Farnworth Baptist Church

Farnworth brings Eden to Manchester

Farnworth Baptists are bringing hope, help, and the love of God to one of the most deprived areas in the UK – in partnership with The Message Trust’s Eden Project, and with the support of the Baptist Grants Programme.

Parts of the Greater Manchester town suffer from high unemployment, poor health, crime, and a lack of facilities. Two years ago, the Rev John Bradbury and his team at Farnworth Baptist Church set up Eden Farnworth, with a dual mission – to offer practical help and support to local people, and to spread the good news of Jesus.

It started with simple prayer walks and litter-picking, and it has grown ever since.

‘The Flowers Estate and Campbell Street are among the most deprived areas in the country,’ said John. ‘We have several church families living there, so we decided to reach out and do what we could to help. We were very visible during the lockdowns, out on the streets in our Eden t-shirts, talking to people, being a friendly face at what was a very lonely time, and we found that folk appreciated it.

‘This was about taking church to the people – we hold meetings in our houses, getting to know our neighbours, understanding their problems.

‘We’ve been able to let them know about our food bank, job club, and benefits advice service, as well as the various groups which use the church premises. We’re also discussing with local councillors a way of reopening the community centre, which closed in the first lockdown.

‘We’ve done some quite creative things, too. For instance, we ran a family Easter Egg Hunt to bring people out and together, and spread the message of Easter, and we held carol services at Christmas. On St Valentine’s Day we sent Valentines cards and a packet of Love Hearts to almost a thousand local homes with the message, “Jesus Loves You”, which brought a lovely response.

‘We’ve also had people joining our Alpha and Recovery Courses, and some have started coming to church. I’d say we’ve made a hundred strong, solid connections to local folk, and we’ve planted seeds with many others.’

Eden Farnworth had already been supported with a £7,000 grant from the Baptist Grants Programme, and it has now received a further £15,000 which will help to pay the salary of the project leader.

‘This is a really inspiring story,’ said Anne Bishop, Chair of the BIC Grants Committee – which has given out over £2 million in grants over the past ten years to Baptist outreach and evangelism. ‘It is wonderful to be able to help this vital work carry on.’

Two ladies wearing High-vis jackets collecting litter
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