We live in an age of declining regular church attendance. In times past on Sunday mornings scores of families would be seen walking along the High Street to attend services at St Martins and the Baptist Church. There was less traffic then and one can imagine families, dressed in their Sunday best, gathering from far and wide. The current Baptist Church building, built in 1906, was a replacement for the first built in 1806 which was proving too small. One of its features is a balcony so that officially, the building can accommodate some 250 people. Currently this provides very useful storage space for equipment belonging to DVYM and some of the children’s groups!
In the New Testament “church” refers to the people – church communities. Buildings came later. So, what is their purpose? For whose benefit do they exist? The answer is threefold.
Firstly, churches exist for God’s benefit. They are communities of people who seek to worship God and follow His ways. Christians believe it is entirely appropriate to meet to acknowledge and give thanks to God for his many blessings and pray that his purposes on earth will be accomplished.
Secondly, churches exist for the benefit of its members. Churches are families of people who have a shared life. Nowadays we receive help from the state and also our parents and children. The church family, rooted in the community, supplements these provisions. The coffee and chat after the service at EBC is an important (and sometimes lengthy!) part of our time together. Services contain a teaching element and an opportunity to discuss and think together about how our faith is applied in today’s world.
Finally, churches exist for the benefit of the world – both the local community and far off places. We believe we have a message to proclaim – good news through Jesus Christ. We also believe that we can make a practical difference and we’re supporting a number of overseas projects and activities. We also have quarterly coffee mornings which generate funds for worthy causes. These are an expression of good-will on behalf of the whole village community whether church attenders or not. Why not come along to the next one?