The Sunday before West Row Baptist Church’s bicentenary, we celebrated the fifth anniversary year for our pastor, Evan King. We surprised him with a gift from the fellowship and a cake. His wife Carolyn received a rose bush with the instructions, ‘Dig a hole in your garden and then forget about it!’ (gardening is not her strong point!). The cake was made by one of our members and was in the form of a Bible and large cup of tea. (Sorry, pastor, we all know you have lots of other duties as well!).
The bicentenary week commenced on the Monday with a sit-down English tea. The local Anglican and Gospel Standard (Barn Chapel) churches were invited to this with members of our fellowship. The week’s studies centred on the book of Haggai, with our pastor and three other local pastors taking the meetings during the week. Monday started with ‘Subdued builders’, taken by our pastor. On Tuesday, Pastor Bernard Every of Westgate Evangelical Church, Bury St Edmunds, covered ‘Selfish builders’.
On Wednesday, Pastor Dave Hall from Isleham Pound Lane Free Church looked into ‘Submissive builders’; and, on Thursday, Pastor Colin Stringer from Soham Baptist Church spoke about the ‘Sad builders’.
Friday included a visit from the local school, and a special youth event led and organised by our youth group leaders. Bouncy castles, various activities and a BBQ were the order for the evening. Steven Walker from the Faith Mission challenged the young people about building on the right foundation with a graphic demonstration about what happens to Christians and non-Christians when they face ‘fiery trials’.
During the week, we had various old posters and memorabilia on display after the meetings. On Saturday this display was open to everyone during the morning. In the afternoon the whole village were invited to a BBQ. On Sunday Derek Cleave, formerly of Christian Ministries, rounded off the week-long celebrations with the remaining sections of Haggai: ‘Shattered builders’ and ‘Selected builder’.
What did we learn through the week? It was all about building and working for the Lord. We were reminded that we need to get our priorities right and be willing to get to work ourselves. We all have gifts from the Master. The old chorus comes to mind, ‘There’s a work for Jesus only you can do’. We know too that it’s easy to start, but a lot harder to keep going. Haggai had to remind the people of the bigger picture: ‘Is it time for you to sit in your own fancy houses with God’s house in ruins?’ Today, the church is God’s people, wherever they may be.
Many still need to hear the glorious news of the gospel. Are we willing to be part of the work and share this good news with those around us? Or are we just willing to let others do it?