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The Grapevine The Church in Romania Praying for Others Attitude is more than Personality A NEW Café in Botley PLUS Pastoal Musing Secretary's Notes Family News Poems and news!


September 2017

Botley Baptist Church


PASTORAL MUSING The question reappears every year as we turn the page to September, Did we or did we not have a “good” summer? (some years, the adjective “good” may be redundant). Before the August Bank Holiday weekend, I peeked at the weather forecast and was convinced we were being given “The Great Weather Buildup Tease”! Look at the BBC weather forecast for the weekend on the left. The build up of temperatures and sunshine, rising to 26C and blinding sunshine on Monday, dropping off to cloudy and 18C from Tuesday onward! But we did enjoy the August Bank Holiday, didn’t we? Of all the momentous events in August, this picture on the BBC website left a lasting impression. The longing anguish on the little boy’s face, told the shocking story: Abandon all hope – the vanilla ice cream drought has hit the UK (BBC Website on 25 August, 2017 - Health and Wellbeing section). “Ice cream shops in the UK are running out of the godfather of all Photo from the BBC Website on 25 August, 2017 flavours because crop failures have increased the price of vanilla”! No one ventured to declare the news as “fake”, nor dared to label the event as terror-related! Changes in temperature, the fading-away of seasonal foods, the changing balance between longer and shorter, days and nights, together herald a change of season, which I for one, enjoy, finding it quite invigorating. I look forward to the opportunity of start afresh, pursuing the option of getting out of a not-too-constructive habit, to dare to explore new thoughts, but more than anything else, I find the sense of anticipation, something to which I look forward. There is an expectation in the air, that something is about to happen,

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for which I must prepare, but yet, I am not sure HOW I might prepare for what is to come. September is traditionally a harvest month, and I hold farmers in awe for their ability to anticipate and prepare for the harvest, not knowing what the outcome will be, until ALL the harvest is in! Farmers’ attitude towards the grain harvest teaches us, anticipation and faith go together. The practice of filling the Tithe Barn with first-fruits of the harvest, before filling the storage barns, is an expression of this truth, that anticipation and faith go together. Anticipation without faith can be very frustrating and stressful; we wait knowing something is about to happen, but when it does not happen, the way we expect it to happen, tempers fray, and our emotions and relationships are strained and stretched to the point of snapping. Faith provides the anchor to balance the emotional uncertainty of anticipation. Faith allows us to surrender what we cannot control, and when this faith is placed on the person of God, be rest assured, the outcome will be for our best. This is where many of us falter and stumble. Our knowledge of the person of God is incomplete, and we don't know whether we can (or would like to) trust Him to give us, what is best for us. This trust in God, is a major stumbling bloc, because faith in God, requires us to look beyond ourselves, to peer into the Kingdom of God for answers, AND THEN to trust God to provide it for us. This autumn, we shall examine the character of God. We shall explore how Jesus related with His Father in Heaven, through His prayers. The Gospels tell us Jesus was often found in a lonely place, praying. We have examples of Jesus’ prayers, and we have Jesus’ teaching on prayer, which we shall use in developing our thoughts about the person of God, and whether he can be trusted (the preaching schedule for September through to November is elsewhere in this issue). It is my sincere hope and prayer during these three months, you will find ways to appreciate the person of God, His character and His plans, and that you will allow your faith in Him to grow.

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Know this to be true: God honours faith, and He is moved to act in our best interest, when he sees in us, a glimmer of faith-filled anticipation. Join me in this journey, as together, we examine and amend our understanding of the person of God, preparing to celebrate Christmas, God’s greatest act of love. Yours in anticipation, Kalyan

7th September - Jean Beaver ________________________________________________ N OT H I N G



The sweet young Spring has left her buds behind; The memories of Summer, grove and stream, Bright butterflies and birds that breast the wind, Pass like a dream. Yet faileth not the promise of the year; No waste befalls its savour or its scent; The flowers have fallen, but the fruits are here, Not lost nor spent. Arthur C. Downer

Botley Baptist Church


THE CHURCH IN ROMANIA Pastor Luca’s message at Botley Baptist on Sunday, 26th August 2017 I would like to introduce you to Romania first. It is an Eastern European country. With a surface area of 238,391 square kilo-meters, Romania is as large as the United Kingdom, but less populated (approximately 20 million – even less according to the latest estimates). Romania is an old country and its name comes from Rome or the Roman Empire. The Romanian language is a Latin language, related to the Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The Christian message was preached in that area during the first century. Tradition points to Andrew the Apostle to be the one who brought the Gospel to our ancestors, particularly on the shores of the Black Sea, where Greek-speaking cities already existed. One might expect that given the Latin language, Romanians would have been made part of the Catholic Church. Here it was the geography, and not the language, that was decisive: being in close proximity of the Eastern churches, the Romanian predominant form of Christianity is the Eastern Orthodoxy. In Romania, almost everyone professes to be a Christian. People are what we call nominal Christians. That means they do belong to a church, but they attend it just occasionally (2-3 times a year, sometimes less). Romania, however, has a large population of evangelical churches: Baptists, Pentecostals, Brethren, Charismatic and others. They do practice their faith. We can clearly distinguish three stages in the history of the Evangelical Christians in Romania. Before World War II, there were small groups of Baptists, Pentecostals, 7th Day Adventists, Lord’s Army (the evangelical wing of the Romanian Orthodox Church) and others. They did not enjoy the same rights as the state (Orthodox) church and were harshly persecuted.

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My maternal grandfather was converted in the early 1940s and I know from my mother what it was like to be a Christian during those times. Believers were persecuted, sometimes imprisoned, or heavily fined if they dared to gather as a church outside the approved places and hours and often times brutally beaten by the county police instigated by the Orthodox priests. After World War II, Romania was occupied by the Soviet Union and the Russians imposed a Communist regime. The Communist Party ruled Romania for 40 years. Since their ideology was atheistic, they restricted all churches, irrespective of their denomination. But the Church grew in spite of the persecution and discriminations. The first decade after the war was particularly hard for Christians. In order to repress any opposition, the newly established communist regime put many opinion leadership and Christian leaders in prison. At that time, after an abusive house search by the police, my maternal grandfather was sentenced to 20 years in prison just because they found in his house a Bible and a hymn book. He served in prison for 5 years. Those times when I was growing up in the communist Romania are still vivid in my memory. My parents were Christians and due to their faith, they made some life decisions. Being a Christian in those times you were not allowed to drink alcohol, or smoke or use any birth control methods. My parents had six children. When we went to school it took one simple question for the teacher to immediately find out that we were a different kind of Christians, not Orthodox. That resulted in discrimination. For practicing Christians, it was impossible to access some colleges (for instance, Law or Pedagogy, wherever you could influence the worldview of others) or to have a military career (except for the mandatory military service). As a Christian, you were limited in choosing the desired profession.

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In such a time, I studied Theology. The school was very small and the number of students was limited to a group between 5 and 15 young men. I successfully graduated that school and became a pastor in 1988. At the end of the following year, in December 1989, the Romanian revolution broke out. Most of you know that it was a violent change, as the former dictator Ceausescu would not want to abandon his position of power. After the year 1990, the church enjoyed more freedom than ever before. The Gospel was proclaimed and a lot of people came to Christ, especially within the first two years. Also, many congregations started to build new churches, an activity that was very limited before 1989. Foreign missionaries came to Romania for evangelism, church planting and social (humanitarian) work. This openness was beneficial. My wife Elisabeta came to the Lord at that time and the first church that she attended was an international church planted by American missionaries. Unfortunately, the Romanian economy is still behind other European countries. Several governments which came to power, failed to implement real reforms resulting in many people leaving the country to live and work elsewhere, estimated to be about four million over the past 20 years. The preferred destinations were countries like Italy and Spain, but many live also in Germany and Austria. A large segment of the Romanian expats are Christians and they planted Romanian churches everywhere they settled into their new life abroad. Two years ago, following God’s call, Elisabeta and I came to Oxford to start the first Romanian church in this city, the only one in Oxfordshire so far. There are many Romanians in Oxford and around, but most of them are not professing Christians. We are here to help them and to be a light for them. Me and my wife also enjoy our fellowship with the congregation of Botley Baptist Church and we both want to thank you for welcoming us in your midst. Pastor Luca

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At Narola’s



At Janet’s

ACTIVITY: Sally Harris


At Narola’s



No meeting this month - Christmas Break

A new CAFE at Botley! Anna has started a pop-up cafe at Botley, in the Church’s small hall and the garden (weather permitting). PLEASE DROP BY AND TASTE HER DELICIOUS CAKES & COFFEE!

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SHARING LOVE If you have love to give and share, Don’t hide your love away, But let it shine like morning sun To cheer a cloudy day. If you have love within your heart, A bright, eternal flame, You have a gift for all the world, A message to proclaim. If you can feel compassion now Towards your fellow man, Send out your caring, loving thoughts As often as you can. If you have God to walk with you Just listen for His voice, He gives His love for you to share, Go forward and rejoice. Iris Hesselden

Botley Baptist Church


PRAYING FOR OTHERS A hospital chaplain doing his rounds, approached the bed of a delightful old lady. He noticed her eyes were closed, and with the index finger one hand, she was touching the fingers on the other hand, one by one, pausing for a while before moving onto the next finger. She sensed the chaplains’ presence, opened her eyes and said, "Oh, hello chaplain, I was just saying my prayers - prayers my grandmother taught me many years ago.” The chaplain looked at her quizzically.  "I hold my hand like this”, the lady explained, “my thumb towards me, which reminds me to pray for those nearest to me. Then, my pointing finger reminds me to pray for those who point the way to others: teachers, leaders, parents.  “The next finger is the biggest, so I pray for those in high places, followed by the weakest finger - look it won't stand up by itself! - which reminds me to pray for the sick, the lonely, and those who are afraid.  “And then, well… there is this little one, the last of the lot. When I have prayed for everyone else, I pray for myself.” What a great lesson!   It is so easy to make our prayers about us: "Help me.. "  "Deliver me... "  "Give me..."   "Show me..."   "I need... "       "I want…" when our prayers should be, for and about others.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (other Christians).” (Ephesians 6:18)

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." (Philippians 2:3)

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1st 2nd

For the companionship of pets Those who provide services to our home

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th

Revd Kalyan Das taking our service today Those affected by world wide flooding Joan Slatter; Rosie Stenning Teachers and students returning to school For new born babies For those who suffer sleepless nights For all who play and watch sport

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th

Revd Kalyan Das taking our service today Work of Home Mission Agnes and Philip Stanmore Those preparing to travel All involved in medical research Those who are cold and hungry For a growing awareness of God’s love

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd

Revd Kalyan Das taking our service today Those awaiting hospital results Wendy Swadling; Beccy Summers Those in constant pain For families in Botley and Cumnor Deacon’s Autumn Retreat For the love of grandparents

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th

Revd Kalyan Das taking our service today For the continued work of hospices Anne Thomas; Mary Timbrell Thanksgiving for each new day For moments of quiet For politicians and councillors That we might be prepared for worship

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Worship Service normally at 10.30 a.m. (subject to change)

________________________________________________________ SEPTEMBER

3rd Revd Kalyan Das

Communion Service

10th Revd Kalyan Das

Church Meeting

17th Revd Kalyan Das

Communion Service

24th Revd Kalyan Das ________________________________________________________ OCTOBER


Revd Kalyan Das

Communion Service


Revd Kalyan Das

Harvest Service

15th Revd Kalyan Das

Communion Service

22nd Revd Kalyan Das 29th Deacons

Songs of Praise


COMMUNION TABLE On first (3rd) and third (17th) Sundays in September prepared by Diane and Christoph On first (1st) and third (15th) Sundays in October prepared by Ted and Jean

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SEPTEMBER A selection of September poems

Best I love September’s yellow, Morns of dew-strung gossamer, Thoughtful days without a stir, Rooky clamours, brazen leaves, Stubble dotted o’er with sheaves – More than Spring’s bright uncontrol Suit the Autumn of my soul -Alex Smith The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story, The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle, answer, echoes, dying , dying, dying, O hark, O hear! How thin and clear And thinner cleater, farther going! O sweet and far from cliff and scar The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying Blow, bugle, answer echoes, dying, dying, dying -Tennyson

While ripening corn grew thick and deep, And here and there men stood to reap, One morn I put my heart to sleep, And to the meadows took my way. The goldfinch on a thistle-head Stood scattering seedlets as she fed, The wrens their pretty gossip spread, Or joined a random roundelay - Jean Ingelow

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 AFTER THE 2015 NEPAL EARTHQUAKES You gave so generously following the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal and killed over 8,000 people in 2015. We want to introduce you to TWO of the amazing people your gifts are helping.

1. SARITA, THE GENTLE WOMAN WITH INCREDIBLE STRENGTH “I enjoy being able to love and care for them,” says Sarita, as four young girls sit patiently on a bench and watch her every move. She smiles at ‘her girls’. She comes across as gentle and loving, but this is clearly underpinned with great strength. Her life and work have not been easy. When her husband left her and her son, she had to support herself and her family on her own. Today, Sarita is a dorm mother at Bhawani Secondary School, caring for ten children with disabilities, 24 hours a day. After the 2015 earthquakes, the 16-room school building was destroyed. Today there are simple temporary buildings scattered across the school grounds so that children can continue their education. Sarita, her son and the children in her care live together in a tiny crowded room near the school buildings. Living like this, combined with the children’s physical difficulties, makes life a daily challenge. “Everything has to be done in the room – cooking, living, storing things, reading and playing,” says Sarita. “It’s hard because it’s so cramped.” BMS is supporting the work to build an earthquake-safe structure for Sarita and the children in her care. The new building will have multiple rooms, giving them protection from disasters and more space to live better. “This help is making our lives easier,” says Sarita. “Thank you.”

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2. KAMALA, DREAMING OF THE FUTURE “I had depression,” says Kamala, her brown eyes glossy, near tears. “Because of this problem I couldn’t work to support my family and I had to quit my teacher training.” 28-year-old Kamala’s resilience is deeply inspiring. Kamala has suffered with bone problems in her legs since she was a young girl. At 12 years old she had a surgery to fix the problem. Initially it worked, but six years later her condition came back, worse than it was before. The problems led to an infection in her thigh and made it extremely painful even to move. “I would just lie in my bed all day,” says Kamala. “I didn’t even get up to use the bathroom, it was awful.” Her physical pain had a massive impact on her mental health, too. She stopped speaking to her friends and family and was starting to lose hope. Things got even more difficult for Kamala when she lost her home following the earthquakes. Despite all this, she wasn’t ready to give up. Seeking healing, she decided to join a BMS-supported self-help group. Members encouraged her to see a doctor and they prayed for her. This support led to two amazing things happening. A BMS partner supported Kamala financially and helped her get to a hospital, where she finally got the right medications to treat her depression and legs. And she became a Christian. “I feel much better now,” says Kamala, with the biggest grin, the light coming back into her brown eyes. “My dream is still to be a teacher someday.” SARITA and KAMALA may have been marked by natural disaster, but their dreams are about so much more. Their stories are full of strength, resilience and love – and thanks to your support, we have had the privilege of coming alongside them to help. Rebuilding homes, providing access to healthcare and empowering people to chase fullness of life in Nepal – that’s the kind of work that you are very much a part of. It’s God’s work, it’s transforming and restoring lives in beautiful Gorkha, and it’s made a huge difference to these two people, among any others. Thank you.

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FAMILY NEWS The past month has seen Kalyan away on Study Leave. He has also been suffering with illness. We take this opportunity to welcome him back. As a consequence this month’s Family News is brief. We pray for those unable to attend church because of illness and wish those who are away at this time a “Happy Holiday”. We look forward to seeing you back home safely. As many of you know George Pearce was taken ill last month, and below are extracts of an email he sent to Kalyan. We include him and Jayshree in our prayers at this worrying time for the family. “Thank you so much for your prayers and good wishes for my recovery …. my thanks to our dear friends at Botley Baptist Church for their prayers, good wishes and 'Get well' cards - I feel both humbled and extremely blessed. I have indeed had a stroke (not a TIA) on 9th August and I was hospitalised for a very short while. I have now regained my speech and lost most of the 'stutter' and my right side is much stronger. I managed to walk round St James Lake, Brackley yesterday morning. The main problem I seem to have is overwhelming tiredness which, I am told, will get better in time. Also getting used to the drugs etc. and, of course, I am not allowed to drive for a while. Jayshree's swift action and after-care and the wonderful treatment I received at the JR are far beyond words.   … The Lord has been by my side throughout and I have felt His presence in a very real and special way - If it is His will, I will be back sharing His Word and the Good News of the Gospel before too long. Please convey my love to all the fellowship at Botley - you are in my prayers.  May you always remain strong in the Lord Jesus. Every blessing. George

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news from 
 SOUTHERN COUNTIES BAPTIST ASSOCIATION (SCBA) Iford Baptist Church International Friendship Group The International Friendship Group meets at Iford Baptist Church on the first Sunday of each month, at tea time, from 4pm- 6pm. People come to practice speaking English with native English speakers, who are all members of our church. We have a team of about 10 people who are committed to the work. 32 people, from babies to grandads, from Hungary, Italy, Japan, India, Germany, Holland and the Philippines living across Bournemouth, have attended. During the first half hour of the meeting, tea and biscuits are served. People chat, do craft, a quiz and other table activities, as well as table football and pool. This is followed by a, organised vocabulary game and a speaking activity. We then share food together (everyone brings a plate of food to share which means we get to try food from the various cultures!). During the final half hour, we engage in a narrative/drama- based Bible story or presentation, linked to a Bible story. It is an opportunity to befriend and support people from overseas in our community, as well as share God’s Word with them. Over the summer we hope to have a picnic in the park and a BBQ on the beach, which will involve the whole church family too. The Bible mentions men and women from every language, tribe, and nation being in heaven. ‘Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to hold in awe, the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to to hold in awe, the Lord your God.’ Deuteronomy 31 v 12-13 ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.’ Ephesians 2 v 19 We pray that genuine friendships will be formed and ultimately lives will be transformed, as people from other countries hear something of God’s Word and get to know us, the church in Iford.

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ATTITUDE IS MORE THAN PERSONALITY (I) “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…” (Philippians 2:5) “God blesses those who are poor in spirit and realise their need for him, for the Kingdom of heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted, God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. “   Matthew 5:3-12

Our attitude plays a big part in the way we approach the circumstances of daily life. Our attitude affects our ability to relate with others and minster to them; more importantly, it dramatically affects our personal relationship with God. “The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past; than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude…  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90%

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how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” (Charles Swindoll)

Don’t let bad or wrong attitudes control and influence your life. Be thankful for the good things that are going on, and trust God to help you with the other stuff. - Elisabeta Cretan ___________________________________

SECRETARY’S NOTES We've had a rum old summer, tabloid headlines claiming various (spurious?) records for warmest, wettest or chilliest days for the season. Despite this plenty of people seemed to get away for enjoyable and refreshing breaks, I do hope that you were one such family, and now back ready for the next lot of challenges. St. Giles Fair, the opening of the new Westgate shopping centre, and the much delayed commencement of the Botley re-development. Kalyan intended to take some weeks study leave, preparing themes programmes for the forthcoming autumn services and sermons. Further objections, resulting to more delays have meant that he has had to be spend some time in yet further negotiations with Baptist Union and Mace legal advisors. Phew ! Not helped by a painful sciatica attack. Then George Pearce had that stroke. So, the deacons found themselves responsible for an extra service preparation, including communion. Phew !! yet again. Thanks as ever to those who chose their favourites for the two Songs of Praise occasions, and of course to Robin for quiet suggestions on balance, and both Phil and Luca for their contributions at such short notice. Agnes, Phil and Maureen have expressed their wishes to transfer membership from Bayworth, and Elizabet and Luca likewise are seeking membership to Botley. As a church we are truly blessed that these good friends feel so at home and welcome in our company. I very much hope that we can continue to welcome the delightful new family, and that their daughter finds friends when she attends Matthew Arnold school, (and I must pay more attention to introductions).

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We have a busy start to the autumn, with the Quarterly Church Meeting on Sunday 10th September, Harvest Celebrations on Saturday and Sunday 8th/9th October, and yet another deacons led Songs of Praise , Sunday 29th October, Anniversary General Church Meeting on Sunday 5th November. Somewhere in there Kalyan has to squeeze in a flying visit to his mother's 90th Birthday, a deacons' retreat and prepare us all for Christmas. I feel exhausted just writing about it all!! Ted

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BIBLE STUDIES HOUSE GROUP meetings on Tuesday at 7:30pm resumes on 12 September. Having completed a fairly detailed study on HEALING in the first sox months, after the summer recess, it was decided to embark on a study of the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. Our focus will intentionally not be on the timing nor sequence nor meaning or decoding the images of events described. We will instead focus on the person of God, His message to us the Church, and His great acts of love to save us and welcome us back into His kingdom

SEACOURT COMMUNITY HALL meetings on Thursday at 11:00 am, resumes on 14 September. We have been studying the rich collection of the Parables of Jesus.

If you have internet connection, please log onto the new church website: and explore its contents. At the bottom of the screen is a fixed “media bar� by United Christian Broadcasters (UCB). Click LISTEN for live Christian radio, or listen to PLAYER for podcasts, and WORD for readings and messages.

The Grapevine (September 2017)  

Monthly magazine of Botley Baptist Church

The Grapevine (September 2017)  

Monthly magazine of Botley Baptist Church