A real sense of community spirit!
THERE’S some great work going on in many of our churches – and this week the spotlight shines on one in South Yorkshire - Maltby Baptist Church, which meets in Redwood Community Centre.
Leader Adrian Wood takes up the story: “The community centre used to be a vibrant facility for local residents then over the years it became underused except for a Bingo Group and was set for closure in 2015, until the church stepped in.
“They contacted Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and signed a lease agreement to manage and maintain the building from November 2015 - and they have not looked back since.”
Adrian, who became leader in 2015 adds: “The church is the driving force behind the centre and has been working hard to modernise the building and grounds for the benefit of the local community. Refurbishment work was completed in 2016 - supported by Maltby TSB bank and their volunteers, the first step towards the church’s vision of a building that caters for everyone. Overgrown weeds and bushes have also been cut back to create a lovely rose garden.
“This year a quiet room and office have been introduced, from which a local counselling service is available. We are currently raising funds to install hard flooring to expand the use of the main hall and encourage a broader range of activities and groups to complement the existing ones on offer.”
The church holds its Sunday service in the centre at 10.30am and meets there on Tuesdays from 7pm to 9pm for Bible study, fellowship and prayer. Non-believers are encouraged to come along to discuss questions of life and faith and to share stories in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Redwood Friends meet there on Mondays at 10.30am. The group was originally formed in partnership with Age UK and the church. Every week is different - they share skills, hobbies, take part in craft activities, quizzes, table games and have guest speakers. The focus is on people aged 50+ but speakers and volunteers of any age are welcome. On Wednesdays from 10.30am to noon, it’s the Chat & Chill coffee morning. This is a friendly and welcoming group which offers the opportunity for non-believers to talk about what matters to them – with refreshments.
“These groups are all part of our mission and outreach, they’re growing with deepening friendships. As with all our ventures, we’re excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do here in the months and years ahead.”
The original Bingo Group continues to meet on Wednesdays, from 6pm to 8pm. “Although all avid bingo players, this is more about fun with friends than big prizes. The group join us for our Christmas party and we hope to invite them along to other church events.”
On occasional Sunday afternoons, the church meets for worship with residents at a local dementia care home. “This is always so encouraging, singing the old hymns, reciting the Lord’s prayer and bringing a simple message from the Bible really brings the residents alive.”
Looking ahead, the church hopes to work with others to create a day care facility for people with disabilities. Watch this space!