Mindfulness, resilience and the Garden of Gethsemane on World Mental Health Day

Below is the headline and opening paragraph of an article from this week’s Baptist Times… it makes very interesting reading.

A Baptist minister shares what it’s like to feel anxious all the time – and what has been helpful in working through it.

Today is World Mental Health Day and I know what it’s like to feel you are falling apart. One of the things I was told as anxiety split my being was that I needed to be more resilient. I already believed that and was beating myself up for feeling anxious all the time. However, what I found out and this is one piece of wisdom I want to pass on today is that just because you suffer from mental health distress does not mean you are not resilient.

You can read the whole story by clicking on this link. 


SAFER Workshop

Huge thanks to all who attended our SAFER Project Doorstep Crime workshop on Monday 8th October at the Beacon Cafe – a great turnout! All enjoyed sharing experiences, ideas and tips on how to stay safe.

Also many thanks to West Yorkshire Police for attending… together we can beat the scammers!

Make a change

In August 2016 American footballer Colin Kaepernick first ‘took the knee’; in 2006 Tarana Burke began using the ‘Me Too’ phrase which went viral in 2017 following actress Alyssa Milano’s stand against sexual harassment, in July 2017 an outcry followed the publication of a report showing that two thirds of the highest earners at the BBC were men.

High profile people grab attention and shape an agenda.

These have been important factors in addressing injustice yet at the same time they raise uncomfortable questions about how we highlight issues and fashion positive change.

How do you change things for the better? How important is it for individuals to take a stand? How do you do this if you aren’t famous?

It is great that celebrities and the wealthy make a stand and raise profile (and indeed such people do face difficult moments),  but it is important that injustice is not tolerated at any level of society – top, middle or bottom. But if you are at the bottom few people take note if you take the knee in public, or post a protest on twitter, or when your minimum wage salary is less than your male counterpart. If you are at the bottom of the pile you will usually have complicating factors of lack of money, poor employment, difficult house to compound the challenges.

This is not to criticise the high profile who make a stand, because I know that in most case they are connected with a far-reaching movement. I do recognise that maybe it needs such people to seize the agenda. But it is not to the credit of society that this has become the norm for getting attention. We should remember that for the wealthy and connected their injustices are often offset by access to power and resources not available to the countless people who bear similar burdens at the bottom of the pile.

Here’s another way of change – philanthropy. As Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropist of the 19th and early 20th century wrote his aim was “To promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world” and “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” He concluded “he who dies rich dies disgraced.” A pattern mirrored by fellow Scot of the same period Angela Burdett Coutts. This is a heritage followed by those like Bill Gates and J.K. Rowling.

For all its benefits this philanthropy created it is basically about patronage of these few people and their legacy of charitable foundations.

The challenge is to secure universal access and opportunity and to secure accepted norms of justice, to stop help being the luck of those being in the right place and the right time. This is where laws and government come in. This is where widespread movements bringing together those across society are vital. This shows the importance of broad-based collaboration as we recognise the complexities of our challenges but maintain a will for transformation.

A Christian perspective on such matters varies. Some Christians fight shy of any campaigning, while others make it their all. Some follow Christian only action, whilst others seek to find common cause across society.

For Christians, it is helpful to note that God laid down power and privilege to engender the most radical of changes (take a look at Philippians 2). It is also worth noticing that the idea of the Kingdom of God is about a radical new norm, a new encompassing world order now and forever.

It is good to have Kaepernick, Milano and senior female BBC staff taking a lead, it is encouraging to note by organisations like Nike, Holywood institutions and the BBC are taking things on board. We benefit from the Rowlings and Gates of this world. Yet for all their value change is about a deeper, broader and more rooted process.

Graham Brownlee, September 2018

It’s all go this Sunday – Harvest Thanksgiving Service – Church Meeting – Shared Lunch


There’s so much going on at MBC this Sunday that we thought we’d give you a heads up on what to expect, what to bring and where our harvest contributions are going.

Firstly: Harvest Financial Offering: This year we are supporting two Harvest Appeals: BMS and Christian Aid.

Secondly: Our Harvest Food Offering: any food donations (tinned, dried goods etc but in particular toiletries) will be shared between our local food bank at Moor Allerton and our own ‘Lord’s Pantry’ that provides one off food parcels.

And thirdly our Harvest Produce Offering, that’s anything that has been home grown in gardens or allotments. 

Church Meeting and Shared Lunch: after the service we are a holding another of our all together church meetings; this one to discuss feedback on the proposal to change to holding two services on Sunday mornings.

This will then be followed by a shared lunch. If you can please bring a plate of savory or sweet food to feed yourself and three or four others.

There will be a table in the sports hall to leave food before the service begins.

Thank you. 


Looking to the future; ten questions we’d like you to consider

Over the last couple of months we have been asking the question “how best, in terms of Sunday worship, might we respond to the growing number of people that are attending MBC.” Part of this process has been to ask a number of people what it is they see when they look at Church; their comments which were recorded on video were shown on Sunday September 2nd. 

However, if you missed that service or if you would like to see the film again here it is. There’s also a link here to the sermon that Graham preached at that Service, based on Acts 11 which also looked at the subject of change. 


Furthermore, below we’ve reproduced the original text of a post that was published at the start of this consultation. Also to give more time for discussion the deadline for comments has now been extended until Sunday the 30th of September when following our Harvest Service we will be holding one of our all together Church Meetings and a shared lunch.  

Moortown Baptist Church is growing in numbers, diversity and experience of God together. With so many people in our building we know that services can feel packed and busy. So we are looking at how we can make more space to grow and flourish whilst cherishing our diversity and community.

The Bible is clear that the church is nothing short of being the body of Christ, the people of God gathering to be equipped and sent, a community experiencing and sharing God through the Spirit.

People have many reasons for coming to church, to find and deepen faith, to enjoy community and friendships, to encounter God and be caught up in hope, to equipped to love daily and be capable of love.

Gathering on a Sunday is only one part of our wider Christian lives.

So we want to hear from one another as we consider doing things differently on Sundays.

Our intention is for these questions to stimulate discussion in small groups of friends, families, home groups, teams that play a part in church life etc virtually or in person, rather than to receive individual responses.

Responses should be sent to moortown.baptist@btconnect.com or handed to a minister or member of the Leadership Team, by Sunday 30th September.

Some Bible references that might aid your discussion are:

Matthew 28.16-20, Acts 2, Hebrews 10.19-25, 1 Corinthians 12,13,

  1. Why do we gather? What would we miss if we didn’t?
  2. Where does a Sunday service fit for you in your faith life: is it the main source of spiritual refreshment, or do you have other places that are the source for you?
  3. How many Sundays do you attend in a month? What other regular commitments do you have on a Sunday- leading in youth/ children’s church or play not in the band, stewarding. Or maybe commitments to work or children’s sport that happen on Sunday?
  4. How would you describe Sunday morning services to a prospective visitor with particular reference to our welcome, worship, engagement with the Bible, and witness?
  5. What kind of ideas would a visitor go away with about the kind of God we worship, our attitude to the wider world, what it means to be part of a church community?
  6. For you and yours what do you value most in Sunday gathering that prepares you for your coming week?
  7. As we seek to grow, what kind of welcome and invitation to join in at MBC do you experience or imagine new people experience, (especially if they’ve never been part of church)
  8. What do you see other churches doing well?
  9. If there were an earlier and a later morning service, what would you expect to be included in each service?
  10. What might we need to consider if we run two morning services.



Where do we Grow From Here? Ken Benjamin tells us about one approach we might like to try

Ken Benjamin freely admits that when he first became a Christian he “loved the message but was disappointing with the packaging.”

Sadly this dissatisfaction didn’t get any better, so it was that some years later, Rev Ken by then a Baptist minister at a church in Chichcester spent a sabbatical term looking into ways of making the church, but in particular Chichcester Baptist Church more credible and more relevant to the communities they are called to serve.

Fast forward to September 2018 and you’ll find Ken, who right now is President Elect of the Baptist Union of GB pastroring a very different church to that which he joined as Associate Minister way back in 1996.Driven, then as now by one particular piece of scripture; Luke chapter 12 verse 48… “to whom much is given, much will be required” Ken interprets this not in terms of physical, worldly acquisitions but as trust in and the assurance of a relationship with Jesus that will stretch from here to eternity. Thereby, he argues, the onus on Christians who have it all has to be to be bold in their approach to anyone who under normal circumstances would never dream of attending a “traditional” Sunday morning Service. 

Ken was invited to spend the weekend at MBC as part of the lead-up to us deciding whether or not we feel it right to make some quite fundamental changes to our Sunday mornings.

And whilst keen to stress that what fits one church certainly won’t fit all Ken shared with us details of the eight Alternative Gatherings which Chichester Baptist Church runs, and to which they find a good number of the aforementioned reluctant church goers are attracted.

These, with the exception of Sunday Lunch all take place on Sunday morning, once a month and run roughly alongside the church’s regular time of worship. They are: Sunday Lunch, a free meal which is served twice a month to the homeless and those in need; Walk and Talk, a gentle dog friendly stroll; Heart for Parklands, Parklands is the area of town in which CBC sits and this is aimed at local residents who struggle to get out and who would welcome a friendly chat and visit; Common Threads, a creative knitting, crochet & needlework group that meets in a local school; Cedar MinistryCedar Ministry takes church to elderly residents seeking to share God’s love with and serve all people in local care homes; Mud, Sweat and Gears, a bike ride that goes both on and off road; Sports Plus, held at Chichester College Sports Centre and includes football, tennis, fitness class, bouncy castle, family fun games and table tennis and finally Early Birdies, an early morning nine holes of golf at Chichester Golf Club. 

“In total,” says Ken, “these eight different ministries involve around three hundred people, many from CBC but also a growing number of individuals and families who have been invited by our members to join them. The one common thread, however, is that which ever one you attend there is always time set aside for chat, for outreach, for testimony and for prayer.”

Which direction MBC decides to take is of course a matter for its membership to decide but as a courageous attempt to make church more credible and more relevant Chichester’s bold example certainly provides much food for thought. 

If you would like to find out more about Chichester Baptist Church’s Alternative Gatherings follow this link  https://chichesterbaptist.org.uk/alternativegatherings.htm   




Beacon Cast-Offs get all geared up for Christmas

With only 91 days left until Christmas MBC’s Beacon Cast-Off group have begun their preparation. The merry band of sewers, knitters and crocheters are already busy pinning, clicking and purling their way through a catalogue of seasonal patterns in an effort to produce goods which nearer the big day will be sold at a number of local charity Christmas Fairs. 

I only popped in for a few minutes but already finished were a number of colourful scarves, some beautiful covers for glass candle holders, the cutest little Ferrero Rocher holders you have ever seen and of course a growing pile of knitted wool squares which when stitched together will form wonderfully cosy blankets.

Kate Slater and Susan Hartley arrange these sessions which are held in the MBC Music Room on the third Saturday of each month. If you would like to join them please feel free.

Oh and there’s always plenty of tea, coffee and cake.




BMS World Mission – catch up with its latest news

Question: what does a pioneer church planter working in a Buddhist village in Thailand have in common with a group of people from Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Blackwood?

Answer: stories about both feature in BMS World Mission’s latest ENGAGE magazine.

Amongst other things issue 42 also contains a message from General Director Kang-San Tan, a feature about how in Afghanistan field workers are helping to reduce the number of mother and baby deaths by educating villagers about preventable illnesses and birthing complications, and a thank you from Lebanon for the help BMS World Mission is giving Syrian refugees.

In the package I received (free, by post) there was also a timely reminder that whilst Christmas may still be more than three months off it’s never too soon to stock up on cards or notelets from the organisations 2018 catalogue.  

ENGAGE is available totally free of charge either by post or on line. To subscribe call 01235 517700, email mail@bmsworldmission.org or go to https://www.bmsworldmission.org/get-involved/stay-informed/engage/

Moortown Baptist Church, both as a church and through individual giving supports BMS World Mission in a number of different ways. For information about how you can help please speak with Roger Robson.

Where do we Grow from Here? Sept 22 – 23, a weekend of learning and sharing

On Saturday and Sunday the 22nd and 23rd of September we will be welcoming Pastor Ken Benjamin to MBC. Ken who is Minister at Chichester Baptist Church will, between 2019 and 2020 serve as the President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. 

Having recently led a large church through a programme which looked at new ways of addressing mission and discipleship Ken will spend the Saturday morning (10am to 12.30pm – coffee and croissants from 9.30) )leading a number of seminars and discussions designed to support leaders from both our church and other local fellowships.

On Sunday morning he will be preaching on the title you see in our headline: Where do we grow from here?

As growth and diversity are two of the prime elements driving MBC’s ongoing debate about change there is an open invitation to everyone to come along to attend on Saturday, Sunday or both.  


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