The Baptist Times News Round Up
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In keeping with the season, and partly due to there being a longer gap than normal since the last edition, there seems an abundance of material to share with you in this final BT Round-up of the year.

We have a mix of good news stories - a world record nativity, the creation of an urban Christian retreat in a town centre shop, a church eco award - alongside updates about places and people experiencing unimaginable horror. Longer reflections take in World Aids Day, the real Saint Nick (and why we should redeem him), our gifts and what we’re doing with them, and research about the lives of clergy children.

We’re delighted to be receiving so many baptism stories, and recognise that in many ways they’re just a snapshot of what’s happening in our churches. Please add to our list of you’re able by contacting me on the email below. In addition there are links to our reviews and obituary pages, and much more on the website too.

May you walk in God’s abundant life this Christmas,
Paul Hobson
Faith and Society Editor/Writer


 World record nativity for Wiltshire town
JPIT nativity film raises asylum seeker questions
Churches create 'urban retreat' in town centre shop
Nativity world record for Wiltshire town
Baptist deacon's idea results in Calne breaking the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest live nativity

'The courage to be Baptist'
A call to Baptist churches to face present disagreements over same-sex marriage by being faithful to ‘a Baptist way of being church’ is made

Eco award for Worcestershire church
Fernhill Heath has become the first Baptist church in England and Wales to win a Silver Eco Church Award

Prayer house launched in town shop
Churches in a Welsh town have united to rent a shop and create an “urban retreat”

JPIT nativity film raises asylum treatment
A modern retelling of the nativity story which highlights some of the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK has been released by the Joint Public Issues Team

Heartfelt plea from Aleppo NGOs
NGOs operating in the besieged city of Aleppo have released a ‘message to the world’ about the unfolding massacre taking place

'We are motivated by our call to show the love of Jesus to our friends and neighbours through our actions as well as words'
One of our latest Baptists Together Home Mission stories

Bringing Christmas to Chad
They’re not getting any snow, but this December BMS World Mission supporters can help patients at Guinebor II Hospital get something better


What am I doing with my gifts?
The whole business of gifts and talents can seem grossly unfair - but every Christian has received a gift from God. What are we doing with it?

Remembering the real Santa Claus  
The real Saint Nick was a wonderful man who loved Jesus and served him faithfully and bravely: we can and should redeem him

Clergy children - hidden in plain sight?
What impact does parental church-based ministry have on clergy children? A Baptist minister is studying this under-researched area

World Aids Day reflection and prayer
The way some people treat me has made me more determined to talk about being HIV positive, writes a Baptist minister

Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth behind the Birth of Christ By Timothy Keller
Liberating the Gospel: Translating the Message of Jesus in a Globalised World By David Smith
Discovering Romans – content, interpretation, reception By Anthony C. Thiselton
Growing In Circles: learning the rhythms of discipleship By Paul Harcourt
Film: Arrival


Baptisms and other notices

Ampthill Baptist Church, Bedfordshire: Tom Coen
Attleborough Baptist Church, Nuneaton: Jeff Pagett
Bromham Baptist Church, Bedfordshire: Phil Lorrimer-George and son Morgan
Cemetery Road Baptist Church, Sheffield: Melissa Newby, Behroz, Mohmmad, James, Ehsan
Crowthorne Baptist Church, Berkshire: Emma Fraser
Gillingham Baptist Church, Kent: Lorraine Hopper
Greenfield Baptist Church, Llanelli: Hannah Thomas
Hereford Baptist Church: Rob Pritchard, Mo Pritchard, Rhian Hill, Eleanor Hollins, Rachel Price, Oliver Bayliss, Hannah Parfitt, Sophie Peake
Herne Bay Baptist Church, Kent: Colin Moore
Limbrick Wood Baptist Church, Coventry: Adrian Birsan
Ringstead Baptist Church, Northants: Lindsay Russen
Streatham Baptist Church, London: Michael Calliste, Peter Nicholls
Temple Baptist Church, Pontypridd: Robert Miller, Edward Smith and Imogen Chalk
The Bridge Baptist Church, Gillingham, Kent: Ruby Smith
Tilehouse Street Baptist Church, Hitchin: Rod and Margaret Piggott
Upton Vale Baptist Church, Torquay: Julie Sissons, Laura Maskevica, Leia Price and Monika Tothne

Baptism stories
Advent Sunday saw two Gillingham (Kent) Baptist Churches join together to celebrate Advent and two baptisms, writes Pastor Paul Hill. Gillingham Baptist Church (GBC) has kindly allowed The Bridge Baptist Church (who normally meet in a Community Centre in North Gillingham) to use its baptistry and premises in the past, but on this occasion they both had baptismal candidates and shared the service. It was an amazing service, with others describing it as “electrifying” and “inspirational”.
Advent Sunday will never be the same again for any of us! To God be the glory! Full story here:
On 20 November, Robert Miller, Edward Smith and Imogen Chalk were baptised at Temple Baptist, Pontypridd. The baptism took place in our new baptistry and was followed by a buffet lunch for the family and friends of the three young people. It was a truly joyous occasion.
Janet Williams, Secretary

Adrian Birsan was baptised by Limbrick Wood Baptist Church Pastor, Darren Bovis-Coulter, during Sunday morning worship on 27 November. Adrian read out his testimony to the congregation, which included his wife and daughter and also his brother and brother-in-law who had travelled from other countries, telling of difficult times in his past life and how the Lord has turned his life around – praise the Lord!
While still open, Limbrick Wood’s baptistery was then used by City Church who had five baptisms.  
The Latvian Church, who use Limbrick Wood’s building every Sunday afternoon, would also have used the baptistery, but their Pastor was not available that day – they have requested use in January.
We praise the Lord that this baptistery that had been unused for so long has had good use throughout 2016 with more to come in 2017!
Sue Best, Secretary

The congregation at Attleborough Baptist Church, Nuneaton, celebrated the baptism of Jeff Pagett on 16 October when he was also taken into church membership. Jeff started attending Attleborough Baptist Church thorough helping out at the Job Club and being invited to a Christmas service. We have enjoyed travelling his journey to faith with him and thank God for his blessing.
Sheryl White, Secretary

PIPER (née Phillips), the Revd Margaret

Died peacefully at Glanffrwd Care Home, Pencoed, on 10 December 2016, aged 91. Beloved wife of Norman and much-loved stepmother, grandmother and aunt. Served with BMS in Congo from 1950-1960, and a faithful minister to churches in Kidlington, Siloam in Cardiff & Didsbury and Middleton in Manchester. The funeral will take place on Thursday 22 December at 2 pm at Gilgal Baptist Church, Porthcawl, followed by cremation at Coychurch Crematorium. Family flowers only please, but donations to BMS World Mission would be appreciated c/o Porthcawl Funeral Services, 75 New Road, Porthcawl, CF36 5DH. Tel: 01656 783699.

The Baptist Times has published a number of obituaries this year. To access them visit:

Know anyone preparing for baptism? Check out our range of cards

Send your notifications and stories to


  • Associate Pastor, Southall Baptist Church
  • Principal, Spurgeon's College
  • Chair of Trustees, St Philip's Centre


Fire Camp
Fire Camp is the innovative, collaborative, 4 night, camping, mini-festival for baptists and friends on Mersea Island, Essex.
Fire Camp is now in its second year and the July 2017 theme is:
Heaven and Earth: what does it mean to welcome heaven rather than wait for it?
Tickets and further info at

A place to go on Christmas Day
Premier Christian Radio are creating a map showing events around the UK that are open on Christmas Day for the lonely and homeless. Are you doing something that could be added? If so please fill out the form on this page

Advent prayers and reflections
A series of Advent prayers and links to longer reflections

The Revd Dr Barrie White
The thanksgiving service for the Revd Dr Barrie White, Baptist historian and former principal of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, was filmed. Anyone who is interested in a copy should contact the Revd John Perry on 01628 825 670 or

Urban Life has recently celebrated the launch of its first two books: "An exciting new series written with the aim of equipping churches and church-planting teams with the theory and practical knowledge needed to develop significantly new approaches to mission."
Baptist festival: Fire Camp 2017
Advent prayers and reflections
New books from Urban Life
Copyright © 2016 Baptist Union of Great Britain, All rights reserved.

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