Reaching east in West London
Cranford, in the London Borough of Hounslow, lies under the flight path of the world’s busiest airport.
Cranford Baptist Church is about 1,800m from the end of the northern runway of Heathrow Airport, and aircraft often pass overhead. When the church was founded in the 1930s, Heathrow was a much quieter place than it is today, and Cranford had a very different local population.
Today, there is great social, economic and ethnic diversity in Cranford and ministering to the predominantly Asian population there is Robin Asgher, who is himself originally from Pakistan.
Robin’s wife, Muno, is from an Asian family living in Kenya. Robin and Muno have two children, Rohan (4) and Myra (1).
Robin has been working with Cranford Baptist Church since September 2003. Converted in 1996, he moved to UK to study at London Theological Seminary. He worked initially in Cranford as part of the Fellowship of Independent Churches (FIEC) church planting team, before becoming the full-time pastor at Cranford Baptist Church in 2007.
However, the church was unable financially to support Robin fully, and so additional support was provided by other churches, individuals, and FIEC funding for church planting.
In 2009, FIEC decided to hand over responsibility for church planting and church restoration to local churches, and in May 2011 the newly formed Cranford Support Trust assumed responsibility for Robin’s employment.
The trustees are drawn from supporting churches, namely Hounslow Evangelical Church, Amyand Park Chapel in Twickenham, Child’s Hill Baptist Church in Barnet, Carey Baptist Church in Reading, and Swindon Evangelical Church, together with Richard Underwood from FIEC. The chairman of the Trust is Gary Brady.
Ministry in Cranford is a strategic work. It is mission on the doorstep of the nation. But it is difficult and demanding. In the nine years that Robin and Muno have been in Cranford, many people living there have heard the gospel or received Christian literature through their letterbox, but very few have responded.
Each summer, a holiday Bible club is held at Cranford, with help from churches in Swindon and Reading. Last August, 40 children, together with their extended families, attended the club, many from Muslim, Hindu and Sikh backgrounds.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, youth work regularly attracts a number of Asian children. Local people also attend a toddler group run by Muno. Robin, with help from Open-Air Mission, sets up a book table once a month on the pavement of the A4. He also takes occasional assemblies at a local primary school.
If you would like to find out more about this work, you can contact Robin Asgher at [email protected] He would be pleased to send you a regular update so that you can pray for this ministry. If you want to support the work please contact the Cranford Support Trust c/o 145 Faringdon Road, Swindon, SN1 5DL.