Lower Kingswood Evangelical Church
The weekend of 21-22 February saw the 86th anniversary of Lower Kingswood Evangelical Church, Surrey, take place in its new building. Last year’s anniversary services were the final ones in the previous building, as, the next day, rebuilding started.
In October 2008, the new premises in Smithy Lane were formally handed over by the builders and essential equipment installed ready for the first services on Sunday 19 October.
Three events were arranged for opening the new premises. The first was an open day. This was to give people in the village an opportunity to visit the building. Over 60 did so from Lower Kingswood and further afield.
This was followed on 1 November by a dedication service, led by the church’s moderator, Rev. Ian Cooper of Tollgate Evangelical Church. Over 100 people attended.
During this, Paul Burden gave a report on the building project. Rev. Roland Fidge, a former pastor of the church, then led the congregation in a prayer of dedication. Former church members, Alan Salmon and Derek Fawcett, read the Scriptures and led in prayer, respectively.
Ian Cooper preached from Joshua 4:21, ‘What do these stones mean?’ The new building is evidence of God’s previous working in Lower Kingswood, a reminder of the church’s continuing responsibility and an assurance of blessing for the future. The service was followed by tea prepared by members of the Lower Kingswood and Tollgate churches.
The third event was on Wednesday 12 November, when those unable to attend the dedication service gathered for an evening of praise and thanksgiving led by Chris Pepper and Paul Burden.
Perhaps the real highlight of those first, exciting weeks in the new building was the baptism of Maria Calver, a lady in her 80s who had been waiting to be baptised for eight years. ‘It has to be in the new church’, she insisted.
Her faith and patience were rewarded and the church greatly encouraged by her testimony. In a sermon preached from Acts 8 by Dr John Baigent, a missionary recently returned from ten years in Cameroon, the challenge of the gospel was clearly presented.
These early months have been a learning curve, as we have learned how to use a building with many new features, including automatically flushing urinals, automatic light switches and a sophisticated heating system.
Of greater significance and encouragement has been the growing involvement of Tollgate Evangelical Church supporting the church here in Lower Kingswood. We don’t know what the future holds, but past and present experience encourage us to trust God.
As we celebrated our 2009 anniversary – when guest preacher John Blanchard preached on the unchanging nature of Christ’s gospel and Christ’s person – we could say that the past year has been very special.
It is our longing now to see many in the village coming to know the Saviour.