Fryerns Baptist Church (FBC) was founded in 1953 as a result of the faithful pioneering work of Charles Phillimore, in Basildon, Essex.
On 9 September 2017, the chapel in Basildon welcomed more than 200 people from across the UK. The wait for a pastor had been long, but the sweetness of God’s providence made the wait all worthwhile for this Reformed Baptist church.
There was a sense of anticipation. A team from London had hired a coach; sister churches from Essex had sent representatives; a couple had travelled from Northern Ireland; and former members and well-wishers drove from Southend, Cambridge, Hastings, Kent and the farming fields of Suffolk.
This joyous day, explained Paul Spear, general secretary of Association of Grace Baptist Church South East (AGBCSE), was the induction service of Ben Jones as pastor of Fryerns Baptist Church.
He invited the congregation to sing ‘Now thank we all our God’. The Scripture reading was then taken from 1 Peter 2: 1-12, followed by prayers of thanksgiving led by the deacons of the church.
Simon Woodhouse gave a brief history of the church and read a statement on its behalf. He expressed gratitude to those who had brought God’s Word to the fellowship, even during the times of difficulty, and to God for his faithfulness in sustaining the fellowship of believers.
Ben Jones gave an account of his call to the church. He is an alumnus of the London School of Theology (formerly London Bible College) and comes to FBC after three years as pastor in training at Hillingdon Park Baptist Church. Before answering God’s call to full-time church work, he spent 14 years in the global metals industry, eight of which were in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Alongside his employment, Ben and his wife Eleanor served in various ways at their church. While in Dubai, they were blessed with two children, Harry and Rebekah.
The pastor had come to the notice of the church through a monthly bulletin circulated by the AGBCSE in 2016. After several visits to preach and fellowship with the church, Ben said he wanted to join and work with it. His prayer was that he and his wife would be models of godliness.
Paul Spear led Ben and Eleanor in making their vows, followed by the church members making theirs. Paul Reed, a previous pastor at Fryerns, led the elders and deacons in the laying of hands and prayed for the new pastor and his wife.
Reg Craig, senior pastor at Hillingdon Park Baptist Church, gave the charge to the new pastor. He had been encouraged by Ben’s ministry over the last three years, and charged him to preach with conviction, be winsome in patience and be ready to expect the unexpected. He reminded Ben it is often through unexpected situations that Christians realise God’s blessings.
Billy Young, the last moderator of the fellowship, gave the charge to church members, encouraging them to continue to grow in love and be representatives of Christ, telling the world around them of God’s love for sinners.
The gathering closed with the modern hymn, ‘O church, arise’, and Ian Jemmett, elder at Bethersden Union chapel and once FBC moderator, pronounced the benediction. The service was followed by fellowship and food in the large hall.
Fryerns Baptist Church is now a growing church with a forward gaze. Pray that God will continue to bless his work in Basildon and bring many more to faith in Christ.