Encouragement at Halwill Baptist Church
The north Devon church has continued to make improvements to its building, as well as engage with the community through food and hospitality as its activities restart. Millicent Hill shares more
In 2019, after much prayer and consideration, we started to build a new kitchen and store room at the end of our existing hall. Our old kitchen was refurbished and is now a meeting room. To raise money towards this project we held a monthly Sunday roast meal, to which 60 – 70 people of the community came and enjoyed. The build was completed in November 2019 and we held the Soup and Sweet Christmas meal which 70 people attended; we also did our annual Christmas meal when about 90 people from the community attended and we finished the evening with Carols.
We continued with our monthly Sunday lunches and Soup & Sweet (which is run for the elderly and lonely of the village) until mid-March 2020 when, like everyone, we were closed down because of Covid 19.
From there on we thank God for modern technology which allowed us to join online services. Our deacons met on Zoom every month to look at the situation, during this time we began to produce a weekly Prayer Focus which went out to our members by email and post. We kept in touch with the people who were not on the internet by phone. We started up a Chapel Chat on Messenger and had a group video chat every Saturday afternoon - it was wonderful to actually see each other!
By September 2020 we set up our church with a screen to protect the preacher and we socially distanced the seating; we used the Just 10 DVDs by J John to get us going and listened to hymns with a video scene playing from YouTube. Our congregation gradually increased as our members started to feel safe in coming back, we also gained some people from other churches as their churches were not yet open.
In December 2020 we gave Hampers to some of our members who were unable to come out and we also did a takeaway Christmas Fellowship lunch, and a drive in Carol Service in our Chapel Car Park; all these events were very much appreciated after the long time apart.
We then opened the church again on Mothering Sunday 2021 with preachers in person and have remained open ever since. Our Sunday Club for young people meet in the hall separately. Thank you to Sunday Club teachers and our lay preachers who were willing to come and lead our services. During this time we held weekly Zoom Bible studies using material from the Bible Society and Kingsgate Church, which became a great blessing for our fellowship.
In July 2021 one of our members went through the waters of baptism, followed by a fellowship lunch.
We restarted the Soup and Sweet in September 2021, also Good Companions met (this is for the lonely people of the village) and enjoyed board games and afternoon tea.
Our hall is used by Parent and Toddlers, Mature Movers, History and Gardening clubs, we also have two Youth clubs which reopened in March 2022.
At the beginning of March 2022 we embarked on our church development phase two which was to refurbish our church by replacing the pews with comfortable chairs, removing the old pulpit and dark wood paneling, updating the heating system, new carpeting and redecoration - we were able to continue Sunday worship in our hall.
Our church after refurbishment
Our church before
The new kitchen
Millicent Hill is the treasurer and deacon of Halwill Baptist Church, Beaworthy, Devon
This is part of a short collection of stories from churches in north Devon, which have shared how God is working through them post lockdown
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