Launch Sunday … Welcome Church, We Have Lift Off!

On Sunday (19th Jan 2020) Welcome Church marked the official launch of our brand new building in the heart of Woking. We were delighted to see so many people there to celebrate with us.

IMG-0165

Just over 1,200 people attended across the two meetings, and this represents a new ‘high water mark’ for the church. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who was there including friends old and new and, whether you were there or not, everyone is warmly invited to come and join us next Sunday at 9am or 11am.

So much to pack in

It was a fast paced morning:

  • Our worship team kicked us off in brilliant style with some vibrant worship
  • We then remembered some of our 140 year history of buildings, looking back at our journey so far and forward to our future vision
  • We heard from Paul Ginever, the architect who designed the new building
  • The Mayor of Woking, Councillor Beryl Hunwicks, spoke about the importance of community and working together
  • At the 11am meeting Jonathan Lord MP, Member of Parliament for Woking, was present to share some very kind words of encouragement
  • Then Steve Blow, the Finance Director for Compassion UK, presented Welcome Church with a display board to mark the support given to mothers and babies in Togo through our partnership with them
IMG_1238

My Favourite Thing From Sunday 🙂

You can listen to that part of our meeting by clicking here.

Welcome Stories

This week also marked the start of our six week ‘Welcome Stories’ series. Many of us were deeply moved watching Mike’s Story, which showed the difference that Jesus has made to his life, helping him to get free from depression and more. You can watch his powerful story here:

This video should play, but if not please click here to view it via our church website

Towards the end of the meeting I talked about a question, the answer to which profoundly shapes our lives and daily actions:

“What do you think God is like?”

This talk was based on Jesus’ story of The Prodigal Son, and you can hear it by clicking here. For me, it was a morning to remember.

Please come again

I want to invite everyone who reads this to come and join us at Welcome Church over the next five weeks. We will be continuing our Welcome Stories series, and there will be another powerful Welcome Story video each Sunday.

Consider some fascinating facts about how, on average, we spend our lives…

  • We sleep for over 20 years of our lives
  • We watch TV for over 10 years of our lives
  • We spend 5 years 9 months in some form of transportation
  • We spend 7 ½ years eating and drinking

Why not spend 7 ½ hours over these next five weeks joining us for this Welcome Stories series? It will be a great way to brighten up these gloomy January and February Sunday mornings!

Finally, here are some photos from Sunday morning to enjoy:

 

New Building, New Life

This Sunday is the launch of our new Welcome Church building, and what an exciting day it will be. We’ve had a couple of practice runs over the last two Sundays, and I’m anticipating a great weekend.

Let me say up front, if you are reading this blog and you don’t usually come to Welcome Church, please do join us on Sunday at 9am or 11am. There will be free coffee and pastries and we promise a warm welcome for all. Just come as you are; everyone is welcome.

If you need somewhere to park then please head to Philips Court where we have free parking spaces available. The entrance to Philips Court is to the left of the Fire Station on Goldsworth Road (Postcode: GU21 6LE). Stewards will cheerfully direct you on arrival.

Here is a short video with all the details, please do give it a watch:

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

Ahead of Sunday, here are a few pointers and encouragements from me …

Let’s look out for every guest:

It can be nerve racking for anyone turning up at church for the first time, so let’s help everyone feel welcome. There will great coffee and warm pastries available before and after both meetings – let’s make sure that guests get to them first, or that we offer to bring something over for them. Some guests may be looking for the children’s work or the toilets – let’s be ready to show them the way. Perhaps you might offer to sit with someone who looks new.

In addition to those you will be bringing yourself, we have a number of ‘VIP’ guests coming including Borough Councillors, the Mayor, our Local MP, the architect, some of the building Contractors, local media and more. Please do speak to them and please help to make everyone feel at home. 

Let’s invite people:

Dub wrote about how to do that on this blog last week. You can read that here. Remember, people are very interested in the new building and want to see it. Many will come along if asked. Let’s go for it in faith.

Let’s fill up from the front and fill up the rows:

We have a lovely big building and it’s going to be fairly full on Sunday. One way to serve people well is to fill up from the front and to fill up the rows, not leaving big gaps. It’s a simple thing that we can all do to show love for others.

Let’s pray:

Whilst the building is beautiful and (in my opinion) impressive, we really want people to be impressed with Jesus. Let’s be praying through this week for God’s presence in everything and his protection over everything.

One more thing: another word about parking

As there will be many guests this week, if you belong to Welcome Church and are not bringing or arriving with a guest then perhaps for this one week, if you are physically able, you might consider parking in Victoria Way Car Park and walking across. We can validate your ticket so you get free parking. This will leave the nearby spaces free for our guests.

If you are serving at both meetings then please do park at Pulse on Cherry Street (GU21 6EE) as usual.

New Building Launch – It’s Time To Invite!

Hi everyone. This is Dub Everitt here, hijacking Steve’s blog to talk to you about our Welcome Church new building launch.

We’ve just had our first Sunday in the new building, and what an amazing time we had! I’m sure we’re all now thinking that if our friends joined us for the launch on 19th January they’d LOVE IT!

A warm welcome with delicious pastries and great coffee. Amazing worship, an inspiring preach and friendly people. And don’t forget: one of the most incredible Welcome Stories ever!

But here’s the thing, the thought of coming to church at all may raise lots of questions or nerves for people. But what if those fears were addressed so that many of our friends could say “YES!” to coming along?

So, what are these areas of uncertainty that they may be feeling, and what can we do to help?

As someone who has never been to a synagogue or a mosque before, here are the TOP 5 fears I would have if someone I know invited me to attend one:

  1. Where is it? / How will I get there?
  2. When I arrive, where do I go? / Where do I sit? / When do I stand?
  3. What will it be like?
  4. What should I wear?
  5. If I don’t enjoy it, will my friend be expecting me to go again?
image003.jpg

Feel the fear …

These fears are very real and understandable but a well considered invite can alleviate them all.

So here are the things YOU would be able to do to help ME to say “YES!” if you were asking me to come:

1. SHOW ME THE INVITE VIDEO: this would help me VISUALISE what it will be like. In the video I can SEE THE BUILDING, see the coffee & pastries, see the chapel, and I can see how amazing it all looks!

So I might say (or send) something like this: “Our Church has a new Building which looks AMAZING! Check out this 30 second fly-through video of what it looks like on a Sunday…”
Alongside you sharing this video on Social Media or messaging it to me, personally show it to me!

2. BE CLEAR: “It’s Sunday 19th January, there’s a service at 9am and again 11am and they’ll both begin and end with coffee and pastries!”

 3. BE HELPFUL: “I’ll pick you up”This will alleviate the fear of “How will I get there?” / “where will I park?” / “What if I don’t spot my friend?” / “Where will I sit?”

If you’re inviting lots of people, great! Come in convoy together!

4. BE REASSURING: “Come and give it a try. I think you’ll really enjoy it – but there’s no pressure to come again if you don’t enjoy it!”

5. BE POSITIVE: If I see that you think it’ll be enjoyable (which it is) it’ll help me feel confident about coming.

6. BE HOSPITABLE“Come back to ours for lunch afterwards!” / “We’ll head to the pub to watch the game afterwards” etc is the sort of thing that would clinch it for me! This extra act of kindness makes such a difference.

In summary, you could try something like this:

“Hey, why don’t you come to our church Building Launch on 19th Jan? It’ll be fun. I won’t be offended if you don’t fancy it, but I think you’ll really enjoy it! It’s 11am till 12.30. If we get there just before we can grab a coffee and pastry. I’ll pick you up on the way … oh, and we’ll head out to Nando’s for lunch afterwards, my treat!”

One final thing to say

81890862_10157620052203046_8693150692006690816_oOur Building Launch is something that would interest LOADS of people who are in our lives, our families, our offices and our streets. This is an invitation to a brilliant and inspiring morning!

EVERYONE IS WELCOME, so let’s spread our invitations wide so that lots of our friends can come and enjoy it!

A Day To Remember

We had our first Sunday meetings in our new Welcome Church building in the heart of Woking this week, and what a great day it was!

Around 750 people attended across the two morning meetings, and some  of the highlights for me included:

  • The sense of joy and excitement after so long waiting for a new building
  • Seeing so many people from our church gathered across the two meetings
  • The excellent coffee and refreshments (thank you Marcus, Sharon and team)
  • The top notch parking arrangements that came together and worked so well (thank you Richard and team)
  • Embarrassing the awesome Mike Deavin by getting him to sit on the stage in an armchair with a blanket whilst I preached (thank you Mike)
  • The amazing worship times … our musicians and sound team were absolutely ON IT! (Thank you team)

I also enjoyed gathering in the evening to pray around the whole site. 

An extra special thank you goes to Charles C for the huge amount of time he put in to make sure that everything worked in terms of sound, lights and visuals.

Next Sunday we will back again at 9am and 11am

You will see some changes to the building that have taken place this week as the builders have continued towards finishing the job.

And in terms of parking please do head to Philips Court again (left hand side of the Fire Station) and you will be directed from there.

Here are a few photos from the day for you to enjoy in case you missed them:

New Year. New Building. Important Information.

This Sunday, January 5th, is an exciting one for us at Welcome Church: we will be meeting in our new building for the first time.

I am incredibly excited!

Here is some important information, including vital information about where to park.

Opening on time

Since September 2018 our plan has been to open on January 5th, and we are delighted to have achieved this target. The contractors have worked really hard over the last few weeks to get things ready and the building looks amazing.

Over the next week or two the builders will finish off a few outstanding items, big and small, and for now we are good to go for Sunday.

Details for this week

This Sunday we will meet at 9am and 11am as we normally do. It will be our regular kind of meeting with brilliant worship, relevant preaching, exciting kids work and a fantastic crèche. As an extra treat there will be coffee, pastries and muffins served both before and after each meeting.

On arrival please use the main front entrance from Church Street West, next to the yellow hoardings. This is the entrance to the original building. You will be directed where to go from there.

Looking round the building

It’s natural to want to look around the whole building, so please be aware that this will NOT be possible on Sunday morning because kids work will be in operation, the kitchen will be in use and the loft is not available this Sunday.

Parents please note that there will be a secure drop off and collection system in place for your children, and you will be clearly directed where to go. For safeguarding reasons, viewing the various kids rooms will also not be possible when dropping off or collecting the children.

However, we are meeting to pray at 6.30pm on Sunday evening, and everyone will be encouraged to view and pray around the whole building then. Please come ready to pray and explore!

Where to park on Sunday morning

aerial-view-of-parking-lot-2402235

There is some vital and new information here.

First of all,  if you are able to walk or cycle to church, please walk or cycle. This is great for your health and also for the environment.

For this who do need to drive the following will be helpful:

  • For those who are disabled or have significantly limited mobility, our Oaks Road Car Park, with wheelchair accessible entrance, is available to you.  This week there will be 12 spaces available there. Please do not attempt to park here if you do not fit this category as you will be asked to move.

Please note: for safety reasons there is NO PARKING for anyone at all at the front of the building, either on or off the road.

  • For people who are serving at both meetings we have made a special  arrangement with a company called ‘Pulse’ for you to park for free in their spaces, against the Pulse building (Postcode: GU21 6EE). This building is on Cherry Street, which is a left turn next to Halfords Garage on Poole Road. It’s really obvious when you get there and only a 3 minute walk from the building.
  • There are enough spaces there for all who are serving at both meetings, and cars can be parked two deep. If you are not serving at both meetings please do not park at Pulse as you will probably get blocked in and those serving will not be available to move their cars for you. Fair warning given!

For everyone else please head first to Philips Court where we have lots of free parking spaces available. The entrance to Philips Court is to the left of the Fire Station on Goldsworth Road (Postcode: GU21 6LE). Stewards will cheerfully direct you on arrival.

  • Once this car park is full, people will need to park elsewhere, and stewards will let you know if this is the case. Please note that if you prefer to park in Victoria Way Car Park (which is only a 10 minute walk from our building) we can still validate your ticket for free parking!
  • Beware: single yellow lines on the roads near our building mean ‘No Parking’, even on a Sunday. You may get fined, as some have found by painful experience!

Respecting our neighbours

We want to be great neighbours to those who live near us, so please DO NOT park on Oaks Road or Vale Farm Road. And please also be quiet and respectful when you arrive and leave, especially in the evenings.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday for an exciting meeting and the start of a whole new chapter in the life of Welcome Church

 

Merry Christmas – what a year it’s been!

We’ve made it safely to the end of another year (almost), and what a year it’s been for Welcome Church! I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Some highlights

Along the way we’ve built a new building, moved into the annex, held an amazing Gift day, launched Welcome Works, sponsored 141 kids in Togo with Compassion UK, launched The Useful Wood Company, seconded Ben & Nancy to Gateway Church Basingstoke for a while, welcomed Rhea John onto staff, said goodbye to David & Tina Maskell, taken 300 people to Westpoint, finished meeting at the HG Wells Conference Centre, launched and shared our Welcome Stories, published our first book, run an amazing Fun Day, held a fireworks event with around 2000 people, put on a Carol Service for Woking (featuring both the Mayor and our local MP😃) and done a whole lot more too.

80716183_248061509499545_7826618250942218240_n

 

Additionally there’s been the usual, day to day stuff of church life that has carried on, including baptisms, pastoral care, Sunday meetings, worship, preaching, weddings, funerals, kids work, youth work, Life Groups, Alpha courses, ministry to the poor and lots more too.

If you’ve chosen to make Welcome Church your church then we want to say,

“Thank you for being on the journey with us in 2019”.

Looking forward to 2020

2020 is going to be and in incredible year for us. The new building will be launched in January, and there will be many God given opportunities and blessings ahead for us. I’m sure we will also face some big challenges, yet we have a big God who is with us every step of the way. Let’s all start inviting people to the launch event on the 19th.

Image 2

 

Something for us all to do

ImageIf you haven’t done it already, or even if you have, why not take a quiet moment over the next week or so to read Dub’s book, “Caring and Sharing”.

This book is our ‘manifesto for evangelism’ as a church. It’s easy to read, full of great stories and it will only take 1 or 2 hours to read from cover to cover.

I know that if we were all to put the principles in this book into practice in 2020, it would have a huge impact on many lives.

Merry Christmas

I hope you have an amazing Christmas this year, whatever you’re up to. Do take some time out along the way to reflect on the real reason for the season: Jesus coming into the world. Do take time to pray and to thank Him for all he’s done in your life. And I look forward to seeing you all in 2020.

Organised Chaos

Welcome Youth took over our Sunday morning meeting at Welcome Church today and we had a fantastic time together.

IMG_0973

Enter a caption

The youth did it all: they led the worship, they hosted the meeting, they did Bible readings, they led us in prayer and they even preached. It was a lot of fun and no lasting damage resulted.

I want to say a huge thank you to them all.

Goodbye

This morning we said a final goodbye to the HG Wells Conference Centre. It was our last meeting there and we will start meeting in our own new building from Jan 5th. We also said goodbye to David and Tina Maskell who will be moving off to Grace Church in Salisbury, where David is starting his new job from January.

Launch Sunday

Dub took a few minutes to talk to us about our launch Sunday on January 19th. It’s going to be amazing and it’s time for us to start inviting people:

Organised Chaos

All in all it was organised chaos, and a whole lot of fun. We were reminded of Sue’s welcome story, from the Carol Service, and encouraged to share it to our social media feeds too.

And what better way to round off our twelve years meeting there than to celebrate communion together?

Here are some pics that sum up lots of what went on today. Enjoy!

A Carol Service For Woking

On Sunday we had our annual Welcome Church Carol Service for Woking at the HG Wells Conference Centre in the heart of Woking.

Carols-e-Invite-2019.jpg

This year we partnered with the Cobham Brass Band who provided the music as we sang traditional carols and heard the Christmas story in several readings. We saw a powerful new Welcome Story from Sue, I talked about Jesus being God With Us (click here to listen), and we finished up with mince pies and mulled wine.

While this took place, at the 4pm service, the kids had an exciting Christmas Party of their own upstairs.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in serving, and to everyone who gave up their time to attend.

Some highlights for me included:

  • A reading by the newly elected MP for Woking, Jonathan Lord, at the 4pm service
  • A solo rendition of Away In A Manger by Romilly, aged 8
  • Readings at both services by Councillor Beryl Hunwicks, the Mayor of Woking
  • Hearing Cobham Brass Band play some fantastic Christmas numbers before and after each service

If you missed it then you really missed out, but A Carol Service For Woking will be back again next year, and this time we will be in our own new building.

Here are some pics to highlight the event:

Welcome Stories

Over the last few weeks at Welcome Church we’ve launched a brand new initiative called Welcome Stories.

Picture 1.png

Welcome Stories are short videos from people in our church whose lives have been impacted for good by Jesus. You can check some of them out on our Welcome Stories website, or you can find them on our Welcome Church Facebook page, our Instagram account or our YouTube channel. There are lots more coming in the weeks ahead.

Sharing

As we launch these stories week by week we want to encourage people to share them to their friends via social media. Liking them is kind of you, but sharing them is actually useful for the gospel!

Please don’t use religious language when you share them, but do perhaps use the hashtag #WelcomeStories.

You can share them on Facebook and Instagram easily by sharing the posts we’ve already made on our Welcome Church pages. You can also share them from You Tube or from the Welcome Stories website onto Twitter and other media.

Why do it?

These videos are about helping people connect to Jesus … and that is already happening. We are already seeing fruit from these stories.

So far over 28,000 people have viewed one of our Welcome Stories. Just imagine the impact we could have in Woking if everyone in our church shared these?

And of course, this is all part of the run up to the launch of our new building on January 19th. It’s part of the invitation process. We will even kick off our new year with a preaching series called “Welcome Stories”.

So let’s get sharing, let’s get praying, and let’s expect God to do big things!

I’ve put a link to one of the stories here – Enjoy!

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

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.