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 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.
Very sadly Traidcraft announced at the beginning of October that it is in financial difficulties and will probably have to cease trading at the end of this year 2018. It made a loss of £500,000 last year. The reasons it gives are: declining church attendance, eight years of austerity and Brexit which has led to a fall in the value of the pound and put up the cost of buying the products it sells. Closing down the business will be devastating to the income of many of the thousands of impoverished workers principally in Africa, Asia and Latin America, some of whom have only got access to markets through Traidcraft.
Traidcraft is on the brink, but their Chief Executive Officer says that closure is not a foregone conclusion. A lot depends on sales this autumn and in the run-up to Christmas. Strong sales and an upturn in trade could make possible the restructuring of the business. The company is also consulting on its future which may bring some fresh ideas to help save it.
So, what part can we play to make a difference?
- Buy Traidcraft fair trade foodstuffs and household products from our very own DBC Community Greengrocers shop: such as tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, chocolate, toilet paper, handgel, biscuits, Geobars etc.
- Place an order this autumn and in the run-up to Christmas from the Traidcraft winter and Christmas catalogues 2018. You can order through the shop, from Maria Nwanwene, or online at https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk
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.