Right on the border of Bramhall and Woodford, our local Baptist church has been welcoming worshippers from the village and beyond for decades. I Love Bramhall met up with Pastor Phil Dixon and former pastor Steve Rowley to find out what makes Bramhall Baptist Church such an important part of our community.
The modern building on Woodford Road may only be 25 years old but a church has stood on the site since 1856, making it one of Bramhall’s oldest, as well as the only church in the village to have a cemetery attached. More than 100 years after the Baptist community first formed in Bramhall, the local congregation has grown to encompass members from a wide range of age groups and backgrounds, all of whom come together to share faith and friendship.
When the old building on the site fell into disrepair, church members banded together to erect the current building, bringing to life the ethos of fellowship and mutual support integral to Baptist beliefs. Meeting on a Sunday for their service, Bramhall Baptist Church offers a warm welcome to members and visitors alike, regardless of the stage they may be at on their journey in faith.
Unlike other Christian denominations, Baptists don’t practice infant baptism; only when believers are of an age to profess their faith – from about 13 or 14 upwards – does baptism take place through full immersion. Children are welcomed into the church family, through a service of blessing and dedication.
Everyone is invited to take part in worship in whatever way they can; the church has an active group of young musicians who celebrate their faith by playing their instruments, from flutes and drums to the trumpet, providing some lively accompaniment to services. Members may also lead services or preach from the Bible, and everyone gets to have their say on important church matters – Bramhall Baptist Church is part of the Baptist Union but independent of centralised control, so the congregation makes its own decisions about the future of the church in Bramhall.
Group meetings are held at members’ homes throughout the week, too; there are currently about five active groups in the area who meet to study the Bible, pray together and discuss how the Bible teachings can be applied to everyday life.
Bramhall Baptist Church hosts a number of community groups, including Tea-break every other Wednesday for the over 55s. The afternoon sessions comprise activities, quizzes and a programme of guest speakers. In the summer, local churches – including Bramhall Baptist Church – team up to organise Holiday at Home, a three-day experience in August including day trips, activities, meals and more for those who can’t get away for a holiday but who still want to enjoy a change of scenery and escape the daily routine.
The Baptist church also runs several youth groups, including Young Worshippers (reception to year 6 age) and POGS (years 7 to 9), which meet on Sunday mornings and encourage children and teenagers to discover how Jesus’ teachings are relevant to their own lives. Amanda Lamb the youth/Children’s worker is involved with these groups and the midweek groups with a team of dedicated volunteers.
On a Friday, the church runs L8R Club in the evening for children in years 7 to 11 and popular club Hot Shots is held once a fortnight at Neville Road Infant School, providing children and families with a meal and the opportunity to take part in games and crafts. For the village’s youngest residents. In addition, the church runs a club for school years 3-6 on a Thursday evening. Little Lambs toddler group meets on Thursdays between 10am and 11.30am for playtime, songs and snacks.
Within the local community, Bramhall Baptist Church members volunteer at village youth bar The Mill and support Stockport Foodbank, but the church’s reach extends much further afield – as far as Kenya, in fact, where Steve and his wife Angela have established charity Rowley Projects. The good cause, supported by church members back home, works to provide clean water, healthcare and education in western Kenyan community Nyandiwa. The church also has links with the Baptist community in Waco, Texas, welcoming groups of teenagers every other year into their homes to experience British culture and ways of worshipping.
In the coming weeks, Bramhall Baptist Church will be joining together with other local churches to celebrate Easter, with a walk of witness through the village on Good Friday followed by an outdoor service. Later that evening the church will be hosting a performance of Handel’s Messiah; all are welcome to attend and there will be an interval halfway through for hot cross buns and drinks. For more information about Bramhall Baptist Church or any of its groups, get in contact using the links below.
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