Becoming the heart of the community:
Highfield Rd Community Baptist Church, Rushden
A change of name helped this church become the heart of the community
Messy Church is "probably the most effective thing that we are doing as a church"
Your giving to Home Mission has made a huge difference
Regional Minister Colin Pye recently had the privilege of meeting and filming Steve and Allie Pearman as they chatted about their work in Highfield Rd Community Baptist Church, which is situated on what has been seen as a needy estate in Rushden, Northamptonshire.
Eight years ago they were getting a lot of trouble in and around the estate, and there was an ongoing problem with local young people and vandalism, windows were being smashed etc, so they held an away day to explore what they should do. They thought that if they wanted to change this situation they needed to help the people from the estate to feel more a part of the church, more of all that was going on. They recognised that they needed to become a church at the heart of the community rather than on the edge, and so they changed their name - inserting the word ‘community’, and engaged in a number of initiatives that have helped this to become a reality.
Eight years on they have very little trouble with vandalism and have a good relationship with the young people of the area. They refurbished a lot of the building and opened it up for community use. They do a few things well - like a coffee shop on one morning, like converting one room for use as a contact centre for use by children and parents of broken/separated families. A team of four even finds time to go into Yarl’s Wood detention centre once a month to take a service.
However, probably THE most significant thing they are involved in is Messy Church. They have been doing this for five years and it has gone so well that they now put on a second Friday in the month that is dedicated to just playing games. One parent commented “this is great I can actually play a game with my child, that I don’t normally do when I’m at home”. I made the mistake of suggesting that this was a children’s evening – Steve is very clear that Messy Church is for all the family; indeed a child can only come if they come with an adult, and it was great to see families coming in and building community together, focussed on the love of God. Steve reflected that 50-60% of those coming were ‘non-church’ folk and that Messy Church was probably the most effective thing that they are doing as a church.
Please do take a moment to watch the video and perhaps show it to your church.
Steve ends the video by saying “I do want to thank those that give to Home Mission because it does make a huge difference. Your giving means that ministry can go on on this estate, and it is a very important ministry to be involved in.”
Please pray for this small church as it seeks to be an effective witness in the part of Rushden in which they have been placed.
CBA Regional Minister
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