Baptisms in the sea and an international guest service with 110 people present – these two events rounded off the first year of Emmanuel Church, Canterbury.
In a city with three universities, causing the population to double in term-time, the calendar and church programme revolve around ‘terms’ and the academic year.
The service of baptism close to Herne Bay Pier in June was held jointly with Barton Evangelical Church, Canterbury, with two people from each group baptised.
In her testimony, Hannah – from China – declared: ‘I feel really relieved and grateful right now because I already have a relationship with God through Jesus’.
Attendance has grown since the church started in October 2009, now comfortably exceeding 50 most Sunday mornings, with an age range from under one to 90! Teaching has covered Philippians, Job and Exodus, with a detailed look at the Ten Commandments.
With many thousands of international students in Canterbury, Friends International student worker Penny Pan played a significant part in the church’s first year; and Iris Ho is expected to take up Penny’s city-wide role in the autumn. Emmanuel also looks forward to the arrival of David Puttick this autumn. David has served at St Helen’s Bishopsgate and will work as a pastoral intern.
Surveying the first year, Emmanuel Church minister Richard Hagan observes: ‘What has excited us all this year is to see the gospel transform lives’. The church is part of the South East Gospel Partnership. It meets at 10.30am on Sundays in Kingsmead Primary School (www.emmanuelcanterbury.org.uk).