Steph & Simon's Blog 

Welcome to our blog. Here you will find some of the reflections and thoughts on church life, leadership and general life from Steph Littlejohn (Minister) and Simon Lace (Team Leader). We hope you enjoy it!
 

Ministries with a mission & ‘Girls with a goal'

On Sunday 6th October, we are holding our annual Gift Day, when we ask all of our church family to support the work of the church with a financial gift.

We also like to give at least a tithe (10%) of whatever we raise to an external cause and I would like to tell you a bit more about what this year’s Gift Day will be supporting.
Firstly, I need to remind you (or tell you, if you weren’t around EBC at the time!) about some recent church history…

MINISTRY LEADERSHIP TRANSITION
In 2016, our staff team changed quite radically when our Senior Minister was called to Andover Baptist Church and a number of other staff members also left. In the wake of those changes, a transitional period has been playing out as the church family has carefully been seeking God’s will for the future.

I was appointed as Team Leader in 2017, at which time it was agreed that it would be appropriate for me to be supported with some further training and development. After a period of discernment, we decided as a church that the best route for this was ‘formation’ as an accredited Baptist Minister and I begin this process later this month.

In tandem with all of this, our existing, part-time, Minister (Steph) has been tapering her working hours down as she moves to retirement at the end of 2020.

As a church, we recognised that with my formation training taking up half of my time, and with Steph’s hours reducing, we needed to strengthen and “future-proof” EBC’s senior leadership team. To that end, we recruited Philippa Marsh as our Ministry Director in January of this year and Phil is already proving effective as she supports me and Steph in the general leadership of our ministries.

In thinking all of this through, we always knew that we were committing to funding my training and Phil’s appointment before Steph’s retirement, and that we would therefore need to fund this above and beyond our regular giving.

With this in mind, we agreed as a church that we would set aside three Gift Days (in 2018, 2019 and 2020) to enable this transition period. This has worked well so far and our finances are being well controlled, thanks to the generosity of you the church, and the diligent work of our finance and staff teams in keeping us on track with our budgets.

Thank you to everyone who has supported EBC in their prayer, serving and giving over this period especially – and please keep it up!

So much for the history lesson – now what about the external cause we want to support with this year’s Gift Day?


GIRLS WITH A GOAL
Recently, Steph, Phil and I were discussing the Gift Day with Kat Morling. Kat is our Lettings & Finance Manager but also takes a strong personal lead on our Overseas Mission work.

We all agreed that we wanted to know more from “our man in Sierra Leone”, Dr Abs Dumbuya, about what the current needs are out there. In one of those strange “God-incidences”, I found an email from Abs waiting for me when I got back to my desk!

In it, Abs was providing the answer to the question we had not even asked him yet….

Previously we have partnered with Abs’ home church in Sierra Leone - Regent’s Road Baptist Church (RRBC), based in the capital, Freetown - on a number of highly successful projects. This partnership has resulted in the building of two churches and a school in rural areas of Sierra Leone, as well as co-ordinated help in times of crisis such as the Ebola epidemic that struck Sierre Leone in 2014.

More recently, as at EBC, there has been a change of senior leadership at RRBC, as Pastor Tanni Barbington-Johnson has retired and Rev Linda Koroma has come to bring new vision and energy to the church. She has asked us – via Abs - for help with a new project that RRBC is starting, aimed at helping fifty young girls with their health, education and pastoral needs. The project is called “Girls with a Goal” and we have received a full description and outline budget for what sounds like a wonderful project!

Abs writes –
“Rev Koroma is a visionary and determined leader who is taking RRBC to another level. This project is geared towards supporting education for girls, who are most times disadvantaged. This proposal is soliciting EBC’s help in whichever little way EBC can support us. I know EBC has supported us several times, for example, you have sent learning materials e.g. book bags, books, etc. in the past.  As EBC's Project Manager in Sierra Leone, I fully support and endorse this project/ proposal and hope EBC can continue to support RRBC."

At this Sunday’s church meeting we will make copies of the briefing document/budget available, but I just wanted to flag up with you all this opportunity to support both EBC’s ongoing ministries and this new RRBC project too. What a great encouragement it would be for Rev. Koroma if we can show our continuing commitment as partner churches by supporting this exciting new project!


Thanks so much for reading – see you in church!
 
God bless,
 
Simon

 

Simon Lace, 20/09/2019

 

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