Who We Are
We are an autonomous group of Christians who recognise that our task is primarily to “love God” and “love our neighbours” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Our desire is to live our lives in service to Jesus and to spread the liberating news about Him, to offer a sanctuary to those who seek a loving, peace-filled society, and to provide whatever practical help we can when our neighbours have a real need.
We recently ran a series of talks on the theme “Take a Look“ – these talks were for the benefit of the visitors who came along to our Open Sunday. You may find it helpful to watch those if you are interested in hearing a little more about us. However, this page gives you an overview of who we are and what we believe.
Some of our key beliefs:
- God is the eternal creator of the universe and our spiritual father
- Jesus is His divine and only son who lived a sinless life, died as the perfect sacrifice for our imperfections and came alive again
- The Holy Spirit is divine and is given to all Christians as our indwelling comforter and guide
- The Bible is God’s message to mankind, revealing His will for all people
- We are saved by God’s grace as a gift that is offered to everyone who is willing to accept it by being baptised into His family
- The church is not a building or a denomination, but the collection of all the people on earth who are part of God’s family
- Heaven and hell are real and there will be a day when Jesus will return to take His children home to be with Him in heaven
Our group began in January 1996 as a result of two families who moved into the area and wanted to worship God in a simple, non-denominational setting. We began meeting in homes until the nucleus grew to the point where a larger venue was needed. In July 1996 we began meeting in the Gossops Green Community Centre where we currently meet each Sunday.
What We Do
On Sundays we meet together for a time of worship and fellowship. Our Sunday meetings include the following elements:
- Spending time studying the Bible
- Singing and praising God
- Praying to God
- Teaching and encouraging
- Remembering Jesus’ death through the Lord’s Supper
We also have various other meetings such as men’s meetings, ladies’ meetings, social get-togethers and meals, planning meetings, etc.
In addition, as part of our efforts to “love our neighbours”, we are involved in supporting a number of people in various parts of the world (for example in Zimbabwe and India), and from time to time we run events aimed at reaching the people around us with the good news about God’s love for them.
Are you affiliated to a particular denomination or central governing body?
People have a tendency to want to categorise things – however, we believe that there is just one church which includes everyone in the world that God has added to His family whoever they may be and whatever name they may choose to use to refer to themselves. Thus, we believe that the Bible, rather than any other manual, creed or governing body should be our guide and that we are answerable to God rather than to any human institution. We use the term “church of Christ” as an acknowledgement of the fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. As an autonomous group of Christians we aim to base our own beliefs and practices on what we read in the Bible, and believe that other congregations have the right and responsibility to do the same.
Who is in charge?
We believe that Jesus is the only head of the church and that God desires individual congregations to be lead and served by “elders”. He has given instructions in the Bible for how these elders should be selected. Unfortunately we believe that we currently don’t have individuals who meet the criteria He has set out, so, based on other biblical principles, we work together to make decisions by consensus in congregational meetings and men’s meetings.
How does someone become a member?
We believe that only God has the authority to make someone a member of His church so we invite all Christians to come along and worship with us – you don’t have to “place membership” with us in any way. If you are not a Christian you are also very welcome to come along and find out about God’s desire to have you as part of His family and how you can respond to that.
What do you believe about baptism?
We believe in baptism of those who believe in God and have chosen to place their faith in Him and give their lives to Him. We see baptism as the means by which such a person demonstrates their acceptance of God’s offer of salvation by symbolically “dying” to themselves and being “reborn” to a new life dedicated to God and Jesus. We believe that baptism should involve full submersion as a physical demonstration of that spiritual “death and rebirth”.
Why don’t you use musical instruments (piano, organ, etc.)?
Our desire is for our meetings to be conducted in a way that pleases God so we aim to use the biblical example of the early church as the model for our meetings as far as possible. Although there is nothing in the New Testament that states that instruments should not be used, there is also no indication that they were used by the early church in their meetings. Some of us feel that this may be an indication that God prefers instruments not to be used, so we simply sing without them.
What is the Lord’s Supper and why do you observe it?
Just before He died, Jesus had a final meal with His disciples in which He “broke the bread” and “drank the cup” and instructed His disciples to continue to do the same in rememberence of His body and blood that were to be broken and shed on the cross. The early church observed this regularly as He instructed, and so we too carry out this act of remembrance each week.
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