Home Mission brings transformation to Carleton Rode Baptist Church
The Revd Mark Taylor became Pastor of Carleton Rode Baptist Church in September 2008. Their initial calling was to part-time ministry due to the financial implication of calling a full-time Pastor to a smaller congregation. Together the church discerned that God would honour a call in faith to full-time ministry. Mark shares the story:
A big part in facilitating this call was the contribution from Home Mission, and I suppose that the Church, Home Mission, and I agreed to step out in faith.
After only 9 months into my ministry the church suffered a devastating arson attack. The Chapel room was severely smoke damaged and the school room and stable wing were gutted by the fire. This was not only emotionally difficult, but the implications on finances was huge. After much prayer and meeting together to discern where God was leading, Carleton Rode Baptist Church knew that God was calling us to redevelop the damaged building. To go far beyond repair and to build something new.
Plans were drawn to create a Community facility in the form of newly developed schoolroom and a beautiful Coffee Shop. We modernised the chapel with the removal of pews and purchasing comfortable seating. We had many prayer meetings asking in faith for God to release funding. The congregation responded with extreme generosity on a gift day. We committed to at least a £180,000 project.
We were granted a £30,000 loan from the Eastern Baptist Association (EBA) and people began their pledged giving to cover repayment. Home Mission were our lifeline during this time, in recognition of the extreme circumstances we were under, they awarded a higher percentage support for one year to help us commit to rebuild and fund the Ministry.
During this time we began to grow as a congregation, and regular giving increased. People of the community realised how precious the Chapel was to the community and were intrigued how a smaller church would step out in faith to rebuild and redevelop, without asking the general public to contribute. Our building work was completed in May 2012 and in the summer of 2013 we paid off the £30,000 EBA loan 9 years early. We also determined to commit faithfully in our regular giving in order to come off the reliance of Home Mission Funding.
At Carleton Rode we are now a thriving and growing Chapel, with an extremely vibrant community outreach through the Coffee Shop and Community Meal. We are about to alter our monthly service routine in order to maximize the contacts being made. One of the ladies we have had regular contact with is an interior designer and has designed and decorated a small office in the church, transforming it into a beautiful prayer room. She offered her services as a thank you for what the Chapel is doing in the community.
God has been so faithful and generous to us, the congregation have remained full of hope and vision, and have shown this through their generous giving; But we also know that without Home Mission the story shared today might be that the church buildings are rebuilt, but there is no one to lead the ministry. Our prayer has been, and continues to be – that with every new brick that was laid, let a new living stone be added to this spiritual house. Home Mission is vital in feeding and discipling that spiritual house.
Please visit our website to see what happens at Carleton Rode now – www.carletonrodebaptistchurch.org.uk