A huge thank you to an amazing group of volunteers – all 46 of them – that came together before, during and after the Christmas Eco Fayre that took place at Leigh Road Baptist Church on Saturday 18 November.
They moved tables, promoted the event, displayed and sold second-hand goods and cuddly toys, painted faces, sold cakes and bacon butties (yum!). Together we championed ethical and sustainable Christmas shopping, supporting local makers and crafters – the whole event was full of joy and bargains!
Thanks to all who came along and purchased from the stallholders who reported really good sales. “Thanks for a fantastic day”, “Another really successful Eco fair” and “My favourite markets were definitely the Global Community Saturdays (Living Room) and the LRBC Christmas Fayre”, were just some of the positive comments received.
Leigh Road Baptist Church’s Living Room has recently celebrated the first anniversary of the weekly drop-in wellbeing space called ‘Renew Wellbeing’ on the Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea.
‘Renew Wellbeing at the Living Room’ is a space where people can relax, take part in craft activities, read magazines, do puzzles, chat and have the opportunity to buy a drink and cake from the adjoining ‘The Phabulous Café’ next door.
The aim is to provide a place where local people who may feel anxious, isolated or lonely to meet with others and take part in something creative. There is also a short prayer time which is optional at 3.45pm and an opportunity to enjoy time together.
Renew Wellbeing meets every Thursday 2pm-4pm at the community space, the Living Room, 191 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea. The space is open to all, please just pop in.
Tanya Pain one of the volunteer organisers said ‘Renew Wellbeing is a space for all where it is okay to not be okay. It’s a non-judgmental safe space where nobody is forced to join in and all are welcome to just be. Anyone would be very welcome.’
Attendees have commented on the value of such a space for them,
‘I am really enjoying Renew Wellbeing, lovely people, many activities and things to do. Just what I needed and very therapeutic and good for wellbeing’.
‘You have no idea what a difference Renew Wellbeing has made to my confidence and self esteem. They changed an isolated, withdrawn old lady into one who feels ready to face the world…’
The first anniversary on Thursday 11 May saw birthday cake, crafts, puzzles, chatting and a real buzz from regular and new guests. It was also great to be visited by other churches thinking of opening up a wellbeing space and Syrie Cox, a long-time supporter of mental health and wellbeing projects and the CEO of the wonderful Southend YMCA.
Leigh Road Baptist Church has been praying for Leigh-on-Sea, its people and the wider world for over 125 years, and it is our absolute joy to continue to do so.
We believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer, simply put, we see prayer work.
If as an individual, business, school or organisation in Leigh-on-Sea or indeed beyond you would like us to pray for you or your situation, please post your prayer request in the box below and hit submit.
‘Why don’t you try praying for a week and see what happens in your life?’
Why not check out TryPraying, a 7 day prayer guide for the non-religious, for those who aren’t into church, the atheist and agnostic.
Sunday 4 June saw many invited guests and the congregation of Leigh Road Baptist Church officially welcome Rev Ian Smith as an Associate Minister of the church.
Rev Claire Blatchford, Regional Minister of the Eastern Baptist Association led the induction of Ian with promises and prayers given by Ian’s former church, Billericay Baptist Church and the gathered congregation and church members.
We are thankful to Rev. Gary Bott, Community Pastor at Billericay Baptist Church who brought us all a challenging message and the LRBC band who lead those gathered in joyous sung worship of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The service was followed by tea and an array of delicious cakes served in the church hall and garden, and informal but sincere welcomes were given by guests, Anna Firth MP and Cllr Bernhard Arscott, Chair of Leigh-on-Sea Town Council.
Ian is a gifted and experienced minister who has served in a variety of churches throughout his ministry. He is passionate about leading people to know Jesus Christ and to grow in their faith. He is also a gifted communicator and teacher.
As Leigh Road Baptist Church, we are excited to welcome Ian to the church family joining our Minister Andrew Cowley and we believe that he will be a great asset to our community and town.
A prayer for Rev Ian Smith today on the occasion of the induction of Ian as an Associate Minister of Leigh Road Baptist Church.
Today we thank you for the service that Ian has given to your church and mission in different ways and in different places, and we pray that his sense of calling may be renewed as he comes to this work with Leigh Road Baptist Church and the people of Leigh-on-Sea.
We thank you for the talents and skills he has exercised and which he now brings to this community, for his integrity and faith.
We thank you for all that he has learned in ministry, all that he has given and all that he has shared in. We thank you for the pilgrimage of his past and the mission that is the future.
We thank you for Ian’s family, and pray for Andrea, Kayleigh and Harry, that in their own right they may know that they are welcomed by a community, embraced by a fellowship and loved for themselves.
In this ministry, may Ian give and be given to, hear and be heard, love and be loved, support and be supported. Grant your grace to both minister, ministerial team, congregation and neighbourhood to forge together a partnership of trust and respect.
May we as LRBC proclaim the good news of the kingdom through our life and worship together. May we teach, baptise and nurture new believers through our faith and fellowship, may we respond to human need by loving service on our frontlines.
By your Spirit keep us faithful and guide us on our frontlines, equip us for your service, and welcome us into your future.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Please continue to pray for Leigh Road Baptist Church and their ministers Andrew and Ian. Thank you.
Following the murder of Sir David Amess last year Love Southend an inter church organisation showing God’s love throughout the city of Southend-on-Sea held a time of prayer on Zoom for his family, friends and the then Borough. Artist Helen Yousaf was commissioned to capture artistically some of the themes emerging from the prayer.
If was our privilege as Leigh Road Baptist Church (LRBC) to make our Living Room community space on the Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea (the same road as Sir David’s constituency office) available for Helen to start the work. Helen actively engaged those who visited the Living Room while this creative work was in progress, and used their thoughts, prayers and observations in creating three pieces of artwork, which she completed later.
Love Southend, as a mark of thanks for LRBC’s help in making this art work possible, donated a piece entitled ‘Suffering and Glory’ to Jane Brookes (pictured), Facilities Manager of Leigh Road Baptist Church on the 6 October.
The accompanying wording reads:
Suffering and Glory
Sir David Amess MP was murdered during a regular constituency surgery At Belfairs Methodist Church on the 15th October 2021.
Two days later these inspiring words were released by his family:
‘Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace. So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness’.
Love Southend commissioned artist Helen Yousaf to paint what had been expressed in a time of prayer for Sir David’s family and Southend. In a collaborative artistic exercise held in this space the people attending participated in a colourful abstract, imagining the possibilities of light overcoming darkness.
As she worked on the picture Helen was reminded of Romans 8:18-19. ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.’
A year on from the tragic murder of Sir David Amess, our thoughts and prayers remain with his family, colleagues and closest friends. We thank God for his service to our city and the many lives he affected through his service as an MP, friend and citizen of our city.
The artwork is on display on the glass welcome area, at the home of Leigh Road Baptist Church, Marguerite Drive, Leigh-on-Sea.
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Got questions about sponsoring or housing Ukrainian Refugees?
Sanctuary Foundation the national organisation headed up by Dr Krish Kandiah are hosting an online information session titled “How to welcome Ukrainian Refugees“ Wednesday 16 March 7.30pm-9pm for anyone who is interested.
God of all, With alarm and concern we bring before you the military intervention in Ukraine. In a world you made for peace and flourishing, we lament the use of armed force. We mourn every casualty of this conflict, every precious life extinguished by war. We pray comfort for those who grieve and those who are fearful. Hear our longing that leaders and nations will honour the worth of all people by having the courage to resolve conflict through dialogue. May all our human failings be transformed by your wonderful grace and goodness We ask this in the name of Christ, the author of peace and sustainer of Creation. Amen.
We have all seen and heard the distressing pictures and news from Ukraine. The local population is suffering from the Russian invasion in many different ways including the separation of families and the shelling of residential areas. Many people are fleeing abroad and there is a great need to provide food, water, medicines and shelter for these refugees.
The leadership team of Leigh Road Baptist Church has considered what our response should be as a church and has decided to send £5,000 to the European Baptist Federation (EBF). The EBF is working with partners in Ukraine, Poland and other surrounding nations who are best placed to know what practical help and assistance is needed by those most affected.
We are aware that many of you would like to help in some way and so we would invite the church family together to try and match the £5,000 that the church is already sending to the EBF to add to the overall donation. You can do this at the LRBC on-site gatherings by putting cash or a cheque in the green giving envelopes provided, marking them for Ukraine, which will be available over the next few weeks. Alternatively, you can transfer funds by bank transfer, please contact the church office for these details.
If you are a UK taxpayer then please provide the church treasurer with your name, address and the amount you’ve donated to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can recover the tax via Gift Aid which will increase the value of your donation.
Life & Soul explores the kinds of questions we all ask at times, such as ‘What’s life all about?’ and ‘Is there anybody out there?’ and asks what the Christian faith has to say in response. Gatherings are fun and interactive, more recently online but sometimes in-person with talks, activities and discussion where all views are welcome. Whether you consider yourself an atheist, agnostic, spiritual but not religious, a Christian believer or not sure, you would be very welcome.
Maybe you have found yourself trying to make sense of life. Perhaps you’ve been wondering if there is a God and, if so, why God has been letting all this bad stuff in the world happen? Life & Soul has been developed to help people explore spiritual things, whether or not they see themselves as religious.
Our hearts and prayers as Leigh Road Baptist Church go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Sir David Amess who sadly died following an attack at his constituency surgery on Friday 15 October 2021.
Rev Steve Tinning of Leigh Road Baptist Church said, “In my experience David was a warm, compassionate and dedicated servant to Southend. We met on regular occasions as he supported the church, local refugees and regularly entertained my political concerns. He was a man of deep faith and conviction. I will miss him very much”.
Both Rev Steve Tinning and Rev Andrew Cowley have offered their heartfelt condolences on behalf of LRBC and have spoken into the grief felt by the community of Southend-on-Sea. Steve has appeared on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live, BBC Radio Essex and conducted various other interviews. Andrew Cowley spoke on Premier Radio paying tribute to Sir David and the man of faith he was.
Helping the community with their grief
Leigh Road Baptist Church’s Rev Steve Tinning and Rev Mark Umpleby of United Benefice of Batley have been talking to each other a week on from the death of Sir David on the Sonia Watson’s BBC Essex Radio Breakfast show on Friday 22 October.
The two clergy from Sir David Amess’ and Jo Cox’s constituencies shared their experiences of losing their MP’s in tragic circumstances and the impact on their local communities. Listen to the interview below.
On Thursday 21st October Rev Andrew Cowley gave the address at a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Sir David Amess with other church leaders from across Leigh-on-Sea.
Watch the service below.
President: Fr Clive Hillman, Priest in charge, St Clements Church, Leigh, Gospeler: Fr Jeff Woolnough, Parish Priest, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Eastwood Parish. Preacher: The Rev’d Andrew Cowley, Leigh Road Baptist Church, Intercessor: Gavin Dixon, King’s Church Southend and Churches Together in Leigh-on-Sea, with Major (Dr) Jacquie Hanover, C.O. Leigh-on-Sea Salvation Army, Church and Community Centre and music from the The Music Man Project Essex.
Leigh Road Baptist Church’s Minister Rev Steve Tinning and Father Jeffrey Woolnough, priest at Saint Peter’s Catholic Parish of Eastwood chatted with BBC Sunday Morning Live presenters Sean Fletcher and Sally Phillips about the untimely and cruel death of Sir David Amess MP and the impact his life had on so many in his constituency of Southend West and beyond on Sunday 17 October 2021. The interview is availabe to watch below.
On Friday 22 October a week on, a two-minute silence has been held by a community mourning the loss of their MP, Sir David Amess. Rev Steve Tinning attended to pay respects on behalf of the Leigh Road Baptist Church.
A two-minute silence has been held by a community mourning the loss of their MP, Sir David Amess, who was killed a week ago today.
Sir David, 69, was stabbed to death shortly after midday while carrying out duties in his Southend West constituency. pic.twitter.com/HACN0ZiyYU
This is the second in a series of posts on What we can do as a Church to Stop Climate Change in the run up to COP26 1st – 12th November 2021. In the first post I talked about the importance of praying for COP26 and our political leaders. The second thing you can do to stop climate change is to talk to your local Member of Parliament and Town and County Councillors about the importance of tackling climate change.
First a confession. Standing up and bearing witness is something I was not, and am not, comfortable with. I am by nature a quiet, thoughtful person and would rather keep my head down, avoiding any confrontation or disagreement. Even writing this is an act of courage for me. There will be those among you who do not want to hear what I have to say. However, there is a time for everything in its season. There is ‘a time to be silent and a time to speak’, (Ecclesiastes 3 1-8) and now is the time, for all of us, not just to speak but to shout, so our voices can be heard.
The world is in peril, the plants and animals we know, and love, here in Essex and around the world are in danger from rising temperatures. Billions of people around the world are affected now by rising sea levels, unstable weather systems, flooding and fire due to our continued use of fossil fuels. The United Nations has issued a Code Red for Humanity. We must act now. This is important. From a Christian perspective it is about:
Being faithful stewards of Gods beautiful creation
Justice for the world’s most vulnerable communities
I was brought up in a scientific household, my father was a Chemistry teacher, and since I was a young child, I have known that climate change was happening, and it was bad. But I had faith that the government and organisations would do the best thing for the climate and all of us. In autumn 2018 I had a sudden realisation that this wasn’t going to happen. I had been following the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii that monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced when we burn fossil fuels, things like oil, petroleum, and gas. and in September 2018 it became apparent that carbon dioxide levels were 405 ppm and the world was doing nothing to stop it. The use of fossil fuels continued to grow. The last time atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were this high was 2 – 3 million years ago in the Pliocene era. When sea levels were on average between 50 and 80 ft higher than now (15 – 24m) so most of the current land was underwater, average temperatures were 2-3 ˚C higher and Arctic temperatures were between 10-20 ˚C hotter (something we have seen happen over the last three summers with temperatures in the Arctic peaking at 32°C (90°F) on 20th June 2021 at Saskylah in Arctic Siberia.
I felt a profound level of mental, physical and spiritual distress as this realisation hit me. It was overwhelming how bad things are and how much we need to do to put things right. I felt I had to do something. I had to speak and be heard, to take action to help save my children, my family and my community from the disaster that was coming like a huge truck down the road. In January 2019 I spoke to Andrew Cowley and he encouraged me to set up the LRBC Green Group. The LRBC Green Group are a fantastic team and have been involved in lots of activities, most of them relating to Christian Public Witness in one form or another including:
Taking part as The Time in Now lobby and Faith march, organised by The Climate Coalition, a group of organisations including the Women’s Institute, WWF, RSPB, Christian Aid, CAFOD and over 90 other organisations.
Inviting our MP Sir David Amess to open the LRBC/Eco-Southend Eco Fair and talk to the stall holders.
Inviting Southend Councillor Carole Mulroney to speak at the Eco Fair and talk to local people about Climate crisis.
Writing to our MP’s and Councillor’s about local and national climate issues. In September representatives of LRBC Green Group took a petition from the children of LRBC and other local families to Sir David Amess to ask him to undertake to support the Ecological and Environmental Emergency Act and the Climate Change Act.
Speaking to your MP is powerful act. The only way we can reduce our use of fossil fuels is if Members of Parliament make the necessary changes in law and policy. Politicians are worried that the steps they need to take to stop climate change are going to be unpopular. They depend on the support of the people in their constituencies for their jobs in parliament. One of the most important things you can do is write or speak to your MP and tell them you want them to support the changes and legislation needed to stop climate change. You need to empower them to have the courage to stand up for the planet in parliament.
When we met Sir David Amess on the train on our way to The Time is Now march and parliamentary lobby, he was very supportive. But he asked us to continue protesting and lobbying as people needed to hear our message. He said that no one comes to talk to him in his surgeries about climate change and that made him think there wasn’t broad local support for action to stop climate change. We need to change that.
So, I have a challenge for you. Today I would like you to contact your MP – find them here, and your local counsellor – find them here and write to them, or, even better, visit them in their surgeries. And let them know that you want them to take action to stop climate change.
Other things you can do to stand up for the planet, include supporting sustainable activities at church and in the local community including things like:
Global community Saturdays 9th October 2021 – 191 (Next to the Phabulous Café) 11-2pm
Creator of teeming oceans and resounding forests, Forgive the way we have exploited your creation for our own ends. Putting profit, greed and status before wellbeing and sustainability. Give us hope that you are restoring and redeeming amongst us. We pray that change will come quickly to preserve species. And we remember those at the forefront of climate change now. Give us reassurance that no act of ours is too small or insignificant. And will change hearts, even our own. Amen.
A rare event happened on September 8th this year that you may have missed. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, released their first ever joint statement. The statement was about COP26. The Church leaders talked about a ‘critical moment’ for humanity. They urged people to ‘listen to the cry of the Earth and of people who are poor and they called on leaders from all over the world to embark on a transition to just and sustainable economies.
The three church leaders have never made a joint statement before. It must be something pretty big to make them cooperate in this way you may think, and it is – really, really big.
They continued: ‘We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure. But we also face a profound injustice: the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them.’
Code red for the climate
Over the last year the impact of climate change has been impossible to ignore. In the summer the United Nations, World Meteorological Organization, World Health Organisation, The International Panel on Climate Change, and the Met Office issued a report that detailed the devastating changes to the climate in 2020. They issued a stark warning that we were close to our last chance to do anything about it. They said:
It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.
The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.
Human-induced climate change is already increasing the frequency and intensity of many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.
COP26, November 2021
The COP26 meeting – the 26th Conference of the Parties takes place on the 1st -12 November 2021. COP26 is a chance for the world to come together to start actually reducing the use of fossil fuels. Leaders from over 190 countries are meeting in Glasgow to agree a way forward. In 2015, COP21 produced the Paris agreement where countries agreed to limit average global warming to 1.5 °C. Since 2021, fossil fuels have continued to be burnt in ever greater quantities. The current global temperature increase is an average of 1.2°C. The ambition of the Paris agreement was good, but the commitments were not enough to stop global warming. To have a 50% chance of keeping the global average temperature rise below 1.5°C the world has to achieve net zero production of carbon dioxide by 2050 and halve carbon dioxide production by 2030. COP26 has a huge task ahead of it.
Justin Welby, Pope Francis, and The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew have asked us to take action. They want us to pray for:
World leaders ahead of COP26
For individuals: To make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources
For those with far-reaching responsibilities: To choose people-centred profits and lead the transition to just and sustainable economies
Pray that the UK government will lead by example and show clearly how we will achieve our own targets for climate action and achieving net zero.
Pray for justice and fairness to be at the heart of the decisions that are made.
Pray that representatives from developing countries will not be limited from attending due to COVID19
Pray for Government ministers and others leading the conference.
Pray for the voices of young people to be heard in every aspect of the conference.
The role of the Christian community
Pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken the hearts of all Christians to our complicity in harming God’s creation and then to see ourselves as those who should lead by example.
Pray for our church communities to invest in green solutions within our buildings and land, and a willingness to share best practice.
Pray for Christian voices to speak up against the injustice of climate change as it effects the poorer nations disproportionately, and for richer nations to financially support green solutions across the world.