Downs Baptist Church seeks to support projects both at home and overseas through prayer, financial giving and offering practical help. One tenth of our offerings are used to support mission projects. The main areas of support abroad at present include Romania and Kenya.
Support is given to other churches in this country through such organisations as the Home Mission Fund and locally through the Brighton & Hove City Mission. We also support Off the Fence, a local Christian charity offering spiritual, practical and emotional support to the homeless; women experiencing periods of crisis, abuse, isolation and mental health issues and a Schools and Youth Team offering a quality resource to schools.
←Vlahita Village Church
For over 20 years, DBC has had links with various church-based and socially supportive projects in Romania. Our aid has mainly been channelled through “The Cleaford Christian Trust” (TCCT). John Cassé one of the leaders here at DBC is a Trustee of TCCT and a group of TCCT trustees visit Romania twice a year. TCCT supports pastors, widows and church-based projects in the Brasov and Targu Mures areas as well as a Christian Camp which provides opportunities for hundreds of children (as well as some adult groups) from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience a variety of evangelistic programmes in the beautiful Romanian countryside. In addition, the Trust continues to give considerable support to the Brasov Children’s Hospital in making available equipment, craft materials and toys, as well as antibiotics and other medication. This aid is made possible by the donations, both practical and financial, from individual supporters, churches, schools and other organisations.
Latest news re aid to Romania
The Trust has in the past benefitted free of charge from the use of local warehouse space in the Farnham area for the storage, sorting and packing of the aid to be sent to Romania but sadly this free facility has now come to an end.
Having considered this, together with the current costs of freight, as well as the changing needs in Romania since TCCT was started, the Trustees have decided that no further shipments of supplies will be made. Saving the cost of freight means that the financial support for projects in Romania will be slightly enhanced, although TCCT will also continue to need funds for those occasions where they will be buying locally (in Romania), for example toys, games and craft items for the Children’s Hospital. TCCT would like to say a big thank you to all of the many friends who have provided tons of supplies over the years.
Please feel free to talk to John Cassé for any further information about this or any other matter related to “TCCT” and our contact as a church with Romania.
Visit to Romania – March 2017
With 4 of my fellow Trustees and 3 other people with an interest in our work, I visited Romania again in March 2017. After a 3-hour flight to Bucharest, we spent 7 nights on our travels, staying firstly, near Brasov, then in Targu Mures and then on to Harghita Christian Camp, before returning for our last night, back to near Brasov. In all, we travelled about 600 miles while there and encountered temperatures from over 30 degrees C to – (yes, minus) 5 degrees C. The week gave us opportunity to visit ministers and others involved in the various projects supported by the TCCT, as well as visiting some of the projects, and also included visits to Brasov Children’s Hospital and Harghita Christian Camp.
Time was spent in sharing with the ministers and encouraging them in their pastoral responsibilities. We also shared in a Youth Bible Study evening (which went on far longer than scheduled) as we encouraged the young people in various aspect of their Christian lives and mutually supported one another as we all prayed together. We spent time in a Roma home at Viforasa where an impromptu service was held and also at a Roma Church Centre (a converted bungalow sized building) at Calemanesti, where 15 or more children just appeared as if from nowhere.
A visit was also made to a minister named Zsolt, who, in a remote, rural village called Meghareni, has a growing church fellowship. The local people have come to accept him because they have now realised, after some reticence, that he is, in fact, just like “one of them”. He has used his farming experience to manage a herd of goats and sell the milk. This project was made possible by funds from TCCT, and has now proved successful to the point where, not only has his church congregation increased, but he has forged good relationships in the local community. Stop Press: “on Sunday 14th May, a 45-year-old man became the first person from Miercurea Nirajului (the nearest village/town of any size) to be baptised in Maghereni. His family (wife and two daughters) are supportive (due to the great change in his life) and are now seeking after the Lord themselves”.
Our visit also included time with Dana, the therapist at the Childrens Hospital in Brasov, who the Trust have supported for many years with toys, craft materials, etc. The Trust’s policy has now changed during the last year, as much of what she needs is more available in Romania; only the lack of funds prevents her obtaining this. So, with the savings that TCCT are able to make through no longer transporting items from UK, some funding is being made available for local purchases to be made. Recently, as the result of a contact set up during our March visit, 150 teddy bears were delivered to Dana at the Hospital. It is likely that each child who is discharged from the Hospital will receive one, as, in many cases, this may well be the only toy a child will be able to call their own.
Some improvements have been made over the years but there is still work to be done. Over the past 2 years, work has progressed (when funds have been available) on re-building the Dining Room and a year ago, I saw how things were moving on.
However as the Camp work grows, the Dining Room, once completed, was going to need chairs and tables to seat up to 286 guests at any one time. During my recent visit (in temperatures below freezing!!) I was able to see how God has supplied the needs of the camp in providing finance through the gifts of people, many from the UK, so that the Dining Room is now fully operational and, even in the cold weather, warm, comfortable and welcoming.
If you wish to know more, please talk to John or head to the TCCT website at cleafordchristiantrust.org.uk for further information about the Trust.
We are privileged to have a close link with Pastor Daniel Gitau and his wife Fennih in the village of Dundori near to Nakuru in Kenya. There they care for four congregations, a school and a clinic. Daniel also has administrative responsibility for six other churches in the area.
The faith and work of this group of people has been a source of inspiration to DBC over the past 25 years as we have seen how diligently and sacrificially they have used limited resources to benefit the community they serve.
The Medical Centre at Dundori in the Rift Valley region of Kenya near Nakuru started from modest beginnings as a health clinic, but has now grown into a medical centre with overnight accommodation and male and female wards. Originally there were just one or two beds for inpatients, but since then there has been a lot of expansion, rebuilding, redecoration and development in drainage and pipe-borne water.
Initially, Gideon Oyienga was the only medical officer and he was aided by a nurse. The number of staff has now risen to 10 workers including 2 more clinical officers, a lab technician and a dentist. Gideon has always been the medical director overseeing the work, and he conducts operations. Although not a trained medical doctor, he has lots of experience and some medical training. Some years ago he visited the UK to attend a medical course organised by Peter Armon, a former member of DBC and a doctor. He stayed in Woodingdean with the late John Bracey. Illnesses treated include malaria, typhoid, epilepsy, hypertension, child birth problems and dental problems. By January 2012 there was a rise in the number of outpatients treated and a total of 12 inpatients. Serious cases are referred on to the Provincial Hospital in Nakuru. Gideon’s slogan is “We treat but God heals” and each day starts with prayer, praise and Bible study.
A trust has been set up called The Great Commission Trust, Kenya. Pastor Daniel Gitau is the director, and the vision for the various projects around Dundori is his. The trust takes care of the business and financial matters relating to Dundori and the medical centre now has an accountant on its staff. The trust is a charity – a non-profit making organisation. There are also a total of 52 Friends and Supporters of the Great Commission Medical Centre Dundori. Among them is DBC which has helped fund medical work in Dundori for nearly 20 years. Other partners included John Bracey until his death in 2016, and MEDS (Medicines for essential drug supplies). Supporters also include the Brighton Christian running team, the Habakkuk Harriers, led by Roger Sisley.
Until his death in October 2016, John Bracey, a longstanding member of DBC, was a major supporter, encourager and instigator of the clinic for many years. He visited Dundori nearly every year and helped the clinic so much practically. He practically rebuilt it! He regularly took out cash and equipment, sometimes at a danger to himself. He also advised the clinic on setting up a proper accounting system because their accounts were in a dire state. The clinic is always in debt and in trouble with the chemist due to the high cost of drugs and medical bills. This is largely due to the fact that the patients are not always able to pay for their treatment. DBC makes a regular quarterly contribution towards the cost of medicines for the clinic.
There is a growing group of Chrisco churches in the area which Pastor Daniel Gitau has responsibility for – about 10 fellowships including Dundori and Molo. The latest is the ‘Worship Centre’ in central Nakuru. God is working in these lively Pentecostal churches. The projects we as a church want to support are embedded in the church and part of it. Staff members at the clinic come from the churches.
Other projects DBC supports:-
- Molo Feeding and Rehabilitation programme which Leonard Mbae supervises. 2 eco-friendly ovens have been built and also a rural 2-acre plot of land has been bought to be used at first for growing crops.
- Dolphin Academy school – a rural school, which now has had the electricity supply connected and paid for, and a computer installed to help with administration.
- The incinerator project is still ongoing and the clinic now has the document from NEEMA.
The Greengrocers Shop sells a growing number of Fair Trade as well as health food items and at Christmas, Traidcraft goods. Their mission is to fight poverty through trade, practising and promoting approaches that help people in developing countries to transform their lives and communities.
TRAIDCRAFT is a dedicated Christian fair trade company as well as a development charity which pays fair prices for the products/ingredients that it buys from the farmers and producers. In addition, an extra sum of money or premium is paid to the producers to develop their communities.
At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors a scheme was drafted and approved to enable Traidcraft to continue selling their goods on a very small scale. To this end a new catalogue will be sent out at the end of March 2019. All foodstuffs except Geobars will continue to be traded as well as all drinks. Some crafts will also be available to buy, but Traidcraft will be selling crafts made by overseas producers that have already been imported into the U.K. Sadly they will no longer deal directly with their former overseas producers.
Traidcraft Exchange, its sister development charity, is fundraising in order that Traidcraft’s former overseas partners receive some compensation and recoup some of their lost income.
Traidcraft needs your support now even more. Please therefore continue to make every effort to buy their fairly traded foodstuffs and drinks from our DBC Community Greengrocers shop in Woodingdean. Thank you for your support in the past.
TEARFUND is a Christian charity called to follow Jesus wherever the need is greatest around the world.
Tearfund helps communities overcome the worst effects of poverty and disasters and it believes that the same people who face these issues, also have the best idea as to how they can overcome them.
Tearfund works alongside local churches and other locally-based organisations in over 50 countries to help people realise their plans for a better future.
In 50 years they have seen millions of lives restored.
- Over 13 million people have benefitted from their response to disasters
- Over 32 million people have been reached through community development work.
- Over 154,000 local churches have been envisioned
- Over 300 local, national & international policies influenced and changed.
Its calling is to do as Jesus did here on earth, restoring relationships:-
- between people and God
- people and themselves
- people and the wider creation
Tearfund has learnt that this restoration is the key to overcoming poverty. Biblically, the 50th year is a year of Jubilee and their desire is to offer that spirit of release and restoration to people living in poverty.
Tearfund has 3 key areas of focus for the coming years:-
Economic and environmental sustainability – the aim being to bring relief and development to the poorest people in the world so that everyone can have their most basic needs met, where people live within environmental limits and where inequality is no longer accepted.
Fragile states (countries suffering deeply as a result of a protracted conflict) – the aim being to stay in these places for as long as necessary, working through local partners alongside its operational teams to respond to immediate needs and to address long-term problems.
Tearfund readily admits that it is one body with many parts. As a church, DBC is an integral part of that body as we have been supporting their amazing work for many years. Tearfund’s challenge for us is to move forward together. So how can we play our part? Well, we can:-
Pray – knowing that God will act. You might like to head to www.tearfund.org/prayer to sign up to their One Voice weekly prayer email
Act – Call on those in power to act. Request campaign postcards at www.tearfund.org/action
Give – Check out their web page for details on how you can make a donation – www.tearfund.org
The impact of Tearfund has been immense over the past 50 years – here’s to the next 50 years!
BMS Birthday Scheme
Want to make a difference and support world mission? Here are details of an exciting new opportunity – DBC’s very own Baptist Missionary Society Birthday Scheme. The Birthday Scheme supports BMS medical work and health ministries amongst some of the poorest and most marginalised people around the world. These vulnerable peoples would have no access to medical treatment if it were not for BMS-supported medical projects. Every year, Birthday Scheme members donate over £300,000 and these gifts are having a huge impact, saving and transforming lives in countries across the world.
How does it work? Well, all you have to do is complete a simple form and return it to the Birthday Scheme Secretary. You will then receive a lovely birthday card and a Birthday Scheme gift envelope on your birthday. You put your donation to BMS in the envelope, fill in the back and return it by placing it in the offering bag at church on Sunday morning. You can also make your gift online by visiting
By giving a gift to the BMS Birthday Scheme every year on your birthday, you’re doing something amazing – you’re sharing the gift of life!
For more information or if you would like to join, have a chat to Maria Nwanwene our scheme secretary.
Thank you for your gifts so far. DBC has been able to send £72.50 in order to support health ministries around the world, including Chad’s new maternity centre near the capital city, N’Djamena and mothers and their new born babies in Afghanistan’s remote villages.