Downs Baptist Church Woodingdean

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Thursday Fellowship – John Casse

It was lovely to welcome John back to Thursday Fellowship as our speaker. John’s passage was Mark 1 v 14-20 and his theme – ‘come, follow me!’

God is bringing people to Himself. He did in the past and He is doing so today. Who do you follow? What do you follow? Why do you follow?

In the Bible, Ruth followed Naomi and she is counted in the genealogy of King David and of course Jesus. The wise men followed the star and they met Jesus who was born to be King. Peter followed the angel when in prison to a place of freedom. They all got more than they bargained for when they followed! Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord is our Shepherd.  He knows us personally and if we have any sense, we follow because Jesus can provide all that we need and will guide us in the right paths.

John told us some interesting and humorous stories about passports! Did you know that in your passport it states on the inside front cover that the “Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of His Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary?” It does indeed, but, you need to follow instructions. The passport has the promise in it but it doesn’t mean anything by itself. John couldn’t travel unhindered because his passport had expired!

We can follow people on social media, but it doesn’t mean much at all.  It is far more important to follow the One who says, “Come, follow Me.”

John challenged us to be a person of action right where we are – to bloom where we are planted.  God is not really interested in our ability but in our availability! Be open to His call. Listen. “Come, follow Me!”

John left us with the words of that lovely song from the musical, Godspell – Day by Day, which gives us much food for thought!

To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow The more nearly – day by day.

Verse of the week

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3 v 17 (NIV)

Remember: Whatever God calls you to do, even if it is to play ‘second fiddle’, always do your very best.

Challenge: How can you show your appreciation to others who work hard in the Lord? Is there someone you can thank or show your gratitude to in some way this week?

The verse of the week is inspired by the teaching the previous Sunday. If you would like to listen to recordings of any message, then head to


Thursday Fellowship – Rosemary Kemp

What an enjoyable afternoon as we welcomed Rosemary Kemp to our meeting for the first time.

Sue began our time together by reading Psalm 100.  What are we that God should love us so much?! We were reminded to give thanks and praise His name.

After thinking about some of our members who were not able to be with us, there was an opportunity for open prayer. This is always a very special time but more so when someone begins their prayer journey by praying for the first time and then gaining confidence to do so on other occasions. Such a blessing!

The afternoon was then handed over to Rosemary who led us on the piano with some worship songs with a Jewish feel: When the Spirit of the Lord is within my heart and Jubilate and then the very lovely Graham Kendrick song, Rejoice, rejoice Christ is in you.

Being Jewish, Rosemary shared her faith journey and delighted us with stories from her childhood and memories and accounts of her ancestors and traditions she was brought up with.  Some were very funny, like the time when unbeknown to her parents, she skipped Sunday School for three months – so devious! To make her testimony come alive, Rosemary brought some Jewish items to show us – the Menorah and Shamash candlesticks, a prayer shawl, a dreidel spinning top and talked about their significance in her upbringing.

Rosemary highlighted some very poignant verses from Colossians 2 v 8-9, 16-17 and 20-22 to contrast a religion of man-made traditions, regulations and behaviours with the reality and freedom of knowing who Jesus really is, namely the Messiah. Reading the book, “Messiah in Both Testaments” written by Fred John Meldau made everything come together for her and she came to faith. She realised that faith was needed in view of life’s struggles of which she has had many. Her questions were answered and she needed to have answers to share with others especially her family.

Our time seemed to pass so quickly and Sue said that Rosemary must come again! Here, here!

Kenya Update – June 2023



Last year at around this time, Daniel was in the UK, updating the supporters and sponsors for the work  on the grace of God as people experience it in Kenya.

The main fundraising project was for the school classroom.  Approximately £20,000 has been sent to Kenya and the progress of the project so far can be seen in the attached photos.  It seems a modest return on the investment, but the classroom is a good, solid, concrete based construction.  Once dried, it can be painted and furnished.  In addition to this, foundations and preparations have been made to extend the existing structure to include more classrooms adjacent to it and then also eventually above them.  Donations from UK supporters and sponsors have also paid for architects’ plans, government registration fees and temporary classrooms.

The two photos show the progress of the project. The engineer’s reports for December, January and May are also available if anyone is interested!


Daniel continues to be used by the Lord as follows:-

  • Arranging and leading large scale prayer meetings as well as a national prayer rally which was attended both by the president and his deputy.
  • Representing the Church both on a county as well as a national basis which included meetings with the deputy president and his wife.
  • Continuing to lead his group of twelve churches
  • Hosting and helping several families through the food crisis
  • Continuing to support the other ministries connected to the hospital and child sponsorship schemes

Prayer is requested therefore for Daniel in all his ministries and activities, and also for Fennih, his wife, who suffers with poor health.

Please pray also for the completion of the next phase of the school project.

Daniel and all the Church in Kenya involved in these ministries send their blessings and greetings in Jesus’ name.

Woodingdean Carnival – Saturday, 15th July

Once again we shall be manning a stall at the Carnival and are looking for volunteers:

  • To arrive beforehand and help set up the stall
  • To cover one hour time-slots between 11am – 3pm

This is a wonderful opportunity to support and bless our community, so if you think you can spare an hour or so, please do speak to Sue or Margaret.

10 ways to pray for schools

Interested in praying for your local school? Unsure of where to start?

Check out the resource below – Pray For Schools


An initiative of CARE in England and Wales, in partnership with:

Youth for Christ
Free Churches Group
Prayer Spaces In Schools
Scripture Union
Association of Christian Teachers
Open the Book

100 Year Anniversary Celebration

At 7pm on Thursday 23rd March 2023, seven of us met in the building that was the first  real ‘home’ of what was named 100 years previously, Downs Free Church. The purpose was to mark the centenary of our church in Woodingdean, in the place where it all began – at least for Downs Church.

The weather forecast had predicted torrential rain and strong winds and this had kept many of our church family away. However the poignancy of the occasion was, I think, shared by the few of us present.

To set the scene, the building is now utilised as a garage which will indicate to you the space and surroundings in which we found ourselves. Chris Yeatman, the present owner, had very kindly strategically placed heaters to warm us as we sat around on garden furniture. We began our time as you can imagine, by drinking tea and coffee, eating cake and chatting about our surroundings. Chris spoke of what he knew of the family members who started the Church.

It was for the occasion. That is until we started to pray. At this point it felt as if our numbers had swelled! And when we began singing “There is a Redeemer,” It felt as though the building itself was singing with us!

What I want to say and I so hope that you, dear reader understand, is that Jesus was there and the Holy Spirit wrapped us in His embrace. I never want to forget that ‘feeling’ of rightness, of continuity, of the Power of God! I pray that He, as our power source, will carry this wonderful church family on with His strength through the next one hundred years and into eternity with Him.   

Report by Margaret Bradford

Original photos of Downs Free Church by Chris Yeatman – with kind permission.

Thursday Fellowship’s Spring/Summer Programme

Thursday Fellowship returned on 2nd March for the spring session.

We continue to meet in the  Parish Room of the Holy Cross Church, Woodingdean at 2pm each Thursday – please do join us – we can assure you of a warm welcome! 

Speakers lined up from April:

6th April – Maundy Thursday 

13th April – Keith & Laurel Barnes

20th April – Spring Lunch with Linn Davies

27th April – Sue Cunningham

4th May – Birthday Tea at Faith’s

11th May – Connie Croly

18th May – Phil Cook

25th May – Jane Leaver

1st June – Rosemary Kemp

8th June – John Cassé

15th June – Favourite songs, hymns, readings and poems

22nd June – TBA

29th June – Anniversary Cream Tea

Autumn session will commence on 7th September 2023

For further information head to the following link:- Thursday Fellowship


BMS Birthday Scheme – revamp

BMS (Baptist Missionary Society) works among some of the most marginalised and least evangelised people, in some of the most fragile places on earth. 

As a church we support their work and have signed up to their Birthday Scheme which is administered by Maria, one of our members. To find out more, head to

BMS World Mission Birthday Scheme has been revamped and exciting changes made in order to achieve its full potential, as follows:-

  • Birthday Scheme Secretaries have been renamed Birthday Scheme Co-ordinators.  This means someone who organises the BS in the local church, such as an administrator.
  • Resources have been refreshed. These include the gift envelopes and the news bulletins.
  • BS gifts will continue to support BMS medical work. We were giving to Guinebor 2 hospital in Chad, North Africa, on the edge of the desert, to support them with medicines, operations, surgeons, nurses etc., etc.  Now, however, our gifts will be used for other urgent BMS work, such as evangelism and church planting, education, justice ministries and relief work.
  • Birthday Scheme members will receive a free copy of ‘Engage’, the BMS magazine, 3 times a year, to see their birthday gifts at work. Members can, of course, opt out of any mailing and their details will also be fully data protection compliant.

Appeal for more BMS Birthday Scheme Members:-  

We would love to see some more members in the DBC Birthday Scheme. Why not join us and bless others with a gift on your birthday! It will bring encouragement and hope to so many as well as blessing you!

Thursday Fellowship – Jane Leaver

Jane’s message was all about seasons.  Life comes in seasons.  Years of fast-paced rushing around can give way to seasons of stillness and rest.  Times of desperate need are sometimes followed by refreshing and abundance and vice versa.  Some seasons feel dormant and wasted while others can thrill us with fruitfulness and joy.  We can all look back on our lives and see many different autumns, winters, springs and summers – the ebb and flow of life!

Jane’s reading was Ecclesiastes 3 v 1-8.  There is a natural order to our world and there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Paul said in Philippians 4 v 11-13 that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances. We must learn how to embrace not just the good things, but also the difficult things and times. You can let bad things destroy you and make you bitter or you can let bad things make you stronger and better!

Jane gave us four tips to help us especially if and when we go through a difficult season:

  • Stay humble with a good attitude.  Learn to depend on God’s grace – because His grace is sufficient for you. 2 Corinthians 12 v 7-9.
  • Don’t rely on your own devices and strength.  2 Corinthians 1 v 8-9. Remember FROG! Fully Rely On God.
  • Stand firm and grow through the trial and the tough times and keep praising God.  Let it make you  a better person and not a bitter one! 1 Peter 1 v 6-7.
  • Allow God to teach you and equip you to be a blessing to others. 2 Corinthians 1 v 3-4.

Jane challenged us to think about what season of life we are in right now.  What is God doing?  What is God preparing us for?

Through every season there is a purpose.  Let Jesus be the centre of your life.  Trust Him.  Shine like a star, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12 v 12 – our text for the year!).

We finished our time together with the chorus – In every circumstance of life by David Fellingham:

In every circumstance of life
You are with me, glorious Father.
And I have put my trust in You,
That I may know the glorious hope
To which I’m called.
And by the power that works in me,
You’ve raised me up and set me free;
And now in every circumstance
I’ll prove Your love without a doubt,
Your joy shall be my strength,
Your joy shall be my strength.

Thursday Fellowship – Phil Cook

We welcomed Phil Cook as our speaker.  Phil regularly comes to our meeting and we all enjoy his teaching. As an introduction, Kath spoke about presents and had brought along one of her great grandson’s favourite toys – Thomas the Tank Engine. It was discovered after about a year of playing with the engine that a particular button made Thomas come alive so that it spoke and moved! Kath then showed us a beautiful Bible she had been given after retiring from Girls’ Brigade in 1992 and said that it is no good if you leave it in the box and don’t open it up and read it! So true!

This set the tone for a lovely afternoon of hymns/songs:

  • May the mind of Christ my Saviour especially verse 2, May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour.
  • When the road is rough and steep.
  • Blessed Assurance.
  • Majesty.
  • Jesus lover of my soul – the old Charles Wesley hymn – chosen by our speaker, Phil Cook to close our meeting.

Kath read Ruth chapter 1 and Phil referred to this passage and others as his message was on El Shaddai – which is translated, “The Almighty God”. Phil told us that this is correct but literally translated, it is “I am God who provides for you as my child with a breast to lean on and from which to feed.  I am your sufficiency in your helplessness.”

Our God is the Mighty One of resource and sufficiency – to make us strong for our earthly pilgrimage.

In Ruth 1 although Naomi professes that the Lord has afflicted her, she uses the words El Shaddai – a note of hope that the Lord is with her.  And God proved Himself to her, as Ruth, her daughter-in-law, a pagan woman came into a believing family, was transformed and became a descendant of David and of Jesus. What a wonderful story of God’s redeeming grace!

Phil told us that El Shaddai appears 31 times in the book of Job – the most of any book. Things happen that we don’t have an answer to.  Job didn’t understand why he suffered so much but he knew God to be El Shaddai – “I am God who provides for you as my child with a breast to lean on and from which to feed.  I am your sufficiency in your helplessness.” Job rose above his anguish…”Though He slay me, yet, I will trust in Him (Job 13 v 15).

Phil encouraged us to lean into Him completely.  Sometimes we are tested – we are being proved.  He has done all things well!

Below is a hymn Phil wrote which he has given permission to reproduce here:

El Shaddai, The Almighty God,
Perfect and pure and right and good.
On You we lean - Protective Arm -
Divinely shielded from all harm.

You are our Lord and You provide
Shelter and refuge where we hide;
Shielded from every wild alarm,
Within Your arms just peace and calm.

You're our sufficiency and care
When helplessness is all we share.
You succour us and keep us strong;
For You, O Lord, we seek and long.

You're altogether lovely, fair,
Bridegroom and Saviour, Friend just there.
And in the desert when we roam
You gently seek and bring us home.

Wilderness days are in the past,
We'll lean on Him while life shall last.
"For I am His and He is mine" -
Redeeming love the eternal theme.

Wednesday Prayer Together – 17th May, 2023

Jane leads us and focuses on Proverbs 3 – Wisdom for wellbeing.

Thursday Fellowship – Connie Croly

After a super birthday party at Faith’s home because of the local council elections on 4th May, we were back in the Parish Room of the Holy Cross to welcome Connie Croly on the 11th May.

Sue led our meeting reading Proverbs 3 v 5-6 and Psalm 91.  We sang, Be still and know that I am God, Father I place into your hands the things I cannot do, The Lord’s my Shepherd and Trust and obey to conclude. Wendy read the poem, Don’t throw away the lifeboat by Hilary Malpass. Sue’s thoughts were very much on trusting and as it turned out, so were Connie’s.

Connie shared tales from her life in the Salvation Army and very interesting they were too! Through the years God calls us and sometimes it can be so clear and you just need to respond positively.  Connie said that the following chorus was very special to her:

Just where He needs me, My Lord has placed me;
Just where He needs me, there would I be! 
And since He found me, by love He’s bound me To serve Him joyfully!
What can I do to ease life’s heavy burdens?
What can I do to help mankind in need?

Just where I am I’ll share my neighbour’s hardship, Lighten his load, and prove a friend indeed.

God always has work for us to do and that work is important. Connie encouraged us to trust Him in all things and get alongside people and share our story – even on a bus!

Let’s serve Him where we are placed.  Can you say, “speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!”

What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.

Next week, we welcome Phil Cook.

Thursday Fellowship – Sue Cunningham

Sue illustrated her talk on the second coming of Jesus with the exciting story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who set out for Antarctica in 1914.

His ship, the ‘Endurance’ got trapped in pack ice.  For a time, they lived on the ship until it broke up, and they survived on the ice for some months.  Finally, they pulled three of the ship’s small boats through terrible conditions to reach open water, then sailed to an uninhabited island. The situation was desperate as many of the 28 men were ill, weak and frost-bitten.  They needed help!

Shackleton took one of the boats with 5 of his most experienced sailors through blizzards and dangerous seas to South Georgia, over 800 miles away leaving behind the remaining 22 under the trusted leadership of Frank Wild.

Every morning, Frank packed up his sleeping bag and said, “Get your things ready, boys – the Boss may come today!” Every day these men watched the horizon waiting for help to come. Many months passed until one day someone spotted a ship.  The ‘Boss’ had returned, as he had promised.

Every one of the crew went home, not one was lost.  What an incredible picture of the return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ! Luke 21 v 27, 28 and 36 – “Stand…lift up your heads…watch…and pray.”

Sue challenged us – Are we ready for our Lord’s return? Something to think about!

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