Scripture Union material, the subjects of which are also used for ministry in the church. This ensures good links with adult and young people’s learning. We aim to show the children the love of Jesus for them, in a fun and interactive way with time for discussion and conversation. Thanks go to all the teachers, Anne and Hilary, Glynda and Annette and Jean and Maureen, not forgetting the invaluable support given by Helen, Daniela and Hannah.
FreeDA – our Free Debt Advice Service, continues to be an invaluable outreach for support in the community. Business has increased and the workers are fully occupied! The team, led by Bob, have supported and are supporting folk with serious debt and budgeting issues, employment and even housing problems. The team continue to work towards securing funding from other sources in order to continue their work. We are indeed blessed to have this team who give of their time and skills in service to the community.
As a church, we have been blessed by money raised to complete our lift in November, enabling us to have a vision for the use of all our rooms. It also needs to be noted that the whole of our property has now been registered with Land Registry as a protection of what is rightfully ours. We have also raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support at our Harvest Supper and for ‘Passion’ as once again, we took part in the concert at St Botolph’s Church singing excerpts from ‘Annie get your gun’. We have celebrated together as Howard & Hilary and Keith & Jenny reached their 40th wedding anniversaries and Kath & John Cole reached their 50th.
As we move to the wider community and Home Mission, Cynthia would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have Home Mission boxes for ‘loose change’ and for bringing used stamps. These stamps raised £6,446.00 in England and Wales for 2014. Home Mission helps churches who cannot afford a minister full time and, as we know, some of these churches do a great work bringing people to know the Lord. Please remember this in your prayers.
I end this report, as I began, with the Baptist Missionary Society. In the past year, BMS have encouraged supporters to pray with them as they have explored God’s calling to ministry within the closed and impoverished country of North Korea. They are delighted to let us know that the first BMS mission workers for North Korea were accepted in January 2014, with a further couple offering for service later this year. This is a real answer to prayer as they seek to share the fullness of life in Jesus Christ through faith, and respond to the suffering of the poor by improving education and health services. ‘The Highest Goal’, the BMS vision document states, ‘is to bring people to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and an experience of the abundant life that only He can provide.’ Our support is enabling this mission in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. From medical work in Chad to church planting in India, BMS personnel are making Jesus known. Beverley, our BMS secretary, reports that during 2014 we sent £2,200 to BMS, £72 collected from the Birthday Scheme, £94.20 from collecting boxes and £2,033.80 from the church funds.
May we continue our mission into 2015 with Christ at the centre of all that we do. Glynda Bassford