Friday 15 January 2021 (301 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE Reflection & Prayer
A Baptism of Fire

Please click here to hear the short message from last Sunday's Youtube worship, followed by a brief prayer.



Wednesday 13 January 2021 (299 Days since our first post on this blog.)
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Southern Counties Baptist Association

SCBA Weekly Update & Reflection

This week Dave Llewellyn reflects on ‘What Condition are You in?”. You will also find a podcast version on our podcast channel ‘SCBApod’.

If you have missed our previous YouTube videos you can catch up by visiting our channel.

Baptists Together Update

Covid-19 Advice
The Baptist Union have continued to update the essential guidance for churches. Please continue to check any updates here.

Guidance on re-opening Baptist church buildings
Updated to reflect the introduction of National Lockdowns in England and Wales. Updated the front page to include statement from leadership of Baptists Together. Updates to multiple sections to reflect national lockdown conditions, including substantial changes on use of outdoor space, prayer meetings and bible studies and other uses of premises.

Guidance on church worship
Correction to table in Section 3 to show that outdoors worship is not permitted in Wales when at alert level 4 and that for England prayer and bible study groups may not happen; Related change to Section 10 on prayer meetings and bible study groups. Deletion of Section 11 regarding Christmas arrangements; Addition to Section 3 of national lockdown requirement in England.

Children’s, youth and families ministry
Changes throughout to reflect the national lockdown in England from 5 January.

Guideline Leaflet L18: Covid-19 Coronavirus Legal Issues
To reflect BUGB advice on not meeting in person. Amendments throughout property section to the following sections: Property Issues, General Property Considerations, Use of Church Premises, Routine Maintenance of Grounds, Informal Hirings, Residential Leases.

Renewed Call to Persevere in Prayer

As Covid-19 threatens to overwhelm our health service and continues to inflict pain and loss, we stand together with many others and renew our commitment to sustained prayer.

You may like to join virtually with friends to pray, perhaps in small groups or as a wider congregation. You might like to spend time in solitude praying for our nation at this time of crisis.

For more information, please go to: https://www.baptist.org.uk/

Online Services, Worship Songs

Thank you to all those churches who have opened up their Sunday worship to others. You will find a variety of both live streaming and pre-recorded service available by following this link.



Sunday 10 January 2021 (296 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship
HAPPY NEW YOU!

Contemporary worship with songs, clips & children's content.
Days into the new year & we're back in Lock-down. How is it possible to find joy amidst the suffering, the pain & the isolation?

Jesus' baptism takes place against a backdrop of Roman occupation & suffering too, marking the start of his ministry & determination to do what he had come to do, whatever the cost.



Saturday 9 January 2021 (295 Days since our first post on this blog.)
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A personal message from Joyce Brown
The Faithcafe

A personal message from Joyce Brown

I would like to thank all those who have sent kind wishes both before
and since Christmas.

Love
Joyce

The FAITHCAFE
Reflection on the Magi

This week in the East many have been celebrating Christ's birth and exchanging gifts as they think of the magi's visit to the child Jesus. We pray especially for those in war-torn areas such as Syria & for those everywhere suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Click here



Thursday 7 January 2021 (293 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE:
Song - My Heart is on a Journey

Song with children's voices for the festival of Epiphany, when the visit of the wise men to the child Jesus is celebrated. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, gifts are exchanged on 6 January instead of at Christmas. Here is one of my songs, recorded at Summerfields Primary School, Isle of Wight.



Wednesday 6 January 2021 (292 Days since our first post on this blog.)
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SCBA Reflection
Important Statement from the Baptist Union

SCBA Reflection: 6 January 2021

Dear Friends

Happy New Year from the team at Southern Counties Baptist Association!

The regular Covid-19 updates will start up again next week, but we felt that it was important to share a statement that the Baptist Union has issued this week regarding churches opening their buildings for in-person meetings.

In the meantime, as we experience a bumpy start to 2021 here is a New Year reflection entitled ‘The beginning of good news’. Colin reflects on what has been and how we can regain focus for 2021. Neither a 'hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past' (R S Thomas - The Bright Field) but a turning aside to the good news of God's presence and our part in his good purposes.

This can also be accessed on SCBApod - here:

Also, two 'New Year’ sermons have recently been added to the SCBA YouTube channel, for the use by any of our churches...

'The Beginning of the Good News' (full version) by Colin Norris

'Turning a New Page' by Joth Hunt

Baptists Together Update

Statement from the Baptist Union
In light of the introduction of national lockdown in England from 5 January and the ongoing ‘alert level 4’ introduced across Wales on 20 December,
we strongly encourage churches not to open their buildings for in-person meeting if at all possible.

We recognise that both the UK and Welsh Government guidelines allow churches to remain open during this period. However, given the significant increase in numbers of Covid-19 infections and pressure on the NHS, we advise churches to stand with the wider community in making every effort to limit the spread of the virus.

We would still support churches as they open their buildings to provide vital services to the local community, such as food banks, as has been the case throughout the pandemic.

We know that geographical contexts differ across both England and Wales and we are aware that the decision lies with the local church. Nonetheless we are mindful of the pressure church leaders are under and the greater risk taken by all those involved in hosting open buildings for whom we have a duty of care.

This is a changing situation and we very much hope this will be our advice for only a short period. Resources and sermons for inclusion in online services will continue to be shared through the national and regional team websites.

We stand together in the hope we have in Christ and we are praying for all at this difficult time.

The BU continues to update its guidance to churches.

All our love and prayers,

The SCBA Regional Team



Sunday 03 January 2021 (289 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship
WORD TO THE WISE

God bless you and a Happy New Year to you all.

Did you find that by the time Christmas came around you were too exhausted to treasure it? We spend hours shopping, preparing food & staying up late wrapping presents & sometimes it feels as though there is such a build-up beforehand that by the time the holiday comes, the sparkle has gone out of it. This week, why not schedule a little 'sacred space' in your life to recharge your spiritual batteries. In the East & in E. Europe, Christmas is celebrated around 6 January, when the wise men were thought to have visited the little child, Jesus. Traditionally this time is called 'Epiphany'.' So if you would have liked to cherish 'the reason for the season' but never found the time it's not too late! Allow the beautiful images & songs to wash over & calm you. Reflect on the mystery & find your joy renewed... A word to the wise

This week we have some beautiful songs for you: 'When love was born' - One Voice children's choir, a clip about the Magi with haunting Hebrew lyrics, 'Now we are the Free,' & a carol with children's voices, recorded in 2015 at Summerfields Primary School.
Learn about frankincense, gold and myrrh & join in with some your favourite hymns: 'O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness' & 'We Three Kings.' Be calmed by Andrew's prayers & a 'walk & talk' recorded at one of the island's wildest places.

This video is rated as suitable for family viewing and has 'Made for Kids' content that children can engage with - short, colourful clips and songs sung by other children or young people. Did you know that our All Age material is specifically recommended by YouTube to schools, parents, youth clubs & churches?

With schools currently closed & many children still at home, why not share our weekly all-age videos with your children, grandchildren or friends who are parents or teachers? Allow the children to dress up, draw the Magi for themselves or create a comic strip story book. Older ones may extend their knowledge of the world with maps to trace the journeys that the wise men took or the flight to Egypt; while the terrible story of King Herod has parallels with war & ethnic cleansing still, with the Rohingya crisis, people smugglers & displacement of children & families in refugee camps.

For members of church congregations with no computer or limited wi-fi, a printable version of the sermon is attached, with questions to stimulate private or group study..



Friday 01 January 2021 (287 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE: Prayer & Reflection
God is with you.

God is still with us - no matter what. While the Covid 19 figures are looking grim, we thank God today for the new Oxford vaccine that has just been approved and look forward to better times. Here's a brief reflection on God's bias towards those who struggle, who are poor and humble in spirit: the God who made his home among the poor and was laid in a cattle feeding-trough because that was all there was.

However you are feeling today, I pray you may know that you are not alone. We are thinking of you!



Friday 25 December 2020 (280 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE Christmas Special
GOD is WITH US

This Christmas many of us will not have our families with us and some will be spending the holiday season alone. Owing to the pandemic, Christmas 2020 is turning out to be rather different than planned. The baby born in Bethlehem also heralded the unexpected. Angels appeared at night to simple shepherds minding their flocks just outside the city, proclaiming God's glory - & the birth of one whose reign would bring peace forever between God & humankind. Contemporary Christmas worship for all ages: with beautiful songs, clips & visuals & an up-to-date message.



Sunday 20 December 2020 (275 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship
Jesus, Mary & Joseph!

I wonder if your heart is on a journey? Join Mary & Joseph as they journey to Bethlehem; & an angel who quells Joseph's fears through a dream.

Contemporary worship suitable for family viewing, with reflective songs & a new carol for Christmas. Andy Croft brings a timely message of faith & courage. Note: no donkeys were harmed in the making of this video..



Tuesday 15 December 2020 (270 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

SCBA update

SCBA Update 15 December 2020

This week Joth has put together a reflection called ‘The Greatest Mystery’ This can be found on our YouTube channel. Please click on the link and please feel free to subscribe to our channel. We are pleased to offer this reflection as a blessing.

You will also find a podcast version on our podcast channel ‘SCBApod’. Subscribe to us on Spotify or Apple Podcast orlisten by clicking on the link.

If you have missed our previous YouTube videos you can catch up by visiting our channel

Baptists Together Update

The Baptist Union have continued to update the essential guidance for churches. Please continue to check any updates here.

The BU have updated all their main guidance documents this week: Guideline Leaflet L18: Covid-19 Coronavirus Legal Issues CIGA extended to 30 March 2021.

Guidance on church worship
Clarification in Section 3 that: in Wales that funerals are for close friends and family only; ‘interaction’ means social interaction. Clarification in Section 7 regarding those who are self-isolating attending funerals in Wales. Addition to Section 11 about carol singing and services in Wales.

BU Support Services Vacancy

The Baptist Union’s busy Legal and Operations team, part of Support Services, are looking for a part time Property Paralegal to join them to support their work with Baptist churches, associations and colleges. For more information, please go to: https://www.baptist.org.uk/.../Property_Paralegal_Support...

Advent & Christmas Resources

Advent and Christmas Resources 2020: this year our celebrations of Advent and Christmas will look a bit different to 'normal'. Here BU have compiled some resources which may be helpful to you as you plan your services. If you have other ideas to share, please get in touch with them here.

“Breaking County Lines”: Train the Trainer

County lines is becoming one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery in our country. Drugs gangs make huge profits from exploiting the most vulnerable - usually children and young people - who are targeted, groomed, manipulated and coerced into drug trafficking and distribution.

Sadly, the very nature of county lines - using children and young people to move drugs out of cities and into smaller towns and communities - means that it is happening all around the country in communities of all types.

Churches are being encouraged to understand the part they can play in combatting it. Breaking County Lines from The Clewer Initiative is designed as a resource to enable churches and communities to understand and raise awareness of the scale of the problem and spot the signs of its presence. It also looks at ways of building resilience in our communities with an emphasis on the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

(The Clewer Initiative enables Church of England dioceses and wider Church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in their communities.)

To help the strengthen the course's reach, The Clewer Initiative is running a "Breaking County Lines Train the Trainer Course" in the new year (26 January, 2 February and 9 February from 7-9pm.) The course is particularly suited to those working with children and young people.

For more information and to book, please click here.

Online Services, Worship Songs & Carols

Thank you to all those churches who have opened up their Sunday worship to others. You will find a variety of both live streaming and pre-recorded service available by following this link. The section also includes professionally recorded worship songs which can be used in your online services.

Jim and Jessica Shepherd from Testwood Baptist Church, Southampton, have added to their library of worship resources that your church might wish to use as part of your worship services, or just to circulate around your congregation. These can be accessed here.


Sunday 13 December 2020 (268 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship
COMFORT MY PEOPLE

As we journey through the season of Advent the days get shorter and comfort may be in short supply. This week's worship brings comfort from Isaiah, who speaks tenderly to a people suffering from the consequences of their own poor choices & wrongdoing. May you too be comforted as we draw close to God's loving presence and look forward to celebrating the coming of that Messiah, whose name means literally, 'God rescues' or 'God delivers.' They believed that God would send a hero - a king or warrior who would save them from their enemies. No-one imagined God would turn up in person!

Click for our all-age service
'COMFORT MY PEOPLE'



Wednesday 9 December 2020 (264 Days since our first post on this blog.)
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NEWS FROM SBC
The Faithcafe
SCBA update

NEWS from SBC

Sandown Baptist Church will be open this Sunday at 10:30 for Worship led by our Moderator Rev. Roland Wort. Strict COVID-19 precautions will be observed at all times. Detailed information to follow.

SONG You are my Workmanship! -The FAITHCAFE

Dear friends, I do hope you are all keeping well. Here is a song I wrote a while back about the way you are loved as God's own children; and that even in the toughest times God cares for you deeply and delights in your trust in him, just as the parents of small children are proud of them. I hope you find the song uplifting. Feel free to share and subscribe. For those of you still living under many restrictions we send our love and blessings. Take care. Stella.

SCBA Update 9 December 2020

This week Dave has put together a reflection called ‘Listening with our eyes’ This can be found on our YouTube channel. Please click on the link and please feel free to subscribe to our channel. We are pleased to offer this reflection as a blessing.

You will also find a podcast version on our podcast channel ‘SCBApod’. Subscribe to us on Spotify or Apple Podcast orlisten by clicking on the link.

If you have missed our previous YouTube videos you can catch up by visiting our channel .

Baptists Together Update

The Baptist Union have continued to update the essential guidance for churches. Please continue to check any updates here.

The BU have updated all their main guidance documents this week, including legal issues and they are available here. Related to this, we have received queries about indoor congregational singing. We remain of the view that indoor congregational singing is not permitted under the law.

The Regulations, in paragraph 7.3 (top of page 12) say that in order to organise a gathering, churches must take all reasonable measures to limit the transmission of coronavirus, taking into account their risk assessment and any relevant government guidance, which for churches would be the Places of Worship guidance. The Places of Worship guidance is quite clear that indoor congregational singing should not take place, and we don’t think it can be argued that refraining from indoor congregational singing is not within the scope of “all reasonable measures”.

It’s also important to note that the “Suggested Principles of Safer Singing” points out that congregational singing in churches has been linked to outbreaks of coronavirus. It then goes on to recommend that only limited numbers of people sing together (principle 4). The subsequent update of the Places of Worship guidance interprets this framework for churches by saying that indoor congregational singing should not take place, but does permit congregational singing outdoors.

Advent and Christmas Resources 2020:
This year our celebrations of Advent and Christmas will look a bit different to 'normal'. Here BU have compiled some resources which may be helpful to you as you plan your services

If you have other ideas to share, please get in touch with them here.

BMS World Mission:
Mission Programmes Administrator Vacancy

BMS World Mission are looking for the right person to take up an important post within the Department for World Mission. If you are passionate about mission and want to play a role in supporting it around the world, then this might be the role for you.

As the Mission Programme Administrator, you will be responsible for providing administrative support to enable:


· The selection, preparation and debriefing of Christian mission workers.

· The collation and updating of overseas recruitment opportunities.

· The processing of overseas travel for mission workers, including booking flights and acquiring visas.

· The maintenance of accurate records using an electronic database.

For more information, please go to www.bmsworldmission.org/jobs

Instant Library

One of our ministers, Bob Almond, is needing to downsize his library drastically. As a consequence, he has somewhere around 1000-1500 books that he would like to go to a good home. It would be great if they were able to help someone beginning in ministry to get a good start. He is not looking for anyone to buy anything! There are theology books, commentaries, and reference works as well. But they are bulky and would need to be collected from the Bournemouth area. Anyone who might be interested in coming to plunder the bookshelves, get in touch with Bob via the United Church Ferndown at: admin@unitedchurchferndown.org.uk

Online Services, Worship Songs & Carols

Thank you to all those churches who have opened up their Sunday worship to others. You will find a variety of both live streaming and pre-recorded services available by following the below links. The section also includes professionally recorded worship songs which can be used in your online services. Thank you to all those churches who have opened up their Sunday worship to others. You will find a variety of both live streaming and pre-recorded service available by following this link.

Jim and Jessica Shepherd from Testwood Baptist Church, Southampton, have added to their library of worship resources that your church might wish to use as part of your worship services, or just to circulate around your congregation. These can be accessed here.



Sunday 6 December 2020 (261 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship - Tear down Heaven!

Have you ever wanted God to rip open the Heavens and answer your prayer? The prophet Isaiah felt like that - angry, frustrated and heartbroken at the state of his country and the loss of so many people. "You are the potter, we are the clay" he says. With so much heartache and pain & isolation, this run-up to Christmas is unlike any other. "If, then, we are all the work of God's hands, will God not care for us and help us in our distress?"

Click for our all-age service
'Tear Down Heaven'



Friday 4 December 2020 (259 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE Prayers for Recovery
Entrusting my life to a Power Higher than ourselves.

The 12 Step Programme is such a useful therapeutic tool that perhaps we can all benefit from it's wisdom. Step 3 urges us to surrender our will and life to a Higher Power- having realised that our lives have become unmanageable and 'only a power higher than ourselves' is able to help and transform us from the inside-out.



Wednesday 2 December 2020 (257 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE Prayers of Recovery

Prayers for recovery from the stuff of life: the 12 Step program is such a useful tool we can all benefit from it. I hope you find this helpful. Do share with friends and those in your online community.



Tuesday 1 December 2020 (256 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

SCBA Update

SCBA Update 1 December 2020

This week Colin has put together a reflection called ‘Making Room’. This can be found on our YouTube channel. Please click on the link below and please feel free to subscribe to our channel. We are pleased to offer this reflection as a blessing. You will also find a podcast version on our podcast channel ‘SCBApod’. Subscribe to us on Spotify or Apple Podcast or listen by clicking on the link.

If you have missed our previous YouTube videos you can catch up by visiting our channel by clicking here:

Baptists Together Update

The Baptist Union have continued to update the essential guidance for churches. Please continue to check any updates here.

The BU have now published updated church worship guidance and the advice for children’s, youth and families ministry. Please note they are still awaiting a detailed update to the UK Government’s guidance for 2nd December onwards, so the information on these pages may change. In the meantime, they hope they are useful.

Coronavirus: Guidance on Church Worship The major revision to the document is to reflect the revised rules in England from 2nd December.

Coronavirus Advice: Children’s, Youth & Families Ministry This includes the removal of lockdown restrictions in England; the re-organisation of the general guidance into supervised groups and parent and child groups; changes to advice on singing and face covering; and an addition of a limit to group size for parent and child group0s. https://www.baptist.org.uk/.../Coronavirus_advice...

Advent Resource:
37 Kings and a Budgerigar

This advent resource has been written by Revd Richard Littledale, minister at Newbury Baptist Church.

For many of us, putting out a crib set is one of our treasured Christmas traditions. But what do these scenes really tell us about the original Christmas story?

Join Richard as he shares reflections, Bible readings and prayers for each day of advent based on his own personal collection of nativity sets from around the world.

Renew the wonder of the nativity story through these thought-provoking devotions.

This resource is available from all good bookshops.

Children’s Christmas Resource

The CYF team at Testwood Baptist Church would like to share their online children’s Christmas resource with the rest of our association.

“The Baubles” – join Ted and the rest of The Baubles on a journey to the very top of the Christmas tree! Hear the story to discover what Christmas is all about and find linked activites on the website.

The resource is in eight chapters, with a resource to go with each chapter.

Online Services, Worship Songs & Carols

Thank you to all those churches who have opened up their Sunday worship to others. You will find a variety of both live streaming and pre-recorded services available by following the below links. The section also includes professionally recorded worship songs which can be used in your online services. These can be accessed here



Sunday 29 November 2020 (254 Days since our first post on this blog.)
See below for:

The Faithcafe

The FAITHCAFE All Age Worship
& Prayers of Recovery - Psalm 69

At Advent we wait for God in the darkness as the days get shorter, and prepare for the coming of our 'Emmanuel' - Light of the World, our deliverer. As we go through a global pandemic, climate change and the various stuff of life, we remember to 'Cast our cares upon the Lord, for he cares for you!' (1 Pet.5) as we look forward in our all-age worship to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ..

In our prayers of recovery, the psalm writers often use images of drowning or thrashing about in deep water as a symbol of emotional distress. By expressing his feelings of fear the psalmist finds trust in his God.


The blog has been trimmed to to make loading on phones easier. To See what has been trimmed off go to The first Blog History File. , The Second Blog History File. or The Third Blog History File.