(Photo, left to right: Guy Yeomans, Helene Grant, Sarah Phillpot, Simon Govier, Dave Magill, Anne Dunn)
Each September we invite ministers who have joined WEBA during the last year for a morning of cake and chatting at our office, The Old Forge, in Stapleton, Bristol. The WEBA staff get to explain what we do, and we find out a little bit more about them.
This year we met with six ministers, and were so encouraged by what they shared that we thought others might like to hear a little bit of it too, and perhaps remember these missionary disciples in prayer over the coming year.
Anne Dunn is hardly new to WEBA – she has been minister in training at Stonehouse Baptist Church for three years, but this is her first year as a minister called by the church. During this time the church has seen tremendous growth, with a second, breakfast time gathering on Sunday mornings in a local community centre. Now both services are outgrowing their premises, and the church is moving to a local community centre and beginning to call itself Stonehouse Community Church.
Guy Yeomans has come the furthest this year – his previous church in St. Ives, Sydney is now being led by Beth Jackson who is herself a former WEBA Minister in Training! Guy is now part time Minister at Radstock Baptist Church, alongside a role developing Spiritual Direction within WEBA. You can read more about that here.
Helene Grant has had a lot to learn as minister of a Christchurch in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, which is a Baptist, Methodist, and United Reformed Church Local Ecumenical Partnership. Even though an increasing number of Helene’s congregation have passed their 90th birthday, she spoke of a tangible sense of hope and a real awareness of the need for change.
Dave Magill is at Hay Hill Baptist Church in Bath, a church that is widely involved in social outreach in the city. Dave, who feels more comfortable preaching in a pub than in a church, is developing this further through the Make Lunch initiative and growing links with the bar across the road.
Simon Govier has become minister at Upper Stratton, where the previous minister, David Blandford, was in post for no less than 33 years. He accepts that people will keep calling him Dave for the next 5 years! As is the case for many of our churches, the needs of the building could dominate everything, but with a big age range and a hunger for change in the congregation, Simon is excited about the future.
Sarah Phillpot is minister at Horfield Baptist Church in North Bristol – which boasts the largest Baptist church building in Europe! Keeping everything going can feel like a lot of effort, and the great news is that the leadership team are starting the Re-Imagine process in January.