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17 Dalling Drive Houghton Regis LU5 5EF Tel 01582 529788

Pentecost - May 2013

Dear Friends, Research suggests there are seven things that mark out a ‘healthy church’. Among them ‘a healthy church seeks to find out what God wants’. It’s one thing that the 50 healthy and developing churches in the survey were found to have in common. So I want to invite you to join us for prayer at 10.45am each Sunday. We’ll meet in the lounge for 15 minutes before the service. Join us if you’d like to and when you can, as we ask God to guide our path as a church together. Paul prayed for the Christians in Philippi...

‘And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.’ I believe that as we prayerfully seek God he will guide us - By opening up opportunities - By instilling some with a calling to a particular ministry - By building among us a vision for who we need to be and what he calls us to do as a church in this community. To seek God’s purpose for us will probably take time to ‘discern’. And it’s a hearts and mind thing. It’s an active process of following that’s involved. As Jesus said in John chapter 14...

‘If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counsellor...the Spirit of truth.’ So here are some things I’d invite you to prayerfully consider.... 1. This Pentecost, I believe the need for us to deliberately choose to grow closer to each other, as a congregation, seems more important than ever. How to do that is a conversation I’ve been sharing with a number of people. God often promises to be present to us. I believe he is also asking us to give our presence to each other. I believe we need to deliberately cross boundaries of race and language to include and to give friendship, hospitality and care. Each Sunday how could you offer Christ’s love and welcome to someone you don’t yet know when we meet? This seems a fundamental priority for us to follow. To this end we’re planning a special time when we can gather to get to know each other better. We’d love you to join us for a BBQ at 12.30pm after the morning service on June 30th. If you’d like to help please speak to Elias Keter.

2. We’re also planning another Growing Leaders course and there will be a taster session on Sunday Evening July 14th. Everyone’s welcome including those who have never thought of themselves as being ‘leader material’ and those who are widely experienced. I wonder whether you have ever regretted not taking more care to grow in your discipleship. This is a brilliant opportunity which experience shows works well for lots of different people. Please speak to me or simply come along on the night to find out more. 3. We have also been working more closely with Baptist Churches across Luton. On July 7th we’ll be joining together for our evening service at Stopsley Baptist to worship and listen to Rev Stephen Gaukroger speak about mission. He’s an international speaker, who knows Luton well. I’d like to encourage you to put the time aside in your diaries now to join us then. Lifts will be available.

4. This summer I shall be taking a period of sabbatical study leave. This will mean I will be away from the church from mid July until the beginning of November. This is something that Baptist ministers are able to do every 7 years and I’m grateful to the church for releasing me to do this. I’ll be focussing on how we can develop as a church to meet challenges that lie ahead. In particular a special opportunity we may have to plant a new church on or near the original site where our church stood in 1750 – just 2 miles up the road. I’d value your prayers as I study – reflect and meet with people. 5. During this period Eric Gurney and Jane Bentley will welcome your practical support. We’d love to receive offers to help transport people to

church – to be on a rota to look after visiting speakers – to assist in counting the offering after the service – to help with special events such as harvest. If you could be part of a team of people to help with any of these things please let one of us know. So far this year a lot seems to have been happening. ¾ It’s great to have folk who came to Alpha , joining a house group.

¾ A fire alarm’s been installed, with the support of two generous donations from Trusts. Thank you to all who made it happen! ¾ As a church we’ve been supporting Blenheim Crescent Baptist Church in their time without a minister. ¾ Recently Keith Wallis has stood down from being an elder after a period of service spanning more than 30 years!

¾ We’ve welcomed Tim Price back from the UAE and we’ll be hearing about his experiences of being involved in God’s mission. ¾ I’m looking forward to a school RE visit – and meeting with two couples to prepare for weddings in July & September. ¾ We’re preparing to launch a ‘Singing Cafe’ - a new Community Link Project - this autumn and a Community Fun Day in August. I feel we are on an exciting journey together with God. So if you would be interested to either help out... or to get more involved... or to explore whether it’s the right time for you... to be baptised or... become a church member then I’d be delighted to meet with you and talk some more. Do be in touch. Every blessing


To our friends at Houghton Regis. Greetings from Blenheim Crescent Baptist Church in Luton. We would like to express our deepest thanks to you for agreeing to allow David to act as our moderator during our current pastoral vacancy. Since the New Year we have been guided and challenged in ways that we hadn’t previously considered and are truly grateful for his wisdom and patience. We would be grateful for your prayers as we work through a time of decision-making and continue to seek God’s will for our future. That future appears to be exciting, challenging and scary, all at the same time! Be assured of our prayers for you as you continue to serve God in Houghton Regis. Martin Owen

Gaibasen (meaning ‘Be strong’) was established in 1999, initially to address the needs of children and young people who are growing up in the disadvantaged township of Katutura (in Windhoek). The aim then was to give sporting opportunities to children aged 7-14 years. To this day, the young people of Katutura, in particular the township of “Damara 3-7”, are marginalised and deprived of productive, educational learning opportunities. As a result they are drawn into gangs and criminal activities, fuelled by alcohol & drugs. There are high levels of unemployment, poverty and homelessness. Teenage pregnancies, health related issues in particular HIV, TB and malaria are common due to the lack of advice and information. There are high level of gender base violence and substance misuse. Our mission is to develop, empower and raise the aspirations of children, young people and adults through formal and informal education. We want to work with the community as a whole, to raise their confidence, selfesteem and sense of responsibility as valued citizens of our society. The project aims to provide basic literacy and numeracy skills and address key social issues. We have plans to extend this to provide training in vocational skills such as woodwork, sewing and cooking. We hope this will enable pupils to improve their nutrition and start up small businesses trading within the local community. Throughout playing sport is encouraged. There’s a football team and we hope to add netball, volleyball, boxing, rugby and athletics to produce future champions competing on a higher level both nationally and internationally.

Through providing courses designed with future employability in mind we want to empower these young people to: • Take control of their future. • Enjoy innovative opportunities so that learners can benefit and progress into higher education. • Build a career and gain longterm employment. • Alleviate poverty. • Develop confidence, social skills and an ability to live within the society without fear • Become mentors in their peer group We’re targeting the following groups: • Boys and girls aged 8 – 25 years with few literacy and numeracy skills. • Children who have migrated to Windhoek from village areas for economic reasons. • Village farm workers excluded from mainstream education. • Teenage mothers who have to drop out of school. • Children who dropped out of school because they didn’t achieve. Through local churches we’ve identified 84 children and young people 40 boys and 44 girls who were not in school. • 10% cannot read and write. • 15% of 9-10 year olds left education after primary school. • 10% dropped out as there was no one to pay the school fees. • 10% of 14-24 year olds have never been to school. • 40% of 15-18 year olds left school in grade ten, because they failed some subjects and couldn’t continue. • 10% mainly 9-14 year olds, were orphans, sleeping rough. • 5% disabled have a learning disability or long term illness.

Theresa Pullen note from David Skinner : I have asked Theresa to share a little about the Gaibasen project. Theresa is unexpectedly travelling to Namibia so I’m planning that she will be able to give us some more up to date information about Gaibasen on her return.

Note from Keith: There has been a Wallis in leadership at Houghton Regis Baptist Church since 1950; I picked up the baton from my Uncles over 30 years ago. It has certainly not all been ‘plain sailing’ and we’ve been through some interesting times together, not to mention the 20 years without a full time minister. Much has changed in that time – we moved from a decaying building into a new building, the style and structure of our Sunday worship has undergone many facelifts. The ‘projects’ of the church have come and gone, with varying degrees of effectiveness, but always within the vision that we have discerned as God’s will. Throughout all that time I have had a strong sense of backing from the church members and especially from my longsuffering wife. (I would say to anyone who contemplates joining the Eldership, don’t do it without the full backing of your spouse, who has to have an equal sense of calling.) The community we serve has altered beyond all imaginings and is to change yet again with the proposed building around Houghton. I was going to say that we are entering an exciting time in church life but, to be honest, it is ALWAYS an exciting time when God is involved. All that being said, I have never seen being in leadership as a permanent thing. For a church to be ‘dynamic’ there has to be change. One of the changes is ‘letting go and letting others have a go’. When David was appointed to the pastorate I intended to be alongside him while he ‘bedded in’ and then rethink after the current term of office. Hence, when election time came around, after a lot of thinking and prayer, I didn’t allow my name to be put into the hat. I won’t be disappearing off the face of the earth and much of what I’ve always done I will continue to do (if required). It would have been easier in many ways to continue in post, rather than standing down, but of late I have been feeling more a sense of the responsibility that accompanies the office rather than a continued calling to occupy it. So it’s a very strange sort of ‘goodbye’ as I return to the ‘back benches’. Keith Wallis

Upcoming events:

book swap On Thursday 13th June at 7.30pm, we will be holding the first of a number of informal "book swap" get togethers in the lounge. This will be an opportunity to get to know others better within our fellowship, although visitors are welcome as always. The Bible itself should always remain the most important book we read, and we should be turning to it regularly .However,reading Christian books is a fantastic way to explore our faith, develop our walk with God and deepen our relationships and understanding about the faith and lifestyle we share. By sharing books amongst us we will have access to a vast array of material and the opportunity to learn about areas of Christianity that we may not have opportunity to explore in other ways. Christianity should be a lifestyle and an adventure we share with one another, so come and join us, pick up a book and let us get fired up about faith and fellowship! Vicki

____________________________________________________________ Small Cash Donations – Top-up payment from HMRC April 6th 2013 is the date on which the provisions from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs relating to the Small Cash Donations come in to force. Under the existing ‘gift aid’ scheme it is possible for charities to claim back tax on gifts made to them where the donor has already paid tax. The new regulations allow for the church to claim a top-up payment on up to £5,000 of small cash donations, potentially providing the church with a top-up payment of up to £1,000 from HMRC. These small cash donations are defined as ‘not exceeding £20’ – ‘exclusively notes and coins’ – ‘not donations by cheque or standing order’ and can be made by anyone regardless of whether they pay tax or not. If you use the envelope scheme but are not part of the gift aid scheme because you don’t pay tax, your gifts will automatically be included in the new scheme. The church will benefit most from this scheme if those of us who are tax payers become part of the full gift aid scheme. This is easy to do – you sign a simple form which gives permission to the church to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your gift and choose to make your gift through the envelope scheme or by cheque or by standing order. This will increase the value of your gift to the church by 25%. If you’d like to help the church in this way please speak to Jane Bentley or email her at Thanks for your help and your generous support of our church.

Church diary June 2nd Sunday 3rd Monday 6th Thursday

Service 11am Rev Frank Sherburn no evening service Funspace Parents & Toddlers

8pm 8pm Housegroup

9th Sunday Services 11am ‘The light of the world & the man born blind’ John 8 v12-20 & John 9 v1-12 4:30pm Afternoon service ‘Maybe’! 10th Monday 11th Tuesday 13th Thursday

Funspace Pastoral Team Parents & Toddlers

8pm Leaders Mtg

16th Sunday Service 11am(all age communion) ‘I am the gate’ & ’ the Good Shepherd’ John 10 6pm Joint service with Stanton Rd @ HRBC 17th Monday 18th Tuesday 20th Thursday

Funspace Afternoon devotional Parents & Toddlers

2.30-4.00pm 8pm Housegroup

23rd Sunday

Services: 11am ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ & ‘the raising of Lazarus’ John 11 v1-44 6pm service

24th Monday 27th Thursday th

30 Sunday

Funspace Parents & Toddlers

8pm Thorn Service

Service: 11am ‘I am the Way, the Truth & the Life’ John 14 v6 no evening service - Church Barbecue after morning service

Church diary July 1st Monday 4th Thursday

Funspace Parents & Toddlers

7th Sunday Service 11am ‘I am the True Vine’

8pm Leaders Mtg 8pm Housegroup John 15 v1

6.30pm Joint Service at Stopsley – Steve Gaukroger th

8 Monday 9th Tuesday 11h Thursday

Funspace Pastoral Team Parents & Toddlers

8pm Finance Mtg 8pm Church Meeting


14 Sunday Service 11am ‘The great I am sayings’

John 8 v58

no evening service - taster evening for ‘Growing th

15 Monday 16th Tuesday 18th Thursday 20th Saturday 21st Sunday

Funspace 2.30 Garden Party Parents & Toddlers Church workday

8pm Leaders Mtg 8pm Housegroup

Services 11am – speaker Bob Davey 6pm

Church ‘work days’. Dates we have assigned this year: 20th July 28th September 23rd November (all subject to final confirmation nearer the dates) Please add the dates to your diary so that you can spare some time to help with some of the maintenance tasks, around the Church.

Thanks for your support


We continue to communicate by e-mail, face book and through our blog spot. Where Keith kindly maintains a full diary of church events so you can check ‘what’s happening and when’. So do keep in touch at: or find us on facebook for the latest on what’s happening. NB. We are still looking for an editor for the newsletter, who can work with David to gather and prepare items for publication. Keith Wallis will continue to prepare the layout of the magazine. If you’re interested please speak to David.

Contact Number David can be contacted on 01582 529788 at anytime of day apart from Saturday. Otherwise contact one of the leadership team (Eric Gurney, Jane Bentley) or for Community Link project Penny Geraghty.

HRBC newsletter June/July 2013