15 years at Chenies Baptist Church 2000-2015

 

Rather than the usual annual review I thought it would be Illuminating to reflect on Dawn and my past 15 years at Chenies, the last 12 years with Malcolm as Baptist minister.

 

Necessarily this will be incomplete. Despite this, my prayer is that it will prove faith building, encouraging and possibly illuminating for the future.

 

In the year 2000 the embers of faith were being fanned back into flame following the appointment of Gwen and Peter Hicks to the pastorate. The church had taken the bold step to sell Kingscote to release capital to renovate the church hall, kitchen and toilets and to secure a car park. These significant steps placed Chenies on a path to recovery and renewal.

 

Outreach in the Creative Power of the Holy Spirit

Dawn and I joined Chenies Church because we felt called to serve the Lord here and almost immediately launched an exciting children’s holiday club with Andy and Astrid Bannister. This emphasis on sharing the good news about Jesus has permeated every year:

  • From children’s Easter Fun Days to pastoral outreach at the Memorial service for loved ones.

  • From the structure of a Christianity Explored course to free discussion at the Men’s Group evenings.

  • From the attempted sophistication of Jazz in June to gospel craft and refreshment outreach in the holidays in Westwood Park.

  • From the tried and tested Alpha course to running with six foot crosses across Chorleywood Common on Easter Saturday.

  • From pampering and caring for women at Wellsprings with a gentle gospel message to directly presenting the uniqueness of Jesus through the course, Jesus Through Asian Eyes.

  • From support for families with children with disabilities to sharing the gospel at Holiday at Home for our coffee breakers.

  • From an Advent Pilgrimage to sending out missionaries to Cape Town, Milford, West Africa, Llandovery, Chesham Bois or your workplace or neighbourhood.

Each year I have wondered, how will the Lord guide us this year in sharing the Good News and was bowled over last Christmas Eve to not only see the church filled for the Christingle and real nativity but then the village gathered with over 150 singing carols and celebrating by lighting the beacon the birth of Jesus the light of the world. (Holy Spirit, how are you leading Chenies Baptist church to share the good news of Jesus in the years ahead?)

 

Growth and Maturity

Living things grow and the life of Jesus has been evident in so many ways over the years:

1. It has been a joy to see many put their trust in Jesus and obey his call to be baptized. How fantastic it has been to see old age being no barrier to baptism, to see Rob my son baptized and to see the promised Holy Spirit poured out and strengthening those who trust and obey.

2. In a society that shys away from commitment, I have been thrilled by so many choosing to become church members and taking their responsibility to watch over one another and to pray and care for the common life of the church.

3. For a relatively small church it has been remarkable to see so many gifted people sent out in full time Christian work – Gwen and Peter, Andy and Astrid, Rob, Ben and Lucy-Claire, Debbie Cannon (now Burt), David Leeds, Dave and Nicki Marson, Caroline and Dave Pile. Who will he send next?

4. It has been wonderful to see a widened pastoral care team offering compassion and care to those in our community. It has also been my privilege to witness and walk with people facing long periods of suffering and aging that have shown great faith and fortitude.

5. Throughout the years, prayer has been the life-blood of the church with an hour every Thursday morning set aside and 20 minutes of prayer before every service. Also, what a change occurred when we began each church members meeting half an hour earlier for prayer.

6. ‘Money speaks’ and the regular monthly giving and one off gift days reveals the way in which the Lord has reordered our priorities, helping us to want to give and support ministry and mission at home and abroad. How amazing that Chenies supports so many missionaries and still has funds for a full time minister, additional ministry and major projects like the Sun Room. We look with expectation for the Lord to provide for all our needs in the years ahead.  

 

Lord may we learn more about what it means to be your disciples and to serve you with our time, talent and treasure.

 

Chenies Baptist Church on the Map

When we first moved into the village in 2006 the church had received the support of Alistair Macleod Matthews (Chenies Manor) assisting in the planning process for the car park that has proved so beneficial. However, despite monthly magazines being distributed around the village and area, Chenies Baptist Church had a very low profile.

 

Just see how the Lord has extended our borders and re-established his lamp stand brightly in His church:

 

  • Chenies School welcome us to: lead assemblies twice a term; act as Governors and the children visit the church at Christmas and Easter. We regularly see Chenies School children attending fun days and special events and year six children coming to Fridays youth club. We had no contact with the school before 2003.

  • The village community fund gave £5000 to assist the building of the Sun Room and the Parish Council now meet every other month in this room.

  • Chenies Baptist was at the hub of the village celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee.

  • In 2013 we linked our harvest with the village produce show with many donations of flowers and produce from the show adding to our harvest display.

  • The village art groups now meet in the Chess Room on a Tuesday and Thursday morning.

  • Our neighbours have kindly shown hospitality in various ways: David and Kate Cottingham have allowed us to use their field to let off fireworks; the cricket club has opened their car park, and field for Fridays games; Shetland ponies and sheep have been loaned for Christmas Eve; the village web site promotes and links to Chenies Baptist and it is exciting that the village often look for our support and ideas for future events being planned.

 

Thank you Chenies Baptist Church

Thank you, for sponsoring me for training in Baptist ministry at Spurgeons College.

Thank you, for your continued encouragement and prayer for us as a family.

Thank you, for trying out new ideas.

Thank you for investing in the church and Manse fabric so that we have such a useable and good space for village and community events.

Thank you, for releasing me to preach and serve in the wider church and community.

Thank you for all the practical acts of love and kindness and thank you for forgiving me when I have got it wrong and have been poor in love.

 

Prayer

Thank you Heavenly Father for these fruitful and blessed years in Chenies. Thank you that this is your church. May Chenies Baptist continue to be a place where people from all nations will come and find a warm welcome, where those with disabilities and able-bodied can worship together and where young and old enjoy one another and are loved and built up in the faith. Please deepen the devotion and discipleship in this church so that it truly honours our coming King Jesus. Please provide every spiritual gift and material blessing that this church needs to be able to extend your kingdom, to the glory of your Great name. Amen

 

Malcolm Hazell

© Chenies Baptist Church 2014