FIRST BAPTISM AT GAFCON-BACKED SHEFFIELD CHURCH PLANT
The man baptised on Sunday May 12th in the Walkley library, the venue for the new conservative evangelical church planted byChrist Church Central in October last year, gave an honest and moving account of how he came to Christian faith.
The minister, Pete Jackson, preached very clearly and edifyingly on 1 Timothy 6v2b-10. The songs were theologically good, supported by high quality musicianship. Mr Jackson appears to be a calm and godly pastor, who enjoys the confidence of his leadership team.
Unfortunately, the prayers of intercession were somewhat inward-looking – they often are in new church plants. Political leaders were not prayed for at Walkley and they should be.
The Walkley plant has not yet cut the apron strings from Christ Church Central – it does not have its own trustees and independent charitable status – but hopefully that will happen in time. Like other UK church plants rooted in Reformed Anglican spirituality, it could form a partnership with Anglican evangelical mission agency, Crosslinks, giving it greater connection with the wider church.
There is already the relationship through GAFCON with the Anglican Church in Kenya, which should be taken seriously by way of accountability, because one of its bishops, the Rt Revd Josephat Mule, ordained Mr Jackson as deacon in Kitui cathedral. The new church has been pro-actively supported by the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.
According to the media statement Christ Church Central put out at the time of Mr Jackson’s ordination, the father of its senior minister, Tim Davies, was Provost of Nairobi cathedral in the 1970s and Mr Davies himself is an honorary canon of All Saints’ Cathedral, Nairobi. It is very important for the new church that the link with Kenya is based on a shared spiritual commitment to Anglican orthodoxy, rather than being dynastic in nature.
Conversations with members of the church family evidenced humility and realism in the face of the challenge of reaching the community of Walkley for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though there were some older people present, the congregation is mainly in their 20s and 30s.
The church looks like it will soon, God willing, outgrow Walkley library, necessitating new premises. With imaginative outreach to its local community as well as within its demographic network, this new church family could by God’s grace be a real force for the gospel in a tough region for Christian ministry.
An adult male baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity is certainly a positive sign of a social trend being bucked.