Day 18 – 29 Days of Prayer and Giving – Sonning Common, Oxfordshire
Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day eighteen of our 29 Days of Prayer and Giving for Grace Baptist Partnership. Each day we will focus our attention on a particular church planting, church replanting or church revitalisation project in which we have an interest. We trust you will remember these situations in prayer and that you will take advantage of the opportunity to support the spread of the gospel by means of a donation to Grace Baptist Partnership this month. It will also help us if you will share these requests with your friends by forwarding these emails to them.
18 February 2016
Sonning Common, Oxfordshire
“My husband and I just wanted to send a word of encouragement. We were so excited to see your leaflet come through our door in Sonning Common. We are both born again Christians who attend Greyfriars in Reading. We pray that God blesses you as you reach out to the people of Sonning Common and that people would come to Christ through the course you are running.” The email sent to one of the elders at Caversham Evangelical Church in Reading was an encouragement. Especially since – interestingly enough – professing Christians can be among the rudest people you can encounter doing door to door work!
That was three years ago now. We were helping the friends at Caversham set up a weekly ‘Ultimate Questions’ study in the South Oxfordshire village of some 3,784 people. Trusteeship of the former Sonning Common Free Church had passed into their hands. They were anxious not to leave the village without an evangelical witness. We were anxious to help them. The studies came off okay and aided by various friends from Caversham (and some of their unsaved friends) we had good numbers attending most sessions. With the exception, though, of some unaffiliated Christians living in the village who attended a few times, we struggled to gain a foothold in the village. The struggles would continue.
Convinced of the need to have a worker living in the village, the friends at Caversham began searching for an evangelist. The ideal candidate would live and work at Sonning Common but would also serve alongside the church at Caversham in evangelising their own local area. First one possibility and then another was raised. For various reasons – not including lack of desire or effort on their part! – nothing happened. They, however, persevered.
Finally a solution – albeit a temporary one – presented itself. A missionary family on furlough has been living in the village and supporting the evangelistic/church planting endeavour. Real benefit has been seen during this time. A weekly meeting in the village is held each Sunday afternoon. A monthly club for Primary School age children is being run as well. There is a sense of forward motion.
There is a concern as well. When the missionary family returns to their overseas post this year, who will be able to build on their efforts in Sonning Common? Will someone else be prepared to move to the village to take up this work? Will the momentum the friends at Caversham have long sought be lost? Many questions for which at that the moment there are few answers.
What are you prepared to do to help? “All I can do is pray,” you say. All? That is the most important thing anyone can do! Can you give? When a worker is found the small church at Caversham would benefit from assistance in funding them. Maybe this a way in which you could be involved. Could you go? I mean, seriously, could you be the person the Lord will raise up to serve in this role? Have a chat with your church leaders. See what they have to say. If they think you might be a good fit for this situation, let us know. We would be happy to put you in touch with the leaders at Caversham. They – to say the least – would be happy to hear from you.
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership