On Saturday 19 September 2015, Emmanuel Church in Handsworth, Birmingham, gave thanks to God for the completion of their church building project.
More than 200 people gathered from churches around the Midlands region, as well as other parts of the country.
The pastor shared a brief history of the church and how ‘their times have been in God’s hands’ (Psalm 31:15). He explained that the church was initially planted by WEC missionaries in the 1970s to reach the local South Asian population in Handsworth.
The work grew over the following years under various leaders, all of them being WEC missionaries. The church became an independent evangelical church in 1997 under the current pastor.
They originally met in a church hall which belonged to a Holiness Church. This hall was a wooden, shed-like structure, which was freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer! But then that church decided to close the work and sell the building. The land and building were valued at £118,000. However, the new church had only £10,000 in the bank.
In an incredible answer to prayer, the trustees of the Holiness Church decided to sell the premises for £10,000, as they wanted to see the gospel flourish in this largely Hindu and Sikh area. So the new Emmanuel Church was formed and the building, which was old and dilapidated, was renovated at a cost of about £45,000.
However, after a number of years, the church found that the building was becoming inadequate for its needs. The seating capacity was only 100, with little leg room between chairs and no real capacity for further growth. It was the congregation’s desire to build a new and larger building, to seat over 200 people, on the land attached to the building.
The pastor explained how the Lord led them to builders Ralph May and his son Nigel, and the finances were provided by God in wonderful ways. The project cost £328,372 in total, most of which was raised by the congregation (£240,000 over a number of years).
The church then took a loan of £90,000 to complete the project. The first service was held on 17 May 2015 and the church has been using the new building since then.
Paul Mallard spoke powerfully from Psalm 103, and reminded the gathered congregation of God’s benefits to his people. Jeff Bounds, from Neath, South Wales, opened with prayer. Derek Meade, pastor of Hope Baptist Church in East London, prayed for the church and its future blessing.
John Mark Teeuwen, director of UFM, and Shingara Singh, an elder of the church, gave the Scripture readings; and Tirath Ram, a building committee member, spoke of how the Lord had provided for the church.
It was a blessed day. The people of God were encouraged; old friends were reacquainted, and all enjoyed the food and fellowship..