Hub brings people to God

A West Sussex Baptist church is helping people come to know God, through the hard work of staff and volunteers and with the help of funding from Baptist Insurance’s Grants Committee.

The Hub in Upper Beeding – formerly Upper Beeding Baptist Church – serves three villages in the picturesque South Downs.

It’s the go-to place for many local people, and the work and ministry was recently boosted by a grant of £5,000 which helped pay for a part-time community worker alongside community family worker Vicki Butchers.

‘The BIC assistance enabled us to employ someone to help run the Hub café and work with our seniors,’ said Vicki, whose husband is the minister. ‘The number of customers using the café has steadily increased, and she has forged and maintained links with statutory organisations like Age UK, the mental health charity MIND, and our local councils, and recruited new volunteers.

‘She leads a fortnightly disciple group for older people, and has also developed a group called ‘Dying Matters’, where people can share their concerns around death and dying, and be helped through the process of bereavement, both emotionally and spiritually.

‘Everything we do is informed by the spiritual journey and the faith experience – we talk to volunteers about the importance of demonstrating God’s love in action, in the way we serve the community and treat each other. We actively invite people to church activities, and we hear regularly from those who say there’s something tangibly spiritual about their experience here.

Vicki herself has also been freed up to work more with local families.

‘We live in a fairly affluent area,’ she said, ‘but we have pockets of deprivation and I’ve been able to expand my role to help parents of teenagers and children with special educational needs or disabilities who’ve found the recent period extremely challenging. The pandemic lockdowns were particularly tough on vulnerable younger people, and many parents have felt alone and adrift as their children struggle with everything from depression and eating disorders to self-harm.

‘There’s something about carrying out these activities in the Hub – the church – which feels different. We’ve built up a background of trust with people.’

‘The work at the Upper Beeding Hub is a great demonstration of God working through the staff and volunteers as they seek to improve lives in their area,’ said Anne Bishop, Chair of the BIC Grants Committee. ‘We’re pleased to be able to support many such projects around the country.’

The committee has given over £2 million in grants over the past ten years to Baptist outreach and evangelism.

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