Posted on 11 November 2012
On the 10th November, over 90 people gathered in the Hall for a two-course roast dinner.

Catered by Rose Ariss, members, family and friends of Ferndale Baptist Church gathered to celebrate the many developments in the Church over the last three years for which the Church is thankful. It was a wonderful occasion. On every table, the following list was provided:

Ferndale Baptist Church has invited you hear today to share with us for a period of three years in which we have many things for which to offer thanks to God.  These include:
The Buildings:
a) After earlier refurbishing the old Anderson shelter as an Office and replacing the Crittal windows of the Hall with double-glazed units, we have recently replaced the heating system, rewired the electrics, replaced the light fittings, redecorated and refurbished the floors in the Hall.
b) The Church heating system has been completely refurbished and redecoration is shortly to take place.
c) The Foyer windows and doors are to be replaced in the next month.
d) 2, Selwyn Road has been completely refurbished: to include a new kitchen, double glazing, etc.
e) 35, Colchester Road is to receive a full internal decoration in the next fortnight. Both properties are occupied.
The Community:
a) The Church office remains the Office for the Ferndale St. Luke’s Community Association that saved and administers St. Edmunds Hall.
b) Under Rose Ariss as manageress, Café@theSquare is successfully functioning and has become the location for monthly Quiz Nights, Curry Evenings, Community Prayers and other community meetings.
c) The St Luke’s Community Association was formed at Ferndale and Stephen is the Chair.
d) Stephen has represented the churches in Southend at a number of civic events, represents the churches in dialogue with Essex Police, is Padre of the Essex Submariners Association, Chaplain at ASDA, Shoeburyness and on the Essex SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education).
Our Church:
a) Has continued to meet regularly. The Women’s Fellowship and Women’s Institute meet regularly, the Gold Club offers support to the over 50s, The Girl’s Brigade provides a context for young girls to meet and the Mums and Tots continues to florish.
b) The Brethren in Christ Church share our premises and, in association, we have launched the Tamim Partnership that has sent several containers of educational and medical support to the Harare area of Zimbabwe as well as providing a weekly winter shelter for the homeless in Southend.
c) Sarah Dawkins completed her internship with us and is now working for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship. Jon Delves is also about to conclude his successful internship period with us.
Our Friends:
a) After the tragic death of Lydia Paul (Chennai), the Church were able to help sponsor and accommodate Joseph and Becky for a holiday.
b) Stephen and Anne were able to visit our friends in Poland and Mateusz Wichary the pastor at Sopot has visited us.
c) Susan Anderson (nee Lodge) visited us from Albania… on the weekend of her engagement!
d) Rudi Drews was able to visit us when he graduated with his master’s degree at Spurgeon’s College.
e) The Church has continued to value the friendship of Prof. Packer and Graeme Tonkin.
f) Stephen has been able to build upon our friendship with Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili of the Georgian Evangelical Baptist Church. He has been able to visit the country on two occasions, has been appointed visiting professor of the School of Elijah in Tbilisi and is currently working with the Church to establish a library and a validated educational programme for its workers.
g) Periodically Peter, Gareth and Sarah drop by…
Other encouragements:
a) The Crossway Bible Guides that Stephen initiated 25 years ago have now sold over 250,000 copies worldwide.
b) The podcasts Stephen did in association with Focus Media on the Da Vinci Code has had over 250,000 hits. Focus, for which Stephen is a Trustee, receive thousands of hits each week on their apologetics pages.
c) Stephen’s new book on the Psalms has been published this week.
d) Jon is, next week, visiting Rome with Stephen to explore his future.

All in all, there is much for which we wish to thank our heavenly Father.

Stephen also shared briefly from the creation story and the 23rd Psalm and said that as Christians we feel obliged to serve our local community since we are all called to be stewards of God’s world. However, he added, we also want to help our neighbours and friends find Jesus as ‘my’ shepherd.

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