On Sunday 29 January, Evangelical Baptist Church celebrated 30 years of ministry in Hatfield with a special service and lunch together, around the theme ‘God is faithful’. The congregation were joined by friends and neighbours to a service to mark the day, with one of the founding pastors, Ken Houghten and his wife Dawn.
Pastor Ken was the guest speaker and gave a brief history of how he and his wife, with co-workers Doug and Debbie Rowland, felt led by the Lord to begin a Bible study group in their home in 1986.
In early 1987 services began, temporarily meeting in their home until they were able to meet in the afternoon at a local Methodist church. Later on, the church moved to a morning meeting at another venue and, in summer 2000, to their current meeting place, in Oxlease House, a community centre.
Although the church does not have its own premises, Pastor Ken thanked the congregation for their recent contribution to help the Evangelical church at Kirby-le-Soken raise funds to purchase their own building. This is where Ken is currently the minister. Both churches are members of the FIEC.
Pastor Ken spoke on 1 Corinthians 1:2-9, where the apostle Paul thanked God for the gathering of believers in Christ who formed the church at Corinth, and drew out the characteristics of all the church of God, ‘called to be saints’, in every time and place. He commended the church family to God, and encouraged the current pastor and his wife, Murray and Marjorie Gifkins, to continue faithfully in the work, as they have since 1996.
In fact, there were further celebrations all round, as the occasion also included a baby dedication for Rebecca, who marked her first birthday, plus the birthday of another member of the congregation. So, after a hearty lunch, reflecting the international nature of the congregation, those who felt able to could enjoy slices from three cakes!
Most importantly, we are thankful for all that God has done in our midst over the years and look forward to God’s grace at work in the future. (More about the church at www.hope4hatfield.org).