With much sadness, members of Gaulby Reformed Evangelical Anglican Fellowship jointly decided to discontinue the church last October.
Based seven miles east of Leicester, the Fellowship came into being following the untimely death of the Rector of St Peter’s, Rev. Ashley Cheesman, in October 2010.
Since that time, the Fellowship sought to maintain faithful biblical ministry at St Peter’s by arranging evening services, Bible studies, prayer meetings and the annual Gaulby Festival of Grace.
We were also conscious of the increasingly liberal drift of the national church. Anglicanism has yielded ground on moral values and there has been a decline in challenging, biblical preaching.
The Fellowship initially gathered for worship at St Peter’s following an informal arrangement with the local parish priest. Last January, we had to relocate to a local village hall while the church building underwent refurbishment.
In August 2019, due to the ongoing work, we were advised to look for an alternative venue for the Festival of Grace. At short notice, we made arrangements to change the venue to Countesthorpe Baptist Church.
However, before the Festival we were surprised to receive notice from the rural dean that St Peter’s would be formally reopened in early September – prior to the Festival of Grace.
About this time, we also received an email outlining proposed terms and conditions of our use of the building in the form of a 10-page document.
The arrangement was now to be on a formal and legally binding basis, imposing financial and practical constraints which we deemed totally unacceptable. They were rejected at a subsequent meeting of the Fellowship.
Sadly, therefore, we had no alternative but to inform the church of our decision to disband.
There is no doubt that those within the Fellowship will be able to use the gifts and talents that have been honed at Gaulby in the Lord’s service elsewhere.
We held a concluding service in the village hall on the last Sunday of October 2019. It was led by Rev. Robert Bashford, who encouraged us with the words of 1 Corinthians 15:58, ‘Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain’.
Rev. Bashford also reminded us that, in God’s providence, the faithful labours at Gaulby over the last nine years will echo into eternity.