Pastors and praying friends,
For the last couple of months, we as a church have been going through the book of Ephesians on Sundays. In this epistle, Paul is praying for and desiring that believers understand what it means to be identified with Christ and to walk worthy of their calling. For some, this is a great reminder of who they are as believers, but for others, and one man in particular, it has been water to a dry soul. Lathaan, a Sri Lankan man who’s been coming along to the church put his faith in Christ a few weeks ago. We praise God for saving this man and ask that you pray for him to grow in the knowledge of his faith!
In our last update, I mentioned briefly that the church we are working in, Chelsea Community Baptist, is going through some organizational and legal issues. When we came to the church a few months ago, we believed that it was an independent Baptist church that met in a United Reformed Church building. In fact, that is what the great majority of the 30 or so members in the church thought as well. It was only after a few days in the office that I discovered that this was not the case, but in reality the church is legally and organizationally tied to the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union. Because of the way the URC is structured, there is no provision for a URC church to withdraw from the denomination. In effect, the denomination owns not only the property, but also holds the rights to the church’s legal entity as well. The church is also faced with a 10 yr old debt to the Baptist Union in the amount of £118,000 ($156,000) which they are now calling due.
With all of this information given to the church, they were forced to make a decision: either continue on as a United Reformed Church or become independent. The people voted unanimously to leave the URC, despite that meaning we loose the ability to continue on in the URC building and the eventual closure of the church. For now, I have stepped down as the official ‘pastor’ of the URC church but will continue to lead the small congregation forward until we can develop a plan to relocate and replant an independent church. This will not be an easy task due to the extreme high cost of meeting places in central/west London, but we are trusting God for wisdom and provision.
Although the last few months have certainly not been easy, I am encouraged by the response of the church. They truly desire to do what is right and biblical, despite the high cost. Thank you for your prayers and your support!
Chris & Sherry Waye
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