1980s – Renewal

The changes which brought the church into the Baptist family helped in a renewal of its life.

Membership grew. There has been a steady inflow of new members. Some like Mr. & Mrs. Wyatt and Mr. & Mrs. Butcher, came in the strong conviction that God had led them so to do. Sunday remained a main focus of worship, teaching and witness, coupled with a Thursday meeting for Bible study and prayer. A monthly family service encouraged children and parents to share together in Christian worship.

The church was active in the week. Sunday School and Youth work was renewed. The Sunday School, Girls’ Brigade, Junior and Senior Youth Fellowships, offered young people and their parents a church-based Christian education and friendship. A Women’s Fellowship drew together both younger and older women. Experiments such as coffee mornings, lunches, garden parties, offer a meeting place with a wide circle of friends who are open to the good news of Christ.

Looking outwards There was (and still is) agreement that at least one tenth of church giving is to be used for missionary work, within and without Britain. This includes support for the Baptist Missionary Society, the Baptist Home Mission Fund, Christian Aid, Christian Literature agencies, and other agreed causes. Local outreach was concerned with visits to families connected with one or other organisation and with leaflet visitation in the neighbourhood, including the then new large Goldsworth Park estate. There were also visits to Brookwood Hospital and the befriending of patients and staff.

Cooperation was fostered with our neighbouring Baptist churches in the Home Counties Baptist Association, and also with fellow Christians locally. There were regular joint services with Anglicans and Methodists at the great Christian festivals, and on other agreed Sunday evenings; and also some joint activities with Roman Catholic friends. The Home Counties Baptist Association became known as the Surrey and North East Hampshire Baptist Association, reflecting the change in boundary and emphasis.

The building that had served the church well, but classroom, kitchen and storage facilities were inadequate for present-day ministry. Plans were put in hand for the redevelopment of the back premises, giving new classrooms, a modern kitchen, and toilet and storage facilities at an estimated cost of £25,000. These were completed during 1983 and 1984.

Rev Bob YoungerA new minister was appointed when, in 1984, Rev J.Sutton retired. Rev. Bob Younger had answered a call to ministry after many years in secular employment, completing a correspondence course with a Baptist College. The Home Mission grant continued, and the church steadily grew.