It takes a whole village to raise a child. – Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb

Like this proverb, in Christian terms it takes a church (or Christian community) to grow a disciple. This is something we have been exploring for some time at MBC, and now we are at a practical stage of encouraging and equipping one another in being disciples together.

We have listened to groups and have formed a plan.

We believe that balanced Christian living involves relationship with God, being in community with others and taking action in the wider world. As Micah 6:8 puts in: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (NRSV)

Then in church we believe that we do not live as Christians in isolation. So, we practice and grow in these three disciplines in community – it unfolds in relationship.

This autumn we have provided a tool kit of questions to help every home group reflect on what makes a healthy group. Alongside that we will be running five fortnightly sessions (on Tuesday evenings) to give insights and opportunity for discussion on how to be disciples and what are healthy practices for groups or individuals. These sessions will begin after the school half term. They are for anyone who would like to explore their own discipleship and look to refresh or begin to be involved in group life in church.

Through the autumn some new groups will be forming. At the end of this process we are planning in January 2018 to relaunch existing groups and offer new discipleship across the church.

We believe that being a disciple is a calling on all of us to be shared with others. The whole of MBC seeks to raise disciples. As the Sukuma (Tanzania) proverb says “One knee does not bring up a child” and in the Swahili (East and Central Africa) proverb “One hand does not nurse a child.”

So for us being and growing disciples belongs in families, friendship groups and home groups – it is our shared joy and responsibility.

Look out for more on this in our Sunday sermons, home groups, new groups and through the five sessions coming up at the end of October.

Graham Brownlee, September 2017

Friendship, Fellowship and Fun – Welcome to FX

Last Sunday saw MBC launch a new venture: FX.

It’s something that’s open to anyone and everyone who wants to come and meet up with other people from church and beyond. The idea is that on the fourth Sunday of each month in a relaxed and informal way we do just that.

Last week around seven families met together at Golden Acre Park for nothing more challenging than a gentle stroll around the woods and the lake.  

Cas Stoodley who set up FX says. “For our first FX I wanted to be out and about because as summer turns to autumn I find that time spent outdoors, in God’s creation, always reminds me of his goodness, and joining together like this is a great way for us to share with one another how He is working in our lives.” 

Future FX dates are: Sunday 22nd of October – at Moortown Baptist Church 3-4:30pm with a film for the children, a toddler area and the all important coffee and cake. Sunday 26th of November – again at MBC, 3-4:30pm with board games, craft, a toddler area and the all important coffee and cake and Sunday 24th of December which is of course Christmas Eve. 


Engage… the latest BMS World Mission news from near and far

The latest edition of BMS World Mission’s magazine, Engage, is out now, and once again it’s filled with features, news, updates, letters and prayer requests from across the globe. 

One piece, headlined Vive la Revolution, will be of particular interest to those of us who know John and Sue Wilson. The Wilsons have close ties with MBC which go back many years. Having recently moved from Lyon to Paris, as it says in the article: “John and Sue are now breathing news life into Avenue de Maine Baptist Church in the heart of Paris. John also leads FEEBF’s (French Baptist Federation) Ministry Commission, while Sue heads up the Federation’s Youth Committee, which includes organising the national youth conference.” 

You can sign up to receive the Engage magazine, completely free of charge, either on line or through the post by speaking to BMS World Mission rep Roger Robson or by going to 

Haddon Willmer shares some thoughts about prayer

I have a friend who considers himself still a Christian.  Indeed he is determined to go on being a Christian, and publicly.  But he says his prayer life is shot to pieces and has been for some time.  I’m in much the same place. 

What is prayer? he asks.  It seems, in much of our practice, to be asking God for things, expecting answers, which is rather like customer satisfaction.  But we often don’t get what we ask for.  We see people in desperate need in the world, for food, for security, who cry out to God but don’t get the help to live.  They are encouraged to ‘ask and you will receive’ but experience throws the advice into doubt. And then the doubt spreads to God. God seems not to care, not to be. 

Does prayer have to take a form that runs head-on into a brick wall?  Is ‘Ask and Get’ the primary, essential form of prayer?  When we pray to God as God is in Jesus, are we coming to the keeper of a shop which stocks everything – and all just for the asking?  

I don’t think prayer is like that.  It is much more a matter of keeping company with God who keeps company with us in the way we see in Jesus.  Jesus did not get what he asked for in any straightforward way.  Remember his praying in Gethsemane, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:  ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’ (Matt 26.38).   Jesus talked with his Father, out of a lifelong relationship.  That relationship did not consist in ‘asking and getting’ or in a comforting intimacy, so much as a working obedience, loving service and risk-taking trust, which were the ingredients that went into making the life and death and resurrection of Jesus as we are given to see it in the Gospels. 

To pray is to be thinking the living of real life on earth, in a truthful relation with God the Father. 

The words we put together in order to bring our praying relation to God into our consciousness – God doesn’t need them – have  to be fashioned carefully so that they are truthful about our life and about God.   We often pray with words that come to us casually, or are given to us by convention; there is not enough truthful thinking in them.  And when they are not truthful, they easily come to mean nothing to us, or they lead us into mistakes about the reality of our earthly life or the reality of God, as God is in Jesus.  

Would it help our praying to look at ancient written prayers, which come out of thinking, living life, and attending to God?  

I find prayers of this sort helpful, but not because, being written, they are ready-made and demand little effort. Rather the problem is that prayers composed by people in other ages or other places, often have features I cannot make my own, as I live in my own times.  They help me to work at prayer rather than to get an easy ride.   Through classic prayers, I can see how to go about thinking and even writing my own prayers.  When I have a good clue about how, I can get on trying to do it truthfully, with some hope that my praying will be worthwhile.   

Take an example: a collect from the old English Book of Common Prayer

O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom: Defend us, thy humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

What is the structure of this prayer?  

First God is addressed, but not merely named.  The name of God by itself has too many possible meanings to be any help in focusing our minds and living, or helping us to distinguish the true God from mere imaginings. 

God is named, and then identified.  God is not completely described – that is impossible.  A particular characteristic of God is specified:  ‘the author of peace and lover of concord’.   These are big words, calling for a lot of meditation and searching.  That is one reason why it is worth saying a prayer like this frequently, so that it gets embedded in our memory and can repeatedly speak to us.   

Is there such a God?  If God is ‘the author of peace and lover of concord’ what follows?  What does it mean for our living?  In knowing Go, the prayer tells us,  we find eternal life, life not in the  human earthly abundance of some sort of wealth, but life in the abundance of God as God is in Jesus.  And then it offers a further specification of God, which carries an implication for how we human beings are to live:  serving God is ‘perfect freedom’.   This language has been dismissed as impossible and oppressive paradox – how can servitude be freedom?   As it stands it does not truthfully explain much of our experience of the human world.  It is a prayer of desire and aspiration, reaching for something better than we routinely have.  So it invites us to venture into God, who is not like the familiar powers that arrange and manage the earth, only bigger.  God is the mystery at the heart of a ‘strange new world’, his own new creation. 

In this prayer we start by seeing God in a specific way and then we find ourselves challenged and invited to risk moving into and with God. 

After this start, the prayer goes on to present our need to God – in a world where we have enemies, we ask to be defended, on the basis that we are God’s humble servants, against the ‘others’ who are not.  As those who serve God, we ask to enjoy the freedom that goes with service (‘whose service is perfect freedom’).  We trust in God to defend us, keeping us free from the assaults of our enemies.   And this we expect to happen, because our Lord Jesus is ‘mighty’.  

A prayer needs to have this sort of second half, answering the first half which presents God to us.  Now our existence is brought to God, presented to God for service, so that we can live it with God in   faith. 

This is often the hardest part of a prayer to think and write.  The second half of this prayer makes me uncomfortable;  I don’t want to say from the heart ‘Yes’ to all these words;  indeed, if this is Christian faith, I may not be able to  go along with it.  

Why are these words difficult?  Should we find them difficult?   The prayer identifies God as the author of peace and lover of concord, and then puts ourselves in the picture as God’s humble servants against enemies.   And then we call God with his might into action on our side in the battle.  When we trust in a God of Battles, are we trusting in God as he is in Jesus? This prayer does not ask for the peace of the world, we ask for our peace, our freedom from fear, in a world structured by the logic and spirit of enmity, a world where we struggle for our survival.  

It is natural enough for us to pray like this; there are enemies, and we have reason, sometimes, to be fearful, unbearably.   But when we pray in these terms, are we being faithful to God?  Are we being wise and generous in our approach to living?

I criticise this prayer and feel inclined not to say it.  So can I leave it there?  Not if I want to be a responsible human being in this present world; not if I have any glimmer of God as the author of peace and lover of concord or have the beginnings of an aspiration to serve him.   I find myself constrained to try to write a prayer I can say. 

Here is my attempt.    If you can’t join me, which is quite likely, make your own. 

O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, Continue your patience with us, who make, manage and suffer a world at war in itself and do it all with fearful discordant spirits:  please do not give up on us just yet, though a fair case is made against us,  as some of our own wise prophets tell us.  Our mountainous sins rise up in witness against us.    Enlighten us so that we may see how your patience gives us time to change our thinking and our practice.  Help us to use our time redemptively and to give our full energies to your service.    Please go on walking your weary way in our world, which loads its sin upon your frailty and mocks your example of a better way of being human.  Go on walking in our world so that we may come to  follow you, share your spirit and work with you.   May we see you gladly when you come our way .   Do not give up on us: Come Lord Jesus!





Herd Farm Youth Weekend – Friday 27th to Sunday 29th April 2018

A weekend of fun, great food, getting to know God and each other. For years 7 to 13. The cost is £50 which includes board, all activities and food. You can get more information and booking forms from Shona or Kate.

Please complete and return your form together with a £10 deposit by Sunday 29th of October with the balance due on Sunday April 1st next year. 

We want all our young people to be able to enjoy this residential and we don’t want anyone to miss out because of cost. So for anyone who may find this a struggle, don’t worry we have options available. Again see Shona or Kate for details.  

What makes me a Christian?

I got to asking this recently because a couple of friends have said that they don’t consider that they are Christians any more. So, what is a Christian basically? And what makes me one?

For me being a Christian is first and foremost about God in Christ. That God created me, God loves, redeems and invites me to share a relationship with and follow Jesus Christ.

This is where being a Christian begins. It is God’s gift, it is something God offers in Christ. If I recognise and accept this gift then I am a Christian. Then beliefs, actions and relationships quickly follow – but they are not the starting point, but a necessary consequence.

Thinking of being a Christian in this way – means that Christianity is a God thing, Christ based. It then says that beliefs, practice, culture and relationships come naturally from that beginning.

I know that people can lose faith, but I wonder whether we come to that place often because we have fallen out of relationships with other Christians, are struggling with what we believe or know that some of our behaviour doesn’t fit. I wonder whether it might be more appropriate to say, at those times, that I am a struggling, inconsistent or even I am not a good Christian. Even as someone said to Jesus – Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. I suggest this because when we reach an impasse in our lives – God in Christ still keeps giving to us.

At times, it is right to admit that we struggle or fall short on matters of belief, action and relationships but we are followers of Christ seeking to hang in there. Indeed making such an admission is a mark of being a Christian.

Actually, to dip out and say we are no longer Christian may prevent us from maturing and growing, and even missing some of the grace God has for us.

Graham Brownlee, September 2017

Encounter (formally Breakthrough) a new service especially designed to connect with current times

Encounter is an occasional evening service here at MBC with space to seek God together. We share in sung worship, prayer, teaching and openness to the Spirit. Each time we take a theme that connects with the current time. 

The first Encounter is scheduled for 7pm – 8.30pm on Sunday 24th of September. 

The theme will be “Living best and not just the good, built on the assurance of God’s goodness” and texts will include: Ecclesiastes 3: 9-14, Luke 11: 9-13 and Ephesians 1: 13-14. 

There will be another Encounter on November 26th. 

Fairtrade Stall – Sunday 17th Sept.

There will be a Fairtrade stall after our Sunday morning Service on September 17th. This is an opportunity to support farmers and craft people in poor and marginalised communities around the world through Traidcraft.  The new Traidcraft catalogue will be available to view.

There will be two further sales, one on 22 October the other on November 26 which will feature lots of Christmas cards and gifts as well as some delicious teas, coffees and confectionery. 

Of course all these things are also available at our local Fairtrade/Traidcraft shop, The Beehive, on Potternewton Lane.

Check out the shops opening hours by following this direct link to its website


HOLIDAY 2017 –

Here’s the finished gallery, and many thanks to those who submitted their pictures.

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