Happy 140th Birthday!

Last Saturday was a special day for Welcome church, and not just because of the amazing Fun Day we had …

It was also our 140th birthday as a church!

In the 1870’s Woking was a fast growing town with a railway station and a canal – remember this was before cars existed and that homes did not yet have electricity. In terms of the church in Woking there was a small Methodist chapel, and a tin hut for the Anglicans to meet in. This tin hut was on the spot where Christ Church has now been built in Jubilee Square. 

In 1879 Rev. Edward Tarbox, from Addlestone Baptist Church, wanted to plant a new Baptist Church in Woking. Forty people attended an exploratory meeting in a house in Goldsworth Road on Thursday 18th September where it was agreed to go ahead.

The first Sunday morning and evening services of ‘Woking Baptist Congregational Church’ were held in a house in Goldsworth Road on Sunday 28th September, 1879. The Rev. Tarbox preached at both services, communion was celebrated and eight people were welcomed into church membership.

It was agreed on that first Sunday that Rev. Tarbox would become the Pastor and that Henry William Gloster would become the first Deacon. Henry was the Great Grandfather of John Gloster who is in our church today, and you really can see the family resemblance under that beard – they have the same cheeky smile. Sadly I have no photos of Edward, but if you do please let me have them!

 

Buildings

Goldsworth Rd Baptist (Alvina Gould) (2)

Building No. 2: Goldsworth Road Baptist Church, 1906

At that first meeting it was also agreed to put together a committee to oversee buying some land and constructing a building for the church. It seems that God has been inspiring us to build and to expand since day one.

 

 

That building was completed within two years and the debt paid off a year later, which was impressive to have achieved from a standing start!

Sadly that building was found to be far too small, so the church immediately started work on a second building, which opened in 1886: Goldsworth Road Baptist Church.

Once again we outgrew the building, so in the 1920’s the church bought some more land, this time in Percy Street (which no longer exists) and built a third building: Percy Street Baptist Church.

There are people in our church who still remember that building with affection, having been saved there, baptised there, married there and more.

There is a great photo that was taken during the last ever service held in the Percy Street building, on the evening of 31st December 1976. As you can see, there is some great seventies fashion going on in that photo, and if you zoom in close you may spot one or two faces you recognise …

 

In October 1977 our church moved into its fourth building, called The Coign. We renamed this building The Welcome Centre when we became Welcome Church.

This building is now being redeveloped to provide us with new offices and to serve our children’s work, our youth work, our social action ministries and the wider community. On the land behind it we are also building a completely new 675 seat chapel. THERE IS MORE INFO ON THAT HERE.

We plan to start meeting in the new chapel from January 2020.

The_Coign_Church (June_2015) (3)

Building No. 4: The Welcome Centre (formerly The Coign)

Telling our story

Some of us love history, some are less interested. Either way let me encourage you to buy and read John Gloster’s book: Church On The Move.

John wrote this for us. It tells our history from 1879 – 1999. It’s the story of our church, so if you want to know where we come from, read it. It’s available from us for £7.00 (or £8.00 on Amazon). Any profits will go into the Building Fund.

 

John has written another book too, Welcome Church Story, which brings the story all the way up to date; that’s available for £5. These books are a great resource and I am personally grateful to John for putting them together for us; they are precious. If you want to get hold of a copy of either or both, please email info@allwelcome.uk

Feeling thankful

I’m so grateful to all the people who have gone before us. I thank God that in 1879 He sent Edward Tarbox to Woking with a courageous plan to plant a new church. That took faith, risk, money, personal sacrifice, travel, tears, prayers and hard work … and here we are today. Over the years thousands of people’s lives have been transformed by this church and I am in faith for that to continue into the future.

And it’s so much bigger than just our church. New Life Church in Old Woking celebrated their 90th birthday this weekend. Our church planted that church on our 50th birthday – a great way to celebrate! And there have been other church plants along the way too, such as those in Guildford, Camberley and Chertsey. And many leaders have been sent out to serve in different places around the UK and across the world too.

Why bother? 

But why do it? Why plant churches? Why send people? Why go to all that trouble? Why pay the price?

Because we have hope in a God who saves.

Jesus gave his people a mission to take the gospel to all nations, and that includes here in the UK. We are not a social club, here to look after ourselves; we’re on a mission from God! We have a message to share with our town. We want to introduce people to Jesus. We want to see lives change and our community impacted for good through God’s grace in action.

Our new building is part of that mission and soon we’ll move in. We should be meeting there from Sunday 5th January, with our big launch Sunday on Jan 19th.

I believe we could see hundreds of people coming to our big launch; it’s our God given opportunity to create the most exciting Sunday morning we’ve had for years. This season of church life, is all about that; let’s do all we can to maximise this moment in our history; let’s maximise the opportunity this new start creates for the gospel in our town.

A Welcome Church Gift Day Update

This Sunday – 18th November – is the second of our autumn Gift Days for the New Building Fund.

We’re very excited by what God is doing with our building plans at this time, and in case you missed it, some of the preparatory work started this week:

IMG_4342.jpeg

There is some work going on here …

Yep! A man in a yellow jacket dug a trench between the current building and bike shed, and some cables went in. Lot’s of mess and lots of noise.

The building work starts in earnest from Monday 26th November, and we lose the current Church Car Park permanently from that date (so don’t leave your car in there!)

It’s going to get pretty noisy and messy around here for a while, and step 1 will be the demolition of the houses … which might be fun to see.

Finances

In terms of finance, at the start of the Gift Days I announced our target: we need to raise a further £600,000 to be able to do all we plan to do. It’s a lot of money on top of the incredible £1.4m given already, and it’s going to take some sacrificial giving from us all once again.

Let’s be ready to step out in obedient faith and overwhelming generosity as we approach this Sunday’s giving, and let’s each be asking God what he has enabled us to give.

And let’s remember what it’s all for too: this building is all about the mission God has for us here as a church in Woking. We’re here to see lives changed and our community impacted for good. The new building will help us do that so much more effectively.

So let’s step out in faith and let’s do something amazing together once again.

The results after week 1 of our Gift Days are detailed in this short video – Enjoy!

This video contains sub-titles – just click on the caption button to switch them on or off.

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

Welcome Church Begins

Today is a new day for us as a church: we have now become Welcome Church.

Logo_Color_previewWe’ve been working towards this as a church for some months now, and the day has finally arrived! The new name reflects our new identity and culture as a church, which I have attempted to explain below.

We summarise our approach to church life in four simple words:

Belong, Believe, Become, Together.

Belong

So we say, “Come as you are”

There are no perfect people at Welcome Church; we are all recipients of the love, acceptance and inclusion offered by Jesus Christ, who makes us friends of God and friends with each other. Because of Him we can come with all our questions, doubts and struggles. We can belong together, experiencing God’s grace in action.

We are people of grace!

Believe

So we say, “Know how loved you are”

As we journey together, we seek to know God as our loving Father, His son Jesus as our friend and saviour and the Holy Spirit’s life and power within us. We believe Jesus has the answers to this world’s challenges, so we are learning what it means to trust and to follow him.

We are people of faith!

Become

So we say, “Become who you were created to be”

We believe that God has a purpose for every one of us, and that He created us all with a unique identity. As we follow Jesus we want to find God’s purpose for our lives and learn about the identity he has for us. We want to become who God created us to be and to live that out.

We are people of identity!

Together

So we say, “Find your place”

Together we are God’s church and we each have a part to play. Jesus has restored us to a relationship with God as our loving Father and he wants us to have good relationships with one another as well. Together we seek to show the love of Jesus to everyone, both those who are part of the church, and those who are not.

We are people of community.

By living these values out, we aim to fulfil our mission:

“To share God’s Grace in Action with all people for all of life.”

And we pray that we will see our vision fulfilled:

“To see lives changed and communities impacted for good through God’s Grace in Action”

Want to know more? Get in touch with us.

Want to join us on a Sunday? We meet at 9am and at 11am at the HG Wells Conference Centre in Woking.

Check out our new website too: www.allwelcome.uk

And remember: It matters that you’re here.

It Matters

Gift Days: week 1 update

RESENT WITH THE CORRECT VIDEO LINK THIS TIME!

As a church we’re in the middle of three significant Sundays: we’re holding Gift Days for people to give and to pledge money to our New Building Project.

Let’s remember what the Building Project is for.:

In September this church will be 139 years old. We’re blessed to own land and a building in the middle of Woking. A previous generation, along with some who are still with us today, had faith for this church and put that faith into action to buy and to build. We now enjoy  the benefit of that.

Coign building - 2018

The current Coign Church building

Sadly the building we have is no longer big enough for us and doesn’t suit our needs, so we’ve made plans to build a new 675 seat chapel. We also want to repurpose the current building for children’s work, youth work, offices and serving the community.

In terms of finance, the project will cost around £4m. We can borrow around £2m of that, and we already have around £0.5m. So we need to raise £1.5m.

Remember, we’re not building a monument; this is about enabling us to be more effective in our mission to reach this town, and further afield, with the good news of Jesus. This is all about mission.

Last week was week 1 of our gift days, and you may be wondering how we did. If so, here is a one minute video update to excite you for this Sunday

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it. Its the one titled, “Our First Gift Day”

Enjoy!

Welcome to our New Vision

On May 20th The Coign Church will become Welcome Church.

Logo_Color_previewThis is a time of significant change for us, and I’ve been impressed by the levels of maturity and grace shown by the whole church as we walk through these changes together.

Thanks for all the very positive feedback; I know I’m not the only one who’s excited!

Our New Vision Statement

As well as a new name for the church, we introduced a new vision statement. A vision statement sums up what we want to see happen. For many years The Coign Church had a vision statement about “being an Antioch church”, and whilst we would agree with and honour every word of that, we also want to bring a new emphasis alongside our new name; something that will shape Welcome Church going forward.

So the Vision of Welcome Church is:

“To see lives changed and communities impacted for good through God’s Grace in Action”

Ultimately this is what the Great Commission is all about! We want to see people’s lives changed by God’s grace, and we want to impact the communities around us and further afield for good, and when we say ‘for good’ we mean both ‘positively’ and ‘permanently’.

Let’s remember why we exist! We’re not here for our own benefit; the church has a mission. We exist to make disciples of all nations; we exist to reach this town with the good news of Jesus.

Jesus has a purpose for our lives and our church, and that purpose is not about being comfortable in a nice church meeting. This town needs the gospel; there are thousands here who God wants to reach and we’ve hardly begun.

Our new mission statement

We also have a new mission statement as a church, which might be a new concept for some people. If a vision statement is what we want to see, then a mission statement is what we’re going to do in order to see it happen.

So the mission of Welcome Church is:

“To share God’s grace in action with all people for all of life”

Of course, that’s what every Christian is called to be doing with all parts of their life; sharing God’s Grace in Action.

“Who with?” …  “With everyone”

“When?” … “All the time, in all parts of life”

What does Grace In Action mean?

God’s grace towards us calls us take action! As the Bible say, “Faith without works is dead!” So what is Grace In Action?

  • Sharing the gospel is grace in action
  • Caring for the poor is grace in action
  • Loving your husband or wife is grace in action
  • Leading your family well is grace in action
  • Loving your neighbour is grace in action
  • Doing a good job at work is grace in action
  • Forgiving someone is grace in action
  • Serving your church is grace in action
  • Serving your community is grace in action
  • Serving a friend is grace in action
  • Giving generously is grace in action
  • Praying for someone is grace in action

Jesus said, “Freely you have received; freely give”. Whenever we do that, it’s God’s grace in action.

I’m excited by our new vision and mission statements. Let’s try to memorise and them and to put them into action. And let’s pray that God will bless many people through our church.