Partners in Mission - Haddenham Baptist Church
Jim Mullen writes ... I said to someone recently, "just check out our website www.haddenhambaptist.org to see what we are like as a church" and a church member standing close to me at the time said, "but the website makes us look good!" And I said, that’s because we are good." What I meant was that the story of Haddenham Baptist continues to grow and sometimes when you are close up, it just seems normal, because that is what we are, growing and that's normal for us.
This past year has had its sad times with the death of some lovely Christian friends and members, but we have seen new people come into fellowship and a lot more dip their toe in. I guess if we had a trendy name it might be, 'Dip your toe in Church'. An Edwardian church building right in the heart of our Fen village in Cambridgeshire, we have a congregation of 82 but if you come on any Sunday there might only be 40 to 50! Many of our congregation are either very young Christians or have not yet come to faith. So you might see why the nickname could apply. We are really blessed in our rural setting to have 23 under-16s who can be part of the congregation, and challenged at the same time. Our faithful children's leaders can have their hands full if all the children come at once!
We have a really fantastic programme which includes a monthly healing service and a well-attended service aimed at older people which is held in the local sheltered housing complex, but it is the young people’s work I have been asked to focus on. We have both regular and irregular aspects to the programme. From the youngest age we provide much respected and loved groups with an under 3s group, The Ark, which meets weekly and provides a structured play environment. It grew so much that we have to have a waiting list and a limit geographically as we had parents from several villages coming and so when we expanded from our church hall to include the church itself, we eventually had to limit things. Similarly we have a drop in group, Jelly Tots, on another day and as that grew we were approached by the local health visitors and they asked if they could hold their baby clinic in Jelly Tots. Since they have joined us their numbers have quadrupled!
Victims of their own success has meant we have had to limit numbers again and so we have changed that to become a bumps and babies (under 1 group). We have over 80 families on our books and it is such a well-received service.
Have a look on our Facebook page for the Ark
We have seen some of the mums/dads start to come to our family service and Sunday club/Bubbles which we have other weeks. Meanwhile we run a fantastic holiday club once a year in the Summer and Light Party as an alternative Halloween. These are so well-received in our community and among the children and again do have a look at our website for photos. Of course we are still working on how we can make it easier for folks to sample us as a church, taste and see that the Lord is good!
As we get to secondary school age we run a drop-in evening one Sunday a month which the kids called Sunday Night Project (I find it amusing that on Sunday nights I go out to the SNP, being Scottish you see?). We have seen several of our older teens drop off as they go to university or the world of work, but we have had an ad hoc music group descend on us for Sunday afternoons, with young people from Ramsey to Royston regularly join us in making some very loud music. We await with interest how the Lord is going to use this! That is not to mention the Guides, or the schools' work we do or our very close ties with Newmarket Youth for Christ (Oh I did mention them!).
So we as a church at Haddenham Baptist Church, want to thank you all so much for the gift of Love that is our Home Mission grant which helps us do all of this and more!
Click here to read more stories about how the money you give to Home Mission is being used to bring the love of God to communities around the country.