Downs Baptist Church Woodingdean

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Thursday Fellowship – Beverley McArdle (BHCM)

We welcomed Beverley McArdle, Team Leader from the Brighton & Hove City Mission’s Care Homes team to our meeting. Our reading for the afternoon was Psalm 139 v 1-16 (a truly beautiful passage) which Beverley used to highlight her talk with the theme of “Who am I, and who are you?”

Beverley gave us some very interesting insight into the work within care homes in Brighton and Hove. At present the team delivers 28 services per month.  These services may vary from a conventional service to a more simplified approach to accommodate the needs of those present. Everyone loves singing the old hymns and most remember the Lord’s Prayer. So many of the residents have a cognitive impairment but each person is valued and special. The team also spend time chatting, getting alongside, befriending and offering to pray for those who would welcome it.

We thought about what makes us, us! Like our names, our hobbies, our relationships, our individual characters etc. All these elements build us up.  What happens if/when we lose any of these characteristics? Can we perhaps lose ourselves? Even if people lose the ability to remember their own name – God knows it and God knows them!

Beverley challenged us to be the light of Christ for those in darkness particularly those who may have dementia or some form of cognitive impairment. We need to be people who affirm others and help them to see who they are in Jesus because they cannot lose their identity and who they are in God’s eyes.

Beverley and her team help to connect people with their faith and at times Beverley shared that the presence of the Holy Spirit is so evident that it is tangible! God can and does reach each person with His love, His compassion and His mercy. The team tell people that they are dearly loved and that God will never forget them. What a wonderful ministry!

This truly inspiring afternoon ended with Beverley reading Isaiah 46 v 4 from the NLT version – “I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you.  I will carry you along and save you.”

Thursday Fellowship – Dr Ruth Butlin (The Leprosy Mission).

We welcomed back Dr Ruth Butlin who brought us an update on the reconstruction work at Anandaban Research Centre in Nepal.

If you remember, the old research laboratory suffered significant damage in the 2015 earthquakes and yet somehow it managed to cling on to the mountainside. It was in danger of failing the government inspection which would have resulted in its closure.

Our gifts last year along with other supporters have made the reconstruction work on the centre a reality and the team are seeing the works progress with completion due in 2025.

This is so exciting and such a huge step in the journey to ridding the world of leprosy.  It means that existing ground-breaking research can come to fruition and bring hope and health to so many for a better and brighter future, living the lives God intended for them.

Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to humankind! Since Biblical times, people with leprosy have been excluded from society, The sad truth today is that there are places in the world (generally in the more under-developed countries like Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) where leprosy is a big problem and many people suffer greatly from damaged limbs, disfigurements and disabilities and even physical and metal cruelty because of the disease.

With quick diagnosis and the right treatment whether it be physiotherapy to improve the functioning of limbs or reconstructive surgery, literally, thousands of people are having their lives transformed meaning they can work and support their families and participate in their communities.

Ruth said that “Jesus challenges us to see all people as our neighbours”, especially those who are cut off from society or marginalised through no fault of their own. We need to see people how God sees them, people to be valued and drawn into the family of God.  This task remains unfinished but we all have a part to play.

Thursday Fellowship – Linda Davies from MAF

We had a very interesting and wide ranging presentation about the work of MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) by Linda Davies, covering its history, where it works and why it’s ministry is necessary.

Linda used the example of Liberia, where roads are impassable for 6 months of the year due to very heavy rainfall. MAF’s small planes can reach isolated communities very quickly with food, equipment, medical supplies, books and Bibles as well as personnel with the good news of Jesus.

So far we have raised £135 for this our 2023/2024 project and hope to add to this total over the next few weeks.

By praying for and supporting MAF, we can help to fuel the fleet that shares the love and hope of Jesus Christ to a needy world and be part of building God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Wednesday Prayers with Margaret

Margaret’s text for this evening is Proverbs 3 v 5-6 and we will be focussing on Trust.

Thursday Fellowship – Sue Cunningham

Readings to illustrate Sue’s talk : Philippians 4 v 2-5; Luke 10 v 38-42

Sue started her talk with amusing letters from children to God about their love-hate relationships with siblings and friends, to illustrate that broken relationships start at an early age.

As an example, she compared the tragic story of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, when rivalry destroyed relationships between boys stranded on an uninhabited island, and a similar true situation on a Tongan island, where the boys worked together to create a loving, healthy society, based on their faith in God.

There are examples in the Bible when even Christians were at loggerheads – Paul and Barnabas disagreed over John Mark, and two Christian co-workers, Euodia and Syntyche, fell out.

Today, sadly, such disagreements and bad feelings can often occur between Christians and Sue gave two examples from her own life which needed to be resolved, forgiveness sought, and hugs given! Such broken relationships need to be faced and dealt with and Sue challenged us to put them right.

However, Sue went on to speak about another relationship which may also need to mended or sorted out, and that is our relationship with God! Has it become strained, a bit dull, not as close as we’d like?! Friendships grow when we spend time together, talking and listening to each other, and the same is true with God.

Are we easily distracted when we spend time with Him? Have out times with Him become mechanical or routine?

We finished with prayer that we might fall in love with Him again!

Thursday Fellowship Returns

What a scorching afternoon it was too! A few decided it was best to stay home because of the heat but 16 of us gathered for a couple of hours of fellowship, refreshments and celebration as it was Sue’s birthday.  Thank you to June for the lovely cake we all enjoyed at the end of our meeting!

Faith led our session and commenced with Psalm 9.  The verses that leapt out were, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed – You never forget those who seek You.” ( verses 9-10). We have so much to give God thanks for.

We sang:

To God be the glory
Be still and know that I am God
Break thou the bread of life 
Oh my soul, arise and bless your Maker

Faith explained that we would be supporting MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) as our special project for this year and were encouraged to bring along our gifts on Thursday, 21st of September when we welcome Linda Davies to explain about the work. Faith poignantly explained that our gifts which may not seem very much can possibly keep a plane in the air and so save lives! For further details, head to About MAF UK – Mission Aviation Fellowship (

We welcomed Phil Cook to kick start our Autumn programme. We always enjoy his ministry!

Phil brought us the story of the Feeding of the 5000 which is so important that it is in all four gospels! Kath read the story from Matthew 14 but reminded us that just before this incredible miracle, Jesus would have been saddend by the death of his cousin, John the Baptist in awful circumstances and withdrew to a solitary place. But, great crowds followed Him.

Phil got us to consider the 4 main people in this event  as recorded by John in his gospel:

Philip – a personal worker who brought others to Jesus. He was a little bit slow on the uptake but had worked out the cost of providing enough food for 5000 men plus women and children and knew it wasn’t possible to feed them all. But, what is impossible to man is not impossible to God.

Andrew – another personal worker who was always bringing people to Jesus and brought his brother Simon Peter. He did what he could do by finding the boy who had a small packed lunch knowing that Jesus could do the rest.

The boy – was willing to give what he had to Jesus –  his small lunch.

Jesus – the Bread of Life was there to provide not just sufficient but a substantial meal to all those present. He acts as a father of the family!  He fed the people, nourished them and satisfied them.  Look at how much was left? The disciples picked up 12 baskets of pieces of fish and bread, not crumbs.

What a miracle! God always gives the increase.  He works above and beyond our expectations.  Let’s celebrate this and thank him for all His goodness to us. Jehovah Jireh – our Provider!

Please do consider joining us on Thursday afternoons at 2pm – The Parish Room of the Holy Cross Church in Warren Road, Woodingdean. We can assure you of a warm welcome.

Wednesday Prayer Together

Our Prayer Together focuses on David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29  v 10-20.

Thursday Fellowship’s Autumn Programme

Thursday Fellowship returned on the 7th September for the autumn 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 September:

7th Sept – Phil Cook 

14th Sept – Sue Cunningham

21st Sept – Linda Davies (Mission Aviation Fellowship)

28th Sept – Dr Ruth Butlin (Leprosy Mission)

5th Oct – Beverley McArdle (Brighton & Hove City Mission – Rest Homes)

12th Oct – Graham Dawson

19th Oct – Jane Leaver

26th Oct – Malcolm Haines

2nd Nov- Gillian Clark (Books Alive) – cancelled due to the inclement weather

9th Nov – Connie Croly

16th Nov – Gillian Clark ( Books Alive)

23rd Nov – Ann Dracott

30th Nov – Roger, Rosemary & Tom from Seaford Baptist Church – bring Christmas Cards

7th Dec – Quiz with Lis

14th Dec – Carols, Candles and Cake

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!

Prophetic word for DBC from Bryan Pickard

Bryan Pickard’s prophetic message for Downs Baptist Church  on Sunday, 9th July, 2023 as the members seek to be a light shining into the community of Woodingdean.

(Written from notes taken during his sermon)

In 2 parts:-

1.Hebrews chapter 12 verses 1 -3 (especially verse 2- Please read it) 

Faith in Action

Note that the book of Hebrews is written to encourage the believers (Jewish converts) not to lose heart, give up their faith or settle for a second-best experience of God.

It is written for us too, exhorting us not to grow weary or fainthearted in our faith journey.

We are exhorted to fix our eyes on Jesus:-

  • The pioneer of our faith – He is the breaker of new ground, blasting a way from death to life.
  • The finisher (perfecter) of our faith – He is the One who has run the race and now stands at the finishing post. He will see us safely there, holding us fast.

We will succeed and take the victors’ prize.

There is a danger of becoming settlers. We say that “we like it here!” Don’t tread water and go nowhere. Don’t settle for something safe, easy and predictable – Jesus has begun a good work in us – be a pioneering people – trailblazers! But, Jesus must be number one in our lives: Matthew chapter 6 verse 33 – Seek first the Kingdom of God.

He enables us to move forward again (for example after serious illness).

Example of Abraham – his call into the Promised Land. Abraham settled halfway, but God encouraged him to move on again.

We may need to stop and take a breather.  To get some rest with Jesus.

Warning:-  Rest and reflection must not become a settled state.

Some of us may be old (!!), but we are still in the race!

We stop for a while, but we must not tread water. We take a break, but we can’t settle!

2. Joshua chapters 1 – 3  Crossing the Jordan. READ the whole of chapter 3 – (it’s an amazing chapter! )

When God speaks it generates faith. Faith comes through hearing. Romans 10 v 17. When God says we can go on, we can!

Warning:-  Don’t get stuck in the past.

And faith for the future is great, but we are called to live in the here and now.

There have to be changes from our settled state.

Look at the example of Israel – they wandered in the desert for 40 years, having their faith stretched. The time to move on had come.  The Israelites were called to a new experience, to cross over, to break new ground together, to move into their inheritance, to trailblaze.

Chapter 3 verse 4 emphasises that –  “You have never been this way before.”

We are also called to a new experience, to fathom new ways of doing things. There will be new challenges and new victories. However, the best is yet to come.

Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11:-  For I know the plans I have for you…………

If God calls us, we can be brave and courageous like Joshua. We need to be people with a rucksack still on our backs.  We must be willing to pack up our things and move. And our leaders will have to step into the water first! It will be a new season. For example, things that the Israelites relied on, disappeared.  They had to plant their own crops, to manufacture their own food.

In the same way churches want to settle for a nice, secure life. Warning –  Don’t settle for the wrong reasons.

But we have to let go of past insecurities and relationships and be willing to put our feet into the water.  The Spirit of God is urging us to set out upon the waters. God will give us the strength to trailblaze.


Despite the hurts, we want to finish well.  We want to see the work in Woodingdean move forward.  We want to push on ahead with You.

To listen to the first part of Bryan’s message and to see another precis of the second part, head to our Sermons page

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