New start in Hanney
Sunday 8 January was an exciting day for all at Abbey Baptist Church, Abingdon. The fellowship had the joy of setting apart 39 of our members to form a new church in the village of Hanney, about eight miles from Abingdon.
The new church had its first meetings as an independent church on Sunday 15 January. For many years there was an evangelical church in Hanney but, sadly, numbers dwindled for various reasons and, some 13 years ago, there were just two lady members remaining.
They sought help from Abbey and it was agreed the church should close and that a new start be made as an outreach from Abbey. We asked one of our elders and his wife, together with four other couples and the two ladies, to form a team to try to replant the church at Hanney.
At first, a weekly service was held on Sunday evenings, with a monthly family service on a Sunday morning. At other times, the team continued to worship at Abbey so there was a continuity of fellowship.
Despite faithful efforts in all kinds of ways, not a great deal happened for several years. But over the past two to three years, the work has taken off under the blessing of God and congregations have grown rapidly.
God caused several things to take place for this to happen. Firstly, Bob and Gwyn Pritchard, the elder and his wife overseeing the work, were able to move into the village, something they had been trying to do for years.
The fellowship was then able to extend the building and create two small classrooms for a Sunday school. Finally, we moved to a weekly morning meeting with a monthly evening meeting.
We acknowledge, in all these things, that the Lord gives the growth and we praise him for his blessing on the work. Please pray the Lord will continue to bless and guide us in the continuing work at Abbey, now with a considerably reduced membership. We are determined to go forward, by God’s grace, and perhaps to see other churches planted in the future.