It’s been wonderful to welcome Tania Vaughan as the new minister of Little Stoke Baptist Church in Bristol recently. Here she shares with us some of the changes that have been taking place already and how the church and the community have been coming together:
My first month as a NAM and the new Minister of Little Stoke Baptist Church has seen a lot of activity. I think the thing I have heard most from the community has been ‘I didn’t realise the building was open!’
Well that’s changing already.
In just a month, more people have been attending the free coffee morning every Thursday 10am-noon to enjoy drinks, chat, craft and jigsaws, but also to browse the ever changing table top items which are available for any donation amount.
The car park has been spruced up with some new planting to add a bit of colour and make it more appealing to the many people who walk through it. This is just the start of a plan to make community gardening accessible to all and meetings with the council to get this in motion are already happening. It starts with a new Community Herb Garden in just the right place to pick some herbs while queuing for the weekly meat van!
This is being driven by the brand new “Little Stoke Growing Community” facebook group which I had a vision for whilst on retreat the week before starting as the Minister. God spoke to me about planting, growing and restoring from Amos 9. I didn’t realise he meant it literally but it has been a great way to start connecting with the community and has generated a lot of interest.
This weekend we hosted our first community event. The community came together to build a bug hotel and enjoy the craft activities and games. It was a great opportunity to chat with families from the community and meet with people who would never usually come into a church building.
I’ve also set up a brand new website (www.littlestokebaptist.org) and got the church active on social media. Through these events we are beginning to form new relationships in the community and they are starting to realise that the building is indeed open. The church is small in number but the members have a real love for this community and have been great in engaging with the new people coming into the building. It’s a lot of change but they are embracing the opportunity to connect with people. They want to share the love of Jesus with others and show that it is not just our doors that are open but our hearts.
I am really blessed to have been called to such a great community both inside and outside the church. I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to work in the future.
Please pray for Tania and the community at Little Stoke. Thank you.