Whitley Bay Baptist Church
Investing in children, young people and families
Supporting the call of a Pioneer Minister in Training
From one original church, four churches were born
Minister Paul Newman spent his first 14 years of Ministry in Methodism before becoming a Baptist Minister and has now spent 19 years at Whitley Bay. As he moves toward retirement he and the church have been reflecting on transition. How do we move things forward? He reflects ‘It is a fascinating time’.
In 1998, the church was made of three congregations. This included a main building at Park Avenue, Whitley Lodge which met in a school and Preston Grange which was based in a community space. All three are now freestanding churches. It has been a story of growth.
A fourth church has also been planted and they use the space at Park Avenue. Filipino International Church started when six nurses came over to Britain from the Philippines during the Blair years. Over time they brought over their families, one of which was a pastor which led them to starting a small group of their own. This progressed to leading Sunday worship in their native tongue and over time planting a church of their own.
Whitley Bay reflected on what was their key focus? The answer was investing in children, young people and families. This has been realised in several ways, including ‘ParenTalk’ an 8 week discussion-based series with other parents and carers in a friendly, safe, relaxed atmosphere.
They share experiences and help one another with everything that it means to be a parent. This was awarded first prize in the Outstanding category for North Tyneside’s Healthy Community awards in 2012 and now work directly with schools.
Another is ‘Take 5 and chat’, offering a café for parents with children with additional needs. Paul reflects that it has been ‘incredible to see how that has worked’. This has also been nominated for an award, being a finalist in the Love Britain and Ireland Awards for inclusion.
Their ministry also includes 'The Light', a group for adults with learning disabilities to learn more about Jesus and how he loves us. It meets around once a month and includes drama, songs, prayer, craft, bible stories chat and sandwiches!
They have been thinking about what to do with building. This is leading to a major renovation on sanctuary. A pledge Sunday brought 240K from a target of 250K.
Their new season has continued by welcoming a Minister in Training who is studying at Cranmer Hall. Adam is called to be a pioneer and the church are considering how they can support that call? What does it mean to be a missional community? A questionnaire about the state of life in church has been helping.
Their adventure and journey continues as they listen to God’s rhythm and heartbeat.
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