On Monday 3 June, about 35 gathered for the pastor’s 40th anniversary service from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Kent and Surrey, with two coming from ‘across the pond’ (Minnesota).
This fellowship of Strict and Particular Baptists first met together in 1908 in a private house, when 19 people assembled for worship. They formed a church in 1924 but had no permanent meeting place, being led from one venue to another until 1960, when the YWCA hall they were then renting was put on the market.
Through the generous gift of a friend, they were able to secure it as their place of worship. After this, their first project was to install a baptistry. Within a few months, one young person was baptised, his brother following him a few months later.
The need of a pastor was next on their agenda although they had little by way of finances. This was made a matter of prayer and the name of the present pastor was mentioned.
It was in 1971 that a letter was sent, prayerfully enquiring if Mr Hedley Taylor would consider serving as pastor. Under the Lord’s leading, he accepted, serving a probationary period from January-March 1972. This appointment was confirmed in January 1973.
In 1985, due to redevelopment of the area, the present building became a reality. With the generous support of a property company, the church exchanged its former building for the present one at no cost, save updating the fixtures and fittings.
Highs and lows
The congregation thanks the Lord for his continued help during the 40 years of their pastor’s ministry, with the pastor having very few breaks until this present time. There have been ‘highs and lows’ along the way, but he has been enabled to seek the Lord’s strength and guidance ‘in season and out of season’.
The pastor expressed his gratitude to almighty God for his faithfulness over those years. He acknowledged the prayerful, loving support of his wife, Gwendolen, and the prayerful support of the church.
Though the church’s numbers were few, he was conscious they had been labourers together with God in the work of the gospel. There were nine in fellowship when he took over, and within the first 14 years of his pastorate another ten members were added.
A Sunday school was commenced within the first year. Those children have grown up and moved on. The current congregation numbers nine, with three in membership.
Our prayer is that the Lord would revive his work. With Moses, we desire that the beauty of the Lord our God might be seen to be upon us and that the Lord would establish the work of our hands.
The preacher at the anniversary service was Pastor Stephen Hyde of Shaw’s Corner Chapel, Redhill. Mr Hyde is also a trustee of Rehoboth.
He preached from Acts 26:22-23, reminding us that while we know the outcome of Paul’s ministry through the biblical account, Paul didn’t. Yet Paul was faithful and determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified.
We were assured that the Lord leads us by the right way. The challenge was brought before us: ‘What think ye of Christ?’ (Matthew 22:42). We were that the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world and to look to Jesus is ‘the one thing needful’.
Light refreshments, with a 40th anniversary cake, and a good time of fellowship followed the meeting.